Author Speed Dating – Lenora Bell

I love discovering new authors, so I wanted my blog to be a place where readers and my author pals could come together. Only we like to do this Speed-Dating style. Check out a new author and her work here every Wednesday, and if the spark is there, you’ll have a match. 

This week’s guest: Lenora Bell

 

 

15 Questions

1. If you had the chance for front-row tickets AND backstage passes with any band, past or present, which one would you be jamming with? Explain your choice.

Gillian Welch and Dave Rawlings – I’m an alt-country girl at heart and their music is so hauntingly poetic and heartfelt.

2. What is the one thing you wish someone else had told you before you published your first book?

Don’t sweat the Goodreads reviews. Seriously – I stopped reading them because my mood would swing with the good and the bad opinions. So I just stopped. I have enough critical voices in my own head.

3. Keith Urban or Adam Levine?

I steer more country than pop, though I do like a man with lots of tattoos, and I’ve been known to have the moves like Jagger while I’m vacuuming.

4. What are your go-to meals for the final week before deadline?

Um, meals? More like grabbing fistfuls of chips and chocolate and washing it all down with wine.

5. Give the title of the first manuscript (published or unpublished) you ever wrote. What was the story about?

I honestly can’t remember the title of my first manuscript, but here’s the elevator pitch: A bad boy opium trader falls for a missionary’s daughter in Victorian-era Shanghai.

6. Books by George Orwell or Kristin Hannah?

I’m going with Orwell. Very relevant for the uncertain times we live in.

7. At which time of day are you more productive as a writer, mornings or nights, and is caffeine a friend or foe?

I’m a night owl and my favorite time to write is after 10pm. Coffee is my BFF, the stronger the better.

8. Which WIZARD OF OZ character were you most like during your junior high years?

I’m going to have to go with Dorothy since I played her in a grade school production of the Wizard of Oz. My family dog, a miniature schnauzer named Pepper, portrayed Toto, to great critical acclaim.

9.  In addition to writing, what are your other outlets for your creativity?

My husband and I are musicians and we like to sing and play instruments together. We’re always hunting for country/rock/jazz/blues on vinyl, and our record collection is getting out of control.

10. What type of shopper are you: mall rat, online shopper, bargain sleuth, or none of the above?

I navigate every city I visit by the location of the thrift and vintage stores because I love hunting for treasures.

11. Have you ever experienced misgivings as an author, and, if so, what are some of the ways you’ve tried to keep those feelings at bay?

I experienced the dreaded second book syndrome. I felt like the book would never get written, would never be good enough, and I’d have to give up writing. I dedicated the book “To all the girls who doubt themselves” because that’s exactly what I was doing. What helped me get through that dark time was the advice of fellow authors who had been through it themselves, and the book BIG MAGIC by Elizabeth Gilbert.

12. Scandal or Pawn Stars?

Marvel’s The Defenders.

13. How many books have you published, and how many are still tucked in a drawer somewhere?

I’ve published a three-book series, and I have at least four half-finished books and two novellas languishing on my hard drive.

14. What was the most challenging revision you ever had to make in a manuscript?

Book two of my debut series was challenging all around. I had to completely rewrite it twice. Thank heavens my editor, Amanda Bergeron, was so very patient and brilliant. I never would have made it through without her.

15. Sure, it’s like picking a favorite child, but which one or two of your titles do you secretly love just a little more?

My debut novel featured a strong heroine who knew jujitsu and had a tattoo. Not your garden variety Regency heroine, and probably always my favorite.

***

Blame It on the Duke

By Lenora Bell

 

 

“What are you thinking about, Miss Tombs?” Lord Hatherly asked in a deep, sonorous voice that harbored a rumble of amusement.

Alice startled, blushing even harder. “Nothing. Nothing at all.” She struggled to calm her rapid breathing.

Regain your composure this instant, Alice Perpetua Felicity Tombs, she admonished sternly. You don’t want to bed him, you want to bedevil him. Inspire him to leave and never come back.

She was immune to his particular type of decadence. Well, wasn’t she? She risked a sideways glance. No one should have a jaw so chiseled or eyes so silver. It made her almost angry how handsome he was.

His appearance is the only agreeable thing about him, and he can’t take credit for what God gave him. Be rid of him quickly and thoroughly.

She must marshal her thoughts to order. Lead the charge. Hunt the hunter.

“Now then, Dimples,” he said. “Why don’t you tell me the real reason you don’t wish to marry.”

Had he just called her Dimples?

He was definitely going down in flames.

 

***

BLAME IT ON THE DUKE, Book #3 in the Disgraceful Dukes series and an April 2017 release from Avon Books, may be purchased through these and other retailers: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-A-Million and Harper Collins.

***

About Lenora

Lenora Bell grew up in a small Alaskan town by the ocean that still has no traffic lights or fast food. An English teacher with an MFA in Creative Writing, she travels the globe using music to bring smiles to classrooms. She currently lives in the Midwest with her carpenter husband and two naughty tiger-striped kitties. In 2014, she won the Romance Writers of America’s Golden Heart Award for Best Historical, and her first Regency romance was published by Avon Books in 2016. Stay in touch with Lenora through her website, www.lenorabell.com, or through these social-media channels: Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Author Speed Dating – Ruth Kaufman

I love discovering new authors, so I wanted my blog to be a place where readers and my author pals could come together. Only we like to do this Speed-Dating style. Check out a new author and her work here every Wednesday, and if the spark is there, you’ll have a match. 

This week’s guest: Ruth Kaufman

 

 

 

 

 

 

15 Questions

1. If Disney made an animated movie about you as Princess Ruth, which Disney hero would you choose as your Prince?

Princess Sparkle (because I love all things glittery and shiny!) would choose Prince Charming, because he’s, well, charming, and she’d love to live in a castle.

2. In which genres and subgenres have you been published, and what does your narrow or sweeping focus say about you?

I’ve published 4 Medievals (and a Medieval novella), but my next two will be humorous women’s fiction. The one after those should be a time travel to Elizabethan England with a paranormal hero. I hope writing in multiple genres and mixing genres says I’m creative with a lot of ideas and characters and that I love research.

3. Denzel Washington or Leonardo DiCaprio?

Definitely Denzel. He’s so talented and cool.

4. What is one of the biggest risks you’ve taken as a writer?

I released two versions of my first book, one with an “open bedroom door” that has the hero on the cover and one with a “closed bedroom door” that has the heroine on the cover. I’d hoped to interest readers who like some heat and those who prefer sweet. Unfortunately, the heroine’s book didn’t do very well.

5. If you could keep only the possessions that would fit in one suitcase, and you were limited to two books – one you wrote and one by someone else – which titles would you tuck inside your bag? Explain your choices.

I’d take FOLLOW YOUR HEART, my second book, because I love the characters and that the heroine is a stained-glass painter. And I’d take Margaret George’s THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF HENRY VIII because I couldn’t put it down and it’s very, very long.

6. How many rejections did you receive before you sold your first book, and what did you learn from them?

I received hundreds of rejections for more than 10 manuscripts and also at least a dozen revision letters from agents and editors before I self-published (meaning they were very interested in this or that project but wanted some changes before offering a contract). I learned that I wasn’t going to get the traditional publishing call I’d wanted, so I self-published.

