Spotlight, Excerpt & Giveaway: AN AFFAIR WITH A SPARE by Shana Galen

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AN AFFAIR WITH A SPARE (The Survivors) by Shana Galen

Publication Date: July 3, 2018

Genre: Historical Romance

Synopsis

6D650C84-78E8-45EC-99DF-0AAA7F28F4F0He’s turned seduction into an art form…

Rafe Beaumont, fifth son of an earl, uses his irresistible charm with the ladies to glean dangerous war secrets. Now he’s putting those skills to the ultimate test: capturing an elusive assassin by seducing his daughter. The problem? She’s entirely immune to Rafe’s flattery.

Never before has Collette Fortier met a man as attractive as Rafe. But her father’s life is at stake, and succumbing to Rafe would be disastrous. But when Rafe turns the tables on her, offering support and friendship instead of a fleeting affair, Collette finds herself tempted in ways she never could have imagined…

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Excerpt

In this excerpt from An Affair With a Spare Rafe Beaumont rescues Collette Fournay from an out of control carriage.

 Collette smiled, looking down to hide the expression. When she looked back up, a scream lodged in her throat. The three of them had been forced very near the street because of the people passing them on their way to the museum. And on the street, headed straight for them, was a large cart, the sort used to move heavy items, and it careened toward them at breakneck pace. It seemed something had spooked the team pulling it because the horses were wild eyed and out of control. The driver half stood, whip in hand, hollering at the top of his lungs, but the horses paid no attention. They headed straight for the walkway. Straight for Collette, who had been walking on Beaumont’s other side, closest to the street.

She barely had a moment to react, and her reaction was quite ridiculous. She stopped, crouched, and covered her head. She knew the defensive posture was ridiculous, but she couldn’t seem to summon the will to run, which would have been smarter, although probably just as useless. Collette closed her eyes and said a prayer, waiting for the bone-jarring impact of the carriage on her person.

Instead, she felt strong arms lift her by the waist and drag her away. Then she was falling, something heavy falling beside her.

When she opened her eyes, she realized she must have been killed. The most beautiful man was looking down at her, his violet eyes only inches from hers. And he spoke, but she couldn’t hear him over the high-pitched ringing in her ears. The sunlight lit him from behind. He looked over his shoulder and more people gathered, blocking out the light.

People. Not angels.

This was not heaven but London, and the angel had been Rafe Beaumont.

She tried to speak, but her lungs burned and she could not find her voice.

“Just lie still, Miss Fournay,” Beaumont said. She could hear him, hear everything around her, the sound returning slowly like each piece of an orchestra added one after another.

“You’ve had quite a scare,” he said.

She nodded, still unable to speak. Then she remembered Lady Ravensgate and looked about frantically for the woman. Though Collette did not particularly like her sponsor, she needed the woman to stay in contact with the royalists who had her father.

“She is fine,” Beaumont said, seeming to read her thoughts. “I shoved her aside and then went back for you. I think she may have hurt her ankle. A woman and a man who claims to be a physician are with her. Are you hurt anywhere?”

She didn’t know. She couldn’t feel her body.

“Just stay still, then. I will take you home and see to everything. If you’ll excuse me for one moment.”

“No!” She grabbed his hand, holding on tightly so he could not move away. Her voice sounded strained, as though she had pushed it through a tight opening. “Stay with me.”

“I won’t leave you, sweetheart.” He touched her cheek with one gloved hand. “But I must see to Lady Ravensgate. I promise I will be right back.”

Collette knew she should release his hand, but she could not seem to manage to uncurl her fingers.

“I won’t leave you,” he said. “I won’t ever leave you. Do you believe me?”

She did. His eyes, his beautiful eyes, were so sincere.

Though it terrified her, she let him go. As soon as he moved away, feeling seemed to come back to her body. Everything hurt. Her back, her arms, her head. She had fallen hard, and though she didn’t think anything was broken, every bit of her felt battered and bruised. She closed her eyes against the sting of tears. She could hear the people around her whispering and murmuring about her. How she wanted to move away, to have her privacy back. The whispers and the crowds looking at her reminded her too much of Paris. But then the crowds had not murmured with sympathy. They’d whispered out of fear.

