Chasing Heaven Complete Series Boxed Set (Amish Romance), Becca Fisher {$0.99}

 

Hannah Bieler’s wedding is more than just cause for celebration. It gets her sisters wondering when they will get married, who they’ll fall in love with, or whether God has other plans for them entirely. But it becomes clear that although the Amish are simple people, their love lives are anything but.

This six part collection features “Chasing Heaven,” “Lord Willing,” “Waiting On A Prayer,” “Leap Of Faith,” and “Keeping Faith.”

What readers are saying:

If you’re looking for a really good read then I recommend Chasing Heaven. — Kat Perkins

Chasing Heaven was a very pleasant read as it was nice to get a fresh perspective on a new type of romance; Amish romance. — Ricky Hansen

This book will bring you to tears as you walk through the lives of the 2 main characters. — Collenn Chupp

The average Amazon Review is currently 3.6 stars {29 reviews}.

Click here to read more about and purchase Chasing Heaven Complete Series Boxed Set (Amish Romance) for $0.99 from Amazon!

THE FRUGAL FIND OF THE DAY: Dance For A Dead Princess, Deborah Hawkins {$2.99}

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Description of Dance For A Dead Princess:

  • Historical fact: In January 1997, Princess Diana received a phone call telling her she would be assassinated.  In response she made a video tape, naming her killer and gave it to a trusted friend in America for safekeeping.  It has never been found.
Fiction:  Wall Street attorney, Taylor Collins, has something Nicholas Carey, the 18th Duke of Burnham, has been searching for since the death of the Princess of Wales:  Diana’s January 1997 video tape.  Determined to avenge Diana’s death by exposing her killers, Nicholas lures Taylor to England with his promise to sell his ancestral home, Burnham Abbey, to one of her clients, a boarding school for American girls. But Nicholas, who has dated American actresses since the death of his beloved wife, ten years earlier and who has vowed never to fall in love again, is immediately overwhelmed with feelings for Taylor at their first meeting.Taylor, unaware that Diana’s tape is in the estate of Mari, her long-time friend and client, and nursing her hurt over her broken engagement to a fellow attorney in her firm, brands Nicholas supremely spoiled and selfish and is in a hurry to finish the sale of the Abbey and return to New York. But while working in the Abbey’s library, Taylor uncovers the Tudor-era love story of Thomas, the first duke and founder of the Carey family. As she reads Thomas’s agonizing struggle to save the love of his life and the mother of his child, she begins to see Nicholas in a new light as he battles to save his sixteen-year-old ward Lucy, who is desperately unhappy and addicted to cocaine. But just as Taylor’s own feelings for Nicholas become clear and at the moment she realizes she is in possession of Diana’s voice from the grave, she is confronted with evidence Nicholas may be responsible for a double murder. When Nicholas is arrested and taken to Wandsworth Prison, Taylor sets out to learn the truth once and for all about Nicholas Carey and the death of the Princess of Wales.


Accolades:

“A debut romantic mystery that spans centuries, with a modern love story at its center. . . It’s a great book for a long journey, as it’s both easy to read and intellectually gratifying. . . . British history and contemporary conspiracy collide in this satisfying novel.” – Kirkus Reviews“This is one of the first romance novels I’ve read in a while and it is definitely the best one I’ve ever read. . . . Both of the main elements of the plot, the romance between Taylor and Nicholas and the mysteries, are tied together to create a well-written book that I couldn’t put down.” Alex

“I just finished reading “Dance for a Dead Princess” and I was sad to put it down! The author has a great story and tells it very well. The book truly engaged me – I highly recommend it!” Kathryn

 

Reviews:

Dance For A Dead Princess currently has an Amazon reader review rating of 5 stars from 4 reviews. Read the reviews here.

 

The Lydecker Mysteries is available for purchase at:

Amazon Kindle for $2.99


An excerpt from Dance For A Dead Princess:

PROLOGUE

Mid-April 2010, Paris

In the gray spring rain, he stood in the Place d’Alma staring down at the tunnel where she had vanished from his life on the last night of August 1997. He came here whenever he was in Paris. He counted the pillars until he reached number thirteen, the one that had taken her life. Tears formed behind his eyes, as they always did in this place. But he refused to let them overflow. Instead, he took a long breath of fresh rain mixed with the exhaust of cars speeding through the tunnel.
When the big black Mercedes entered its skid that horrible night, his last living link to Deborah had been taken from him. Diana and Deborah, West Heath girls, friends forever. Deborah had been dead since 1994, but he had lost her long before she became his wife, three years after he met her at Diana’s wedding to the Prince of Wales in 1981. How many nights had he spent talking to Diana about his marriage, about her marriage, about his guilt over Deborah, and about the impossibility of being in love? Too many to count. He ached to tell her now how empty his life had become without either of them.
He stared down the long, gray tunnel, wondering as always what she had felt as she had slipped away from everyone who loved her. Had she struggled against it, as Deborah had? Or had her torn and broken heart quietly accepted its fate? No, he doubted that. She’d have fought to stay with her boys. Diana hadn’t gone into death quietly. That January, she’d had a warning of what was coming. She’d recorded a video tape naming her assassins and had given it to someone in America for safekeeping. But she would never tell him who it was. Too dangerous, she always insisted. If you had it, they’d come after you, too. Leave it alone, Nicholas. The tape is safer out of England.
His phone abruptly interrupted with a text message from his assistant. He was late for a meeting of the Burnham Trust at the Trust’s Paris headquarters, and everyone was waiting. Well, they could wait. All day and all night if he wanted. He was the Eighteenth Duke of Burnham and the second richest man in England after the Duke of Westminster, and he’d be late if he decided to be. He hadn’t wanted to be a duke but having been forced into the job, he was going to enjoy every possible perk.
As soon as the news of Diana’s death reached him, he’d vowed to find her tape and make it public. No luck for the last thirteen years, but his latest operative had just come up with a stellar lead at last. It was so stellar that not only was he pretty sure he was going to find the tape, he was also going to have the opportunity to unload the decaying family seat in Kent and exact his well-deserved revenge upon his father, the Seventeenth Duke.


Dance For A Dead Princess is available for purchase at:

Amazon Kindle for $2.99

Connect with Deborah Hawkins:

Website: http://dhawkinsdotnet.wordpress.com/

Facebook: www.facebook.com/DanceForADeadPrincess?fref=ts

Twitter: @DeborahHawk3

THE FRUGAL FIND OF THE DAY: Seduced at Sunset (Pembroke Palace Series), Julianne MacLean {$4.99}

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Description of Seduced at Sunset (Pembroke Palace Series):

Sometimes the matchmaker finds a love of her own…

Lady Charlotte Sinclair has long given up her dreams of happily ever after. Years ago, a tragic accident claimed the life of her beloved fiancé, but somehow she found the strength to go on—as an independent woman with a secret double life that has earned her millions. Lately, however, she has begun to yearn for something more…

While setting out to play matchmaker for her mother, Lady Charlotte meets a rugged, handsome stranger who saves her from a thief in the street, but her heroic rescuer soon turns out to be more mysterious—and dangerously captivating—than any man she has ever known. Swept away by passion into a sizzling summer affair with a man who leads a double life of his own, she vows to live only for pleasure with no promises of tomorrow. But soon she must accept that one final night of ecstasy with an irresistible lover is never going to be enough…

 

Accolades:

“Julianne MacLean’s writing is smart, thrilling, and sizzles with sensuality.”—Elizabeth HoytPraise for Julianne MacLean and her bestselling romances…

“You can always count on Julianne MacLean to deliver ravishing romance that will keep you turning pages until the wee hours of the morning.”—Teresa Medeiros

“She is just an all-around, wonderful writer and I look forward to reading everything she writes.”—Romance Junkies

 

Amazon Reader Reviews:

Seduced at Sunset (Pembroke Palace Series) currently has a Amazon reader review rating of 4.7 stars, with 6 reviews! Read the reviews here!

