Category Archives: Guest Author

Caroline Warfield: The Reluctant Wife

Happy Release Day! Caroline Warfield’s latest release, The Reluctant Wife, is available today!

The Reluctant Wife

When all else fails, love succeeds…

Captain Fred Wheatly’s comfortable life on the fringes of Bengal comes crashing down around him when his mistress dies, leaving him with two children he never expected to have to raise. When he chooses justice over army regulations, he’s forced to resign his position, leaving him with no way to support his unexpected family. He’s already had enough failures in his life. The last thing he needs is an attractive, interfering woman bedeviling his steps, reminding him of his duties.

All widowed Clare Armbruster needs is her brother’s signature on a legal document to be free of her past. After a failed marriage, and still mourning the loss of a child, she’s had it up to her ears with the assumptions she doesn’t know how to take care of herself, that what she needs is a husband, and with a great lout of a captain who can’t figure out what to do with his daughters. If only the frightened little girls didn’t need her help so badly.

Clare has made mistakes in the past. Can she trust Fred now? Can she trust herself? Captain Wheatly isn’t ashamed of his aristocratic heritage, but he doesn’t need his family and they’ve certainly never needed him. But with no more military career and two half-caste daughters to support, Fred must turn once more—as a failure—to the family he failed so often in the past. Can two hearts rise above past failures to forge a future together?

Fred first appeared as a boy in A Dangerous Nativity, along with his brother Rand, who is now a timber baron in upper Canada, and his cousin Charles, a duke who is a powerful government official with interests in places from Philadelphia and Madras to Canton, China.

Visit Caroline’s website for more back story and fun pieces about The Reluctant Wifehttp://www.carolinewarfield.com/bookshelf/reluctant-wife/ or click the button below to purchase on Amazon.

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How to Survive the Court of Louis XIV 101: Etiquette with Achille Archambault, Marquis de Saint Croix

I have two guests on the blog today! Please welcome my favorite author, Jessica Cale! And with her, from her latest release, The Long Way Home, is Achille Achambault, the Marquis de Saint Croix – . (…who just so happens to like my books… 😉 )

Today, Jessica and Achille are here to talk about Etiquette in the Court of Louis XIV. So without further ado, Jessica…

Life as a courtier in Versailles was very difficult with hundreds of rules of etiquette and precedence to bear in mind at all times. I had hoped to write a post about it for you, but on this subject, I thought it would be better to leave it to the expert. It is Achille Archambault, the Marquis de Saint Croix, who helps ex-pickpocket Jack Sharpe navigate the intricacies of court life, so I’m going to leave it up to him to explain it to you. I present to you the charming (and very handsome) Marquis de Saint Croix:

Bonjour tous le monde! Je m’appelle Achille, et aujourd’hui, je vais vous apprendre un peu le français et l’étiquette. Pour commencer, nous allons–

[(cough) Achille! En Anglais, s’il vous plait?]

Quoi? Mais oui, d’accord. Hello everyone! I shall begin again. I am Achille Archambault, Marquis de Saint Croix. It is my great honor to visit you in your time to speak to you of mine. Much has changed, but I believe things are still the same, non? La Cale has brought me forth and has given many very interesting books to take back with me. I found Madame Quinton’s Quoi Le Duc Desires to be most moving and informative. Perhaps this one shall seek love with an English peasant as well! (laughs) La Cale is a generous benefactor, but I believe she would not be above arranging such a ridiculous match. In my language, a cale is a kind of wedge, a tool for immobilization, and La Cale is likewise stubborn in her desires. C’est tres amusant, non? En Francais, Quinton is only Quinton, and that is not so fun, although I very much admire her works. The one about the Marquess raised a blush to even this dark complexion!

If you are to journey back with me to my time, I would be most honored to accommodate you in my rooms in Versailles. Monsieur Sharpe and Monsieur Sedley have gone and there is room, and you will be happy to hear my manservant, Armand, has recently succeeded in removing the corpse smell from Monsieur Sharpe’s room.

Bon! I will show you the grandeur of Versailles. You will be presented to the king and you will meet many great people, and no few dogs as well. The Duc de Languedoc is likely to attempt to take liberties, if he can remove his eyes from my virtuous niece long enough to do so. It is a beautiful place, and very refined, but it is terrible as well. If you hope to survive the court for any length of time without disgracing yourself or inviting ridicule, there are a few small rules you must know.

