Spotlight, Excerpt & Giveaway: A LORD APART by Jane Ashford

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A LORD APART (The Way to a Lord’s Heart Book 2) by Jane Ashford

Publication Date: March 26, 2019

Genre: Historical Romance

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22FDE54D-1A0E-4E76-A4FD-716CF225D3D5Family secrets, an unlikely alliance—and a love neither expected…

After his parents’ sudden death, Daniel Frith, Viscount Whitfield, is struggling to unravel a web of chaotic family records. He is astonished to learn his father’s will contains a mysterious legacy: a house left to a complete stranger. He knows nothing about the beautiful Penelope Pendleton and he’s not sure he wants to…until she turns out to be a whiz at all those nasty tasks involved in estate administration…

Penelope has no idea why Rose Cottage was left to her. But it’s a godsend after her brother’s reckless actions disgraced her family. She had planned to stay out of Viscount Whitfield’s way, not grow ever closer to him. But when they discover how entwined their families really are, Daniel and Penelope must collaborate to avoid a scandal that reaches much higher than they could have guessed…

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“They taste good even if they look ridiculous,” said Daniel. He took a second bite of a Shrewsbury Cake that he’d shaped so ineptly. The room seemed different with Miss Pendleton installed in a chair beside his at the desk. Fresh and lovely in a blue cambric gown, she transformed it from a place of dry drudgery to a chamber full of possibility. She’d seemed harried when she first came in, but the sight of his documents, and the donning of her oddly charming dust sleeves, had visibly settled her.
She finished her cake. “That’s the great thing about pastry,” she said. “It’s still delicious even when you’ve sat on the box. Although eclairs are rather a challenge in that regard.”
Daniel raised an eyebrow. “That sounds like wisdom drawn from direct experience.”
Miss Pendleton nodded. “The…rather squashed looking Shrewsbury Cakes reminded me.”
“I must hear the story.”
Her smile was pensive, a little distracted. “As a special treat, my mother and I sometimes visited a bakeshop in a town near where we lived. Mama used to say the owner was an artist of the oven. On this particular day I insisted on carrying the box with its wonderful pink string. I was so proud, like an altar boy bearing the chalice.” She glanced at him. “I was four years old, you understand. I put the box on the seat of the carriage while I climbed up. Mama stepped in after me and sat on it.” She shook her head. “I hadn’t thought of that in ages.”
Daniel imagined how his own austere mother would have reacted to this misstep. “Was she annoyed?”
“Oh, worse than that.”
He had visions of a thundering scold, even a boxed ear.
“She burst into tears,” said Miss Pendleton.
The picture in his mind underwent a quick revision.
“She’d picked out a lemon tart, one of her favorite things in the world. She was looking forward to it as much as I was to my éclair. More, perhaps. And now they were both ruined.” She made a melancholy face. “So I had made my Mama cry.”
“Difficult.” Daniel started to point out that it wasn’t entirely her fault. Her mother might have been more careful about where she sat. But Miss Pendleton went on before he could speak.
“Utterly tragic for a small girl.”
“You might have gone back to the shop and replaced them.”
“I suppose. We didn’t. Perhaps there was a reason Mama had to be back. But in any case, she soon recovered. She was wonderful that way. She turned setbacks into…festivals.”
Rather like her daughter did with an upended life, Daniel thought. “How does one redeem squashed pastry?”
“Ah.” Miss Pendleton’s smile was impish now. “We took our flattened box to her sitting room and hid it away until a maid had brought tea for Mama and a glass of milk for me.”
“Hid it? Why?”
“We didn’t want to hurt Cook’s feelings by letting her know we’d bought pastry. She was very skillful, but not with sweets. So we always ate our treats in secret.”
“That was kind,” said Daniel. Had his parents had any such concerns about Frithgerd’s cook? Or any of the servants? He didn’t think so.
Miss Pendleton blinked rapidly. “My mother was extraordinarily kind.” She took a deep breath. “When the coast was clear, we spread open the box and ate spoonfuls of the…contents. We decided to call it an eclart. Which I still think is a very fine word.”
“Like a burst of excitement in your mouth,” he replied.
“Exactly!”
As their eyes met, alternative meanings for this phrase seemed to unfold between them. Daniel was suddenly conscious of the beautiful shape of her mouth, not far away at all. He wasn’t aware of leaning forward until he noticed that she’d done the same. They were inches apart. He wanted to wrap his arms around her, pull her close, and kiss her passionately, repeatedly, until they were both dizzy. He could just barely make himself sit back. The effort left him rigid, in more ways than one.
Penelope caught her breath. She hadn’t touched him, but it felt as if she had. The sense of connection had been as intense as an actual caress. She’d never experienced anything like it. She was suffused with longing. Did it show on her face? Was he wondering what was wrong? Her hand twitched. Their fingers brushed, and another bolt of sensation coursed through her.
Whitfield moved his hand away. He raised it, left it hovering in the air for a moment, then reached for another Shrewsbury Cake.
Penelope ordered her hands to stop trembling, and they obeyed. She’d learned to hide her feelings in the past year, as she discovered that a person being questioned by the authorities, particularly a woman, had to appear calm and rational at all times. Emotion roused suspicions and drew contempt. Interrogators might shout, and be seen as forceful, but they would pounce on the slightest tremor in their prey and call it instability. Not that Lord Whitfield was like that. She was muddling two very different things. She had to get hold of herself.
Picking up a page from one of the piles she hadn’t yet investigated, Penelope scanned the contents.

