Hidden Identities

The latest release – book of excerpts of historical romances with hidden identities!! A FREE book, filled with novel excerpts from New York Times & USA Today Bestselling Authors, including yours truly!!!

HIdden Identities coverAvailable Now!

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Blog: Untamed & Unabashed

Untamed & Unabashed

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Welcome to Lydia’s Bennet’s story.

Untamed & Unabashed (401x640)

Elizabeth Bennet told her story in Pride and Prejudice. Now Lydia Bennet tells her side of her whirlwind marriage to Lieutenant Wickham. The youngest of five daughters with a pittance of a dowry and no hope for a good marriage, Lydia feared her life was doomed from the start. She learns how to set herself apart from her sisters and gain the attention of young men. She hones charm and flirtation to an art. Willing to take risks, she manages to acquire a substantial dowry and marries her beloved Wickham. Yet, her life remains on the brink until she gains the patronage of a wealthy Duke trapped in a loveless marriage.

“Lydia was Lydia still; untamed, unabashed, wild, noisy and fearless.”

—quote by Elizabeth Bennet from Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

EXCERPT

Seeing his wife besotted with Wickham, David smiled and gestured for Lydia to sit. He then turned his chair so its back was to his wife. He sat, taking on a languid and bored pose. “You will let me know when they cease their tête a tête?”

She nodded. “Should I retrieve my husband?”

He smiled. “Please do not.”

“Then you do not mind he is seducing your wife before your eyes?”

David frowned at her. “Of course, I would mind such an affront. Why do you think I sit here with my back to them?”

Turning her head, she covered her mouth so she could laugh at his response. Upon regaining control, she faced him. His hungry gaze heated her entire body.

“I have missed you,” he said in the softest of voices.

Fearing tears might betray her, she leaned over the balcony and studied the crowd. “I am so pleased I am not hidden behind the pillar anymore.”

He abandoned his languid pose and leaned forward, speaking softly but with fervor. “You are not, and if all goes well, you’ll never be again.”

She smiled as she stared at the people below. Her life would be grand after all.

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More About the Author

Liza O’Connor’s favorite books are Pride & Prejudice and Douglas Adams’ four book trilogy, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. Go figure…

Raised in the southern mid-section, Liza escaped to the East Coast once out of college. She’s worked as a journalist, a radio DJ, a security guard, a stock broker, a strategist, and a business solutions consultant to name a few of her many occupations. Again…go figure.

She learned to fly planes, jump out of planes, hang-glide, kayak and scuba dive, to name of few of her ‘let’s kill Liza’ moments. However, her favorite activity is to hike with her dog Jess among the shaved mountains of NJ.

Here are additional Historical Novels by Liza O’Connor

A Humorous Sleuth Series: The Adventures of Xavier & Vic

The brilliant English Sleuth, Xavier Thorn, takes on a cheeky apprentice who turns out to be a young woman. Vic prefers to dress as a young man so she can live a more interesting life in the Late Victorian era. Overtime, Xavier makes her his partner in all ways.

The Troublesome Apprentice — The greatest sleuth in Victorian England hires a young man who turns out to be a young woman.

The Missing Partner — Opps! The greatest sleuth in Victorian England goes missing, leaving Vic to rescue him, a suffragette, and about 100 servants. Not to mention an eviscerating cat. Yes, let’s not mention the cat.

A Right to Love — A Romantic spin off from the Adventures of Xavier & Vic. The gypsy pirate Jacko falls in love with a compromised lady of high society.

The Mesmerist The Mesmerist can control people from afar and make them murder for her. Worse yet, Xavier Thorn has fallen under her spell.

 

 

FOR MORE INFORMATION ABOUT

LIZA O’CONNOR

Investigate these sites:

Liza’s Blog and Website   Facebook   Twitter

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Sharon Cullen’s His Saving Grace

Today, to celebrate the New Year of 2015, I have Sharon Cullen visiting with her latest release His Saving Grace – a fabulous Victorian England story that is on the top of my to be read pile! The lure of a tortured hero is always an emotionally driven story! Take a peak! 

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His Saving Grace

For months now, Lady Grace Ashworth has mourned the death of her beloved husband—until the day a very-much-alive Michael arrives at her front door. It’s nothing less than a miracle. However, Grace soon realizes that this Michael isn’t the same man who left for the Crimean War. She’s stunned to learn that he has suffered a devastating head injury. Putting all her own desires aside, Grace resolves to devote herself to Michael’s recovery and to love him no matter what troubles may come.

Convinced that his wife is wasting her time on a broken man, Michael attempts to shield Grace from a life of inconvenience by driving her away. But Grace will have none of that. Despite every obstacle Michael throws in her path, she stubbornly soldiers on, fighting not only for their marriage but for the love they once shared. In the end, will her determination alone be enough to save Michael from the darkness that threatens to consume him?

 

 Excerpt

He launched his cane across the room. It hit the upright mirror and shattered it. The explosion of glass was loud and utterly satisfying. He looked at the broken pieces scattered across the floor, reflecting the sunlight as it shone through the window and bounced off the walls. He stared at the shards and couldn’t help but think how ironic it was. He could pick up those pieces and attempt to glue them back together. He might even succeed in matching the pieces that were once the mirror, and fitting all of them back in the frame. But the mirror would never be the same. It would still show the cracks. It wouldn’t reflect his image the way it used to. It would look like a mirror and, in some ways, perform like a mirror. But it wasn’t a mirror anymore. Not really.

Just like he wasn’t Michael John Ashworth anymore. Not really.

 

Perfect for fans of Mary Balogh, Sharon Cullen’s captivating novel tells the deeply emotional tale of two devoted lovers facing the ravages of war. 