 

Excerpt from Seduced at Sunset (Pembroke Palace Series):

Chapter Three

Drake Torrington was just exiting his townhouse when the sound of a lady’s voice from across the street drew his attention.
“I will not!” she screamed.
He spotted her as she was knocked into the fence by a scoundrel who made off with her purse.
Drake leaped down the steps, darted across the street, and reached the woman in a matter of seconds. “Are you hurt?” he asked, kneeling down to lay a hand on her shoulder, for she had collapsed.
She seemed dazed by the strike to the head, but then she frowned up at him with a pair of gleaming blue eyes that upset his balance, for he hadn’t seen a woman so beautiful in years––perhaps ever.
“I am fine, thank you, sir,” she said as she struggled to rise, “but that man has stolen my reticule. I want it back.”
He helped her to her feet. “You’re certain you are all right?”
“Yes.”
“Wait here, then.” He took off after the thief who had paused foolishly at the corner to rummage through the contents of the purse.
Drake sprinted toward him. The man looked up in surprise, then turned to make a run for it.
Reaching into his pocket, Drake grabbed his watch—a conveniently heavy piece of gold weaponry—and pitched it at the back of the man’s head.
The strike was spot on. The bandit tripped and tumbled forward to the ground. Disoriented, he rose up on his hands and knees and shook his head like a wet dog just as Drake came upon him, grabbed him by the lapels, and pulled him to his feet.
Drake shook him. “Hand it over, scoundrel, or I’ll knock your brains out.”
The thief refused to part with it. He threw a flimsy punch, which by some dumb stroke of luck connected with Drake’s jaw. The pain reverberated through his skull and sparked his blood into red-hot flames of savage aggression.
It had been years since Drake had enjoyed a good fight, and he wondered what happened to his old instincts, for there was once a time he would have anticipated and easily skirted such a watered-down blow. His pride bucked violently in response, and a heartbeat or two later, the thief was sprawled out, unconscious, on the pavement while Drake stood over him, feet braced apart, flexing his bloodied fist.
The noises of the street had somehow faded away. All he could hear was the heavy beating of his own heart, like a continuous rumble of thunder in his ears.
As his body rhythms returned to a more natural pace, reality came crashing back. He dropped to his knees to check the man’s pulse at his neck. He was still alive, thank God. Drake removed the reticule from the man’s possession, rose to his feet, and turned around to discover the lady with the disarming blue eyes stood only a few feet away, staring at him in shock.
* * *
Charlotte felt slightly dizzy and considerably alarmed as she locked gazes with the man who had retrieved her reticule. Naturally, she was grateful that he had come to her rescue, but after witnessing such a shocking display of violence, she felt no safer now than she had when the thief came upon her.
She had watched every heated second of the altercation, and had recognized the force behind the gentleman’s blow. Her breath had hitched in her throat when the thief was propelled backward through the air, as if he had been rammed by a raging bull at full gallop.
Glancing down at her rescuer’s big brawny fist and bloody knuckles, then down at the lifeless form on the ground behind him, she carefully asked, “Is he alive?” It would be a miracle if he were.
“Yes.” The gentleman’s voice was husky and low, barely more than a growl, and she was riveted to the spot. “I believe this is yours,” he added as he stepped forward and held out her reticule.
Charlotte stood utterly still as he drew near, for she felt rather breathless. From a distance she had known he was a tall man, but now she could sense—and feel—the looming power of his massive male brawn. His chest was thick, his shoulders wide, though his torso narrowed down to slender hips and undoubtedly strong legs.
“And this must be yours,” she replied, holding out his pocket watch, which she had picked up on the street a moment before. “It still appears to be working.”
As they made the exchange, Charlotte felt a shiver move through her. She wasn’t sure what caused it. She told herself there was nothing to fear from this man who had subdued her attacker. Judging by the way he was dressed in a fine black frock coat, silk top hat, and shiny black shoes, he was a gentleman.
Nevertheless, her head was spinning like a top, for there was very little about him beyond his clothing that seemed the least bit refined. He was coarse looking, like a laborer. Crude, even. And perhaps it was the way he moved––with a dangerous swagger––that seemed particularly threatening after what she had just witnessed.
Or perhaps it was his rugged facial features. His eyes were a pale shade of blue-gray, his nose was misshapen, as if it might have been broken a few times in the past, and there were scars on his cheekbones, and evidence of an old gash through one of his eyebrows. His upper lip was scarred as well.
He reminded her of a barbarian from another time. She could easily imagine it—this man, with his huge, scarred, muscled body, standing shirtless in battle, swinging a sword in one hand, wielding a dagger in the other, his eyes burning with bloodlust. He was perfect…
Stop it, Charlotte.
“That was quite a punch,” she said. “How is your hand?”
He flexed it a few times and looked down at his bloodied knuckles. His fingers were thick. So were his wrists. “It’s fine.”
“It doesn’t look fine to me,” she replied. “I daresay you did some damage, on both sides.” She looked up and down the quiet street. “Should we send for someone? A constable perhaps? Or a doctor?” The side of her head was throbbing. A bump was probably forming already.
“I was thinking the same thing,” he said in that husky, mesmerizing voice. “I live just there.” He pointed at his townhouse, a few doors down. “If you will accompany me, madam, I will send one of my servants to fetch assistance, and I promise this man will be arrested.”
“Is it wise to leave him here?” Charlotte asked. “What if he wakes up and runs off?”
“I will have him brought inside.”
Then his eyes narrowed with displeasure and he took a step closer.
For some reason, Charlotte quickly backed away, as if he had swung another punch, this time in her direction.
“You’re hurt,” he said, not appearing the least bit surprised that she had recoiled from him.
“No, I’m not,” she insisted.
He pointed to a drop of blood on her collar, and only then did she notice a wet sensation on her scalp. The dizziness she experienced earlier suddenly made sense, and when she slid her gloved fingers into her upswept hair and felt a gash just over her ear, her stomach turned over. “I’m bleeding.”
For the second time that day, the world turned white before her eyes, her knees buckled beneath her, and she began to sink toward the ground.
Though teetering on the muddled edges of consciousness, Charlotte was keenly aware of the man scooping her up into his arms—as if she weighed no more than a bolt of fabric—and carrying her toward his home.
Clinging tightly to the frame of his shoulders, she fought to stay awake and not faint in his arms. He was rock-solid beneath her hands, and his exotic spicy cologne smelled delectable. She warmed with appreciation and something else…
He mounted his front steps lightly, with no effort at all, as if they were both floating on air, and his incredible virility had a strange, appealing effect on her. Every fiber of her being hummed with awareness, energy, and excitement. A bolt of fear whizzed through her veins too…though perhaps it wasn’t fear, but something else entirely. Something exhilarating…something more heady, more dangerous. Indeed, even in her fantasies she had never projected anything quite like it.
“That’s it,” he whispered softly in her ear as he shifted her in his arms to rap the lion’s head door knocker. “Just hold on to me, darling. You’ll be fine. My housekeeper will tend to you. One shouldn’t ignore a head wound, you know. They can be serious.”
She suspected he was making conversation to keep her conscious, but there was little danger of nodding off, for she didn’t want to miss a single moment of this strangely thrilling ordeal.

Seduced at Sunset (Pembroke Palace Series) is available for purchase at:

Amazon Kindle for $4.99


Connect with Julianne MacLean:

Website: http://www.juliannemaclean.com

Twitter: http://twitter.com/JulianneMacLean

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/JulianneMacLeanRomanceAuthor?ref=pb

THE FRUGAL FIND OF THE DAY: The Bearwalker’s Daughter, Beth Trissel {$0.99}

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Frugal Find of the Day

 

Description of The Bearwalker’s Daughter:

Karin McNeal hasn’t grasped who she really is or her fierce birthright. A tragic secret from the past haunts the young Scots-Irish woman who longs to learn more of her mother’s death and the mysterious father no one will name. The elusive voices she hears in the wind hint at the dramatic changes soon to unfold in the mist-shrouded Alleghenies in Autumn, 1784.

Jack McCray, the wounded stranger who staggers through the door on the eve of her twentieth birthday and anniversary of her mother’s death, holds the key to unlock the past. Will Karin let this handsome frontiersman lead her to the truth and into his arms, or seek the shelter of her fiercely possessive kinsmen? Is it only her imagination or does someone, or something, wait beyond the brooding ridges–for her?

