Tag Archives: historical

How I Came to be a Writer – Guest Post by Freda Lightfoot (@fredalightfoot) #giveaway

Thank you so much for inviting me on your blog. I’ll tell you a little about myself.

How I came to be a writer.
I longed to become a writer but this was considered rather an exotic ambition so my parents encouraged me to get an education first. No one in my family had ever stayed on for further education before, so I was elected to blaze the trail. I qualified as a primary teacher and worked for a number of years. I married in 1969 and a few years later we moved to the Lake District with our two daughters. I then ran a bookshop for ten years and secretly wrote late in the night.

Later, when I sold my bookshop, I tried anything and everything. Short stories, serials, a children’s novel, picture scripts and a few Mills & Boon contemporaries, although I gained more rejection slips than cheques. The aim was to send material out faster than it came back, which wasn’t easy. We had a brilliant postal service and all the rejections would come bouncing back with remarkable speed. But at last the day came when I sold my first short story to D.C.Thompson. It was a red letter day indeed. That was also the name of the magazine, now defunct. Following this breakthrough I seemed to develop the knack for I went on to sell many more stories. With renewed confidence I tried again for Mills & Boon, this time with a historical, Madeiran Legacy, which was accepted. I wrote five historical romances as Marion Carr for Mills & Boon which greatly taught me my craft. Only later did I have sufficient confidence to try for the mainstream fiction market, selling my first saga, Luckpenny Land, to Hodder & Stoughton in 1993 on a three book contract.

I was fortunate back in 2010 to get the rights of many of my backlist reverted from a couple of publishers. Hearing about ebooks in the US I set out to learn how to produce them, finally achieved that and regularly self-published some. Sales began quite slowly, which didn’t trouble me as I was also writing for another publisher. But once Kindles arrived in the UK in Christmas 2011, I must say my sales shot up surprisingly well and I was amazed by my success. As a consequence in 2013, I was contacted by Amazon Lake Union for an interview, then later offered a contract by them. My first book with them, The Amber Keeper, soon sold over a hundred thousand, and has now sold more. Such a thrill. Selling ebooks is now much higher for me than print books. My second book was Forgotten Women, which is also doing quite well. Now comes publication of Girls of the Great War, which I loved writing too.

This book was such fun to write, if sad and heartbreaking when Cecily lost the love of her life. She was concerned for herself, and also for her sister Merryn, who was engrossed with a young man Cecily did not approve of. He was not an easy young man.

*****

Excerpt from Girls of the Great War:

Later that afternoon Merryn eagerly hurried over to the Palace Theatre just a short distance away. The young drummer was fully engaged in rehearsal, the bandleader constantly hammering his baton to stop the musicians playing while he issued more instructions to them. She knew she would have to wait a while before he was free, so taking a seat she watched him. He was a cheerful young man with reddish hair, soft grey eyes that were constantly alight behind his spectacles, a slightly gap-toothed smile and a chiselled chin. Being a bit of a joker, Johnny Wilcox was great fun. When finally he was allowed a break, Merryn offered to buy him an afternoon tea at a nearby café.

‘There’s something I’d like to discuss with you over a little tiffin,’ she said with a smile.

‘That sounds good,’ he grinned, his expression filled with curiosity.

As they sat enjoying tea and biscuits, Merryn told him of her sister’s plan to create a small concert party and entertain the troops in France.

He looked a little taken aback. ‘Blimey, that’ll be a challenge. I wouldn’t want anything dreadful to happen to either of you two girls.’

‘I don’t think we’ll be anywhere near the front line where the fighting is going on. We just plan to entertain the soldiers at their bases. I know you appreciated how Cecily discovered her talent to sing. Oh, and by the way, I can play an accordion.’

He gave another wide grin. ‘What a brick you are, a real sport. As you know, I play drums and cymbals, so can I come too?’

Merryn blinked in surprise, amazed by this instant offer, having fully expected she’d need to persuade him. ‘You most certainly can. I was about to ask if you’d be interested, as we’d welcome your support. I doubt there’ll be any wages paid since we’ll be volunteers fed and accommodated by the army.’

He creased his lips into a pout then gave a little smirk. ‘I’ll do my best to accept that fact. You’re a girl with great talent, as is Cecily. I’d love to work with you both.’

The weather being sunny he walked with her to the beach, talking about the music they loved to play and how long it had taken each of them to learn these skills. ‘I’ve been playing drums all my life, ever since Dad bought me one for Christmas when I was ten. It kept me sane when I was suffering his loss.’

‘Oh, how dreadful. How did that happen? I know very little about your past.’

‘I was born in Barnsley in Yorkshire; part of a working class family who became even poorer after Dad was tragically killed in a mining accident. Such bloody bad luck. Following his death my mam worked as a cleaner, earning barely enough money to feed her six children, all of them younger than me. I eventually was able to help by getting myself a job playing my drum kit at a local pub. I was so thrilled with Dad’s present that I was determined to improve it and learn how to play well. Thankfully I succeeded.’

‘Good for you, Johnny, I’m glad to hear that. My father sadly drowned in the Thames when we were quite young, although how that happened has never been explained to us and we have little memory of him. Queenie refuses to say anything on the subject, not even explain why her marriage went wrong.’

‘My mam didn’t talk much about her early life either. Far too distressing for her.’

Merryn decided that they had a great deal in common and could be well suited to work together, both being musicians. ‘I’m delighted to hear that you wish to join our team.’

‘Why would I not, when you’re so attractive?’