  1. If you come across a friend in your travels, as you are likely to do, it is fort mauvais to ask him where he is coming from or where he is going.
  2. A man must not enter a room with a button unbuttoned that his tailor intended to be buttoned.
  3. If you are in mixed company, women must not raise their skirts to warm their legs beside the fire.
  4. Do not fidget with your hat, gloves, stick, or with your hostess’ fire irons.
  5. Do not yawn, spit, take snuff, or offer your hostess the loan of your handkerchief.
  6. If someone should sneeze, it is ill-bred to say “God bless you,” but correct to say it silently to yourself while taking off your hat.
  7. It is otherwise most uncivil to remove your hat inside the house, unless you are speaking to a person of the highest quality, such as myself.
  8. Never in any circumstances sit down to a meal without your hat on, but until every guest is seated, you must keep your hat in your hand.
  9. You may go hatless in the anteroom if civility demands it.
  10. If the servant of a superior brings you a message, you must receive him standing, and remove your hat.
  11. If you have the honor of eating with the king in the field, you must wear your hat while the king alone will remain bare-headed.
  12. If one of the king’s meals should happen to pass you during your stay in the palace, you must bow or curtsey until it is gone, sweep the floor with your hat, and say reverently but distinctly, “La viande du Roi.”
  13. At supper, do not wash your hands or face in a bowl that has been used by your social superior.
  14. You must never knock on a door inside the palace. It is correct to scratch at them with the nail on your left pinkie finger, which you should grow long for that purpose.
  15. If you visit someone within the town outside of the palace, you must not scratch, but knock.
  16. If you are visiting a lady of quality, you must strike the knocker once and no more.
  17. You must never under any circumstances sit above your social superior. Unless invited or alone, it is safer to remain standing at all times.
  18. You must never discuss affairs of the state. Men may discuss hunting and horses, and ladies may discuss scandal and frocks. Discussing politics will ruin you as surely as drunkenness or debauchery.
  19. Never attempt to sit at a gaming table if you yourself are not playing.
  20. If the king offers you food, you must not refuse him, nor may you let on under any circumstances that you are having less than a splendid time. The king cannot abide misery and will stand for nothing less than gaiety at all times.

These are only some of the things you must remember if you are to be a successful courtier. Forgetting any of the rules will betray you as ill-bred and ruin your reputation as swiftly as sulking or discussing politics within sight of the king.

Never fear, I will tutor you on everything you must know before we reach Versailles. I suggest you read Courtin’s Nouveau Traite de la Civilite while we travel. There is much we have yet to discuss!

Sources:
W.H. Lewis, The Splendid Century
Antoine de Courtin: Nouveau Traite de la Civilite (1675)

Could you survive the court of Louis XIV? Meet Achille and travel back to Versailles in 1677 in The Long Way Home.

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The Long Way Home
(The Southwark Saga, Book 3)
By Jessica Cale
Release Date: February 29th, 2016
Genre: Historical Romance, Adult Fairytale, Romantic Comedy, Action/Adventure

A paranoid king, a poison plot, and hideous shoes…it’s not easy being Cinderella.

After saving the life of the glamorous Marquise de Harfleur, painfully shy barmaid Alice Henshawe is employed as the lady’s companion and whisked away to Versailles. There, she catches King Louis’ eye and quickly becomes a court favorite as the muse for Charles Perrault’s Cinderella. The palace appears to be heaven itself, but there is danger hidden beneath the façade and Alice soon finds herself thrust into a world of intrigue, murder, and Satanism at the heart of the French court.

Having left his apprenticeship to serve King Charles as a spy, Jack Sharpe is given a mission that may just kill him. In the midst of the Franco-Dutch war, he is to investigate rumors of a poison plot by posing as a courtier, but he has a mission of his own. His childhood friend Alice Henshawe is missing and he will stop at nothing to see her safe. When he finds her in the company of the very people he is meant to be investigating, Jack begins to wonder if the sweet girl he grew up with has a dark side.

When a careless lie finds them accidentally married, Alice and Jack must rely on one another to survive the intrigues of the court. As old affection gives way to new passion, suspicion lingers. Can they trust each other, or is the real danger closer than they suspect?

“Really brilliant writing that’s so engaging with such endearing characters! I especially love the way Jack and Alice are both so devoted to each other! I was totally absorbed in this exciting and fascinating world Jessica Cale created from the very first paragraph to the last! I read this all in one sitting, staying awake late to finish, just had to!” – Romazing Reader

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About the author:
author picJessica Cale is the award-winning author of the historical romance series, The Southwark Saga. Originally from Minnesota, she lived in Wales for several years where she earned a BA in History and an MFA in Creative Writing while climbing castles and photographing mines for history magazines. She kidnapped (“married”) her very own British prince (close enough) and is enjoying her happily ever after with him in North Carolina.

www.authorjessicacale.com

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Excerpt:

The palace was quiet, and he imagined most of the residents were away at meals of their own, or perhaps watching His Majesty do something else inane. The enormous rooms were dim, the lesser used ones only half-lit by candles. The marble walls appeared to glow warm with some internal fire, and the gods and monsters in the oil-painted ceilings seemed more alive in the semi-darkness.

Versailles was at its best when it couldn’t be clearly seen. By daylight, the rooms were too garish, too heavily embellished to be tasteful, but alone in the night, Jack could have believed he was sneaking through some secret corner of heaven.

