Tag Archives: Historical Romance

“Scent of the Soul” Is A Summertime Must Read

ScentcoverI reviewed Scent of the Soul by Julie Doherty in April but it’s such a good book I wanted to issue a reminder to add it to your summer reading list. Julie a talented writer with a savvy book campaign. Take note, authors: this lady not only wowed me with her novel but also surprised me with an unexpected and unsolicited token . . . custom handmade soap. Perhaps the reason I was so taken with the gift is because I also make my own soaps and appreciated the quality of ingredients. However, I never thought about putting the cover of a book on the face as Julie did – a unique and clever promotion for her novel.

I love creative marketing. As a reader, I admit to being jaded by the “usual” trends and marketing techniques. Julie’s soap caught my eye with its fresh approach. As an author, it motivated me to search for new ways to promote my own novels.

I wish I could add the scent to my post. The fragrance is a heavenly blend of ginger and clary sage in a luscious creamy base. In fact, it’s a scent that is unisex. I love it . . . and so does my husband! I had to hide my little treasure to keep him from snatching it away – and I don’t feel guilty one bit.

Read on for more information about Scent of the Soul and enjoy the tantalizing excerpt. It’s a rich, satisfying tale that should please even the most discerning reader.

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Scent of the Soul

Julie Doherty

Genre: Historical Romance

Publisher: Soul Mate Publishing

Date of Publication:  February 11, 2015

ISBN:  978-1-61935-705-1

ASIN: B00SZ0SKUE

Number of pages: 288

Word Count:  91,000

Cover Artist: Leah Suttle

Book Description:

In twelfth century Scotland, it took a half-Gael with a Viking name to restore the clans to their rightful lands. Once an exile, Somerled the Mighty now dominates the west. He’s making alliances, expanding his territory, and proposing marriage to the Manx princess.

It’s a bad time to fall for Breagha, a torc-wearing slave with a supernatural sense of smell.

Somerled resists the intense attraction to a woman who offers no political gain, and he won’t have a mistress making demands on him while he’s negotiating a marriage his people need. Besides, Breagha belongs to a rival king, one whose fresh alliance Somerled can’t afford to lose.

It’s when Breagha vanishes that Somerled realizes just how much he needs her. He abandons his marriage plans to search for her, unprepared for the evil lurking in the shadowy recesses of Ireland—a lustful demon who will stop at nothing to keep Breagha for himself.

Book Trailer:  https://youtu.be/dBuB3WC3FGU 

Available at   Amazon    Amazon UK    Amazon Canada

Excerpt:

As Godred’s oarsmen shoved off from the jetty, Somerled wondered if there was any man less suitable to deliver a marriage proposal. Godred of Dublin was coarse, marginally Christian—indeed, marginally sane—and easily riled. Nevertheless, King Olaf liked him, and for that reason alone, Somerled had selected him as his envoy.

“No side trips,” Somerled shouted before Godred was too far away to hear. “Ye have three places to go and that’s it: the Isle of Man, your clan, and back here.” Godred was prone to unscheduled detours.

Unless bad weather or the scent of easy plunder pulled Godred and his thirty oarsmen off course, Somerled would have Olaf’s answer in a few days. If Olaf agreed to the marriage, Somerled would add a wife to the items decorating his new castle at Finlaggan and eventually, the Isle of Man to his expanding area of influence.

The nobles would respect him then. Half-breed or not.

Behind him, a door squealed on one of the two guardhouses standing sentinel over the Sound of Islay. The small building spat out Hakon, his chief guard, another man of Dublin birth and temperament. Hakon strode the length of the jetty to join him. “I have every confidence the Norns will weave Godred a successful journey, my lord king,” he said, his words puffing white clouds above his tawny sheepskin cape.

“If your goddesses have woven anything, it’s an unfortunate headwind,” Somerled said. “Godred is forced to tack.” He closed his cloak and secured it at his throat with a brooch he once plucked from a Viking who no longer needed it. “The wind promises hail. My proposal will be delayed.”

“Aye, likely,” Hakon said, his hair and beard whipping into copper clouds, “but it will hasten Olaf’s reply. Do not despair, my lord. Ragnhilde will marry ye soon enough.”

Despair? Somerled stifled a laugh. Did Hakon think he had feelings for a lassie he had never met? He was about to tease his guard about being a romantic when Hakon stiffened.