Merryn rolled her eyes in amusement, having no belief in her own looks. She saw herself as quite plain, a little too round and simply practical, interested mainly in fashion, sewing, make-up and hairstyles. Cecily had always been the pretty one with talent and plenty of young men falling for her, whereas she’d never found a boy who really took a shine to her. Merryn adored her sister and felt quite proud of her famous mother too, readily willing to deal with Queenie’s problems. His next words startled her out of those thoughts.

‘Can I give you a little kiss of thanks,’ Johnny murmured.

‘I’m not sure that would be a good idea,’ she stuttered. He was a most pleasant young man, if a little flirtatious.

‘I must confess that I’ve always felt the need for more closeness between us.’ Taking hold of her hand he gave it a gentle little kiss.

*****

Blurb
Cecily Hanson longs to live life on her own terms—to leave the shadow of her overbearing mother and marry her childhood sweetheart once he returns from the Great War. But when her fiancé is lost at sea, this future is shattered. Looking for meaning again, she decides to perform for the troops in France.

Life on the front line is both rewarding and terrifying, and Cecily soon finds herself more involved—and more in danger—than she ever thought possible. And her family has followed her to France. Her sister, Merryn, has fallen for a young drummer whose charm hides a dark side, while their mother, Queenie—a faded star of the stage tormented by her own secret heartache—seems set on a path of self-destruction.

As the war draws to a close and their hopes turn once again to the future, Cecily and Merryn are more determined than ever to unravel the truth about their mother’s past: what has she been hiding from them—and why?

Buy links:

Amazon UK: https://amzn.to/2wKaX2y

Amazon US: https://amzn.to/2rGc528

*****

My Biog
I was born in a small mill town in Lancashire. My mother comes from generations of weavers, and my father was a shoe-repairer. I still remember the first pair of clogs he made for me. After several years of teaching, I opened a bookshop in Kendal, Cumbria. And while living in the rural Lakeland Fells, rearing sheep and hens, I turned to writing. I wrote over fifty articles and short stories for magazines such as My Weekly and Woman’s Realm, before finding my vocation as a novelist and became a Sunday Times Bestselling author. I’ve now written over forty-eight novels, mostly sagas and historical fiction, my three latest books, including Girls of the Great War, out in May are published by Amazon Lake Union. I spend warm winters living in Spain, and the rainy summers in Britain.

Website: www.freda@fredalightfoot.co.uk

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Freda-Lightfoot-Books/149641371839646

Twitter: @fredalightfoot

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/448774.Freda_Lightfoot

My Blogspot: http://www.fredalightfoot.blogspot.com/

If you wish to be kept up to date on new titles and contests, sign up on my website http://www.fredalightfoot.co.uk  to subscribe to my Newsletter: I only send out 4 or 5 a year so your inbox won’t be flooded.

*****

GIVEAWAY!

Make sure to follow the whole tour—the more posts you visit throughout, the more chances you’ll get to enter the giveaway. The tour dates are here:  http://writermarketing.co.uk/prpromotion/blog-tours/currently-on-tour/freda-lightfoot-3/

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Passionate Pursuit (Book 3 – Dangerous Desires Series) by Tina Donahue (@tinadonahue)

Passionate PursuitBlurb:

Is their passion strong enough to break her chains?

Andalucía Spain, 1489: Innocent Beatriz is desperate to escape the threat of a miserable marriage to a cruel Marquis. Forced into the betrothal by her ruthless merchant papá, her only hope is to conceal her identity and become a servant in a nearby castle—a life drastically different from her comfortable upbringing.

Tomás doesn’t know what to make of his well-spoken new servant girl. Her beauty and charm captivates the military hero; her mysterious nature intrigues him. And the desire she ignites burns brighter with each glance, as does his longing to claim her for his own.

Beatriz can’t resist Tomás’ passion nor deny the heat of her own. But neither the lush countryside nor the walls of the opulent Moorish castle can entirely protect her—and if he were to discover her secret, she could be torn away from him forever. Yet how can she sustain his love if she’s living a lie?

Buy Links (available for preorder – ready to read August 2):

Amazon: http://goo.gl/9lliOE

Amazon CA: http://goo.gl/OQoyKI

BN: http://goo.gl/pajgic

Kobo: https://goo.gl/ZjVJJ2

Books a Million: http://goo.gl/FqvCzl

Penguin-Random House Canada:  http://goo.gl/WsuyMm

Fantastic Fiction: http://goo.gl/uAlGdE

*****

Passionate Pursuit Teaser 3

Excerpt:

The laughter Beatriz had shared earlier seemed a distant memory already. Doom clung to her, tightening her chest, moistening her palms. She paced like a caged animal, knowing she should leave the castle to give Tomás a chance at happiness with another woman.

Her legs went watery, not allowing her to flee. Dizzy, she leaned against the cabinet and breathed hard, trying to think of a solution.

She kept failing.

“Señorita Beatriz,” Yolanda called out.

Beatriz raised her face. “What?”

“Señora Doña Isabella has something she needs you to see.”

Hopefully not another trunk the servants had left in the hall with more gowns and other jewels. She didn’t want to try on anything else but couldn’t stomach being rude, given Isabella’s dear support. Beatriz pinched her cheeks and bit her lips to give herself color. Looking like a corpse wouldn’t solve anything.

Outside the chamber, she reminded herself to smile. What she produced felt more like a grimace.

Yolanda stood on the far side of the landing, gesturing for Beatriz to join her.

The moment she reached the landing, Yolanda motioned for Beatriz to stop, then pointed to the stairs.

She looked down.

The world faded away, tension draining from her shoulders, warmth replacing worry.

Tomás stood at the bottom of the staircase, his arm on the railing, face lifted to hers. Candlelight turned his hair to gold. Respect, friendship, love sparkled in his eyes.