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The Happily Ever Organized Gift Set giveaway is live now and runs through 11:59 p.m. on April 20th. This super cute gift set includes a pack of Bloom floral file folders, three pretty gold pens, a Lemome Original notebook (it has pockets!), and two lovely floral teacups. What better prize to honor the two loveable nerds in this Regency Romance?!

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JANE ASHFORD, a beloved author of historical romances, has been published in Sweden, Italy, England, Denmark, France, Russia, Latvia, and Spain, as well as the United States. Jane has been nominated for a Career Achievement Award by RT Book Reviews. She lives in Los Angeles, California.

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Spotlight, Excerpt & Giveaway: BRAVE NEW EARL (The Way to a Lord’s Heart) by Jane Ashford

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BRAVE NEW EARL (The Way to a Lord’s Heart Series) by Jane Ashford

Publication Date: July 31, 2018

Genre: Historical Romance

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9781492663355_bravenewearlAn Earl mired in melancholy is no match for a determined woman… 

Widower Benjamin Romilly, Earl of Furness, has given up hope of finding happiness. His wife died in childbirth five years ago, leaving him with a broken heart and a child who only reminds him of his loss.

Miss Jean Saunders is a cousin by marriage. She doted on Benjamin’s late Countess, and can’t bear it when she hears rumors that the Earl is too bereaved to care for his young son. She arrives on the scene to evaluate his fitness as a father, and if necessary, to take his son away.

Jean’s sudden eruption into the Earl’s household simultaneously infuriates and invigorates him. She may be the only person who can breathe life into his neglected home—and his aching heart…

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Toward the far end of the attic, Jean came upon a row of leather trunks bound in brass. Resettling her lamp securely, she opened the first. The scent of camphor wafted out at her. Pushing aside a layer of tissue paper, she unearthed a swath of satin brocade in an exquisite shade of peach. Although the fashion of another era, it was one of the loveliest gowns she’d ever seen.

There was no one around, and she was so tired of the few outfits she had with her. She couldn’t resist. She slipped off her much plainer gown, placing it out of the dust on a sheet of tissue, and slithered her way into the peach creation.

The dress was a bit large on her. Fortunately, it laced up the side so she could reach to pull it tighter, but the shoulders still threatened to slip off. Her shift and stays showed above the low neckline, and without the elaborate underpinnings such a garment required, the skirt sagged around her in heavy folds. Even so, she felt very grand.

“Very elegant,” said an appreciative male voice.

Jean whirled and nearly lost the dress. She frowned at Lord Furness, who stood near the head of the attic stair, as she pushed the shoulders back into place. “What are you doing here?”

“This is my house.”

“Yes, but you went riding.”

“And I returned.” Benjamin strolled toward his disheveled houseguest. In his ancestress’s gown, Miss Saunders was an unsettling combination of little girl playing dress-up and lush courtesan, with her clothes falling off and her curling hair making a determined break for freedom.

She gathered the heavy skirts and retreated to a rank of trunks a little distance away. “I was just… I’ll put on my own gown.”

Benjamin walked a bit closer.

“If you will go away.”

“But I came up to help you look for toys for Geoffrey.” It was an increasing delight to tease her. There was something so charming about the look she got, which said she knew precisely what he was up to and refused to stoop to acknowledge it. And yet she couldn’t help but react.

“I haven’t found any.”

“Only a hoard of finery.” Benjamin walked along the row of trunks and glanced inside them. He picked up a satin coat. “I think I remember my grandfather wearing something like this, with lots of lace at his shirtfront. Perhaps it was this very coat.” He held it up and looked closer. “I’m not sure. He died when I was around Geoffrey’s age.” He smiled at his disheveled companion. “Grandpapa didn’t care much for change at the last. Or for what people thought of his appearance. He wore what he liked.” Geoffrey would have appreciated that attitude, Benjamin thought. “He had a dueling scar across his cheek.” His hand went to his own face to demonstrate. “A bit puckered and quite frightening, as I recall. They don’t seem to go together—all this frippery and bloody swordwork.”