She felt a cool hand on her cheek and opened her eyes again. Beaumont was there, his bare hand on her skin. “Can you stand, sweetheart?”

“Yes,” she whispered. She tried to rise, to make her body do as she commanded, but when she lifted her head, the world spun. “Give me a moment,” she said, putting her fingers to her temple.

“Don’t move,” Beaumont said. “I have you.”

Collette tried to protest when he lifted her into his arms. She did not need to be carried, especially not in front of the prying eyes, but there was no point in arguing. He was already carrying her and doing so with very little effort. He seemed to behave as though she weighed nothing, carrying her as one might carry an infant.

And there was another reason she did not object. She liked being in his arms. The scent of him—spices and musk—tickled her nose. She leaned her head against his strong shoulder and breathed him in. His arms tightened around her, strong arms, powerful arms that cradled her against a muscled chest. For all his appearances, this was not a man given to idleness. She wondered if he would look like the men the Greeks had sculpted. If his legs would be as shapely, his torso as defined, his buttocks as round. And then because the very thought of him naked made her blush, she closed her eyes again.

He carried her into the hackney. When the door closed and Beaumont called out the direction, sheopened her eyes again. He hadn’t set her down, and she found herself on his lap, her arms around his neck. Across from them, the seat was empty.

“Lady Ravensgate!”

“I sent her with the physician and his wife. They had a private carriage, and I thought she would be more comfortable.”

“I see. That was thoughtful of you.” Except that it left the two of them alone.

~*~*~*~

Buy Links

Kindle | Amazon Paperback

~*~*~*~

Giveaway

Shana Galen Prize Pack

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

 

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About the Author

imageShana Galen is the national bestselling author of fast-paced adventurous Regency historicals, including the RT Reviewers’ Choice The Making of a Gentleman. Her books have been sold in Brazil, Russia, and the Netherlands and featured in the Rhapsody and Doubleday Book Clubs. A former English teacher in Houston’s inner city, Shana now writes full time. She is a happily married wife and mother of a daughter and a spoiled cat and lives in Houston, Texas.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

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Spotlight, Excerpt & Giveaway: NO EARLS ALLOWED by Shana Galen

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NO EARLS ALLOWED (The Survivors) by Shana Galen

Publication Date: March 6, 2018

Genre: Historical Romance

Synopsis

FE41CB54-D7BC-47BF-A97A-72FEF475C623It is a truth universally acknowledged
that a lady can do anything a man can do:
backwards and in high-heeled dancing slippers.

Lady Juliana, daughter of the Earl of St. Maur, needs all the help she can get. She’s running a ramshackle orphanage, London’s worst slumlord has illicit designs on her, and her father has suddenly become determined to marry her off.

Enter Major Neil Wraxall, bastard son of the Marquess of Kensington, sent to assist Lady Juliana in any way he can. Lucky for her, he’s handy with repairs, knows how to keep her and the orphans safe, and is a natural leader of men.

Unfortunately for both of them, the scandal that ensues from their mutual attraction is going to lead them a merry dance…

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Excerpt

In this scene, Lady Juliana must deal with a local crime lord who threatens her and the orphanage she loves. Fortunately, she’s saved, for the moment, by a handsome guest.