 

Praise for His Saving Grace

“Cullen writes an emotional and unique story about a couple’s journey to salvation. . . . Recommended for historical romance readers who appreciate feel-good, emotionally substantial, ‘love conquers all’ tales.”Library Journal

“Cullen has marked herself as an author to watch.”Publishers Weekly

“Heart-wrenching and full of real emotion, proving that love is always the answer, His Saving Grace is the best book I’ve read this year!”USA Today bestselling author Bronwen Evans

 

sharon blk and whiteIIIAbout Sharon

 

Sharon Cullen is the author of The Notorious Lady Anne, Loving the Earl and Pleasing the Pirate. She’s also published in romantic suspense, paranormal romance and contemporary romance.

 

Her other job descriptions include chauffer, laundress, cook and mediator to her three very busy kids, her husband and two dogs. She lives in southwest Ohio with her brood although her dream is to someday retire to St. Maarten and live on the beach.

If you’d like to find out more about Sharon and her books, you can visit her website. She’s addicted to social networking so you can find her on Facebook and Twitter. Friend her! Like her! Follow her! She’d love to hang out with you and talk about her passion—books.

Buy Links

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Sharon’s Social Media Links

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/SharonCullenAuthor

Twitter – @SharonCullen

Website – http://sharoncullen.net

 

 

 

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Great & Unfortunate Desires

 

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Spies & love in The Great War

We tend to think of the war with Afghanistan as a recent occurrence, brought by the war against terrorism that has run at full hilt since 9/11. And when I wrote Great & Unfortunate Desires, the opening takes place in Afghanistan during war, c. 1870. This seemed to confuse some of my friends, thinking I was trying to put the story in slant with today’s headlines. Yet, the war in Afghanistan is over 200 years old…

I watched the latest of the Sherlock Holmes movies and there is a reference to Dr. Holmes having served in the British military during the war in Afghanistan. That intrigued me but my first foray into research indicated the conflict there in the early part of the 19th century, in which Great Britain, hungry to expand her empire and hoping the land north of India would prove as great a find as India herself. But war in the Middle East for western Europeans proved a disaster. Interesting yes, but before the time period for Sherlock Holmes.

Then a good friend of mine mentioned The Great War. This is another attempt by Great Britain in the Middle East to conquer, only this time, the rules were different. Czarist Russia was also in an expansion mode and wanted the riches of India, which was still under British control and as a jewel in her empire crown, the English weren’t about to lose India. So Afghanistan became the battleground for these two large empires. Referred to as The Great War, both sides infiltrated the country with spies set among the tribes of Afghanistan as a way to route out where their opponent was, what strength they had and if they’d gained any support. The price for the people of Afghanistan was high during this power siege and left them embittered, making both England and Russia regret their tactics as both countries still today have issues with the lands north of India.

But this war also feeds the mind of a writer and the result is the espionage and intrigue that plagues Tristan, the Marquis of Wrenworth and his quest for revenge. But his past as a spy will also threaten the one woman he loves in Great & Unfortunate Desires.

Tell me – do any movies or books compel you to learn more like I did with the Sherlock Holmes line? Best comment wins an ebook copy of Tristan & Evelyn’s tale.

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Great & Unfortunate Desires

 

Afghanistan, June 1868

 

The blade slid inside the skin with ease, like butter. Blood, deep red, seeped around the steel, spilling downward. The victim helped force the weapon into his own flesh, but as the sword sliced into the organs beneath, his hand dropped lazily. The muted gasp of pain, barely audible from the man kneeling before him, registered in the killer’s ears.

Tristan St. James stood, his hand on the hilt of the sword, every nerve inside him on fire. Appalled at what he had been forced to do, he fought against showing his anguish. If there was a Hell, it was here, on Earth, right now in front of him. His vision blurred.

The man before him, Grifton Reynard, looked hard at him. As his robes turned crimson, he gagged and blood dripped from the corner of his mouth.

“Promise me you’ll take care of her,” he gritted out. “Promise me!”

“I promise. And I will find the bastard who did this,” Tristan hissed, his voice low and angry.

His friend gave a tense nod. He coughed a rattling noise as he choked, blood spewing like a geyser from his mouth. It hit Tristan on his face, adding to the stream from his own wound there, and staining the cream and maroon-trimmed cotton of his robes. But it didn’t matter. He couldn’t move, his feet firmly glued to the hard dirt surface. Grifton fell backward, his body thudded against the ground, eyes open but no longer seeing, his mouth askew, his lips and chin covered in his blood.

The sword fell free and hit the ground with a clank, as if it’d hit a rock.

His best friend, and his subordinate in this awful war of intrigue, lay dead before Tristan, by his hand. A pain–deep, gut wrenching and as violent as the act he’d just committed–seized his chest, strangling his heart. Swallowing hard, he shut his eyes for just a moment, an attempt to subdue the pain, to deaden it.

Unable to leave Grifton there, he bent and grabbed the man’s arms, yanked him up and threw him over his shoulder. The lifeless body hung like a sack of grain. Not that Tristan cared. No, his mind was assessing, reassessing and analyzing the material in his head. Like the cold-blooded killer they had made him, he narrowed the field of suspects who could have orchestrated this. Someone with everything to gain and more to lose if it failed.

He’d find out who had betrayed him and his men, the man responsible for their deaths, and kill him.

Amazon   Barnes & Noble     Kobo    iBook    Scribd

All the authors participating in the Romance Adventure Blog Hop – Click & enjoy!

  1. Liza O’Connor
  2. Daryl Devore
  3. Jennifer Lowery
  4. Andrea R Cooper
  5. Melissa Keir
  6. Karen Lopp
  7. Aine P Massie
  8. Gaeille Vanderspek
  9. Joceline Farrah
  10. Jenna Jaxon
  11. Gina Danna
  12. Melissa Kendall
  13. Sharon Cullen
  14. D’Ann Lindun
  15. Nikki Lynn Barrett
  16. Tricia L. Quinnies
  17. Lisa Kumar
  18. Georgia Lyn Hunter
  19. Sheri Fredricks
  20. Susan Sheehey
  21. Aleah Barley
  22. Stacey Brutger
  23. Bobbi Romans
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Sound the trumpets! Tempted by His Touch release!!!