As if to underline this point, Alice’s door opened and she slipped out of the darkness like a divine vision, the only sound she made the whisper of her skirts sweeping against the door. Her dress was the deepest midnight blue trimmed with gold lace, the muted shine of the silk like a moonlit night. Her hair had been arranged carefully and ornamented with three dazzling gold stars above her left ear. She was wearing less powder than she often did, and she looked more like the Alice he knew, only dressed splendidly as a goddess of the night.

She gasped when she saw him standing there, leaning in the arch of the doorway. He hadn’t realized he had done it, but some part of him must have known he needed the support to look at her. She looked him over slowly, bashfully, and her face did not reflect any of Achille’s earlier disappointment. Her eyes appeared to be a hazy gray in the dim corridor, and were so beautiful they were almost painful to look at. It was not disappointment he saw in those eyes, but something altogether more confusing. Was it guilt? Apprehension?

Dear God, it might be lust.

He wondered if her room was empty, and if she had tied her corset with the knot he’d shown her. He knew he could have her dress off in a matter of moments. Just one little tug and her corset would follow, and she’d be in his arms and very nearly his. Jack felt his temperature rise for the second time that night.

If she was a murderer, she must be very good at it. She could have his own knife out of his boot and between his ribs before he could pull his gaze away from her lips.

Remembering himself, he straightened and bowed deeply. He offered her his arm. “My lady.”

Alice took it without a word, flipping open a painted fan with her other hand, fanning her face as they began to walk. Jack was tempted to ask if he could borrow it for a moment. Lord knew he needed to cool down.

They walked slowly together through the dim rooms, the only sound the click of his boot heels and the swish of her skirts. The candlelight gave her face a lovely, rosy glow, but he had seen enough of her that afternoon to know that every inch of her skin really was flawless. His gaze flitted once more to her peony-colored lips. He had kissed her once before. Dare he do it again?

As if she could read his thoughts, Alice looked up at him and he almost tripped over his own feet.

Murderer, he tried to remind himself.

His heart insisted wife.

He cleared his throat noisily. “Y-Your shoes aren’t making any noise,” he observed, and cursed himself for the ridiculous observation. He wanted to compliment her correctly, but he was afraid he would accidentally tell her she looked like something straight out of his most illicit dreams, so instead he blurted a silly comment about her shoes.

Well done, Jack.

Alice didn’t seem to mind. Instead of looking at him with the pity she probably should have felt, she grinned up at him and stopped walking. She removed her hand from his arm and, to his considerable surprise, she raised her skirts to show him the lower half of her curvy calves in silver stockings. He realized after a moment it was not her legs she was showing him, but her shoes—she was wearing a pair of flat, fluffy slippers.

They didn’t look like any slippers Jack had ever seen. They were generously cut and enveloped her little feet completely, so it appeared that instead of wearing shoes, Alice had grown the feet of a bear. Jack grinned at the ridiculous thought. “Those are fur.”

Alice nodded enthusiastically. She raised her skirts a little further and, after she checked that no one else was around, took off running through the now empty Petite Gallerie du Roi. She stopped suddenly and the slippers kept her sliding an extra several feet through the arch into the next room. She looked back at him over her shoulder, her delight plain on her lovely face. Jack laughed, the sound echoing through the cavernous palace.

Something about her running playfully made him want to go after her. The last time he had done that, he had lost control of himself completely and kissed her in the rose garden. That’s how he had ended up going to this damned supper in the first place. Still, her skirts began to shake as she ran a few more steps, and he couldn’t help it.

He chased her.

When Alice noticed him jogging behind her, her face lit up and she took off running in earnest, tearing through the empty rooms and halls as fast as her dress would allow. He chased her through them, grinning so hard his face hurt, until they reached another hall of private apartments and he caught her.

His hands closed around her waist and he spun her around in his arms, trapping her against the gold-trimmed wall. She looked slowly up at him with those devastating eyes, and he knew one thing for certain.

She had let herself be caught.

I’m Buried Under Romance Today…

Today, I’m featured on the blog, Buried Under Romance.

I’ll be giving away a copy of What the Duke Wants and my upcoming release, What the Marquess Sees…!

Come check it out as a I interview Lady Beatryce Beckett and the Marquess of Dansbury…

Plus, you’ll find a previously unshared excerpt from What the Marquess Sees!

Stop by any time. I’ll be popping by all day to chat with readers!

www.BuriedUnderRomance.com

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Featured Author Friday – Annette Mardis

I am so pleased to present romance author, Annette Mardis to the blog today. Annette is a fellow LSBooks house author and is here to talk about her upcoming release, Shore to Please. We also have a character interview with the main character from Shore to Please, Flipper O’Riley.

Welcome, Annette & Flipper!