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His hand came down hard on her shoulder, and she flinched from the feel of his leather gloves on her bare skin. “Allow me to remind you, Lady Juliana. I offered you my protection.”
“Thank you very much.” She slid out of his grip. “Now, if you will excuse—”
“Stop playing games. I am a man of business, and you are not a stupid woman. There are dangerous men about, and you and the children who live here need a protector.”
Julia didn’t need to translate his words. He was the dangerous man.
“I am offering you my protection for a small fee.”
Small fee? “I do believe you mentioned one thousand pounds, Mr. Slag. That is no small fee.”
“Your father is an earl.”
“Yes, and most of his money is tied up in lands.”
“There is another option.” He moved closer, his round belly brushing against her dress. “You can pay the fee by offering me a place in your bed. You’re an attractive woman.” His gaze slid to her breasts, making her skin itch. “And even the gentry like a bit of slap and tickle. What do you say, Julia?”
Though abhorrent to her, he made the proposal in earnest. He probably thought it more than fair, and if she had been another woman she might have agreed without blinking an eye. Her father had tried to marry her off to men ranging from elderly to lecherous. What did Slag propose but a similar arrangement without the permanence of the vows?
But Julia had not come to Spitalfields to end up some man’s plaything. She could have stayed home in Mayfair and become a kept woman. Which meant her answer to Slag was an unqualified, Never. No! Not ever.
But one did not say such things to Mr. Slag and walk away with one’s brains intact. Julia liked her head round, not smashed flat on the carpet. And so she smiled and chose one of the many phrases she knew and had used in the past on the sons of dukes and viscounts and lowly barons. “Sir, you flatter me with your proposal, but this is all so sudden.”
“Then maybe you just need a bit of persuading.” He reached for her, and she took a step back. Dear God. She dearly hoped this would not turn into him chasing her about the parlor. And why hadn’t she seen this coming? The problem was that she spent only part of the week within the walls of the St. Dismas Home for Wayward Youth—er, rather Sunnybrooke Home for Boys, as she had renamed it. And during that time she was so absorbed with the problems of the boys and running the orphanage, she had no time to consider how to deal with Mr. Slag. And when she might have snatched a moment to deal with the problem, she had to return to Mayfair to be thrust into the world of the ton, and then Slag and Sunnybrooke seemed so far away.
But Slag was not far away now. He was far too near and her strategy of ignoring him and hoping he’d go away would not work this time.
She took another step back, and he followed, but she was saved from running behind her desk when someone tapped on the parlor door.
“Come in!” she yelled. “Please!”
The door opened to reveal Mr. Goring. “Sorry to interrupt, my lady.”
“Not at all, Mr. Goring. Come in.” She crossed to him and pulled him inside. “You should join us.”
He frowned at her as though the ways of the upper classes were foreign and mysterious to him. “You have another caller, my lady.”
Julia frowned. Another caller? Who on earth would be calling on her here? “Do you know the caller?”
“No, my lady. He says it’s a matter of—what was the word?—urgency.”
He? Then the thought struck her. It was a representative from the bank. Perhaps the board had made good on its threat not to pay the mortgage and the bank had come to close her down.
“Tell him to come back later,” Slag ordered.
“No!” Bank representative or no, whoever it was would be an improvement on Slag. “Show him in, Mr. Goring.”
Goring looked from her to Slag.
“Go on, Mr. Goring,” she said as forcefully as she could. “Show him in.”
“Maybe I should come back at a more opportune time,” Slag said.
“Please do, Mr. Slag. I am so sorry we were interrupted.”
“May I call on you tonight?”
“Tonight? No. I’m very, very busy tonight.”
He lifted his stick then crossed to her and took her hand. At some point during their little dance, he’d removed his gloves, and as she’d removed hers in the kitchen, the press of his bare fingers on hers made her throat tighten.
“You can’t put me off forever, Lady Juliana,” he said softly. “Lest you forget, I’m a man who gets what I want. And the longer you make me wait, the more I want.”
With that he strolled out of the room, jostling the man entering. The two stopped, looked each other up and down, and then with a warning glare, Slag went on his way.
The other man watched him, then strode into the room. “Friend of yours?” he asked.
Julia let out a breath then caught it again. She blinked at the man before her, but she had not dreamed him. He was better than any dream her mind might have conjured. It was as though he had just stepped out of a painting depicting a god or an angel. He was tall but not so tall she had to crane her neck to look up at him, and he had olive skin with a touch of gold. His thickly lashed eyes were the most beautiful shade of blue she had ever seen. She had never been to the Mediterranean Sea, but this was what she imagined the waters would look like. His hair brushed his collar, the thick waves falling about his face. With a cupped hand, he brushed them back in what must have been a habitual gesture, then seeming to remember his manners, bowed to her.
His bow and the attention it drew to his clothing told her everything she needed to know. This man was no crime lord. He was of her father’s ilk. Her ilk, when she was playing the part of Lady Juliana in Mayfair drawing rooms. His dark coat fit snugly over broad shoulders, his cravat was snowy white against bronze skin, and his breeches strained quite nicely over muscled thighs…
She tried to speak over the pounding of her heart. “You will forgive me, sir, if I do not recall having met you before.” She hadn’t met him. If she’d met him, she would not have forgotten.