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Dukes, Rogues & Alpha Heroes is out!!!

A boxed set with ten sizzling historical romances from ten bestselling historical romance authors. Fall in love with fabulous tales of intrigue, suspense, wit, and passion featuring dukes, rogues, alpha heroes…and the women who can’t resist them. JUST 99 CENTS from July 27 – Sept. 21—then it disappears FOREVER!

Scoundrel Ever After by Darcy Burke – Once upon a time there was a very bad boy who met a very nice girl….

Lady of Pleasure by Delilah Marvelle – Educating a man in the art of love takes time. Lots of it.

Sonata for a Scoundrel by Anthea Lawson – Passion and secrets simmer against the glittering backdrop of 19th century musical celebrity.

To Dare the Duke of Dangerfield by Bronwen Evans – What’s a lady to do when a notorious rake wins her estate in a game of cards?

Undone by Lila DiPasqua – One steamy, emotionally charged retelling of Rapunzel…Rescuing this beauty from the ‘tower’ is only the beginning…

The Problem with Seduction by Emma Locke – Elizabeth Spencer needs a man. She doesn’t need to like him—because while she needs a man, she doesn’t particularly want one.

A Dangerous Invitation by Erica Monroe – Daniel O’Reilly returns to win back Kate Morgan’s heart and prove he’s innocent of murder.

Once Upon a Duke by Eva Devon – A widow looking to get seduced. A duke more than willing to oblige.

Great & Unfortunate Desires by Gina Danna – A marquis with a guilty past takes a bride in a world where love is fatal.

Dark Surrender By Erica Ridley – Trapped in darkness…. Their passion burns bright!

About Darcy Burke:

A native Oregonian, Darcy lives on the edge of wine country with her devoted husband, their two great kids, and two Bengal cats. In her “spare” time Darcy is a serial volunteer enrolled in a 12-step program where one learns to say “no,” but she keeps having to start over. She’s also a fair-weather runner, and her happy places are Disneyland and Labor Day weekend at the Gorge.

Website: http://www.darcyburke.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/DarcyBurkeFans

Twitter: https://twitter.com/darcyburke

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5823441.Darcy_Burke

Newsletter: http://www.darcyburke.com/newsletter/

About Bronwen Evans:

USA Today Bestselling Author Bronwen Evans grew up loving books. She writes both historical and contemporary sexy romances for the modern woman who likes intelligent, spirited heroines, and compassionate alpha heroes.

Her debut Regency romance, Invitation to Ruin won the RomCon Readers’ Crown Best Historical 2012, and was an RT Reviewers’ Choice Nominee Best First Historical 2011. Her first self-published novella, To Dare the Duke of Dangerfield, was a FINALIST in the Kindle Book Review Indie Romance Book of the Year 201,2 and a finalist in the RomCon Readers’ Crown Best Historical 2013. Her first contemporary released December 2012, The Reluctant Wife, won the RomCon Readers’ Crown Best Category 2013.

Website: http://www.bronwenevans.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/bronwenevansauthor

Twitter: https://twitter.com/bronwenevans_NZ

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4331713.Bronwen_Evans

Newsletter: sign up at the top of Bronwen’s website

About Lila DiPasqua:

Lila DiPasqua is a multi-published, national bestselling author of historical romance with heat. Her novels are published by Penguin/Berkley, as well as having self-published works.

She is best known for her critically acclaimed Fiery Tales series. Her books have been featured on Doubleday and Rhapsody Book Clubs.

She lives with her husband and three children in Canada and is a firm believer in the happily-ever-after.

Website: http://liladipasqua.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/LilaDiPasquaAuthor

Twitter: https://twitter.com/liladipasqua

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/3234450.Lila_DiPasqua

Newsletter: sign up on the sidebar of Lila’s website

About Delilah Marvelle:

Delilah Marvelle is the winner of the Reviewer’s Choice for Best Sensual Historical Romance of the Year and had Booklist name her historical romance ‘Forever and a Day’ one of the TOP 10 Romances of the year. When she isn’t writing, she’s digging through inappropriate research books that include anything in history having to do with courtesans, brothels, sexual contraptions that were never properly used and other fascinating forms of dirty history that didn’t make it into college textbooks. She includes all of her research in her books to ensure countless hours of entertainment and continues to take pride in knowing more about dirty history than most people feel comfortable with.

Website: http://www.delilahmarvelle.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Delilah-Marvelle/73234401876

Twitter: https://twitter.com/DelilahMarvelle

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/1423331.Delilah_Marvelle

Newsletter: http://delilahmarvelle.wordpress.com/

About Erica Ridley:

Erica Ridley learned to read when she was three, which was about the same time she decided to be a writer when she grew up.

She is the author of three Gothic romances, Too Wicked to Kiss, Too Sinful to Deny and Dark Surrender, the vampire romance “Never Been Bitten” in the paranormal romance anthology Born To Bite, contemporary paranormal romances Charmed and Midwinter Magic, and the holiday fantasy romance Let It Snow.

When not reading or writing romances, Erica can be found riding camels in Africa, zip-lining through rainforests in Costa Rica, or getting hopelessly lost in the middle of Budapest.