HRshoretopleaseThanks so much for hosting me, Amy. My latest book, Shore to Please, the third installment in my Gulf Shore contemporary romance series, spotlights one of my favorite characters, Paul “Flipper” O’Riley, head dolphin trainer at Gulf Shore Aquarium. He’s loyal, funny, and hard-working, and he’s fighting an attraction to a woman who couldn’t be more wrong for him.

Tara Langley is cofounder of SWADS, short for Stop Whale and Dolphin Suffering. She thought she’d found the love of her life, but he betrayed her with another woman. So she buried herself in her mission: convincing Gulf Shore Aquarium that dolphins and whales belong in the wild, not in artificial pools.

If Tara had her way, Flipper would lose the job he loves, and for him that’s an impossible scenario. The aquarium’s dolphins are his babies, and his life revolves around them. While he’s open to having a real family one day, Tara is the last person he would choose to be his wife and the mother of his children.

These two should be sworn enemies, after all. He certainly swears at the sight of her. And his surfer-dude looks and lover-boy reputation aren’t exactly what Ms. Prim and Tidy had in mind when she pictured her ideal man.

There’s no possible way a relationship between Flipper and Tara could work, right? They’re like fire and gasoline. So why do they both want so badly to light the match?

As the two struggle to find common ground amid all the quicksand, Flipper and his coworkers become the targets of an increasingly more menacing campaign to force the aquarium to release the dolphins under its care.

Tara, whose group has picketed the aquarium in the past, immediately becomes suspect. Is she being falsely accused? Flipper is quick to defend her, but is she deceiving him along with the police? Or do more sinister forces have Gulf Shore Aquarium in their sights?

Gulf Shore Police Detective Joanna Tompkins is racing to catch those responsible before it’s too late.

While Shore to Please revolves around Flipper, Tara, and the threats to the aquarium, the book also advances the story lines of other favorite characters, including Evan and Dani, Cosby and Monica, and Jo and Kelsey. Readers will meet a few new faces, too, and a couple more adorable critters join the cast as well.

Shore to Please is set for release June 22 and will available at all major e-book sellers:

LSBooks

Liquid Silver Books (20% discount for preorders)

amazon barnes and noble kobo

Speaking of Gulf Shore Aquarium’s hunky head dolphin trainer, I sat down with Flipper recently for an interview. He was charming and funny, as usual, but I saw cracks in that lover-boy, surfer-dude image he’s cultivated over the years. Here’s what he had to say about that and other subjects.

You seem different since Tara Langley came into your life. Is that a fair observation?

I doubt she’d agree. In her opinion, looking good in a wet suit and charming an audience are the only job qualifications for a dolphin trainer. If she had her way, my profession wouldn’t exist. Just when I think we might be able to find common ground, it turns out to be quicksand. It’s frustrating and irritating.

Are you saying there’s nothing between you two? I sense a lot of smoldering heat there.

Oh, there’s heat all right. But not the good kind. She doesn’t seem to care that Gulf Shore Aquarium’s dolphins were either rescued or saved from miserable conditions at another facility that went out of business. She thinks anyplace that has dolphins must be exploiting them, which just isn’t true. No matter what we say to each other, it rubs the wrong way.

You don’t find her attractive?

(Big sigh) She’s gorgeous, obviously, and I’d have asked her out already if I sold insurance for a living or she wasn’t the head of SWADS. By the way, that stands for Stop Whale and Dolphin Suffering. What kind of a ridiculous name is that? We take wonderful care of our dolphins. I love them as though they were my children, and my excellent staff is dedicated to them, too.

So there’s no chance you and Tara could get together romantically?

That would be like a vegetarian dating a butcher. Not. Gonna. Happen. So please, just let it go.

If you insist. Let’s talk about those three pilot whales you helped rescue recently off Naples, Florida. How are they doing?

They’re holding their own. I hope we’ll be able to release them eventually, but that has yet to be determined.

How’s that adorable orphaned baby dolphin? 

Trident’s doing great. He’s getting acclimated at our dolphin habitat, Dolphin Inlet, and we’ve been working on gating and other behaviors. Gating means getting him to pass through gates from one pool to another. There are no gates in the ocean, of course, so it’s something you have to teach a dolphin. He’s a little hesitant, but he has such an exuberant personality, and he’s a fast learner. Trident is a lot of fun to be around. I’m going to enjoy watching him grow up, and so will my staff and the public.

What made you decide to be a dolphin trainer?

My parents took me to SeaWorld when I was a kid and I fell in love with the animals there, especially the dolphins. I wanted to be either a dolphin trainer or a Major League Baseball player. I played college ball and maybe could’ve been drafted by a pro team. But I would’ve kicked around in the low minors, never reaching the big time, and that’s not how I wanted to spend my life. And then in college I did internships that cemented my desire to work with marine animals. I’ve never regretted that decision. 