(The Bearwalker’s Daughter is a revised version of romance novel Daughter of the Wind)
Publisher’s Weekly BHB Reader’s Choice Best Books of 2009

 

Accolades:

“Ms. Trissel’s alluring style of writing invites the reader into a world of fantasy and makes it so believable it is spellbinding.” -Long and Short Reviews“I picked this novel up for a bit of light reading, assuming it to be a novella at first. I was soon surprised by how compelling this story is. Coupled with a sweeping backdrop of post war Pioneer America and the prejudices of two very different peoples, “Bearwalker’s Daughter” is beautifully balanced. With plenty of heaving bodices and mountaineer Scotsmen running around, Trissel imbues a nice dose of heat in this wintry backdrop. I enjoyed the characters and the simple complexity of their past struggles. Though this novel is romanticized to a degree, it also manages to maintain the raw beauty of this distant time.” Jennifer Silverwood

 

Reviews:

The Bearwalker’s Daughter currently has an Amazon reader review rating of 4.4 stars from 30 reviews. Read the reviews here.


An excerpt from The Bearwalker’s Daughter:

As for Jack, Karin spotted his shadowy figure inside the farthest stall. He’d bridled his mount and looped its reins around one of the stout poles joined to the wide beams overhead. His back to her, he curried a magnificent strawberry roan stallion, its chestnut coat heavily mixed with gray. The horse snatched hay from the manger and stood quietly, seemingly good-natured and well trained.

How on earth did he come by such a superb mount? Karin had no more opportunity to wonder, and it wasn’t the stallion she kept close watch on as she approached the two, unsure what Jack might say or do.

“Mister McCray!”  She was careful not to take him by surprise as she’d done last night, ready to turn and race back outside in an instant if need be.

Jack turned his head, eyes narrowed beneath his hat. Tension ran the length of his jaw. She faltered at the anger in his face. He must still be vexed with her grandfather; possibly with her too. Uncertain, she said, “Jack?”

A smile turned up the corners of his drawn mouth, making him appear even more youthful and less like a hardened frontiersman. “So, you’ve come. I figured John McNeal would hold you prisoner before ever letting you go off with me.”

Maybe he should have. Karin stepped nearer to Jack, the hay cushioning her shoes. “Grandpa can be prevailed upon by your bonnie mother.”

He paused, the brush in his hand. “And you?”

Karin shifted from one damp sole to the other and ran her tongue over her lips. “Perhaps.”

His smile widened. “Come and meet Peki.” He opened the short stall door.

She hesitated outside the narrow space.

“You’re not afraid, are you?”

“Not of the horse.”

Jack chuckled. “I’ll be on my best behavior.”

“For a warrior or a soldier?”

“Myself.”

Keeping her eyes on his broad back, she said, “I’m not sure if that’s good or bad.”

“Come discover.”

She slipped inside the pen bedded with clean straw and turned almost in awe at the horse towering above her. She patted his sleek neck. “He’s beautiful. You could start a new line with him.”

“Yes. He’s the finest I’ve ever known. But God help me, Karin, so are you.”

A current charged through her at his words and the emotion behind them. She swiveled, lifting her eyes to the intensity in his. “Why do you need the Lord’s help?”

“You have no idea,” he said huskily.~

 

The Bearwalker’s Daughter is available for purchase at:

Amazon Kindle for $0.99

 

Connect with Beth Trissel:

For more on Beth Trissel and her work, her blog is the happening place: One Writer’s Way
Also catch her on:

THE FRUGAL FIND OF THE DAY: Married By Midnight (A Pembroke Palace Novella), Julianne MacLean {$2.99}

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Description of Married By Midnight:

From USA Today bestselling author Julianne MacLean comes a passionate and emotional tale of a most unexpected love…

MARRIED BY MIDNIGHT – A Pembroke Palace Novella

eBook on sale August 1 – $2.99

AN UNATTAINABLE ROGUE…

For seven years, Lord Garrett Sinclair– the ruggedly handsome illegitimate son of the Duke of Pembroke–has been traveling abroad with no intention of ever returning home to Pembroke Palace… until his father commands that he must marry by Christmas in order to thwart a family curse or lose his inheritance forever.  Haunted by a tragic accident that has hardened his soul, Garrett entrusts his brothers to seek out a bride who will agree to a marriage in name only.  Her reward?  A sizable share of his inheritance–payable immediately after the wedding night….

A BEAUTIFUL TEMPTRESS…

Lady Anne Douglas has been ruined by scandal and disowned by her father.  Facing a life of poverty and spinsterhood, she leaps at the generous terms of the marriage contract to ensure her independence.  But the charade of a two-week engagement proves more of a challenge than either anticipated when they cannot resist the intoxicating lure of the marriage bed.  Anne knows they will part ways after the wedding.  Will she dare risk her heart for two weeks of pleasure in the arms of an irresistible rogue?  Or will her surrender become her undoing after a most unexpected turn of events mere hours before the wedding?

 

Accolades:

“Julianne MacLean’s writing is smart, thrilling, and sizzles with sensuality.”—Elizabeth Hoyt

Praise for Julianne MacLean and her bestselling romances…

“You can always count on Julianne MacLean to deliver ravishing romance that will keep you turning pages until the wee hours of the morning.”—Teresa Medeiros

“She is just an all-around, wonderful writer and I look forward to reading everything she writes.”—Romance Junkies


Reviews:

Married By Midnight currently has a customer review rating of 5 stars from 7 reviews. Read the reviews here.


Married By Midnight is available for purchase at:

Amazon Kindle for $2.99!

 

An excerpt from Be Married By Midnight:

Prologue

 

Pembroke Palace, England

Christmas Eve, 1874

It was an intimidating prospect––to make love on one’s wedding night with a husband one might never see again––but in a few short hours, the deed would be done.

After listening carefully to the terms of this curious marriage contract, Lady Anne Douglas had agreed to every demand. Today she would speak her vows before God. She would promise to love, honor, and obey her husband until death parted them, so there could be no turning back.

Not that she wanted to turn back. To the contrary, this was a first-rate offer and she had been grateful to accept, for she was known far and wide, throughout the whole of England, as damaged goods. At least this bizarre pretence of a marriage would provide her with a generous financial settlement that would guarantee her independence forever.

Which was why, in a few short hours, she would walk down the chapel aisle to stand at the altar beside Garrett, her future husband, and later she would welcome him into her bed to claim his husbandly rights.

To ensure it was all legally binding.

Anne took a deep breath and let it out. Her heart was galloping like a beast, and she feared she might suddenly change her mind, order a carriage, and bolt. Why?

It was fear, plain and simple…

Turning away from the snowy landscape outside the window, she paced around the room and labored to steady her nerves. She would not, under any circumstances, entertain the notion that this was a mistake. Just because her betrothed wanted nothing to do with marriage in the traditional sense did not mean she would not benefit from the arrangement. That was why she chose this path in the first place.

Up until a few days ago, she had been so sure she could manage it…

A knock sounded at the door just then, and her maid entered with her wedding gown.

Anne’s stomach churned with panic, and she wrestled with the most overwhelming urge to break free and flee into the raging snowstorm outside, because heaven help her, she had been very irresponsible these past two weeks.

She should never have allowed herself to fall in love with him.

 

Chapter One

Three weeks earlier

After the worst spring England had witnessed in over a century––marked by torrential rains, swelled rivers, and flooded fields that destroyed the summer crops––the country was now frozen solid beneath a hostile blanket of crusty white snow.

It had been a harsh winter that began in early November and seemed to go on without end––for there had been no respite from the fierce, bitter winds and constant spray of sleet and snow. And it was not yet half over.

Sitting by the hearth in her uncle’s stone manor house in Yorkshire, shivering beneath her heavy woolen shawl, Lady Anne Douglas was beginning to wonder if England were cursed, for surely this could not be normal.

A sudden blast of ice pellets struck the windowpanes, and the dogs began to bark downstairs. Tugging her shawl about her shoulders, she rose from her chair and crossed to the window. She looked down and saw a large black coach pulling to a halt in front of the house. It was a striking image against the pure white landscape. Not to mention the fact that they’d had no visitors for a month––for who in their right mind would venture out into such abominable weather?

The dogs continued to bark like ferocious beasts in the front hall while Anne watched two gentlemen in elegant black overcoats and top hats alight from the vehicle and hurry up the steps. One of them carried a black leather portfolio.

She leaned forward and touched her forehead to the frosty glass, but lost sight of the visitors as they reached the front entrance. There was some commotion below as the door opened and the dogs were put into a separate room, where they continued to bark and growl.

Who were these men, Anne wondered, and what did they want? It must be an extremely important matter of business to bring them all the way to the outer reaches of Yorkshire on such a bitterly cold day.