Website: http://www.ericaridley.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ericaridley

Twitter: https://twitter.com/EricaRidley

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/3087787.Erica_Ridley

About Emma Locke:

Emma Locke is a writer and engineer living in the Pacific Northwest, where she loves hiking with her dog, hot yoga and riding out the annual 330 days of rain. Hiking and yoga give her time to plot, the lack of sun makes for perfect writing weather, and as for her day job, the dichotomy seems to work: her analytic side ensures her passionate, satisfying love stories don’t mulch under her bed, and her author side forces her to keep writing more.

Website: http://www.emmalocke.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorEmmaLocke

Twitter: https://twitter.com/EmmaLockeAuthor

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6749632.Emma_Locke

Newsletter: sign up at the bottom of Emma’s website

About Gina Danna:

Gina has spent the better part of her life reading. History has been her love and she spent numerous hours devouring historical romance stories, dreaming of writing one of her own. Years later, after receiving undergraduate and graduate degrees in History, writing academic research papers and writing for museum programs and events, she finally found the time to write her own stories of historical romantic fiction.

Now, under the supervision of her three dogs and three cats, she writes amid a library of research books, with her only true break away is to spend time with her other life long dream – her Arabian horse – with him, her muse can play.

Website: http://ginadanna.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/GinaDannaAuthor

Twitter: https://twitter.com/GinaDanna1

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7141882.Gina_Danna

About Erica Monroe:

Erica Monroe is a bestselling author of emotional, suspenseful romance. Though she has a Bachelor’s degree in writing, she’s been a secretary, a barista, and a retail assistant. Now Erica spends her days crafting lovable rogues and feisty heroines for her historical and new adult series. She is a member of the Romance Writers of America, Heart of Carolina, and the Beau Monde Regency Romance chapter. When not writing, she is a chronic TV watcher, sci-fi junkie, lover of pit bulls, and shoe fashionista. She lives in the suburbs of North Carolina with her husband, two dogs, and a cat.

Website: http://ericamonroe.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/EricaMonroeWrites

Twitter: https://twitter.com/ericajmonroe

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7280359.Erica_Monroe

Newsletter: sign up on Erica’s website sidebar

About Eva Devon:

Author of sexy and laugh out loud funny Regencies, I’m also Maire Claremont, creator of dark and angsty Victorians!

Website: http://www.maireclaremont.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Eva-Devon/1464806663776356

Twitter: https://twitter.com/evadevonauthor

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8333263.Eva_Devon

Newsletter: http://eepurl.com/YoZbD

About Anthea Lawson:

Anthea Lawson, called “a new star of Historical Romance” by Booklist, has won readers with her combination of spicy love scenes and elegant prose. Her first novel, PASSIONATE, was a Best First Book finalist in the prestigious Romance Writers of America RITA awards.

Anthea also writes award-winning YA Urban Fantasy under the pen name Anthea Sharp.

Website: http://anthealawson.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AntheaLawson

Twitter: https://twitter.com/AntheaLawson

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/2436762.Anthea_Lawson

Newsletter: https://tinyletter.com/AntheaLawson

 

Give the best comment & put yourself into the drawing! Grand prize: iPad mini (16 GB) plus books and swag – open July 27-September 21
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Dukes, Rogues & Alpha Heros – New Historic Romances Cover Reveal!

Coming July 27, 2014: TEMPTED BY HIS TOUCH

A boxed set of ten scorching hot historical romances featuring dukes, rogues, and alpha heroes and the women who can’t resist them. Fall in love with tales of intrigue, suspense, wit, and passion.

For a limited time (July 27-Sept. 21), you can purchase TEMPTED BY HIS TOUCH for just 99 CENTS. That’s a savings of almost $35! That’s at least a week’s worth of coffee! Or a really nice bottle of wine!

We’re so excited to reveal the cover of TEMPTED BY HIS TOUCH here! Without further fuss . . . ta da!!

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And now to tempt you with the books included in Tempted by His Touch . . .

Sonata for a Scoundrel

By Anthea Lawson, RITA-nominated author

Clara Becker is a supremely gifted composer—a talent of little to no use to a woman in 1830s Europe. Her compositions are only worth something when published under her brother’s name, yet this deception barely enables them to scrape out a living in the poorest quarter of London. When Darien Reynard, the most celebrated musician in Europe, comes across Becker’s compositions, he knows this music will secure his place in history. Darien invites the composer to tour with him, but must agree to a most unusual demand—that he bring along his sister . . .

Scoundrel Ever After

By Darcy Burke

When wallflower Audrey Cheswick runs away with England’s most wanted criminal, she learns adventure comes with a price—not just her reputation or her virtue, but her heart. If Ethan Jagger can escape the hangman’s noose and start anew, will she consent to love a scoundrel ever after?

Once Upon a Duke

By Eva Devon

Everything is going swimmingly for Kathryn Darrell. She’s got an annuity of a hundred thousand a year, her lecherous-heart breaking husband has had the good graces to pop off, and best of all, she has her freedom—something she has every intention of reveling in to the fullest. And who better to revel with than Ryder Blake, the infamous Duke of Darkwell?

Dark Surrender

By Erica Ridley

Violet Whitechapel committed an unspeakable crime to save a child. To escape the hangman’s noose, she takes refuge in a crumbling abbey with secrets darker than her own. But when those secrets begin to unravel, none of the abbey’s residents will be able to remain hidden . . .

Undone

By Lila DiPasqua

One sinfully seductive hero on a dangerous mission. One mysterious beauty intent on guarding her secrets. One steamy, emotionally charged historical romance from the acclaimed Fiery Tales Series…Inspired by Rapunzel…Rescuing this beauty from the ‘tower’ is only the beginning…

To Dare the Duke of Dangerfield

By Bronwen Evans, USA Today Bestselling Author

Harlow Telford, the Duke of Dangerfield, is amused by his hellion neighbor, Lady Caitlin Southall. When she bursts into one of his private gatherings, he mistakes her for the entertainment. Her slap across his face sets him straight and raises the absurd desire to seduce the unconventional beauty into his bed. When she issues her daft challenge to win back her father’s pile of rubble, the terms are set. And he’ll do anything to win–except fall in love…

The Problem with Seduction

By Emma Locke

Elizabeth Spencer needs a man, one who won’t be too picky about his reputation. Lord Constantine Alexander can’t afford another trip to debtors’ prison, which makes him the perfect candidate. She doesn’t expect him to have a heart of gold, nor does she expect to find him irresistible—because while she needs a man, she doesn’t particularly want one.