“I imagine gentlemen took off their coats when dueling,” replied Miss Saunders.

Benjamin laughed.

“You should try it on,” she added in an odd tone.

He looked at her, hands clutching the brocade bodice to keep it from sliding off, a beam of sunlight shining through the uninhibited glory of her hair. Holding her gaze, Benjamin slowly took off his coat. “No wigs,” he said. “I draw the line there.”

“I haven’t found any,” she answered breathily.

He donned the bright satin garment. It fit well enough, only a little tight in the shoulders. It felt strange to have wide skirts around his legs. He made an elaborate bow. “Pon rep, my lady, I am so pleased to see you. I hope I find you in better health?”

“What do you mean, better?”

Benjamin straightened. Ive been concerned about you since—

“I’m fine,” she interrupted. “My…outburst in the library was quite uncharacteristic, I assure you. It won’t happen again.”

“No apology is necessary.”

“I wasn’t apologizing.” Coppery glints snapped in the depths of her eyes. “Only informing you that all is well.”

He didn’t believe her, though he couldn’t have said why. Her bearing and expression were calm, her manner quelling. Clearly, she didn’t want to talk about the bout of weeping, and he had no right to press her. Why should he wish to? “I don’t know how ladies moved about in those gowns.” He indicated the sweep of peach brocade trailing over the floorboards.

“With stately elegance,” she replied.

“That is to say, very slowly. Have you seen the sort of shoes they wore? Teetering along on four-inch heels must have made it hard to run away.”

“From what?” she asked with a quizzical glance.

“Anything.” Benjamin had spoken randomly. All his attention was on her, leaving his tongue unsupervised. “Bears.”

“Bears?” She laughed.

It was a delightful sound. Benjamin realized he hadn’t heard it nearly often enough. Irresistibly drawn, he stepped closer. “Or impertinent admirers.”

“The gentlemen wore heels, too,” Miss Saunders said. “So it would have been an equal race, mincing along the cobblestones in a satin-draped procession.”

She looked up at him, still smiling. Her eyes were suffused with warmth now, her lips a little parted, and Benjamin couldn’t help himself. He moved closer still and kissed her.

Just a brush of his mouth on hers, an errant impulse.He pulled back at once.

She leaned forward and returned the favor, as if purely in the spirit of experiment. Benjamin felt a startling shudder of desire.

In the next moment, she’d twined her arms around his neck, and they were kissing as if their lives depended on it. He buried his fingers in her hair, as he’d been longing to do for days. It sprang free and tumbled over his hands, a glorious profusion of curls. Hairpins rained onto the attic floor.

Then she pulled back and blinked at him, her eyes wide, dark pools. Her arms dropped to her sides. She took a step away, and another. “Oh.”

The small sound was a breath, a worry, anastonishment. Benjamin struggled with his arousal, glad now of the long, concealing coat.

Miss Saunders put her hands to her wild crown of hair. The lovely lines of her body were outlined in peach brocade and sunlight. “Oh dear.”

“I could help pin it up, if you like.” Benjamin bent and gathered a handful of hairpins.

“No, you couldn’t.”

He gave her the pins. “I have a deft hand,” he said.

“My hair is beyond deftness. It has to be wrestled into submission.”

He nearly lost his careful control at the phrase and the thoughts it elicited. “I have strong fingers.”

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5 Copies of The Duke Knows Best

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JANE ASHFORD, a beloved author of historical romances, has been published in Sweden, Italy, England, Denmark, France, Russia, Latvia, and Spain, as well as the United States. Jane has been nominated for a Career Achievement Award by RT Book Reviews. She lives in Los Angeles, California.

Website | Facebook | Goodreads

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Spotlight, Excerpt & Giveaway: THE DUKE KNOWS BEST by Jane Ashford

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THE DUKE KNOWS BEST (The Duke’s Sons, #5) by Jane Ashford

Publication Date: December 5, 2017

Genre: Historical Romance

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59CFE8AF-0265-4AAD-842E-37D79AC5658BThey’re wrong for each other, for all the right reasons…

Lord Randolph Gresham has come to London for one reason only-to find a suitable wife. Verity Sinclair may be intelligent, beautiful, and full of spirit, but her father knows a secret about Randolph that makes her entirely unsuitable as his bride. Not right for him at all, never, not a chance.