“Another ship,” Hakon said, looking past Somerled’s shoulder.

Somerled spun around to inspect the northwestern waters of the channel separating Jura and Islay—the jewel of the Hebrides and the island that served as the seat of his burgeoning kingdom. “Where?” he asked, squinting.

Hakon thrust a finger toward the fog bank blanketing the horizon. “There, at the promontory, in that pale blue strip of water. See it?”

At first, Somerled saw nothing but swooping terns and ranks of swells. Then, an unadorned sail appeared. It crested on a wave, dipped low, and vanished.

“Should I sound the horn?” Hakon asked.

Somerled raked his fingers through the coarse, wheaten mess slapping at his eyes and held it at his nape while he considered his response. Behind them, the signal tower on Ben Vicar was smoke-free. Across the sound, the towers on the frosty Paps of Jura were likewise unlit, although clouds partially obscured their peaks. The Paps had a commanding view. If a signal fire blazed anywhere, the men stationed there would have seen it and lit their own.

“My lord king, should I sound the horn?” Hakon impatiently palmed the battle horn dangling at his broad chest.

Men began to gather on the jetty.

“Let us wait. It is only one ship, and it looks to be a trader. The signal fires would blaze by now if it were someone worthy of our concern.” Somerled glanced back at the mud and thatch cottages shouldering against one another. At their doors, the bows of half his impressive fleet rested on the shoreline, a sandy slip extending well into the distance. The rest of his ships sheltered at the far side of Islay, in Loch Indaal. A signal fire would deploy them quickly and, perhaps, needlessly.

“Alert the village. Have Cormac ready Dragon’s Claw,” he said, “but send only the nyvaigs for now.” The nyvaigs were smaller, but no less deadly. They would be out and back quickly.

Hakon sprinted through the gathering crowd and past the guardhouses. He leapt over a pile of rocks with surprising agility for a man of his years and size. In no time, specialized warriors and oarsmen were boarding the boats. A pony thundered inland, its rider instructed to warn, not panic, the people of Finlaggan.

Though Somerled carried his mighty sword, he had dressed for warmth, not battle. His mail shirt, aketon, and helmet hung in his bedchamber, two miles away in Finlaggan. He singled out a boy in the crowd. “Lad, find me a helmet and a shield, and be quick about it.”

The boy shot like an arrow toward the cottages.

Somerled held his breath as he watched the nyvaigs head out. At the first flash of steel, he would blow the battle horn. His men would light the towers and he would board Dragon’s Claw. The foreigner would be sorry he entered the Sound of Islay.

The ship’s features were barely discernible, but he could see that its high prow lacked a figurehead. He was trying to identify the banner fluttering on its masthead when the ship’s sail dropped and scattered gulls like chaff in the wind. His heart hammered against his chest as he waited for the foreign vessel to sprout oars; it didn’t. It stalled—a sign its crew had dropped anchor.

Dragon’s Claw bobbed next to him at the jetty, her top rail lined with colorful shields and her benches holding sixty-four of his savage warriors. Cormac gripped the tiller, but he would move aside when Somerled barked the order to do so. He would serve as his own shipmaster in the face of an enemy.

Low and curvy with a dragon’s head exhaling oaken flames from her prow, Dragon’s Claw was his favorite vessel, not because she was new or particularly seaworthy, but because he had wrenched her from the last Viking to leave his father’s lands.

The memory of that battle warmed him and occupied his thoughts while the nyvaigs swarmed around the foreigner. Then, they swung about, furled their sails, and rowed for home like many-legged insects skittering on the water’s surface.

When the boats reached the beach, Hakon jumped from his nyvaig and jogged through ankle-deep water, apparently too impatient to wait for his men to haul the vessel’s keel onto the sand. “Well, my lord king,” he said, “it seems to be the day for marriage proposals. It is an envoy from Moray, who comes at the behest of Malcolm. He asks to speak with ye regarding Bethoc.”

“Malcolm MacHeth . . . the Malcolm MacHeth . . . wants my sister?”

He had met Malcolm MacHeth only once, at King David’s court, on a night spoiled by ill-bred lassies who had mocked his foreign garb and speech. Malcolm, a bastard nephew of the Scots king, had observed his humiliation and pretended not to notice.