A Dangerous Invitation

By Erica Monroe

Struggling to survive in London’s dangerous rookeries, Kate Morgan is determined not to give into the temptation of past love Daniel O’Reilly when he returns to win back her heart and prove he’s innocent of murder.

Great & Unfortunate Desires – NEVER BEFORE RELEASED!

By Gina Danna

Tristan, the Marquis of Wrenworth and British spy, must marry but he’s haunted by guilt of war. Lady Evelyn Hurstine’s past makes her fear men but for Tristan, she’s willing to overcome her fear. Caught in a world of intrigue and mayhem, can they find love before the traitor destroys them both?

Lady of Pleasure

By Delilah Marvelle, RT Award-winning Author

Lady Caroline Arabella Starling has been in love with her older brother’s best friend, Caldwell, since she was thirteen. Unfortunately, too many things keep getting in the way of proving her love. Her four younger sisters, her mother, her brother, all of society and the man she loves himself. But where there is a will, there is a way, and Caroline is about to redefine not only respectability but true love.

Because TEMPTED BY HIS TOUCH features dukes, rogues, and alpha heroes, which do you prefer? Or is your ideal guy not on that list? Tell us in the comments!

Be sure to join us July 27-August 2 for a release extravaganza! Details will be posted on our Facebook page, where we’re hosting a party with fabulous teasers, giveaways, and most of all: FUN – Wednesday, July 30, 6-11 pm Eastern.

Tempted by His Touch Facebook page

 

 

 

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The Frugal Housewife

CWwindswinterThis is one long, cold winter. Brrr! It has driven me to go back to wearing turtlenecks and 100% wool sweaters. I pulled out my favorite Polo sweater and found holes! Moth holes! I pulled a couple more & the little buggers were chomping on most of my Polo and Izod sweaters. They love wool and here they’ve got good – expensive – taste but oh I was sooo mad! It is devastating to pull out a favorite sweater and find holes in them thanks to these little critters. What do people do today when this happens? After muttering a few colorful metaphors, the sweater gets tossed.

In today’s society of being constantly busy, we’ve become a throwaway society. Broken, buy new! But that’s not how people used to be…

Godey's FashionsFor centuries, many people did not have the wardrobes we have today. Unless you were royalty or titled, the majority had a few articles for everyday and one dressy piece for church or social gathering. During the time of the American Civil War, a great deal of men’s clothing was made of wool. Pants, frockcoats and waistcoats were wool. Why? Because wool is a great fabric. Made of tightly woven fibers, it held dirt on the surface unlike cotton, which absorbed it, whether it was mud or wine or anything, staining it. If mud got on wool trousers or skirt, it’d be allowed to dry then a fabric beater, like a carpet beater, would be struck on the item and the dried wool would flake off.

For ladies, with those long skirts that hit the floor, what did they do to make them not fray or mar with dirt? Many ladies put a ruffle around the bottom and it took the filth off the streets, sidewalks and home. If it didn’t wash out, the ruffle was torn from the skirt and a new one attached. A new ruffle made of another color or new trims, made the skirt look new. Or they lined the bottom with twill-tape, sewn on the inside so only a glimpse of it showed on the hemline. Colored to match the skirt, this piece save the hem from dirt and once it was beyond redemption, it was an easy to remove and replace.

CWSewingHomeFrontDuring the Civil War, Southern ladies had to become the Frugal Housewife and find alternatives as the Union naval blockade kept imports out. Therefore, fabric from the North or England wasn’t available, neither were many notions such as stays for corsets, etc. So they redesigned what they had. Fixed their hoops by narrowing them or not wearing it at all. They streamlined their skirts, cutting fabric to repair another area, thus making the skirt not as wide as fashion dictated. Pagoda sleeves were made narrow, cuffs and collars made from other scraps and they reversed the fabric to give it a ‘fresh’ appearance. Women already used shank buttons on their bodices. These buttons were not truly sewn on but the shank went through the slit at the buttonhole and was held there by a ribbon that ran the length of the bodice. To give a change of appearance, they pulled the ribbon, releasing the buttons and they threaded different ones in their place. Quite the ingenious way to make one outfit look like five.

Surprisingly enough, The Gone With The Wind portrayal of using curtains for material wasn’t that far off the norm.

Keep in mind, ladies changed clothing many times a day. During the winter, it may be 3-5 times, summer 7-9 depending. They had their morning gown, working gown, cooking, traveling, day dress as well as evening supper, evening party and ballgowns. It might sound insane to change but it was a way to keep the outfits cleaner than wearing one all day.

vintage-copper-wash-tub-leeann-mclane-goetzLaundry was a nightmare – an all day affair literally. Washed by hand with a scrub board and soap, it was a task assigned to Mondays. Whites were done in boiling water, colors in cold. Dresses were roughly 7-8 yards of fabric. A big piece to wash so they deconstructed it – bodice from skirt, sleeves from bodice – so smaller pieces to scrub and to dry. Drying was on clothesline outside. Whites placed in sunlight to bleach them whiter; colors turned inside out and hung in the shade to keep from fading. Ironing was with a cast-iron iron like we see for decoration today. It had to warm enough to iron but not hot enough to burn. Regardless of societal class, when they could afford to, they hired a 12 year old to do it for them. One way to make the load not as heavy, they changed clothes throughout the day so they weren’t soiled – I read an account of a lady who wore a new dress in May and didn’t wash it until August! Yet some had to be done and it was much easier to wash collars and cuffs, which get noticeably dirty, than the whole dress.