~*~*~*~

39B2882E-E1A2-4BED-A967-D64420EC42FD

Buy Links

Kindle | Amazon Paperback

~*~*~*~

Giveaway

Shana Galen Prize Pack with Wine Charm

a Rafflecopter giveaway

~*~*~*~

About the Author

imageShana Galen is the national bestselling author of fast-paced adventurous Regency historicals, including the RT Reviewers’ Choice The Making of a Gentleman. Her books have been sold in Brazil, Russia, and the Netherlands and featured in the Rhapsody and Doubleday Book Clubs. A former English teacher in Houston’s inner city, Shana now writes full time. She is a happily married wife and mother of a daughter and a spoiled cat and lives in Houston, Texas.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

Spotlight, Excerpt & Giveaway: THIRD SON’S A CHARM by Shana Galen

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THIRD SON’S A CHARM (The Survivors Book 1) by Shana Galen

Publication Date: November 7, 2017

Genre: Historical Romance

Synopsis

E5CD2001-CA5A-4E1C-A2FE-AD08D3184821Ewan Mostyn thinks a job as a duke’s daughter’s bodyguard will be easy—but Lady Lorraine has a few tricks up her sleeve that spark an undeniable passion

Fiercely loyal to his friends and comrades, Ewan Mostyn is the toughest in a group of younger sons of nobility who met as soldiers and are now trying desperately to settle back into peaceful Society. Ewan trusts his brawn more than his brains, but when he’s offered a job watching the Duke of Ridlington’s stubbornly independent daughter, he finds both are challenged.

Lady Lorraine wants none of her father’s high-handed ways, and she’ll do everything in her power to avoid her distressingly attractive bodyguard—until she lands herself in real trouble. Lorraine begins to see Ewan’s protectiveness in a new light, and she can only hope that her stoic guardian will do for her what he’s always done—fight for what he loves.

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Excerpt

Lady Lorraine manages to sneak off to meet Francis, her would-be-lover in the garden. Ewan Mostyn tracks them down and interrupts Lady Lorraine trying to convince Francis to kiss her.