7. For your social-media fix, do you prefer crazy cat videos or trivia quizzes on ’80s movies and Biblical characters?

None of the above. I’m also an actor, so if I’m going to spend time online in addition to following or contributing to my feeds, I’ll watch a web series or film someone I know is in or from someone I hope to work with.

8. Which character from one of your own books do you wish you were more like?

Annora of Amberley from my fourth book, MY ONCE & FUTURE LOVE. I appreciate her willingness to take risks, her determination and ability to remain mostly positive in the face of adversity. 

9. Perfect outfit: cowboy hat and boots or sundress and sandals?

Sundress and sandals.

10. Are you a pantser or a plotter in your writing, and have you always written this way, or have you changed methods throughout your career?

Pantser! And I give workshops about it. I read books about plotting and took workshops, and though I tried and tried, couldn’t get words on the page until I went back to pantsing.

11. What is your most ridiculous fear, and what have you done to challenge it?

I’m afraid of the dentist’s drill (my mom says it’s because when I was four, a dentist drilled with no Novocain). I force myself to go for a cleaning every time they send the reminder postcard because I’m more afraid of what might happen if I don’t.

12. What are some of the activities you’ve participated in, people you’ve interviewed or places you’ve visited to do research for one of your books?

For AT HIS COMMAND, I visited Castle Rising in England and made it the heroine’s home. And I took the picture of it that’s on the cover.

13. Name the strangest snack or food combination you love to eat when no one is watching.

Does everyone have a strange snack/combo except me? I love peanut butter and chocolate ice cream in general, and in particular Target’s Market Pantry version. I wish it came in a single-serve size because it’s so tempting….

14. Faith Hill or Lady Gaga?

Lady Gaga…amazingly talented.

15. In 10 words or less, give your best writing advice to aspiring authors.

Set weekly word goals and keep writing new pages.

***

 

 

At His Command

By Ruth Kaufman

 

 

 

Sir Nicholas Grey’s scout leaned forward in his saddle, holding up two fingers to let the others know two horses approached. Nicholas heard only the slight jangling of harnesses blended with wind rattling through the trees, but relied on his scout’s uncanny ability to hear what no one else could.

He and his eight men sat alert, deep enough in the forest to avoid being seen while maintaining a clear view of the road through leafless branches. Nine armed men could frighten travelers. ‘Twas best to let them pass.

Each man watched, each horse sinking deeper into chilling mire as a mud-covered, black palfrey plodded over the rise in the road, its long mane whipping in the frigid winds.

“No rider,” Martin, the scout, murmured.

“Look again,” Nicholas replied. At first he too had thought the horse was riderless. Now he could see a woman collapsed on the animal’s back. Her dark hair draped down its flank, mingling with the horse’s mane. The palfrey placed each step as if trying not to jostle its burden.

Another horse, this one a brown rouncey ridden by a thin, balding man, galloped after the palfrey. A look of triumph brightened the man’s face as he spotted the horse ahead of him. He bent forward, extending his hand. Fingers like talons grasped the woman’s tangled hair.

“Mine!” he cried.

Amice Winfield jerked awake. Agony forced her head back, allowing her to see the man who gripped her hair as though he’d perish if he let go.

Harry Winfield.

She screamed. Arrows of fear pierced her as she clawed at his fingers. Her horse bolted, leaving her dangling from Harry’s hand by a small clump of hair. The long strands held for a few seconds, then tore from her head.

Pain seared her scalp. She dropped into a puddle. Stunned by her fall and her stinging head, Amice could only stare at her tormentor while freezing water soaked her clothes. How she hated him. How she regretted her desperate flight from home. But what other choice did she have?

Harry gaped at the dark tresses hanging from his hand. He threw them to the ground as she struggled to rise. Panic gripped her as his hostile glare changed to a slow, confident smile.

“There’s nowhere to run. I’ll catch you if it’s the last thing I do,” he vowed. He leapt off his horse.

Amice tugged her sodden skirts, trying to haul them out of the puddle. Where was her mount? Too far away to reach without being caught, weighted down as she was. Sprays of water flew as she heaved her skirts over her arm. Heart racing, she ran for the trees. A branch snagged her. With a cry of frustration, she pulled the wet wool until it wrenched free.

Ignoring twigs tearing at her skin and icy mud that sucked away one of her shoes, she forged ahead. She gasped for air as she plunged into a tiny clearing, then came to an abrupt halt at the sight of a group of mounted men.

 

***

AT HIS COMMAND (Historical Romance Version), Wars of the Roses Brides Book 1, is available for purchase through Amazon.

 

***

About Ruth

Ruth Kaufman is the Amazon bestselling author of the Wars of the Roses Brides trilogy (AT HIS COMMAND, FOLLOW YOUR HEART and THE BRIDE TOURNAMENT) and MY ONCE AND FUTURE LOVE. Accolades include 2016 Booksellers Best Award Best Historical and Best First Book winner and Romance Writers of America® Golden Heart® award winner.

An actor, speaker and storyteller with an M.S. and J.D, Ruth has had roles in independent feature films, web series, pilots, national TV commercials and hundreds of voiceover projects. She enjoys living in Chicago and singing in a symphony chorus. Learn more at www.ruthkaufman.com, www.ruthtalks.com and her blog “Gainfully Unemployed” . Follow her through these social-media channels:  Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, her Amazon Author Page and Instagram @ruthjkchi.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Author Speed Dating – Victoria Craven

 

I love discovering new authors, so I wanted my blog to be a place where readers and my author pals could come together. Only we like to do this Speed-Dating style. Check out a new author and her work here every Wednesday, and if the spark is there, you’ll have a match.

This week’s guest: Victoria Craven

 

 

 

15 Questions

1. If a director made a movie about your life, which actress (living or dead) would you like to portray you, and which one would more likely be cast?

I would like to be portrayed by Renée Zellweger. She seems to understand chaos. If Madelyn Khan were still alive, I would more likely be portrayed by her as the drama queen.

2. What are some of the things that have changed in publishing since your first book was published?

The thing that has changed the most is social media. There is more exposure than ever, and if you’re not paying attention, you’re going to miss something.

3. Us Weekly or Newsweek?

Newsweek. I like the coverage of their stories.

4. As a reader, do you sneak a peek at the end of the book, or do you make yourself wait for answers until the very end?

I never, never take a peek at the end. Reading a book from beginning to end is part of a journey I take with the author.

5. Have you ever, even for a moment, forgotten that one of your characters was…you know…fictional?

I talk about my characters as though they are real. I give them a life of their own. They are very real to me. My family thinks I’m crazy. I don’t disagree with them.

6. In which genres and sub-genres are you published, and which others do you plan to add to the list in the next two years?

Currently, I’m published in paranormal, historical romance, but in the next two years I hope to be published in suspense.

7. Brad Pitt or David Beckham?

Brad Pitt he is aging beautifully. David Beckham is young enough to make me feel like Mrs. Robinson.

8. If we imagine that a reader has lived on a desert island and missed the opportunity to read one of your books, which title do you recommend that she order as soon as she returns to civilization?

The first book in my series, IMMORTAL LOVE.

9. Do you have a green thumb or black one, and, either way, how are you gearing up for spring planting season?

I have a black one. I have managed to kill everything I attempted to grow. Thank goodness I live in a condo.