I don’t want to spoil any surprises in your story, so I’ll ask a general question. Are you satisfied with the way things turn out for you at the end of Shore to Please?

Yes, absolutely. But I could’ve done without those crater-sized holes in the road. Adversity builds character, I guess, and it makes for interesting reading, with all the twists and turns. Saying some of it wasn’t fun is an understatement, but it was worth it to wind up where we did.

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Author Bio 
Annette Mardis writes the kind of contemporary romance novels that she loves to read. Her characters are the type of people you’ve worked with or lived next door to, and the plots are filled with the dramas, disappointments, joys, passions, and humor of everyday life. Her Gulf Shore series will transport you to a fictional coastal Florida town where you’ll taste salt on your skin and feel sugary white sand between your toes, the warm sun on your shoulders, and the sea breeze ruffling your hair.

You’ll meet swoon-worthy alpha males who aren’t embarrassed to cuddle a rescued baby dolphin in their muscular arms, and accomplished women looking for an equal partner who thinks that smart is sexy. You’ll get up close and personal with sea life, join the “snipe and gripe” club for girls’ nights out, and fall in love with a parrot who acts like a little boy in a bird suit. You’ll go behind-the-scenes at the local aquarium and out to the beach to rescue marine animals in distress. And once you visit Gulf Shore, you just may find yourself wishing you could stay.

To find out more and Annette and her books, visit her website at AnnetteMardis.com. She loves to stay in touch with her readers, so drop her a line and sign up for her e-mail list for a chance to win prizes and get a first look at covers and excerpts.

Connect with Annette:
Website and blog: www.annettemardis.com/
Facebook: www.facebook.com/AuthorAnnetteMardis
Twitter: @AnnetteMardis48
Amazon: www.amazon.com/Annette-Mardis/e/B00E5UHPMM/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1
Goodreads: www.goodreads.com/author/dashboard
Pinterest: www.pinterest.com/annettemardis/
Smashwords: www.smashwords.com/profile/view/Shelbypie
LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=221177296&trk=nav_responsive_tab_profile_pic
Google+ https://plus.google.com/+AnnetteMardis/
YouTube: www.youtube.com/channel/UCC1doptfvHDj7h7svO6ZtTA
Tsu:  https://www.tsu.co/AnnetteMardis

Featured Author Friday – Regan Walker

Today, I’m pleased to present best selling historical romance author, Regan Walker. Welcome, Regan! Let’s get right to it – inquiring minds have a lot they want to know…

What characteristic makes up a Regan Walker novel? What ReganWalkercan readers expect when they pick up one of your books?

Great question, Amy. Well, they can expect history, adventure and a love story wrapped around all of it to start with. Guaranteed every book. My readers tell me I excel at “world building” and “great characters” so I guess you will find those, too. Almost all of my books have an animal or two. I’m very visual and I see the story happening in my mind like a movie. I may write to a movie score so it just enhances the effect. And I’m into the details. I spend hundreds of hours researching each book to try and “get it right.”

 

Are there any other genre’s you are interested in pursuing outside of Medieval and Regency Romance?

All my focus is on historical romance. It’s what I love to read as well as write. I already have out a pirate romance (Wind Raven) and a Georgian romance (my newest release—To Tame the Wind, which also features a pirate of sorts), but as I say, Scotland will be on the horizon one of these days.

 

What is your favorite romance genre to read, and why? To write – what draws you to Medieval Romance or to Regency?

I love a good story, no matter the setting. For my Historical Romance Review blog, I read a different subgenre each month: Vikings, Pirates/Privateers, Irish, Classics, Scottish, Western, Patriotic, Exotic Locales and Bodice Rippers.


How do you begin working on a new story? With the characters or the plot? 
A bit of both?

Another really good question. Typically it starts with an idea. It may be a character or a setting or a bit of history. Sometimes it begins with a thought or a song. Around that I build my world and the characters who live in it, their problems, their challenges to overcome and the ones they will love. Since The Red Wolf’s Prize, I now do Pinterest boards for my books which represent my research in pictures.

 

When you begin working on a new story, do you know how it will end before you start writing, or does that come to you as part of the writing process?

Yes, sometimes I do. It’s even possible I will write the end as I begin the book and work towards it. That is what I did for Rogue Knight and no, I’m not telling!

 

How do you deal with writer’s block?

I just did a post on that! It’s called What to do When You’re Stuck and is on The Write Way Café. It’s my own list of things I do.

 

What is your favorite type of hero? Heroine?

I like strong heroines and stronger, alpha males. I like a clash of wills between two noble-hearted people. But sometimes I find myself with a bit of a beta male. That happened with Sir Martin in Against the Wind and it’s true of Sir Geoffroi in Rogue Knight. In such cases, they must call upon their courage to rescue the heroine and do the right thing.

 

Share something about your latest romance, which is not in the blurb or any available excerpts.