She ran down the steps. Tomás took them two at a time to reach her. They met in the middle and held each other, their embrace more powerful than any spoken vow. Whatever happened in the future, he would always have her love.

*****

About Tina:

Tina is an Amazon and international bestselling novelist in erotic, paranormal, contemporary and historical romance for traditional publishers and indie. Booklist, Publisher’s Weekly, Romantic Times and numerous online sites have praised her work. Three of her erotic novels (Freeing the Beast, Come and Get Your Love, and Wicked Takeover) were Readers’ Choice Award winners. Another three (Adored, Lush Velvet Nights, and Deep, Dark, Delicious) were named finalists in the EPIC competition. Sensual Stranger, her erotic contemporary romance, was chosen Book of the Year at the French review site Blue Moon reviews. The Golden Nib Award at Miz Love Loves Books was created specifically for her erotic romance Lush Velvet Nights. Two of her titles (The Yearning and Deep, Dark, Delicious) received an Award of Merit in the RWA Holt Medallion competition. Take Me Away and Adored both won second place in the NEC RWA contest (different years). Tina is featured in the Novel & Short Story Writer’s Market. Before penning romances, she worked at a major Hollywood production company in Story Direction.

FB Fanpage: https://www.facebook.com/DonahueTina1/

Email: tinadonahuebooks@gmail.com

Website/Blog: http://tinadonahuebooks.blogspot.com/

Goodreads: http://bit.ly/1wFmIu6

Twitter: http://bit.ly/1ziy4IU

Facebook: http://on.fb.me/1Dl8DHy

Triberr: http://bit.ly/1CE2ec7

Pinterest: http://bit.ly/1yFLeMx

Amazon author page: http://amzn.to/1ChWFkO

My page at TRR: http://bit.ly/1vb7eEc

EC Author Page: http://bit.ly/1Dh9wor

Samhain Author Page: http://bit.ly/1Bvw6mL

Sweet ‘n Sexy Divas: http://bit.ly/1ChWN3K

Romance Books 4 US: http://bit.ly/1JPtfeS

*****

GIVEAWAY!

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***

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Wicked Whispers (Book 2 – Dangerous Desires Series) by Tina Donahue (@tinadonahue)

Wicked WhispersBlurb:

Follow the heart through darkness…

As the Inquisition gains force, even the faintest rumor can brand one a heretic. In this world it is Sancha’s gift–or curse–to be blessed with the gift of healing. But the villagers are in need of her arts more than ever, and she feels it is her duty to help them at the risk of losing her life. And at the sacrifice of her heart…

Enrique has never wanted a woman as he does Sancha. Determined to have her love, he woos her with exquisite passion, giving her refuge to pursue her healing in secret. But their very desire and escape from the ruthless forces of the world may be their undoing. And together, they must pit themselves against a jealous rival and archaic tradition to secure their place in a hopeful new dawn…

Buy Links (available for preorder – ready to read May 24):

Amazon: http://goo.gl/JKkMaZ

Amazon UK: http://goo.gl/EFPTuo

BN: http://goo.gl/uqSQOD

KOBO: https://goo.gl/kUPgPE

iTunes: https://goo.gl/Q3vQ18

Google Play: https://goo.gl/87G3cm

*****

Excerpt:

Her lips parted. She leaned into him rather than pull away.

Surprised and delighted, he brushed his lips over hers, astounded at their silky heat. Her breath smelled sweetly of orange, her usual rose fragrance mingling with a hint of musk. Her excitement as a woman.

He eased his tongue inside her mouth and waited for her response, praying she wouldn’t move away at his bold move.

A soft, wanting sound poured from her. Sagging against him, she gripped his doublet and used his garment for support.

He wrapped his arm around her waist, holding her tightly to him, his thickened shaft snug against her mound. She stilled for a moment, then suckled his tongue, her need of him obvious.

This was heaven, the only reason to be alive. These moments would change everything between them. He’d claim her and she would be his for a lifetime.

Dizzy with joy, he deepened the kiss, working his fingers past her dark green caul and through her hair, caressing tresses softer than fur.

She clutched him more tightly, her mouth wanton and willing beneath his.

Exactly how he’d hoped their first moments alone would be, though still falling short of what he had to have. He cupped her breast, testing its weight and warmth, savoring her nipple pebbled against his palm.

She froze.

He tempered his passion and caressed her more gently.

She tore her mouth from his and pulled away.

He’d frightened her. Fool. He should have known better and did now. Despite his arousal, he remained where he was and dropped his hand to his side.

Sancha breathed as roughly as he did. She touched her mouth still damp from his lips on hers. He expected her to turn and run.

She cupped his face and claimed his mouth, driving her tongue inside.

He suckled her greedily. She returned his kiss, both of them pushing against each other to get closer. Unable to, Enrique wanted to howl in frustration. She moaned softly then pulled away again. This time she put out a shaky hand even though he hadn’t moved.

He pulled in a deep breath. She stepped back again.

Before she could leave the balcony altogether, he stopped breathing. “Are you all right?”

“No. Enough of this.”

Those weren’t the words he wanted to hear, though he had expected something unpleasant. “Enough of what?”

She narrowed her eyes. “You kissing me.”