Verity knows that Lord Randolph lives in a country parish, and she wants nothing more than to escape to town. He may be fascinating, attractive, rich, and the son of a duke, but she’ll never marry him, nor will she talk to him, flirt with him, walk with him, or dine with him. She’ll sing a duet with him, but only this one time, and only because everyone insists.

But one duet invariably leads to another.

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Looking around the front hall of Langford House, with its soaring stair and rich marble floor, Verity judged it the grandest house she’d ever entered. Light poured down from high windows, glittered in a huge crystal chandelier, and gleamed in the gold stripes of the wallpaper. A hint of potpourri scented the air, along with beeswax and lemon. The clatter of the London streets didn’t penetrate the gracious silence. “Goodness,” murmured her mother. Verity was determined not to be intimidated.
A liveried footman led them through two beautiful reception rooms to the back of the house. He opened a door and stood back. Verity and her mother stepped over the threshold into a perfectly splendid music room. For a moment Verity forgot everything else as she took in the fine instruments waiting to be played, the older ones adorning the walls, and the piles of expensive sheet music. She could spend hours in a place like this and be blissfully happy, she thought.
And then a tall, stately woman came forward to greet them, and Verity was making her curtsy to the duchess, as well as wondering where Lord Randolph could be.
He hurried in on the heels of that thought. “I beg your pardon,” he said. “I was just… Mama, this is Mrs. Sinclair and Miss Verity Sinclair. Ladies, my mother.”
“Your Grace,” they murmured.
The duchess said, “Welcome to Langford House.” And with the warmth in her blue eyes and the ease of her smile, Verity felt the atmosphere in the room change from grandiose to relaxed. Or perhaps it was simply her own mood that had shifted, she thought. As they sat down and exchanged remarks about the weather and the season, she found she could talk to Lord Randolph’s mother with surprising ease.
“I know you have musical matters to discuss,” said the duchess after a while. She rose. “I will leave you to it. But I wanted to make sure you have all you need, Mrs. Sinclair.”
“You’re very kind.”
“I’ve seen to the arrangements, Mama,” said Lord Randolph.
“Sponge cakes and macaroons?” she asked.
“What else?”
The humorous look they exchanged gave Verity a glimpse into the Gresham family, which seemed a pleasant place. The door opened, and a maid came in with several sturdy working candles. “You said you’d bring some embroidery,” said Lord Randolph to Verity’s mother. “I wanted to make certain you had good light.”
The duchess gave him an approving nod and went out. Lord Randolph made a great production of getting Verity’s mother settled with the candles set just so and a cushion for her back and offers of tea or other refreshment. “So kind,” she murmured as she was settled in the front corner of the room.
Verity noticed that it was the corner farthest from the pianoforte. And that the special candles and cushions—which a less observant person might dismiss as finicky items for a man to consider—effectively rooted Mama at a distance. It was unlikely that she would overhear much of what they said, unless they started shouting. Which she might, if Lord Randolph tried to maneuver her in a similar way. And where had he acquired such skill at diverting chaperones?
“I’ve pulled out piles of music,” he said when they were at last free to begin. He led the way over to the table where the sheets were displayed. “I was thinking we should choose popular pieces rather than anything too complicated. Perhaps even repeat the song we did at Lady Tolland’s.”
Their eyes met, mirroring memories of that astonishing experience. Verity’s cheeks grew hot. A self-conscious silence stretched out. She could actually hear her mother’s needle prick the embroidery canvas.
Lord Randolph cleared his throat. “Ah, our audience at Carleton House will be varied,” he went on. “Not all will be particularly musical. But I’m eager to hear your opinion about the program, of course.”
He stopped and waited for her to speak. He gazed at her as if he actually wanted to know her views, and wasn’t just pausing to give the appearance of listening before telling her what to do. It was a point in his favor. “What about some Italian songs, varied with Scots or Irish ballads?” she suggested. “How long need we sing, do you think?”
“Long enough to satisfy the prince’s wounded vanity,” he responded wryly.
Verity looked down to hide a smile. “That sounds rather difficult to measure. An hour?”
“No more, certainly. We are doing a favor, not putting on a full concert. Shall we say six pieces? With one in reserve in case they insist on more?”
Verity agreed, and they looked through Mozart’s and Haydn’s arrangements of popular tunes and sheets of songs by Robert Burns and Thomas Moore. Langford House appeared to possess any piece one could desire, and Verity envied the bounty. She had to ration her purchases of sheet music on her allowance. The money her grandfather had left her was in trust until she married. And why was she thinking of that now? “‘Robin Adair’ would make a lovely base for a set of variations,” she said.
They bent over the music together. “It would indeed,” said Lord Randolph. He sat at the pianoforte and began to play the simple melody, and then to embellish it. Verity hummed along, following his elaborations. “Just here,” he said, playing intricate series of notes. She caught the idea at once. Spontaneously they sang a verse with the new adornments, their voices blending in a twining harmony. By the end they were staring at each other, mutually astonished.
“Very pretty,” said Verity’s mother from the corner.
It was as if he could predict exactly what she meant to sing, Verity thought. Or, perhaps, his musical impulses ran in precisely the same direction. The phrase in tune took on a whole new meaning as they ran through the entire song, consulted briefly, and then tried it again. The result was equally lovely and interesting, but different with the varying choices of the moment. This must be what it was like to be intoxicated, she thought, as she fell into the music and a give and take with this man she barely knew— somehow they vibrated to the same pitch.

