Review, Guest Post & Giveaway: HIGHLAND CONQUEST by Alyson McLayne

D32F608B-5CFA-412E-9BD8-51DFC9A9A15A HIGHLAND CONQUEST (The Sons of Gregor MacLeod Series, Book 2) by Alyson McLayne

Publication Date: February 6, 2018 

Genre: Historical Romance  

Synopsis

DDE2B59F-1183-4685-B89B-4A5831186572HE WAS LOOKING FOR VENGEANCE
INSTEAD HE FOUND HER

Laird Lachlan MacKay never planned on leading his clan, but when his older brother was murdered, he was left with no choice. His vow to avenge his brother has led him to the MacPherson clan—and their bewitching healer, Amber.

Amber MacPherson is desperate. Dressed as a boy to escape her clan’s treacherous leader, she runs right into Lachlan—who orders her detained. At first she causes him nothing but frustration, especially when she blackmails him into helping her clan. But when she’s threatened by the same man who murdered his brother, Lachlan will do whatever it takes to keep her safe—and by his side.

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Cori 4.5 Stars

I thoroughly enjoyed this highlander romance. HIGHLAND CONQUEST is the second book in Alyson McLayne’s The Sons of Gregor MacLeod Series, but it can be read as a standalone. I’m a huge fan of highlander heroes and this book definitely satisfied my obsession. HIGHLAND CONQUEST captured and held my attention. It was a good mix of danger, passion, humor and romance. This is the first book I have read by Alyson McLayne and I’ll definitely be reading more. I have the first book on my kindle and I added the next release to my TBR. I recommend this series for historical romance lovers looking for their next highlander fix.

*Review copy provided by Sourcebooks in exchange for an honest review.

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Buy Links

Kindle | Amazon Paperback

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Amazon Series Link

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Author Guest Post

February is fast approaching, and with it come several big events in my life. Not only do my kids turn 6 at the end of the month, but on the actual 6th, my historical romance, HIGHLAND CONQUEST—book 2 in my series THE SONS OF GREGOR MACLEOD—releases to the world! This is a book I can’t wait to hit the stands. The love story between Amber and Lachlan is one of my favorites. Amber is the MacPherson healer who’s had to pretend to be a witch in order to stay safe from her depraved laird while she heals her people. Lachlan’s the laird of his own clan who attacks the MacPhersons in order to bring their laird to justice for killing Lachlan’s brother. When the MacPherson laird escapes, Amber blackmails Lachlan into sticking around and helping her people. She’s outspoken and strong-willed and doesn’t hold anything back in her dealings with her new laird. Lachlan doesn’t hold back, either, and the two of them begin a tumultuous relationship that dances around their physical and mental attraction and drives both of them just a wee bit batty.

February also brings us Valentine’s Day, a favorite holiday of many romance readers! So I decided to celebrate the release of HIGHLAND CONQUEST on February 6th, and Valentine’s Day eight days later, by revealing my top 6 favorite romance couples of all time!

1. Anne & Gilbert

When I was ten-years-old, my mom gave me the first three Anne of Green Gables books by Lucy Maude Montgomery. I got hooked on Anne’s adventures and all the different characters in Avonlea, including her nemesis, Gilbert Blythe. When they first meet, Gilbert pulls Anne’s braid and teases her about her red hair, calling her “carrots”. She responds by smashing her slate over his head. Thus the relationship between Anne and Gilbert is born, and a rivalry and enmity develops between them that takes years for them to overcome. Along the way Anne refuses Gilbert’s declaration of love and almost becomes engaged to another man. But finally she realizes she loves Gilbert too, and wishes with all her heart that he’ll say the words again. Which he does, bringing me my first ever Happily Ever After—warm fuzzies and a heartfelt sigh included.

2. Arwen & Aragorn

Just saying those names leaves me sighing and feeling a little teary and mushy inside (in a good way!). Theirs is a romance for the ages, portrayed beautifully by Liv Tyler and Viggo Mortensen in Peter Jackson’s filmed adaptation of JRR Tolkien’s Lord Of The Rings. Arwen, daughter of Lord Elrond of Rivendell, is an immortal elf who falls in love with the mortal Aragorn, heir of Isildur and rightful claimant to the thrones of Arnor and Gondor. In order to be together, Arwen has to give up her immortality and know that she will only die after Aragorn has died. Aragorn tries to dissuade her from being with him, but Arwen will not be swayed, saying: “I would rather share one lifetime with you, than face all the ages of this world alone.” Sigh…

3. Mac & Barrons

If I had to pick a book boyfriend it would be Barrons from Karen Marie Moning’s Fever series. He. Makes. Me. Shiver—in a good way. He is the epitome of Alpha—strong, dominant, smart, whose only saving grace is that Mac is his everything…even if she doesn’t yet know it. There is no greater bad boy in my opinion. You just know that his reserve and icy control shields a raging inferno beneath. When Mac & Barrons finally get together at the end of book four (and yes, I do know they were together when she was Priya, but that doesn’t count), it’s like he unleashes himself on her. He devours her and she devours him right back. And what makes their love story even twistier, adding more layers to their relationship through the first four books, is discovering in a later book (Burned, I think) that Jericho Barrons and MacKayla Lane have done the wild deed once before—all night long—and Barrons used magic to erase Mac’s memory of it. Bad. Boy. And here’s the other thing I love… they still call each other Barrons and Miss Lane, same as they always did, unless they’re having sex or in near-death situations. Then it’s Jericho and Mac.

4. Elizabeth & Mr. Darcy

How can I write a list about my favorite couples and not include Elizabeth Bennet and Fitzwilliam Darcy? Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen is one of the first classic novels that I read and I kept the book in my backpack for many months reading it over and over, when I was at university. Mr. Darcy’s proposal to Elizabeth about halfway through the story is a shock because he’s been nothing but aloof and haughty toward her and her family—in fact, the proposal is filled with condescension about Elizabeth’s lack of social position and wealth compared to his, and he claims it’s an obstacle his love has had to overcome. The scene where Elizabeth rejects him is a favorite of mine—especially the rain-soaked version between Keira Knightley and Matthew Macfadyen. What I love about this scene, is that Mr. Darcy is undone by her. He takes her opinion of him to heart, even though some of her accusations against him are unfounded. She opens his eyes to his lack of kindness and grace and it changes him for the better—makes him into a man that Elizabeth could love.

5. Han & Leia

I contemplated putting Han Solo and Princess Leia at the top of the list. My brother took me to see Star Wars when it first came out, so technically they were the first couple I met—but at seven, I was too young to truly appreciate the sigh-worthiness of Han and Leia. This is a romance that builds…and builds…and builds amidst verbal sparring and sarcastic jabs until finally near the end of The Empire Strikes Back they kiss—just before Han is yanked away from Leia and frozen alive in carbonite.  Irrepressible bad boy that he is, when Leia says a heartfelt, “I love you,” as they’re securing Han for freezing, Han looks back at her and simply says, “I know.” Gets me every time.

6. Claire and Jamie

Seeing as I write Highlander romance (and love Highlander romance—big shout out to some of my favorites: Julie Garwood, Monica McCarty, and Karen Marie Moning!) it would be impossible for me NOT to include Claire and Jamie Fraser from Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series. She’s created this unforgettable, iconic romance between Jamie and Claire all wrapped up in some of the most interesting and tumultuous times in Scottish history. I’m going to choose to focus on book three, Voyager, for one big reason: the REUNION. Le sigh. You begin the book, knowing that Claire and Jamie will reunite after so many years apart, and then you have to wait…and wait. Or was I the only one who didn’t jump ahead? Finally, Claire walks into Jamie’s shop, and they kiss, but we still have to wait as Jamie grabs the drunken Mr. Willoughby from the pub, gets chased, and takes Claire back to a whore house, before…the moment. It starts with an awkward kiss and nose bump before Jamie takes control and says to Claire, “Give me your mouth, Sassenach.” Excuse me while I melt.

Do you like my list? Did I miss any of your favorites? Please let me know if you agree or disagree with my top 6 favorite romance couples!

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Giveaway

2 Copies of HIGHLAND CONQUEST

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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About the Author

CFC9B66B-E33F-4D45-B4B6-EE2D9786BD25A stay-at-home mom of twins and award-winning writer, Alyson McLayne is a dog lover and cat servant with a serious stash of dark chocolate. After getting her degree in theater at the University of Alberta, she promptly moved to the west coast where she worked in film for several years and met her Prop Master husband.

Website | Twitter | Facebook

Spotlight, Guest Post & Giveaway: THE LAST WOLF by Maria Vale

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THE LAST WOLF (The Legend of All Wolves Series, Book 1) by Maria Vale

Publication Date: February 6, 2018

Genre: Paranormal Romance

Synopsis

B20AF3DE-2270-43C0-B517-1815CCA45346For three days out of thirty, when the moon is full and her law is iron, the Great North Pack must be wild.