He risked a smile. “When I stopped, you moved back into my arms and began again without me having to ask.”

teaser1

*****

About Tina:

Tina is an Amazon and international bestselling novelist in erotic, paranormal, contemporary and historical romance for Kensington, Samhain Publishing, Ellora’s Cave, Siren Publishing, Booktrope, Luminosity, Decadent, and indie. Booklist, Publisher’s Weekly, Romantic Times and numerous online sites have praised her work. Three of her erotic novels (Freeing the Beast, Come and Get Your Love, and Wicked Takeover) were Readers’ Choice Award winners. Another three (Adored, Lush Velvet Nights, and Deep, Dark, Delicious) were named finalists in the EPIC competition. Sensual Stranger, her erotic contemporary romance, was chosen Book of the Year at the French review site Blue Moon reviews. The Golden Nib Award at Miz Love Loves Books was created specifically for her erotic romance Lush Velvet Nights. Two of her titles (The Yearning and Deep, Dark, Delicious) received an Award of Merit in the RWA Holt Medallion competition. Take Me Away and Adored both won second place in the NEC RWA contest (different years). Tina is featured in the Novel & Short Story Writer’s Market. Before penning romances, she worked at a major Hollywood production company in Story Direction.

FB Fanpage: https://www.facebook.com/DonahueTina1/

Email: tinadonahuebooks@gmail.com

Website/Blog: http://tinadonahuebooks.blogspot.com/

Goodreads: http://bit.ly/1wFmIu6

Twitter: http://bit.ly/1ziy4IU

Facebook: http://on.fb.me/1Dl8DHy

Triberr: http://bit.ly/1CE2ec7

Pinterest: http://bit.ly/1yFLeMx

Amazon author page: http://amzn.to/1ChWFkO

My page at TRR: http://bit.ly/1vb7eEc

EC Author Page: http://bit.ly/1Dh9wor

Samhain Author Page: http://bit.ly/1Bvw6mL

Sweet ‘n Sexy Divas: http://bit.ly/1ChWN3K

Romance Books 4 US: http://bit.ly/1JPtfeS

*****

GIVEAWAY!

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Defiant by Sabrina York

DefiantDEFIANT, by Sabrina York

Noble Passions, Book Five

When rakish Ned falls in with the wrong crowd, his brother decides to send him to the Continent for “seasoning”. For Sophia, this just won’t do. She’s loved Ned for ages—and also longed for adventure. She runs away from her boring suitors and disguises herself as a cabin boy on the Defiant, the ship sailing Ned to Italy.

Ned knows he’s not good enough for Sophia, but once they’re on the Defiant, he can’t stop himself from touching her, tasting her, loving her. Not when a wild tempest and a band of ruthless pirates threaten them. Not when every look from her gives him such pleasure. And certainly not when she comes, warm and wild and willing, to his bed.

If they survive their voyage, Sophia’s brother might kill him, but it will have been worth every moment and every hot, sweet kiss.

A Romantica® Regency historical erotic romance from Ellora’s Cave

Buy Links: Ellora’s Cave | Amazon UK | Amazon US

 

EXCERPT

Sophia stood on the bow of the boat in the dark as the wind and rain lashed her face. She loved it. Loved it. Not only was the storm elemental and fierce, it hid her tears.

Surely she hadn’t expected Ned to greet her with open arms. Not when she had barged in on his adventure as she had. But she certainly hadn’t expected him to be so horrid. His expression had devastated her.

Foolish girl, it said.

But then, her heart agreed.

She was foolish.

Foolish to ever think that he—

“You’re soaked.”

She whirled around, though she knew what she’d see. More glowering.

She was right.

“What the hell do you think you’re doing?”

“I’m reveling.” She thrust out her chin, in case he didn’t believe her.

He gaped at her. “Reveling?”

“Yes.” She didn’t mean to shout, but his wintry demeanor annoyed her tremendously. She threw out her arms. “Look at this!”

“It’s a storm.”

“It’s beautiful. The waves are wild, untamed—”

“You could be swept overboard.”

“The wind is howling and the rain is savage. It’s glorious.”

“It’s freezing. Come inside.”

“It’s not freezing. It’s summer.”

I’m cold.”

“Then you go inside.”

“Sophia Fiona—”

“Don’t call me that.”

“It’s your name.”

“You sound like Ewan.”

“I’m starting to think Ewan is a saint.”

She glared at him. “What a beastly thing to say.” She hated that her chin wobbled a little. Hated that he winced.

“I’m sorry, Sophia. This has been trying for me.” He sluiced the water from his face. “Won’t you please come inside?”

“All right. Fine.”

“You will?”

“You did say please.”

He blew out a breath and offered her his arm. She frowned at it. “I’m a cabin boy, remember? You don’t offer a cabin boy your arm.” When he didn’t lower it, she smacked it. “Someone will see.”

That caught his attention and he slowly lowered his arm. “Right then. Come inside.” He followed her back to the cabin, his stride decidedly unsteady. If anyone was tipping overboard, it was most likely him.

When she once again stood in his chambers, she realized the folly of her actions. She hadn’t brought a change of clothes and she was drenched. So was he. Without a word, he relit the lamp and then opened his trunk and pulled out several shirts, two of which he tossed to her. “Change.”

That was it. One word. Just “change” and then he presented her with his back. She huffed a breath, but did as he asked because she was really rather cold. The feel of the cloth falling over her chilled flesh warmed her. Because it was his shirt. It had touched his skin. She wasn’t sure why the thought sent heat scudding through her belly.

“Use the other shirt to dry your hair,” he suggested, as he began toweling off as well.

She huffed a laugh. “All of your clothes will be wet.”

“They’ll dry. Are you clothed?”

“Yes.”

He turned. And froze. His gaze locked onto her bare legs. “I-I thought you said you were clothed.” A squawk.

“I am.” But the intensity of his stare made her self-conscious, so she slipped into the bed.

“Close your eyes,” he said as he unbuttoned the damp linen clinging to his chest.

“Why?”