10. When and how did you first decide you wanted to be an author?

I decided to be a writer when I got my first computer. There were blank pages calling to my imagination.

11. Antique Roadshow or Law & Order: SVU?

Antique Roadshow. I love the unexpected treasures people were hanging on to and had no idea what it was worth.

12. What is your favorite song of all time, and what do you do when it comes on the radio or when you stream it?

“Piano Man” by Billy Joel. Every time I hear it, I just have to sing.

13. What do you believe is your biggest strength as a writer, and what has been your approach to tackling some of your weaknesses?

My biggest strength is character development. I have to use an outline to tackle the events that get them from point A to point B.

14. Regarding board games, Scrabble or Left, Right, Center?

It has to be Left, Right, Center. I suck at Scrabble. It’s a shame to admit for a writer.

15. What is your biggest hope for a reader when she opens one of your books?

That they love the characters and their journey that brings them together.

***

 

Destiny’s Promise

By Victoria Craven

 

He carried Carina to her chambers and laid her limp body on the bed. She was growing cold. His mind reached out to listen to her heartbeat. It was slow but steady. He piled blankets on her and stirred up the embers in the hearth adding new logs.

He sat back down on the bed and rubbed her cold hands. “Come on Carina, wake up.” She was barely breathing. He shook her shoulders, “Come back to me, sweetheart.”

Kiera ran through the door. She looked at Carina on the bed. “What happened?”

“We were talking then all of a sudden she collapsed.”

“Let me see what I can do.” Kiera took Carina’s hands and closed her eyes. Soon color returned to her face and her breathing was more audible.

Eleanor and Arelia charged in. “What’s wrong,” Eleanor said.

“She collapsed.”

Arelia placed her hand on Carina’s head. “She’s coming out of it.”

Fury burned inside of him. The table began to shake. Eleanor turned to him. “You better get out of here before you hurt someone.”

“That’s exactly what I plan to do.” He ran out of the room and headed for the stairs. He took them two at a time, then out of the Great Hall and headed toward the Golden Goblet. He could feel the energy building inside him, and his fingertips tingled.

When he first walked in he didn’t see Disa, but felt her presence. He crashed through her chamber door. To his satisfaction she jumped. He heard her two henchmen running up the stairs and he sent a bolt of energy, knocking them end over end. To his satisfaction she looked worried, but soon covered it up with a smug expression.

“Why, my Lord to what do I owe the pleasure.”

“I want you to stop doing what you’re doing to Carina.”

“Like I said. No.”

She said it with such finality, his temper flared, shattering the mirror on the wall. “Don’t test me, Disa.”

“Oh, please, what are you going to do, make it rain?”

He opened his palm and summoned a lightning ball. Then he opened his other palm and summoned another. Disa had barely enough time to throw up a protection spell before the lightning splintered toward her, yet her spell wasn’t strong enough and it began to crack. She threw another one to reinforce it.

Another bolt hit her wall and it began to crack again. With one final push of energy he’d broken through and her protection spell shattered, blowing her back on the bed.

He closed his fists and walked over to her. His face merely inches from hers. “Leave now,” he said with a deadly growl, “or so help me God, I will make you suffer.” Then stormed out of the room.

***

 

DESTINY’S PROMISE, Book 3 in the Love Conquers All series, is a March 7, 2017, release from Tell-Tale Publishing. It may be purchased from Amazon.

***

About Victoria

Victoria Craven was born to tell stories. Throughout her childhood she was a daydreamer. Growing up, she told the most outrageous tales to her friends that got her in trouble now and then. She escaped the mundane to live in her fantasies: She was a mermaid, a princess, a spy, and an explorer trekking across the tundra in Antarctica. Even as an adult, she saved just a little part of herself to drift into her dream world.

Then one day she said to herself, “I’m going to write a book,” and that’s what she did. She had no idea what it took to be a writer, thinking all you had to do was add some words and ideas to a page and poof, a book, and every word was golden. What a rude awakening when her writer friends took her into the light and showed her just how much she had to learn. That process is still going on today!

Victoria has published the first three books in a historical paranormal series, Love Conquers All.

Currently, she resides in the Grand Rapids, Michigan, area with her wonderful husband, who spoils her rotten. And from time to time is her critique buddy.  She is the mother of three beautiful daughters and grandmother to four wonderful grandchildren.

When she isn’t writing, she doting on her grandchildren, curled up on the couch with her husband, or having a sleepover with her best friends.

And she still saves just a little bit of her life for those daydreams.

Stay in contact with Victoria through her website, www.victoriacraven.com, or connect with her through Facebook and Twitter.

 

 

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Author Speed Dating – Rosanne Bittner

Author Speed Dating(1)

I love discovering new authors, so I wanted my blog to be a place where readers and my author pals could come together. Only we like to do this Speed-Dating style. Check out a new author and her work here every Wednesday, and if the spark is there, you’ll have a match.

This week’s guest: Rosanne Bittner

Rosanne pic

 HISTORICAL ROMANCE

 

15 Questions

1. If you were to make an appearance at Comic-Con, which Superhero costume would you be rocking?

Sorry, but I watch very, very little TV.  I don’t know what Comic-Con is, but if I wore a superhero costume (actually I hate dressing up in costumes and never do it – ever) – but if I had to, I would probably be Catwoman.

2. At which time of day are you more productive as a writer, mornings or nights, and is caffeine a friend or foe?

I am most productive in the wee hours of the morning – like 1 a.m. to 4 a.m. Caffeine is my best friend. I probably drink too much coffee. I am not a heavy sleeper and never have been. Four to five hours is enough for me, and I’m always up by 5 or 6 a.m. even if I go to bed at 4 a.m. At 72, I have too many things I want to do in this life and too many books I still want to write to waste my time sleeping.

3. George Clooney or Bradley Cooper?

Bradley Cooper in a New York minute.  He’s gorgeous, and he seems like an ordinary man.  And his acting in American Sniper was phenomenal.

4. What is your biggest dream as an author?

My biggest dream as an author has already been realized – to actually make a living writing and to write many, many books.  I’m up to #65. My only other dream would be to have a movie made out of one of my books.

5. Name a movie you’ve watched countless times but one you’ll still tune in to whenever it’s on cable.

Oh, my gosh, there is more than one movie I watch over and over and never get tired of it. The Shootist is one, for so many reasons.  It was John Wayne’s last movie, and just like the character, he, too, was dying of cancer.  And it reminds me of how my outlaw character would want to die if he knew he was already dying.  Jake Harkner would have to go down with guns blazing. I always ball my eyes out at the end of The Shootist. How very fitting it was for John Wayne.  I also love Pale Rider with Clint Eastwood, and The Big Country with Gregory Peck – and my favorite comedy would have to be Rat Race.  I laugh ’til I cry.  I could name so many more, probably at least 25.

6. How many books have you published and in how many genres and sub-genres?

My one and only genre is historical romance – I love, love, love American history and the magnificent western landscape.  My Christmas story coming in October will be book #65, and I have many more I want to write.

7. Love It or List It or Modern Family?

Again – I don’t watch TV.  I don’t know what Love It or List It is.  I have seen some episodes of Modern Family and I loved it, so I’d have to say Modern Family.

