Happy Thursday everyone! The last day of November, & the last day of NaNoWriMo! Today I have Sorchia DuBois on my blog with her book, Zoralda Grey and the Family Stones. She shares her experience and what she learned when writing a series. I haven't written a series, but I have written books that are stand alones but related to each other, and it was a challenge for me to keep track of all the characters. Let's read about Sorchia's experience.
What I Learned about Writing a Series by Sorchia DuBois
Do me a favor. If I ever come to you with stars and unicorns in my eyes and say “I’m going to write a series (or trilogy or serial or anything of similar ilk)” I want you to splash a glass of cold water right in my face.
I’m a serial Not that writing my Zoraida Grey trilogy has been all bad. Here are the good things about it.
The characters became more complex. The way characters react to circumstances keeps plots from becoming cliché. In my Zoraida Grey series, I started out with the idea of taking a naïve, small-town fortuneteller to Scotland and putting her in a haunted castle with a bunch of seductive witches. Pretty much a standard Gothic set up. Nobody was more surprised than I (except maybe Zoraida) to find out how tightly her family roots wind around the black stones of Castle Logan. Her character grows with adversity and as she develops, so does everyone around her.
It’s fun to torture readers. Zoraida Grey is one story with three, book-length parts. Books 1 and 2 do have shorter quests, which are accomplished in each respective book, but the overriding story doesn’t end until the end of Book 3. I’ve taken a certain amount of flak for ending books 1 and 2 with cliffhangers. I crave attention so I love the outcry. I love it so much that I’ve taken to ending each chapter with a little cliffhanger to get readers ready for the big one at the end of the book. Stay tuned for Zoraida Grey and the Voodoo Queen and let me know if it works.
The world building lasts longer. If you are going to go to all the trouble of developing a reality for the story, then it should hang around for more than 80K works. I spent a lot of time researching castles, northern Scotland, witches, and a lot of time writing family history—much of which will never be published in its entirety. But some of the stories were so compelling I had to finish them. Look for “The Witch and the Spaniard” in my Witchling anthology and maybe another one later in 2018.
While I appreciate the positives, the truth is writing a series has driven me to drink (okay, not really since that ship sailed a long, long time ago.) Here are some of the frustrating things about writing a series.
The Details! Keeping track of a myriad character, setting, and plot details is maddening. Just as I get in the zone and am writing a riveting scene, which will guarantee George Clooney an Oscar if he plays the part in the movie version, I suddenly forget the name of the waitress who showed up in chapter three, book one, but who has now become majorly important, and I can’t go on without that detail. My ZG Bible contains things like the name of the local diner where Zoraida and Zhu get their curly fries, descriptions and relationships on a twisted family tree, how to spell the Scottish word for vampire, and which direction the guard tower faces on the front gate of Castle Logan. When I do this again, I will start keeping track much, much earlier in the process.
Sometimes, the characters get bored or the plot hits a dead end. At that point, you have no choice but to resort to murder. That is my best advice. Watch the characters scramble when someone bursts in and announces they’ve found a body. At one point, I’d written Zoraida into a corner and couldn’t find an easy way out. So I killed someone. Problem solved. All I had to do then was figure out who done it, why they done it, and how that would affect the rest of the plot. So I poured myself a Scotch.
New ideas have to be put on a back burner. Well, I’ve had to bank the fire of random inspiration and get back to work. Right now I have a plan for a medieval romance, a contemporary murder mystery, another witchy series, and a couple of short stories in flagrante delicto, so to speak. And I’m about halfway through ZG3 which absolutely must be editor-ready by the end of the January at the very latest. I take notes when ideas hit me, and I think I’ll indulge myself as soon as I get to a point in ZG 3 where I feel comfortable leaving them for a bit.
As you write the last book of the series, you realize you should have hidden more Easter eggs and planted more seeds of foreshadowing in earlier books but it’s too damn late now because they are already published. Ya live, ya learn. The lesson here is to write the entire story before you publish any of it.
Fear that this is the only story you can ever come up with. After you’ve worked on one story for a couple of years, the thought is going to occur to you that this story has used up all of your imagination. Every bit of creativity is gone and you are destined to a life of failure and depravity. The trick is to keep pushing forward. I think this is what makes the difference between wannabes and actual writers. I lurked in the wannabe tribe for a good long time because of fear.
By the time the third book finds its way to book sellers sometime in 2018, Zoraida Grey will have turned into a three-year project. I’ve grown as a writer and learned a million things—most of them things to never do again. It’s really been a lot of fun, now that I think about it.
So that cold water in the face won’t be a deterrent, but it will remind me of the pain and suffering I’m about to step into. With any luck, it will also remind me what I learned the last time.
And then, I’ll do it again.
Blurb from Zoraida Grey and the Family Stones
Granny’s dying, but Zoraida can save her with a magic crystal of smoky quartz. Too bad the crystal is in Scotland––in a haunted castle––guarded by mind-reading, psychopathic sorcerers.
Getting inside Castle Logan is easy. Getting out––not so much. Before she can snatch the stone, Zoraida stumbles into a family feud, uncovers a wicked ancient curse, and finds herself ensorcelled by not one but two handsome Scottish witches. Up to their necks in family intrigue and smack-dab in the middle of a simmering clan war, Zoraida and her best friend Zhu discover Granny hasn’t told them everything.
Not by a long shot.
Zoraida Grey and the Family Stones is the first book in the trilogy. Get a copy here:
A sneak peek at Book 2-- Zoraida Grey and the Voodoo Queen (Not quite ready for prime time—I see a couple of ways to make this better so . . . .)
The smell of fresh dew and mimosa blossoms drifts through my bedroom window on a cool morning breeze. I open my eyes and the sight of Zhu’s quiet house next door snaps me awake. On happier mornings, I’ve looked out my bedroom window to find Zhu hanging upside down from her roof brushing spider webs from the eaves or digging grave-like holes for new rose bushes. Today her house is dead, its soul elsewhere. I can’t bear the sight of it.
An ominous gurgle in my stomach reminds me––as if the ache in my head isn’t enough––that I drank my supper last night. When I shuffle down the stairs on wobbly legs, I find my couch full of Scotsman and black cat. Snoring softly, Shea cradles Johnny Lee in one arm and an empty Laphroaig bottle in the other. His legs dangle over one armrest and his lurid Bermuda shorts clash with my upholstery. Why is he here when Zhu isn’t? For no particular reason, I pull the flowered cushion from beneath his head with a jerk.
Johnny Lee bounds to the matching chair and blinks green eyes. Shea hits the floor with a solid thump and sprawls across my rug.
Wow, Sorchia. Sounds like it was quite challenging for you to keep track of everything in your series. So glad you were able to get through it.
Let's find out a little more about Sorchia!
Sorchia Dubois Bio and Contact links
Award-winning author Sorchia Dubois lives in the piney forest of the Missouri Ozarks with seven cats, two fish, one dog, and one husband. She enjoys a wee splash of single-malt Scotch from time to time and she spends a number of hours each day tapping out paranormal romance, Gothic murder, and Scottish thrillers.
A proud member of the Ross clan, Sorchia incorporates all things Celtic (especially Scottish) into her works. She can often be found at Scottish festivals watching kilted men toss large objects for no apparent reason.
Her stories blend legends, magic, mystery, romance, and adventure into enchanted Celtic knots. Halloween is her favorite time of year (she starts decorating in August and doesn’t take it down until February) and her characters tend to be mouthy, stubborn, and a bit foolhardy. Nothing makes her happier than long conversations in the evening, trips to interesting places, and writing until the wee hours of the morning. Well, chocolate cake makes her pretty happy, too.
Amazon author page: http://www.amazon.com/SorchiaDuBois/e/B00B60NOUQ/
Goodreads author page: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6879978.Sorchia_DuBois
Google +: https://plus.google.com/u/0/+SorchiaDuBois
Thank you so much, Sorchia, for stopping by. Your stories sound very intriguing and I wish you lots of success.
Visitors, please leave us a comment that you've stopped by, so we can talk with you, and while you're here, tap the News & Things at the top and enter the November Thanksgiving Newsletter Giveaway. It ends today at midnight!
Today I have my spotlight on Unholy Alliance by Kathleen Rowland who says, “Thanks a bunch for hosting me for the Happy Holiday exchange.”
Kathleen loves the process of writing and never rushes it with abandon. She wants her characters and their stories to resonate and please readers. Unholy Alliance is the second book of the Donahue Cousins Series. A third is in the works.
A decade ago, Tori Rourke, and her cousin, Vivienne, ran from the Irish mob after witnessing a brutal murder. Tori was framed by the mob, and while she served time in prison, she worried that the killer, Seamus McGinn, had kidnapped her missing cousin.
Attorney Grady D. Fletcher, defender of the wrongly condemned, appeals Tori’s case and wins her release. Now, going by Victoria Morningstar, she runs a food truck from a seedy waterfront neighborhood, hoping to find her cousin's kidnapper.
When Grady agrees to defend a new client, Samuel Peterson, who’s been accused of beating to death the wife of a noted professor, the evidence mounts. The professor is missing, as well as his laptop that contains data dangerous to national security.
And Seamus McGinn is back, and rumors of a massive annihilation is about to begin. As they race to assist the FBI, the bonds between Grady and Tori are about to be tested. It becomes clear Grady and Tori are falling fast for each other, but what to do about it is a different story. He’s a divorced dad who wants more time with his kid. She brings danger to his front door.
Grady has questions of his own; Is Vivienne at the center of the mob’s operation? How much will it cost Tori before she learns the truth? All Grady knows is the biggest danger is the one standing right behind you.
* * *
Kathleen says, “Hey friends, I’m sending this excerpt, a thingy that takes place when Tori invites Grady to visit her food truck, Deep Fried to Taste. Ta! Hope you like him.”
Grady double-arm waved at her. It was as if he were a two-dimensional character in a dream. Handsome. As upstanding as any man could be. Her legs gave way. The figure in the distance did that, and she grabbed the counter. Dizzy and short of breath, she chastised herself for holding on to the romantic notions she fantasized about a hundred times a day. She stuck her head out the window. “I’m coming out.”
Grady met her on the stairs and offered a hand. The closer he got, the harder it was to concentrate on stepping down. His killer smile showed off two sexy dimples when he said, “It’s noon.”
“Good noon to you.” She gulped. Readying herself for conversation, she took his hand, rose on her toes, and sniffed. “Hmmm, what is that? Shaving lotion? Man perfume?”
He chuckled, and a weird electric awareness went off in her chest. In slow motion, it cracked open slowly, sent out sparkly runners to forgotten girl parts, and pulsed there.
She pulled her shoulders back and lifted her chin. Their gazes locked. Her hair loosened from her bandana. “Drat, I’m a chef. Hair is supposed to stay put.” She took it off, placed the center of the bandana on the nape of her neck and tied a knot on the top of her head.
He reached to help tuck the ends under. “You’re so darn cute.”
“Oooo, that scent. Are you going to tell me what it is?”
“Eau des Baux Eau.” The warm, deep sound of his voice sent more sensations of want right through her. Behind him, the sun stretched a bit higher and seemed to shine just on him. “You like it?”
“I sure do. Vanilla. You smell like a cookie.” Her heart thudded harder than it should.
“Do you like cookies?” He bent his head for a kiss.
She kissed Mr. Good Noon with the wavy reddish-brown hair and body made to lose sleep over. Her breath hitched, and she took a step back from heartbreak. No reason to set sights on a man way out of her league. The glow dimmed, and the warmth backed off. “Care to look at my menu?” She stepped closer to the blackboard.
“Now you’re speaking my language. I’m starving.” He raised his eyebrows and the corners of his mouth lifted. “Pimento cheeseburger corn dog.”
“That’s my great food mash-up.”
“I can see why. It blends two favorites, the cheeseburger, and the corn dog.
* * *
All purchase links are below:
Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/Unholy-Alliance-Donahue-Cousins-Novel-ebook/dp/B06X9DY642/
Kindle UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B06X9DY642
For all others, look here: http://www.tirgearrpublishing.com/authors/Rowland_Kathleen/unholy-alliance.htm
Kathleen's book certainly sounds intriguing and another to add to my TBR pile. Let's find out a little more about Kathleen.
Meet the author, Kathleen Rowland, and her dark and dangerous world of romantic suspense.
Award-winning author Kathleen Rowland is devoted to giving her readers fast-paced, high-stakes suspense with a sizzling love story sure to melt their hearts. Writing a romantic suspense series for Tirgearr Publishing, Deadly Alliance is followed by Unholy Alliance. Bittersweet Alliance in the works. Keep an icy drink handy while reading these sizzling romantic thrillers.
Kathleen used to write computer programs but now writes novels. She grew up in Iowa where she caught lightning bugs, ran barefoot, and raced her sailboat on Lake Okoboji. Now she wears flip-flops and sails with her husband, Gerry, on Newport Harbor but wishes there were lightning bugs in California.
Kathleen exists happily with her witty CPA husband, Gerry, in their 70’s poolside retreat in Southern California where she adores time spent with visiting grandchildren, dogs, one bunny, and noisy neighbors. While proud of their five children who’ve flown the coop, she appreciates the luxury of time to write. If you’d enjoy secrets behind books, signup for Kathleen’s newsletter on her website:
Thank you so much, Kathleen for visiting me during the Happy Holiday exchange. I enjoyed reading your blurp and excerpt and look forward to reading the story.
Visitors, please let us know you visited by leaving a comment and thanks for stopping by!
Hello all, I hope you enjoyed your Thanksgiving dinner, and having fun out in the crowds today shopping! Today I've a bit of an unusual visitor to my blog. Diana Rubino with her book, Sharing Hamilton, a Historical fiction rather than a romance fiction. Let's find out about this triangle love affair. Welcome, Diana, tell us about this book!
On New Year’s Day 2008, I sat on the couch trying to figure out who to write about next, and decided on Hamilton (this was WAY pre-Hamilton, the musical). The story centers on Hamilton, his wife and mistress—the love triangle that became the nation's first sex scandal, The Reynolds Affair. It went through several incarnations, rewrites and revisions. My friend, best selling thriller writer Brian Porter, wrote a chilling subplot about a serial killer on the dark Philadelphia streets.
As the United States struggled in 1791, James and Maria Reynolds also struggled, flat broke. James, well aware of the strong attraction between his wife and Treasury Secretary Alexander Hamilton, hatched a plan to blackmail Hamilton and get rich. James sent Maria to seduce Hamilton and extort hush money from him. The Reynolds Affair lasted almost two years. James got plenty of hush money. But he never counted on the two of them falling in love.
What follows is a novel, but some facts can’t be ignored.
In 1791, Alexander Hamilton, married with five children, began an affair with the beautiful 23-year-old Maria Reynolds of Philadelphia. “The Reynolds Affair,” the country’s first sex scandal, lasted two years. They indulged their passion either in Maria’s boarding house or in Hamilton’s home when his wife and children were away. Not only did the forbidden trysts titillate the tabloid readers of the time, but news later broke that Hamilton was paying Maria’s husband James hush money. James, a con artist, lived by his wits and scams. When he began extorting hundreds of dollars from Hamilton under threat of ruining his reputation as Treasury Secretary, Hamilton had no choice but to continue paying James while carrying on with Maria. Hamilton and Maria eventually fell in love, but being married to others, knew they had no future together.
The affair ended two years later when Hamilton, after a Congressional investigation, published The Reynolds Pamphlet, admitting that his dishonesty was “an amorous entanglement”, not embezzlement from the United States treasury. His wife Eliza, pregnant with their sixth child, forgave him, and his sterling reputation emerged untarnished. But it forever ruined his chances of the presidency.
Meanwhile, behind the romantic and political machinations, a vicious serial killer stalked the city by night. Having arrived in the New World from London, Dr. Severus Black, specialist in ‘women’s medicine’ and friend of the Hamiltons, had a penchant for the darker side of life. He managed to combine tending to Mrs. Hamilton during her pregnancies with a series of vicious murders of young women. One hundred years later these scenes were echoed on the streets of London by another killer who was never caught—Jack the Ripper. Mrs. Hamilton grew very fond of the handsome debonair young doctor, who in turn, returned an affinity for his patient. Blissfully unaware of his nocturnal activities, she continued her friendship with Dr. Black, but she sensed a secret grief, a bitter repentance, under his outward displays of charm and cordiality.
After a few run-ins with the law, Dr. Black made good his escape from Philadelphia when the police investigation drew too close for comfort. He settled in South Africa under a new name, where he found more than one use for his medical skills.
Apart from Dr. Black’s scenes, the story is told from the alternating viewpoints of the aristocratic Eliza Schuyler Hamilton and the lower-born but wily Maria Reynolds. It will tell the reader, in these women’s own words and intimate detail, about being in love with the same man during a critical period for the young nation.
While researching this book, I became fascinated with Aaron Burr, who makes a cameo appearance in the story as Maria Reynolds's divorce lawyer. I found the Aaron Burr Association on the internet, and have been a member ever since.
Visit their website at http://www.aaronburrassociation.org/
And on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/AaronBurrAssociation/
My fascination with Aaron led to my next bio novel, about his last wife Eliza Jumel, which I'm happy to announce will be published November 24.
An excerpt from SHARING HAMILTON
“You love me, Alex? You truly love me? Are you sure?” My breath caught in my throat. My heart danced. His admission rendered me breathless. I melted into a puddle in his lap.
“Maria, I’ve been awaiting you all my life.” He stroked my cheek. “You’re everything I’ve wanted in a woman—allure, intelligence, talent, fun—I’ve never met a woman who was all those things wrapped in one beautiful package.”
I gazed into his eyes, knowing our souls had entwined before this, ages before.
“I wanted you so badly from the moment we first met, at Aaron’s soirée,” I divulged the risky admission. “Though I knew you were already taken, and your course already laid out for you, I craved your attention, not to simply revere you from afar. I wanted to know you personally, even if only to spend one visit together. Just to be close to you. But I knew it was a fantasy. I was distraught when you left New York to live here. Then, when James made us move here, I knew our paths were destined to meet. It could not have happened any other way.”
“Then your initial letter to me had subtext I missed?” His lips curved with mirth.
“Oh, no, not at all,” I murmured between kisses on his face, his ears, his lips. “We—I was destitute. James had—” About to blurt it out, I stopped myself. I couldn’t bring myself to admit I’d lied to him; I’d been a pawn in James’s plot. “All I wanted was to meet you, to be alone with you, for a few stolen moments. That was all I deserved. After all, you are—who you are! I’m—no one.”
“Ah, you’re far from no one. A pity James doesn’t realize that. But I do. I will come clean with you, Maria. I love my wife, but I am not in love with her. As I am with you.”
He ran a fingertip over my lips and I tingled all over. I wanted to climb to the roof and sing to the entire world, “The great Alexander Hamilton, my new love, is in love with me!” How could I ever keep this a secret? The best part of being in love was sharing it with others. Oh, how I wanted to tell someone! But who could I trust?
“I am all talked out. Come upstairs.” His voice caressed my ears. “Take this candle, for my hands will be busy.”
Purchase SHARING HAMILTON
Wow, Diana, what an interesting excerpt. Tell us how we can contact you.
Amazon Author Page
Great, Diana! Thanks for stopping by and sharing this story. I wish you great success with it.
For those who stop by, please leave us a comment that you've visited. We love to hear from you. While you're here, jump on over to my News & Things and read up on my newsletter, and enter the rafflecopter for a chance to win one of nine ebooks!
I believe that the Christmas holiday has officially started!
Hello everyone! Welcome to the first Happy Holidays Author Exchange visitor, Ronnie Allen with her book, Scorpio.
With a mind as strong as twisted steel, Scorpio obsessed Henry Slater, suave, sophisticated, sexy, intelligent, and wealthy is the perfect man—except to women who tell him what he doesn’t want to hear.
Dr. John Trenton is called back to NYC for a case close to his heart, while NYPD Detective Samantha “Sam” Wright and Dr. Frank Khaos, conflicted about their on-again-off-again relationship, take on another case—a serial killer who’s orchestrated sixteen murders across the United States over a nine-year period. The seventeenth victim is Sam’s best friend, Carrie Baines. When forensic science connects Frank to Slater, Frank is pushed to delve into his past, something he swore never to do. Meanwhile, due to the interstate nature of the crimes the FBI gets involved, convincing Sam to go undercover. But Slater is clever, and Sam is no match for him. Will her psychic skills and police training be enough to survive this close encounter with a killer, or will she end up as his eighteenth victim? And even if she lives, is her relationship with Frank really over?
Det. Sam Wright and her partner, Det. Nick Valatutti, trying to become involved in the serial murder case.
A mid-forties dark-skinned man wearing a conservative gray sports jacket at the opposite end of the table spoke first. “I’m Lieutenant Hicks. I know both your histories, and your relationship with Agent Case. Even though your excellent reputations precede you, consider this a professional courtesy, nothing more. Lieutenant Rojas and I go back a long way. At first, I wasn’t thrilled with a task-force for no reason, but I now understand it, seeing what damage this perp has done. Therefore, my precinct and I will give the FBI our utmost cooperation. As for the both of you being here, I know that you, Detective Wright, and the vic were good friends, so we will use what you tell us as a reliable source. Your involvement will end there.”
Sam cringed when she heard him say “vic” instead of Carrie by name. She held her tongue. His last statement made her stomach drop.
“I’ll be directing this interview,” Agent Case said. “Detective Wright, how long have you known Miss Baines?”
“Since kindergarten.” Sam remained focused. She’d only elaborate when he asked the correct questions.
“What can you tell me about her?”
“Everything. We need to create a profile to match to the other victims.”
Nick shot Agent Case a glare. “Why don’t you ask Detective Wright specific questions so we don’t go on for hours and waste time?”
Okay, Nick. You’re starting your magic.
Agent Case put his pen down. “Yes, I forgot. This one could ramble. Why would Miss Baines cut work and go to a casino?”
“That’s the million dollar question. One I want the answer to, but more importantly why did the perp choose her?”
“Not going there,” Lieutenant Hicks retorted, not holding back annoyance.
“Lieutenant, with all due respect, if my partner knows specifics, she’ll be able to frame her answers appropriately. Relevancy is crucial. Correct?”
The lieutenant let out an exasperated breath. “All of the murders were in casinos on the east coast. All vics were professional career women.”
“Any prominent differences?” Nick asked.
“Unfortunately, none that we’ve put together, yet,” the lieutenant conceded.
“Okay, Detective Wright, what can you tell us about Miss Baines relationship with her husband?” Case asked. “We know it’s not him, but—”
Sam cut Agent Case off. “I get it. Carrie and Charlie were separated four months ago. She caught him cheating, first through texts on his phone to another woman, then she followed him to an apartment building. She never confronted him.”
“Never confronted him? How can that be?”
“We never had time for a face to face meeting, and—”
“Don’t buy that for a second, Detective.” Case sneered at her. “If you two were that close, you’d be meeting at three a.m. if need be. Girlfriends cry with each other. I think you’re wasting our time, altogether.”
Ronnie Allen is a NYC native transplanted to rural Central Florida nine years ago. A teacher in The New York City Department of Education for 33 years, she also obtained a license as NYS School Psychologist. In later education, she added certification as a Board Certified Holistic Health Practitioner, earning a Ph.D. in Parapsychic Sciences. Ronnie uses her expertise in education, the paranormal, and psychic development throughout her novels. She’s an advocate for children, and their health and well-being. This is evident in the themes of her novels and in the dedications. Scorpio is the third book in The Sign Behind the Crime series.
Readers can find me at:
Thank you so much, Ronnie, for dropping by.
I hope everyone enjoys the blog visit. Please leave us a message that you stopped by. We love to hear from our readers!
Hello everyone. Welcome to my blog and I hope you have a wonderful start of the Thanksgiving week! Today I have Carol Preflatish sharing her book, Her Bluegrass Beau. Tell us, Carol, about this book!
"Her Bluegrass Beau" is author Carol Preflatish's seventh romance novel and her favorite one so far. "I like to write about locations that I'm familiar with and while I'm not from Kentucky, it's one of my favorite places to visit."
"Her Bluegrass Beau" is about Karri Taylor needing to get out of California and away from her ex-boyfriend. She couldn't think of a better time to visit the Kentucky farm she inherited from her great-aunt.
Jake Duncan is the definition of a perfect southern gentleman and it doesn't take long for Karri take an interest. From helping him nurse his sick horse back to health to meeting the neighbors, she develops an affection for both Jake and the many attributes of the Bluegrass State.
Her plan was to sell the farm and head back home, But, when a blizzard hits, the plan changes. She's stranded at the farmhouse until Jake comes to the rescue. With the lack of enough food and discovering the generator stolen, the only thing she can do is accept Jake's offer to stay with him until power is restored.
During her time with Jake, she learns that a big company is trying to buy all the farms in the area, against the wishes of the neighbors. She's torn between selling her farm and going back home where she owns a business or stay in Kentucky and start all over with Jake by her side.
The next morning, she woke up thinking she heard a noise. There it was again. Someone was pounding on the front door. Still dark outside, she looked at her watch that showed seven
o'clock local time. She quickly got out of bed, grabbed her robe and headed down the stairs to the door. Before opening it, she looked around for something to protect herself. She spotted an
umbrella behind the door and picked it up. It would have to do.
She turned the porch light on and moved the curtain on the door
aside to see who was waking her up at such an early hour. It was
four a.m. in California.
Standing on the other side of the door was Jake, the neighbor she met last night. "Good morning,” his frosty breath floated upward as he spoke.
"What do you want?" she said, still not opening the door.
"I brought you some coffee and biscuits with sorghum. Can I come in? It's kind of cold out here."
Karri looked up at the big round thermometer that hung from the porch roof and saw the temperature was nineteen degrees. The thought of that hot coffee sounded too good to pass up,
especially since her bare feet were freezing. She opened the door to let Jake inside and pulled her light robe around her. She shivered when the cold air hit her skin.
"Thanks. The cold was beginning to make it through my clothes." He immediately started walking toward the kitchen. He held a thermos in one hand and a pie tin with aluminum foil over
it. More rudeness, she thought. She put the umbrella back and followed him to the kitchen.
"I figured you didn't have any food here and would be hungry for breakfast. I fixed me some biscuits this morning and thought I'd bring some back to you." He turned on the oven and uncovered the pie tin of biscuits. From one coat pocket, he sat a glass jar of brown syrupy looking substance on the table and then from the other pocket, he took out a small piece of
aluminum foil. When he unfolded it, she saw it had butter inside.
"You think of everything, don't you?"
"I try. Why don't get a couple plates and coffee cups for us. I only brought some sugar, I hope you don't use cream?" He took a plastic zipper bag of sugar out of the same pocket that had held
"Sugar is fine." She went to the cabinet and got some plates and cups. After rinsing and drying them, she brought them to the table. Jake got silverware from one of the drawers and placed them on the table.
He sure knows his way around this kitchen, she thought. As he poured her a cup of coffee, she thought she might be salivating. She added two sugars to her cup and took a long drink
before sitting down.
Barnes & Noble: http://bit.ly/2y34M9M
Very intriguing excerpt, Carol. Tell us a little about yourself!
Carol Preflatish lives in southern Indiana and shares a log cabin with her husband and two cats in what seems like an enchanted forest with a menagerie of wildlife constantly visiting. A few little-known facts about Carol are that she's a licensed amateur radio operator, has a degree in Physical Education, and is a collector of golf balls, shot glasses, and coins. Carol is a member of the Sisters in Crime organization and Kentuckiana Authors.
Web site: http://CarolPre.com
Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/author/carolpre
Thank you so much, Carol, for visiting and sharing this information about your book. I wish you great success.
If you're a visitor, please leave a comment and let us know you stopped by. While you're here, you can jump on over to my "News & Things" and catch up on me, and enter the rafflecopter giveaway I have going for the month of November.
God bless and have a great week!
TGIF! Welcome to my last blog post of the week with V.C. Buckley and her release, Hanami. What an intriguing excerpt and very interesting book cover! So, Verns, tell us about this book!
SAKURA SHINTANI is the Dragon Clan heir-Japan's most notorious crime dynasty. But can she keep this fact a secret from the prying brats of Oniyuri Academy? She attempts to stay out of their radar while mastering her demons and keeping her murderous temper under control, but having the face of an angel only attracts everyone's attention... including the arrogant heir to Asia's most powerful tycoon, KENJIN KIYOHARA. He senses the danger, but Sakura is too interesting to be left alone.
Jin rolled his eyes, settling his gaze back on the girl. He wasn’t surprised with their reaction.
The new girl was hot, but so what? It took more than a pretty face to get his attention. He wasn’t that easy to impress, and he was certain she’d be throwing herself at him anyway. Just like everybody else. He was sure this girl wasn’t any different from the love-crazed hyenas that stalked him.
Jin pushed back his shoulders, seeing her start towards him with her eyes still trailing on the ground.
Already? Jin thought, suppressing a laugh. He crossed his arms, waiting for her to get closer, and sure enough she stopped right in front of him. She was even prettier up close. Asian but with a hint of Caucasian mixed in.
“What?” he asked, smirking. He already knew what she might say: whether he was Kenjin Kiyohara, the sole heir to Kiyohara Industries? The questions were all the same. He thought she would have at least waited until class was over like the rest of them.
“Move your feet. You’re blocking my way,” the girl said in a sharp tone. She shifted her gaze up at him like a threatening knife. Her topaz-colored eyes darkened, sending icy tremors down his back. He felt as if he’d been hit by a curse as his mind turned blank.
When she finally looked away, Jin was able to regain his senses. He tucked his legs out of her way, and she passed, leaving goosebumps in her wake. His eyes followed her, waiting to see if she’d look back, but she never did. Jin’s hands were trembling. His thoughts became jumbled while he struggled not to look anymore.
What was that? What just happened? This was a first for him. He couldn’t contain himself. His presence had no impact whatsoever. Instead she looked like she wanted to kill him!
Jin took a deep breath, replaying the moment in his head. Who was this girl? She sure got his attention, all right—and it left him in pieces. He fought the urge to look back again.
This girl…Jin thought. There was something about her. He couldn’t shake off the feeling. She seemed dangerous.
Paperback/print on demand:
EBook available in:
Wow, check out this YouTube trailer!
What an interesting life you've lived, Verns.
V.C. Buckley was born in a secret government facility and shipped off to an Island in Southeast Asia, where she grew up braving tropical thunderstorms and warding off evil villains. At sixteen she jetted off all over the world after being discovered by an agent. Her stories are inspired from gritty moments of her childhood to the glitz of her travels. She now lives in Manila with her husband, two kids and an herb garden that has hijacked her balcony.
Facebook page: www.facebook.com/vcccbuckley
Thank you so much, Verns, for visiting my blog today and sharing your book. I find it very intriguing and I'll be adding it to my TBR pile.
Commenters: Please let Verns and me know that you've visited, we'd love to hear from you. Feel free to visit my website and be sure to stop by News & Things and enter the rafflecopter I have going. Thanks everyone and have a great weekend!
Hello again! Today Robin Michaela visits with her new holiday release, The Santa Bargain, and I don't mind saying that the good looking man on this cover makes my heart beat a little faster. So, Robin, tell us about this intriguing looking hunk.
Santa’s gifts are both naughty…and nice.
Coffeehouse entrepreneur, Maria Thompson, has sworn off men ever since her young son’s father walked out of their lives. But, when she literally runs into sexy carpenter, Joe Sinclair, she wonders if it’s time to rethink her plan.
Joe Sinclair doesn’t need or want romance or a family. He was raised in the foster care system and learned long ago not to get attached to anyone. Now, if he could just remember that, he could put the sensual owner of Copper River, Colorado’s new coffee shop out of his mind.
After Maria and Joe volunteer to work together on the town’s first Christmas festival, their attraction lights up brighter than a new a string of holiday lights. When Santa comes to town, will they finally find everything they’ve ever wished for under the tree?
Every warning she'd ever heard about people texting and not paying attention to where they were going hurtled through Maria Thompson's mind in the seconds after she buried her face in the man's muscular pecs. Her phone catapulted from her grasp but she barely registered that fact. She also didn’t catch the sound it made when it hit the concrete because her hearing was muffled by the sinewy arm that shot out and wrapped around her head, pressing her even harder against the guy’s decidedly powerful chest.
Instinctively, she reached out to brace herself, then felt a blaze of heat course through her body when her hands splayed against his muscular thighs.
Best. Day. Ever.
A flash of desire spiked along her nerve endings. Even though she really should back away, she couldn't stop herself from inhaling a deep breath. His masculine scent – wood shavings with a hint of spicy aftershave – nearly made her moan.
"Wow," she heard herself say. So, apparently her mouth still worked even though her brain had momentarily gone off line. Still, it would have been nice to have said something a little more intelligent.
"”Wow” about sums it up," Sexy Pecs agreed. He let go of her head, allowing her to back away before the rest of her body melted into a puddle at his feet.
"Sorry…I'm really sorry," Maria sputtered, her face burning. "I was checking my texts and—"
His gorgeous blue eyes glinted mischievously as he grinned down at her from two rungs up on the step ladder. "No problem. I probably wouldn't object if you wanted to run into me again."
Well, she wouldn’t object much either. Okay, not at all.
On sale for $0.99 at Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B077996MP2
Or FREE when you sign up for my newsletter: https://robinmichaela.com/newsletter/
Let's see what we can find out about Robin.
Robin Michaela has been reading romances since her teen years, when she first snuck her aunt’s copy of The Flame and the Flower, by Kathleen Woodiwiss.
She’s married to her own Handsome Prince (a military airman) and has lived everywhere from the sunny shores of Florida to the wild crags of the Colorado Rocky Mountains. She currently resides in the Deep South. By day, she’s a dental hygienist and by night, Robin can be found eating chocolate, training for her next half marathon, and crafting her next novel (although not necessarily in that order).
Robin’s stories have been called “a simply delicious escape”. Sparks fly and desire sizzles when her irresistible heroines challenge the men of their dreams.
Robin loves to hear from readers. Connect with her at:
Amazon Author page (https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B01N1MUNAL)
Wow, Robin...This sounds like such a great read. Congratulations on your release and thank you for stopping by and sharing your new release with us!
Commenters: Please let us know you've stopped by. We love to talk to everyone. While you're here, why not stop by my "News & Things" page and read up on my newsletter, and enter the giveaway I have going?
Thanks for stopping by!
Hello everyone! please welcome Pamela S. Thibodeaux back to my blog with her Holiday release, Keri's Christmas Wish. She also has a a box set, Mistletoe, Snow and Suspense special going on, so be sure to take advantage of that. So Pamela, tell us about Keri's Christmas Wish.
The power of faith to heal
Can Keri get past her angst over Christ’s birth and enjoy the Christmas season?
For as long as she can remember, Keri Jackson has despised the hype and commercialism around Christmas so much she seldom enjoys the holiday. Will she get her wish and be free of the angst to truly enjoy Christmas this year?
A devout Christian at heart, Jeremy Hinton, a Psychotherapist, Life Coach, Spiritual Mentor and Energy Medicine Practitioner has studied all of the world’s religions and homeopathic healing modalities. But when a rare bacterial infection threatens the life of the woman he loves, will all of his faith and training be for naught?
Find out in Keri’s Christmas Wish
Excerpt: An image began to form in her mind…a young girl being led around on a horse by an ethereal figure. As the trio came closer, Keri felt as though she looked in a mirror. Her heart swelled. Tears clogged her throat, filled her eyes, and slipped down her cheeks.
The childlike voice reverberated through her entire body. Keri smiled and whispered, “Hello.”
Excitement lit the youngster’s eyes. Brilliant colors vibrated around her. “Do you know who I am?”
“You’re me as a little girl. That’s Spark, my horse who died when I was a teenager.”
Spark nodded his head as the girl giggled—a joyous melody that rang through the atmosphere. “No, silly, I’m your big sister. Only, I didn’t live very long.”
Tension seeped in, a mixture of shock and awe.
“Don’t be afraid. Ask mom.”
And then the mirage disappeared.
Ebook Link: http://amzn.to/2ePnias
Print Link: http://amzn.to/2g4o4yG
Please Note: Keri’s Christmas wish is featured in Mistletoe, Snow and Suspense a collection of 5 Christmas stories by 4 Acclaimed authors available for a limited time for only 99cents! http://amzn.to/2A50wEe
So let's find out a little bit about Pamela....
uthor Bio: Award-winning author, Pamela S. Thibodeaux is the Co-Founder and a lifetime member of Bayou Writers Group in Lake Charles, Louisiana. Multi-published in romantic fiction as well as creative non-fiction, her writing has been tagged as, “Inspirational with an Edge!” ™ and reviewed as “steamier and grittier than the typical Christian novel without decreasing the message.”
Website address: http://www.pamelathibodeaux.com
Face Book: http://facebook.com/pamelasthibodeaux
Twitter: http://twitter.com/psthib @psthib
Amazon Author Page: http://amzn.to/1jUVcdU
Thank you so much, Pamela, for stopping by and sharing with us your Christmas release. It sounds like a wonderful story, and I look forward to reading it.
Commenters: Please let us know you stopped by. While you're here, why don't you tap the "News & Things" toggle bar above and read the newsletter, and enter the month long giveaway I have going. Thanks for coming!
Happy Tuesday! Today I have someone visiting from the scifi romance genre. Kayelle Allen is here on her cover reveal tour for Bringer of Chaos, Forged In Fire. I love her description in her bio section, Mythic Heroes and Misbehaving Robots. LOL, Congratulations Kayelle, on your cover reveal. Tell us a little more about the book.
Bringer of Chaos: Forged in Fire The Sempervian Saga (Book 2) by Kayelle Allen
Humans created the Ultras, a genetically enhanced race, to defend mankind. Instead, Ultras became their greatest threat. With the help of traitors, humans captured half a million of the immortal warriors.
Exiled to an alien world with no tech, no tools, and no resources, their leader, Pietas, must protect his people, find food and shelter and unite them. But before he can, he must regain command from a ruthless adversary he's fought for centuries--his brutal, merciless father.
Ultras are immortal, and no matter how they die, they come back. Reviving after death isn't all it's cracked up to be. Some wounds heal instantly and a few take time, but battered and broken trust? Immortals may heal, but a wound of the heart lasts forever.
Genre: Science Fiction with romantic elements
Rating: PG13 for violence, no profanity or explicit content
In this scene from Bringer of Chaos: Forged in Fire, Pietas and the search party sent to find him have stopped their upward mountain trek for a short break. Prior to their reunion the previous day, Pietas had spent a year in confinement, hands bound behind him. He'd been starved to the point of death, but because he's immortal, he could not die. Although he's healed since, the brutality left a lasting toll on his once robust physical body. As they prepare to get underway, he unwittingly reveals the impairment.
Wincing, Pietas stretched to ease cramps in his back.
His sister stood. "Tas!" she called up to him. She'd started using her childhood name for him since they'd reconnected the day before. "Are you hurt?"
A quick telepathic scan from Joss swept over him before he realized it was there. Pietas had still been a teenager when she'd trained him to shield his mind from those with her gift. Not that he'd ever been able to block her. She was far too powerful, but today, she'd read him with no more difficulty than a hunter spying trail signs. He'd been near no Ultra telepaths for over a year.
His affinity with Six had made him careless and he'd neglected the basic lessons Joss had taught him.
It wasn't a lack of trust. Trust had never been an issue with Joss.
He treasured her, but he ought not to have been so unguarded and open. Vulnerable.
"Pietas." Joss stood. The waves of emotion he picked up from her held love and concern in equal measure. And a bit of disappointment. "You're injured."
He ducked his head like a schoolboy who'd forgotten his lessons. Admit mortals had damaged him? Never. Neither would he lie about it. He'd take better care to hide the pain.
"Don't worry about me." Whistling, he circled a finger in the air. "Let's go! Long climb ahead." He leaped down from the rocks. "Joss, you lead." Last thing he wanted was her behind him, using him as an object of focus.
What telepaths focused upon, they controlled.
Bringer of Chaos: The Origin of Pietas
The Sempervian Saga (Book 1)
His people are winning, yet they insist on peace talks. The Ultra people want to grant humans a seat on the Council. Pietas ap Lorectic, Chancellor of the High Council, War Leader and First Conqueror, disagrees. What's best for mortals is oppression, control, and if necessary, elimination.
Pietas seethes with rage at the idea of human equality. Humans might have created Ultras, but the creation has far surpassed the creator. Humans die. Ultras are reborn, no matter how grievous the injury. They have no equals.
His people permit him no choice. He must attend these insipid peace talks on Enderium Six and what's worse, be polite. To humans.
When a human special ops warrior is killed in battle, he's resurrected in a secret process and inducted into the Ghost Corps. He's given enough strength to perma-kill immortal Ultras. Ghosts are the most hated and feared of warriors.
When the ghost entraps and captures Pietas at the peace talks, the two begin a long journey toward Sempervia, an isolated and forgotten world. Once there, Pietas is marooned and the ghost abandoned alongside him. The two must either fight to perma-death, or join forces to survive.
As Pietas comes to trust the human, an unlikely and awkward friendship begins. Until he discovers how ghosts are resurrected...
Giveaway - Free Download
Free -- download Endure, Illustrated Quotes by Pietas (as told to Kayelle Allen). Enjoy an exclusive collection of quotes on the concept of endurance by the man known to other immortals as the Bringer of Chaos. https://kayelleallen.com/media/30-days-endure.pdf
Download a free adult coloring book you can print and share. Relax and color with friends. It's fun! https://kayelleallen.com/media/pietas-coloring-book.pdf
Mythic Heroes and Misbehaving Robots:
Kayelle Allen writes Sci Fi with mythic heroes, misbehaving robots, role playing immortal gamers, and warriors who purr. She's a US Navy veteran and has been married so long she's tenured. https://kayelleallen.com Twitter https://twitter.com/kayelleallen Facebook https://facebook.com/kayelleallen.author Join the Romance Lives Forever Reader Group Download four free books and get news about books coming soon. You can unsubscribe at any time.
Thank you so much for dropping by, Kayelle and sharing your book cover reveal with us.
For commenters - don't forget to take advantage of the giveaways Kayelle is offering, and please, leave us a comment and let us know you stopped by. We love chatting with everyone.
Hello everyone! Welcome to Monday, November 13, 2017. I got a full slate of authors this week and today, I start with Regina Jeffers and her release, The Earl Claims His Comfort, a wonderful historical romance. Without any further ado, please help me welcome Regina to my blog today. Regina, tell us about The Earl Claims His Comfort.
The Earl Claims His Comfort: Book 2 of the Twins’ Trilogy
~ 2016 Hot Prospects Award Finalist
Hurrying home to Tegen Castle from the Continent to assume guardianship of a child not his, but one who holds his countenance, Levison Davids, Earl of Remmington, is shot on the road and left to die. The incident has Remmington chasing after a man who remains one step ahead and who claims a distinct similarity—a man who wishes to replace Remmington as the rightful earl. Rem must solve the mystery of how Frederick Troutman’s life parallels his while protecting his title, the child, and the woman he loves.
Comfort Neville has escorted Deirdre Kavanaugh from Ireland to England, in hopes that the Earl of Remmington will prove a better guardian for the girl than did the child’s father. When she discovers the earl’s body upon road backing the castle, it is she who nurses him to health. As the daughter of a minor son of an Irish baron, Comfort is impossibly removed from the earl’s sphere, but the man claims her affections. She will do anything for him, including confronting his enemies. When she is kidnapped as part of a plot for revenge against the earl, she must protect Rem’s life, while guarding her heart.
In the deepest recesses of Rem’s mind, he thought he could hear someone talking, but the words remained garbled. His last conscious thought had been of his impending death. Therefore, he wondered if the voices were those of God’s angels. Although he was certain his expression had not changed physically, the thought brought a smile to his lips. “More likely the Devil’s disciples,” his mind announced. “You are not of the nature to know God’s mercy.”
The voices dwindled to an uncomfortable silence, and Rem fought for the clarity his injury denied him. For several elongated moments, his unconscious mind claimed dominance, and Rem found himself tumbling toward the darkness once again, but just as he had abandoned the hope of the angels claiming him, a comfortably heavy weight landed upon his chest.
The suddenness of the attack had Rem searching for his next breath.
“Here!” A harsh squealing voice demanded. “Down here!”
There was fear and anxiousness in the tone, and something in Rem’s body reacted to the cry for assistance. His mind shut the door leading to the dark pit and began its climb toward the speck of light beckoning to him.
“Wake up!” the voice demanded.
Hands caught the lapels of his jacket to tug him forward. Even so, it was several seconds before he ventured to open his lids. When he did, the light caused him to blink hard.
“Can you hear me?” the voice screeched as a body blocked out the sunlight to tower over him.
“I’m not deaf, demme it,” he hissed as he cracked his eyelids open to claim the light once more.
In the end, the face hovering above his took on a familiar form. Dark curls. A heart-shaped face. The soft complexion of youth. The image brought him comfort while it frightened him beyond reason, for he knew the figure before him was dead.
“So, it is true?” Rem struggled through a dry throat, swallowing hard against the unreality of the situation. “God prefers his angels to possess the innocence of children.”
“I am no angel,” the face assured him.
“You are…” Rem stumbled over the familiar name.
They said in unison.
Rem squeezed his eyes shut to clear his vision, but when he opened them again, the childlike image remained.
“Are you or are you not Lady Delia?” he demanded testily.
“Not,” the figure pronounced as confusion crossed her features.
Yet before Rem could gather his thoughts, the image retreated to be replaced by another. Blue-green eyes. Golden-red wisps of hair flamed with the light behind it. Full lips. Creamy white skin touched with flecks of the sun’s kiss. Although concern crossed the celestial being’s expression, the countenance before him was his idea of an angel.
“Can you tell me what occurred? Are you injured?”
The “angel” ran her hands over his body to search for wounds, but he held no thoughts of the woman’s charity. Her clean, slightly floral scent tempted him as nothing had in some two years.
“Oh, my,” she said on a gasp as her fingers grazed his leg and came back bloody. She jerked a scarf from her head and leaned over Rem’s body to wrap the cloth about his leg.
Rem knew he should warn her not to touch his wound, but the heat of her body draped over his danced through his veins. Her breasts brushed against his manhood, and despite his every limb feeling the numbness of inaction and the overnight rain, his body reacted to her closeness.
“We must remove you to safety,” she said in anxiousness as her image returned to a point above him. Without the scarf to cover her locks, the woman was more angelic looking than before for the sunlight set the fire dancing in her tresses, and Rem permitted himself the hint of a smile.
“I shall return to the manor and plead for assistance,” she said as she prepared to stand. “You must have the services of a surgeon.”
Her words cleared the fog clinging to Rem’s mind. “No!” he snapped as he caught the stranger’s arm to stay her rise.
“You require a surgeon,” she reiterated.
Rem knew her correct, but his wound was no accident. He did not know whom he might trust among those at Tegen Castle.
“Even though I’ve recovered your horse, I cannot permit you to ride on your own.”
“You found Draco?” he asked with an attempt to sit up only to have the woman shove downward on his shoulders.
“You cannot think to ride,” she insisted. “You’re too weak.”
“You are not my demme mother,” Rem accused.
She shoved hard against his frame, and although he knew the woman meant it as part of her chastisement, his mind returned to the pleasure of having her so draped across his body.
“First, you, sir, will not speak so freely before the child. If you continue to act without respect for Miss Deirdre’s tender nature, I shall leave your carcass here to rot.” The woman poked Rem’s chest with her finger to punctuate her threat, but all his faculties could claim was the floral-scented drape of her hair as she leaned over him. His fingers itched to run them through the heavy ring of fire. “Moreover, from the cut of your clothes,” she continued without an acknowledgement of his distraction, “you are a gentleman. Therefore, you must be expected at Tegen Castle.”
“Is Lord Remmington at the castle?” Rem said suspiciously. Some of his renowned reasoning had returned. After all, the woman leaning over him was a stranger. Though he prayed it not so, perhaps she was involved in the attack upon his person.
“The earl is expected,” the woman repeated in what sounded of earnestness. But when she looked with more purpose upon his countenance, Rem noted a flicker of confusion crossed her expression.
“Despite your objection,” Rem spoke with the authority he had developed during his time serving under Wellington, “I mean to mount Draco and seek my own care giver.”
The woman continued to study Rem’s expression closely—too closely for his ease. “Very well,” she said at length. “Permit me to lead your stallion to the shade of the tree. Draco will be waiting for you there.”
With that, she strode away, catching the girl by the hand and tugging the child along behind her. In her anger, the female was magnificent. Rem raised himself to his elbows so he might observe her retreat. It was as he had expected. The sway of her hips as she sidestepped across the short expanse leading to the back road of his estate was a magnificent sight to behold.
Swallowing a cry of pain as he lifted his weight to a seated position, Rem calculated how many steps it would take to reach the large elm.
“Twelve,” he grunted while rolling to his one good knee. Not placing weight on his left leg, he grabbed the spindle-like branches of a large shrub, pulling himself to a standing position. Blowing out a short breath, he took a tentative step forward, followed by a hobble step. His good leg remained numb from a lack of use, while his injured one shot pains through his body to lodge in his tightened jaw, but his determination won out.
“Four,” Rem hissed as he repeated the maneuver, and his resolve took a firmer hold. However, the rocky path had a mind of its own, and it meant to bring him down. As if the land rose up to claim his footing, he stumbled to land face first in the mud.
“Hold the horse,” the woman instructed the child.
When he looked in her direction, she was scampering over the short distance to reach him. “Keep back?” Rem growled as he shoved himself upward. The woman came to a stumbling halt. “I require no assistance,” he insisted in sharp tones.
Biting down on his stubborn will, Rem slowly repeated the process of standing—this time without the aid of the shrubbery. Yet, his earlier resolve had suffered a blow with his fall, and he swayed in place. His disorientation was enough to send the woman into action again. She rushed forward to brace Rem’s stance, and her floral scent filled his lungs with an enticing aphrodisiac.
“Please permit me to assist you,” she pleaded.
“It is not necessary,” Rem insisted.
“Allow the woman her due,” a very masculine voice called out from behind where the child waited with Draco.
“What the bloody hell are you doing here?” Rem snapped as he took in the countenance of his former friend. “You’ve no demme business in York.”
Yet before the Marquess of Malvern could respond, the woman shoved hard against Rem’s chest, sending him backward to land upon his posterior.
“I warned you, sir, I would not tolerate your foul tongue!”
Rem would have preferred to scramble to his feet and turn the blasted woman over his knee to exact his revenge, but today was not a “scrambling” kind of day. Today was a roll-onto-one’s-side-and-bite-one’s-tongue to disguise the pain type of day.
“Ma’am,” he heard the marquess say with kindness, “perhaps you should assist the young miss with his lordship’s horse. Draco is remarkably strong, and such a pretty miss should not muddy her dress in an attempt to hold the animal. I will assist the—”
“Marquess,” Rem groaned. For some reason Rem did not want the woman to know his identity. It was more than his angry response to an innocent. He did not know who wanted him dead. The woman was a stranger, and she would not be the first female who had practiced a deceit against him.
“Yes, the Marquess of Malvern,” Huntington McLaughlin said in what sounded of confusion.
Rem remained curled in a tight ball as the marquess approached. McLaughlin knelt beside him and gently rolled Rem to his back. “Where are you injured?” he asked in quiet tones.
Rem draped an arm across his eyes, not wishing to observe the sympathy on the marquess’ features. More than a year prior, he had wished Malvern to the devil when Rem received word that Miss Angelica Lovelace had accepted Malvern’s proposal. Now Fate meant to throw him and his former friend together again.
“Cut on the back of my head.” He repeated the litany of aches and pains. “More bruised pride than for which I care to account. Loss of blood. There’s a bullet in my upper thigh.”
Malvern growled, “Dear Lord, Rem, why did you not say so previously? I will ride to the castle to summon a surgeon.”
Rem lowered his arm to catch Malvern’s shoulder. “I told the woman I wanted no surgeon. Someone shot me less than a quarter mile from my threshold. I do not know whom I can trust. You can remove the bullet.”
Malvern grinned sheepishly. “How do you know you can trust me?”
Rem presented the marquess a hard stare. “I have known your betrayal previously, and I survived. You already have Miss Lovelace to wife, and you are the heir to the Duke of Devilfoard. I own nothing of interest to invite your dishonesty.”
Malvern’s frown lines deepened. “One day soon you must agree to listen to my explanation. I promised the marchioness I would speak to you as I should have done long ago.”
Rem did not wish to hear the marquess’s apology. There was nothing the words could change. Marriage was forever. “Not today. I am too weak to stomach your portion of humble pie.”
“As you wish, but know this chasm between us will be closed whether you care for the return of our association or not.” Malvern braced Rem to a seated position before wrapping one of Rem’s arms about the marquess’ shoulders to heft Rem to his feet. “Steady now,” Malvern cautioned.
Rem gritted his teeth. As they took short, stumbling steps toward where the woman waited with his horse, Rem hissed from the corner of his mouth, “Do you know her identity?’
“Mrs. Stoddard explained that the woman and the child were the reason your housekeeper sent for you.” Malvern spoke in tones so soft Rem had to listen with care to hear his former friend. “The child is Lady Delia’s daughter,” the marquess shared.
Rem halted their progress. “That explains why the girl appeared so familiar.” He scowled his disapproval. “Though for a moment I thought that God changed all his angels to childlike forms. Why is the girl in the neighborhood? Is Lady Delia’s father not at Phillips Hall?”
Malvern tightened his hold on Rem before responding. “From Mrs. Stoddard I learned that Phillips Hall was not Phillips’s primary seat, nor was it entailed upon the title. Viscount Phillips disposed of it recently to a Mr. Haughton.”
“Then who tends the child?” Rem asked suspiciously.
Malvern nodded toward where the pair waited. “Kavanagh employed the woman to escort the child to York, not to Phillips Hall, but rather to Tegen Castle.”
Rem’s reasoning was not so sharp as customary. He missed a few details in Malvern’s explanation. “Why here? Was Kavanagh aware of Phillips’s exit from the neighborhood? You said the land purchase was a recent one.”
“By recent, I mean some time after Lady Delia married her Irish baron. It is my understanding that Kavanagh disowned the child after Lady Delia’s passing. The baron instructed the woman who came to your aid to deliver Miss Deirdre to her real father.”
It took an extra heartbeat for Rem to understand the marquess’ words. “Oh hell, no,” Rem declared vehemently. “I was in Spain when Delia conceived her first born.”
“Keep your voice down,” Malvern cautioned. “It is not the child’s fault her legal father is a prig. Kavanagh has his heir so the baron has no more need of Lady Delia or the child. With Lady Kavanagh’s demise, after a reasonable time, he can remarry and produce a brood of little Irish babes.” The marquess paused dramatically. “According to your housekeeper, Miss Deirdre possesses your eyes, Remmington.”
Rem turned his head to disguise his ire from the watchful eye of the ladies. “I do not care what shade the child’s eyes claim. Although I dreamed often of bedding the girl’s mother, I was up to my ears in Froggies when Lady Delia permitted another what she promised me.”
Malvern nudged Rem to resume their trek. “We can decipher what is what once we see you to the safety of your home.”
“Not at the castle,” Rem insisted.
“Then the dowager house,” Malvern assured. “It is closer, and the woman and Miss Deirdre took sanctuary there.”
“Why not at the castle?” Rem demanded.
“Mr. Flood refused them shelter. Your housekeeper permitted them to remain at the dowager house, but there are no servants to assist the woman. She and the child have been there nearly a month.”
Somehow the idea impressed Rem. The stranger was resourceful. “As far as the woman knows, I am Malvern, and you are Remmington,” Rem instructed. “I just need to tend this wound, and then we can determine what occurred. I am too weak to defend myself for now.”
“Easy enough,” Malvern declared. “I still am missing gaps in my memory from my accident in Oxfordshire. Forgetting names is commonplace for me.”
Rem did not like to think with empathy upon Malvern. Rem’s pride still stung with stubbornness after losing Miss Lovelace to the marquess, but he realized that forgetting people and places must be quite daunting to a man who prided himself on his excellent memory. Their conversation ended while Malvern carefully boosted Rem into the saddle.
“I will lead the horse,” the woman assured the marquess. “If you will move the vegetable cart off the road. I shall return for it later.”
Now that he listened with his ears and not his fears, Rem could hear her Irish lilt accenting her words. Despite his best efforts, he enjoyed the musicality of it.
Malvern made easy work of the vegetable cart before catching the reins to Alibi to walk beside Draco. “Easier to catch you if you decide to fall,” he teased with a grin.
“Does your leg hurt much?” Miss Deirdre asked with the curiosity of the young.
“Very much,” Rem growled through a harsh breath. He did not wish to encourage the child to ask more questions. Rem had a hard enough time concentrating on his balance to remain in the saddle. Entertaining a child the world saw as his would never happen.
“You may make your inquiries of the…the marquess later,” the woman assured the child.
Rem wondered why the female stumbled over the word “marquess.” Did she recognize the deception he practiced? He looked up as they approached the estate grounds. How often had he raced up and down these lanes? Robby always beat Rem until they were strapping youths. Then his brother’s longer legs no longer provided Robinson an advantage.
“I know we agreed to the dower house, but explain to me why we are on the road circling the old castle,” he instructed as the scenery confirmed Rem’s suspicions.
Malvern screwed up his face in confusion. “It would take too long to circle back to the main road to the castle’s manor,” the marquess explained. “Moreover, I thought we decided the dowager house was closer, and you required a bed and someone to tend your wound.”
Rem turned his head too quickly, causing a swish of the tree line before his eyes, and he swayed in the saddle before he could right his seat. Both Malvern and the woman caught at him to prevent his falling off the horse.
Reseated, although a bit unsteady, Rem kept his eyes on the distant scenery. “I did not make myself clear earlier.” He pronounced the words in distinct syllables, as much for him as for his audience. “Before I was shot, I was gazing upon the old castle form of Tegen Estate in the distance. I could view the ramparts behind the current manor. How did I manage to be discovered upon the ground nearly a half mile removed from the original scene? I assure you I was in no condition to wander about the Yorkshire countryside.”
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Here's a little bit about Regina.
With 30+ books to her credit, Regina Jeffers is an award-winning author of historical cozy mysteries, Austenesque sequels and retellings, as well as Regency era-based romantic suspense. A teacher for thirty-nine years, Jeffers often serves as a consultant for Language Arts and Media Literacy programs. With multiple degrees, Jeffers has been a Time Warner Star Teacher, Columbus (OH) Teacher of the Year, and a Martha Holden Jennings Scholar, as well as a Smithsonian presenter. In 2016 and 2017, she was a finalist for the Daphne du Maurier Award for Excellence in Mystery/Suspense, the Frank Yerby Award for Fiction, the Derby Fiction Award, and the Chanticleer International Book Award.
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