* * *

A half hour later, Anne was summoned to the drawing room.

Her uncle stood before the fire while the two mysterious gentlemen callers sat in chairs with their backs to the door, facing the sofa. As soon as Anne was announced, they rose to their feet, turned, and regarded her with interest.

She stared back at them with an equal measure of curiosity, mixed with a twinge of concern.

They were both exceedingly handsome with dark, chiseled facial features, muscular builds, and striking blue eyes. Brothers surely, for not only were they similar in appearance, they wore the same expression of inquisitive intelligence.

“Well, don’t just stand there,” her uncle said, moving closer and dragging her into the room. “Come over by the fire so our guests can get a look at you.” He shoved her to stand on the threadbare carpet. “She may not be pure, but I daresay she’s appealing to the eye.”

The gentleman on the left cleared his throat and gave her a look of apology as he bowed courteously. “Lady Anne, it is an honor to make your acquaintance.” He fired an irate glance at her uncle, who blinked at him in the muted gray light fighting its way in through the frosty window.

“What’s wrong?” her uncle Archibald asked. “Oh. I have not made the proper introductions, have I? Lord Hawthorne, allow me to present my niece, Lady Anne. Anne, this is Devon Sinclair, Marquess of Hawthorne, and his brother, Lord Blake, both of Pembroke Palace.”

A shiver of apprehension rippled up her spine. These were very auspicious guests indeed. Their father was the Duke of Pembroke, one of the highest-ranking peers in the realm. His palace, filled with priceless art and antiquities, was considered one of England’s greatest treasures. Some said their Italian Gardens were so beautiful they brought even the most cynical, hard-hearted men to tears.

Hadn’t she recently heard the gardens were damaged?

But what were these illustrious gentlemen doing here at her uncle’s manor house, three weeks before Christmas, so far from their home in the middle of a raging snowstorm?

She lowered her gaze and dipped into a curtsy. “Good afternoon.”

When she met the marquess’s cool blue eyes again, he inclined his head at her, as if studying her temperament.

“Your uncle speaks highly of you,” he said.

I doubt that.

She had the good sense, however, not to speak her mind.

Lord Hawthorne gestured toward the sofa. “Will you please join us?”

Her gaze darted back and forth between the two guests and her uncle. They were all staring at her as if she were some sort of odd novelty in a glass case.

“Please, Lady Anne,” the other one said, as if he recognized her reluctance and wished to set her at ease.

She studied Lord Blake for a moment, experienced an inexplicable whisper of calm, and took a seat.

“We understand you spent the past four years caring for your ailing grandmother,” Lord Hawthorne said. “A dutiful and selfless pursuit,” he added.

“It wasn’t duty,” she explained. “It was love.” Her late grandmother––God rest her dear, sweet soul––had been the one person who never judged Anne or mistreated her after her terrible fall from grace.

“We are sorry for your loss,” Lord Blake said.

“Thank you.”

“Lady Anne was an excellent nursemaid and companion,” her uncle added. “As I said before, she may not be pure, but she is loyal.”

Anne regarded the marquess steadily. “Do you wish me to be a companion to someone?”

A hush fell over the room. “No,” he replied. Then he turned his eyes to the baron. “May I request a moment alone with Lady Anne,” he asked, “so that we may discuss this proposition in detail?”

“There’s no need for any further discussion,” Archibald replied. “I have already accepted on her behalf. We need only make the arrangements, though I would like to have my solicitor involved.”

Anne frowned. “Your solicitor, Uncle? What sort of proposition did you agree to? If it concerns me, am I not to be consulted?”

Another tension-filled silence descended upon the room, this time heavy as lead.

Lord Hawthorne stood. “I must insist that you excuse us, sir. It is imperative that your niece understands the particulars. We will speak with her in private.”

At long last, her uncle rose from his chair. “If you insist, Lord Hawthorne, I must defer to your wishes. But rest assured that your proposal will not be refused. It will happen, whether she likes it or not.”

As soon as he left the room, Anne challenged the two men. “What, exactly, will happen?”

“Nothing, if you do not wish it,” Blake replied. “I assure you, Lady Anne, we are not tyrants, and we have other prospects if you refuse––which is your right––but we wish you to know that you are at the top of our list.”

“What list?” she asked, nearly horror-struck by the possibilities.

There was a quiet pause until, at last, Hawthorne answered the question. “We require a practical young woman to marry our brother before Christmas,” he said.

“I beg your pardon?”

He took a moment to explain. “Our brother needs a wife, but he does not desire a love match, nor does he wish to enter the marriage mart and begin a complicated courtship. He simply wants a contractual arrangement with a woman who understands the situation and desires the same sort of freedom.”

“What sort of freedom are you referring to?” she asked. “I do not understand.”

“No, of course you do not,” Hawthorne replied. “I fear we have not explained ourselves adequately. Please allow me to tell you everything. This time I shall start at the beginning.”

* * *

 

Married By Midnight is available for purchase at:

Amazon Kindle for $2.99!

 

Connect with Julianne MacLean:

Julianne MacLean is a USA Today bestselling author of more than 18 historical romance novels, including her popular American Heiress series published by Avon/Harper Collins, and her recent Highlander Trilogy, published by St. Martin’s Press. She is a three-time RITA finalist with Romance Writers of America, a two-time winner of the Bookseller’s Best Award, and winner of a Romantic Times Reviewers’ Choice Award for her beloved novel LOVE ACCORDING TO LILY. For more information and to enter her monthly contest, visit www.juliannemaclean.com.

Facebook:   http://www.facebook.com/JulianneMacLeanRomanceAuthor

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/JulianneMacLean

 

THE FRUGAL FIND OF THE DAY: Mountain Woman (A Kate McAlaster Adventure 1), Johnny Fowler {$2.99 or Borrow FREE w/Prime!}

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Description of Mountain Woman:

Kate McAlaster, the sole survivor of a wagon train massacre on the Oregon Trail, was alone facing winter with only a rifle, a pistol, her horse and her wits.  After the attack, Kate found the wagon master barely alive.  He gave her directions to a cabin owned by a mountain man, Homer Manchester, called Man.  Kate worried about spending the winter in a cabin alone with a mountain man, but it couldn’t be worse than starvation.  Or could it?

She finds herself trapped in the wilderness, living with a stranger, fighting for her life against Indian renegades and slave traders.  She must learn to adapt to a life she never would have dreamed of living and become a ruthless mountain woman to survive.


Accolades:

“I personally love this book! It was exciting as well as romantic!I would recommended it to all my friends whether they like western books or not. This is just a good read for anyone!”

“I’ve recently been getting into the “Western” genre, and this book is a definite winner. The story is well-written and complex, the characters are likable, and some of the action scenes are quite intense. A great book for a low price.”

“I read this book in a day because I couldn’t seem to put it down. I kept thinking about it and picking it back up. This book has all I wanted to find in a western novel. Excitement, danger, exploration, and even a little romance. By the time I finished it, I felt like I’d gone on a wild vacation in the Old West. I’ve decided to buy the other books in the series to see what happens next!”

“Do you love a real live shoot ‘em up Western? If yes, this is the one for you. This author brings all the action you need. Johnny Fowler creates one exciting episode after another, very creative. This story is about the Wild West as it really happened.”


Review Ratings:

Mountain Woman currently has a review rating of 4 stars from 26 reviews. Read the reviews here.


Mountain Woman is available for purchase at:

Amazon Kindle for $2.99 or Borrow FREE w/Prime!

 

An excerpt from Mountain Woman:

CHAPTER ONE

 

For the last hour, the weather had worsened.  The dreary blue snow-laden clouds in the north slowly crept overhead wiping out the sun’s warming overlay of the rocky face of the mountains.  Moisture replaced the sun’s battle against the cold’s advantage from the frigid night.

Swaggering winds whipped the tattered and wear-thinned clothing worn by the weary travelers.  The men humped their backs against the seeping cold while the women and children huddled under blankets.  The lucky children snuggled under fluffy goose down feather mattresses in the back of the wagons.

The necks of the mules extended as they strained against the weight of the heavy wagons held back by the sucking mud under the steel-rimmed wheels.  The smell of the oncoming snow made them jittery, as well as anxious, shaking their heads in protest, making their long ears flop in the wind.  The backs of the overworked brutes arched with the strain of the heavy load they were pulling up the steep incline.

Winter’s cold bluster was preparing to take the high country into months of subfreezing temperatures.  A crisp surge of wind brought a frozen fog from the high peaks of the mountains.  A cruel mist settled over the lower crest of the ridge above the winding trail where the wagons trailed.

The unexpected cold surge had slipped down from the high country more than a month early.  The travelers were caught unaware, ill equipped for the sudden drop in temperature.

The settlers prayed this sudden blast of cold would only be a playful jab at them and would retreat in two or three days after having its fun.  The wagons still had a long ways to go.  Oregon, at best, was still weeks away.

Jake, the seasoned but trail-weary wagon boss, yelled at the drivers in a voice that outdistanced the howling wind.  “Light a shuck under them mules.  Keep them wagons moving.”  He rode back and forth along the long line, yelling instructions as he whacked lagging mules and oxen with his rope quirt.

Turning his head toward the rear of the train, he yelled, “We only have another mile or so to go before settling in for the night.  We don’t want to be caught out here in the open, especially if it snows of any importance tonight.  Keep pushing.  There’s a protected place with plenty of graze for the livestock and good shelter for the supper fires.”

A mule stumbled and fell.  Jake and the driver of the wagon jumped down and helped him rise.  The weary animal shook his head in protest, but responded to the encouragement of Jake and his quirt.

The Wagon Master continued his motivation to the drivers.  “A rock overhang will shield off some of the snow and thar’s plenty of trees around to help break the wind.  Keep ‘er rolling.  Hurry now.  We don’t have a lot of time.  Them clouds is a hanging heavy like a pregnant buffalo cow.  They’s chockfull of wet snow ready to dump on us.”

A little girl going on ten years of life huddled beside her mother nestled under blankets as she bounced on the wooden seat.  She shouted excitedly, “Look, Mommy, Indians.”  She pointed at the top of a rise only a hundred yards away.

Everyone within hearing distance jumped and looked.  Men grabbed their rifles.  Women screamed for their older male children walking beside the wagon to climb inside.  The alarm went up and down the line like a bolt of lightning charging the men to action.

Jake yelled, “Hold it men.  Don’t shoot.  Hold your fire.  The Indians may be just looking us over.  Don’t rile them.  ‘Sides, it’s doubtful your bullets would even get close to them at that distance in this wind.  Let’s see what they’re up to first.”

The Indians seemed content to keep pace with the slower moving wagons.  Single file, the watchful riders maneuvered between trees, disappearing for a time, and then out of the mist-laden branches, their spotted ponies would suddenly appear in a clearing.

Somebody shouted above the rattle of the trace chains and steel-rimmed wheels on the rocky trail, “I count six.”

Jake echoed, “Yep, only six.  I can’t make out the tribe.  Their marking is hid under them buffalo robes they got wrapped around themselves.  I can’t tell if their faces are painted war, neither.  But for God’s sake, keep them wagons rolling.  We got only a short ways to go then we can fort up and see what they do.”

All eyes kept following the Indians as they expected them to attack at any moment.  The small band of Indians continued to dog the wagon train, content to keep pace just out of rifle range.

At the next opening in the trees, Jake moaned aloud.  “Oh my god, I only count four now.  Two have dropped out.  I’m a feared they’s gone for reinforcements.  Whack them mules harder.  We gotta get to the camp site, pronto.”

The terrified women gathered their children in the bed of the wagons, but heads could be seen sticking out the back and under the canvas along the side, curious to see the Indians.  One of the older boys held a long kitchen knife in his hand.

“Men,” Jake shouted, “ride out a few yards from the wagons as a barrier between the Indians and the women and kids.  Show them we’re well armed and ready to defend ourselves.  But don’t start nothing.  For God’s sake, don’t shoot unless they charge down, which ain’t likely since there is only four now.”

With long rifles rested across their saddles, handguns stuck in their belts, knives in their scabbards, the men rode proudly in defense of their rolling homes.

Most of the men were farmers and merchants by trade, but today, they were soldiers, ready to give battle, should the need arise.  Brave men were riding tall in their saddles, placing themselves in harm’s way, between their families and the Indians.

Jake continued to shout at the women drivers as he rode from front to the rear of the train, yelling at the mules and oxen to move at a faster pace.  A worried frown etched his face.

He knew if this turned into more than a hunting party, the settlers were in real trouble.  Indians always jumped at the chance to take a small train.  Especially one packed with women and children and needed supplies.  The weapons, mules, and horses of the white enemy were a valued trophy to parade in front of their lodges.

Oxen would be slaughtered for food.  The supplies the wagons carried, coupled with the weapons, powder and lead bullets, made the travelers a ripe plum, ready to be picked.  The younger women and girls would be taken back to camp to help the squaws and be used for their pleasure.  Sometimes a few younger men would be taken as replacements for warriors that had died in battle.

Jake hadn’t said so, but he suspected the Indians were Sioux or Cheyenne on their way to a winter campground.  If they had the numbers and felt their medicine strong, they would be coming in hard and fast.  He knew they had only one thought – the slaughter of the white eyes invading their homeland.

With a wave of his hat, Jake motioned to Slats, his scout.  “Slats, move ahead and see what’s up there.”

With a return wave with his hand, the mountain man spurred his mustang into a gallop.  In the gloom, he faded away in the time it took to wipe moisture from an eye.  The haze and mist in the air became heavier and collected on clothing and the backs of the animals.  The cold air turned each breath to fog.

Kate McAlaster drove the next to last wagon of forty-two.  Lester, her father, rode by the side of the wagon between her and the Indians.  He had his coat pulled up and his hat pulled down to break the wind.  She noticed him riding high in the saddle, scanning the ridge for any sign of the Indians.

She strained to see, but saw nothing but an empty ridge.  The warriors had vanished for the moment.  Then, suddenly, like phantom shadows, they appeared out of the haze, sitting motionless on their horses, watching the wagons.  Frozen statues, magnificent on their horses, stood watch, and then they were gone again.  A wave of heavy wet vapor spread over the hillside forming a gray veil.

A shout in front of the train brought her attention back from her father and the Indians.  Slats raced toward them as if the devil were on his coattail.

Jake waited for him to pull up beside him.  Several men turned their horses toward the wagon boss to hear the scouts report.

Slats looked back over his shoulder as he slid his horse to a stop and hastily proclaimed, in a soft voice, before the settlers arrived, “Boss, we got big trouble.  I spotted a big bunch of Sioux.  I guess about fifty, maybe more.  They’re strung out on the ridge.  They seem to be content to just watch for now, but they’re serious.  I’m dead certain they’re planning an attack.”

Jake shifted his eyes to the pilgrims that were riding toward them.  He spoke in a loud voice so all could hear, and didn’t down play their predicament.  “Fifty Sioux are dogging us.  This ain’t a good thing.”  He used a tone of voice the horsemen had never heard him use before.  If his words hadn’t made them realize the gravity of the situation, his voice did.

Slats sat on his horse, looking at the farmers that had left their safe homes for a new life in the west.  He had a very low opinion of the travelers.  Mountain men like Jake and Slats considered the settlers plumb stupid for coming out to the big empty with winter coming, and to make matters worse, bringing their women and kids along.

Slats got his nickname from his size when he was only a young twerp back in Ohio.  At thirteen, he stood a little over six feet tall, but had to turn broadside to cast a shadow.  Slats still wouldn’t break a hundred fifty pounds carrying his two handguns, a Hawkens .50 caliber rifle with powder, and bullets for them.

“How much farther to the campground?” Jake calmly asked.  He was hoping to keep from panicking the movers any more than the announcement had done.  “I want to get settled in before night.  That’s a good place to fort-up.”

“Not far.  Not over a half mile.  We’ll make it.  The savages ain’t in no hurry to do anything, as of now.  I might add, that worries me more than a mite.  It appears we’re only seeing a hunting party and the rest of the braves will move in during the night.”

Jake wished Slats would shut up.  He had already said enough on that subject to put the fear of God into the settlers.  He saw fright and panic in the eyes of a few of the men.  He knew that hysteria could be contagious.


Mountain Woman is available for purchase at:

Amazon Kindle for $2.99 or Borrow FREE w/Prime!


Connect with Johnny Fowler:

THE FRUGAL FIND OF THE DAY: Be My Prince, Julianne MacLean {$7.99}

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Julianne MacLean‘s Frugal Find Under Nine:

Description:

BE MY PRINCE

What would you do for a royal romance?

From USA Today bestselling author Julianne MacLean comes a new series brimming with the lavish romance of the Regency period—and the dangerous passions of royals in love …

The advance buzz has been hot and the reviews are already rolling in.  Romance Junkies says: “BE MY PRINCE surpasses my expectations. It is a phenomenal read; one that I just could not put down…. All I can say is bring me more. I will be waiting patiently for the next book in THE ROYAL TRILOGY series.”

MacLean has created an opulent, luxurious world for the Royal Family of Petersbourg – a fictional European nation alive with romance and intrigue during the turbulent age of Napoleon….

Attention one and all. His Royal Highness, Prince Randolph of Petersbourg, will set sail for London in early June and reside at St. James’s Palace for one full month…Some say the true motive for the prince’s visit to our fair country is to seek and marry his future queen. I will therefore pose the question to our devoted and reflective readers: Who among us will be the chosen one? —From the London Ballroom Society Pages

Lady Alexandra Monroe has been told in no uncertain terms that she must set her sights on a proposal from Prince Randolph to better her family’s situation. Instead, she finds herself falling for his charming but dangerous younger brother Nicholas, a man whose passionate nature—and irresistible good looks—makes it impossible to remember her duty. But while she is torn between ambition and desire, a wicked scandal brews, shocking secrets are revealed, and soon she begins to wonder: can true love really conquer all?

Available April 24, 2012

From St. Martin’s Press

 

Accolades:

“You can always count on Julianne MacLean to deliver ravishing romance.”—Teresa Medeiros

“Julianne MacLean’s writing is smart, thrilling, and sizzles with sensuality.”—Elizabeth Hoyt


Reviews:

Be My Prince currently has a customer review rating of 4.5 stars from 2 reviews. Read the reviews here.


Be My Prince is available for purchase at:

Amazon Kindle for $7.99!

 

An excerpt from Be My Prince:

Excerpt From Chapter Two

 

She tried to leave, but he blocked her way.

“Don’t go yet.”  He leaned close to speak softly in her ear – so close that she could smell the brandy on his breath and feel the moist heat of his words.  “I need someone to talk to and I like the sound of your voice.  It reminds me of…”

He paused, and her breath caught in her throat.

He was unbelievably attractive.

“Of what?” she cautiously asked.

Those dark eyebrows pulled together.  “I can’t quite recall, but I am certain it will come to me.”

Alexandra felt a heated stirring of arousal in her core.  She worked hard to quell it, however, for she was here on a mission, and this was not it.

Thankfully, he backed away and gave her some space to collect herself – though it was not easy to do.

“This is highly inappropriate,” she said, realizing with more than a little displeasure that she was stalling, for this mysterious horseman from the shadows was an overwhelming distraction – and heaven knew she needed one.  “We have not been properly introduced.”

“You are quite correct,” he replied.  “Where is your chaperone?  Shall I call for her?”

“No!”  She looked inside, then spoke in a quieter tone.  “Please do not.”

For she knew exactly what her stepmother would say.  Lucille would demand to know why Alex had taken her eyes off the princely prize.

The horseman glanced toward the open doors.  “Fine, then.  We’ll take care of the introductions ourselves.  I’ll tell you my name if you promise to tell me yours.”

“Agreed,” she replied, “but then you must let me pass.”

He bowed to indicate his agreement.  “Very well, then.  And your name is…?”

“I am Lady Alexandra Monroe, honored to make your acquaintance.  Good evening, sir.”

She curtsied again, made another impulsive attempt to return to the ballroom, but he stopped her again – this time with a gloved fingertip upon the bare skin of her upper arm, just below her puffed sleeve, which caused a flash of heat to rush from the point of contact straight down to her toes.

This was dangerous.  She shouldn’t be here.  If she was smart, she would be inside the ballroom seducing the prince, yet here she stood on a torchlit terrace flirting with a ruggedly handsome stranger in muddy riding boots….

 

Be My Prince is available for purchase at:

Amazon Kindle for $7.99!

 

Connect with Julianne MacLean:

Julianne MacLean is a USA Today bestselling author of more than 18 historical romance novels, including her popular American Heiress series published by Avon/Harper Collins, and her recent Highlander Trilogy, published by St. Martin’s Press. She is a three-time RITA finalist with Romance Writers of America, a two-time winner of the Bookseller’s Best Award, and winner of a Romantic Times Reviewers’ Choice Award for her beloved novel LOVE ACCORDING TO LILY. For more information and to enter her monthly contest, visit www.juliannemaclean.com.

Facebook:   http://www.facebook.com/JulianneMacLeanRomanceAuthor

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/

 

THE FRUGAL FIND OF THE DAY: Historical Romance Boxed Set (Of Noble Birth & Honor Bound), Brenda Novak {$5.99 or Borrow FREE with Prime!}

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Description of Historical Romance Boxed Set:

Historical Romance Duo including New York Times Bestselling Author Brenda Novak’s OF NOBLE BIRTH and HONOR BOUND

OF NOBLE BIRTH

He was a man who took what he wanted. And he wanted her.

To escape her cruel stepfather, seamstress Alexandra Cogsworth envisioned sailing far from England…though not as a captive aboard a pirate’s ship.

Pirate captain Nathaniel Kent’s strategy for exacting revenge on his coldhearted father involved taking a valuable hostage…not a seamstress he mistakenly thinks is his half sister.

Yet fate has designs of its own, landing them both on board the Royal Vengeance. At sea, Nathaniel intercepts and plunders his father’s ships, all the while tormented by his illicit hunger for the tempting prisoner he thinks is his blood relation. And although Alexandra wants no part in this terrifying voyage, to reveal her true identity to the handsome, blue-eyed Nathaniel would invite danger. Not only would she become worthless cargo, but the revelation would surely unleash what she and Nathaniel have been fiercely battling–a rising undercurrent of impossible desire that could sweep them away for good.

HONOR BOUND

To some men honor is just a word….

Jeannette Boucher, a young French beauty from a family left penniless by the revolution, must marry against her will to save them all from ruin. But almost immediately after the vows are spoken, she learns that her old English husband is impotent—and in his desire for an heir, he plans to compromise her in the worst way.

Determined to escape such a fate, she stows away on one of His Majesty’s frigates. But a woman alone is in constant danger.

To Lieutenant Treynor, honor means everything….

Born a bastard to a wayward marquise, Lieutenant Crawford Treynor was given to a poor farmer to raise and was maltreated until he ran away to join the Royal Navy. Treynor is determined to prove he’s as good as any other man and rise to captain his own frigate. But once he finds Jeannette aboard The Tempest he must decide whether to return her to the man he knows would abuse her—or risk everything, even his life, to keep her safe.

 

Accolades:

“A wonderful love story full of adventure, action and romance!” New York Times Bestselling Author Madeline Hunter on HONOR BOUND

“An absorbing, fast-paced romance…” –New York Times Bestselling Author Jo Beverley on OF NOBLE BIRTH

“A passionate romance…exciting…unforgettable.” –USA Today Bestselling Author Amanda Scott on OF NOBLE BIRTH

“Impressive…this novel has all the elements a reader craves: delicious family secrets, high seas adventure, and a passionate love story. Read and enjoy!” New York Times Bestselling Author Susan Wiggs on OF NOBLE BIRTH

“I fell in love with HONOR BOUND. This is a romance you can’t put down.” –New York Times Bestselling Author Elizabeth Boyle

“A rip-roaring story brimming with adventure and passion. I dare you to put HONOR BOUND down once you start reading it!” –Award-winning Author Anna Campbell

 

Amazon Reader Reviews:

Historical Romance Boxed Set currently has a Amazon reader review rating of 5 stars, with 4 reviews! Read the reviews here!

 

Historical Romance Boxed Set is available for purchase at:

Amazon Kindle for $5.99 or Borrow FREE with Prime!


Excerpt from Of Historical Romance Boxed Set:

“Shall I let Lord St. Ives know that you are ready?” Agatha’s solemn eyes met Jeannette’s reflection.

Jeannette nodded. She had no choice. She felt like a fox cornered by baying hounds. It didn’t help that those hounds were the urging of her own conscience.

The maid closed the door as she left, leaving Jeannette to wait and to pace, her mouth so dry she could scarcely swallow. Tears burned behind her eyes and, despite the fire, her hands remained as stiff and cold as a cadaver’s. At least her family’s future was now secure, she told herself. Everything was decided, done. The trade had been made when she and the baron exchanged vows. She had only to finish her part of the bargain.

A heavy hand pounded on the door, nearly causing Jeannette to collapse in a heap on the floor. She’d heard no tread and felt completely unprepared to meet her husband, regardless of Agatha’s ministrations.

How could she be such a coward? she wondered, feeling ashamed. Would she shrink from her duty to those she loved?

Entrez,” she said, steadying her voice.

The door burst open, but it wasn’t St. Ives. It was her younger brother Henri, and his face was as pale as her own.

Jeannette dragged the heavy counterpane from the baron’s bed and used it to cover herself. “What are you doing here? What is the meaning of this?”

Henri didn’t seem to notice what she was or wasn’t wearing. “Jeannette, thank God I have arrived in time. Come with me. We must leave at once.”

“But I cannot–”

“Hush! They were talking about you. The baron is not the man we thought he was. He—he has plans to dishonor you.” He made an effort to compose himself, but couldn’t quite manage it. “Never mind.” He gestured as if he could sweep the confusion away that easily. “The details are too ugly. Come away!”

Jeannette stiffened in surprise. “I understand that you are worried about me, Henri, but Maman and Papa were strangers when they married and–”

“This is different.” His lip trembled as he pushed her toward the door.

“But I am not dressed!”

For the first time, Henri seemed to realize she was dragging the counterpane. His face grew red, but he remained steadfast in his purpose. “There is no time to delay. I heard them…outside…placing wagers…”

“On what? Henri, do not frighten me.”

His chin jutted out in defiance. “You have no need to worry. I am your brother. I will not let anything happen to you.”

Grabbing his slender shoulders, Jeannette gave him a gentle shake. “Stop this. I am a married woman now. I have no choice but to stay here. You know that as well as I do.”

“Listen to me!” He gripped her elbow as though he’d drag her away if he had to. “I have learned the baron cannot father a child.” His whispered words came in a torrent. “He is bringing others to your bed, to acquire an heir any way he can. And the men he has chosen are eager for the opportunity, even placing wagers on whose seed will take in your belly!”

At this announcement, all the strength threatened to leave Jeannette’s limbs. Was that what Richard Manville had meant? Why Sir Thomas had fairly salivated at the touch of her? Were they anticipating a turn in her bed?

She knew the baron had been married before, that the late baroness had borne him no children….

“Come, vite!” Henry pulled harder, but she wrenched away.

“No! You must go back down and act as if nothing has happened. Detain St. Ives, if possible, while I leave on my own.”

“But Maman and Papa…we should all go!”

Jeannette’s heart sank. How she wished that were possible. But St. Ives would never sit idly by and allow her parents to take her from Hawthorne House. His standing and reputation would be ruined. And he could easily stop them. He had power here in England, knew everyone. “Think, Henri! I belong to the baron now. And we are refugees, paupers! All he has to do is deny our accusations and follow through with his plan. Who would stop him, except Papa? And I will not have Papa dueling over me.”

“But you cannot go alone. Who will protect you? A woman on her own is not safe!”

“I can take care of myself. You know I can. But you must promise me something.”

Agitated and still eager to grab her and leave, he shifted on his feet. “Yes, anything!”

“Do not breathe a word of this to anyone, even Papa, until I am well away.”

Warring emotions revealed themselves in the look on his face, but he finally sighed and nodded. “Where will you go?”

“To London, of course. Our cousin Darby will help me, I am sure, if only I can get to him. After I am off, tell Mama and Papa where I have gone and then the three of you can meet me at Lord Darby’s in two weeks.”

“But how will you travel so far? You have no money!”

“I will manage. Just do as I say!”

“What choice do I have?” he asked, his bravado crumbling.

“Exactly. Now go, so I can change.” She hugged him, a close, poignant embrace, then half-shoved him out the door, frantic now lest the baron appear.

Au revoir,” he murmured softly, his somber face looking years older than his age.

 

Historical Romance Boxed Set is available for purchase at:

Amazon Kindle for $5.99 or Borrow FREE with Prime!


Connect with Brenda Novak:

Top Five Under Five Friday! {Historical Romance}

Happy Friday! Check out the Top Five Under Five bestselling  Historical Romance eBooks from the Kindle Store!



 

 

#1 ~ Into the Free: A Novel, Julie Cantrell ~ $2.39 {4.5 Stars, 43 Reviews}

#2 ~ Charming the Shrew (Berkley Sensation), Laurin Wittig~ $2.99 or borrow FREE with Prime! {4 Stars, 24 Reviews}

#3 Maids of Misfortune: A Victorian San Francisco Mystery, M. Louisa Locke ~ $2.99 or borrow FREE with Prime! {4.5 Stars, 62 Reviews}

#4Home by Morning, Alexis Harrington ~ $2.99 or borrow FREE with Prime! {4 Stars, 32 Reviews}

#5 ~ And Then He Kissed Her (Girl-Bachelor), Laura Lee Guhrke ~ $0.99 {4 Stars, 64 Reviews}

Click on the above covers or links to read more about and purchase the Top Five Under Five Bestselling eBooks at Amazon!

THE FRUGAL FIND OF THE DAY: The Devil’s Dime (The Samaritan Files), Bailey Bristol {$0.99 or Borrow FREE with Prime!}

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Bailey Bristols Frugal Find Under Nine:

Description of The Devil’s Dime (The Samaritan Files):

She is a beautiful, talented violinist. He is a crusader against crime, using his newspaper column to expose injustice and bring down those who lived on the take — on the devil’s dime. Now, in 1896 New York City, corruption and greed bring Addie and Jess to the brink of terror when his column puts an unwitting target on her father’s back, and Jess must discover not only who wants this good man dead, but how to save the woman who has turned his world upside down and captured his heart.

 

Accolade:

5 stars

A novel of corruption, madness, and mystery set in 1890′s New York!
Review by Mirella Patzer, Historical Novel Review Blog

From its beautiful cover to the engaging tale that unfolds on this book’s pages, there is much to savour in this novel of suspense and heart-wrenching love. The hero is Jess Pepper, a struggling journalist who is investigating a series of mysterious murders that occurred twenty years prior. He meets Adelaide Magee, our heroine, as she performs with her ladies musical group at a local restaurant.

Adelaide is seeking her father, Ford Magee, who abandoned her when she was a small child, but their first meeting does not go well. In an effort to mend their relationship, he pens a letter to her explaining the circumstances of his absence and how he secretly kept a watchful eye on her as she grew up. But a secret diary reveals that Ford disappeared at the same time the murders were occurring. Suspicion falls upon Ford. Jess and Adelaide team up to unravel the mystery in order to prove Ford’s innocence. Step by step they encounter corruption, treachery, and family secrets.

Beautifully presented, the story was interesting with fascinating characters. The romance between Addie and Jess unfolded tenderly, realistically, and without the melodrama one usually finds in the romance genre. The twists and turns added to the story’s unrelenting suspense as the hero and heroine face one difficulty after another. I enjoyed the unique setting of 1890′s New York where the author added wonderful descriptions of landmarks and period facts. For a nice cozy mystery, this is definitely a great read!

The Devil’s Dime is Book One of the Samaritan Trilogy, so keep an eye out for Jess and Addie to return!


Amazon Reader Reviews:

The Devil’s Dime (The Samaritan Files) currently has a Amazon reader review rating of 5 stars, with 7 reviews! Read the reviews here!


An excerpt from The Devil’s Dime (The Samaritan Files):

If there were mice, they knew enough to stay away when Deacon Trumbull took the back stairs to Heaven. The men who joined him might have profited from that wisdom. But it was greed and nothing more that had brought them to the table in the abandoned room above McGlory’s. And it was greed that kept bringing them back.

“He won’t last long.”

The hard voice and clipped words hushed the whining  tones that had escalated around the crude table. Deacon Trumbull’s malignant self-assurance hovered about them, silencing any objection the three men might have offered. His crisp, pristine shirtsleeves rested on the scarred surface, diamonds glittering in the opulent studs of his cuffs.  The cigar he nursed covered the room’s shabby mustiness with its rarefied aroma.

Below the table, supple gray leather shoes bespoke the man’s wealth, their white linen summer-weight spats ornamented with understated elegance. They weren’t such a vast step above those of the other three men, but there could be no doubt that their Italian felted leather linings made them the finest to be had in New York City.