“I need to change as well. I’m f-freezing.”

“Okay.” She did. But she peeked.

He ripped off his wet shirt and her breath caught at the sight of his broad back. Muscles rippled as he moved and she swallowed. He was beautiful. He tugged the fresh shirt over his head and she nearly whimpered as that magnificent vision disappeared. But then, he unfastened his trousers.

All pretense of not peeking evaporated.

He sat and took a moment to work off his boots. And then he stood. His trousers were tight, as was the fashion, and he had to peel them off. As he bent, she caught a flash of his bare behind.

She must have made a noise because he whirled around. His cheek bunched when he saw her watching. “You’re supposed to have your eyes closed.”

She hunkered in the covers, as though that would disguise the fact that her eyes were open wide.

“Sophia…”

It was probably wrong to grin at him, but she couldn’t help it.

“Sophia Fiona!”

“Stop calling me that. It always makes me think I’m in trouble.”

“You are in trouble. You have no idea how much trouble you’re in.”

She tipped her head to the side. “We both know Ewan will be so relieved to see me, he’ll forget how angry he is—”

Ned stilled and fixed her with a dark glare. “What makes you think I’m talking about Ewan?”

“I… ah…”

“I’ve a mind to bend you over my knee.”

Why a shiver rippled through her, she had no idea. She’d been spanked once or twice as a child and she hadn’t cared for it in the slightest. But something dark and domineering in Ned’s tone made her womb warm.

“You-you wouldn’t.”

“Wouldn’t I? Now, look away. Your brother would skewer me if I gave you the education you’re about to have.”

She attempted not to snort. Ned—and everyone—thought her a prim and innocent miss on account of the polish she’d acquired at Lady Satterlee’s. Nothing could be further from the truth. As a child, before Ewan had made his fortune, they’d lived a hand-to-mouth existence in the slums of Perth. She’d seen more than one couple rutting against a wall in a dingy alleyway. And at one point, she and her brother had taken refuge in a bordello. She’d been only seven, but if she’d had an education, she got it there. She could probably teach Ned a few things.

Still, because he seemed to expect it, she squeezed her eyes tight and didn’t hardly peek at all as he finished changing. Besides which, the spot she was interested in was mostly shadows.

With a great huff, he threw himself back into the chair. “Now, go to sleep.”

“Don’t you want me to put out the light?”

“No. I want to be able to see where you are.”

“I’m not leaving again tonight.” Probably. Unless her despair overcame her once more.

“Leave it on.” A grunt, and not a very nice one at that. Why he had call to be annoyed, she couldn’t fathom.

Blast and damn, he was an annoying man. Sophia grunted as well and rolled over, facing the wall of the cabin. She studied the patterns the swinging lamp made for a long while, listening as he shifted one way and then the other.

It was really unfair for him to have to sleep in the chair. This was his room. But he would never share her bed. She grimaced at the way the words came out, but it was true. He wouldn’t. Unless…

She rolled over again and watched him twist in the chair. He caught her eye and frowned.

“Ned?”

An impatient groan. “Yes, Sophia?”

“Ned, I’m cold.”

He stilled. Then barked, “Put on another blanket.”

“There aren’t any more.” She faked a shiver. She wasn’t cold in the slightest. She never was. Ewan said she ran hot. “Brr. My teeth are chattering.”

His glower became a frown.

“I hope I don’t get ill.”

He paled. “You shouldn’t have gone out in the rain. Why did you go out in the rain?”

She sneezed. Or something like it. “I don’t know.”

“Sophia?”

“Am I running a fever?” She put her palm to her forehead. “I think I’m running a fever.”

His brow wrinkled. He stood and made his way across the tiny chamber as though on his death march. He set the backs of his fingers to her cheeks. His frown darkened. “You are warm.”

“No. I’m cold.” She shivered and peered up at him, her eyes as wide as she could make them. “Won’t you warm me?”

He wrenched his hand away as though she’d burned him. “What?”

“Lie here beside me and warm me up?”

“There’s not enough room for both of us.”

“I’m small.”

“Sophia.” She’d never heard her name in such a strangled voice, not even when Ewan was at his wit’s end.

“Just for a bit? You can be on top of the covers. Surely that is decent.”

The muscle in his cheek bunched again, as though he were grinding his teeth.

“Please?”

He gusted a sigh. “All right, Sophia. Scoot over and make room.”

She did. With alacrity.

“And roll over, facing the wall.”

She frowned at him “Why?”

“Just do it. Please.”

“Oh, all right.” But only because he said please. And because, when she was facing the other way, he couldn’t see her grin.

He settled in behind her and a shiver rocked her. He was warm. And he smelled delicious. Not fishy in the slightest. It was delightful, lying here with him. She closed her eyes and imagined he wanted this as much as she.

If only. If only.

 

Sabrina_head_logoAbout Sabrina York

Her Royal Hotness, Sabrina York is the award winning author of over 20 hot, humorous stories for smart and sexy readers. Her titles range from sweet & sexy erotic romance to scorching BDSM. Connect with her on twitter @sabrina_york, on Facebook or on Pintrest. Check out Sabrina’s books and read an excerpt on Amazon or wherever e-books are sold. Visit her webpage at www.sabrinayork.com to check out her books, excerpts and contests. Free Teaser Book: http://sabrinayork.com/home-2/sabrina-yorks-teaser-book/ And don’t forget to enter to win the royal tiara!

A Dead Man’s Debt by Grace Elliot

A Dead Man's DebtBlurb

After publicly humiliating a suitor, Celeste Armitage is sent from the ton in disgrace. Exiled to the country she discovers a sketch book of nude studies and is shaken to discover the artist is her hostess’s eldest son, Ranulf Charing, Lord Cadnum. This darkly cynical lord is exactly the sort of dissipated rogue she most despises – and yet her blood heats at the thought of him!