8. What is your favorite way to celebrate after you receive a new book contract or get a great review?

My favorite way to celebrate after signing a new contract?  I sit down and start writing. By the time I sign the contract, the book it is for is usually already half written, and I’m relieved it’s truly a done deal because I love every story I write and am always thrilled it will finally be published. I “live” in my stories, and my greatest pleasure is being with my characters as I write. I’m not outwardly effusive, and I don’t drink, so I just get busy writing.

9. What is your best advice for new writers?

My best advice for new writers – WRITE WHAT YOU LOVE!!!  DO NOT WRITE FOR THE MARKET.  And if you are a born writer, you will never struggle with ideas and you will never look at writing as work … and you will never come up with excuses as to why you don’t have time to write.

10. Extra-large French fries or a perfect square of dark chocolate?

A perfect square of dark, dark chocolate – at least 75% cacao.

11. Which of your books gave you the most trouble, and what helped you make it to “the end”?

I never have trouble finishing a book.  I start a story (no outline) and just let things happen. It almost always works out. I guess if I had to pick one that gave me trouble it would be WHERE HEAVEN BEGINS because the hero had to have a redeeming moment that turned his life around at the end of the book. (It was an inspirational story.)  All the way through the story I had no idea what that redeeming moment would be or how it would happen. I just trusted that it would come to me when I reached that point, and it did. God was guiding me.

12. Do you have a music playlist for writing? If so, list some of your go-to artists.

Oh, yes, I definitely have a music playlist.  Too many artists and themes to list.  It depends on how I picture the characters and what the theme of the story is.  I have several albums (in my iPhone of course) from the great westerns of the past, and I listen to those a lot. I sit at the computer with earphones on to drown out the TV while I write – or, of course, I write deep in the night when it’s nice and quiet.  My favorite would have to be the theme from The Big Country.

13. Virginia Woolf or Maya Angelou?

Actually, neither one.

14. What do you do when you’re in the middle of a book and a new idea pops into your head?

If a new idea for another story pops into my head while I’m working on a book, I simply create a new document and record the idea so I don’t lose it.  Sometimes I even give it a title. Believe me, this happens a lot. I have trouble shutting off my brain. New ideas just keep coming. And, by the way, I never start a book without a title. For some reason, I have to settle on a title before I can write the story.

15. Were there other authors who helped you along the way on your writer’s journey, and how did they make a difference for you?

I need no inspiration from other authors to sit down and write – and when I started writing back in 1979, I didn’t know any other authors. I wrote about 12 books before I even met another published author.  There were no writers’ groups like Romance Writers of America – no help or guidance of any kind. I wrote on a manual typewriter and just picked out publishers who published the kind of books I wrote and started sending out my manuscripts. I had probably at least 70 rejections and had written 9 books before I finally sold one. It was that 9th book that sold, and the publisher asked if I could turn it into a series of 4 books and I said “yes” with absolutely no idea what I would do. It ended up becoming my 7-book Savage Destiny series, which to this day are still my best-selling books even though they are over 30 years old!!

 

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LOVE'S SWEET REVENGE COVER

 

 

 

Love’s Sweet Revenge

By Rosanne Bittner

 

[Note: Here Jake is all man and “there” for his wife.  This has nothing to do with sex.  This is a very serious moment, as something terrible has happened to Randy and Jake needs to be strong for her.  Most of their married life it’s been Randy who is strong for Jake because he is an emotionally unstable man who is often visited by his dark past and lives on the edge of sanity and insanity because of his incredibly cruel childhood.  Now Randy needs him in a way she’s never needed him before, and he has to stay right with her on this and see her through it.  Jake loves this woman so much that he rises above his own needs to be the strong, supportive husband she needs right now.]

He held her tighter.  “Who do you belong to?”

She jerked in a sob.  “I don’t know.”

“Yes, you do,” he said softly.  “Say it.”

She hugged him tighter around the neck.  “You.”

“Say my name, Randy. Who do you belong to?”

She curled so tightly against him it was as though she wanted to crawl inside him.  “Jake Harkner,” she whispered.

“You bet. Nothing has changed that, and nothing ever will.”

“Tell me you’re not in trouble, Jake.”

“I’m not in trouble.”

“You won’t go away?”

“Never.”

“No one is coming to get you?”

“No one’s coming to get me.”

“I was always scared you’d … never come back … back in Oklahoma.  Don’t take that job, Jake … that ranger job.  I don’t want you to go away.”

“I’m not going anywhere.

“Don’t let go.  I love … being in your arms.

“And that’s where you are right now.”

“I knew you’d come.”

“I’d walk through the fires of hell for you.”

***

LOVE’S SWEET REVENGE, published by Sourcebooks Casablanca, may be purchased from these and other retailers: Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Books-A-Million.

 

***

About Rosanne

USA TODAY best-seller Rosanne Bittner has been writing almost 40 years.  SWEET PRAIRIE PASSION, her very first book, was published in 1982.  That was 66 books ago, and she promises more to come!  Rosanne’s first love is American history, especially the Old West and Native Americans.  In March, 2017, a new Native American romance by Rosanne, CAPTURE MY HEART, will be published in print and e-book by Amazon. Rosanne writes well-researched books that have won numerous awards, including the prestigious WILLA award from Women Writing the West. She was named ”Queen of Western Romance,” by Romantic Times Reviews, who nominated her second “Outlaw” book, DO NOT FORSAKE ME, for “Best Western Romance for 2015”.  Nearly all of her novels have garnered great reviews by Publishers Weekly.

Rosanne belongs to several writers’ groups and historical societies.  She and her husband, Larry, have been married almost 51 years.  Together they have traveled the west for over 40 years, mostly for research for Rosanne’s stories.  Her newest novel, LOVE’S SWEET REVENGE, is the third book in her acclaimed “Outlaw” series, with a fourth book coming in September, 2017, THE LAST OUTLAW. In October, her Christmas story, “A Chick-A-Dee Christmas,” was published in an anthology called CHRISTMAS IN A COWBOY’S ARMS.

Learn more about Rosanne through her website, www.rosannebittner.com, and blog, www.rosannebittner.blogspot.com, and stay in touch with her by email or through these social media channels: Facebook, Goodreads and Twitter.

 

 

 

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Author Speed Dating – Alyssa Alexander

Author Speed Dating(1)

I love discovering new authors, so I wanted my blog to be a place where readers and my author pals could come together. Only we like to do this Speed-Dating style. Check out a new author and her work here every Wednesday, and if the spark is there, you’ll have a match.

This week’s guest: Alyssa Alexander

 

Alyssa Alexander Seated

 HISTORICAL ROMANCE

15 Questions

1.Which character in “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” is your favorite, and what does that say about you?

The Abominable Snowman, Bumble. Poor thing has no teeth at the end, but he does the whole lemon out of lemonade thing and is quite happy when all is said and done…Who knows what says about me! LOL!

2. What are some of things you do to work your way through a plot problem?

Shower. Meditate. Wine. Hash it out with CPs. Wash dishes (this seems to work best!)

3. Name your favorite author who writes in a genre that you never write.

Tough one. Um…I don’t know!

4. Cherry cordials or candy canes?

Candy canes. Because yuk on cherry cordials. *shudder*

5. How many full manuscripts did you have to write before you were first published?

Trick question! 6 full drafts of one manuscript in 6 years, but it was a full rewrite each time so it was like 6 books. The “second” book, I cut out 100 pages at one point and did serious rewrites—probably the equivalent to 2 books. So, technically, 2 books, but in reality, 8 books. And, are you confused yet?