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Enter to win a copy of Nothing Like a Duke by Jane Ashford!

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JANE ASHFORD, a beloved author of historical romances, has been published in Sweden, Italy, England, Denmark, France, Russia, Latvia, and Spain, as well as the United States. Jane has been nominated for a Career Achievement Award by RT Book Reviews. She lives in Los Angeles, California.

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Spotlight, Excerpt & Giveaway: LAST GENTLEMAN STANDING by Jane Ashford

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LAST GENTLEMAN STANDING by Jane Ashford

Publication Date: September 5, 2017

Genre: Historical Romance

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last gentleman standing coverA fortune hunter’s dream…

Miss Elisabeth Elham is an unlikely heiress. She never knew the curmudgeonly uncle who died suddenly and left her a fortune. She’s proud, outspoken and independent—a definite challenge for London’s fortune hunting suitors.

As various determined gentlemen vie for her attention at balls, routs, picnics and parties, Elisabeth finds herself embroiled with a charming rake, a mysterious nabob, and an elegant neighbor. This would all be great fun, if only she wasn’t so fascinated by the one man in London who’s not trying to woo her…

Rediscover this classic Regency romance! Originally titled Bluestocking, this classic story has been unavailable for over 25 years and is now returning from the vault!

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Elisabeth had recrossed a stile and was traversing an open field when she heard hoofbeats behind her. Turning, she was just in time to see the rider urge his magnificent chestnut up and over the fence she had just climbed. The form of both was flawless, and she forgot herself in her admiration of the jump, watching unself-consciously, as the horseman approached her.
The chestnut had white feet and was one of the most beautiful and spirited animals she’d ever seen. He moved with the ease and power of a true thoroughbred and might have made almost any rider appear insignificant, but the man on his back matched his quality. He looked to be tall, and his figure was well-molded and athletic. His buckskin breeches fitted him to perfection, and his coat fairly cried out its fashionable origin in the workrooms of a Weston or a Stultz. Elisabeth had seen a few gentlemen of the haut ton in Bath, and she knew enough to recognize that the deceptive simplicity of the folds of his cravat and the carefully casual arrangement of his hair were the signs of a veritable tulip, a top-of-the-trees corinthian. At that moment, she met his slightly mocking gaze and looked down in confusion, recalling herself with annoyance. She had been gaping like a schoolgirl, she thought.
The rider pulled up before her. “I almost feel I’ve been in a competition,” he said. His voice was deep and resonant. “I hope you gave me full points for that jump.”
Elisabeth looked up. His eyes were pale blue, she noted, in spite of his black hair and rather dark complexion. “I was staring quite rudely, I know,” she replied. “I beg your pardon. But I was transfixed by the way your horse took that fence.”
The man patted the chestnut’s neck, “He’s wonderful, is Tristram.”
“Tristram?” repeated Elisabeth, smiling. “That’s an uncommon name for a horse. Do you take it from Tristram Shandy?”
The rider looked at her with much more interest than he’d first shown. “Yes, I’m fond of Sterne.”
“Oh, it is my favorite of all books. I thought hardly anyone read it now.”
He smiled back at her somewhat quizzically. “And I should hardly have thought it fit reading for young ladies.” He surveyed her. He was the despair of his mother and several aunts, who had all at one time or another introduced to him dazzling debutantes calculated to urge him into marriage. But though he’d treated them politely, he’d been extremely bored in their company and really had very little notion of what to say to conventional young women. Seeing that Elisabeth was a bit uncomfortable under his gaze, he continued, “But then I rarely find young ladies wandering about my land unattended. So I can’t quite make you out. Are you someone’s governess, perhaps? Do you teach your pupils from Sterne?” His amused smile faded as he went on before she could answer. “No, that doesn’t seem right.”
Looking down at her drab garments, Elisabeth laughed. “I’m sure I don’t know why you say so. I do look very like a governess. In fact, until a few weeks ago, I was a teacher at a seminary for young ladies. Now that my uncle has obligingly left me his fortune, I shall have to change my style of dress.”
“Uncle?” he asked. His eyes narrowed. “You can’t mean old Anthony Elham? I heard of his death.”
“Yes. I am Elisabeth Elham. Though it is not at all the thing to go about introducing oneself to strange men,” she told herself reflectively.
The rider laughed. “I hope I’m not strange. But I beg pardon. I should have made myself known to you immediately. I am your neighbor, Derek Wincannon. Do you mean to say that old Elham has left you Willowmere?”
Elisabeth shrugged. “It is part of the estate. And a very ramshackle part, I must say. I have never seen so neglected a house.”
“It’s the scandal of the neighborhood,” said Mr. Wincannon. “Your uncle was a shocking landlord and a worse neighbor.”
“From what I heard of him,” answered Elisabeth, “he was uniformly shocking. I’m rather sorry I never met him.” The man laughed again. “But in any case, you may inform the neighborhood that I shall be putting the place to rights as soon as I may.”
“That’s good news. Will you be settling there?”
“No. At least, not immediately. I shall live in London for a time, at Elham House.”
“For the season, I assume.”
“Yes, I’ll be bringing out my cousin.”
You are bringing out someone? I’d have thought it would be the other way about.”
“Oh, no,” Elisabeth smiled. “I’m beyond that sort of thing. Quite on the shelf, in fact,” she added lightly.
“I see it now,” he responded dryly, “a veritable antique. How can I have mistaken you for girl in her twenties?”
She laughed. “Well, I daresay I shall attend a few parties also, if I’m asked.”
He smiled. “There can be little doubt of that, I should think. You’ll wish to sample the gaities of the season and attend the assemblies at Almack’s.”
“Almack’s? Oh, no, I shouldn’t think so.”
He raised his eyebrows.
“My father used to tell me stories about London, and he was most severe on Almack’s. He called it the Marriage Mart and painted such a vivid picture of the trials young girls undergo as they are catalogued and labeled according to their faces and fortunes that he gave me quite a horror of the place. I don’t at all wish to go there now.”
Mr. Wincannon’s interest was definitely caught. “Now?”
“Well, of course I might have done so some years ago had I been offered the opportunity,” Elisabeth explained obligingly. “When one is thrown penniless upon the world at the age of nineteen, one is willing to try any shift to come about again. I was very willing then to marry to make my fortune. But I wasn’t given the chance, and how fortunate that was, really. For now, you see, there is no need.”
Derek Wincannon laughed. “You are a most unusual girl,” he said.
“Because I prefer to order my own life now that I have the means to do so?” asked Elisabeth. “I’m persuaded you can’t really think so. Would you give up your independence without need? No indeed. When I was desperate and might have married, no one dared offer for me. I certainly won’t encourage anyone to do so now that I have an income.”
“Much good that will do you, I should say.”

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After enjoying this classic romance, dive into Jane Ashford’s current series, The Dukes Sons! Enter to win a copy of Heir to the Duke by Jane Ashford

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JANE ASHFORD, a beloved author of historical romances, has been published in Sweden, Italy, England, Denmark, France, Russia, Latvia, and Spain, as well as the United States. Jane has been nominated for a Career Achievement Award by RT Book Reviews. She lives in Los Angeles, California.

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Spotlight, Excerpt & Giveaway: NOTHING LIKE A DUKE by Jane Ashford

IMG_8268 NOTHING LIKE A DUKE (The Duke’s Sons, #4) by Jane Ashford

Publication Date: May 2, 2017

Genre: Historical Romance

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9781492621652-PRHe wants her.
She has no intention of wanting him.
But even Flora has to admit…
There’s nothing like a Duke.

Lord Robert Gresham has given up all hope that the beautiful and independent Flora Jennings will ever take him seriously. He heads to an exclusive country house party to forget about the beauty haunting his thoughts.

Too bad the lady in question has no intention of being forgotten.