But what about those moth holes? They FIXED them. Women learned how to sew – whether they were good or not didn’t matter. They learned it enough to be able to repair things. Knitting was also a skill majority had. With that knowledge, and using things like cedar chests, they could keep most of their woolen fabric safe.

CW knittingSo what about my moth-holed sweaters? When my mother was alive, she fixed them.

My mother was a Depression era child. These children were educated about getting by on nothing and making things last. My mother was great at sewing. Made all my clothes I wore in childhood. I remember wishing for store bought clothes…difficult being the one with the pretty – and unique – outfit. She also knitted and for these, she knew how to get into the sweater and reknit the holes closed. Alas, I never acquired those skills…

So, I did the best I could – I used needle and thread to sewn them close.

IMG_1356There actually is a book on how to be a frugal housewife: The American Frugal Housewife, Dedicated To Those Who Are Not Ashamed Of Economy by Mrs. Child, 1833. A fascinating read. Makes you wonder – could you become a “frugal housewife”?

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Medieval Romance Release! – Betrayal: Time Enough to Love

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Betrayal

Time Enough to Love

Book Two

Jenna Jaxon

 

Historical Romance

 

The worst betrayals come from within.

After a night of passion with her betrothed, Sir Geoffrey Longford, Lady Alyse de Courcy is eagerly looking forward to her wedding.  But when Geoffrey is forced to marry another, a heartbroken and possibly pregnant Alyse finds herself in her own private hell. She must either gamble with her reputation or marry someone she does not love.

A reputed connoisseur of women, Thomas, Lord Braeton, has dallied with many ladies of King Edward’s court, although he has favored none.  However, as Geoffrey’s best friend, Thomas has sworn to serve and protect Alyse, an oath now sorely tested when he agrees to marry her—in name only—to guard her reputation. Yet, as they grow closer, and Thomas discovers Alyse’s sweet but spirited nature, he comes to desire a marriage in truth.  Can he overcome her memory of Geoffrey or is Thomas doomed to burn with passion for a woman he can never possess?

If you would like to purchase the first part of the trilogy, Betrothal, it is available at Amazon  Smashwords 

An  excerpt:

“Geoffrey bade me give you this.” From beneath his cloak, Thomas withdrew a small purse, opened it and presented Alyse with a single sprig of lavender. “He picked it this morning ere I left and warned me not to crush it.”

Tears started at the sight of the bit of lavender. She wiped them carefully before she took the sweet-smelling flower from him. Raising the little plant to her nose, she inhaled its familiar scent. And remembered their interlude in the rose bower.

Thomas chuckled. “You and Geoffrey are certainly well matched. He did the self-same thing before he handed it to me.”

Alyse smiled with pleasure at the image his words conjured. “Thank you, Thomas. You are more than kind to have carried these messages from my lord.”

Thomas lifted her hand to his lips. “I am, as always, yours to command, my lady.” He kissed it, barely skimming the surface of her flesh.

It tickled, and she suppressed a giggle.  “Will you take your rest now?  You must be tired with your double journey in so short a space of time.”

Thomas stretched, the lines on his face making his weariness even more apparent. “Nay, I am off to attend the king. His Majesty will desire my report on how Sir Roland fares.” He smiled kindly. “However, should you have need of me, lady, you have but to summon me. I am at your service until Geoffrey’s return.” With a dashing bow, Thomas spun on his heel, his cloak swirling ’round him.

Alyse watched him go, savoring the words from her betrothed as she once again lifted the sprig of lavender to her nose. A token from her beloved she would cherish until his return. With a sigh for that day to come quickly, she pushed the door to the princess’s chamber open.

She tried to slip in quietly, hoping to be unobserved. Of course, everyone turned their gaze to the door the moment she entered. Alyse sped inside and crossed to the princess, immediately sinking into a low curtsy. She waited, fearing the displeasure of the young woman who had only ever shown her kindness.

Princess Joanna paused before bidding her to rise. “Well, Lady Alyse, you were overlong at your prayers this morning, were you not?”

Alyse stood and nodded, unease sweeping through her.

The princess gave Alyse an eager look. “Are you doing penance for some…indiscretion?”

Her heart leaped into her throat. Guilt over her tryst with Geoffrey on the night of the tournament made her drop her gaze to her hands.

Lord, did she know? Did everyone?

Alyse fidgeted with the edge of her sleeve. She opened her mouth to deny the allegation—what else could she do with her reputation at stake?—when Anne spoke up. “Aye, Your Highness, she should have been on her knees all morning.”

Shivers of dread coursed through her. Anne had seen her that night. She knew.

Alyse gaped at her chamber mate, her mouth bone dry. How much would she tell?

The disagreeable girl continued to stare at her, arching her neck, a triumphant smirk on her face.

Eyes wide, Princess Joanna looked from Anne to her before leaning forward. “Is this true, Lady Alyse? What dire transgression have you committed?”

 

Fabulous excerpt! You can find Betrayal on:

Amazon and Smashwords

Or leave a comment on what you think for an opportunity to win one  a free copy of Betrayal! And as additional icing on the celebration cake, book #1, Betrothal, is on FREE on Amazon until next week when it goes for .99 cents up to February 14!!

 

About the Author:

Jenna Jaxon is a multi-published author of historical and contemporary romance.  Her historical romance, Only Scandal Will Do, the first in a series of five interconnecting novels, was released in July 2012. Her contemporary works include Hog Wild, Almost Perfect, and 7 Days of Seduction.  She is a PAN member of Romance Writers of America as well as a member of Chesapeake Romance Writers. Her medieval romance, Time Enough to Love, is being published as a series of three novellas.  The first book, Betrothal, released on April 19th.  The second novella, Betrayal, will release at the end of January.