Ok, I’ll share the advice Maugris the Wise gives to Sir Geoffroi as he leaves for York where one of the most despicable episodes in England’s history took place in 1069:

“You will give help to those who would otherwise fall and you will find an ally where you least expect it. But if need be, you must have courage to stand alone.”

You can see it on my Pinterest board for the story here: https://www.pinterest.com/reganwalker123/rogue-knight-by-regan-walker/

 

Describe your favorite place to read.

In bed or on a lounge on a beach

 

Describe your favorite place to write.

At my computer on a big table next to a window with a view.

 

Do you have scheduled times to write, or do you just write when you are inspired?

A bit of both. I try to write from about 10:30 in the morning till early afternoon, but sometimes the muse doesn’t set and I must do something else.

Of your novels, who is your favorite hero and why? Oh that is very hard. I really love them all. Lord Ormond is the kind of dark hero I love. And the Red Wolf is a warrior, a very compelling man among men.

 

What do you do in your spare time? Any hobbies?

Writing was my hobby. Now it’s my career and my passion. So I guess my hobby now is reading.

 

What do you do to relax?

Dinner with friends. If I’m alone, popcorn and a good TV series. My current favorites are Outlander, Game of Thrones and TURN—which I’m taping. I like period pieces, too. The White Queen is a favorite I have on DVD. My favorite movie might be Last of the Mohicans. It has everything and it’s a brilliant love story.

 

What’s next on the horizon for you as an author?

Well, right now I’m writing the second in my Medieval Warriors series, Rogue Knight. Then I have book 3 to write, Rebel Warrior. There might be a fourth, but I haven’t decided yet. I still have two books to write in the Agents of the Crown series: Echo in the Wind (Jean Donet’s story) and A Secret Scottish Christmas (the story of the Powell twins and the Scottish lass for whose love they compete). After that, I’m going to Scotland (in my head; I just traveled there last fall) to tell the story of the Donald clan on the Isle of Skye, starting with Somerled. It’s a series I’ve been planning for a very long time, even before I wrote my first Regency.

 

Thanks for joining me on my blog today, Regan! It was a pleasure to meet you.

 

To Tame the Wild Wind

 

  “A sea adventure like no other, a riveting romance!”

–Shirlee Busbee, NY Times Bestselling Author

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Paris 1782…AN INNOCENT IS TAKEN

All Claire Donet knew was the world inside the convent walls in Saint-Denis. She had no idea her beloved papa was a pirate. But when he seized Simon Powell’s schooner, the English privateer decided to take the one thing his enemy held most dear… her.

A BATTLE IS JOINED The waters between France and England roil with the clashes of Claire’s father and her captor as the last year of the American Revolution rages on the sea, spies lurk in Paris and Claire’s passion for the English captain rises.

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Featured Book Friday – Virtue’s Lady by Jessica Cale

Today, I’m pleased to feature author Jessica Cale and her latest release, Virtue’s Lady. Virtue’s Lady is Book 2 of her Southwark Saga series.

Isn’t this cover simply gorgeous?! I’ve read this book. In fact, I couldn’t put it down from the moment I ‘cracked the cover’ (of course, I read it on my kindle app, but you know…).

Not even to get some much needed sleep.

Mark Virtue? Yes. Ready for Book 3? Yes. Yes. Love Jessica’s fascinating posts on her website about Restoration England? Yes. Yes. Yes.

Read on for more about Virtue’s Lady:

Virtue’s Lady (The Southwark Saga, Book 2)virtueslady

Author: Jessica Cale
Genre: Historical Romance (Restoration London)
Release Date: April 13, 2015
Publisher: Liquid Silver Books

From toiling for pennies to bare-knuckle boxing, a lady is prepared for every eventuality.

Blurb:
Lady Jane Ramsey is young, beautiful, and ruined.

After being rescued from her kidnapping by a handsome highwayman, she returns home only to find her marriage prospects drastically reduced. Her father expects her to marry the repulsive Lord Lewes, but Jane has other plans. All she can think about is her highwayman, and she is determined to find him again.

Mark Virtue is trying to go straight. After years of robbing coaches and surviving on his wits, he knows it’s time to hang up his pistol and become the carpenter he was trained to be. He busies himself with finding work for his neighbors and improving his corner of Southwark as he tries to forget the girl who haunts his dreams. As a carpenter struggling to stay in work in the aftermath of The Fire, he knows Jane is unfathomably far beyond his reach, and there’s no use wishing for the impossible.

When Jane turns up in Southwark, Mark is furious. She has no way of understanding just how much danger she has put them in by running away. In spite of his growing feelings for her, he knows that Southwark is no place for a lady. Jane must set aside her lessons to learn a new set of rules if she is to make a life for herself in the crime-ridden slum. She will fight for her freedom and her life if that’s what it takes to prove to Mark—and to herself—that there’s more to her than meets the eye.

Excerpt:
She hung up the dress, admiring her handiwork. It was not something she would willingly wear, but she hoped the lady would be pleased with the final result. She heard the front door behind her as she bent to pluck a stray thread from the skirt. “We’ve shut for the day,” she called over her shoulder.

When she heard no response, she turned.

Mark Virtue stood behind the counter, his hand still on the doorknob. His long brown coat hung open over his dusty work clothes, the undyed linen of his shirt straining across his broad chest. That chest, a warm expanse of smooth skin over hard, sculpted muscle, was a work of art. Though she had willed herself to forget him, her hands remembered.

Her lips remembered, too.

She licked them with the tip of her tongue, her mouth gone quite dry.

“I didn’t believe it,” he said, his gaze moving from her shapeless leather shoes to her dirty, gloveless hands. Jane looked down, suddenly aware of her shabby work dress. Compared to the other gowns he had seen her in, it was little more than a rag, really. She had braided her hair over her shoulder to keep it out of her stitching and now she wondered what she must look like to him. She touched the end of her braid self-consciously, a touch of embarrassment coloring her cheeks.

She cursed herself for her embarrassment. She had as much right to be here as anyone, and she was done apologizing to Mark Virtue. She straightened her spine and looked him square in his devastatingly blue eyes.

Her knees may have trembled a bit. She did a good job of hiding it. “Well?”

Mark stepped toward the counter. “I sent you back to your father not a fortnight past.”

She shrugged, borrowing the gesture from Carys. “I didn’t go.”

“I see that.”

He paced around the side of the counter while maintaining what little distance he could in the close quarters of the shop.

Jane stepped back, hiding the toes of her soft leather shoes under the hem of her dress. Her slippers may have been stolen, but she still had her silk stockings. She wore them even now, not that he needed to know that.

He had rather liked them, if she remembered correctly.

She swallowed. “What do you want?”

He raised his eyebrows in surprise. “I’ve come to see the new shop girl everyone’s talking about. You look the part, I’ll give you that. Perhaps a touch more dirt, just here…” He brushed her skirt.

Jane crossed her arms over her chest. “Is that what you think this is? You think I’m pretending?”

“Rather unconvincingly, I’m afraid. All the shapeless dresses in the world couldn’t disguise the fact that you’re a lady. Lowering yourself to wield a needle doesn’t make you one of us.”

Jane clenched her jaw. “I’ve as much right to be here as you do.”

“You have no right,” he insisted. “You can’t play at being poor. This is life to these people. This is my life. You think I ought to stand by while you make a mockery of it by working in a place like this when you can leave anytime you please?”

“I’m not going anywhere,” she nearly shouted. “I told you, Mark, I gave it up. Believe it folly if you will, but it changes nothing. I am never going back.”

Mark looked away. “Give it a fortnight.”

“I beg your pardon?”

“Give it a fortnight,” he repeated. “Work, and struggle, and starve with the rest of us if that is what you think you want. You weren’t made for this world any more than I was made for yours. Sooner or later, you’ll be desperate to go home.”

“I am home,” Jane said through her teeth. “I’m staying here.”

“How long do you suppose you can last alone in a bastard sanctuary with no money and no protection? How do you expect to live?”

“I have a job, in case you were not aware.” She threw out her arms to indicate the shop. “I work day and night, and I have a little apartment with a door that locks. I’ll make do.”

He tilted his head, looking at her curiously. “In two weeks on your own? Maybe you’ve got a protector after all.”

Jane might have been naïve, but she knew exactly what he was implying, and she didn’t like it. She felt the anger rush to her face, unbidden and terrifying in its intensity. She took a deep breath. “Get out.”

“Jane, be reasonable.”

Her face burned. “You’d like me to stand here while you question my virtue? You of all people? You had no trouble dispensing with it when you thought me an actress!”

Mark gave a long sigh. “For that I apologize. I was a fool. I never should have

thought that someone like you…” He motioned toward her helplessly.

“Someone like me? Who might that be? Am I a lady? Am I a seamstress? Am I a whore? You don’t seem to like me as any of these things, so why don’t you tell me, Mark, who I ought to be. What kind of a woman am I?”

He took her wrists in his hands and held them to his chest, the irritation in his face replaced by something that looked a bit like shame. “That’s not what I meant.” He lowered his voice, his face close enough that she could smell the tobacco in his clothes. “Do as you please. It makes no difference to me.”

Jane’s fingers spanned his chest of their own accord, responding to his warmth. “It doesn’t?”

He shook his head, his eyes settling on her lips. “I don’t want you to get hurt,” he confessed.

She resisted the urge to lean into him with some difficulty. “I’ve done fine this far.”

“Have you?” He took her hand, turning her palm upwards to examine the damage: pinpricks, swollen fingertips, the ghosts of calluses forming where she grasped the shears.

She tugged her hand away from him but he didn’t let go. He held her gaze, his eyes searching hers, and she was struck again by their extraordinary color. Deep blue, green, and grey, shifted across his irises in restless, churning waves, the color of a storm on the river. They darkened as he raised her hand to his mouth and kissed the palm, the touch of his lips like a balm on her sore skin.

Jane held her breath, waiting to drown.

He smiled his crooked smile, a touch of condescension in the corners. “If all you wanted was another night, you didn’t have to go to such trouble.”

***

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/25238694-virtue-s-lady

Buy it here:

LSBooksamazonkobobarnes and nobleiBooks

Author Bio:
Jessica Cale is a historical romance author and journalist based in North Carolina. Originally from Minnesota, she lived in Wales for several years where she earned a BA in History and an MFA in Creative Writing while climbing castles and photographing mines for history magazines. She kidnapped (“married”) her very own British prince (close enough) and is enjoying her happily ever after with him in a place where no one understands his accent. You can visit her at www.authorjessicacale.com.

Author Links:
Website: http://www.authorjessicacale.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/authorjessicacale
Twitter: @JessicaCale
Google+:  https://plus.google.com/u/0/+JessicaCaleWrites
Tumblr: http://authorjessicacale.tumblr.com/
Pintrest: http://www.pinterest.com/rainbowcarnage
Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Jessica-Cale/e/B00PVDV9EW/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0
Goodreads Author Page: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/9819997.Jessica_Cale

Featured Book Friday: Tyburn by Jessica Cale

Today, I’m pleased to feature author Jessica Cale and her debut novel, Tyburn.

Tyburn (The Southwark Saga, Book 1)HRtyburn

Author: Jessica Cale
Genre: Historical Romance (Restoration London)
Length: 95,000 words
Rating: R
Release Date: December 8th, 2014
Publisher: Liquid Silver Books

Blurb:
Sally Green is about to die.

She sees Death in the streets. She can taste it in her gin. She can feel it in the very walls of the ramshackle brothel where she is kept to satisfy the perversions of the wealthy. She had come to London as a runaway in search of her Cavalier father. Instead, she found Wrath, a sadistic nobleman determined to use her to fulfill a sinister ambition. As the last of her friends are murdered one by one, survival hinges on escape.

Nick Virtue is a tutor with a secret. By night he operates as a highwayman, relieving nobles of their riches to further his brother’s criminal enterprise. It’s a difficult balance at the best of times, and any day that doesn’t end in a noose is a good one. Saving Sally means risking his reputation, and may end up costing him his life.

As a brutal attack throws them together, Sally finds she has been given a second chance. She is torn between the tutor and the highwayman, but she knows she can have neither. Love is an unwanted complication while Wrath haunts the streets. Nick holds the key to Wrath’s identity, and Sally will risk everything to bring him to justice.

Unless the gallows take her first.

Excerpt:
Darkness had fully settled over the forest and he was in no danger of being seen as they headed for the city. There were no new street lamps so far out of town, and as often as she glanced at his face, all she could see was the outline of his profile by the light of the moon. He moved soundlessly through the night as criminals must, the warmth of his hand in hers the only reassurance she had that he was still beside her.

They reached the edge of Hyde Park and Sally felt Tyburn looming near before she saw it, the residual tragedy of the gallows rippling along the field in a mournful, near perceptible howl. Because she could not look away, she turned toward the evil and saw the fearful silhouette of the triple tree dark against the violet sky.

This is your future, they seemed to whisper.

In her heart, she answered, I know.

She heard the brutal crack of Claude’s strong, young neck reverberate through the darkest corners of her memory, felt his cold lips against hers once more in a terrible promise, and in

her bones she felt the stillness of one who is certain they are about to die. She was immediately aware of the unique texture of every breath she drew, the sweet sigh of the breeze whispering through her hair, and the dirt, the calluses, the very fingerprints of the hand in hers.

So little of Sally’s life had been left up to her.

She might have days, hours, mere moments left, but she would be damned if she wasted them.

***

Buy it here:

LSBooksamazonkobobarnes and nobleiBooks

Author Bio:
Jessica Cale is a historical romance author and journalist based in North Carolina. Originally from Minnesota, she lived in Wales for several years where she earned a BA in History and an MFA in Creative Writing while climbing castles and photographing mines for history magazines. She kidnapped (“married”) her very own British prince (close enough) and is enjoying her happily ever after with him in a place where no one understands his accent. You can visit her at www.authorjessicacale.com.

Author Links:
Website: http://www.authorjessicacale.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/authorjessicacale
Twitter: @JessicaCale
Google+:  https://plus.google.com/u/0/+JessicaCaleWrites
Tumblr: http://authorjessicacale.tumblr.com/
Pintrest: http://www.pinterest.com/rainbowcarnage
Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Jessica-Cale/e/B00PVDV9EW/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0
Goodreads Author Page: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/9819997.Jessica_Cale