Ranulf Charing, Lord Cadnum is being blackmailed over his late brother’s debts. Whilst visiting his mother, he discovers her new companion, Miss Celeste Armitage, to be a woman of unusual perception and starts to fall in love. But then the jealous fury of the blackmailer is unleashed and Cadnum must cast Celeste aside in order to protect her. However, in underestimating her resolve to clear his name – Cadnum places his true love in mortal danger…

 

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Excerpt

So be it.  Cadnum gritted his teeth as he grasped the leading leg and pushed.  It was like fighting against a brick wall, the calf barely moving.  A lamb was difficult enough; how much more so a calf?  Just as he was wondering if one man was strong enough, a shower of pebbles rattled down the bank.  Concentrating on the calf, he barked to whomever approached, “Don’t just stand there.  Get down here!”

“I beg your pardon!” a woman’s voice answered.

With a flash of annoyance, he glanced upward.

A wide eyed young woman wearing a straw bonnet peered down.  “I say, is everything all right?”

“Does it look all right?” he muttered under his breath.  All he needed was some sensitive miss fainting on him.  “Go!  Fetch help from the house.”

He saw her hesitate, biting her top lip.  “But you need help now.”

A contraction clamped around his arm as the cow’s tail switched across his face, stinging his eyes like a cat-o-nine-tails.

In a flurry of muslin and lace, the miss slid down the bank, landing with a thud in the ditch.

“Ouch.”  She rubbed her ankle.

Cadnum glared back, dark eyes flashing.  “You should have gone to the house.”  Damn it all, she could make herself useful then.  “Hold the tail aside.”

Pulling a face, she limped over.  His gaze lingered; up close, she merited a second glance.  Of middle height with a tidy waist and curves where God intended them, she appeared quick-witted and bright-eyed.  Without further ado, she stripped off her gloves, throwing them onto a bramble bush.  Long, sensitive fingers grasped the muddy tail.

Practical, he thought, silently impressed.  “Why didn’t you go for help?”

“There isn’t time.”  Her bonnet slipped backwards, revealing a quirky face with a pointed chin, her lips finely drawn with an arched cupid’s bow.  The sort of face an artist could lose himself in; all shades of the sea were found in deep emerald eyes framed by a tangle of chestnut hair.

Cadnum tightened his grasp and pushed.  Sweat beading his brow.  The calf retreated an inch.

“What are you doing?”  Her voice was gentle and calm, if somewhat deep for a woman.

He guessed it would be husky in bed, whispering over a pillow after a night of passion.  Her eyes were on him, deep green eyes, lively and entrancing.  He suddenly remembered that he was undressed to the waist, her curious gaze on his skin as he imagined those lily-white hands gliding over his naked chest, her almond shaped nails digging into his skin.  He shook away the thought, trying to remember her question.

She watched with innocence and interest, blushing faintly in a charming way; and yet, he realized, she was no wilting flower.  He shook his head.  The woman had asked a question; damn it, he would answer.

“The calf is breech,” he grunted. “I need to push her back into the womb to turn her.”  He wanted to shock this stranger, to test how bold she truly was.

She stared back, biting her top lip, exaggerating her snub nose.  “Ah!”  Her gaze met his.

“Think of the calf as a carriage in a narrow driveway.  To turn it around, you push it back into the stable yard.”

“What can I do to help?”

“Nothing,” he growled.

Throwing him an angry look, she anchored the tail with a log and scrambled around to the beast’s head.  After a moment’s thought, she placed her pelisse under the cow’s head, stroking the broad nose and crooning words of comfort.

“She’s relaxing.”  Cadnum’s arm was numb from the contractions.  He fell forward as the first leg finally slid back into the womb.  “That helps.”  His hair had come free from the ribbon, falling thickly about his shoulders.  He glanced at the woman.  She was leaning forward, her bosom straining a tight bodice, a satisfying cleavage between her breasts.  He swallowed hard.  She was odd looking, he decided, not exactly beautiful but eye catching nonetheless.  Her face showed character and determination.  Her complexion was too healthy to be fashionable, all rosy cheeked and peppered with freckles.

The woman glared at him now, her skin glowing bright pink.  Had he been staring?  His heart raced as he returned to the calving.

Timing his efforts, he used all his strength to push the second leg back.  His shoulder felt as if it were being ripped from the socket.  With gritted teeth, he found a slippery hoof and clung to it, guiding it from the womb into the birth passage.  Grimacing with the effort, he found the other foreleg, dragging it forward to match its mate.  Pulling first one leg, then the other, he inched them forward.

The muscles of his back burned as he braced, digging his heels into the damp earth.  He pulled in time to the cow’s weakening contractions, but as her effort became more feeble, even that assistance was lost.  The beast lay stretched on her side, head extended, breathing erratically and growing weaker by the second.  It was going to be a close thing; all the effort would be for naught if he couldn’t pull the calf out soon.

After minutes of heaving, two small cream hooves presented themselves.  Cadnum sat back on his heels, sweat dripping into his eyes.  So intense had been his concentration that he’d completely forgotten the woman.  But there she was, slightly pale but watching him intently.

“I need your help…” It wasn’t so very difficult to say.  The woman nodded silently, her face so serious he almost laughed.  “The cow’s spent, she can’t push any more.  I need you to pull with me.”

Licking her lips she nodded weakly.

“Come here.  Grasp my waist.  Pull when I say.”

She stood and, with a whisper of skirts, was at his side.  As her arms wound hesitantly around his waist, he suppressed a shiver of excitement.  Her hands where peach soft and cool.  She smelled of lemongrass.

“Hold tight.”

The thin feminine arms around the hard plain of his belly made his body ache unexpectedly.

“Pull as hard as you can, when I say,” he barked more gruffly than he intended.  “Now.”

Digging his heels into the dirt, his muscles strained as he struggled to keep hold of the slippery hooves.  But his attention was not wholly on the calf as he became aware of the press of her breasts against his bare back, of her sweet warm breath against his neck.  If he wasn’t mistaken, he could feel her heart hammering against his ribs.

With a desperate heave, he pulled the calf and the woman pulled him.  The calf moved another few inches, the forelegs exposed to the wrist joint.

“Again,” he urged.

Another pull and half the forelegs were out.

“Stop.  I need to check if the calf’s head is coming nose forward.”

The woman released him.  Glancing over his shoulder, he noticed her pink tongue darted out of her mouth to moisten her dry lips.

Turning back to the cow, he knelt, feeling inside, satisfied that he could feel a muzzle lined neatly along the forelegs.

“Nearly there.”

The woman’s arms circled back around his waist, wiry with feminine strength.  This time they fitted snugly, her cheek against his back.  A ringlet had broken free of her chignon, brushing his skin.  His groin tightened—much to his annoyance.

“Ready?  Heave!”  Never had he been more glad of the distraction from a woman’s unnerving affect on his body.  He noticed her soft mossy eyes and sweetly tempting curves, yet her bravery and determination excited him most.  Innocent, yet bold.

The calf slithered free with a slippery suck, sliding to the ground in a flood of fluid and membranes.  Man and woman rolled backwards.  Cadnum landed on her skirts, pinning her down.  Her face was flushed, her pupils large.  He stared into her eyes, which were framed with thick dark lashes now modestly brushing her cheek.  He noticed her breathing heavily, a sheen of sweat on her neck, chest heaving.

Neither moved.

The temptation to lean forward and claim a kiss was dizzying.  It was like looking up at a high church tower against scudding clouds, making him giddy.

Scowling, he turned away.  When had he become such a cad that he’d consider taking advantage of an innocent stranger?  He deserved to be horse whipped.  It didn’t help that the throb in his groin reminded him of his weakness.

“The calf?” a small clear voice questioned.

It was a bull calf, steaming slightly in the cool morning air.  Hooking a finger in the calf’s mouth, he cleared away the mucus.

“The cord.  I need to tie off the cord.  Quick, find me something.”

With a whisper of satin, she held out the ribbon from her bonnet.

“Will this do?”

When she didn’t immediately release it, it occurred to him that she was waiting for him to say thank you.  He acquiesced.  With a humph she handed over the ribbon.

As he worked, she stood, regarding the newborn with wonder.  For some inexplicable reason he wanted to hold her tightly in his arms and smooth her hair, to kiss that perfect oval of a mouth.  Damn her for distracting him!

Cadnum rounded on her, squaring his bare chest.  She recoiled, threatened by his unabashed maleness.  She shrank back, making Cadnum angry at himself for frightening her.

“Well don’t just stand there, now go and fetch help!  Tell them to send men to the ditch between the five acre field and the hazel copse.”  Her presence had become intolerable, eating away at his self-control.  “Look sharp about it!”

She jumped and scrambled up the bank with a flash of neat ankle, but not before giving him on last angry glare.

A wave of heat washed over Ranulf, who silently gave thanks that her back was turned.  It was not his habit to ravish complete strangers, especially those so obviously gently born.  But for some reason that was exactly what he wanted to do to this mysterious chestnut haired stranger.  Only as she disappeared over the brow of the hill did it occur to him to inquire who this practical Miss was and what she was doing on his land.

Author Bio

Grace Elliot leads a double life as a veterinarian by day and author of historical romance by night. She is housekeeping staff to five cats, two teenage sons, one husband and a bearded dragon (not in order of importance)

Fall in Love with History (blog) http://graceelliot-author.blogspot.com

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New Release: Faustina and the Barbarians by John McKeown

Faustina and the BarbariansBlurb

Rome wasn’t built in a day but Faustina Maxima, antithesis of the passive Roman matron, can screw herself out of a threatening situation quicker than you can say, “Veni, vidi, vici!” This statuesque beauty, descendant of a famous emperor is a one-woman sexual killing machine that eats savage Goths and Saxons for breakfast—and is also partial to a Pict or two—while lunch, dinner and supper is any Roman who takes her fancy. Like any great general she’s blessed with imagination, and open to every possibility for maximising pleasure. For, as she writes to her daughter-in-law Flavia, the lucky recipient of her mother-in-law’s unblushing exploits among the barbarians, “what is life without ever fresh adventures?”

Warning: This title contains graphic language and is suitable for adults only.

‘Faustina and the Barbarians’ is a 21.000 words historical erotica novella

Published by ahotterstate.com

 

Excerpt

To: Flavia Maxima, Rome

From: Faustina Maxima, Amorgos, August 410

My darling daughter-in-law, what thrilling news! The Barbarians at the gates of Rome, at last. You and your friends are in for the time of your lives. I’m green with envy, exiled as ever on this barren Grecian rock with nothing but goats and wizened goat herders for company; not to mention that boring, obnoxious bag-of-bones, your father-in-law Flaccus. As soon as you hear Alaric’s Gothic cavalry pounding down the street, get outside and scream for attention.