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“Kiss me,” she said, looking up at Francis with adoring eyes the bastard did not deserve in the least. “I could wait forever if you would but kiss me.”
It was perhaps the silliest speech Ewan had ever heard. It was the sort of thing he expected one of Beaumont’s women to say, and yet despite the melodrama of the sentiment, at that moment Ewan hated Francis more than he ever had when his cousin had been his daily tormentor.
His loathing was so strong and so incomprehensible that Ewan regained control of his body and stepped out from behind the topiary.
Francis saw him first, and he stiffened and stepped back, putting a respectable distance between himself and Lady Lorraine. His expression was wary and, to Ewan’s satisfaction, frightened. The lady spun around as well, but her face showed no fear, only annoyance. She gave a long sigh. “Mr. Mostyn, I believe you know your cousin, Mr. Mostyn.”
“Ewan.” Francis looked him up and down. “We seem to keep meeting. Run along now. Lady Lorraine and I were having a private word.”
Ewan held out his hand to Lady Lorraine. “Come.”
“I see your vocabulary remains much the same,” Francis remarked. “As I’m certain you will use your simple grunts and growls to inform His Grace about this meeting, be sure to mention that I did nothing improper.”
“More’s the pity,” Lady Lorraine muttered. “At least the lecture and scolding would have been worth it.”
Ewan had the urge to laugh. Instead, he beckoned her with his outstretched hand. She did not take it. “I am not a dog, Mr. Mostyn. You needn’t crook your finger at me.”
Francis bowed. “I see I am no longer needed. My lady, sleep well tonight. I will see you…soon.” With what Ewan perceived was to be a meaningful look, Francis marched in the direction of Carlton House.
Since the lady seemed to have such an objection to them, Ewan folded his arms across his chest. He waited for her to speak. He felt he should say something, but he was not certain what that something should be. He had supposed Francis to be taking advantage of the lady, while it appeared she was the one intent on ruination. Francis was no paragon of honor and virtue, and Ewan would have liked little more than to beat the man to a pulp. But he could not fault his cousin for the scene he’d witnessed tonight.
“You won’t tell my father, will you?” Lady Lorraine finally broke the silence.
Ewan let out a breath of surprised air—half laugh, half incredulity.
The lady grasped his forearm. “If you do, it will not only doom me, but it will reflect badly on you as well.”
Ewan inclined his head, acknowledging the point. He’d made mistakes before, and he always took his punishment like a man. He was not much of a gentleman, but he had retained enough of his upbringing to know that one did not lie or cheat to avoid trouble. One faced the consequences of his mistakes with head held high. “Then so be it.”
She gaped at him. “You do not even care? You will be dismissed.”
Ewan blew out a breath. He did care. He cared very much, much more than he wanted to admit to.
Her hand on his forearm tightened, and he looked down at her. The damned chit was shivering with cold. Ewan was impervious to all but the coldest temperatures, but she looked almost blue. “Very well. Tell him. Nothing happened anyway.”
“Not for your lack of trying. I should tell your father you don’t need a bodyguard. You need to be locked in a convent.”
Now her eyes narrowed, and she released his arm as though it were filth she could not bear to touch any longer. “So now I am to be censured by you?”
He frowned at her. “Why not me?”
“Are you married?”
The question took him off guard. Conversation with women generally had the effect of unsettling him. He could never predict where their maze-like minds might wander. Conversation with men began at point A and ended at point B. Women often meandered to C then R and back to L before coming to the point.
“It is a simple question, Mr. Mostyn. Are you married?”
He shook his head.
“I didn’t think so. Are you a virgin?”
Ewan gaped at her. The question was so wildly inappropriate that, in his opinion, she had abandoned the points of the alphabet all together.
She waved a hand. “Yes, I know I am not supposed to ask you that, but humor me. I am making a point. Just answer yes or no.”
He shook his head as he did not trust his voice at the moment.
“Of course you are not. And yet no one thinks anything of the fact that you have bedded a woman who is not your wife. If I had to guess, with those eyes and those shoulders and chest”—she looked him up and down, and he actually felt himself heat at her frank perusal—“I imagine you have bedded more than your share of women.”
Ewan’s head was spinning at the rapidity of her speech, but what he did understand was that she had just complimented him. She admired his body, and the thought of her eyes on him caused him to have to take a breath. His chest felt tight and he lifted his hand to loosen the goddamn cravat before he remembered where he was.
“Of course,” she went on, “it is seen as perfectly natural for a man to want to kiss a woman, touch her, undress her, take her to bed, and—”
Ewan cleared his throat, not only because the already inappropriate conversation had descended beyond the pale, but because her description of the intimacies between men and women made him think of doing those things with her. And now the woman had not only fired his blood but stirred his rod. If she continued in this vein, his state of growing arousal would be evident to both of them.
“My point,” she said—and thank God she was finally reaching it—“is that it is considered natural for men to want these things, but when a woman wants them, then we should be locked away.” She gestured wildly with her hand, losing hold of her wrap so it slid to the ground and trailed after her as she paced. “What is so wrong with wanting a man to kiss me?” She gave Ewan a direct look, challenging him to give her an answer.

~*~*~*~

Buy Links

Kindle | Amazon Paperback

~*~*~*~

Giveaway

Shana Galen Prize Pack with Wine Charm

a Rafflecopter giveaway

~*~*~*~

About the Author

imageShana Galen is the national bestselling author of fast-paced adventurous Regency historicals, including the RT Reviewers’ Choice The Making of a Gentleman. Her books have been sold in Brazil, Russia, and the Netherlands and featured in the Rhapsody and Doubleday Book Clubs. A former English teacher in Houston’s inner city, Shana now writes full time. She is a happily married wife and mother of a daughter and a spoiled cat and lives in Houston, Texas.