Jenna has been reading and writing historical romance since she was a teenager.  A romantic herself, she has always loved a dark side to the genre, a twist, suspense, a surprise.  She tries to incorporate all of these elements into her own stories. She lives in Virginia with her family and a small menagerie of pets.  When not reading or writing, she indulges her passion for the theatre, working with local theatres as a director.  She often feels she is directing her characters on their own private stage.

She has equated her writing to an addiction to chocolate because once she starts she just can’t stop.

Find Jenna online at:

http://jennajaxon.wordpress.com/

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Jenna-Jaxon/146857578723570

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4960704.Jenna_Jaxon

Other Books by Jenna Jaxon:

Betrothal–Historical Romance

Only Scandal Will Do–Historical Romance

7 Days of Seduction–Contemporary Erotic Romance

Almost Perfect–Contemporary Erotic Romance

Hog Wild–Contemporary Erotic Romance

 

 

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Celebration of Reader’s Support Blog Hop & Giveaway!

Blog Hop button              {Hit the button above to be able to enter for the giveaways!!!!}

 

In celebration of Collette Cameron’s Blog Hop & Giveaway, Thanking & Appreciating all who have supported authors, I am posting a section of my upcoming novel, Love & Vengeance. This novel on Ancient Rome, based on the gladiators, will be released in April.

postcard-4inx6in-h-frontLove & Vengeance

Rome 108 A.D., under the Emperor Trajan, is the center of the civilized world. It is a time of sophistication and decadence, a brutal world to their conquered.

Marcus, a Roman citizen sentenced to die as a gladiator, accused by his wife and brother for a crime he did not commit. Yet death eludes him and he rises to become champion of the sands. The title he does not want. He seeks revenge but his victories in the Colosseum bestow monetary rewards he can use to save a beautiful slave, Gustina, from certain death by the beasts. She gives him a taste of love in a world full of lies, betrayal and murder.

But his overwhelming desire for vengeance, for blood and the kill, brings a higher price tag – can he satisfy the demon inside him and face the truth? A truth that will kill the woman he loves?

Excerpt:

[WARNING – This story is based on research to accurately depict life in Ancient Rome . It contains the brutality and sexuality with course language. Reader’s discretion is advised]

Gustina stood, her lips curved slowly. “Hi.”

He gazed over her and noticed her bare toes curled on the dirt floor. With a smirk, he returned, “Hi.”

Every nerve in his body tingled at her presence. She was here. In his cell. And it was night, long after the final meal. He wanted to get up but found he had no control and it wasn’t all wine induced. There was no need to bother. She came and sat down next to him.

His mouth dried. His insides tightened. And for once, the demon was silent – he felt the creature hovering, as if crouched and waiting. Last time, she stormed away from him.

She reached for his hand on the injured arm. Lifting it gently, she untucked the ends and unraveled the linen, exposing the wound. He watched, as if in a trance, as she turned it slightly, humming. A small pot he hadn’t seen her bring in, was at her side. She popped the corked lid off it and dipped her fingers in it, pulling them out covered in golden gel – honey.

“Tell me if I hurt you,” she said quietly, gently covering the healing lash marks with the stuff. Her touch was warm. It didn’t hurt except for the longing that burned deep within him. With every one of her strokes, he felt his cock stiffen, hardening and painful but he wouldn’t tell her. Fear she’d flee from him kept him quiet.

She tied the ends of the new binding and still holding his arm, slowly gazed up at him. He wondered if she noticed his tented subligaculum. Every muscle tensed, expecting if she looked into his eyes, she run, because he couldn’t hide his desires. To feel her body next to him, his cock buried inside her, his tongue tasting her mouth. It was a fever, one he hoped she had too. He felt a shiver in her touch and the knot she swallowed, so elegantly the muscles in her neck worked.

“Marcus,” she whispered.

He felt the raw, primal urge sweep through him. To claim her again. Make her his again. But he didn’t move.

“I. Want. You.” Gods, his own tone husky, deep, that it didn’t sound like him.

Her cheek ticked as her teeth tugged her lower lip between them. She nodded.

His body understood that language. Without another word, he pulled her into his arms, his mouth covering hers. Her arms snaked around his neck as she smashed herself against him. His tongue traced the seam to her lip, barely a touch when they fell open to his invasion and he moaned loudly.

They were on his bedding, arms embracing, legs intertwined, and tongues dancing in a hunger older than the gods. He turned her underneath him and broke the kiss. Her face was flush, her breath deep and hard like his. He grinned as his hand pulled at the tie on her tunic. It separated and he quickly snagged the cloth from her. Damn, she was beautiful. As he bent to kiss her, she spread her legs, her hips shifting below his hardened cock, begging him. With a growl, he took her mouth as his arousal slid into her.

The demon purred.

 

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May I Introduce…

Civil War Ball 2 2            By the time of the American Civil War, Victorian America followed many of Great Britain’s rules of society. Ladies looked forward to their next copy of Godey’s for the latest fashion for instance. What Queen Victoria did in London set the tide for manners and etiquette both in England and “across the pond” here in the United States. It is these actions that dictated society and guarded the sexes that give us a taste of life back then. Let us take a look at the foundation of society as set back in the mid-19th century.

Introductions: When people met back then, introductions were made based on the rules of etiquette. No man would consider simply walking up to a lady he didn’t know and say “hi”. That was considered rude and crass. If there was a lady he wished to meet, he needed to find someone who knew them both to make introductions. “Miss Smith, may I introduce Mr. Silvers of Charleston…” Now, if Mr. Silvers was of low account and totally unsuitable for the lady, this friend could deny introducing him or if it was made and she didn’t care for Silvers, she could snub him off. Really raise her nose as it were and ignore the man. This, of course, would be held against him as unworthy and the news passed quickly to avoid him.