Yet here was Malcolm of Moray, a claimant to the Scottish throne and a known rebel, seeking Bethoc’s hand in marriage. Tainted bloodline or not, Somerled was apparently worthy of notice now.

JulieDAbout the Author:

Something magical happened in the musty basement of Julie Doherty’s local courthouse. She went there intending to research her ancestry, not lose herself in a wealth of stories, but the ghosts of yesteryear drew her into the past and would not let her go. The trail left by her ancestors in those yellowing documents led her from rural Pennsylvania to the Celtic countries, where her love of all things Irish/Scottish blossomed into outright passion.

She became particularly interested in Somerled, self-styled “King of Argyll” and progenitor of the Lords of the Isles. In 1164, he led a fleet of 164 galleys up the River Clyde in an all-or-nothing attempt to overthrow the Scottish crown. What would lead a man of his advanced years to do such a thing?

Of course, history records he did so because the king demanded forfeiture of his lands. But the writer in Julie wondered …what if he did it for the love of a woman?

Those early ponderings led to SCENT OF THE SOUL, Julie’s first novel, coming soon from Soul Mate Publishing.

Readers will notice a common theme throughout Julie’s books: star-crossed lovers. This is something she knows a bit about, since during one of her trips to Ireland, she fell in love with an Irishman. The ensuing immigration battle took four long years to win. With only fleeting visits, Skype chats, and emails to sustain her love, Julie poured her heartache into her writing, where it nourished the emotional depth of her characters.

Julie is a member of Pennwriters, Romance Writers of America, Central PA Romance Writers, The Longship Company, Perry County Council of the Arts, and Clan Donald USA. When not writing, she enjoys antiquing, shooting longbow, traveling, and cooking over an open fire at her cabin. She lives in Pennsylvania with her husband, who sounds a lot like her characters.

http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/532434.Julie_Doherty

http://twitter.com/SquareSails

http://www.facebook.com/juliedohertywrites

http://www.juliedoherty.com

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Read An Excerpt from Captives by Emily Murdoch – Medieval Romance

‘An enthralling saga.’ – Robert Foster, best-selling author of ‘The Lunar Code’

CONTEST GIVEAWAY

5 ebook copies Captives (pdf format)

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Captives

Conquered Hearts – Book 3

Emily Murdoch

Genre: Historical Romance, Medieval.
Publisher: Endeavour Press
ASIN: B00R3DP1PQ
Number of pages: 222
Word Count: 74,414words

Book Description:

Normandy. 1067.

England has been brought to its knees by the invasion of William the Conqueror and his Norman troops.

Lady Catheryn, an Anglo-Saxon noblewoman, is taken against her will to Normandy after the invasion. She arrives, a prisoner, at the castle of Lord Geffrei, a ruthless invader who hopes to gain a ransom for her. Her husband Selwyn is dead, slain in the Conquest, and her daughter Annis has been left behind in England at the mercy of the invaders. Catheryn is treated like an animal, and left in a cell until she begins to despair.

When Queen Matilda, William the Conqueror’s wife, sees her plight, she takes pity on her. Catheryn is sent to the castle of the noble FitzOsberns – but will her new captivity be any better than the cruelty she faced at Geffrei’s hands? She finds her hostess cold and embittered, but when her husband William FitzOsbern returns from the Conquest, Catheryn’s heart is torn by unwanted emotions. She becomes entangled in the quarrels and heartbreaks of her jailers even as she tries to remember her place among them.

Is she falling in love with the man who helped to destroy her homeland? Can Catheryn betray her Anglo-Saxon roots, and her late husband? Or will she break free, and find her way back to Annis?

‘Captives’ is a moving historical story of love and loss, and the strength of one woman even in the most dangerous of times. It is the sequel to ‘Conquests’.

Available at Amazon UK and Amazon US

Excerpt:captives

PROLOGUE

The prisoner had not spoken for weeks.

None had expected it to last this long. The journey over the wide sea, back to Normandy, had been a troubled crossing. Of the five ships that had left England’s shore, only three had arrived safely, and even those had lost men to fear and sickness. Those that had not died or fled muttered underneath their breath.

The prisoner had not complained.

Dressed in clothes that had seen better days, the prisoner had been forced upon a horse, despite its protestations that it was not strong enough to ride. The cloak had become torn and stained over the fortnight-long ride to the castle of Geffrei, and the hood was pulled across the prisoner’s face, obscuring the night. Despite the cold, the prisoner was not offered a warmer cloak, or a kind word.

The prisoner had barely noticed.

As the sound of the horses’ hooves slowed, the prisoner looked up. Through bleary eyes, only a vague impression of the place at which the company had arrived could be seen, but it was imposing even in its vagueness. A stone building with several floors, and no light emitting from the few windows to pierce the darkness of the evening. No flags hung from the walls, and the door outside which they stood was bare, save for one small handle.

The prisoner closed both eyes.

“You awake?”

The prisoner was dragged down from the horse, and made to stand, although every bone cried out for rest. The brim of the hood fell down over its eyes. The murmur that the prisoner attempted made no sense.

“Walk, if you know what’s good for you!”

There were almost a dozen knights that had ridden with the prisoner, but one was more splendidly dressed than the others. His cloak was lined, offering warmth against the bitter autumnal breeze, and it was only he who had been fed thoroughly during the journey.

“My lord Geffrei!”

The man with the lined cloak turned to face one of his men. The others were lowering themselves from their horses, and pulling up their belts over their empty stomachs.

“Yes?” he replied bluntly.

“Food is required,” said the man, pointing at the prisoner. “If you do not want it to die.”

The prisoner fell.

“Up!” shouted Geffrei, pacing towards the prisoner lying on the ground. “You’ll walk, not crawl, into my home, you dirty animal!”

A hand reached up, cracked and sore, from the figure lying on the ground, but no hand went down to meet it. Eventually, the prisoner raised itself up from the ground, and hung its head.

“Now,” breathed Geffrei with malice in every tone, “on you go. You’re the guest of honour.”

Cruel laughs rang out as the prisoner stumbled forwards against the door, clutching at the handle. It turned. The prisoner leaned, exhausted, against the door.

The room that the prisoner fell into was the Great Hall. A small brazier glinted at the far side of the room, and a medley of dogs unravelled themselves to meet their guests. Feet sounded around the prisoner as the men strode in, desperate for warmth.

Geffrei threw himself by the fire into the only chair in the room. He turned his eyes to the prisoner, who had pulled itself up to stare into his face.

“Well,” he said with a smirk. “Here we are. We have finally arrived. What do you think of your new home?”

The prisoner stood up, and with a great effort, spat onto the rushes on the floor.

Geffrei shook his head with a smile on his face. “Now, that’s no way to treat your new home,” he chastised. “What do you have to say for yourself?”

The prisoner pulled back the hood from her face, and shook her long hair and veil out from under the mud-splattered cloak.

“Where is my daughter Annis?”

murdochAbout the Author:

Emily Murdoch is a medieval historian and writer. Throughout her career so far she has examined a codex and transcribed medieval sermons at the Bodleian Library in Oxford, designed part of an exhibition for the Yorkshire Museum, worked as a researcher for a BBC documentary presented by Ian Hislop, and worked at Polesden Lacey with the National Trust. She has a degree in History and English, and a Masters in Medieval Studies, both from the University of York.

Emily is currently working on a new six part book series, as well as writing freelance.

You can learn more at www.emilyekmurdoch.com

@emilyekmurdoch
www.facebook.com/theemilyekmurdoch
www.emilyekmurdoch.blogspot.co.uk

Spotlight on Lost Colony Series by Jo Grafford

Tour Wide Contest!

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Breaking Ties

Lost Colony Series

Book One

Jo Grafford

BreakingTies_500x750Genre: historical romance

Publisher: Astraea Press

Date of Publication: October 16, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-62135-219-8

ASIN: B00FYIYM7A

Number of pages: 404

Word Count: 121,390

Cover Artist: Mande Matthews

Book Description:

Intelligent and well ahead of her times, ROSE PAYNE’S world is shattered after a secret betrothal to the duke’s son costs her job as a clerk in his father’s household. Without a letter of recommendation, she becomes an easy target for recruiters to the Colonies. Desperate for work, she signs up for a risky overseas venture and sails for the New World, vowing never again fall for a wealthy gentleman.

Returning from a diplomatic tour in London, CHIEF MANTEO is bewitched by the elusive, fiery-haired ship clerk and determined to overcome her distrust. He contrives a daring plan to win her heart – a plan he prays will protect her from a chilling conspiracy involving murder, blood money, and a betrayal of their fledgling colony so terrifying it can only be revealed in BREAKING TIES.

Special Note: BREAKING TIES is the never-before-told rest of the story of the Lost Colony.

Book Trailer: http://youtu.be/nBB8_qcG-9I

Available at Amazon  BN  Smashwords  Kobo  Astraea Press  iTunes

EXCERPT:

“You want my help.” ‘Twas an accusation.

“Aye.”

His eyes darkened. “I save your life. I give gifts. I offer marriage.” He closed the remaining distance between us, his eyes burning into mine.

I stumbled back.

“You give nothing in return,” he snarled. “You only ask for more.”

“I would had I something to offer,” I whispered. “But I have nothing. I am nothing.”

“Then what use are you to me?” He wheeled away.

I sagged against the door, eyes stinging. I blinked rapidly and pressed a hand to my stomach. Nausea rolled at the thought of informing the others of my failure.

Manteo circled the cabin like a hawk stalking its prey. ‘Twas a fine room with ornately carved shelves lining one wall. Bunks were built into the next wall. A generous desk jutted from the third, overflowing with maps and navigational devices. I recognized the compass and hourglass but could not identify the other instruments. I jerked in surprise when Manteo swooped down upon me.

“I know our location.” His arms shot out and slapped the wall on either side of me, hemming me to the door. “I could swim ashore from here.”

“Then why do ye stay if ye can leave and save yourself?”

“Governor White gave his word to deliver me home.”

“We are going to starve, Manteo. ‘Tis only a matter of days now.”

“Nay. You alone starve. The others eat.”

“I have no appetite.”

“You act as one already dead.”

I straightened my back. “I accept what I cannot change.”

“And I change what I cannot accept.” He shifted his weight to the wall, one arm propped over my head. He drew his fingertips down the side of my face in a feather-light caress.

I closed my eyes against the rush of unbearable sweetness. He made me long for things forbidden. “‘Tis within your power to help us. I am begging you.”

“Very well.”

My eyes flew open. “Ye will do this for us.”

“For you.” His voice was silken, his features as hard as granite.

I smiled tremulously. “I thank thee, Manteo. Chief Manteo, that is.” The new title felt strange on my lips. I beheld him with a mixture of awe and pride.

“I have yet to name my price.”

I stared, confused.

He grunted in disgust. “You refuse me as both husband and lover, so you are left with the hiring of my services.”

I worried my lower lip between my teeth. At least he was willing to negotiate. His eyes flashed with lust as he followed my movements.

“I will entreat the Dares for payment.”

“Nay. You are the one in my debt.”

I raised and dropped my hands helplessly.

“You serve this company, no? You can serve my people, too.”

“Ye would hire me as clerk?” Hope leaped in my chest at the possibilities. I would not have to part from him so soon.

“My people have no clerks.” His eyes narrowed. “We have slaves.”

My breath hitched. “Ye wish to punish me, humiliate me?”

“Nay, I only wish to marry you.”

I briefly closed my eyes against the pain. He already knew the reason for my refusal.

“Rose.”

“Say no more. I will do it. ‘Twill be punishment enough to see you so often and—“ I clamped my lips.

Exultation flickered briefly across his face. “You would give up your freedom to save your friends?”

“Without question.”

“Swear it,” he said grimly.

“I swear it.”

His eyes flared with emotion. He bent slowly ’til his breath stirred my lips. My eyelids fluttered closed. Heaven help me, for I had no will left to resist him.

“Now you will eat,” Manteo commanded hoarsely. He stepped back, surveying me from head to feet.

“Eat?”

“I have no slaves so thin and weak. Go. Collect your rations.” He turned from me and bent to pore over a map on the table.

I reached for the door handle, disbelieving at the curt dismissal.

“And send for Anthony. I have need of him.”

I glared at his back. Faith, should I press my face to the floor as well? “Aye, master.” I bit the words out and fled.

Trail of Crosses

Lost Colony Series

Book Two

Jo Grafford

TrailOfCrossesGenre: historical romance

Publisher: Astraea Press

Word Count: 112,300

Cover Artist: Mande Matthews

Book Description:

Jane Mannering can shoot a rifle and handle a knife as well as any Englishman. However, she is no match for the red-painted warriors who ambush her section of a Colonial caravan the moment she and her comrades reach the shores of Virginia.

Jane plots their escape during a forced march inland, leaving a trail of maltese crosses carved on the trees – their pre-agreed upon signal of distress. All the while, she fumes over what interest their captors could possibly have in a twenty-three-year-old spinster and a rugged band of brick masons, sawyers, and farmers.

When the ruthless Chief Wanchese intercepts them at the crossroads of the Great Trading Path, Jane is shaken to discover their greatest enemy plans to keep her for himself. It’s a pity he’s the only man on two continents who’s ever stirred her heart. Alas, she has an entire colony to save, and capturing his attentions is not part of their escape plan.

Special Note: The Lost Colony Series is the never-before-told rest of the story of the Lost Colony on Roanoke Island.

EXCERPT:

My eyes drank in the massive arms and broad chest that tapered down to a narrow torso. He was nothing like the slender dandies in London who paraded about in excessive amounts of clothing. Nay, this man required no starched shirts and ruffs or padded doublets to enhance his frame. Silk hosiery and buckled shoes would have made a mockery of such unfettered male strength. The sun-bleached buckskins and well-worn moccasins were the only adornments a man of his ilk would ever require.

“You take pleasure in what you see, no?” He leaned towards me again. I backed up until the wall of the cavern pressed into my shoulder blades.

Of course, I liked what I saw, but ‘twould be unladylike in the extreme to admit it and grossly conceited of him to question me in such a manner. I straightened and returned stare for stare. The intensity of his gaze unsettled me. Though unsmiling, a wealth of emotions radiated from him. Curiosity. Interest. Desire. And ironclad determination.

“You mean to take me for yourself,” I stated in a dull voice.

Wanchese placed his hands against the wall on either side of me. “When I am ready, aye.”

I sniffed. “Then you are no better than the rest of those savages who —”

“Heathen and savage,” he corrected tersely. “A phrase I’ve heard oft enough in your own Queen’s Court.”

I scowled at the reference to his stint as a diplomat in my homeland. A fine time it was to rub my nose in his superior social status. Born into a life of servitude, ’twas ironic how my lot had not changed one whit on the other side of the world.

My chest heaved with the effort to control my alarm. Too tired to fight him off, I searched his face for any sign of compassion beneath the hard outer shell.

Humor deepened the color of his eyes as he rolled to his back in one swift movement and cradled his head in clasped hands. “You will come to me.”

“Indeed I will not,” I gasped, both relieved at the distance between us and puzzled by the game he played, a game for which I knew not the rules. “’Twould be unseemly.”

“Aye, you will,” he retorted, clearly enjoying himself. “Beneath your…” He nodded at the remnants of my gown. “… finery…is a passionate woman who is accustomed to taking what she wants. ’Tis I, methinks, who will be taken by you and not the other way around.”

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Jo is a mega reader of all genres and loves to indulge in marathon showings of Big Bang Theory, NCIS, and Castle. Her favorite books are rich in Colonial and Elizabethan history, romance, strong women, alpha males, Native Americans, and creatures from the paranormal – an occasional dragon, vampire, or time traveler.Jo

From St. Louis, Missouri, Jo moves a lot with her soldier husband. She has lived in the Midwest, the deep South, and now resides in Bavaria. Jo holds an M.B.A. and has served as a banker, college finance instructor, and high school business teacher. She is a member of Romance Writers of America, From the Heart Romance Writers RWA Chapter, and the Writers Group of Ansbach/Katterbach/Illesheim.

Website: www.JoGrafford.com

FB: https://www.facebook.com/JoGraffordAuthor

Twitter: @jografford

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7360736.Jo_Grafford

Google+: https://plus.google.com/u/0/+JoGrafford

YouTube Book Trailer: http://youtu.be/nBB8_qcG-9I

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Amazon.com Author Page: www.amazon.com/author/jografford

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/JoGrafford/

 

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2 Dropcard gift cards with six free eBooks on each card (including Breaking Ties)

1 Grand Prize – a reader’s tote bag with a Lost Colony t-shirt, signed paperback of Breaking Ties, and signed bookmark

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Review: In Love With A Wicked Man by Liz Carlyle

Win a PRINT copy of In Love With A Wicked Man by NY Times Best Selling Author, Liz Carlyle, compliments of Avon Books!

This is NOT a Rafflecopter entry. To enter the giveaway, simply leave a comment on this blog post telling me what you enjoy most about Historical Romance. The winner will be announced on Monday, November 11th.

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In Love With A Wicked Man

Liz Carlyle

Wicked Man coverGenre: Historical Romance
Publisher: Avon Books
Date of Publication: 10/29/2013
ISBN: 9780062100290

Harper Collins   Amazon
 

Review:

Liz Carlyle has once again proven why she’s ranked on the New York Time’s Bestselling Author list with her recent release, In Love With A Wicked Man.

It all begins when Lord Edward Quartermaine, a “wicked” man who owns a successful gaming establishment in London, is on his way to inspect a property he recently purchased in the Somerset countryside. All is well and good until Kate/Lady d’Allenay’s horse jumps a fence, nearly colliding with the handsome stranger. An ensuing fall  leaves Edward with a bout of amnesia. Feeling quite guilty about causing his injury, Kate insists the poor man recuperate at her estate.

The attraction between the characters explodes quickly . . . which I thoroughly enjoyed! But alas, as with any good romance, there must be some conflict. Just as Kate and Edward are generating enough steam to run a river boat down the Thames, enter her mother and ex-boyfriend – a man determined to win Kate back. Of course, Edward soon regains his memory further complicating the road to romance. The rest is a tangled but entertaining journey of two people discovering true love.

Sigh. This is not a mocking sigh, by any means. It’s a sigh of contentment because I’ve just read a wonderful book which satisfied my penchant for romance but was not so predictable that I lost interest. If you enjoy historical romance . . . or romance of any genre . . . you must read In Love With A Wicked Man. Or better yet, leave a comment and perhaps you can win your very own PRINT copy!!!

 

Book Description:

New York Times bestselling author Liz Carlyle has created a breathtaking new romance about a man without scruples and the lady who brings him to his knees.

What does it matter if Kate, Lady d’Allenay, has absolutely no marriage prospects?

She has a castle to tend, an estate to run, and a sister to watch over, which means she is never, ever reckless. Until an accident brings a handsome, virile stranger to Bellecombe Castle, and Kate finds herself tempted to surrender to her houseguest’s wicked kisses.

Disowned by his aristocratic family, Lord Edward Quartermaine has turned his gifted mind to ruthless survival. Feared and vilified as proprietor of London’s most notorious gaming salon, he now struggles to regain his memory, certain of only one thing: he wants all Kate is offering—and more.

But when Edward’s memory returns, he and Kate realize how much they have wagered on a scandalous passion that could be her ruin, but perhaps his salvation.
 

Excerpt:

Chapter 1

In Which Lady d’Allenay

Plans a House Party

1850

Somerset

 

Family lore had long held that when the ancient Barons d’Allenay were no more, the Kingdom of Great Britain would crumble. For better than five hundred years, an unbroken if often tangled line of these noble gentlemen had held control of the vast Somerset estates collectively known as Bellecombe, which had been the seat of the Barons d’Allenay since the time of Henry V.

But at long last, after the fortunes of the barony had waxed and waned a dozen times, there finally came the day when there was no Lord d’Allenay.

No one was less pleased by this unfortunate turn than Kate, Lady d’Allenay. But the kingdom did not, after all, crumble.

And the fortune? Regrettably, that was definitely on the wane—and all of Bellecombe with it. But Lady d’Allenay had never been without pragmatism. Indeed, from the earliest years of her girlhood, her grandfather, the thirteenth Baron d’Allenay, had been wont to pat her on the head and declare her the sensible one.

Indeed, she could hardly have been the beautiful one. That honorific had fallen to her late brother, Stephen. Certainly she was not the charming one, for her little sister, Nancy, had half the county’s male population eating from the palm of her hand. So all that was left to Lady d’Allenay, it seemed, was pragmatism. And from the age of eight, when she had realized that her frivolous parents were not to be relied upon, she’d striven to cultivate that dull virtue.

“—and do it pillowslip by bloody damned pillowslip!” she added through clenched teeth.

“Beg pardon, m’lady?” enquired a voice behind her.

“Never mind, Peppie,” Lady d’Allenay called back to her housekeeper. Then, with a clever twist, the baroness extracted herself from the depths of a massive linen press and presented Mrs. Peppin with a stack of fresh pillowslips. “New!” she declared triumphantly.

“Why, so they are!” Mrs. Peppin’s eyes widened.

“I had a dozen put back,” Lady d’Allenay confessed, “in anticipation of just such an emergency. The old ones we’ll mend. Remind the maids to set them darning side down when they make up all the guest rooms.”

“You always were such a sensible girl, miss,” said Mrs. Peppin, gazing lovingly upon the crisp fabric.

“And full of pragmatism,” added Lady d’Allenay rather too cheerfully.

But not beauty. Or wit. Or red-gold ringlets. Her housekeeper, however, had not seen new linen in a decade, and was awed into silence by its magnificence.

“Well, that’s sorted.” With a businesslike flip of her chatelaine, Lady d’Allenay checked the time on her watch. “I’m off to the new rectory shortly to inspect the construction.”

But Mrs. Peppin pointed through a nearby window. “There be a gurt black sky out, my lady.”

“Well, drat.” Kate glanced at the gathering storm. “Nancy’s taking tea at the rectory. Which means we can expect Mr. Burnham and his mother for dinner. He’ll doubtless drive Nancy home.”

“Oh, aye,” Mrs. Peppin said dryly. “An act of pure Christian charity, that.”

“Just warn Cook.” Kate turned to lock the press. “I’ll get busy mending for Mother’s visit. Oh, and do remind Fendershot to inventory the cellars. Aurélie’s friends do drink quite a shocking amount of wine.”

“A body can scarce count the bottles flying,” muttered the housekeeper.

“I do hope we don’t have to order more champagne,” Kate fretted, setting off down the passageway. “It’s so frightfully expensive—but Aurélie declares she cannot abide Italian vintages.”

“Oh, la, la, her delicate French blood!” Mrs. Peppin was not a devotee of Lady d’Allenay’s mother—or her friends.

“Per’aps you ought to tell Mrs. Wentworth we can ill afford to have them?”

“I did do last year, you’ll recall,” said Kate as they started down the sweeping staircase, “but this year . . . well, the thing is, Peppie, she’s found out about the glebe land.”

“My word! How?”

“Nancy probably wrote.” Kate shrugged. “And I’m sure Aurélie has concluded that if we’re building a new rectory and giving the Church acreage, Bellecombe must be a little flush.”

“I wish, miss, you didn’t have to call your own mother by her Christian name.”

Kate sighed. “But Mamma makes her feel old, Peppie. You know Aurélie requires pampering. It seems a small indulgence.”

Mrs. Peppin sighed. “How many is Mrs. Wentworth bringing for shooting season?”

“Just her usual.” Kate mentally counted. “There will be the Comte de Macey again, I daresay—”

“—if the French pox hasn’t carried him off,” muttered the housekeeper.

“Really, Peppie, you’re uncharitable,” said Kate smoothly. “Besides, the two of them are just old friends now. Aurélie’s current lover is a merchant banker, I believe.”

“And a rich one, too, I don’t doubt.”

Kate paused on the landing. “Yes, but if one must love, is it not better to love someone rich? That’s what I keep telling Nancy.”

“Little good that’s done,” said Mrs. Peppin. “Who else, then?”

“Her bosom beau Lady Julia. And—oh, yes!—a young gentleman. Sir Francis something-or-

other. I collect she thought he might flirt and sigh over Nancy, and thereby distract her.”

“Your mother’s wicked gentlemen friends generally expect a bit more of a lady than flirting and sighing.”

“Mrs. Peppin, you quite shock my virginal sensibilities.” Kate turned the next landing, and set off in a different direction from the housekeeper. “Well, I’m off to the parlor with this pile of tatty linen.”

“Hmm,” said the housekeeper. “Perhaps you ought to be off to tea with a handsome young man like your sister?”

But Kate marched on down the passageway, and pretended she didn’t hear.

About The Author:

Liz_CarlyleA lifelong Anglophile, Liz Carlyle started reading Gothic novels under the bed covers by flashlight. She is the author of sixteen historical romances, including several New York Times bestsellers. Liz travels incessantly, ever in search of the perfect setting for her next book. Along with her genuine romance-hero husband and four very fine felines, she makes her home in North Carolina.

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