Author Links: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

Spotlight, Quiz & Giveaway: I Kissed a Rogue by Shana Galen

image

I Kissed a Rogue (Covent Garden Cubs, Book 3) by Shana Galen

Genre: Historical Romance

Publication Date: March 1, 2016

Synopsis

imageOnce she spurned the man…

When the Duke of Lennox hires Sir Brook Derring, England’s best investigator, to find his daughter, Brook intends only to rescue the lady and return to his solitary life. He deals with London’s roughest criminals every day of the week; surely he should be able to endure seeing his first love again—the perfect girl who broke his heart…

Now her life depends on him

Lady Lillian-Anne Lennox has always done her best to live up to her father’s standards of perfection—at the cost of following her heart. When she’s kidnapped and her perfect life is shattered, Lila has another chance. Together, Lila and Brook navigate not only the dark and deadly side of London, but the chasm of pride and prejudice that divides them.

~*~*~*~

Excerpt

She had to escape. She couldn’t die down here, in the rank dark, alone. She might deserve such a death, but she’d fight it with every last ounce of strength. She’d almost freed her hands by twisting and working the rope against her chafed wrists until it slackened. Her captors hadn’t tied it very tightly, but that was the only mistake they’d made.
Lila had no idea how long she’d been in the dank, cold cellar, but she knew the moment her life went completely astray. The carriage had raced along the dark streets of London, the familiar clip-clop of the horses’ hooves almost like music in her ears. She’d pulled her thick pelisse more tightly around her bare shoulders and rested her dancing slippers on the warm brick at her feet.
All she’d wanted was her cozy bed and a cup of tea. She hadn’t even cared that by leaving her cousin Rose’s betrothal ball early, she risked her father’s wrath in the morning. She’d attended the betrothal tea, the betrothal dinner, and now the betrothal ball. Would that Rose marry and be done with it. It was during that uncharitable line of thinking that she heard John Coachman call out and the carriage slowed.
Lila had parted the curtains in an effort to see what was the matter, but all she’d seen was the swirl of London fog and the amorphous shapes of the outriders moving to stand protectively in front of the carriage door. She’d sighed with impatient annoyance.
“Now wh—?” She’d clamped her mouth shut at the sound of a thump and an unfamiliar man’s voice. The carriage rocked as the horses danced with fear. She waited for John Coachman’s reassuring words and heard only a muffled shout and the pop of what sounded like her father’s rifle.
Her heart pounding in fear, she’d slid one lock into place and was reaching for the other when and a tall, lanky man yanked the door open.
He’d smiled, his thin lips and cheeks stretching over his facial bones. “Hello, Lady Lillian-Anne.”
From there, everything was a blur. She’d been dragged from the carriage, hooded, and pushed against the conveyance, her hands roughly bound. Lila had been so shocked at her mistreatment, she hadn’t even screamed, and then she’d been lifted and tossed over a man’s shoulders. She hadn’t been carried far before she’d heard the squeak and squeal of a door being pried open and the echo of boots on slatted wood floors. Another door and then another and her captor had carried her down a flight of stairs and dropped her on her bottom.
She’d screamed then and scurried backward, only to run up against a pair of hard boots. A voice, much like the one who’d greeted her, hissed in her ear. “Shut yer potato hole. Keep quiet or I stuff my drawers down yer throat. You hear me, Duchess?”
She’d nodded and closed her mouth. She’d pulled her legs in and hunched her shoulders, making herself small, waiting for what seemed an eternity for what was to happen next. Would they rob her? Rape her?
She was not a duchess, only the daughter of one. She had the wild thought that perhaps the men wanted her stepmother, the Duchess of Lennox. But, no. They’d called her Lady Lillian-Anne. They knew who she was. They’d planned the abduction and whatever was to come next.
Lila had shivered, her body shaking uncontrollably with fear and cold. Finally, the man moved away. At his word, the others followed, and she heard their boots on the stairs and then the thud as the door closed.
She’d sat on the hard floor, the small pebbles and rocks digging into her skin through her silk ballgown and the pelisse. She jumped at the creaks and pops of the building settling, fearing each minute sound was the men returning for her. Gradually, she grew accustomed to the sounds but not the smell, never the smell. Something had died down here—many somethings—and with the hood over her face, she could only imagine. Lila envisioned rat corpses responsible for the sharp, sickly fragrance that burned her nostrils. When she began to imagine human bodies, she bit her lip hard to stop the rising panic.