If she returns to her Pack, the stranger will die.
But if she stays…

Silver Nilsdottir is at the bottom of her Pack’s social order, with little chance for a decent mate and a better life. Until the day a stranger stumbles into their territory, wounded and beaten, and Silver decides to risk everything on Tiberius Leveraux. But Tiberius isn’t all he seems, and in the fragile balance of the Pack and wild, he may tip the destiny of all wolves…

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Buy Links

Kindle | Amazon Paperback

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Giveaway

2 Copies of THE LAST WOLF

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Author Guest Post

LETTER TO THE READER

Dear (Potential) Reader,
There is so much vying for your attention, I’m grateful you’ve read even this far.
I know I’m asking a lot from you.
I’m asking you to take time with a new writer when there are so many great ones already out there.
I’m asking you to take a chance on a new direction in a well-loved genre, in which the wolf is not a vicious beast to be subjugated and feared, but rather the human form is a useful tool for protecting the wilder self.
In this reworking, werewolves fall into two categories: Pack, who must be wolves for three days out of every thirty—self-aware wolves, but not magic, any bullet can kill them. And Shifters, who don’t have to change and so remain human, the apex predator, rather than wolf, the maligned and despised outsider.
Still like any romance, its foundation is in the growing love between two characters: the worldly half-Shifter Tiberius who hates the wolf inside him as bestial and monstrous. And the unworldly Silver, who is fully Pack and believes her wild self to be sacred.
Silver is a runt with a displaced hip when she is a wolf and in a society that determines position by fighting wild, this means she is at the bottom of the hierarchy—the last wolf. Tiberius, however, discovers real strength in her perseverance and fierceness. For her part, Silver recognizes something about him: that by denying his wild, Tiberius has sown the roots of despair.
But this is not only a love story between two people, it’s also a love story about the Great North Pack, because despite our fascination with lone wolves, it is the pack that really defines this most social of all animals.
I imagined the Great North as something beyond family or community, something tight- knit and loving and brave and frightened. And intensely vulnerable. I imagined, like most embattled societies, the pack would be very conservative, with a traditional culture, a history, a language that was part of its identity. I chose to base that culture loosely (very loosely) on the world of 9th century England, partly because I love the sound of the language of Beowulf. To me, it is gruff and beautiful and haunting, like a wolf’s howl. But also because 9th century England was a place of great insecurity. One never knew when Northmen might show up and destroy everything you loved.
It was the Great North’s first Alpha, Ælfrida, who forced her pack to change. With humans decimating the forests of England, she dragged her pack from the Old World to the vast forests of northern New York, she re-wrote laws in order to allow new wolves to join their bloodlines, she forced her wolves to leave their isolated territories, so that they could learn human ways and protect the Pack using human law.
What results is a society that is both human and decidedly not, both harsh and loving, severe and tender. The way I imagined wolves fighting daily for their lives would be.
I have loved every minute of researching and writing these books. I can only hope that you will enjoy reading them.
Stay wild,
Maria

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Excerpt

The day of the first waxing crescent of fall is when all of the wolves who live on the Homelands traditionally run the perimeter and make sure that our land is properly marked before the ground freezes and damaged posts become hard to replace.
The entire Pack is wild. Barking and wagging tails, they lick each other and jump around each other, their ferocious jaws open and gentle. They chase mice through windrows, their hind legs scratching leaves into a brightly colored explosion high in the air, so that the pups can twist and turn and catch them in snapping teeth as they spiral down.
Not me. I have to pull on heavy muck boots over thick socks with jeans shoved inside. And I won’t mark our territory the way wolves are supposed to. I will mark it on an iPhone 6 Plus, crammed into the big pocket of a thick orange vest. All because Ti refuses to phase and John doesn’t like it.
“He tells himself he’s human,” John says. “But if he lies to himself, what makes you think he’s not going to lie to us?”
So because I am Ti’s schildere, I have to stay in skin too. Keep an eye on him.
“I mean, what were you thinking?” I ask as Ti fits the Outlast cap over his clipped skull. “When you came to a bunch of wolves asking for protection. That you’d just keep on being a human? Was that your grand plan?”
“I didn’t have a grand plan. What I had was a hole in my stomach, a vague set of directions to my mother’s pack, and a need to survive. I changed long enough to fight; I never thought you’d be asking me to give up my humanity.”
“No one’s asking you to give up your humanity, but if you refuse to admit what you are, it is going to rise up and bite you in the ass.”
“Well, how about you?”
Me? I love changing. I—”
“I know you love changing. You do it all the time. The second Sten doesn’t need your thumbs, you evaporate, and there’s nothing left but clothes hanging from a branch. I may be a crappy wolf. But you… You’re a crappy human.”
I cringe, because he’s right. I’ve never been happy in skin, but then those stupid fire fairies burrowed into my body all those days ago, and that spark has caught fire and burns so fierce that now when I walk beside him and hear his quiet, low voice or look into those gold-flecked black eyes, my tendons strain and my muscles coil and my lungs open up and my blood beats hot and fast. The only way I know how to deal with need is to run hard and far until I collapse, unable to feel anything at all.
A brindle pup barks worriedly at my feet. All of the other wolves have disappeared, fading like a whisper in the woods.
“I know, Leelee. We’re coming.”
“She’s going with us?” Ti asks.
“We’re supposed to take her along. Help her learn the farther reaches of the Homelands.” Leelee scampers on ahead, leaping awkwardly over a huge downed log and sliding down the other side, her fur covered in the sooty brown decay.
Ti clears it in one stride and stands close, not helping me exactly, but I know if I falter, his big shoulder is there for me to grab on to. I make it by myself, but I appreciate his silent gesture.
Leelee watches, her head cocked to the side, as I take a running jump over one of the numerous small, mucky streams that crisscross our land. I slip down the other side, my foot sinking into a soft bruise in the moss. She yips and worries, waiting for me to pull my boot out with a dull sucking sound.
I lift her up and give her an open-jawed kiss on her ear, but she sees a squirrel and won’t stop squirming until I set her down.
“No farther than the Stones, Leelee.”
When we finally catch up, she’s clambering over the variously sized rocks that form rough circles around the ancient central stones. Over the years, the circle has encroached farther and farther into the forest, surrounding the trees.
Leelee marks one of the stones.
“What is this?” Ti asks.
“It’s, um…the Gemyndstow? The memory place? But we just call it the Stones.”
“Like a graveyard?”
“Graveyards are for bodies, aren’t they?”
“Yes.”
“So, no. Coyotes eat our dead. That’s why we call them wulfbyrgenna. Wolf tombs. The stones are only for wolf names and the date of their last hunt so that we can remember.”
When Ti crouches down and looks at one near the front, Leelee runs up to him and looks too, trying to figure out why it is so interesting.
As soon as he stands, she marks that one too.
An ill-advised squirrel runs across the outer rim of the Stones, and Leelee turns quickly to run after it, the wind tickling her fur and the scent in her nose. I know that feeling of taking it all in—moldering pine needles, owl pellets, borer beetle, tree sap, two-year-old porcupine den, sassafras bush—until the scent of prey hits you right in the back of the throat and everything tenses and you chase, even if your tummy’s little and full and all you really want is for the thing, whatever it is, to escape so you don’t have to eat it, but still you can’t help but hunt.
She peels off after her squirrel, looking behind to make sure we’re watching.
The squirrel chitters at her from the safety of a maple. Ti stares, his hands fisted by his sides, as Leelee scampers and bounds and falls on her back and twists her little legs in the air, her belly dotted with leaf litter. A tiny furrow cuts through his usually impassive brow, and his mouth, while still tightly closed, turns down a little at the corners. His wild—that seductive scent of crushed bone and evergreen—radiates thicker now, and when I touch his arm, he jolts as if from a waking dream and blinks down at me, looking in this moment like a lost boy.

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About the Author

2519C8DF-822E-41D5-9F32-6809592F1626Maria Vale is a journalist who has worked for Publishers Weekly, Glamour magazine, Redbook, the Philadelphia Inquirer. She is a logophile and a bibliovore and a worrier about the world. Trained as a medievalist, she tries to shoehorn the language of Beowulf into things that don’t really need it. She currently lives in New York with her husband, two sons and a long line of dead plants. No one will let her have a pet. Visit her at https://www.mariavale.com/.

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Spotlight, Guest Post & Giveaway: The Power of a SEAL by Anne Elizabeth

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The Power of a SEAL (West Coast Navy SEALs, #5) by Anne Elizabeth

Publication Date: December 5, 2017

Genre: Romantic Suspense

Synopsis

15A9A3C8-FFA6-4A5F-B028-82D4B03A7E07With over two decades of experience, Navy SEAL Leaper Lefton is bringing his expertise to young and impressionable SEAL trainees in BUD/s. As an instructor, he knows he must prepare them for all kinds of situations—and there’s a perfect opportunity for hands-on training when he spots a woman in danger in rough water. Kerry Hamilton, a marine mammal veterinarian for the U.S. Navy is beyond grateful when Leaper saves her from the rough seas, and their attraction is instant. But after everything Leaper has been through, can he truly love again? And is Kerry willing to give him the chance?

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Buy Links

Kindle | Amazon Paperback 

West Coast Navy SEALs Series

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Author Guest Post

Anne Elizabeth’s favorite holiday traditions

ORNAMENTS AND REMEMBRANCES

Opening holiday storage boxes is an emotional experience. We carefully unwrap childhood trinkets, handmade ornaments, craft projects, old pictures, weathered stockings, and scented candles. Even as the wood in the fireplace snaps and crackles, emitting small plumes of smoke, we carefully fill the surfaces of the living room, every table, chair, and couch with our mementoes. Putting together an old recycled Christmas tree and placing the cool-lights around, we place the ornaments together.

For my husband and me, this has become a time of heartbreaking sorrows and soul-touching moments, remembering those who have passed or those who have become physically or mentally more fragile. We honor these precious souls by decorating ornaments with their names, quotes, or pictures to honor each spirit with a unique creation and then we place it on the tree. It does not erase the pain, but it helps us celebrate treasured souls and share experiences about what these individuals have meant to us.

As we dim the lights and plug in the tree, we are grateful for each opportunity to love. Every day is a gift, whether it is for a brief moment or a lifetime, it adds to life’s journey. From our home to yours: May your holiday season be blessed with health, happiness, and delight, and may peace and joy flourish.

Do you have handmade ornaments? Do you treasure them? And, how do you remember those who have passed?