6. In 10 words or less, give your best tip for aspiring authors.

Write. Dream. Write. Ignore inner critic. Write. Trust Yourself. Write. Find good CPs. Write some more.  [Editor’s Note: That’s 10 plus some bonus words. :)]

7. Lifetime Christmas movies. Yea or nay?

Yea!

8. What was the lowest point in your writing career, and how did you recover from it?

I’ve had a few low points for different reasons—but the recovery is always the same. Keep on keeping on. BICHOK. Bottom In Chair, Hands On Keyboard. Fight for what I want! I’ve had people tell me I couldn’t do be an author for various reasons—I’ve never believed. Or, at least, not for long. 🙂

9. Are you traditionally published, self-published or a “hybrid” author, and why did you choose that path?

Traditional, mostly because I worked full-time and didn’t want to figure out how to go it alone!

10. “O Holy Night” (Josh Groban version) or “White Christmas” (Bing Crosby version)?

“O Holy Night”, ANY version. Though I might have crush on Bing’s voice.

 11. Which character from one of your own books do you wish you were more like?

Tough one. Grace, because she’s got a steady coolness I can’t dredge up. I’m much more like Lilias from In Bed With A Spy, or Vivienne from my upcoming release from Entangled—they don’t hesitate to kick a$$. I have a temper! Usually well buried, but when it comes out…whoo boy. Run. But Grace has something softer about her that I wish I could find in myself.

12. What is your strategy for writing over the holidays?

Same as always… BICHOK. It’s actually easier to write over the holidays because I have more free time!

13. Of all the delightful treats available during the holiday season, which one would you prefer to hide in a closet so you don’t have to share it with anyone?

Do they serve potato chips at the holidays? Because I’ve actually hidden in my pantry so I could eat cheddar and sour cream chips and not have to share. I might have also been in recovery after a Terrible Twos tantrum.

14. Do you belong to a critique group, and how has that membership affected your writing?

Not a formal critique group, but a few friends who trade manuscripts back and forth…It’s been invaluable. Absolutely invaluable. We were at the same points of our career, which meant we discussed craft, too, and though I still have so much to learn, I wouldn’t know what I do know without them!

15. What is your usual New Year’s Resolution, and how quickly do you usually break it?

Lose weight, naturally! Some years I do, some years I don’t. But I recently decided not to make that resolution. My 2017 resolutions are: Be happy. Be healthy. Be strong. Love on my family. Forgive myself for mistakes, but always persevere. Go to the gym not because I want to lose weight, but because I want to be a healthier version of me…I think that about covers it!

***

AlyssaAlexander_book

In Bed With a Spy

By Alyssa Alexander

 

It didn’t seem possible a person could be abducted from a London townhouse in the middle of a crowded ball. But it had happened.

Now here she was, sitting in Angelstone’s carriage, with the faint glow of the lamps highlighting his inflexible jaw and cutting cheekbones. All lean legs and broad shoulders, he filled the vehicle’s interior. In the partial light, with his unreadable gaze and his unruly queue of hair, he looked much more dangerous than a fallen angel.

“Angelstone.”

“Mrs. Fairchild.” The words were clipped. No seductive purr, no sensual smile from those lips. Lips that had kissed her senseless and reminded her she was a woman with needs and desires. Even now, she could she taste him. Rich brandy and wild heat.

Embarrassment washed through her. She’d been forward and shameless, and look where she found herself. Hands bound and trapped in a man’s carriage, destined for parts unknown and heaven knew what treatment.

“I demand to be released.”

“No.”

“Why am I here?” she fired back.

“I think you are quite aware.” He watched her steadily as he pulled off first one glove, then the other and stuffed them in his pocket. It was an unpardonably rude gesture for a gentleman. Obviously, he was not a gentleman.

He was close enough she could kick him. But she wouldn’t be able to open the carriage door quickly with her hands bound. And he had the medallion. The final gift from her husband, one he gave her with his last breath.

She refused to leave without it.

“The medallion is mine,” she said.

“Is it? Interesting.” The conversational tone of his words was oddly frightening. “Well, now the medallion is mine.” Propping his elbows on his knees, he leaned forward. He filled the space between them until his face was only a foot from hers.

The instinct to shrink into the seat was overwhelming.

So she leaned forward to meet him. And smiled. Slowly. “Give me”—she angled her head insolently—“the medallion.”

 

***

In Bed With a Spy may be purchased from these retailers: AmazonBarnes & Noble and Books-A-Million.

 

 

***

About Alyssa

Alyssa Alexander is an award-winning author who survives the cold Michigan winters by penning romance novels that always include a bit of adventure. Her debut release, The Smuggler Wore Silk, was awarded 4.5 Stars and Top Pick by Romantic Times and nominated for the RT 2014 Best First Historical and the 2015 Best First Book RITA. Her second book, In Bed With a Spy received a Starred Review from Publishers Weekly and 4.5 Stars and Top Pick from Romantic times. She has been called a “talented newcomer” and “a rising star you won’t want to miss.”

Connect with Alyssa through her website at www.alyssa-alexander.com or through these social media channels: Facebook, Goodreads, Pinterest and Twitter.

 

 

 

 

 

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Author Speed Dating – Gina Conkle

Author Speed Dating(1)

I love discovering new authors, so I wanted to my blog to be a place where readers and my author pals could come together. Only we like to do this Speed-Dating style. Check out a new author and her work here every Wednesday, and if the spark is there, you’ll have a match.

This week’s guest: Gina Conkle

 

Gina Conkle pic

Historical

15 Questions

1. If you were a My Little Pony character, what image would be tattooed on your butt?

A heart with a banner reading “sweet” across the middle.

2. What was genre of the first piece you can remember writing, and how old were you when you penned this masterpiece?

A dystopian story titled “The Girl Who Stopped World War III.” I was in 5th grade.

3. Since all of November authors are Americans, name some dishes that are must-haves for your Thanksgiving dinner.

Mashed potatoes, pies (peach, Dutch apple, and pecan).

4. If you could write a novel containing any generally “off-limits” element, what would we find in your story?

This is too funny! I’m putting the finishing touches on my “off-limits” story (The Proper Care and Feeding of a Broken Heart). A few months ago I gave myself permission to write this no-holds barred contemporary romance with profanity and off-the-charts sex. It releases in December, part of a “Kissables” series.

5.  Project Runway or Designated Survivor?

 Neither. Except for Fixer Upper‘ and Flip or Flop, I avoid reality TV.

6. Is social media a bad habit for you, and, if so, what is your favorite time drain?

Oh time suck, thy name is Pinterest!

7. With no money limit, if you could construct the most perfect writing space, what would it look like?

Big windows. A fireplace. Built in shelves. A comfy couch.

8. Sushi or pepperoni pizza with extra cheese?

Sushi.

9. What book are you reading right now, and what is the best book you’ve read in a long time?

Reading now: Warrior by Nicole Jordan (a throwback to the ’90s) and The Master by Kresley Cole. Dream of Me by Josie Litton is best book.