While we are here, let us discuss names. Gentlemen and the workingman were always called Mr. Lastname while in public. Ladies were Miss if they were single or Mrs. if they were married (there was no such creature as “Ms.”). Mrs. John Smith was Mary Smith’s public name as ladies took their husband’s surname at marriage and protocol stated the first in public. If Mary was single and her father’s name was Charles Silvers, her name on invitations to her coming out ball were “Miss Charles Silvers invites…”

CW-dancers          At societal gatherings, like a ball, a couple was announced as Mr. Charles Silvers and lady – not even Mrs. Charles Silvers if she is his wife!

It was a gentlemen’s role to protect the fairer sex. For instance, if he was with her on the boardwalk in the city, he’d place himself between the street and her to keep her away from harm if a wagon or horse got out of control and barreled into the curb or to give her another type of barrier from mud or horse dung from slinging off the road onto the curb. If she were on an outing with a servant, the maid or male servant would serve the same purpose.

If a man was courting a lady, first the man had to ask her father for permission (or her male guardian if her father was deceased). Courting had its own rules. Ladies of the lower classes could marry at age 14 – an age we writers shy from, considering today’s way of thinking. Middle to upper class ladies usually had a “coming out” at about 18 or 19 years of age. Many times this was a ball where they were introduced and they dressed in bright pastels like pink, yellow or light green, often with flowers in their hair – even if it was winter. They wore the light colors because in candle or oil light, darker color dresses blended with the walls but the light stood out.

Civil_War_Ball_GownsAs they made the marriage circuit, it should be easy to find a husband in America at this time as the number of men out numbered the women prior to the War. Granted, some men headed west where land was cheap but that is another discussion. If a man wanted to court a lady, he needed to be 5 to 10 years older than her (if she was 18, he needed to be 23-28) and show he had the way and means to support her and their future children – in other words, he needed to have a job and a house, not living at home off of mom and dad.

Courting rules were simple – the couple was never allowed alone. A trusted servant or family member accompanied them – trusted by the parents, not the daughter. If she liked him enough, she might allow him to call her by her first name but it was her decision, not his. Otherwise, she was Miss Silvers. Also, fashion had women wearing gloves whenever they were out or in formal situations. These gloves were generally white or ivory though they could match the color of her dress. Made of kid leather for the upper classes and cloth for the lower, these gloves protected her hands from the sun and other elements and from chafing. If she started to have feelings for her gentleman friend, not only would she allow him to call her by her first name, but also grant him the privilege of holding her bare hand (prior to this, only her father, brothers and lady friends could do so). And gentlemen of all classes wore gloves as well and one reason was, it was an honor and a privilege to help a lady in distress (i.e.: she fell or needed help in a carriage). If he ruined her gloves with callus on his hands, he was obligated to replace her gloves. For the workingman, kid gloves equaled more than he made in a month!

valentines-dayBack to courting, there were two ways a couple could be “alone.” One was on the front porch – basically they were on display for the whole street. No hanky-panky there. The other was the front parlor. Usually the front parlor had a couple of doors to it and/or a parlor mirror. These mirrors were convex in shape and reflected EVERYTHING in the room that anyone could see as they passed the doorway. Quite a hampering device.

Rule of thumb was if they were alone anywhere else for more than fifteen minutes, she was ruined, a “soiled dove”, and no man would want her therefore the young man with her would be forced to marry her to save her reputation. The “shotgun” marriage so to speak though there no doubt was a time or two daddy stood with a loaded gun and cocked it if the man almost backed out from saying “I do.” If he was shot after the ceremony, she was a widow and in good standing. Not saying that happened but…

Divorce – unacceptable in the Victorian age. Only one ground allowed it to happen and that was infidelity, mostly by the wife. No, if you didn’t like your spouse, you might live on different floors of the house and never meet or in different houses but if invited to an event, you went together as husband and wife and put a front on for society.

If she made it to age 23 without getting a proposal (a forward lady, speaking her own thoughts or opinions and not being the demur delicate flower could steer men away), the lady was now a spinster, “put on the shelf” as it were. If she attended balls, she had to wear the darker colors of navy, dark green, etc. with no flowers in her hair and sit against the wall, resigned. Society wasn’t designed to have ladies be “independent”. Women were under male guardianship their entire lives – first their father than husband. If a wallflower, they still were under dad and could be the mistress to their father’s home if mother was dead, the nanny to their sibling’s kids or work in a hat boutique – those were about the only options available. If they taught, they had to go out to the wild west (at this time, Kansas City represented the wild west) for lady teachers were not the norm in the 19th century and very few allowed to teach in a classroom. The west was desperate for teachers so they’d take anyone willing to travel to the sparsely settled wilderness. If in KC teaching, she meets the man of her dreams and they marry, it is expected of her to quit teaching. Which brings us to another issue –

Work. Ladies didn’t work. The lower classes did but middle to upper were not suppose to. Even if her husband lost his job, it was unacceptable for her to work, as it’s his job to make the money to feed and support the family and hers to raise the kids and run the house (the “Spheres of Domesticity” firmly in place). Therefore, some took in mending or laundry, under the table, and kept it hidden. If discovered, it could be a problem. And as to domestic abuse, the rule was what happened behind marriage doors was no one’s business. Quite disturbing.

CW-355-Capitol-Farewell_Colson_forPrintThis is a taste of society in Victorian America. There are plenty of etiquette books made at that time – these were for the middle and lower class and mostly for men so they’d know how to carry themselves. Upper classes were taught this as they grew up.

What time do you want to live in? Back then, it’s very polite and structured but for ladies of an independent nature, it was hell!

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