Strange that in the middle of London, all was silent but for her teeth chattering.
They’d stopped chattering now—after too many hours to count. Lila was too numb to feel the cold any longer. The rope around her wrists was all she cared about. She twisted and pulled until finally she managed to squeeze one hand free. She bit her raw lip against the pain of the rough rope sliding against her bare skin. The gloves she’d painstakingly inched off might have protected her bare skin, but they were one more layer between her and freedom.
With a wince, her wrists slid apart, and she exhaled softly, hugging her arms around her chest. Her shoulders throbbed, and the simple act of rotating them in the opposite direction was sheer bliss. She felt for the opening of the hood she wore and quickly tore it off. Charcoal gray replaced the blackness. If the cellar had openings of any kind, she couldn’t spot them in the dark of night. She prayed it was still night and that morning would show her some sort of escape.
And not a stack of rotting bodies.
She had to find a way out. By now her father must have realized she’d been abducted. He would be frantic with worry. Had her captors sent a ransom note? Was that what this was about? Colin would make the duke pay it. Colin and Lila had grown closer since their mother’s death. He wouldn’t allow their father to ignore a ransom note.
If there was a ransom note.
What if the Duchess of Lennox was behind this? Lila’s stepmother hated her, but even she would not stoop to hiring mercenaries to abduct her stepdaughter.
Lady Selina would. She and Lila had hated each other since their first Seasons, when Lord Hugh had asked Lila to dance before Selina. From then on, it had been war.
Selina was married now and certainly too busy to plan attacks on Lila. But Madeleine Stratham, her cousin Rose’s friend, was not too busy, and she had intentionally stepped on Lila’s gown at the ball tonight, hissing, “Watch out!”
Had that been a warning?
Lila’s head spun. If she tried to count all of her enemies, it would take hours. And who knew what her abductors would do to her when they returned. She pressed her hands against the cold, dirt floor beneath her, moving her fingers until she found her gloves. She pulled them on again, for warmth as much as protection, and moved cautiously forward, hands outstretched. Her knees trembled and wobbled.
“Please no bodies. Please no bodies,” she chanted under her breath.
The cellar was blissfully empty. She discovered a wall and followed it around to the base of the stairwell. Her hands traveled over that rough wood until she found the opening. The stairwell had no railing, so she carefully lifted her skirts and moved slowly and silently upward. Her fingertips touched the wood of the door at the top, and she stood listening.
She heard nothing but silence and the strains of music farther away. Perhaps a tavern or gin house was nearby. She couldn’t be certain a guard wasn’t on the other side of the door, but she tried the handle anyway. The handle moved, but the door did not budge when she pushed on it.
Some sort of lock to keep it closed and secure.
Lila waited, again listening for movement or an indication her efforts to escape had been noted. When she heard nothing, she rattled the door. The wood was flimsy and old. One serious push against it, and she could compromise the lock.
She took a jagged breath and said a quick prayer. She’d never prayed so much—no, she’d been her own god for too many years. Lila stepped back, careful not to go too far and tumble down the stairs, then rammed the door with her shoulder.

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Buy Links

Kindle: http://amzn.to/1VLTPe4
Amazon PBK: http://amzn.to/21BPj5F
B&N: http://bit.ly/1RkrxGz
Apple: http://apple.co/1L8K6hl
Kobo: http://bit.ly/1oI7JD6

Amazon Series Link: http://amzn.to/1TgrL58

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Giveaway

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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About the Author

imageShana Galen is the national bestselling author of fast-paced adventurous Regency historicals, including the RT Reviewers’ Choice The Making of a Gentleman. Her books have been sold in Brazil, Russia, and the Netherlands and featured in the Rhapsody and Doubleday Book Clubs. A former English teacher in Houston’s inner city, Shana now writes full time. She is a happily married wife and mother of a daughter and a spoiled cat and lives in Houston, Texas.

Author Links: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads