Welcome, Silver Dagger Tours and Linda Griffin!
In 1963, Neil Vincent, a middle-aged World War II veteran and "Christian atheist," is working at Westfield Court as a chauffeur. He spends most of his spare time reading.
Mary Claire DeWinter is a young, blind, Catholic college student and reluctant heiress. To secure her inheritance, she has to marry within a year, and her aunt is pressuring her to marry a rich man who teased and bullied her when she was a child.
Neil and Mary Claire shouldn't even be friends, but the gulf between them is bridged by a shared love of books. Can they cross the bridge to more?
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I was born and raised in San Diego, California and earned a BA in English from San Diego State University and an MLS from UCLA. I began my career as a reference and collection development librarian in the Art and Music Section of the San Diego Public Library and then transferred to the Literature and Languages Section, where I had the pleasure of managing the Central Library’s Fiction collection and initiating fiction order lists for the entire library system. Although I also enjoy reading biography, memoir, and history, fiction remains my first love. In addition to the three R’s—reading, writing, and research—I enjoy Scrabble, movies, and travel.
My earliest ambition was to be a “book maker” and I wrote my first story, “Judy and the Fairies,” with a plot stolen from a comic book, at the age of six. I broke into print in college with a story in the San Diego State University literary journal, The Phoenix, but most of my magazine publications came after I left the library to spend more time on my writing.
My stories have been published in numerous journals, including Eclectica, Thema Literary Journal, The Binnacle, The Nassau Review, Orbis, and The Avalon Literary Review, and in the anthologies Short Story America, Vol. 2, The Captive and the Dead, and Australia Burns. Four stories, including one as yet unpublished, received honorable mention in the Short Story America Prize for Short Fiction contests. A sweet romance, Bridges (2022), and four romantic suspense novels, Love, Death, and the Art of Cooking (2021), Guilty Knowledge (2020), The Rebound Effect (2019) and Seventeen Days (2018) are available for order from the Wild Rose Press.
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On the drive to Brierly Station, he didn’t speculate about who Miss DeWinter might be. It wasn’t his job to know who she was, only to meet her train and take her safely back to Westfield Court. She wouldn’t be the last of the friends and relatives who would gather as the old man’s life came to its long-awaited and peaceful end.
Brierly was bustling today, as restless as the St. James household. He was in plenty of time for the train and sat in the car reading. The car was a Bentley Mark VI, as well-maintained and highly polished as it was the day it was purchased. The book he was reading was Thomas Hardy’s The Return of the Native.
When the train rumbled in, he got out of the car. He stood patiently on the platform as the passengers disembarked, holding up a small slate on which he had chalked DEWINTER in large capitals. There weren’t many passengers, but they were briefly delayed while the conductor helped a blind woman navigate the steps. Neil’s gaze fell expectantly on a woman in her thirties, with an awful hat, but she was immediately met by a portly man and a teenage boy. No other likely prospects appeared, and he waited for someone to respond to the sign. No one did.
Finally, only two passengers were left on the platform—a small, homely man and the blind woman. Blind girl, really. She couldn’t be more than twenty. She had a jointed white cane, and her large sunglasses didn’t cover the edges of the scars on her face. She would not have been beautiful even without the scars—too thin, for starters, of average height but with small bones. On the other hand, her face might once have been pretty, and her hair was clean and shining, raven black, and well brushed. She was too pale, and the scars around her eyes were red and ugly. She looked a little lost.
Feeling foolish, he lowered the slate. “Miss DeWinter?” he asked as he approached her.
“Yes,” she said, turning toward his voice with a smile.
“I’m Vincent,” he said. “The St. James chauffeur.”
“Pleased to meet you, Mr. Vincent,” she said. “Thank you for meeting me.” Her voice was soft, her enunciation perfect.
The porter fetched her luggage—a single gray vinyl suitcase with a flower decal—from the depot and turned it over to Neil with a cheerful nod. Jane would be disappointed, especially if the girl’s other clothes were as plain as what she wore, a simple dark dress with long sleeves and an unfashionable, below-the-knees hemline.
Would you take my arm?” he asked, positioning himself so she could place her hand in the crook of his elbow, which she did with easy confidence.
“Do you have a Christian name?” she asked.
“Yes, miss. It’s Neil.”
“That’s a good name,” she said. “Mine is Mary Claire. How is my grandfather, do you know?”
Neil, who hadn’t known the old man had any grandchildren, said, “Hanging on, miss.”
He opened the car door and helped her into the back seat.
“You don’t have to call me ‘miss’ all the time,” she said. “Please call me Mary Claire. Or my friends at school call me Sunny.”
“Yes, miss,” he said automatically and closed the door.
This is a beautiful story. The author writes with quiet eloquence. The story flows seamlessly from beginning to end, gentle and compelling.
The characters would hardly seem the stuff great love stories are made of, but that is precisely the reason this is such an exquisite romance. Mary Claire, a young heiress, is inexperienced, blind, and pitiable in appearance. Even her scars can't be hidden. They're on her face. Neil is twenty years her senior, experienced, traumatized by his experiences in WWII, and a chauffeur. He's an avowed atheist. She's a devout Catholic.
And there is so much more to them both.
It's one of the guiding principles of my life. There is always more to a person beneath the surface.
It's a short book, a novella, and yet a great deal happens. Neil and Mary Claire are both good people as well as interesting ones. Their conversations are never heavy, frivolous, or long. But they are profound. It doesn't take a lot of words to make a point. It just takes the right words, spoken in the right way.
The same applies to their relationship and how it changes. Without a lot of protestations or physical contact, the attachment between Mary Claire and Neil grows strong and undeniable. You can feel the intense emotion and love between them.
I love this book and its main characters. You will, too.
Thank you, Linda Griffin, for this beautiful and poignant romance.
Follow the tour HERE for special content and a giveaway!
The Summer Solstice is upon us! The longest day of the year begins tomorrow, June 21, at 5:14 a.m. Then, in almost infinitesimal increments, nights will begin to lengthen as the summertime moves toward autumn.
In the Middle Ages, long before climate control and GMOs, the summer solstice, often referred to as Midsummer, marked the halfway point to harvest time. Lachlann, our hero in Tremors Through Time, would have cared about that in his medieval days. But I don't believe he would have been terribly concerned about what year it was. He was too busy living his life to count the years. And then time does a trick on him...
How important is time and the counting of it? Except for documentation, does what year it is really matter? I suppose it would depend upon whom you ask.
Julius Caesar...some ego, right? He would decide that time should be considered to have begun at the beginning of his reign. Henceforth, at least to the Romans (whose dominion was far and wide), the counting of years was based on the consulship. For example, "this is the second year of so and so's rule". It didn't take long for it to become obvious that that method wouldn't work forever. The Julian calendar had other problems, too -- major issues with leap years and the Easter tables. That last thing, the Easter tables, was a subject worthy of an 800-page volume of work, amongst many other documents. My simple summary is "how to set the date for Easter".
It took an early medieval man to get things under control. The dating of Easter was a serious concern and cause of contention for the Church. Pope John I requested a monk to look into the matter, but not just any monk. Dionysis Exiguus (Latin - Dionysis the Humble) was highly respected for his brilliant scholarship. He set about righting the Easter tables. He also invented a system -- the system -- of numbering years from the Incarnation of Christ. At the time, from all his gathered resources, he calculated that 525 years had passed. He referred to the system as Anno Domini, the Year of the Lord. In other words, he approximated that it was the year 525 A.D. His system was incorporated into the Julian calendar. Nowadays, the more commonly used terms might be CE -- for Common Era -- and BCE -- Before the Common Era -- but the years are still based upon Dionysus Exiguus' calculations.
But the calendar still had problems. By the 1500s (over a thousand years later), it was so misaligned with the solar calendar that the (northern) spring equinox was occurring long before its expected date in March, which again threw off Easter dates. It took another medieval man -- actually more than one -- in the High Middle Ages to right the fiasco. Pope Gregory XIII wanted the Easter issue resolved. Aloysius Lilius, an Italian astronomer, and Christopher Clavius, a German mathematician, were the primary architects of what came to be known as the Gregorian calendar. The auspicious day of the new calendar was October 15, 1582.
One of the first printed editions of the new calendar, printed in Rome by Vincenzo Accolti in 1582.
The Gregorian calendar isn't universally accepted, although most countries have adopted it as at least their civil calendar. It's also not perfect. But it's been working well enough for over four hundred years thanks to some prolonged medieval finessing.
For more medieval fun, be sure to visit the blogs of these marvelous medieval ladies,
Mary Morgan and Barbara Bettis.
Happy Medieval Monday! Happy Summer Solstice!
Dionysis Exiguus (c. 470-c. 544) Pope Gregory XIII (1502-1585)
Dimitris Kamaris Archiginnasio, Bologna (26408793660).jpg via WikiCommons
Happy Medieval Monday! Today, I am considering those institutions of higher learning known as universities. I have been amazed at how long some have been established. There are older university sites than the ones I am featuring. Al-Karaoine in Morocco and Al-Ahzar in Egypt are good examples. But while they have been universities for a very long time, they did not begin as such. For my purpose, I've chosen a not uncommon set of criteria -- that they have been continually in operation since inception and that they began as universities.
Some of the universities were cathedral schools before they became universities -- all still way back when, others were royal charters, while even others were begun as student guilds. They were all established in the medieval era.
The oldest is the University of Bologna, founded in 1088 by a guild of students. It's Latin name Alma Mater Studiorum means "Nourishing Mother of Studies". The students called it a "universitatis", first to do so, giving it a term from Roman law to designate a legal body.
Oxford is the second oldest. According to the university, classes were taught as early as 1096. It was organized as a university between 1201 to 1214 and granted a royal charter in 1244. Its history is closely related to that of Cambridge University, which is third on the list.
The University of Salamanca in Spain is fourth, founded in 1218.
File:Old Library in University of Salamanca 01.jpg" by Antoine Taveneaux is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0.
There are many Italian universities that were founded during the medieval era. One of the older, non-Italian ones is the University of Coimbra in Portugal, It moved back and forth between Lisbon and Coimbra for a while, but was established in 1290.
There are a few more I'd like to mention. Frankly, there are enough beautiful universities with long and fascinating histories to occupy countless blogposts.
The Sorbonne was officially chartered in 1200 by Philip II and recognized fifteen years later by Pope Innocent III. It did not operate continually from its beginnings, however. The French Revolution sort of put it on hold. Thankfully, it returned.
We cannot forget Trinity College in Dublin, home of the Book of Kells.
"Dublin IR - The Long Room Of The Old Library At Trinity College 03" by Daniel Mennerich is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0
Scotland boasts some of the oldest universities in the English-speaking world. The earliest is the University of Saint Andrews (1410-1413), followed by the University of Glasgow (1451), and the University of Aberdeen (1495), and the University of Edinburgh (1582).
From left to right:
"University of St Andrews 4" by Son of Groucho is licensed under CC BY 2.0, "University of Glasgow architecture" by Jim_Nix is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0, "University of Aberdeen" by readephotography is licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0, "File:Old College, University of Edinburgh (24923171570).jpg" by LWYang from USA is licensed under CC BY 2.0.
An astounding number of universities were established in medieval times that are still in existence and active. I find it uplifting to know that there have always been students who wanted to learn and teachers who wanted to teach. I believe it is a beautiful statement about humanity.
In my time travel romance Tremors Through Time, Lachlann did not have the opportunity to attend a university. There were no universities open to him in the fourteenth century Scottish Highlands. However, he could have learned to read; he had a friend willing to teach him. He was too busy farming to consider it. Once he's stuck in this century, he wishes he'd taken the time to learn.
For more Medieval Monday, be sure to stop by these beautiful blogs:
Mary Morgan - Medieval Monday | A Love Affair with Medieval Romance (marymorganauthor.com)
Barbara Bettis - Blog - Barbara Bettis - Historical Romance Author
May we all continue to enjoy learning!
Coming July 6! Available for Pre-order.
Welcome, Silver Dagger Tours and Author Barbara Monajem!
The death of her cruel husband means freedom at last for Lucretia Tifton—until she learns that the guardian he chose for her longed-for baby is the latest in a line of earls known for separating their children from unfaithful wives. The elusive new earl is certain to hear the gossip about Lucretia. Will he believe it and prove to be as heartless as his ancestors?
Giles, the Earl of Netherbroke, wants nothing more than to work in his London shop, building furniture with beautiful marquetry finishes. If unexpectedly inheriting the earldom isn’t bad enough, now he’s saddled with an unwanted guardianship. What’s worse, the baby’s mother is the loveliest woman he’s ever seen.
Giles is almost certain Lucretia is an adulteress—and the more he learns about her, the more he understands why she might have betrayed her husband. Nevertheless, he is determined not to succumb, like his ancestors, to the Infidelity Curse.
But then Lucretia is suddenly in danger, and the only way to protect her is to make her his.
Setup: The broadsheets have published scandalous lies about both Giles and Lucretia. When a horde of newsmen hover outside Lucretia’s house, looking for more scandal, Lucretia tries to protect Giles’ reputation, while he at the same time tries to protect hers...
Lucretia was too angry to cringe, or to care that a footman hovered and a maidservant was curtseying on her way to the stairs. “You are not to sacrifice your reputation for me!”
Giles said through his teeth, “Might we continue this discussion somewhere more private?”
Lucretia put her nose in the air and preceded him to the drawing room. The short walk down the corridor, with his menacing step behind her, sapped her courage. He shut the door and faced her.
She had to explain quickly, before she lost heart. Her voice shook. “I merely wished to show that I am not a temptress, merely a widow in mourning, and that you are merely the guardian of my child.”
He glared. “With your hair uncovered, a rose in your bosom, and that alluring smile?” She quaked at the fury in his eyes. Before she could muster a retort, he snapped, “They will tear your character to shreds.”
Tears stung her eyes and she turned away. A wave of mortification swept through her, suffocating her anger, replacing it with shame, and the fear that always hovered, that he would do his worst.
No. Her voice still trembled, but at least she could still speak her mind. “Oh, so it is perfectly fine for you to protect my reputation, but I may not do the same for you?”
“Certainly not.” If he had not been so angry, Giles would have laughed at such an absurdity. “My dear Lady Tifton, I would be dastardly indeed to let you do such a thing.”
“You are being portrayed in the broadsheets as a seducer.” She dashed a tear away. “It’s preposterous!”
Through the gradual draining of his anger seeped a whisper of chagrin. He wished she weren’t so fervent about his inability to seduce. “Yes, but scandal helps the broadsheets sell a great many copies. And while I appreciate your confidence in my integrity—”
“Oh, for heaven’s sake.” She no longer seemed cowed, thank God. “You did a great deal to prejudice me against you. If you wanted to seduce me, you would not have taken such a bacon-brained approach.”
“Hopefully not, but—” He would probably do something equally sloppy and inconsiderate, like sweeping her willy-nilly into his arms and plastering her with kisses. She had regained her shapely figure. The sway of her hips as he followed her into the drawing room had done nothing to help him suppress his suddenly ravenous desire. Deep down, or perhaps not so deep at all, he was indeed the lecher he had just pretended to be.
And she had responded in kind. It terrified him, and it aroused him beyond belief.
Not only that, but she wanted to protect his reputation. His mind still boggled.
He took a breath and composed himself. “Lady Tifton, please try to see things from my point of view. It is a far greater stain on my honor to allow you to make a figure of yourself in my defense, than to suffer the injustice myself.”
“In that case, you fully understand my position. You men think females have no notion of honor.” A tiny spasm crossed her features. “But we do.”
“Of course,” he said gently.
Tears sparkled in those blue eyes, and her lip quivered ever so slightly. If only he could pull her to him, hold her, kiss those tears away.
She fingered the rose at her bosom as if steeling herself to throw it away. “I suppose I must have my clothing repacked, leaving the colors behind and bringing only my blacks,” she said bitterly.
Was that how she saw him? Not only unskilled at seduction, but an ogre to boot. “What you wear is none of my business. I might have advised discretion, but once we leave London, people will lose interest in our affairs.”
He did his best not to leer in earnest. The black mourning gown hugged her curves. The rose emphasized her beautiful breasts. A crimson flounce peeped from beneath her black skirts. He flexed his fingers to dispel the itch to finger that flounce, to ease it up, to explore and caress.
Clearly, he was out of his mind. She was struggling to keep from weeping, for God’s sake, while he was consumed with lust. Ruefully, he said, “In any event, colors become you better.”
She took a black handkerchief bordered with lace from her sleeve and wiped away a tear. “I am so sick of wearing black and grey, and even lavender. I am so sick of—of—”
“Of pretending to mourn?”
Mutely, she nodded.
“With me, you need not pretend about that or anything else,” Giles said.
Barbara Monajem grew up in western Canada. She wrote her first story in third grade about apple tree gnomes. After dabbling in neighborhood musicals and teen melodrama, she published a middle-grade fantasy when her children were young. Now her kids are adults, and she writes historical and paranormal romance and mystery for grownups. She lives in Georgia, USA , with an ever-shifting population of relatives, friends, and mostly feline strays.
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Follow the tour HERE for special content and a giveaway!
Trés Riches Heures du Duc de Berry, c. 1413-1
Welcome back to Medieval Monday! My approach and general feelings about Monday have improved out of all proportion. We have a new approach this time around. I will be sharing the day with two wonderful, beloved authors, Mary Morgan and Barbara Bettis. We will all be posting on medieval topics. You can find their marvelous and very interesting blogposts here:
Medieval Monday | The Vikings and Their Games (marymorganauthor.com)
Blog - Barbara Bettis - Historical Romance Author
I thought to begin with: why medieval? Why the Middle Ages as opposed to, say, Ancient Rome or the Italian Renaissance?
I used to feel, naively, that it was a much more simple time, black and white, with clean, simple living and a reliance on nature and the seasons.
Wrong. Well, at least not entirely correct.
In every age, there are the simple and the complicated, the rulers and the general population, those who party all night and sleep all day as well as those who rise with the sun to work and go to bed early. This is true for pretty much all cultures, places, and times.
But, oh, to me the medieval era has a unique, special beauty. The time frame is roughly from the fifth to the fifteenth century. The art and literature of the period evidence imagination, mystery, and an intense passion for life. Just consider The Canterbury Tales, Le Morte d'Arthur, Summa Theologica, Dante's Inferno, and manuscript illumination such as the Limbourg Brothers Book of Hours (Trés Riches Heures).
Round Table, Winchester Castle
I'll be exploring the literature, art, and lifestyles of this extraordinary, beautiful, tumultuous era. For now, I'll leave you with a scene from Tremors Through Time, my latest romance due to launch this summer, July 06. Mini setup: Deidre is a medieval history professor who does not know that her gorgeous neighbor Lachlann has fallen forward in time from the 1300s.
Until next time! :)
He had speared a tender slice of beef with his fork and took a bite before answering. Rich, well-seasoned, it melted in his mouth. “Mmm.” He closed his eyes briefly, then smiled at her. “Delicious.”
She beamed. “Thank you.” Small red potatoes, thickly sliced carrots, onion chunks, whole cloves of garlic…He ate in blissful silence for a few moments before he realized what he was doing. He looked up to find her watching him with a smile and a twinkle in her blue eyes.
He grinned. “Sorry. This is really good. What were we talking about?”
“I’m glad you like it. I only asked if you like your job.”
“My job.” He shrugged. “I like it well enough, I suppose. As they say, it pays the bills. It’s very different from anything I’ve done before. Do you like yours?”
“I love my job, but I know that I’m one of the lucky ones.”
“Tell me, please, your job title again? Joe kept talking about it the last time he was home.”
Deidre laughed. “He did seem surprisingly interested when we talked about it. I’m Director of Medieval Studies at the University of Houston.”
Medieval studies…Lachlann struggled for words. He knew what “medieval” meant. If he had one question, he had a thousand. Simple ones would have to do for now.
“What do you like about it?”
“There’s so much,” she replied. “The ongoing learning, the students…I love teaching.” “Why did you choose medieval studies?”
Deidre opened her mouth as if to speak, then closed it again. Glancing down at her plate, she pushed around a carrot. “I…I’ve been interested in medieval artwork and history since I was a little girl. It’s always fascinated me.”
“I…” She paused again, her brow knit, her soft lips twisting a little as she searched for words. “Life was so different back then,” she finally said. “People were different, and yet they were still human.”
Lachlann blinked. “Well, of course they were human!”
She put a hand up. “Now, hear me out. For all intents and purposes, they lived in a different world from ours. Almost everything they knew was different from what we know. Agreed?”
“But their humanity was no different from ours. They had the same emotions, the same feelings, the same basic needs.”
“How do you know how they felt?”
“They left us art, music, writing, and so much more.”
“But their languages were different. How did anyone ever learn to read their writings?”
“Languages changed slowly,” she explained, “and one translation led to another.”
“But if a group of people died at once, their language would have died with them. Isn’t that true? So would their history.”
“That would be true in some cases, but not all. Is there a particular language or culture you have in mind?”
Lachlann hesitated, sorting his thoughts, still trying to get past her “yet they were human” remark. What had happened to his own language? Should he mention it? Could it hurt?
Welcome, Pamela Gibson and Silver Dagger Tours!
The Scandal Series Book 5
by Pamela Gibson
Genre: Historical Regency Romance
Lady Jocelyn Stafford desperately needs a husband to repair her tarnished reputation. Her obvious choice is her neighbor James, a man who once fancied her. If only she hadn’t cruelly rejected his attentions when she found herself wooed by a scandalous rake with a better title.
James Margrave, Earl of Seaton, must have an heir to keep his estate from falling into the hands of his cousin, which means he has to marry. Lady Jocelyn, who still beguiles him, would be perfect if only he could forget old slights. Instead, James asks Jocelyn to help him find a suitable wife, a task she agrees to perform, hoping to redeem herself in his eyes.
When a series of attacks put James’s life in danger, an immediate marriage becomes critical. Jocelyn is willing and available. But can he trust a woman who once broke his heart and is it fair to wed her when she might become the next victim?
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“Do you still play the harp? As I recall, you were fond of the instrument.”
Her face lit up with true animation. “I do, and I brought it with me. Would you like to accompany
me to the music room for a demonstration? You can tell me if I have improved.”
“I would be honored to give you my opinion.” He swallowed the last of his tea and followed Jocelyn into an adjoining chamber. Roberts did not move from her place in the corner.
Jocelyn seated herself behind the instrument, patting the chair beside her. He repositioned the chair slightly so he could watch her fingers pluck the strings and, at the same time, view the expression on her face as she played. When the dulcet tones of Mozart filled the room, Jocelyn closed her eyes and seemed to be letting the music carry her into another time and place where gentle sounds and subtle movements reached the soul.
She had improved, indeed. Beguiled by the melodious tones, he couldn’t keep his eyes off the subtle movements of her shoulders, the way she stroked the strings of the harp with knowing fingers, and the dreamy expression on her face, as if she were one with the music. Her breasts seem to spill over the top of her gown as she leaned forward to reach the farthest strings, and he was mesmerized by the candlelight, the music, and the subtle scent of the flowers on a table behind him.
When she finished, she stopped, opened her eyes, and stared into his as if willing him to move, to put his hands on her and bring her close. He complied, as if drawn by a song that was only in his head, one of yearning and need for human connection. He leaned in, took her face between his palms, and kissed her deeply, running his tongue along the seam of her lips until she opened for him. It was a kiss he’d only dreamed about, her subtle perfume teasing his nose as he left her lips and dropped kisses along her cheek and her neck. Spurred by her soft sounds of encouragement, he kissed her bare shoulder and the tops of her breasts and drew her up as he stood so he could wrap his arms around her.
Her mother wants her to seduce you.
The memory brought him back to his senses, and instead of covering that luscious mouth with his own once again, he placed a chaste kiss on her forehead and dropped his hands.
He swallowed hard. His body was not reacting as a gentleman’s should. He wanted to feel her soft breasts against his chest and kiss her like she’d never been kissed before. He wanted to run his tongue along the lobe of her ear and drop gentle kisses down her neck and along her collarbone. He wanted to move lower and place kisses in the center of her cleavage. He wanted his hands on her. God, he wanted her. Desperately.
I have to leave. Now.
“Forgive me, my dear. I’m afraid your divine music made me lose control.”
She stared at him, her lips parted, her breathing rapid. She clenched her hands and held his gaze, as if forcing herself to remain still.
“Your music was mesmerizing, Jocelyn. I mean that sincerely. I look forward to future musicales where you are the featured artist.” He reached out and took her stiff fingers in his hand, bringing them to his lips. He turned his back so she couldn’t see how aroused he was, then strode into the sitting room, nodded at Roberts, and asked her to tell the butler he was ready to depart.
Jocelyn had followed him into the room and had a crimson flush on her cheeks. Hopefully Roberts wouldn’t notice, but if she’d done a proper job of chaperoning—well, he wouldn’t think about that now.
“I am so glad you found time to dine with us.” If Joss had been affected by their encounter, she gave no hint. The perfect hostess was his Joss. No, not his Joss. He must keep reminding himself. She had dismissed him—cruelly. He was going to marry someone else.
“As I said, invite me any time. I adore your cook. I may try to steal her.”
“You cannot do that, milord. My mother pays her well.”
“Your mother does have a way with getting what she wants, does she not?” He hoped his tone did not sound disingenuous.
The butler arrived with James’s outerwear and led him to the door where his carriage awaited. Jocelyn followed. “Please send a note around when Lady Longley returns.”
“I shall.” He turned, bowed, and kissed her hand as a proper gentleman should. Entering his carriage, he turned and waved then headed home.
Lord, how was he going to get through this farce? His feelings for Jocelyn seemed to grow each time he saw her. Perhaps proximity generated lust.
It is more than lust, and you know it.
Slaking his needs might help him forget that he’d once wanted Jocelyn Stafford more than anything in the world and was cruelly denied.
He could visit a brothel.
He needed to forget Jocelyn, forget someone was trying to kill him, and forget the fact that he was about to saddle himself to someone he didn’t love.
But could he?
**Don't miss the rest of the series here!**
The Scandal Series Book 1
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(recently just got it's 1000th review on Goodreads!)
The Scandal Series Book 2
**Get it FREE May 19-21!**
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The Scandal Series Book 3
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The Scandal Series Book 4
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Author of eight books on California history and eighteen romance novels, Pamela Gibson is a former City Manager who lives in the Nevada desert. Having spent the last few years messing about in boats, a hobby that included a five-thousand-mile trip in a 32-foot Nordic Tug, she now spends most of her time indoors happily reading, writing, cooking and keeping up with the antics of Ralph, the Rescue Cat. She loves dry red wine, all kinds of chocolate, old Jimmy Buffet sailing songs, and curling up with a good book.
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Follow the tour HERE for special content and a giveaway!
Eight years ago her husband disappeared. Does a hundred and fifty-year-old journal hold the answer as to why?
Janie Holcomb prays for closure once the courts declare her missing husband dead. Instead, she's sent spiraling down a dangerous path.
When her lawyer delivers a package held in trust, she finds a cryptic warning along with a Civil War journal promising buried treasure. While seeking a connection between her spouse and the decades-old diary, Janie attracts the spirit of a Confederate soldier pleading for help.
Enlisting her brother's assistance to chase down clues, they discover that not everyone they know should be trusted. Janie overlooks potential threats when the promise of new love stirs her emotions. Will her digging uncover the answers she craves or doom her to a similar fate?
Sneak Peek from Precious Treasure:
Janie dragged herself out of bed and into the bathroom. Turning on the tap to fill the sink, she bent over and splashed cold water on her face. The refreshing drops rolled down her forehead, cheeks and chin, pulling her out of her funk. Sightless, Janie reached for the hand towel hanging nearby and dried her face as she stood upright. Opening her eyes, she leaned in to examine the damage of the late night on her complexion. Her reflection looked back, as well as that of a young man standing behind her. Janie’s heart leapt to her throat as she whipped around and found no one there. Looking back in the mirror, she saw only herself.
This is too much, she thought. First nightmares and now hallucinations. Janie shook her head. With the assault of information thrown at her in the last twenty-four hours, her imagination cartwheeled out of control.
Knowing the visions were a result of the wine, newspaper articles and journal, didn’t calm the raised hackles on the back of her neck. The foreboding in Brian’s letter snaked its way up her spine threatening to encircle her throat and squeeze tight. His writing had a tone of uncertainty and fear—uncharacteristic of the man she had married.
Meet the Author
Terry Segan resides in Nevada. The beach is her happy place, but any opportunity to travel soothes her gypsy soul. The stories conjured by her imagination while riding backseat on her husband’s motorcycle can be found throughout the pages of her paranormal mysteries.
Her first book, Photographs in Time, involves a pair of matchmakers, who send women back in time to meet their soulmate. The pair are plagued by a nemesis with deadly intentions of ruining the happily-ever-after ending of their clients, as well as their own.
Terry’s second mystery, Precious Treasure, was released earlier this year. The book depicts the plight of a woman in search of her missing husband while also dealing with the spirit of a Civil War soldier. She must figure out the connection between the two or forever live with the mystery.
Welcome, Silver Dagger Tours and Author Gina Conkle! I highly -- HIGHLY -- recommend reading the excerpt!
A Scot Is Not Enough
Scottish Treasures Book 2
by Gina Conkle
Genre: Historical Scottish Romance
Gina Conkle’s newest stunning romance in her Scottish Treasures series features a fierce Scotswoman eager to break the rules and the man who vows to stop her.
A Gentleman of Virtue
Decent and ambitious, Alexander Sloane is finally a finger’s breadth from achieving the government post he’s worked towards for years. A minor task monitoring Bow Street funds for the Crown is his final hurdle. But he discovers more than he bargains for when his assignment leads him to the most captivating woman in London.
A Woman of Questionable Repute
Cecelia MacDonald has one mission: find and steal the sgian duhb, the ceremonial dagger taken from her clan by British soldiers during the Uprising of 1745. The coy and clever Scotswoman has never had any trouble using men to do her bidding and she’s enjoying the cat and mouse game she’s playing with the delectable Alexander. But when a mutual enemy proves deadly, she must rely on him for more than flirtation to gain the dagger.
An Explosive Partnership
As Alexander and Cecilia become unlikely allies, their desire for each other overwhelms them. When shocking secrets come to light, will Alexander realize loving the wrong woman is the right thing to do?
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Gina's fate was sealed when her mom read aloud the poem, The Highwayman—the perfect historical romance hook. But, Gina grew up in California where no dukes or Vikings live. She always did prefer stone castles over sand castles and books over beaches.
Years ago, she fell in love with her favorite hero, Brian, and they eloped to Vegas at midnight. Together, they raised two sons who like history almost as much as their mom.
Nowadays, Gina pens sparkling Georgian romance with a dash of Scots or Viking romance with heat and adventure. When she's not writing, you can find her wandering a museum or with her nose in a book.
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A SCOT IS NOT ENOUGH by Gina Conkle
Her hems covered his shoes. Heat bounced between them. His, hers. Emotions boiling. Miss MacDonald looked as if she’d come fresh from a tussle, cosmetics smudging smoky lines around her eyes, and her lips faded carmine. A proud, glorious, passionate mess. A woman who didn’t like needing a man.
Her brows pinched, the fight fading from her eyes. “I . . .”
He waited, but whatever needed out wouldn’t come easily.
“Let me refresh your memory. You said, ‘Come with me, please.’ I detected a note of desperation in your voice. A woman who didn’t want to be alone.” A pause and, “Or are you about to tell me how mistaken I am?”
Composure rippled through her. She stood tall yet older as if the day had aged her.
“You’re right. I don’t want to be alone.”
Her voice was loneliness and a whiff of despair, the sound reaching into his heart.
Honest hazel eyes met his. “When I’m with you, I feel . . . safe.”
“Miss MacDonald, you’re not alone. With me, you never have to be.”
Her eyelids quivered shut as if he’d delivered a healing elixir and she the dying woman who needed it. Blue shimmered seductively on her shoulder. A gap showed between skin and silk, a fragile shadow. An opening. He touched it and won her sharp inhale. Miss MacDonald trembled when he slid the fabric off her shoulder. The hat she held slipped to the floor.
His gaze dipped, fascinated by two hard nubs straining against silk.
He dragged both sleeves down her arms. This was heady, the sight of her skin intoxicating. Miss MacDonald wavered, a flush spreading up her chest and neck. She gripped his waistcoat, twisting the cloth in both hands.
Mere inches separated them when she said a resentful, “I don’t want to want you like this.”
He crushed her sleeves in both hands.
“You mean the unceasing need to breathe the same air as mine, to hear my voice as I crave yours, the anticipation, hanging on what you might say or do next because you are the most irritatingly captivating creature.” He exhaled long, his breath stirring her hair. “That kind of not wanting to want someone?”
Her lust-black gaze enthralled him.
“Now you know how badly I want you.” His voice was hoarse, primitive.
Her mouth was inches under his. “Why?”
Desire unspooled, maddening carnal layers of it. He slid both hands into her hair. Bright red earbobs slanted on his wrists and hairpins clattered to the floor. His fevered hands roamed over her neck, her shoulders, and her hair.
Her grip on his waistcoat was unyielding.
“Why, Mr. Sloane? Why me?”
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You know how favorite books soothe, relax. It's been a while since I read Lisa Kleypas' Wallflower series. Busy and a bit stressed out this month of April, I decided to listen to one. Re-enthralled, I listened to another. Then I had to listen to the whole series.
I looove these books. I think it's safe to say they are historical romance classics. The main characters have their moments -- some more than others. But ultimately, they are all loveable. I think I have favorites, but I feel guilty naming them. So I won't. I love them all.
Given that, it's a joy to see them interact as a group throughout the series. Of course there's a main couple per book, but the others are there, supporting, advising, and making us laugh. It's magnificent.
I went through them quickly. I've read the books in the past, possibly even listened to some, if not all. But as I said, it's been a while. The narrator is great. It was easy to listen as I did all sorts of physical work -- that is to say, anything that did not require real concentration on my part.
So when I finished the series, I wasn't ready to let go. But I also didn't want to start the same series over. Well...I sort of wanted to. But I decided to exercise some control. I opted to start another Kleypas series instead, The Ravenels.
Marrying Winterborne is my favorite of the series. In fact, Rhys Winterborne is one of my favorite romantic heroes. He's just so sweet. But again, this is Lisa Kleypas. It's nigh on impossible to not care about any of the main characters throughout the series.
I've finally moved onto a different author and series -- not that I won't return time and time again. And I haven't read all of Kleypas' series, which means I surely have some delightful new characters to meet in the future.
But if you're a rare romance fan who hasn't read any of her books, I highly recommend The Wallflowers and The Ravenels. You'll fall in love.
I'm proud to welcome Author Judith Sterling and Silver Dagger Tours!
Ashling Donoghue has almost lost hope of finding her missing parents. As her faith wanes, her love for two men waxes, rending her heart and causing friction in the Breasal household. The time has come to make a choice, to create a future untarnished by doubt. But how can she embrace the light when lured by the soft seduction of shadow?
At last, her brother Conall channels the Spear of Illumination. He's a natural shapeshifter, and he sees through illusions in both the material world and the Otherworld…not a moment too soon. An ancient evil has surfaced, and it threatens all worlds.
Only the Donoghues can save Ireland. They must face their greatest fears and act as one to fulfill their destinies as guardians of Erin.
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Excerpt from The Spear of Light
Freeing my hand, Kian grinned. “Welcome to the fourteenth century.”
I lifted my gaze to the top half of the stone keep. A shuttered window caught my attention. Aengus is there.
Hugh had given us a good idea of where to go, but how I determined his son’s precise location, I can’t say. Maybe I knew because I needed to know. Or maybe our souls were bonded in a way that defied all logic.
I pointed to the window. “Up there, right in the middle. Let’s jump up and go through the wall.”
We leapt into the air and paused at the third-floor level. Like ghosts, we floated through stone and entered the medieval bedroom. Then we lowered ourselves until our feet touched the plank floor. Tapestries, oak furniture, and a crackling fire on the hearth made the chamber feel homey and inviting.
“Awesome,” Kian breathed.
Aengus’s sleeping form drew my gaze. He lay on his back, with his bare and beautifully sculpted arms and chest visible above the fur coverlet. His golden hair was longer, touching his shoulders. I couldn’t look away.
Fortunately, my brother could. “I think the manuscript is over there.” He went to investigate.
I crept toward the bed. Aengus. I’m so sorry. I love you. Compelled beyond rhyme or reason, I leaned over and pressed my lips to his.
I’d intended a quick kiss, but my mouth lingered, savoring an experience it might never have again. His lips were softened by sleep; his breath was warm with a trace of spices. Mulled wine? Maybe.
“Ash, I got it. We have to go.” Kian waited close by.
Regretfully, I ended the kiss and straightened. I’ll always love you.
Aengus stirred beneath the covers. “Caer,” he murmured. His eyes opened.
Crap! Any second, he might shift into the Otherworld and see me. I seized my brother’s hand as Aengus sat up in bed. “Hurry, Kian!”
The next instant, the room was quiet. The Otherworld twilight remained, as did the medieval furnishings, but the fire and the man were absent.
A sense of loss swept through me. “Funny how empty a room can seem.”
“I’m sorry, Ash.” Kian squeezed my hand, then released it. “It’ll be okay.”
I turned to him. “Will it?”
Judith Sterling is an award-winning author whose love of history and passion for the paranormal infuse everything she writes. Whether penning medieval romance (The Novels of Ravenwood) or young adult paranormal fantasy (the Guardians of Erin series), her favorite themes include true love, destiny, time travel, healing, redemption, and finding the hidden magic which exists all around us. She loves to share that magic with readers and whisk them far away from their troubles, particularly to locations in the British Isles.
Her nonfiction books, written under Judith Marshall, have been translated into multiple languages. She has an MA in linguistics and a BA in history, with a minor in British Studies. Born in that sauna called Florida, she craved cooler climes, and once the travel bug bit, she lived in England, Scotland, Sweden, Wisconsin, Virginia, and on the island of Nantucket. She currently lives in Salem, Massachusetts with her husband and their identical twin sons.
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Follow the tour HERE for special content and a giveaway!
It's no secret that I prefer fat HEAs. Where better than in a beautiful romance?
From me to you with a smile.
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