Precious Stones – Book 4 in the High Tide Suspense Series Romantic Suspense by Min Edwards #MFRWauthor #Romance #Suspense
A gift of thanks to a young girl from the Tsar more than 100 years ago... and now the Russians want it back.
Collee McCullough, the owner of The Bakery in Stone Bay, Maine, has a perfect life until early one morning men in suits come calling. She has something someone dangerous wants. Something that her Russian great-grandmother Natasha took when she fled Russian in 1913. Too bad Buka never told her son or anyone else what she had or where she left it.
Jake Elsmore, visiting Stone Bay to sell his mother’s house, walks into The Bakery for a cup of Earl Grey tea, but gets more. There she is. Stepping out from behind the Chief of Police, a lovely, fiery-haired fairy toting a shotgun while two men lie insensate on the floor of her shop. Looks like that tea will have to wait
“Stop right there. My brother is the police chief. He comes in about this time every morning to pick up his coffee. He’ll kick your ass then throw your skanky butt in jail.” This was a load of hogwash because Stone Bay didn’t have an actual jail. Collee McCullough’s brother, Nick, processed prisoners quickly and transported them to the sheriff’s department in the county seat. The only cell was his spare office, which he kept bare of any furniture except a chair and a card table. He called it his conference room. The Stone Bay Police department was relatively new, and Nick had only been the chief for a little more than eighteen months. However, a jail extension on the police/fire department building on the hill was planned to begin in a month. She didn’t think this situation could wait a month though.
“Colleen Natasha Onegin?” The bigger of the two men asked with a small crooked grin, almost sinister-looking.
“No, Collee McCullough. You must have the wrong woman.” Yes, her name was Colleen Natasha, but who the hell was Onegin?
“I don’t think so, my dear,” the man growled low in his throat as he came closer.
She kept her eyes glued to him but noticed in her peripheral vision her brother stepping up onto the sidewalk just outside the door. He saw the interlopers because he gave her a wink, the rat, and nodded his head slightly. Then she watched him slowly reach for the handle on her front door.
In the next moment, that front door slammed open shattering the glass, hitting the second man who’d remained at the entrance in the back and throwing him across the room. Chief Nick McCullough stormed through the destroyed door, gun drawn, a menacing look on his face. “Get back to the kitchen, Collee. I’ll take care of this.”
She didn’t have to hear another word. Her brother was beyond tough, serving four tours in the military police in Germany, Iraq and Afghanistan. He could take care of her and anyone else in his sphere with his hands tied behind his back, and by the story she heard from him one night while he was, as they say, in his cups, he’d once done just that.
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BLURB: A millennium ago, an Igbo god fathered three sons–a jackal, a coyote…and a wolf. ******** As the new alpha of his wolf pack, Xavier Wesley wants nothing more than to follow in his uncle’s footsteps and make his elders, and the great guardian, proud. But his family and a rival alpha seem to have other plans for him, as does the werewolf king who informs Xavier that their kingdom is under attack by the Lion Head–a sinister, ethereal creature controlled by the one who summoned it. And he has put Xavier in charge of saving their kind. But the Lion Head is just the agent of a darker evil, one that will do anything to escape the Lightless Realm and reclaim the lycan throne. Knowing he stands no chance of defeating them alone, Xavier seeks help from the wolves he trusts the most and Karis Mickelson, a beautiful human who has no business existing in his world. After a visit with the pack dibia points them toward the only Igbo treasure that can bind the sinister entity to Earth, they set out to claim it before it is discovered by the dangerous ancestor who desires to claim it first. But Xavier’s growing connection to Karis not only threatens to derail their mission, but upend his entire life. If he can’t manage to take control of his feelings and honor his true purpose, then the darkness just might win. And everyone will die. Cover Models: Zusi AirhiavbereSesoo, IgbazuaKofi, HandonMarcus Johns Photographer:Doug Bolst of Libertine Photography: http://www.libertinephotography.com/ About the Author: Diantha Jones loves writing fantasy books filled with adventure, romance, and magic. She's the author of the Oracle of Delphi series, the Mythos series, and the Djinn Order series (as A. Star). When she isn’t writing or working, she is reading or being hypnotized by Netflix. She is a serious night-owl and while everyone else is grinning in the warmth and sunlight, she’s hoping for gloominess and rain. Yeah, she’s weird like that.
Sherry Forrester has her life just as she wants it. No attachments. No pressure from her parents to marry. A little bit of money and the freedom to be the lady she desires. When a stranger rolls into town, mysterious and gorgeous, her interest is piqued. Sherry swore she wouldn't give away her heart, but she longs for one night of passion, and the newcomer is perfectly capable of supplying that.
Texas Ranger Luke "Rip" Calhoun is hoping for a few diverting weeks in Pikes Run. Along with promising to help the local sheriff catch a wily garter thief, he looks for challenging card games, good whiskey and a willing woman. When Sherry Forrester catches his eyeâwho wouldn't want her after stumbling upon her skinny dipping?âhe does the hardest thing ever and waits for her to choose him to warm her sheets for a night. And only one night. For Luke made a long-ago vow never to let love ensnare him.
But what neither plans on is the hand of fate changing their pathsâ¦
Luke caught a flash of pale skin as someone arced beneath the water. His breath stilled when the figure broke the surface, revealing a woman about twenty yards from him swimming to the opposite bank. Luke froze, careful not to move a single muscle lest this be a dream and he woke.
All he could see of the woman was her head as she glided away from his side of the creek. Was she naked? He glanced toward the other side and discovered clothes folded on a rock. He could determine the colors, and white peeked between light blue fabric. He knew plenty about womenâs garments, and most of their underthings were white pieces of angelic sweetness. Which meant the lady enjoying the water was as bare as could be.
A smile tugged the corners of his lips, but before he could be accused of peeking more than he already had, he dismounted and used his horse to hide her from his view. At the moment, he couldnât pull Zeus away for anything, so Luke was stuck until the animal decided he was finished. Of course, Luke didnât want to leave. While he couldnât see, and hadnât seen a damn thing, it was nice being near a woman who courted risk and went skinny dipping.
Hell, there was nothing between her and that water. Not one stitch. His mind conjured all sorts of images as the sounds of her body cutting through the stream reached him.
When a screech met his ears, he knew sheâd caught sight of the drinking horse and perhaps its ownerâs legs. He let out an exhale and waited for the outburst.
âWhoâs there?â she cried. âYou get out of here.â
He should, but he wouldnât. He was never more grateful for his stubborn mount. âI canât, maâam. My horse has a mind of his own.â
âHa! A gentleman would find a way.â
He used his bandana to wipe his brow as he remained hunched over in order to keep hidden. âA man has to take care of his horse, maâam. Canât survive without him.â
There was a splash. Had she left the creekâor hit the surface with an irritated hand?
âA convenient excuse so you can spy on me.â
He chuckled. âMaâam, I canât see, and didnât see, one thing, I assure you.â
âYou assure me? And what good is that? I donât even know who you are.â
Damn, but he wished he could look at her. âNope, you donât.â
A silent moment, then, âThatâs it? You arenât gonna tell me your name?â
âYou gonna tell me yours?â
âNot on your life. Why would I let some drifter know who I am?â
âDrifter? Is that what I am?â Heâd been called worse.
âWell, how would I know?â
âThen whyâd you call me that?â
Zeus lifted his head, looking toward the lady who shared his creek. Luke kept himself from pushing the horseâs nose back to the water in order to prolong this moment normally only possible in nighttime fantasies. Of course, in his dream the lady usually invited him in.
âWould a gentleman spy on a woman as she bathed?â
âIf heâs smart, he would.â
âHa! So you did peek.â
He grinned and watched a grasshopper jump over the toe of his boot. âI admit I looked, but itâs just my luck I couldnât see anything. Youâre too far away.â
Zeus snuffled then turned his head toward his master. He blinked at Luke as if he wondered what the hell the woman was doing skinny dipping in his drinking water. Luke stroked the black then exhaled. Heâd have to leave this sprite.
âI feel sorry for you that you didnât manage to see anything,â she continued, her tone without an ounce of pity. âI donât mind telling you Iâm as pretty as a picture.â
He laughed outright. âIâve no doubt of that, maâam, and I can promise you my mind paints a perfect image, so donât you fret.â He tugged on Zeusâ reins.
She made a noise that was half-laugh, half-disbelief.
He left the idyllic setting, Zeus following behind him. A smile stayed on his lips as he mounted up once he was out of her line of sight. What a damn fine welcome.
Born and raised in Texas, the state had to be the setting for my first series. From the food to the fun, like floating the rivers, it is the fire in my blood that inspires me. My family and friends take center stage in my books. My sisters and best friends are my heroines, and my husband created my favorite hero. Love and family are the point of my stories, and I seek to entertain, relieve stress, and inspire people. Books can take one on a journey that one can relive over and over. I am extremely grateful to those authors who did that very thing for me. I learned and I fell in love with their words and characters. From the bottom of my heart, thank you. Please visit me at www.karaoneal.com.
Buy link (right now it is up for pre-order only â Iâll send you the correct link on 9/27) -- https://www.amazon.com/dp/B075SVHLDK/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1506182559&sr=8-2&keywords=kara+o%27neal
My website: www.karaoneal.com.
My facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/KaraONeal84/
Barnes and Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/s/kara+o'neal?_requestid=845025
Key Words: Halloween, steamy romance, magic, witches, fantasy, humor, bounty hunter, new release, romantic comedy
Rating: Spicy (PG13)
A paranormal romance from The Wild Rose Press
Release Date: October 07, 2015
Cover Artist: Debbie Taylor, DCA Graphics
She's a witch hunting a spell. He's hunting witches and falling for her.
Carman has worn out more towns and last names than impractical shoes protecting the secret of her magic blood. But when a friend goes missing, and another is infected with a deadly spell, Carman must choose. Expose her magic blood by curing the spell—or stop the infection from spreading by killing the source…the grandmother.
Magic bounty hunter Dylan has scoured libraries of banned magic paraphernalia seeking a method to distinguish genuine witches from impersonators. He suspects unorthodox librarian Carman might hold this information tighter than the hair he’s dying to unleash from her bun. With a past as hidden as his sleeve of tattoos, Dylan discovers he’s been used to gain Carman’s trust and their passion risks more than mixing mortals and magic.
Grandma Must Die
Maureen L. Bonatch
The Wild Rose Press:
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…once she’d started Carman couldn’t stop,
the book beckoned. Pressing its spine against her palm, begging her to search within the pages to find the answers she’d unconsciously sought her entire life. As she lifted the book, her scalp tingled and her hair elevated like a halo.
“Whoa.” Dylan shielded himself with his hands. “Put it back, slowly, because this is reminding me too much of the incident with the chest. Having my apartment blown up from magic isn’t covered in my rent.”
The plastic evaporated in a puff of smoke in Carman’s hands and the book unsealed with a sigh. She smiled, the welcoming warmth emanating from within its pages against her palms. Why had Mother kept her from this? This is what she’d been waiting for.
As curiosity overtook his common sense, she detected Dylan’s cautious approach. He stood close enough to peer over her shoulder into her book, but far enough away to avoid touching her.
After the shockwave the last time their skin met, he probably worried he’d ruin another pair of pants. Carman closed her eyes, absorbing the power from the book. The delicious feeling evoked a sensation like melting chocolate, sweet and satisfying.
“I remember hearing about her, Esmeralda Wrath. I wonder if this was her book?” Dylan’s warm breath caressed her shoulder.
Carman opened her eyes and examined the page. To stare right at a photo of the most powerful witch of all time…her grandmother.
Fun Facts about Grandma Must Die:
About the Author:
Maureen realized later in life everyone didn’t have characters telling stories in their heads, or weren’t envisioning magic and mayhem within the everyday. This, and long walks in the beautiful state of Pennsylvania spawned a love of writing.
Therefore she’s chased other interests, though none-the-less-daring, but closer to the ground, such as belly-dancing, becoming a self-proclaimed tequila connoisseur, fulfilling her role as biker babe to her alpha hubby and surviving motherhood to twins (so far).
Penning stories boasting laughter, light suspense and something magical in the hope of sharing her love of finding the extraordinary in the ordinary world.
Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Maureen-L.-Bonatch/e/B00KHY1KK8/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1
Contact Info: email@example.com
Excerpt At the Mercy of Her PleasureIn this scene from At the Mercy of Her Pleasure by Kayelle Allen, NarrAy Jorlan has just met Senth Antonello for the first time. She's taking her time, sizing him up for the job at hand. Usually, men are distracted by her pheromones, but this time, she finds herself on the distracted side.
NarrAy crossed her legs, exposing a good portion of her skin under the short dress. If she'd been sitting opposite Senth, the length might have been welcome. But the Harbinger lounged in that chair and Senth sat beside her on the couch. Her position put her a little closer to him.
"Empress Destoiya murdered my parents," NarrAy continued her story, "as surely as if she'd been the one who shot them in the back. They were scientists working on secret technology. When rumors got out that they were planning to give their findings to the rebellion, the Conqueror had them killed and then confiscated everything, including their personal belongings. There was a locket my mother inherited from my grandmother, which my grandmother inherited from her grandmother. It's mine and I want it back."
She met Senth's penetrating gaze and held it. She heard rather than saw Encie enter the room and take up a place near the door. Broxus moved to stand beside her. NarrAy couldn't take her gaze off Senth. How did I ever see him as a boy?
He had a man's hands, well-groomed nails and sinewy forearms that revealed power and strength. His biceps bulged. Angular jaw, a firm mouth with lips made for kissing. A hot flutter rose within her and she tamped it down at once, refusing to let her pheromones get the upper hand.
Senth watched her, gaze narrowed, head tilted. He gave a sniff and then eased into a smile. His proximity heightened her desire. He smelled clean, fresh and ruggedly male. A tingle signaled the imminent letdown of her pheromones and she clenched her hands into fists, fighting to calm the spike of lust flickering through her like a torch about to combust.
Senth's faint smile revealed nothing, but he lifted his head, sniffing the air. Kin could smell emotion and desire. Could HalfKin?
He asked me something. Pay attention to business and not your body. She sat up straighter. "I'm sorry. Would you repeat that, please?"
"What I said was no one hires a level-nineteen thief, transports him to another world to break into a government building and then wants him to steal back a locket with sentimental value. Especially one in the custody of the Conqueror. What's it really worth?"
"It's a priceless heirloom." She set a hand against her bosom.
Senth didn't follow her hand movement. Instead he tilted his head as he leaned back against the couch. "I'm more skilled at this job than you are beautiful, NarrAy and that's saying something. Tell me the truth."
Her cheeks warmed. When had she ever blushed over an offhand compliment?
At the Mercy of Her PleasureAntonello Brothers 1: a Scifi Romance
At the Mercy of Her Pleasure is a military science fiction romance set in a dystopian world. Its heat level is sweet.
Hired to steal back a prototype taken by the imperial armada, Senth Antonello retrieves it, but his brother is kidnapped to force Senth to surrender the device.
Now he has to rescue his brother, outsmart the armada, and keep the item out of imperial hands. All doable, except for one small problem. He must do it in the company of NarrAy Jorlan, a genetically altered woman whose pheromones could enhance the mission or crumble it into dust with a single siren kiss.
He's a thief. She's a soldier. Do opposites attract? Oh, mercy!
Genre: Sweet Romance, Science Fiction Romance, Scifi
Heat level: PG - sweet romance with kick
Book length: 59,650 words (full novel)
Publisher: Romance Lives Forever Books
Series: Antonello Brothers (standalone books)
Buy LinksThis book is free on Kindle Unlimited
Amazon print https://amzn.to/2e4hpbX
CreateSpace (Print) https://bit.ly/bro-mercy-csp
The sequel for this book is For Women Only
A free prequel is on the author's website https://kayelleallen.com/bro/
About the AuthorKayelle Allen is a best-selling American author. Her unstoppable heroes and heroines include contemporary every day folk, role-playing immortal gamers, futuristic covert agents, and warriors who purr.
Join the Romance Lives Forever Reader Group Download three free books and get news about books coming soon. One book downloads immediately and two full-color illustrated books arrive the next day. You can unsubscribe at any time.
Scandalous Fairy Tales, Book 2
By Izzy Szyn
Giveaway- Izzy will be giving away an ebook of Wendi and Tink, the first book in the Scandalous Fairy Tales series, to one lucky person on each stop during the tour. All you have to do for your chance to win is leave a comment for Izzy to let her know what Fairy Tale you would like to see re-told Izzy Szyn Style. To increase your chances of winning be sure to visit the other tour stops. You may find those locations here.
You only thought you knew the story of Beauty and the Beast.
When Bella's father runs into the woman known as the Beast, she agrees to take his place as a prisoner for the next six months. Plenty of time to get out of her pending marriage to the son of the village's wealthiest family.
When Bella is sent a list of demands and rules, one rule stood out: DON'T FALL IN LOVE.
That seemed simple enough, for who could fall in love with a Beast?
Ms. Anna turned her face up and started to kiss her, her knees holding Bellaâs arms in place. âNo touching unless I say,â Ms. Anna told her, kissing Bella once more, grinding harder against her. Bella started to feel something trickle down her lower lips, unsure whether it was from Ms. Anna or herself. Ms. Anna kept kissing her, her tongue pushing down Bellaâs throat. Her body rubbing against Bellaâs, the scars on Ms. Annaâs inner thighs strangely erotic. Bella started to sink into the mattress , letting Ms. Anna take what she wanted. Kissing Ms . Anna in return, gliding her tongue across Ms. Annaâs. Was her tongue getting longer? Holy hell, Bella whimpered as the tongue slid down her throat. Bella struggled against the unfamiliar sensation. âYou agreed to let me do what I wanted,â Ms. Anna reminded her. âThis is going to be your life from now until I release you. If I ever do.â Ms. Anna once more kissing Bella , sliding her tongue inside Bellaâs throat once more.~*~*~*~*~*~*~ About the Author: New York Times Bestselling Author Izzy Szyn was born in May of 2014 when a friend dared her to write. Born and raised in Detroit, Mi. Izzy now lives in Oklahoma City with her furchild Misty, the friendliest Chihuahua/Terrier you will ever meet. Currently works in a call center, where she writes in between phone calls. Izzy loves to keep in touch with her readers. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Find her on Facebook :) https://www.facebook.com/Izzy-Szyn-379714942215154/timeline/
Google Plus link: https://plus.google.com/100905614042668276073
Tag - How can Erika prove to herself and Darien that she loves and trusts him? Simple. All she has to do is jump out of a plane.
Concerned for his fiancée, Erika Bailey’s safety, rock star Darien Scott races to Bangkok to protect her, only to discover his brother is missing. Fearing the worse, he contacts his nemesis, Gan, and makes a repulsive deal that will free his brother and protect Erika’s club, The Pink Flamingo. Or so he thought. When a python and Gan are involved, things go sour, and Darien sinks into a deep depression.
Erika is disheartened by the betrayal of her parents. Her father's destruction of her club, and the humiliation of her mother’s drunken behavior have her feeling down, but those are the least of her worries. She has a wedding to plan, but won’t. Having been betrayed too often, she’s scared to trust Darien.
How can Erika prove to herself and Darien that she loves and trusts him? Simple. All she has to do is jump out of a plane.
Buy Link- http://www.extasybooks.com/between-despair-and-ecstasy/
Daryl Devoré lives in an old farmhouse in Ontario, Canada, with her husband, a black cat named Licorice and some house ghosts. Daryl loves to take long walks up her quiet country road or snowshoe across the back acres, and in the summer, kayak along the St. Lawrence River. She's touched a moon rock, a mammoth and a meteorite. She's been deep in the ocean in a submarine, flown high over Niagara Falls in a helicopter and used the ladies room in a royal palace. Life's an adventure and Daryl's having fun living it.
Where to find Daryl Devoré
Blog - Romance Sweet to Heat
A Brief History of Underclothes
It would be unrealistic to deny that, throughout history, as well as having a practical purpose, feminine undergarments have had an erotic effect. Once, even the glimpse of a stockinged ankle titillated. Modern fashion which is more practical and comfortable has removed feminine mystique.
In the past, female underclothing was the focus of sensual curiosity. In the prudish Victorian era, mention of trousers or drawers was considered unseemly. It reminded people that men and women have legs.
In the medieval period women wore smocks or, as the Normans called them, chemises. They were pulled over the head and were either plain or embroidered.
In Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, The Miller’s Wife, there are the following lines.
“…brooded all before
And eke behind on her colere about
Of cole-blak silke, within and eke without.”
Women also appropriated the term petticoat, little coat, from the word coat used by men in the Middle Ages
The evolution of underclothes is interesting. After the early Saxon period, tunics concealed men’s breeches, which were subsequently called drawers. Centuries later, men wore knee-length breeches then close-fitting ankle length pantaloons. Next, they wore trousers and, more recently, shorts and jeans beneath which minimal undergarments are worn.
By the Victorian era women wore a linen chemise and petticoat sometimes attached to a bodice. In early 19th century England, drawers were considered scandalous until Princess Charlotte, heiress to the throne, wore them. By the 1830’s they were commonplace. Also, the French custom of wearing pantaloons when riding side-saddle had become popular. After the Regency era, small waists were admired. Tight-lacing was necessary to be fashionable. To achieve it, corset makers used steel, whalebone and buckram, which compressed women’s figures so much that they couldn’t move naturally and suffered from stomach aches and other pain.
Crinolines were superseded by bustles, until, in the late 20th century underwear evolved into the scanty garments worn today, although bras are used to emphasis the bust to enhance the figure.
Famous names have been used to describe female underwear. From American Mrs Bloomer came the term bloomers. Some of many other terms are undies, cami-bocks, cami-knicks, knick-knacks, frillies, bras, slips and thongs, all of which have erotic connotations.
The main purpose of underclothes has been warmth. Men’s shapes have remained similar throughout the centuries, but women’s have been altered by artificial means. These included, bustles, corsets, crinolines, farthingales, hoops and stays, all of which gave rise to speculation about what females wore beneath their outer garments. One can imagine a curious bridegroom eagerly anticipating a revelation.
Today, people bathe frequently Their clothes are dry-cleaned or washed. This means few underclothes are necessary to keep outerwear clean. It was not so, for example, during Queen Elizabeth I’s rein when splendid clothes made in costly fabrics needed protection from unwashed bodies.
Towards the end of the 18th century, the Macaronis stressed the importance of personal cleanliness. In the first part of 19th century John Wesley preached ‘cleanliness is next to Godliness’. Beau Brummel, the famous Regency dandy, agreed, also advocated cleanliness. In Queen Victoria’s rein, men and women changed their underwear frequently. To move on in time, between the 1st and 2nd World Wars fewer underclothes were worn. Which brings me to the present day. Mini-skirts, shorts, sleeveless tops with shoe-string straps, bikinis and extremes of fashion leave little to the imagination.
In the past, deliberate revelations of underwear, such as the edge of a chemise or the hem of a petticoat, suggested a female disrobing were erotic. At other times, the bodice looked like a corset. This implied a woman had dressed immodestly. For at least six centuries, women wore corsets to emphasise the bust and slim the waist. Laced too tightly they compromised health.
Men’s shirts may also be regarded as underwear. They divided the working classes from upper classes. In Henry VIII’s rein, shirts were revealed by slashing the jerkin; in the 18th century the top of the waistcoat was unbuttoned to reveal part of the shirt. Spotless white shirts, frilled or plain divided the social classes.
Linen, the oldest material used for underwear, cotton, regarded as its inferior, wool and flannelette have been used for undergarments. Only well-to do people could afford silk until the last part of the Victorian era. More recently artificial fabrics, such as nylon are popular and can be washed and dried as often as we bathe. We no longer stink as our ancestors did.
Far Beyond Rubies By Rosemary Morris
Set in 1706 during Queen Anne Stuart’s reign, Far Beyond Rubies begins when William, Baron Kemp, Juliana’s half-brother claims she and her young sister, Henrietta, are bastards. Spirited Juliana is determined to prove the allegation is false, and that she is the rightful heiress to Riverside, a great estate.
On his way to deliver a letter to William, Gervaise Seymour sees Juliana for the first time on the grounds of her family estate. The sight of her draws him back to India. When “her form changed to one he knew intimately – but not in this lifetime,” Gervaise knows he would do everything in his power to protect her.
Although Juliana and Gervaise are attracted to each other, they have not been formally introduced and assume they will never meet again. However, when Juliana flees from home, and is on her way to London, she encounters quixotic Gervaise at an inn. Circumstances force Juliana to accept his kind help. After Juliana’s life becomes irrevocably tangled with his, she discovers all is not as it seems. Yet, she cannot believe ill of him for, despite his exotic background, he behaves with scrupulous propriety while trying to help her find evidence to prove she and her sister are legitimate.
Extract from Far Beyond Rubies.
Chesney reeled back, scarce able to believe Richelda had offered to be his mistress in exchange for Field House. Bile rose at the back of his throat. How could he have been deceived by so sweet a face, and behaviour he had believed to be that of a modest but spirited maid? He slammed his fist on the table with such force the crystal wineglasses bounced to the oak floorboards and shattered. He strode toward Richelda, inadvertently crushing glass underfoot while simultaneously vowing to teach the jade a harsh lesson she would never forget.
Torn between anger at her preferring dishonour to marrying him and disappointment over her being unchaste, he grasped her hand and then guided her to the door. “Come.”
* * *
Richelda shuddered. How could she have forgotten the teaching of a lifetime? Why did she succumb to such an ill-thought, impetuous offer? Why had she been fool enough to demonstrate her determination to keep her vow while, in her heart, she trusted him to reject her offer.
As a result of growing up in the country, with only the daily companionship of her mother and Elsie, she was ignorant of men. In the absence of male relatives and only Dudley for a male friend, she had learned little about the opposite sex.
She must withdraw her offer. “No…I—”
“Shall I carry you upstairs in the sight of my servants?” Chesney sneered.
In despair, she shook her head, her cheeks blazing as hot as hell’s fire.
Chesney hustled her upstairs to a bedchamber. Her hand lay limp in his. Richelda shuddered. Humiliated, she could not face him. She stared at the pale green and gold bed curtains. An iron key squeaked in the lock. Startled, she looked at Chesney, who sat on a chair with his back to a window.
“Disrobe,” he commanded.
“What?” She crossed her hands over the top button of her forest green riding jacket.
“How else do you think you can become my mistress?”
She bent her head, unable to think of anything pertinent to say.
“Shall I act the part of your tirewoman?” he rasped.
“N-no—” Richelda stuttered, shocked beyond measure at his suggestion.
“Make haste, I am impatient to possess you.”
She hesitated, hating this new man before her, but knowing she had caused him to change.
“If you do not obey me, I shall strip you.” Chesney spoke low, his voice filled with menace.
Frightened by his tone, her cheeks still burning, she wanted to refuse. Overwhelmed by shame, her hands clumsy, she undid the buttons and took off her jacket but retained enough spirit to snap, “Why are you watching me?”
“To make sure you are not a pig in a poke. Now, take off your skirt.”
She hesitated. “I will disrobe behind the screen.”
“By God, you will not!” His voice rang out sharp as a gunshot. With a smooth movement, Chesney rose and unfastened the ties with deft hands.
At his unfamiliar touch, she squealed with fear equalling a small animal’s when caught in a trap. Her riding habit’s full skirt pooled round her feet. She shuddered and caught her lower lip between her teeth to hold back her tears.
“Take off your petticoats.”
Her mind urged her to disobey. Humiliation robbed her of will power. She complied. The blood rushed from her face, leaving her skin cold. Oh, the shame of revealing her lower limbs. If only he would stop staring at them.
* * *
Chesney’s body commanded him to strip off her clothes, throw her on the bed, and thrust deep within her. But he was not a rapist.
“Remove your stays.” He retained enough self-control to speak in a frigid tone, which belied his excitement at the prospect of seeing her naked.
Richelda covered her face with her hands and sobbed. “No! I cannot be your mistress. I did not think you would treat me thus.”
For a dreadful moment, she obviously thought he was deaf to her plea. She stopped crying. “I have never lain with a man. No other man has kissed me. And…and…I did not anticipate your cruelty.”
He could not despoil her innocence. Besides, he recognised the truth. He believed she was not wanton. Yet his anger with his intended bride insisted on some satisfaction. He scowled. “My dear, you are not worth the price you demanded.” He lied. She was worth any price except for her honour, which he would not ruin. “A mistress knows how to pleasure a man. What can you, an unschooled girl, offer me?” he demanded, still furious with her.
* * *
Standing before him almost completely disrobed, aware of her vulnerability, Richelda trembled. “I do not know what I can offer you.” She whispered.
At his most haughty, he stood straighter. “Allow me to enlighten you, child. Women like Mrs Purvey are both willing and capable of serving a man’s needs.”
Her cheeks flamed. “I made a dreadful mistake,” she whispered.
His face relaxed. The expression in his eyes softened. “You are uncommonly pale. Are you going to faint?”
“Yes—no.” She fumbled with her stays.
He bent forward and gripped her shoulders. “Ah, stays, a feminine citadel which guard a lady’s virtue.”
She picked up her skirt and draped the folds round her like a cloak. What a brute he was for wanting to ravish her. Of course, she did not know exactly what ravishment entailed. Her only information came from whispered conversations she had overheard, as well as gossip, which did not dwell on precise detail. However, violation must be far worse than the marriage bed so many ladies complained about.
If only her father had not extracted the oath from her, she would not be in this predicament. She picked up all her garments and retired behind the screen. With great difficulty, she managed to dress unaided, but had no brush or comb to arrange her disordered hair.
She stepped out from behind the screen. After a swift glance at her, Chesney fetched a ribbon from the dressing table drawer. With the tenderness he would accord a beloved child, he tied back her silky hair.
“Now, tell me what your masquerade as a nymph of delight meant.”
“Naught of interest to you,” she whispered.
“You are mistaken. Your reasons interest me. We will remain here until you explain why you behaved so lewdly.”
* * *
Chesney observed Richelda. Most women would have burst into tears after such an ordeal. Richelda did not. His respect for her increased. With tiger-like intensity, he watched her pacing up the room. “Am I too repulsive for you to agree to wed me?”
“I prefer remaining a maiden to entering into a loveless union.”
“How inappropriate in the present circumstances,” he sneered.
Chesney turned his back to her and stared out of the window. Did he understand the nature of true love? But why should the question concern him? No sensible gentleman believed in love.
Richelda broke the silence. “I do not want a mere marriage of convenience.”
His heart pounded at her emphasis of the word ‘mere.’ Her determination not to marry for convenience, together with her youthful anticipation of coupling love with marriage, touched his heart. Tempted to pretend he loved her in order to persuade her to tie the knot, his honour intervened. Only once, when he was young, had he believed himself to be in love. How could he know if he loved Richelda? Besides, he never intended to risk his heart again.
“You forget, arranged marriages are the way of our world.” He paused to change the subject of their conversation. “Tell me how old you were when you made your oath to regain Field House.”
“Nine,” she replied, looking surprised by his change of tack.
“Too young to be expected to honour your pledge.”
“Do you think I will go to hell if I break my promise?”
So, fear had prompted her—not fear of him, but fear of eternal damnation. What a fool he had been to give her cause to be afraid of him. “No, Richelda, I do not believe the devil will claim you,” he said with deliberate gentleness. “You did all in your power to regain Field House and cannot be blamed for your failure. Yet, I do not understand why you risked your immortal soul by offering to become my mistress. Clergymen warn their congregations about the deadly sin of lust.”
“I’faith, my lord, it is not for someone with your nature to condemn those who fall prey to lust.”
“Touché. Yet ‘tis not seemly for you to offer to become a gentleman’s mistress.”
“I-I had not planned to do so. When I made the offer on a mad whim, I did not think you would accept my proposition. I hoped if you would realise how serious I am about regaining Field House, you would change your mind about exchanging your property for Bellemont. But, when you-you ordered me to disrobe, you looked at me so furiously, I was too terrified to refuse.”
He raised her hand to his lips, the touch of her, inflaming his craving to experience bodily delights. “For my part, I apologise for treating you with such unkindness. I beg your forgiveness. With your permission, we will make a fresh start. It is you who would honour me by accepting my proposal, not I who would honour you by taking you for my wife.”
Richelda opened her mouth to protest. He touched her moist, parted lips with his finger. “Shush. I confess I believed I had more to offer you than you had to offer me. In my folly, I wanted a meek, obedient wife. You now see me humbled. I admit to knowing such a creature would not suit me for some time.”
“Am I forgiven for my wantonness?”
“There is nothing for me to forgive, but much for you to pardon. I hope you are not frightened of me.”
She bent her head. Silence stretched between them.
“If you agree to marry me, I promise to woo you with all the gentleness and patience at my command.” He reached out to take her in his arms and kiss her.
Richelda stepped back. Her eyes searched his while he waited for her answer.
“My lord, where are you?” a lackey called, his footsteps resounding in the corridor outside the bedchamber. “I am sent to inform you a guest demands to see you on an urgent matter.”
Richelda’s reputation would be ruined if they were discovered in the bedchamber. The voice faded away. Chesney unlocked the door.
* * *
Far Beyond Rubies is available from: Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo and Smashwords as an e-book and a paper back.
* * *
About Rosemary Morris
Rosemary Morris was born in Sidcup Kent. Her parents moved to Bromley, Kent, and then to Sutton, Surrey, where she attended St Hilda’s Primary School in Carshalton, and then Wallington Grammar School for girls.
At seventeen, Rosemary went to London and worked in a travel agency. There she met her future husband, who was reading law at Middle Temple. He encouraged her to continue her education at Westminster College and persuaded her to study, British Constitution, Economics and Economic History. In retrospect, Rosemary admits that although she passed the exams with proverbial ‘flying colours’ the subjects bored her. Afterwards she never made use of the subjects and put them out of her mind. Rosemary says she should have studied English Literature, History and Philosophy, which have always fascinated her.
After her father-in-law died, Rosemary and her husband, moved to Kenya where he was born, and where she lived for twenty years. After an attempted coup d’état, Rosemary left Africa with four of their five children – by that time, their eldest son was living in England. For four years they lived in an ashram where she, and her sons and daughter, who attended school, studied philosophy, religion, Sanscrit literature and much more.
Throughout her life, Rosemary had always written fiction. Back in England, she completed a College of the Arts Course in Creative Writing and wrote historical fiction. She also joined the Romantic Novelists’ Association, The Historical Novel Society and Watford Writers.
So many people have dreams that never materialise, but Rosemary is grateful because she has realised her ambition to become a multi-published author of Romantic Historical Fiction.
To view her book covers, read the first three chapters of her novels and watch the book trailers please visit her website.
Contemporary, Small Town, Suspense
Can an hotelier with a past and a chef with a future revive the grand dame in a neglected old inn?
Short Blurb: Jim Rawlings takes the biggest chance of his life—bidding at auction for a once-grand inn. Genie King attends the hotel auction, never expecting another LBC employee to bid at the sale—much less the guy she had a major crush on in high school. Working together means Jim must share long-hidden secrets. Will Genie reject the man with a past? Or will she love the man he's become?
"But you wanted the Inn, didn't you?" Genie placed a tentative hand on his.
“Yes—but what I did was crazy.” Jim shook his head. “I spent every dime I had, plus every one you had. Now what do we do?”
She let out a long breath. “We do what we’re good at. I’m an outstanding chef. You’re an experienced hotel manager. We’re under forty. We have our health and are extremely motivated to succeed. I’d say we have an embarrassment of riches. Partners?” She extended a hand.
A small flame of hope flickered in Jim’s mind. He reached out and squeezed her fingers. “Seriously?”
“Yes.” She withdrew her hand slowly and sipped her latte. “Why did you want this place?”
“The old girl called to me, begged me to save her.” He gave Genie a wistful smile. “Do I sound crazy?”
“You call the Inn ‘she,’ too?”
“Yes, she’s like a grand old dame who’s fallen on hard times. Remember the parties? The famous people who stayed and played there? Celebrities came to the Inn because they knew their privacy and secrets were safe with us. If those walls could talk! Every day was new and exciting. I would love to bring back her glory days.”
Genie leaped up, ran around the table, and threw her arms around him. “I have the same dream. We can do it.”
He hesitated for a moment, then returned the gesture, his hands unable to resist lingering on her luscious curves just a tad too long. Genie’s inviting cleavage made him wish they were somewhere private. He could scarcely breathe and had to shake his head to dispel naughty images of nuzzling her soft breasts. “We can do what?”
Sharon Buchbinder has been writing fiction since middle school and has the rejection slips to prove it. An RN, she provided health care delivery, became a researcher, association executive, and obtained a PhD in Public Health. When not teaching or writing, she can be found fishing, walking her dogs, or breaking bread and laughing with family and friends in Baltimore, MD and Punta Gorda, FL.
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The Rodeo Man’s Daughter is the second book in Barbara’s Flagman’s Folly series. All her books stand alone as far as each couple finding their happy-ever-after by the end of their story.
From the back cover
His Rodeo Career Is Over...
When Caleb Cantrell left home as a dirt-poor teenager, he never thought he’d return as a wealthy rodeo star. As a matter of fact, he didn’t think he’d return at all. The accident changed all that. It ended his career, nearly ended his life and rekindled a bitterness he thought he’d left in the dust long ago.
But A New Life Begins
To rebuild, Caleb has to go back to where it all began—back to Flagman’s Folly, New Mexico, and back to his high-school sweetheart, Tess LaSalle. But a ten-year-old secret stands between them, one that could hurt everyone Tess loves, especially her daughter…their daughter…the one Caleb never knew existed.
No rodeo ever required the courage Caleb needs now—to forgive, to forget and to start over again...if it’s not already too late.
Excerpt – from the first scene, in which Caleb has just returned to town:
Caleb looked down the length of Signal Street, taking in the storefronts along the way. Insurance agency. Harley’s General Store. Pharmacy. Ice-cream parlor and clothing store. Everything the same as he remembered it from ten years ago. Except for the real estate office he planned to visit as soon as they opened.
How would Tess handle seeing him walk in the door?
The question stunned him, making him realize he wasn’t sure how he’d react to their meeting, either. They hadn’t parted on the best of terms.
He turned his back on the office and found himself staring at the Double S. Not much to look at, just a small square structure made of stucco. But the owners, Dori and Manny, had brightened the place with pots filled with cactus plants all along the front and painted flowers and vines scrolling around the doorway. Above the door, a sign showed one letter “S” hooked onto another one. The Double S. That was new since his time.
Slowly, he made his way inside and along the jagged path between scattered tables to the rear of the café. He’d spent a lot of time in this cramped but cozy room, way back when, though not as one of the customers. How could he, when most days he went off to school without even any lunch money?
He settled on one of the stools that gave him a view through the open doorway into the kitchen. Dori and Manny stood in conversation near the oversized oven. Dori spotted him first, her expression telling him she’d recognized him right away.
They hurried out to the counter.
Manny shook his hand and slapped him on the shoulder.
He stiffened when Dori leaned close to give him a long, sturdy hug. “It’s so good to see you, Caleb.”
Her voice hadn’t lost the trace of Hispanic accent that had always flavored her words or its gentle tone. Now, he’d grown old enough to tell it masked concern for him. Or pity? He hoped not. She squeezed his hand, and he saw that same concern in her eyes.
“Good to see you, too.” He had to clear his throat before he could continue. “Both of you.”
“We read about you in the newspaper. We sent you cards.”
Had they? If so, he’d left them behind unread when he’d transferred from the hospital to the rehab. He would have to give her the only response he could. “I didn’t write to anyone—”
“No matter. You were busy with the rodeo. And after that...” She shook her head. “...you weren’t well enough, we know that. The judge called the hospital for more news. That was a terrible accident. Terrible.” She squeezed his fingers. “But you’re well again?”
How did he answer that?
As far as his body went, yes, he was back in one piece. As “well again” as the doctors said he might ever get. But in his mind and his gut... A different story there. All those months in rehab, he’d found himself with a lot of time to think about things. To run through the memories of his life up ’til then.
To develop a need that wouldn’t let him rest.
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About the Author
Barbara White Daille lives with her husband in the sunny Southwest. Though they love the warm winters and the lizards in their front yard, they haven’t gotten used to the scorpions in the bathroom. Barbara also loves writing, reading, and chocolate. Come to think of it, she enjoys writing about those subjects, too!
Barbara wrote her first short story at the age of nine, then typed "The End" to her first novel many years later...in the eighth grade. Now she's writing contemporary romance on a daily basis. Sign up for her newsletter to keep up with the latest in her writing life: https://barbarawhitedaille.com/newsletter.
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