TIME

During the holidays, music fills the house. Some of our favorite singers are Eartha Kitt and Nat King Cole. The holiday classics make us nostalgic, and I love those times when my husband pulls me into his arms and dances with me. Oh, to dwell in those romantic moments, as we cuddle close and move slowly to the rhythm. This harmonious connection chases away every thought, except for one–being together. As my husband nuzzles my neck, I smile musing on the fact that this is my all-time favorite part of the holidays. Being together. Connection and music, whether it comes from the stereo or from our hearts, this time is the best gift of all.

Is there something special you do with your mate, a friend, or family member?

HOLIDAY SENSATIONS

On Christmas Eve, it’s a tradition in our home to make hot cider. I’ll pull out the chipped crockpot with the broken handle. After rinsing the detachable bowl and top, I’ll add fresh cider, granny smith apple slices (leaving the skin on), the peel of half of a lemon and the entire peel of a whole orange. Then I’ll add three cinnamon sticks, a dash of allspice, and anise, and as soon as it heats to a boil I’ll add a tablespoon of maple syrup. After stirring in the syrup for a full minute, I turn the heat down to warm and prepare to serve it about twenty minutes later. The scent of mulled-goodness fills the room as I make popcorn with real butter and a dash of pink salt. It might not be the most gourmet approach, but for us, the taste sensations are delicious. Have a blessed holiday season!

Are there any special recipes that you make during the holiday season?

RAISE YOUR VOICE

Holiday songs remind me of my childhood. Attending church with my parents and brother, and listening to the exuberance with which the congregation sang inspired intense warmth and comfort. Voices lifted in song varied from out-of-key to perfectly pitched tones, and it was wondrous! Each individual contributed to the joy as we created these beautiful sounds together.

After services, most of the congregation was full of cheer and would hurry outside for hot cocoa or tea. With cups in hand, we walked as a group down to the live action crèche. It was here that we sang the last Christmas song of the night, Away In The Manger. Of course, the goats bleated and donkeys brayed along with the clucking chickens and mooing cow; and all the sounds blended together. To this day, I still wonder if the animals were commenting or singing along.

Do you have a special holiday song, and why is it a favorite?

SNOWFLAKES

Living in Southern California, snow is a rarity. In Julian, we see snowstorms now and then, but nothing can compare to the snow seen in the rest of the United States. Yet, we are full of glee the moment a flake drops from the sky. I always rush outside and turn my face upward in hope of tasting the first snowflake. When I was little, I believed that each snowflake tasted differently, because my brother said that this was so. Even though, I’m all grown-up now, in my imagination I still pretend that there are sorts of unique flavors out there, and I’ll keep catching snowflakes in remembrance of him.

Are you ever tempted to catch snowflakes on your tongue? What’s your favorite childhood winter memory?

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Giveaway

5 Copies of The Power of a SEAL

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

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About the author

97BCC795-2BDD-4174-8FF6-00036C9D1552Anne Elizabeth is a romance author, comic creator, and a monthly columnist for RT Book Reviews magazine. With a BS in Business and MS in Communications from Boston University, she is a regular presenter at conventions as well as a member of The Author’s Guild and Romance Writers of America. Anne lives with her husband, a retired Navy SEAL, in the mountains above San Diego.

Website | Facebook | Twitter

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Spotlight, Guest Post & Giveaway: THE LORD MEETS HIS LADY by Gina Conklin

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THE LORD MEETS HIS LADY (Midnight Meetings Book 3) by Gina Conklin

Publication Date: December 5, 2017

Genre: Historical Romance

Synopsis

C7A91B6B-B5B6-44EF-BF17-8A13583F9BBBLord Marcus Bowles has stained his family’s reputation for the last time. Only after spending a scandal-free year restoring some far-flung property can this second son return in good graces. But Marcus isn’t one to abandon a lone damsel on a dark country lane.

One stolen kiss and Genevieve Turner’s handsome midnight savior disappears. Typical. No matter, Gen is finally on the way to her new post, and hopefully to finding her grandmother as well. Instead she finds her mischievous hero is her new employer. Surely a few more kisses won’t hurt…

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Excerpt

Lord Bowles set one hand on the dark-stained oak and pushed, all the while watching her with gentle determination as she rose awkwardly from the floor. Iron hinges whined a lethargic turn before the door clicked shut on honking fowl. The entry dimmed but was no less luminous for the unexpected sparks between them. Lord Bowles was a dose of good French brandy at the wrong time of day, enticing but entirely unsuitable.
“Do I make you nervous?” he asked.
His lordship missed nothing. He was like a thief-taker digging for the truth. In their two meetings, he’d shown more substance than the aimless wastrel people claimed him to be. For the first time since she left London, she missed the clamor and the crowds. This quiet between her and Lord Bowles, it denuded her.
“Nervous? A little.” Her attention flittered over him. “The part of me that finds you handsome. Too handsome for your own good.”
He blinked, his lips parting. Well-shod feet shifted and another beat of stillness passed. Did she surprise him? Good. Unease melted off her back from satisfaction of his lordship being the one off center. Served him right for coming here like this.
She wiped dough-flecked hands in her apron as though she had all the time in the world. “And since I’m being forthright, milord, I wanted some time to myself. You don’t get much of that living above The Golden Goose.”
“No, I suppose not.”
With his wind-mussed queue and rumpled brown velvet coat, Lord Bowles could be any man awaiting acceptance of a social call. He was a dangerous flirt with genuine, friendly appeal, endearing qualities that played havoc with her resolve, but she would be firm.
Her head tipped at an open doorway off the entry. “The parlor is that way, milord. I’ll fetch some coffee for you.”
She headed to the kitchen, her skin prickling across her bottom and thighs. Lord Bowles watched her. Ambling footsteps sounded in the small dining room behind her. He wasn’t going to be a docile guest.
Did his lordship think he’d found a convenient light skirt?
Crossing the kitchen, she tensed, expecting footfalls to follow her on the flagstone floor. A knee to a man’s baubles sent a clear message to overzealous men at The Golden Goose. With her employer’s friend, she’d have to use different tactics.
At the hearth, she checked the roast in the cooking hastener, but no footsteps came, nor did a hand palm her bottom. One glance at the kitchen showed Lord Bowles lounging in the doorway, one hand resting in his coat pocket. The corners of his mouth curled up as if he read women all the time and knew their secrets.
“Thought I’d wait here, save you the trip to the parlor with my coffee.”
“Because I’m of delicate constitution?” She reached for the spindle jack hanging from a rafter above the hearth.
“No, because I like watching you.”
Her cheeks warmed and her nipples poked her stays. “Lord Bowles…” she began sternly.
“I know,” he said smiling shamelessly. “I’m being inappropriate with my friend’s housekeeper. Can we agree to talk freely when we’re alone? I’ll curb myself when others are around.”
“I can’t lose this position, milord.” She started winding the spindle jack, a slow and noisy effort. Her breasts jostled and the flush spread down her neck and chest. There was no denying, it was nice being the object of his improper interest.
The Beckworth kitchen was bright with limestone walls and a cheery, yellow cabinet, not a typical haunt for the likes of Lord Bowles. He’d seek amusement elsewhere. With turnips on the table and bread rising in a bowl, his boredom with this rustic kitchen was her best weapon.
“There is a point to my visit,” he said loudly. “I come bearing an offer of help.”
“Help? With what?” she asked above the cranking cogs.
Lord Bowles stepped cautiously down into the kitchen. “I’d rather have a decent conversation with you than yell across the room.” He gestured to the long pine table near the hearth. “May I have a seat? I promise to behave. We’ll have a table between us.”
Her arm burned from working against the spindle’s tension and the heavy roast by her knees. She was about to give him a set down, but she spied that silly hole in his stocking and softened.
No flirting, milord.”
He smiled boldly. “On my honor, none. We’ll be solemn as clergymen.”
“Clergymen,” she huffed and blew a wayward wisp off her face. “A few minutes. No more.”
He crossed the kitchen and took a seat at the table. She cranked harder. The string was nearly wound around the pulley.
“What is this offer of yours?”

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Buy Links

Kindle | Amazon Paperback

Amazon Series Link

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Author Guest Post

How to Enjoy London Like a Georgian

The Georgian era was a fascinating shift from pastoral to urban living. The economic boom brought scientific advances. Much of the populace elevated themselves to a better place in life—especially the merchant class. Entertainments abounded. Life’s little luxuries were affordable. People enjoyed a diversity of products pouring into London on a regular basis.

In researching the Midnight Meetings series, I came across many surprises. You could call this list 5 things for an interesting life in London:

  1. The British Museum. Seeds for the world-renowned institution were planted in 1753 with the death of physician Hans Sloane. A naturalist with a love for all things exotic, Sloane had purchased the house next door to warehouse his unique collections. People traveled far and wide to visit the house in Bloomsbury, finding a hodgepodge of international oddities.
  2. Trustees of Sloan’s estate didn’t know what to do with Sloane’s things. They tried to give the collection King George II, but he didn’t want it. Parliament acquired the collection and by 1759 the official British Museum opened its doors to the public.
  3. Hot air balloon-mania hit England in the 1780s. It’s been reported that 200,000 people (royalty included in that number) showed up at the Artillery Ground of Moorfields to see a demonstration by Vincenzo Lunardi. He ascended without incident (other than his cat, which he took along for the ride, getting sick). The charming Italian was quite popular. Hawkers sold Lunardi fans, garters, and bonnets.
  4. Pets ranged from the regular to the exotic. Unusual pet ownership spread amongst all classes with animals like a mongoose, ring-tailed lemurs, and marmosets. The Tower of London had a zoo open to the public, featuring jackals, lions, monkeys, baboons, and even an Indian elephant. Great beasts from around the world were housed in the Tower as far back as the 13th century.
  5. Fine furniture became egalitarian with Chippendale’s innovations to the industry. In the past, fashionable homeowners clamored for furniture fashionable made by high-end designers. Those men signed each furniture piece they made the way painters sign a painting. Then along came Chippendale. He published his Gentleman and Cabinetmaker’s Director (a design book) which changed how the English bought and made furniture.

Design books weren’t new, but Chippendale’s approach was revolutionary. He presented the furniture as part of interior design: think presenting whole sets for a drawing room rather than an individual piece on a page. Chippendale hired men to make furniture for him, but his book not only changed ensemble decorating, it fostered a Do-It-Yourself approach to fine furniture-making. Humble gentry purchased Chippendale’s books and crafted their own fine furniture (such as my character, Mr. Samuel Beckworth in The Lord Meets His Lady).

The resourceful woman created her own future. The nobility watched over their daughters lest those young women go astray, but other classes of London enjoyed a kind of bare-knuckle freedom. Life was harsh on the fair-sex. Yet, many women refused to be victims of the times. Some forged a good life in commerce. Publisher Elizabeth Nutt is one such example. She ran a cluster of shops near the Royal Exchange where she sold respectable publications.  She was also listed as “Mercury Woman”, a printer of seditious and sometimes salacious material on Grubb Street. She ran the business with her daughters.

London, no matter the era, was and is a place of opportunity for those who seek adventure on its streets. ~Gina

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Giveaway

5 Copies of THE LORD MEETS HIS LADY

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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About the Author

Gina Conkle writes sensual Georgian romance and lush Viking romance. Her books offer a fresh, addictive spin on the genre, with the witty banter and sexual tension that readers crave. She grew up in southern California and despite all that sunshine, Gina loves books over beaches and stone castles over sand castles. Now she lives in Michigan with her favorite alpha male, Brian, and their two sons where she’s known to occasionally garden and cook.

Website | Facebook | Twitter

Spotlight, Excerpt & Giveaway: A VERY COWBOY CHRISTMAS by Kim Redford

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A VERY COWBOY CHRISTMAS (Smokin’ Hot Cowboys, Book 3) by Kim Redford

Publication Date: October 3, 2017

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Synopsis

59296C1B-41D3-4FD1-A2BB-14367437F197Third in a spicy contemporary cowboy series from acclaimed author Kim Redford. Sydney Steele needs to wrangle cowboy firefighters to model for her charity Christmas calendar, and Dune Barrett—who she has in mind for Mr. December—is just the man for the job.

There’s nothing like a firefighting cowboy to keep you toasty warm this Christmas…

Christmas is coming up, and single mom Sydney Steele is determined to make this a holiday to remember for Wildcat Bluff County. She still has to get those pesky, reluctant—and deliciously attractive—firefighting cowboys to pose for her charity calendar. They claim they’re too busy pursuing an unknown arsonist to take a break.

Dune Barrett has been flirting with Sydney for months, so he jumps at the chance to give her a hand. And when he agrees to pose as Mr. December, she couldn’t be happier. But to really win her over, Dune will have to convince eleven other guys from his crew to exploit their good looks for charity…a task much easier said than done.

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A NOTE FRIM KIM REDFORD

As a holiday tradition, imagine a big, roaring bonfire with red and orange flames leaping upward along with spirals of pale smoke. I’ll be in my chair beside the fire, along with family and friends, in an open meadow surrounded by the sight and scent of evergreen trees. Bright stars twinkle in the canopy of dark sky above us. Dogs and cats lounge here and there. Guitar and flute and voice serenade us with favorite Christmas carols and old-time country songs that stir fond memories of our close community of loved ones, as well as those who are no longer with us or who are too far away to be there. We drink hot apple cider, roast marshmallows, cook hotdogs, and make s’mores as we sing and visit while making plans for another wonderful year.

And just so you know, there’s always room for one more at our bonfire.

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Excerpt

Sydney felt the heat of Dune’s gaze and glanced up at him. He’d moved closer. She inched toward Celeste, her 1959 pink Cadillac, but if she backed up any farther, she’d be impaled on the tinsel-wrapped longhorns. Drat that gleam in his blue eyes. He had it whenever he was around her, and it had a tendency to strike sparks in her.
“You want me to look under the hood?” He leaned forward with a little quirk of his sensual lips.
So kissable. She squashed that thought and immediately was swamped with another one that had him looking under her skirt instead of the hood. What was wrong with her? She definitely did not want him looking anywhere but at her convertible. She had to get her mind back on business.
“Are you in a hurry?”
“Yes!” She was in a hurry to get away from him, or she’d be wearing tank tops instead of sweaters this Christmas.
“You want to step away from Celeste?”
How could she when he was right in front of her? If she made a single move, she’d be right up against his body. If she could’ve, she would’ve looked into the distance to try to clear her mind of unacceptable thoughts, but she couldn’t see over his broad shoulders. He totally filled her world with his presence.
“Guess you’ve got a lot on your mind.”
She rolled her eyes. He didn’t know the half of it. She caught her lower lip with her upper teeth in frustration.
He reached out, tugged her lip free with the pad of his thumb, and gently rubbed back and forth as if to soothe a hurt. “No need to worry. I’m here to help you now.”
She felt chills run up her spine at his gentleness and concern. She didn’t mean to do it—and wouldn’t have been so bold if he hadn’t short-circuited her brain—but she flicked the tip of her tongue over the edge of his thumb and tasted the essence of him. All male.
“Now, why’d you go and do something I can’t resist?” He eased his thumb across her lower lip, down her jaw, and captured the back of her neck with his fingers to hold her head in place as he lowered his face toward her.
She knew a kiss was coming—right on the side of Wildcat Road in front of the whole county—and she knew she should say something or do something to stop him, but she wanted his kiss more than anything else she could imagine at that moment. It’d been so long since a man had held her or kissed her that she wasn’t sure she even knew how to respond anymore.
When his lips finally touched hers—just a gentle brush really, as if he was gauging her response—she felt swept up in a blazing wildfire.
And yet she sought to keep her wits about her. She should focus on business, not her own sudden need. She put her hands flat against his broad chest to push him back, but she quickly realized she couldn’t budge him because he was so much bigger and stronger. She felt a little shock. She was five ten—although she’d claimed to be six feet tall since her high school basketball days when height was critical—and sported enough muscle to work a ranch, but he made her feel almost petite.
She intended to push him away—absolutely, no doubt about it. Instead, she found her hands slowly sliding up his chest, making her hyperaware of the soft cotton of his shirt as his muscles hardened under her touch. All her senses came shockingly alive. She heard a mockingbird’s song, caught the tangy scent of cedar trees, and Dune’s taste still lingered on her tongue. He didn’t move a millimeter, as if he’d waited a lifetime for her to touch him.
When she reached his shoulders, he gave her another feather-light kiss that promised more than it gave. Not nearly enough, not now that her mind had given way to her body. She sighed against his soft lips and clasped his shoulders to pull him closer. He groaned—as if the ragged sound was torn from his gut—at her response to him. She returned his kiss, teasing his lips with the tip of her tongue until she tore another groan from him, and he plunged inside while he crushed her against him, holding her head in one hand and her waist in the other as if he’d never let her go.
She moaned as she thrust her fingers into his thick hair, shivering with heat as he plundered her mouth and made her weak in the knees. She quickly realized that she had an answer to her question. No, indeed, she hadn’t forgotten how to give or receive a kiss, particularly one of this magnitude.
Finally, when she was putty in his hands, he raised his head and looked at her with eyes the color of midnight. She simply blinked in response, unable to articulate a single word.
“If you let me into your life—even a little bit—I promise not to disappoint you.”

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Buy Links

Kindle | Amazon Paperback

Amazon Series Link

 

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Giveaway

Enter to win a copy of A Cowboy Firefighter for Christmas by Kim Redford

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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About the Author

KIM REDFORD is an acclaimed author of Western romance. She grew up in Texas with cowboys, cowgirls, horses, cattle, and rodeos. She divides her time between homes in Texas and Oklahoma, where she’s a rescue cat wrangler and horseback rider—when she takes a break from her keyboard. Visit her at kimredford.com.

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Spotlight, Guest Post & Giveaway: HIGHLAND PROMISE by Alyson McLayne

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HIGHLAND PROMISE (The Sons of Gregor MacLeod Book 1) by Alyson McLayne

Publication Date: October 3, 2017

Genre: Historical Romance

Synopsis

9210840E-B4E2-4221-90E3-3E024B36C7B5Five boys destined to become Highland lairds are fostered together as brothers. Darach, Lachlan, Callum, Gavin and Kerr fight for their clans, for each other, and for their own true loves.

When forced to choose between duty and honor…
Darach MacKenzie vowed never again to let a woman near his heart after his betrothed betrayed him. It sparked an intense feud between his clan and the Frasers. With all-out war on the wind, Darach can’t be distracted—not even by a sweet and charming lass who desperately needs his help.

This Highland Laird will find a way to have both
When Darach rescued Caitlin MacInnes from the clutches of vile Laird Fraser, she vowed to never let men or misery rule her life again. With Darach and the MacKenzie clan, Caitlin finally feels safe. But when Laird Fraser shows up to claim what’s rightfully his, or go to war, Darach will have to use all his brawn and brains to protect Caitlin—even if it means losing his heart.

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Buy Links

Amazon | B&N | Kobo | iBooks

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Author Guest Post

Letter to the Reader

Hello Lovely Readers!!

My name is Alyson McLayne, and I can’t tell you how excited I am to introduce you to my book, HIGHLAND PROMISE, a Scottish Highlander Romantic Adventure!

It’s the first book in my historical romance series, THE SONS OF GREGOR MACLEOD, starring five Highland Lairds, who were fostered together as lads to become brothers. Darach, Lachlan, Callum, Gavin, and Kerr fight for their clans, for each other, and for their own true love.

These Highland Lairds are a band of brothers, who will defend each other to the death—if they don’t kill each other first with their sharp wit and hilarious banter. They take their oaths seriously, whether it’s to bring peace to the Highlands and defend one another as friends and allies, or to razz each other so hard, only one brother is left standing—and then they’ll take him down too.

And the women they love? They have spirit, and tenacity, and they take care of others before they take care of themselves. They’re all different—their backgrounds, their struggles, their interests and talents—but at the core of each woman is a strength, compassion, and a capacity to love that brings their man to his knees.

Totally. Slayed.

Before I tell you about HIGHLAND PROMISE, here’s a little about me. I live on the west coast of Canada with my adorable (aka annoying) 5 year old boy/girl twins; my sweet yet sarcastic husband (who just said he’s not sarcastic at all, he’s ironic!); my counter-surfing puppy, Jasper, who turns one year old the same day HIGHLAND PROMISE debuts (Happy Birthday, baby!!); and my 86 year old dad who gets a look on his face every time it’s mentioned there are—gasp—sex scenes in my books…but then goes on to tell me young people (meaning me) did not invent sex.

Ears…burning…must pour…hot oil…inside…

Speaking of ears, as I’m writing this, I have ear plugs in because my son is beside me in my office (aka my bedroom) building a fort under the covers on the bed, while my Slytherin-declaring daughter waits to knock it down, which results in WW3; Jasper hovers at the edge, barking, until he can’t stand it anymore and jumps onto the bed with the monsters, er, I mean children; my husband comes in and says something “ironic” about the chaos; and I stare fiercely at my computer screen determined to ignore it ALL—and thanking God my dad can turn his hearing aids OFF.

Just grist for the mill…grist for the mill…said all writer-moms everywhere.

Okay. Onto the important part: HIGHLAND PROMISE! I started writing HIGHLAND PROMISE almost 10 years ago after reading ALL of Julie Garwood’s medieval-set historicals, most of which were set in the Highlands. I LOVED them. I don’t read a lot of books over and over, but I did hers. I found them completely captivating.

I think HIGHLAND PROMISE captures that same tone and spirit: Caitlin MacInnes is the archetypal Waif/Free Spirit who turns the archetypal Chieftain, Laird Darach MacKenzie’s life upside down—and then spins it around and dribbles with it for a while. As Lachlan MacKay, Darach’s foster-brother, says of Darach’s and Caitlin’s courtship:

“I doona know when I’ve laughed so much as watching Darach trying to control [Caitlin] over the past few weeks. Her intentions are good, but she’s trouble. It follows her around like a faithful hound.”

Darach is undone by her. His heart, which he swore he’d NEVER give to another woman, is torn from his body and becomes putty in her hands. Of course, he doesn’t know that at first, and even when he finally figures it out, he doesn’t tell her—he’s a warrior, a leader of his people, not a poet. And Caitlin, who is determined to make Darach happy whether he wants her to or not, doesn’t believe there’s any possible way she can stay with him. She needs to leave the Highlands immediately and find her mother’s family in France.

’Cause there’s a whole lotta trouble on her tail (some might call it a shite storm—haha!) heading straight for Darach. But what Caitlin fails to realize is that Darach, along with his brothers and their clans, is strong enough to handle it.

War is coming. Caitlin didn’t start the blood feud between the Frasers and the MacKenzies, nay, Laird Fraser and his sister, Darach’s former betrothed, did that, but she will be the catalyst that ends it—pinning the good men of the Highlands against a monster.

And hopefully winning.

(Well of course they win, and of course Darach and Caitlin live happily ever after—it’s a romance, after all!!)

Now go—before I start rambling and give too much away. Read the words and feel the feels. Fall in love with both Darach and Caitlin…and prepare yourself for Lachlan’s story next.

Smooches,

Alyson McLayne

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Giveaway

5 Copies of HIGHLAND PROMISE

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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About the Author

473EEA56-C0D2-4DCF-BD66-F43EAB222D55A stay-at-home mom of twins and award-winning writer, Alyson McLayne is a dog lover and cat servant with a serious stash of dark chocolate. After getting her degree in theater at the University of Alberta, she promptly moved to the west coast where she worked in film for several years and met her Prop Master husband.

Website | Twitter | Facebook

Spotlight, Review & Giveaway: DROP DEAD GORGEOUS by Juliet Lyons

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DROP DEAD GORGEOUS (Undead Dating Service, #2) by Juliet Lyons

Publication Date: October 3, 2017

Genre: Paranormal Romance

Synopsis

cvr drop dead gorgeousSWIPE RIGHT FOR MR. BITE

Mila Hart’s first experience with the hot new vampire dating site is a complete disaster. Turns out, her date is wanted for murder! But things turn around when she’s rescued by dashing vampire cop Vincent Ferrer. Dangerous and drop dead gorgeous, he’s just the vampire hottie Mila was hoping for.

Haunted by his past, Vincent can’t risk falling in love again, even if Mila charms him more than anyone he’s ever met. But when the killer from Mila’s first date seeks her out, Vincent is the only one who can protect her. Protecting his heart is a different story…

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Excerpt

Inside the flat, I kick off my heels and turn the cold tap on full blast, grabbing a glass from the cupboard. “Do you have any aspirin?” I ask, breaking the silence.
Vincent shakes his head, face glum. “I’m sorry I listened to your conversation,” he says, picking at the edge of the kitchen island with a finger.
“It doesn’t matter,” I say quietly. “Thanks for sorting out O’Geary for me.”
He nods, frowning. “Mila—”
“Look,” I say, interrupting him. “I know what you must think of me.”
His frown deepens, eyes dark. “What do I think of you?”
“That I’m totally flaky and pathetic. What with dead rats in my bed and going on dates with serial killers and getting felt up my first week at work. If you think I don’t know how ridiculous my life is, Vincent, you’re wrong, because I do, and the truth is, I don’t know why I told my work friend you like to be tied up with silky scarves. Maybe I’ve watched too many dodgy French movies. But my point is, I know I’m not like you, with the fancy view and the starch spray in the cupboard and all this.” I circle a finger wildly in the air. “So I’m sorry that you’re stuck with me, and I’m sorry you had to show your fangs and lose your chance at a hookup with Leggy Layla from Marketing. I am sorry.”
I suck in a deep breath and take a gulp of my water. I must be drunker than I thought.
When I finally summon the courage to meet his eye, I jolt in surprise. His eyes are dark, tortured. He leans against the counter, hands gripping the edges so tightly his knuckles are whiter than bone.
“That’s the second time you mentioned those girls.” His voice is husky, throaty, as if the words are coming from some dark, forbidden place deep inside him.
“Yeah, well. They irritate me. Add that to my list of faults. I’m jealous of a group of women who wear double the recommended amount of mascara.”
“Jealous,” he repeats.
Jesus. What is up with him? He looks like a four-year-old trying to figure out an algebraic equation. “Yes. Jealous. Not usually. Just tonight. Because you were speaking to them.”
Inside, I’m well aware I’ve more or less just announced I have an enormous crush on him. But on the outside, the half-drunk, cocky Mila is still running the show.
He continues to stand, frozen. I snatch up my glass of water and slip past him into the lounge.
“Mila,” he says loudly.
I turn around at the same time he does.
“I don’t enjoy Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman.”
“Yes, you do.”
“No. I don’t.” He runs a nervous hand through his dirty-blond hair. “It’s the only show where I can sit and not have to pay attention to the plotline to know what’s happening.”
I sigh. “Fine. I give up. We’ll hire a harpist for our evening entertainment.” I continue stomping toward the bedrooms—as much as it’s possible to stomp in bare feet.
A gust of air lifts the hair from the nape of my neck and, in an instant, Vincent is filling the doorway with his luscious frame. “I can’t pay attention to the plot,” he says, “because I’m too distracted.”
“Why? Because I’m here messing up your apartment and getting in the way? It won’t be forever, and I’ll tidy up before I go—”
Before I can finish the sentence, he cuts the short distance between us in a single bound, placing hands on my hips. The heat from his fingers burns through the material like red-hot flames. My heart thuds beneath my ribs. Without my heels, my head is level with his chest—his perfectly sculpted, chiseled-from-rock chest—rising and falling as if something is fighting to get out. I lift my gaze, and as our eyes lock, he bunches my dress in his fists. The relaxed look he wore when he lied to the marketing girls and threatened Leery is gone, naked anxiety assuming its place.
“Ask me to stop,” he says, his voice breaking.
I gulp. The only sound is my heart pounding against my ribcage. Is this really happening?
“I can’t,” I say at last. “Because I don’t want you to.”
He releases my dress, looping strong arms around my waist, and lifts me onto my tiptoes until our bodies press together, torso to torso. I drop the glass of water onto the rug at our feet, hearing the loud slosh of liquid as it soaks into the carpet. The water is swiftly forgotten as he leans closer, brushing warm lips over my jawline. He tightens his grip, anchoring me to him as a tremor of pleasure rips through my body.
When his mouth finally fastens onto mine, I mold myself into him like clay, my breasts pushed up against the steely ridges of his chest, my hands twisting into his hair like vines around the branches of a tree. I part his lips, and he responds intensely. He tastes like champagne—warm and fruity—and I devour him like a woman who’s been living carb free would a loaf of bread. My tongue slides over his, a low animal groan erupting from my throat.
He cups my face in his warm hands as he begins feverishly whispering my name between kisses. “Mila, oh God, Mila.”
He wants me, I realize in surprise, knowing from the way my name sounds in his mouth—hard and spiky as barbwire—that this is no whim, no spur-of-the-moment fancy. All the times he’s blushed suddenly make sense, those intense stares I mistook as him thinking I’m an idiot.
I stop kissing him, leaning back to gaze into his drowsy, silver-dappled eyes. His face is slack, his mouth half-open, lips moist.
“It’s true, isn’t it?” I murmur, dragging hands down his muscled back. “You haven’t really been enjoying Dr. Quinn at all.”

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Cori 4 Stars

DROP DEAD GORGEOUS was just what I needed! It is the second book in Juliet Lyons new paranormal series, the Bite Nights Series. The series is about a dating service for vampires and humans. In Juliet Lyon’s frictional world humans are aware of vampires. This is such a fun and sexy romance series and DROP DEAD GORGEOUS left me with a smile on my face. I loved Vincent, the hot vampire cop, and wanted to be friends with Mila. Hot romance, danger and some humor made this a great book. I recommend this series for paranormal lovers looking for a fun new vampire series. I’ll be grabbing the next release.

*Review copy provided by Sourcebooks in exchange for an honest review.

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drop dead gorgeous spotlight graphic

Author Guest Post

A MADLIB BY JULIET LYONS

Please choose the following and insert below:
Verb
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Color
Adjective ending in ing
Time of day
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Liquid
Place
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A woman’s name
Adjective
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swipe right for mr. bite!

Buy Links

Kindle | Amazon Paperback

Check out book 1:
Dating the Undead (Bite Nights Book 1) by Juliet Lyons
Kindle | Review 4 Stars

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Giveaway

Enter to win a copy of DATING THE UNDEAD by Juliet Lyons, the first in her sexy and snarky Bite Nights series

a Rafflecopter Giveaway

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About the Author

Juliet 2 web_ photo by Sharan Rai PhotographyJULIET LYONS is a paranormal romance author from the UK. She holds a degree in Spanish and Latin American studies and works part-time in a local primary school where she spends far too much time discussing Harry Potter. Since joining global storytelling site Wattpad in 2014, her work has received millions of hits online and gained a legion of fans from all over the world. When she is not writing, Juliet enjoys reading and spending time with her family.

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads | Wattpad

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Spotlight, Guest Post, Excerpt & Giveaway: TOUGHER IN TEXAS (Texas Rodeo, #3) by Kari Lynn Dell

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TOUGHER IN TEXAS (Texas Rodeo, #3) by Kari Lynn Dell

Publication Date: August 1, 2017

Genre: Western/ Contemporary Romance 

Synopsis

9781492632009He’s got five rules
And she’s aiming to break them all

Rodeo producer Cole Jacobs has his hands full running Jacobs Livestock. He can’t afford to lose a single cowboy, so when Cousin Violet offers to send along a more-than-capable replacement, he’s got no choice but to accept. He expects a grizzled Texas good ol’ boy.

He gets Shawnee Pickett.

Wild and outspoken, ruthlessly self-reliant, Shawnee’s not looking for anything but a good time. It doesn’t matter how quickly the tall, dark and intense cowboy gets under her skin—Cole deserves something real, and Shawnee can’t promise him forever. Life’s got a way of kicking her in the teeth, and she’s got her bags packed before tragedy can knock her down. Too bad Cole’s not the type to give up when the going gets tough…

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Author Guest Post

My Favorite Cowboys Who Don’t Play One on TV

We all know about the actors who play cowboys, but you might be shocked to know who among the celebrity crowd are the real thing. If you’re a baseball fan, you’ve heard of Madison Baumgarner, the pitcher who led the San Francisco to the World Series title in 2014 and was named the MVP. This long, lanky North Carolina boy doesn’t just have a 90 plus mile-an-hour fastball. He also throws a pretty mean loop. He’s ridden horses all his life and started team roping when he met his future wife, whose family is involved in rodeo. And since his spring training is in Arizona—a hotbed of team ropers—he brings his horses along to squeeze in a few roping sessions in his spare time. I’m sure his manager is thrilled.

I love this interview discussing similarities between baseball and rodeo. Of course it doesn’t hurt that he’s chatting with Stran Smith—once named to People magazine’s 100 Most Beautiful list—and the all-time winningest cowboy in professional rodeo, Trevor Brazile, who gets a gold buckle for world champion dimples. http://wranglernetwork.com/portfolio-view/trevor-brazile-and-madison-bumgarner-with-stran-smith/

James Pickens Jr. sounds like a born and bred cowboy name, but you’re more likely to know him as Dr. Richard Webber on Grey’s Anatomy. Despite growing up in Cleveland, Pickens had been involved with horses from early on. Twenty some years ago on a movie set, a cowboy working as a transport driver had brought along a roping dummy and was throwing a few practice loops to kill time. Intrigued, Pickens asked to give it a try…and he was hooked. He is now a card-holding member of the United States Team Roping Championships association and produces his own prestigious charity event each year. And yeah, I had to include this particular picture because the winning cowboy on the left is Dustin Bird from right here in my home town of Cut Bank, Montana.

In the Texas Rodeo books, team roping is Shawnee Pickett’s main event, though she’s put it on the back burner to fill in as a pickup man at Jacobs Livestock’s rodeos. Despite his dread of competition, in the excerpt below, Cole agrees to be her partner so she can get a roping fix on one of their off days. Now that’s my kind of hero.

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Excerpt

Shawnee slowed and turned into the driveway of the saddle club. The parking lot was already crowded and a good number of riders circled the arena, warming up. Her pulse did an eager shimmy of anticipation.

Cole gulped audibly. “I thought this was just some little local deal.”

“It is.” Shawnee wheeled into an empty slot and shut off the engine. “Looks like there are a lot of locals.”

Cole trailed behind her like a bewildered child as she strolled over to the entry office/concession stand. He got a Coke while she gave the secretary their names. They both paid their entry fees. As they stepped aside to make way for the next in line, Cole froze, staring at the poster that described the roping, taped to the table for quick reference.

“It’s progressive?” The horror in his voice suggested she’d invited him to a ritual sacrifice.

“Almost all of the ropings are nowadays,” she said, ignoring the curious glances from the others in the line to enter.

“If I miss the first steer, we’re done. You won’t even get to rope.”

He sounded so desperate, on the verge of panic. “Well, then, don’t miss,” she said, and walked away.

If only it were that simple. When the position draw was posted, she and Cole were the fifty-seventh team out of ninety-eight, and with each successive bang of the chute gate, he got a little paler, sat a little more rigid in his saddle, until Shawnee was afraid if she tapped his arm he’d keel over.

As team number fifty-one rode into the roping boxes, she nudged Roy closer until her knee bumped Cole’s. His eyes were glazed and he was barely breathing. She crooked a finger. When he leaned down within reach, she clenched her fist in the front of his shirt and slapped a long, hot kiss on him. By the time she let go, he had regained some of his color.

“Just a reminder,” she said. “What you get later for being a sport.”

“Even if I miss?”

“Especially if you miss. Then you’ll owe me. Big. And I already know how I plan to collect.”

His smile was a pitiful thing, but at least he seemed to be taking in air again.

And he didn’t miss. The loop wasn’t a thing of beauty, but it fit. Cole dallied up and went left, and Shawnee was able to snag both hind feet. Roy buried his rear end and the big steer hit the end hard enough to jerk two feet of rope through her gloved hand. Like a junkie snorting a line, her blood sang at the hot slide of nylon against her palm and the smell of burning rubber from her saddle horn.

God, she loved this game.

Her grin was made of pure joy. Cole’s held the petrified relief of a man who’d taken a single step into a minefield and hadn’t blown up…yet.

While they waited for their next run, Shawnee wallowed in the singular aroma of horses and ropes and dirt, Roy’s quiet strength beneath her, the laughter and banter of the other ropers filling the air. Not a particularly friendly bunch. Or Cole was scaring them away with his Grim Reaper face. Shawnee stuck by him, rather than wandering around to chat up strangers. Funny, how much easier it was to make friends after they saw her double-hock a steer or two.

Yeah, kiss this, boys.

Almost half of the teams dropped out in the first round, so their turn came up quicker the second time. As the team ahead of them tracked their steer to the catch pen, Shawnee stuck out her chest and flipped back one side of her button down shirt to flash Cole some cleavage. “Don’t forget. Catch now, or pay later.”

He caught. Farther down the arena than Shawnee would have preferred, but her own loop was quick and deadly, so their time was still respectable. The two runs combined put them eleventh out of the top twenty that got to rope a third and final steer. Not bad. And as the saying went, a bad day roping was better than the best day doing anything else. Shawnee was buzzing with adrenaline. Cole looked like he was going to puke.

Shawnee put her hand on his thigh and squeezed. “Dude. It’s a fifty-dollar jackpot. We’re not roping to win the world.”

He just shook his head and rode over to the corner where he sat alone, muttering to himself.

By the time they backed in the roping boxes for their final steer, he’d gone from pale to green. He nodded his head, took three swings, and threw a balled up mess of a loop that swatted the steer on the side of the head and fell on the ground. Cole dropped his head, reined Salty up, and turned to ride straight out the gate, his rope trailing behind, without even glancing at Shawnee. He was already off his horse and jerking at the cinches when she caught up with him at the trailer.

“Cole—”

“Don’t try to tell me it doesn’t matter.” He wadded up the rope and slung it in general direction of the tack room. “I’ve heard Tori talk. You rope to win, not just show up.”

Shawnee paused, knowing she needed to tread carefully. Not exactly at the top of her skill set. She listened instead—to the times being announced while Cole yanked his saddle off and slammed it onto the rack so hard it almost went through the wall. Finally, she said, “You did rope to win.”

Cole made a noise packed so full of disgust it practically turned the air purple.

“Quit your tantruming and pay attention.”

“I am not—”

“Oh please. You’re two seconds away from throwing yourself on the ground and holding your breath until you turn blue.” Shawnee pointed at the nearest loudspeaker, now droning out the final results of the roping. “Listen to the placings.”

Cole scowled, but listened, then punched a frustrated fist into the other palm. “If I’d caught, we would’ve won third or fourth.”

“Assuming I caught two feet.”

He glared at her. “You never miss.”

She laughed outright. “If only. Then I’d be a legend in something other than my own mind.” She hitched her thumbs in his belt loops and dragged him close, wishing she had a bucket to stand on so she could glare straight into those stony blue eyes. She gave him a shake instead. “You threw to win. Gave it your best shot. That’s what matters. I know how hard this was for you, and I really appreciate it. If you hadn’t gutted it out, I wouldn’t have been able to rope at all.”

He shook his head, jaw set, rejecting every word.

Shawnee sighed. “How long do you intend to mope about this?”

“Forever.”

She laughed again, then realized he wasn’t joking.

“I can list every steer I ever missed for Xander at a rodeo,” he said, his voice flat. “And every free throw in basketball in high school. This is why I don’t play team games. I don’t forget anything.”

She had to blink a few times to take it in. “What about the good runs? The shots you made? Do you remember those?”

“Well…yeah.”

“But you focus on the mistakes.”

“I can’t help—”

She wanted to call bullshit—would’ve if it had been anyone else—but Cole’s brain didn’t work like other brains, so maybe he couldn’t stop himself from obsessing. Either way, he’d known this day would be torture and he’d come with her anyway. Her heart did a complicated, slightly terrifying whirl and swoop. This man. This strange, wonderful, maddening man.

What the hell was she going to do with him?

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Buy Links

KindleAmazon Paperback

Amazon Series Link

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Giveaway

Three bundles of the first three Texas Rodeo books (Reckless in Texas, Tangled in Texas, Tougher in Texas)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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About the Author

Kari Lynn Dell is a ranch-raised Montana cowgirl who attended her first rodeo at two weeks old and has existed in a state of horse-induced poverty ever since. She lives on the Blackfeet Reservation in her parents’ bunkhouse along with her husband, her son, and Max the Cowdog, with a tipi on her lawn, Glacier National Park on her doorstep and Canada within spitting distance. Her debut novel, The Long Ride Home, was published in 2015. She also writes a ranch and rodeo humor column for several regional newspapers and a national agricultural publication.

Author Links: Website | Facebook | Twitter

Spotlight & Giveaway: A NEW LEASH ON LOVE (Rescue Me) by Debbie Burns

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A NEW LEASH ON LOVE (Rescue Me Series, Book 1) by Debbie Burns

Publication Date: July 4, 2017

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Synopsis

9781492650836First in a fresh contemporary romance series from award-winning debut author Debbie Burns.

Every heart has a forever home.

Megan Anderson loves the animals at her no-kill shelter. She’ll do anything for them—even go toe-to-toe with a handsome man who’s in way over his head. She’ll help him sort out his troubles, but getting too close to an adorable puppy’s human counterpart? Been there, done that, got burned.

When Craig Williams arrived at the local shelter for help, he didn’t expect a fiery young woman to blaze into his life. But the more time they spend together, the more he realizes it’s not just animals Megan is adept at saving—she could be the one to rescue his heart.

Soon, Craig and Megan find that the magic of unconditional love can do anything…even lead to their forever home.

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Buy Links

Amazon | B&N | iTunes | Kobo

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Author Guest Post

A Letter from Debbie Burns:

Dear Reader,

Chances are you’ve been drawn to this book because you enjoy second chance love stories, whether they’re about animals, people, or both. It’s my hope you fall in love with the dynamic characters, both two and four footed, in A New Leash on Love as much as I have.

Writing this book enabled me to blend together two of my favorite things, a love of animals and a good romance. I’ve been an animal lover ever since I can remember. When I was 13, I began volunteering with a friend at a local rescue shelter. I’ve never forgotten the remarkable dedication of the people working and volunteering at shelters, helping to ensure surrendered animals get care and comfort while waiting for forever homes.

As I mentioned, I’m also a sucker for a good love story. I soak them up in both film and literature. I’m an eclectic reader and read a blend of romance, contemporary fiction, and nonfiction. I get the most enjoyment from books with love stories that are powerful enough I become convinced the world would be a sorrier place if the main characters hadn’t gotten together. I’ve read Pride and Prejudice three times, and most other Jane Austen novels at least once. I am awed by her accomplishments. Jane Austen wrote stories that have survived over two centuries and are still among so many people’s favorite novels. And of course, I enjoy reading the contemporary masters of romance as well. I’m also drawn to unique and quirky love stories like the one portrayed in The Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind that leave me thinking about them for a long time afterwards. The love story featured in A New Leash on Love is one I hope you’ll cheer for, laugh with, and walk away from reading believing all is just as it should be.

To tell you a bit more about me personally, I’m a Saint Louis resident and native who has also lived in Georgia and Michigan. I’m the mom of two amazing teenagers. Being an integral part of their life journeys has been a profound experience. I try not to pass a single day without giving thanks for all the blessings in my world, and these remarkable young adults always top that list. Coming in a close second are my family’s two rescue dogs and willful Maine Coon cat. I’ve posted pictures and shared my dogs’ rescue stories on my website, authordebbieburns.com.

Like their human counterparts, the animals we share our homes with have personalities of their own. Our family’s trio of pets are no exception. To paraphrase Roger Caras, dogs (and cats) aren’t our whole lives, but they make our lives whole. There are times when I’m not excited to wake up before dawn to make sure the dogs have a good walk before I head out for the day, and times when I cringe at vet bill statements. However, when you strip away the investment of training, time, and money, you’re left with a companion who thinks you’re more awesome than a bowlful of gravy. And if you let it in, you’ll feel that same kind of unmasked adoration right back. If you ask me, that’s what it’s all about.

Happy reading,
Debbie

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Giveaway

Five copies of A New Leash on Love

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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About the Author

Debbie Burn resides in St. Louis, Missouri. Shelter is her first contemporary romance and has finaled in multiple contests. Her writing commendations include first place awards for short stories, flash fiction, and longer selections from the Missouri RWA and the Missouri Writers’ Guild.

Website | Facebook | Twitter

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Blog Tour, Q&A, Excerpt & Giveaway: FROM DUKE TILL DAWN by Eva Leigh

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FROM DUKE TILL DAWN (The London Underground #1) by Eva Leigh

Publication Date: May 30, 2017

Genre: Historical Romance

Synopsis

from duke dawn mm cEva Leigh launches a seductive new series that sizzles with the dark secrets of London’s underworld…

Years ago, the Duke of Greyland gave his heart—and a princely sum of money—to a charming, destitute widow with unparalleled beauty. But after one passionate night, she slipped from his bed and vanished without a trace. And just when he’s given up hope of ever seeing her again, Greyland finds her managing a gaming hell. He’s desperate to have her… until he discovers everything about his long-lost lover was a lie.

In truth, Cassandra Blake grew up on the streets, picking pockets to survive. Greyland was a mark—to be fleeced and forgotten—but her feelings for the duke became all too real. Once he learns of her deception, however, the heat in his eyes turns to ice. When her business partner absconds with the gaming hell proceeds—leaving unsavory investors out for blood—Cassandra must beg the man she betrayed for help.

Greyland wants compensation, too, and he’ll assist her under one condition: she doesn’t leave his sight until her debts are paid. But it’s not long before the real Cassandra—the smart, streetwise criminal—is stealing his heart all over again.

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Excerpt

London, England
1817

A woman laughed, and Alexander Lewis, Duke of Greyland felt the sound like a gunshot to his chest.
It was a very pleasant laugh, low and musical rather than shrill and forced, yet it sounded like The Lost Queen’s laugh. Alex could not resist the urge to glance over his shoulder as he left the Eagle chophouse. He’d fancifully taken to calling her The Lost Queen, though she was most assuredly a mortal woman. Had she somehow appeared on a busy London street at dusk? The last time he’d seen her had been two years ago, in the spa town of Cheltenham, in his bed, asleep and naked.
The owner of the laugh turned out to be a completely different woman—brunette rather than blonde, petite and round rather than lithe and willowy. She caught Alex staring and raised her eyebrows. He bowed gravely in response, then continued toward the curb.
Night came on in indigo waves, but the shops spilled golden light in radiant patches onto the street.
The hardworking citizens of London continued to toil as the upper echelons began their evening revelries. Crowds thronged the sidewalk, while wagons, carriages, and people on horseback crammed the streets. A handful of pedestrians recognized Alex and politely curtsied or tipped their hats, murmuring, “Good evening, Your Grace.” Though he was in no mood for politeness, responsibility and virtue were his constant companions—had been his whole life—and so rather than snapping, “Go to the devil, damn you!” he merely nodded in greeting.
He’d done his duty. He’d been seen in public, rather than disappearing into the cavernous chambers of his Mayfair mansion, where he could lick his wounds in peace.
The trouble with being a duke was that he always had to do his duty. “You are the pinnacle of British Society,” his father had often said to him. “The world looks to you for guidance. So you must lead by example. Be their True North.”
This evening, before dining, Alex had taken a very conspicuous turn up and down Bond Street, making certain that he was seen by many consequential—and loose-lipped— figures in the ton. Word would soon spread that the Duke of Greyland was not holed up, sulking in seclusion. His honor as one of Society’s bulwarks would not be felled by something as insignificant as his failed marriage suit to Lady Emmeline Birks. The Dukes of Greyland had stood strong against Roundheads, Jacobites, and countless other threats against Britain. One girl barely out of the schoolroom could hardly damage Alex’s ducal armor.
But that armor had been dented by The Lost Queen. Far deeper than he would have expected.
Standing on the curb, he signaled for his carriage, which pulled out of the mews. He tugged on his spotless gloves as he waited and adjusted the brim of his black beaver hat to make certain it sat properly on his head. “Always maintain a faultless appearance,” his father had reminded him again and again. “The slightest bit of disorder in your dress can lead to rampant speculation about the stability of your affairs. This, we cannot tolerate. The nation demands nothing less than perfection.”
Alex’s father had been dead for ten years, but that didn’t keep the serious, sober man’s voice from his mind. It was part of him now—his role as one of the most powerful men in England and the responsibilities that role carried with it. Not once did he ever let frivolities distract him from his duties.
Except for one time . . .
Forcing the thought from his mind, Alex looked impatiently for his carriage. Just as the vehicle pulled up, however, two men appeared and grabbed his arms on each side.
Alex stiffened—he did not care for being touched without giving someone express permission to do so. People on the street also did not normally seize each other. Was it a robbery? A kidnapping attempt? His hands curled instinctively into fists, ready to give his accosters a beating.
“What’s this?” one of the younger men exclaimed with mock horror. “Have I grabbed hold of a thundercloud?”
“Don’t know about you,” the other man said drily, “but I seem to have attached myself to an enormous bar of iron. How else to explain its inflexibility?” He tried to shake Alex, to little avail. When he wanted to be, Alex was absolutely immovable.
Alex’s fingers loosened. He tugged his arms free and growled, “That’s enough, you donkeys.”
Thomas Powell, the Earl of Langdon and heir to the Duke of Northfield, grinned, a flash of white in his slightly unshaven face. “Come now, Greyland,” he chided. A hint of an Irish accent made his voice musical, evidence of Langdon’s early years spent in his mother’s native County Kerry. “Is that any way to speak to your oldest and dearest friends?”
“I’ll let you know when they get here.” Alex scowled at Langdon, then at Christopher Ellingsworth, who only smirked in response.
Alex took a step toward his carriage, but Ellingsworth deftly moved to block his path, displaying the speed and skill that had served him well when he’d fought on the Peninsula.
“Where are you running off to with such indecorous haste?” Ellingsworth pressed. He held up a finger. “Ah, never tell me. You’re running back to the shelter of your Mayfair cave, to growl and brood like some big black bear in a cravat.”
​“You know nothing,” Alex returned, despite the fact that Ellingsworth had outlined his exact plans for the rest of the night.
​Ellingsworth looked at Langdon with exaggerated pity. “Poor chap. The young Lady Emmeline has utterly shattered his heart.”
​Alex shouldered past Ellingsworth, only to have Langdon move to stand in his way.
​“My heart is not shattered because of Lady Emmeline,” Alex snapped. At least that much was the truth.
​“But why shouldn’t your heart be strewn in pieces throughout Regent’s Park?” Langdon mused. “You courted the young lady for several months, and you told Ellingsworth and I that you’d already received her father’s grateful acceptance of a marriage offer.”
​“She never agreed to anything,” Alex said flatly.
​“A modest girl, that Lady Emmeline.” Ellingsworth nodded with approval. “She wouldn’t have said yes right away. They never do. Nothing to be alarmed by.”
​“How would you know?” Alex’s voice was edged. Ellingsworth had little experience with offering for ladies’ hands, committed as he was to a life of reckless pleasure.
​Langdon added, “It’d be unseemly for an earl’s daughter to eagerly snap up a marriage proposal the moment it was offered.”
​Alex scowled. Despite the fact that, at thirty-eight, he was sixteen years her senior, they would suit well as a wedded couple. Lady Emmeline had been perfectly trained in the responsibilities of an aristocratic wife. Though he wished she stated her own opinion rather than constantly agreeing with him, there were worse faults one could find in a prospective bride.
​They could marry at Christmas, eight months from now. It would be a small but elegant wedding, followed by a lavish breakfast and a wedding journey in the Lake District. And then, if everything went well, in less than a year, Alex and Lady Emmeline might welcome their first child—hopefully a boy so the line would be secure. It would’ve been precisely the sort of match Alex’s
father would have approved, considering Lady Emmeline’s faultless background and her spotless reputation.
​“Look at him now, mooning away,” Langdon sighed, smugly thwarting Alex’s attempts to step around him. “He looks poorly.”
​It would be bad form to knock his friend to the ground. Damn the social niceties that dictated a man couldn’t punch another without repercussions.
​“Perhaps he should be bled,” Ellingsworth suggested with his habitual smirk. It was his constant companion since returning from the War, as if he refused to take anything seriously.
​“I am perfectly well.” Alex looked back and forth between these two rogues whom he called friends. “No need to call for a quack.”
​“He’s already had an amputation,” Langdon noted, raising a brow as he always did. “One prospective bride—gone.” He made a sawing motion at his ankle, as if cutting the shackles of matrimony.
Alex glanced down at his own lower leg, as if he could see the invisible links that might have bound him to Lady Emmeline. He’d come so close to becoming a married man and sharing the rest of his life with one woman—the faultless duke his father had bred him to be. It hardly mattered that Alex felt nothing for the gel other than a sense of distant respect. She would have made a fine duchess.
“We were at White’s yesterday when we heard about what happened,” Langdon said with disapproval. “Didn’t even tell your two closest friends that Lady Emmeline had run off with a cavalry officer. No, we had to hear it from Lord Ruthven, of all people.”

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Describe yourself in five words or less. Feminist who believes in HEA.

Can you tell us a little about your book? Alexander Lewis, the Duke of Greyland, met a beautiful, destitute widow and lost his heart to her—but she disappeared. Two years later, the duke finds Cassandra again as she manages a gaming hell. Alex is prepared to offer Cassandra everything, even his name, until he discovers a gut-wrenching truth. Cassandra is not a genteel widow. She’s a confidence artist, targeting aristocratic men with her swindles. Heartbroken and furious, Alex wants nothing to do with her. Fate steps in when Cassandra’s business partner vanishes with the profits from the gaming hell, leaving Cassandra at the mercy of dangerous people. In desperation, Cassandra turns to Alex for help. Delving into London’s underworld, they form an uneasy partnership as they track down her partner. Yet the passion they’d shared two years ago is nothing compared to their desire now. Can Alex protect himself, or will Cassandra once again steal his heart?

How did you come up with the concept and the characters for the story? As with my Wicked Quills of London series, I enjoy having characters that aren’t necessarily part of Regency High Society. I’m fascinated by confidence artists—their methods, their motivations—and thought it would be exciting to see what would happen when England’s most morally upright duke falls for a morally ambiguous woman.

What did you enjoy most about writing this book? Exploring the other, shadier side of Regency London was a lot of fun. That time period is so rich with possibility, with so many people of many different walks of life all living in one place. I also really enjoyed having Alex learn to lighten up a little and free his wild side. Nothing like a buttoned-up guy who loosens the reins of his control. (It turns out Alex likes talking dirty!)

What do you like to do when you aren’t writing? Baking is one of my favorite things to do, because, unlike writing, you finish with a tangible result. Plus, you make something delicious. I read, of course, and spend too much time on the internet. When I’m feeling industrious, I crochet little soft toys called amigurumi and give them to friends.

A la Twitter style, please describe your book in 140 characters or less. Uptight duke. Beautiful con artist. Trouble and sexytimes ahead.

Tell us all about your main characters—who are they? What makes them tick? Most importantly, what one thing would they need to have with them if stranded on a desert isle? 😉

Alex has been born and bred to be a duke. Everything he does falls within a strict code of responsibility and honor. He doesn’t fully understand degrees of morality. Having a brief, passionate affair with Cassandra two years ago was entirely out of character. Once she comes back into his life, he’s shocked and infuriated to learn that he was just another mark. He’s ready to write Cassandra off as a cold, calculating criminal—despite the fact that he still desires her. If Alex was stranded on a desert island, he’d need his walking stick. He doesn’t have an injury that requires it, but a walking stick can be a useful took for building shelters, using to hunt for food, or making it into a sundial. He’s a no-nonsense, practical guy!

Cassandra grew up alone on the rough streets of London. She had to learn how to survive in a brutal world. With no one to take care of her, she turned to crime as a way to keep from starving. Her life changed when she met a man who taught her the art of pretending to be a gentlewoman while swindling members of the gentry. Instead of sleeping on filthy hay, now she could rest her head on feather mattresses, and she had as much as she wanted to eat. She always thought of aristocrats as targets to be swindled, until she met Alex, who treated her with dignity and kindness. With Alex, she broke her rule of never sleeping with a mark, and later fled out of self-preservation. Cassandra is street wise, self-sufficient, and has learned to view everything with suspicion. Only Alex sneaks past her defenses. If she was stuck on a desert island, she’d be practical and take a small knife (which could also be used as a lock pick if she found buried treasure).

Do you have any advice to give to aspiring writers? Find a way to sit down in front of your computer and just start writing. Even when you doubt yourself, you have to keep going. It’s trite, but books really don’t write themselves. And also, enjoy the process of writing simply to write. Success isn’t a guarantee so we have to love what we do.

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Buy Links

AMAZON | B & N | IBOOKS | KOBO

Amazon Author Page

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Giveaway

(5 print copies of FROM DUKE TILL DAWN)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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About the Author

EVA LEIGH bw author photoEva Leigh is the pen name of a RITA® Award-nominated romance author who writes novels chock-full of smart women and sexy men. She enjoys baking, Tweeting about boots, and listening to music from the ’80s. Eva and her husband live in Southern California.

WEBSITE | FACEBOOK | TWITTER | GOODREADS | AMAZON