The man they called Cash cleared his throat and flicked an ash from his own Havana Partido. “He completely shut down that Denver operation, Deac. He’s no slouch.”

Trumbull glared, his blue eyes hooded. The nickname annoyed him, had ever since boarding school days when Cash had begun to shorten his name. It had been a power play, purely designed to make the pampered brat seem an equal with Deacon. As if that could ever happen.

He waited a beat, and let his companions work equally to hide their nervous swallows. He would have laughed outright, if there had not been such a strong element of truth in Cash’s warning. He was absolutely correct. Jess Pepper was no slouch. But Deacon had already resolved that the man’s luck at uncovering a Denver syndicate that had been selling young, nubile boy-flesh to a hungry European market would be his own undoing.

Jess Pepper might have brought a million-dollar enterprise to its knees in that cow town, but he was in New York City now, lured by the fame a byline in the Times offered. And not only was he in New York, but he’d planted himself right in the center of the cross hairs. The offices of the Times were, after all, in Chief Deacon Trumbull’s precinct.

“You leave Pepper to me, gentlemen.” He swept his gaze around the table, pausing just long enough to see the subtle submission he required before changing the subject. As was his habit, he brought them back to the point of tonight’s emergency meeting before adjourning. “Tell that shyster at the Blue Blade that he can continue to deal for us or prepare to meet his Maker.” Trumbull stood, drawing the meeting to a close.

“And if he says no?” The question came from the only one among them who had come up from the gaming hells to earn his place at the table.

Deacon Trumbull speared him with his own questioning look. The man  knew very well what to do if O’Hanlon balked again, but Deacon felt no compunction at spelling it out for him. “If he says no, my boys will tell his widow she has three days to get out of my tenement.”

The three men nodded, rose, donned their hats and the suit coats they’d carefully laid across a spare chair earlier. Each one engaged in his own ritual of tidying his look before stepping out into the darkness of a Tenderloin back alley.

Four men went four separate ways. But in each mind a brief yet fascinating game of running the odds was taking place. Just how long would Jess Pepper last?

. . .

New York City was noisy, noisier than Denver in a million ways. Denver had cattle being herded to the stockyards down side streets, their bellows bouncing off nearby buildings,  shuffling hooves muffled by hard-packed dirt. This city, on the other hand, had folks being herded into clanging trolleys, their heels making clipped rhythms on the bricked causeways, their piercing voices sailing above the street ruckus as they hawked their wares or called for a hansom cab. All this escalated to carry above the sound of ferries trumpeting their departures from nearby piers. He reckoned he’d just have to get accustomed to it.

Jess propped one leg on a footstool and rubbed at a kink in his neck. He’d resisted reading the information he’d collected until he was back in his apartment, knowing from painful experience what happened when he became absorbed in a project. Spending the night in that basement morgue wouldn’t have been the worst thing to ever happen to him, but it was certainly something he’d consciously avoid.

For two hours he’d been so caught up in his reading he hadn’t moved. Now he dragged his eyes from the page and let his gaze roam the walls of his flat, blinking his bleariness away.

He followed the pattern of faded wallpaper upward until it disappeared beneath simple cherry cornices that topped the windows on two sides of his parlor. The east and south exposures had been a big part of what had drawn him to the place.

After all, a writer needed plenty of light.

Jess sat in a cane-seated rocker he’d dragged away from the heavily manteled fireplace and into the late afternoon light that streamed through the window. Articles he’d already studied were piled up on the floor beside him.

Many had provided tidbits of information that he could weave into his diatribe against the confidence riffraff, and his mind had followed a very lucid trail as he gleaned facts for the story in progress.

He had the makings now of several fine columns and even allowed himself to feel a bit of enthusiasm. That is, until he opened the last folder — the tattered blue one with the knotted shoelace holding it together. Twickenham’s “Christmas pie”. It had sat there on the table, taunting him, daring him to find out why the old geezer had hesitated to trust him with it.

Within seconds, the entire premise of his earlier work was forgotten as he absorbed the details of the reports he now held in his hands. The reports that had been tied into a bundle marked in large, faded letters, ‘Samaritan Files’.

The pages revealed details on twenty cases. All unsolved. All having taken place two decades earlier. And all fascinating.

The final article, printed more than a year after the last reported attack, when the city was beginning to feel safe again, encapsulated the crime history in chilling prose. The eloquent words stood out in harsh relief against the yellowed page upon which the column had been printed nearly twenty years earlier.

 

Samaritan Vanquishes

Midnight Attacker

Twelve maidens and six young matrons venture out onto the streets of New York City once again, each excursion inciting a bit less apprehension than the previous.

More than a year has passed since the last of these women fell victim to a crime of the streets. A year to heal and mend. A year to find courage in their survival.

And while they did survive, their lives must surely have been forever changed.

Two who shared their experience, however, shall never again see the light of day, their hearts having given out over time, perhaps unable to shed the recollection of horrors that descended upon them in the dark of night.

In truth, these two have perished of fright, and traded this earth for heaven’s safe haven.

And yet the other eighteen victims might easily have perished as well, were it not for the heroic intervention of a man known to this city as The Samaritan.

Tall, he is, and rugged of face, they say. But gentle of voice. His grip of steel wrenched fainting victims from the clutches of a fiend bent on killing. Or worse.

“Fear not, darlin’,” reportedly the only words spoken by their rescuer who appeared out of the gloom at the very moment each broken victim thought she had breathed her last. And each, when coming out of her fainting stupor, was reported to have asked her medical attendant, “Where is the good man?”

And that, dear reader, is the question that remains unanswered a full year later. Where, indeed, is the good man?

Some say the good Samaritan was a traveling clergyman. Others insist he was the ghost of a Civil War soldier, bereft at having left his womenfolk as he went off to fight the war, unable to find them when he returned.

If the sabered ghost could not save his own, perhaps he could save the daughters of someone else.

Still others, like Deacon Trumbull, a flatfoot cop on the beat, maintain the Samaritan and the attacker are one and the same.

Samaritan or Saint? Ghost or Angel? Perhaps we shall never know. Perhaps we can only be left to wonder.

To wonder at the flicker of fear in a maiden’s eye as we, mere men, approach.

To wonder if she might be one of the many who survived to fear another day, rescued by a good man with a gentle voice.

Who saved her from death. Or worse.

Then melted into the black night.

 

It was eight o’clock by the time Jess had re-read the most gripping stories from the faded folder, and he’d stopped only once, to light the gas lamp on the wall.

The scenarios were strikingly similar. Young women alone on the street after dark. Brown hair, small stature. Accosted and nearly beaten to death before being saved by a passing Samaritan.

And many of the incidents had taken place not ten blocks from where he sat at this very moment.

Jess focused on the random tapping of the crocheted shade pulls that danced at the ends of their strings in the light breeze. Was this the kind of place those young women had been coming home to when evil had waylaid them on the street?

Perhaps.

After nearly twenty years, these were dead stories. Glimpses of happenings that had gone stale in memory. He should not dredge up the anguish for eighteen survivors who may never have fully forgotten their nightmare. He shouldn’t bring a fear of the streets back into the public mind.

But Jess could not shake the feeling that from the newspaper morgue, from that repository of things long dead, had come this folder with one resonating voice that refused to die. The voice of a Samaritan never identified, a hero never thanked.

Jess knotted the shoestring around the bulging folder and wondered idly if the man still lived. If saving the lives of twenty young women had changed his life in any way.

Beyond the balcony the rumble of heavy-wheeled market wagons and trolleys had given way to the pleasant rhythm of carriage horses and the occasional sputtering vehicle motoring up Broadway. It was getting late. As the city sounds abated, the rumbling of his own stomach finally wrestled his attention away from the folder. Best attend to supper.

Jess organized the files on the empty half of an already cluttered marble-topped chest. His fingers ran back and forth over the word ‘Samaritan’, and even as he backed away from the table, he felt the thickening air that hung between his hand and the musty pages.

The story had him now. He knew that. He could no more disregard it than he could his empty stomach.

Jess snatched his Stetson from the hook beside the door and descended the three floors of Sutton House. With garish images from the gruesome stories still tumbling in his mind, he strode out into the night looking for food.

 

The Devil’s Dime (The Samaritan Files) is available for purchase at:

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