10. How many full and partial manuscripts remain in your never-published collection?

1) First few chapters of French Scribe. 2) A partial manuscript of Secrets in Amber, a Viking romance started in 2012 and has only this year gone out on submission (so far no takers). 3) A hot and steamy contemporary novella, “Anything But Safe”, that I entered in an erotic contest years ago – it came in 3rd and I shelved it. I swore ABS would never see the light of day. Now, it’ll be part of the Kissables duology releasing in December.

11. Bob Dylan or Dylan Thomas?

Bob Dylan (I saw him in concert in Santa Barbara).

12. Name your favorite hero or heroine from one of your books, and share what made that character special.

I love Cyrus Ryland from The Lady Meets Her Match. He tried to fit into Society, but he was big and out of place, a commoner who eventually saw through ulterior motives.

13. Who was the first person – besides your mom and dad –   who told you that you could write?

Mrs. Miller, my 5th grade teacher.

14. Dogs or cats? Pedigree or mutts?

Dogs. Rescue mutts.

15. What is your favorite point while you are writing a new story?

I love when characters reveal deeper story issues. No matter how hard you try to plot those moments, characters are like friends who share themselves on their own sweet time.

***

GinaConkle_ToFindAVikingTreasure_HR 1A

To Find a Viking Treasure

By Gina Conkle

 

 

Brandr sliced the oars through water…back and forth, his body’s motion hypnotic and smooth. “Go ahead. Talk to me.”

The Viking could be a mystical warrior dressed in black against waning fog, his graveled voice working a kind of silken magic. Sun shined through clouds, the pearled orb anointing his head. Perhaps Odin did send Brandr to save the day.

Wraiths rose up from the channel as if to push them along. Did the Norse gods want them to succeed? She didn’t believe in Odin and his Valkyries, but the stories Vikings spun at night entranced her.

“You could tell me what you’ll do with your reward,” she said.

He snorted. “I said you could talk to me. Not the other way around.”

“That’s not how it works. People take turns talking and listening to each other. It’s called conversation.” She angled her head coyly. “Vikings can do it. I’ve seen it happen.”

Brandr squinted at tree tops rising above the mist. “Never been much for talk.”

“Your mouth never stops when trading jibes with me.”

His chuckle was raspy and low. “You have a way of loosening my tongue.”

To her shame, his laugh cut a scorching path through her body and her legs fell open under her skirts. Her knees were heavy, and she left them open.

“You’re a warrior long in service to Lord Hakan. Surely you’ll get a bigger reward than a handful of coins?”

His tarnished silver eyes pinned her. “Maybe I get you.”

***

To Find a Viking Treasure may be purchased through these online retailers: Amazon   |  B&N  | Kobo  |  iBooks   |  GooglePlay.

 

***

About Gina

Hi, I’m Gina Conkle, writer of Viking and Georgian romance. I grew up in southern California, and despite all that sunshine, I love books over beaches and stone castles over sand castles. Now my family, which includes my favorite alpha male, Brian, and our two sons, live in Michigan where I dabble in gardening (I grow organic tulips) and try my hand at cooking (which meant feeding Viking recipes to my family this last summer). If you’re looking for free guilty reads, check out my newsletter.

Website  |  Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Pinterest

 

 

 

 

 

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Author Speed Dating: Eileen Dreyer

Author Speed Dating(1)

If there’s one thing I enjoy almost as much as writing books, it’s READING books. I love discovering new authors, too. So I thought my blog would be a perfect place to introduce my authors friends to potential new readers. Only to give it a twist, we’re doing this Speed-Dating style. Check out a new author here every Wednesday, and if the spark is there, you’ll have a match. The clock is ticking. Ready! Set! Go!

This week’s guest: Eileen Dreyer

Eileen Dreyer pic

 

Historical Romance2

 

15 Questions

1. Which Scooby Doo character best describes you in high school?

I’d love to say I was Velma. Truth was I was more klutzy Daphne.Although I can’t imagine waiting for somebody else to save me.

2. How many rejections did you receive before you sold your first book?

Let’s put it this way. I threatened to wallpaper my bathroom.

3. Bon Jovi or Tim McGraw?

Bon Jovi. Rock’n’roll, baby!!

4. In which genres and sub-genres have you been published, and what does your narrow or sweeping focus say about you?

As Eileen Dreyer and my evil twin Kathleen Korbel–medical suspense, romantic suspense, contemporary romance, paranormal, historical romantic adventure. It says that I’m an old trauma nurse. We bore easily.

5. When you give into a craving for fast food, what’s your drive-thru destination, and what would be found in your bag?

Steak ‘n Shake–Steakburger with everything, fries, Diet Coke (although I just had my first In-N-Out Burger, and I could be swayed).

6. Which is your preference to write: love scenes or murder scenes?

Murder scenes. You can murder people a million ways, but love scenes comes down to Slot A and Tab B. And as much as  I love it, emotion is much harder to write.

7. Jane Austen or Stephen King?

Jane Austen. King scary.

8. What is your best advice to a writer who has just received a rejection?

Congratulations. You’re now a real author. Now sit down and get back to work. Often the difference between published and not is the inability to hear the word no.

9. Are you more dangerous in a bookstore or a shoe store?

Have you seen my shoes? Bookstore, obviously.

10. Which heroine from one of your books is most like you?

Probably Lady Kate Seaton from Always A Temptress (without the dysfunctional family-my dad wants people to know that). I’m kind of a snot, and I love to outrage people when I can.

11. The Bachelor or Sons of Anarchy?

Sons of Anarchy. Give me story over schlock.

12. What is the first thing you do when you finish a book?

Clean my office. It gets pretty awful in there when I’m on deadline. Keep thinking I’ll find the Lindbergh baby.

13. Name one thing you wish you could change about yourself.

I do wish I could get my ADD more under control. It would be so nice to be able to write without deadline….squirrel!!

14. Does your perfect vacation involve high-altitude and the word “jump” or umbrella drinks at poolside?

I’m probably going with “jump.” I love experiences. I can drink by any pool.

15.  Sure, it’s like picking a favorite child, but which one or two of your titles do you secretly love just a little more?

One Kathleen Korbel Silhouette, A Rose for Maggie (going back up soon), and my first Eileen Dreyer historical romance, Barely a Lady .

 

***

Eileen book

 

    Once a Rake

By Eileen Dreyer

 

There were six riders in all, four of them dressed in the motley remnants of their old regiments. Foot soldiers, by the way they rode. Not very good ones, if the company they kept was any indication. Ragged, scruffy and slouching, rifles slung over their shoulders and knives in their boots.

Sarah might have dismissed them as unimportant if they had been led by anyone but her husband’s cousin, Martin Clarke. She knew better than to think Martin wished her well. Martin wished her to the devil, just as she wished him. A thin, middling man with sparse sandy hair and bulging eyes, he had the harried, petulant air of an ineffectual law clerk.  Sarah knew better. Martin was as ineffectual as the tides.

Just as Sarah knew he would, he trotted right past the great front door and toward the outbuildings where he knew he’d find her at this time of day. She stood where she was, egg pail in hand, striving for calm. Martin was appearing far too frequently lately.

“Martin,” she greeted him quietly as he pulled his horse to a skidding halt within feet of her. She felt sorry for the horse, a short-boned bay that bore the scars of Martin’s spurs.

“Sarah,” Martin said in a curiously deep voice.