I know you won’t do that, of course, but I hope this letter of mine will persuade you to stop being such a shrinking violet and have some fun with the gorgeous Goths before they’re completely Romanised. You really must make the most of them, my dear. All disrespect to my darling son, but you must be bored stiff in the bedroom. He’s just like his wimpish father; prefers a blowjob from a eunuch to fulfilling his conjugal duties.

Darling, in all earnestness, the Goths are just the influx of virility the women of Rome are crying out for. I speak, as always, from experience.

Twenty years ago, when the Goths first began seriously troubling our northern borders, Flaccus, appointed Legate by the Emperor Valentinian, was sent to keep an eye on them. I, of course, having the ear—and more vital organs—of His Imperial Majesty, was allowed to accompany him. I was a very excited twenty-year-old, who couldn’t wait to feast her eyes upon those blond giants from the far north.

When we arrived it was high summer, and the forests of Germania were steaming, and not just with fires from Barbarian encampments. Disguised as an officer, I rode with my valiant husband into the centre of the Chief’s camp to parlay. Darling, I simply couldn’t see what threat the Goths posed, for all their energy seemed to be spent in fucking their buxom-arsed women, and often each other, senseless. As we rode in, my saddle was damp with the sights we saw. They were fucking against trees, on the ground, and, one couple I remember, were shafting each other precariously balanced in the boughs of an oak. And what beauties they were! As Flaccus did his ‘fearsome Roman’ bit with Chief Athalaric, I let my eyes take in the tall blonds who surrounded our mounted embassy. Long blond hair turned to gold in the slanting rays of the sun, gemstone eyes set above rich, red mouths sculpted for kissing. And do you know, as I sat, looking as martial as I could, one of them met my eye and made a very provocative gesture with his closed fist. That night I lay in our tent stroking myself and feeling those strong fingers probing inside me.

I was well on the way to coming when I heard Delicia, my hand-maiden, scream. The curtains around my bed were torn back and there stood a gang of young Goths laughing, swords unsheathed.

“Oh Aphrodite, don’t let me wake up now,” I prayed as they gathered close, their eyes bulging with lust in the lamplight.

Buy Links
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Author bio

John McKeown is a British writer based in Dublin. He lived in Prague where he was a teacher and freelance journalist and part of the ex-pat literary scene in the 1990s, then moved to Ireland in 2000 becoming a columnist for the Irish Examiner, and arts feature writer for the Irish Times. He was theatre critic for the Irish Daily Mail from 2006 to 2008 and is currently reviewing theatre for the Irish Independent and UK online theatre magazine Exeunt while raising his daughter Julia. His erotic short stories have been published by Xcite Books in the UK, who have also recently published his first novella Gooseflesh Abbey. JMS Books in the US is publishing two other erotic novellas, also in 2013, Prague Memoir and The Time Sex Machine. In addition to erotica John has four collections of poetry in print, the last, Night Walk published by Salmon Press in Ireland (available from Dufour Editions in the US). He has also collaborated with Leo O’Kelly of Irish folk-rock duo Tir Na nOg, on an album of songs entitled Will released in 2011 on Life and Living Records in the UK.

Guest Blogger: The Knight Shades Trilogy by Toni Sands

Book One – Woman of Power

Woman of PowerWhen Xcite Books asked me to write a trilogy about knights, the colourful images tantalising me probably chime with the historical and mythological references we absorb from childhood onwards. I’ve enjoyed writing erotic romance set in 1830 Wales (Traded Innocence) also 1900 London (Orchid Pink) but this time I wanted to aim for something different. There have been many versions of the Arthurian legend and of course the BBC’s Merlin has fuelled our fantasies, although I haven’t seen too many episodes. Maybe that’s a good thing because my own ‘hot knight’ rode into my consciousness and as I write this, he’s still there, waiting for me to catch up with him in Book Three. His journey is a bumpy ride in more ways than one but he’s up for whatever challenge faces him and he values the comradeship of his fellow knights.

There are some highly erotic scenes. Sometimes the action’s explicit. Sometimes it’s happening more in the head rather than playing out on the page. There are scenes between gorgeous girls and fit guys laced with a little humour and whimsy. Research reveals how the homoerotic element would have been much in evidence and this led to a steamy episode in the knights’ bathhouse. The M/M element is there for a purpose because I want my characters to behave as history tells us, while still speaking to us as if they were modern athletes, soldiers and singers – footballers’ wives or women for whom glass ceilings are there to be smashed. Writing’s all about challenges and for me, this latest project is a chance to try a new take on knights in armour, jousting, fencing and gaining the favour of one particular lady.

Woman of Power begins with Gavin crossing a portal into another world. He’s manipulated by an enchantress who guides him towards a brotherhood of knights living in a raspberry stone castle. On the way, he meets a beautiful woman who conceals her true identity. Gavin finds his emotions in turmoil when he discovers just what a dangerous path he treads. The story is a mix of magic and medieval references, with contemporary language and mindset. No one cries ‘gadzooks’ but there’s plenty of banter among the boys as Gavin enters their midst and strives to behave as a gentle knight should do. Hmm … this doesn’t always happen as planned.

In his defence, my knight was returning from a battle zone when the enchantress picked him up in her crystal ball. The girl he left behind in his own world is well out of reach – he’s susceptible to temptation and there’s plenty of that in this larger than life world. I should also mention Gavin’s trusty steed, Sarum who’s partial to a pretty filly. As for the camp knight … pageboys beware!

I hope you’ll read and enjoy Woman of Power and go on to complete the treble. The title of the next book in the trilogy is Wicked Woman, scheduled for December release. Please come and say hi on Facebook or Twitter and let me know if you like my hot knights!

Toni SandsAvailable from:
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(Coming to all other good eBook retailers in 2013)

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