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NLAD Spotlight

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A protruding bit of bramble caught the side of Flora’s pelisse. She twisted to reach for it, and a whole raft of briars shifted with her, entangling the other side of her skirts, her right arm, and the brim of her bonnet. If she pulled away, it would rip the cloth. She struggled a little; more thorns dug in. “Blast it, I suppose you were right, you wretched dog,” she exclaimed, and discovered that Plato was gone.
Flora lifted a hand to free her hat. The movement tipped another part of the bush, which swayed and seemed to grab at her. A second branch lodged in her bonnet. She felt several claw at her back. A stem lashed across her neck. That one drew blood. She tried to step back, and was pricked by more thorns, through her clothes, from all directions.
Flora went very still. She saw that the path petered out just ahead. Or perhaps this hadn’t been a path at all, but merely a deceptive opening in the vegetation. She hadn’t been paying attention. She tried again to move. She was trapped in a sea of briars. The thorns were long and wickedly barbed. They pricked the skin of her neck, her arm, her back, her side.
She became aware of a rustling in the leaves near her feet. What next? The badgers? Snakes? No, of course not snakes. It was far too cold.
A small black-furred head poked through an opening at the base of the briars. Evading the thorns with no visible effort, Plato emerged and stared up at her. “Oh, you’re back, are you?” said Flora. He sat down at her feet. “Come to gloat? Point out that if I’d followed you, I wouldn’t be in this predicament?”
Plato looked at her. Not judgmentally, because that was impossible.
“Go fetch help,” commanded Flora. The dog didn’t move. “Some clever gardeners. A footman from the house. Anyone. Go!”
“Plato? Where are you, you dratted animal?” called a voice nearby.
“Lord Robert?” she called.
There was a short silence. “Flora?”
“Yes. I’ve, ah, become entangled in some brambles. Plato doesn’t appear to care in the least. Or, actually, he’s staring at me as if it was all my fault.” She frowned down at the dog. “Does he ever blink? He’s really a bit uncanny, don’t you—”
Robert appeared on the path. “Good God!” He started forward.
“Be careful! It’s very easy to get caught. If you touch one branch, the whole mass moves.”
“I see.” He examined the arching stems. “You really are caught, aren’t you?” His lips twitched.
“If you laugh, I’ll…make you sorry,” Flora promised. Plato made one of his odd grumpy gargling sounds. “And you! I’ll find a badger and hand you over to him.”
Robert choked. “So, would you say you’re in need of rescue?”
“Just get me out!”
Robert moved a few steps closer. He could see that the thorns had barbs like fishhooks, ready to rip and tear if not removed very carefully. There was a trickle of blood on Flora’s neck. After a moment of calculation, he eeled between two branches. He had to stop once and detach thorns from his sleeve before he reached her side.
“These things are diabolical,” she said. “When I turned to pull loose, they seemed to…sort of lunge at me.”
“Stay very still.”
“I know!” She let out a huff of breath. “I beg your pardon. This is…rather irritating.” She smiled an apology.
Robert felt a catch in his chest, as if his heart had stumbled briefly. “Right then. Move back, Plato,” he said. For once, the little dog obeyed him, slipping easily out to a more open spot.
He began on the closest branch, embedded in the skirts of Flora’s pelisse. He had to kneel to reach it properly. His knife was small for the tough fibers. The bush swayed as he sawed at the branch. A spray of thorns rasped across his hair, but didn’t catch hold.
Robert soon pricked his skin. There was no way to hold the branch still without being stuck, and he’d left his gloves indoors when he’d seen Plato shoot wildly out of the bushes and then go haring off again.
Blood made the blasted thing slippery. Robert got out his handkerchief, used it to wrap the branch, and went back to work. At last, he was through. The severed stem sprang back a little, he was glad to see, giving him a few inches of working room. He looked up. “One down,” he said with a smile.
The heated gaze he encountered went through him like a thunderbolt. He was suddenly acutely aware of his position, right in among her skirts. His shoulder rested against her thigh. The scent of her—flowery perfume and sheer female—enveloped him.
“You’ve hurt yourself,” she said.
“It’s nothing.” Intensely aroused, Robert eased to his feet. Flora smiled at him again. Her fierce blue eyes raked him. He knew, absolutely, that she was remembering their kisses.
The next branch was wrapped around her far sleeve. He had to press close to her to avoid the briars at his back as he reached for it. And stay there while he cut through the stringy fiber of the bramble. The feel of her—curve of breast and hip, her cheek resting on his chest—made him clumsier. At one point a thorn drove deep into the pad of his index finger, and he stifled an oath.
Flora was having trouble breathing. She could feel his heartbeat, so near her ear, accelerating in tandem with her own. She could feel his muscles shift against her as he cut at the brambles. If she looked up, carefully, she could see his face—handsome, intent. The lips that had thrilled her were only inches away. But she couldn’t move enough to offer her own again. She had to remain very still, plastered against him.

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JANE ASHFORD, a beloved author of historical romances, has been published in Sweden, Italy, England, Denmark, France, Russia, Latvia, and Spain, as well as the United States. Jane has been nominated for a Career Achievement Award by RT Book Reviews. She lives in Los Angeles, California.