He did not bow or tip his hat. Martin knew exactly what she was due and wasn’t about to let her forget it.

“Lady Clarke,” the sixth man said in his booming, jovial voice.

Sarah’s smile was genuine for the Squire, who sat at Martin’s left on an ungainly-looking sorrel mare. “Squire,” she said, then walked up to rub the horse’s nose. “You’ve brought our Maizie to call, have you? How are you, my pretty?”

Pretty was not really a word one should use for Maizie. As sturdy as a stone house, she was all of seventeen hands, with a Roman head and a shambling gait. She was also the best hunter in the district, and of a size to carry Squire’s massive girth.

Maizie’s arrival was met by a thud and a long, mournful squeal from the pig pen.

The squire laughed with his whole body. “Still in love, is he?”

Sarah grinned back. “Caught him not an hour ago trying to sneak over for a tryst.”

The squire chuckled. “It’s good someone loves my girl,” he said with an affectionate smack to the horse’s neck. Maizie nuzzled Sarah’s apron and was rewarded with an old fall apple. Willoughby sounded as if he were dying from anguish.

“To what do I owe the honor, gentlemen?” Sarah asked, wishing she had at least had the chance to tidy her hair before facing off with her cousin by marriage. She hated feeling at a disadvantage.

“Have you seen any strangers around?” Martin asked, leaning forward. “There’s been some theft and vandalism in the area. Stolen chickens and the like.”

“Oh, that,” Sarah said with a wave of her hand. “Of course. He’s taken my eggs.”

Martin almost came off his horse. “Who?”

Shading her eyes with her hand, Sarah smiled up at him. “Who? Don’t you mean what? Unless you name your foxes.”

That obviously hadn’t been the answer he was looking for. “Fox? Bah! I’m talking about a man. Probably one of those damned thievin’ soldiers preying on good people.”

Did he truly not notice how his own men scowled at him? Men who undoubtedly had been wandering the roads themselves? Well, Sarah thought, if she’d had any intention of acknowledging her surprise visitor, Martin’s words disabused her of the notion. She wouldn’t trust Napoleon himself to her cousin’s care.

“Not unless your soldier has four feet and had a long bushy tail,” she said, genially. “But I don’t think he would meet the height requirements for the army.”

The squire, still patting his Maizie, let out a great guffaw. “We’ll get your fox for you, Lady Clarke,” he promised. “Not great hunt country here. But we do. We do.”

“Kind of you, squire. I’m sure the girls will be grateful. You know how fatched Mary and Martha can get.”

“Martha….” Martin was getting redder by the minute. “Why haven’t I heard about this? You boarding people here? What would Boswell say?”

Sarah tilted her head. She knew better, but she couldn’t help gigging Martin. He was just so disagreeable. “I imagine he’d say that he was glad for the eggs every morning for breakfast, Martin.”

For a second she thought Martin might have a seizure, right there on his gelding. “You’re not going to get away with abusing your privilege much longer, missy,” he snapped. “This land is….”

“Boswell’s,” she said flatly. “Not yours until we know he won’t come back.”
“Bah!” Martin huffed. “It’s been almost fourth months, girl. If he was coming back, he’d be here.”

Sarah stood very still, praying that none of them caught the sudden tension in her shoulders. Instinctively her gaze wandered over to what they had taken to calling Boswell’s Arbor, a little sitting area by the cliff with a lovely view of the ocean. Boswell had loved sitting there. His roses, though, were dying.

“He will be back, Martin,” she said, throwing as much conviction as she could into her voice. “You’ll see.Men are returning all the time from Belgium. The battle was so terrible it will be months yet before we learn the final toll from Waterloo.”

“You’re only putting off the inevitable, girl. And wasting my time.”

It was the Squire who brought their attention back with a sharp ‘harrumph’.

For the first time, Sarah blushed. “My apologies, Squire,” she said. “You didn’t come here to be annoyed by our petty grievances. As for your question, Cousin Martin, no. I have seen no one here.”

“Big man,” Squire said. “Red hair.”

She was already shaking her head. After all, she hadn’t seen anything but a shadow.

“I’m sure you won’t mind if we search the property,” Martin challenged.

He was already dismounting his horse. Pretending that the action didn’t set her heart stumbling all over again, Sarah smiled. “Of course not. Start with the house. I’m sure the dowager will be just as delighted to see you as the last time you surprised her.”

Martin was already on the ground and heading toward the stables. With Sarah’s words, he stopped cold. Sarah refused to smile. She didn’t need to incite him further. It was a good thing, though, that he couldn’t hear her heart or sense how sick she suddenly felt at the thought of him searching the property.

“Just the outbuildings,” he amended, motioning to the men, who followed suit.

Sarah was a heartbeat shy of protesting when she heard it. Willoughby. The thudding turned into a great crash and the heartfelt squeals turned into a near-scream of triumph. She turned just in time to jump free as the pig came galloping across the yard, six hundred pounds of unrestrained passion headed straight for Squire’s horse.

Unfortunately, Martin was standing between Willoughby and his own true love. And Sarah sincerely doubted that the pig could see the man in his headlong dash to bliss.

Sarah called out a warning. Martin stood frozen on the spot, as if staring down the spectre of death. Howling with laughter, the Squire swung Maizie about.

It was all over in a moment. Squire leapt from Maizie and gave her a good crack on the rump. With a flirtatious toss of the head and a whinny, the mare took off down the lane, Willoubhby in hot pursuit.

But not before the boar had run right over Martin, leaving him flat in the mud with hoofprints marching straight up his best robin’s egg superfine and white linen. Sarah tried so hard not to laugh. The other men weren’t so restrained, slapping legs and laughing at the man who’d brought them as they charged down the lane after the pig.

Sarah knew that she was a Christian, because she bent to help Boswell’s unpleasant relation off the ground. “Are you all right, cousin?”

Bent over and clutching his ribs, Martin yanked his arm out of her grasp. “You’ll pay for this, you little…”

The Squire frowned. “Language, sir. Ladies.”

Martin waved him off as well. “This is no lady. You know it perfectly well. Why my cousin demeaned himself to marry her…”

“Is no bread and butter of ours,” the Squire snapped, casting a contemplative eye in the direction Willoughby had taken, as if considering once again setting him on Martin. “Apologize to the lady, Clarke, or I’ll know why. And then let us leave her to her work. We certainly haven’t made her day any easier.”

Martin huffed, but he complied. He was still brushing off his once-pristine attire when the soldiers, bantering like children on a picnic, returned brandishing Willoughby’s lead, the pig following disconsolately behind. With a smile for the ragged soldier who’d caught her pig, Sarah held her hand out for the rope.

“Thank you, Mr…”

The man, lean and lined from sun and hardship, ducked his head. “Wilms, ma’am. Pleasure. Put up a good fight, ‘e did.”

She chuckled. “I know all too well, Mr. Wilms.” Turning, she held her hand out. “Thank you, sir. Squire. I’m so sorry you had to send Maizie off.”

The squire grinned at her, showing his gap teeth and twinkling blue eyes. “Aw, she’ll be at the bottom of the lane, right enough. She knows to get out of yon pig’s way.”

Tipping his low-brimmed hat to Sarah, he turned to help Martin to his horse.Sarah waved farewell and tugged a despondent Willoughby back to his pen. She was just pulling the third knot tight when she caught sight of that shadow again, this time on her side of the coop. Casting a quick glance to where the Squire had just mounted behind the pig-catching soldier, she bent over Willoughby.

“I wouldn’t show myself yet if I were you,” she murmured, hoping the shadow heard her. “And if it was you let Willoughby go a moment ago, I thank you.”

“A search would have been…problematic,” she heard, and a fresh chill chased down her spine.

There was a burr to his voice. A Scot, here on the South Dorset coast. Now, how frequently could she say she’d seen that?

“You didn’t by any chance recently shoot at someone, did you?”

As if he would tell the truth, if he were indeed the assassin.

“Not who you think. No.”

Why she instinctively believed him, she had no idea. She should turn around this minute and call for help. Every instinct of decency said so. But Martin was the local magistrate, and Sarah knew how he treated prisoners. Even innocent ones. Squeezing her eyes shut, Sarah listened to the jangle of the troop turning to leave.

“Give you good day, Lady Clarke,” the Squire said, and waved the parade off down the drive.

Martin didn’t follow right away. “This isn’t over, missy,” he warned, pitching his voice low enough to not be overheard. “This land belongs to me now, and you know it.”

Sarah sighed, her mind made up. She simply could not accommodate Martin in this or anything. Straightening, she squarely faced the dyspeptic man. “This land is Boswell’s,” she said baldly. “Until he comes back, I am here to make sure it is handed back into his hands in good heart. Good day, Martin.”

And she deliberately turned back to her pig.

Martin opened his mouth to argue, and then saw the Squire and other men waiting for him. He settled for a final, “Bah!” and drove his heels into his poor horse.

Sarah stood where she was until she could no longer hear them. Then, with a growing feeling of inevitability, she once more climbed past the broken pigpen and approached the shadow at the back of the coop. And there he was, a very large red-headed man slumped against the stone wall. He was even more ragged than the men who had ridden with Martin, his clothing tattered and filthy, his hair a rat’s nest, his beard bristling and even darker red than his hair. His eyes were bright, though, and his cheeks flushed. He held his hand to his side, and he was listing badly.

Sarah crouched down next to him to get a better look, and saw that his shirt was stained brown with old blood. His hands, clutched over his belly, were stained with new blood, which meant that those bright eyes were from more than intelligence. Even so, Sarah couldn’t remember ever seeing a more compelling, powerful man in her life.

“Hello,” she greeted him, her own hands clenched, as if that alone would protect her from him. “I assume I am speaking to the Scotsman for whom everyone is looking.”

His grin was crooked and under any other circumstance, would have been endearing. “Och, lassie, nothin’ gets past ye.”

“I thought  you were dead.”

He frowned. “Wait a few minutes,” he managed. “I’ll see what I can do.”

And then, as gracefully as a sailing vessel slipping under the waves, he sank all the way to his side and lost consciousness.

 

Once a Rake may be purchased through these online retailers: Amazon, B & N.

***

About Eileen

New York Times Bestselling, award-winning author Eileen Dreyer has published 40 novels and 10 short stories under her name and that of her evil twin, Kathleen Korbel in contemporary romance, paranormal romance, historical romance, romantic suspense, mystery and medical forensic suspense. A proud member of RWA’s Hall of FAME, she also has numerous awards from RT BookLovers and an Anthony nomination for mystery. She is now focusing on what she calls historic romantic adventure in her DRAKE’S RAKES series. A native of St. Louis, she still lives there with her family. She has animals but refuses to subject them to the limelight.

Connect with Eileen through social media at these locations:

Website:  http://eileendreyer.com, Facebook , Twitter.

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Author Speed Dating: Danica Favorite

Author Speed Dating(1)

If there’s one thing I enjoy almost as much as writing books, it’s READING books. I love discovering new authors, too. So I thought my blog would be a perfect place to introduce my authors friends to potential new readers. Only to give it a twist, we’re doing this Speed-Dating style. Check out a new author here every Wednesday, and if the spark is there, you’ll have a match. The clock is ticking. Ready! Set! Go!

 

 

This week’s guest: Danica Favorite

Danica_pic

 

InspyHistorical2

 

15 Questions

1. Which Scooby Doo character best describes you in high school?

Velma.

2. How many rejections did you receive before you sold your first book?

Too many to count.

3. Bon Jovi or Tim McGraw?

I’d say Bon Jovi, but I’m afraid you might kick my butt. 😉

4. In which genres and sub-genres have you been published, and what does your narrow or sweeping focus say about you?

Historical, Contemporary, Non Fiction. It says I have a lot of stuff in my brain to get out!

5. When you give into a craving for fast food, what’s your drive-thru destination, and what would be found in your bag?

For fries, it’s McDonald’s. Burgers used to be Wendy’s until they changed buns, and now they’re gross, so now there’s nothing burger-wise I can’t live without. And nothing beats a cherry limeade or cherry Dr. Pepper from Sonic.

6. Which is your preference to write: love scenes or murder scenes?

Murder.

7. Jane Austen or Stephen King?

Austen.

8. What is your best advice to a writer who has just received a rejection?

Keep at it. But first, have a cupcake and some champagne. Most people don’t even have the guts to submit.

9. Are you more dangerous in a bookstore or a shoe store?

Bookstore.

10. Which heroine from one of your books is most like you?

Mary from The Lawman’s Redemption.

11. The Bachelor or Sons of Anarchy?

Please kill me. Seriously. No. Just No.

12. What is the first thing you do when you finish a book?

Sleep.

13. Name one thing you wish you could change about yourself.

The size of my bank account (bigger, of course!).

14. Is your perfect vacation involve high-altitude and the word “jump” or umbrella drinks at poolside?

Umbrella drinks at poolside.

15. Sure, it’s like picking a favorite child, but which one or two of your titles do you secretly love just a little more?

For the Sake of the Children (releases in January 2017). It gutted me to write.

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Danicabook

The Nanny’s Little Matchmakers

By Danica Favorite

 

A Wife for Their Papa 

Polly MacDonald intends to tame Mitch Taylor’s five mischievous children, even though every other nanny has fled. She needs this job—and Mitch’s brood sorely needs affection. Perhaps their widowed papa does, too. But when the children begin scheming to make her their new mother, Polly must resist. She’s seen too many bad marriages to want one of her own.

Mitch has come to Leadville, Colorado, to escape a scandal, not find a wife. After the disaster of his first marriage, he’s sure he isn’t husband material. Though Polly’s tender care is working wonders with his children, Mitch knows he should keep his feelings to himself. But can two wary hearts deny the dearest wish of five eager matchmakers?

The Nanny’s Little Matchmakers may be purchased at many retail locations as well as through these online retailers: Amazon, B & N, Harlequin.

 

***

 

About Danica

A self-professed crazy chicken lady, Danica Favorite loves the adventure of living a creative life. She and her family recently moved in to their dream home in the mountains above Denver, Colorado.  Danica loves to explore the depths of human nature and follow people on the journey to happily ever after. Though the journey is often bumpy, those bumps are what refine imperfect characters as they live the life God created them for. Oops, that just spoiled the ending of all of Danica’s stories. Then again, getting there is all the fun.

You can connect with Danica at the following places:

Website: http://www.danicafavorite.com, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook.

 

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