Social Media Links: Website | Facebook | Goodreads

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Spotlight, Excerpt & Giveaway: First Season/Bride to Be by Jane Ashford

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First Season/Bride to Be by Jane Ashford

Publication Date: October 6, 2015

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imageTwo classic Regency romances by beloved bestselling author Jane Ashford celebrate the adventures of a London Season

FIRST SEASON

Widowed Lady Anabel Wyndham was married right out of the schoolroom and has never before experienced the delights of a London Season. She’s dazzled by the attention of the fascinating Sir Charles Norbury, a man whose touch seems to melt her very soul, but a notorious rake. She’s drawn to handsome friend-of-the-family Christopher Hanford and the comfort and serenity he offers. But how does one choose between two such charming suitors? Anabel is finding that love is so much more dangerous the second time around.

BRIDE TO BE

Emily Crane is the toast of the ton—and she couldn’t find it more tedious. Until she encounters the darkly sensual stranger whose life she once saved and the London Season becomes infinitely more exciting. Recently returned from the wilds of South America, Lord Richard Sheldon has only contempt for tiresome London chits, but he finds himself stunningly intrigued by the dauntless Emily Crane. When the two become embroiled in a budding scandal and are forced into an engagement, they discover a passion more dangerous than any killer…

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“There you are,” said someone from the hall below. “They said you had gone upstairs.”

Anabel looked down to find Sir Charles Norbury gazing up at her. A tingling shock ran through her body, and the candle trembled a little, dripping wax.

“You have missed the first waltz,” he added, meeting her at the bottom of the staircase and taking the candlestick from her hand. He snuffed the flame between forefinger and thumb and set it aside. “And I came early especially to engage you for it.”

“I wanted to look in on the children.” As always, his presence overwhelmed her. He seemed to tower over her, yet his pale green eyes felt close and compelling. She found it hard to breathe.

“It is a country dance now, unfortunately. Mayn’t we wait outside here for the next and hope?” He smiled and reached for her hand to lead her across to a small empty anteroom.

Anabel knew she should say no, but her voice seemed to have died, and she went with him silently and allowed him to escort her to a sofa and sit beside her, his arm thrown along its back.

“You look exquisite tonight,” he said softly. “The loveliest woman at the ball.”

This outrageous compliment revived her. “What a plumper. There are dozens of prettier ones.”

“No.”

“Flatterer.” She smiled, but when she met his eyes, they were very serious.

“No,” he said again. “To me you are the most beautiful.” He held her gaze for a moment, then slowly bent forward and took possession of her lips, his arm tightening around her shoulders.

Anabel’s slight trembling increased, and her mind dissolved in confusion. She should pull away, part of it cried; this was terribly fast, and someone might come in at any moment. But another part urged her on, fascinated by Sir Charles’ attractions and filled with curiosity.

His kiss was very expert, and nothing at all like her deceased husband’s, Anabel’s only standard of comparison. His lips seemed to draw all strength out of her, leaving her limp and pliant, yet she felt disconnected from the expected sensual pleasure. He knew how to draw response from her body, clearly, but her heart and mind remained in turmoil.

Norbury, on the contrary, was in the grip of feelings stronger than any he had ever experienced, and for him the kiss confirmed a decision. This was the woman he wanted. Never had his passions been suffused with such emotion. Beyond thinking, he moved his free hand to Anabel’s knee and slid it upward caressingly, savoring the curve of her waist under the thin satin dress and cupping his fingers around her breast. She drew her breath in sharply.

A scuff of footsteps in the hall, followed by a scrap of conversation and a laugh, jerked Anabel upright. She pulled away from him only just in time to avoid being caught by two couples coming into the room. But it was obvious in the way that the newcomers stopped, smiled, and apologized that their appearance gave them away. Anabel rose and hurried from the room, Norbury behind her. Her cheeks were flaming, and she felt that she could not possibly face the crowd in the ballroom.

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3 copies of Jane Ashford’s First Season / Bride to Be historical romance duology

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imageimageJane Ashford discovered Georgette Heyer in junior high school and was captivated by the glittering world and witty language of Regency England. That delight led her to study English literature and travel widely in Britain and Europe. Her historical and contemporary romances have been published in Sweden, Italy, England, Denmark, France, Russia, Latvia, Slovenia, and Spain, as well as the U.S. Twenty-six of her new and backlist Regency romances are being published by Sourcebooks. Jane has been nominated for a Career Achievement Award by RT Book Reviews. She is currently rather nomadic.

Social Media Links: Website | Facebook | Goodreads

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