Wednesday, December 23, 2015

A Christmas Giveaway Extravaganza




I wish you all a very Merry Christmas and to celebrate the holidays I am giving away ebooks! What you sayz? Yep, all of the ebooks I have released are eligible (and are still "in print" and not including anthologies). 



Is there a book missing from your collection? Or are you just starting out and not sure what to read?









Here's all you gotta do: 

1) On the front page of my blog sign up for Eliza by Email
2) In the comments of this thread, tell me which ebook you want - don't forget your email address and how you want the book delivered (Nook, Kindle, etc.) The first person to tag/claim one of my ebook wins it. If someone beats you to the book you wanted, post a second choice in another comment. We'll do this until one of each book has been claimed or until December 31st. Oh, and one win per person.

Remember: First person to claim a book by its title, wins it!

I'm limiting this to Kindle, Nook and Ellora's Cave, since I have accounts with each of them.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

My Writer Friends: Welcome Ruth D. Kerce!

I'm so happy to have my friend Ruth Kerce in to tell us about her Christmas novellas. How did we become friends? We shared a release day some years ago (plus we are Word With Friends competitors.)

CHRISTMAS READS from Ruth D. Kerce

A big thank you to the wonderful Eliza Lloyd for allowing me to promo my newest Christmas release on her blog.  I’m also going to sneak in a promo for a limited-time, Christmas freebie for readers.  I hope you enjoy both stories.

CHRISTMAS COWBOY is part of the Reindeer Games multi-author, holiday series.  My particular story is a stand-alone, short novella (erotic romance).

==========
BLURB: He breeds horses. So what’s a cowboy do with reindeer? She knows he can breed & sell the reindeer, if he’ll only believe. Together they find their miracle and also find love.
==========

This story was such fun to write.  I write multi-genre romances, but being born and raised in Oklahoma, sexy cowboys are always a favorite for me to write.

Purchase CHRISTMAS COWBOY at:


XMAS AFFAIR is a short contemporary, holiday story which I indie published several years ago.  It’s a sensual romance and a quick read, showing that holiday wishes can come true...

==========
BLURB: There's no hunk to kiss under the mistletoe until a past love reappears in her life. He left her once. Can she ever trust him again? Does she even want to?
==========

This story will be free at Amazon from Dec 23rd through Dec 27th (if Amazon runs the promo as scheduled). Tell your friends!

Download XMAS AFFAIR free (for a limited time) only at:  Amazon


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Ruth D. Kerce was born in Oklahoma to a military family. She’s lived various places, including overseas. Not wanting to be confined in her stories, she decided to write multi-genre romances and loves the variety and freedom it gives her. She holds multiple degrees and has been a teacher, analyst & web guru. Now living in Nevada, she writes fulltime when life doesn’t get in the way.
Ruth’s website: http://www.RuthKerce.com 
Connect on Twitter: https://twitter.com/RuthKerce

Or email Ruth: RDKerce@aol.com

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Regency Country Life

I am very much charmed by English country homes with the large barns, green hill sides with grazing sheep, rock fences and nearby streams with the gently turning water wheels. These were the homes of squires and modest barons. The Bennets had such a home in Pride and Prejudice.

They had great names, usually prompted by a local natural feature or nearby historical monument: Broadoaks, Moat Farm, Oak Farm, Lakeland, Manor Farm, Church Farm, Old Hall Farm. In Wicked Siren (Wicked Affairs, 6), my country baron Alex Preston lived in Kent at Oak Hoo:

“Prior to my family owning the home, it was called Oak Hoo. Hoo being an old Saxon name for the spur of a hill.”
“Oak Hill, is it?”
“No. We never changed the name. Most
everyone still calls the place Hoo.”

Naturally when I pictured Oak Hoo, I pictured this.

And then there was Glen Arbor, the home of Edward Chase, the Earl of Redding. This story was Wicked Lord (Wicked Affairs, 3). While the home had all of the bucolic earmarks of a country manor, this home was more stately with matching landscaped grounds. Edward even tries to charm his new wife by telling her about the deer that graze on the lawns.

Edward’s gaze followed hers, glancing at the Palladian monument, a testimony to his great-grandfather’s grandiosity. Edward did enjoy the breezy old mansion, but then he’d grown up here, running the fields, swimming its lakes and riding everywhere else.

Palladian architecture is a European style of architecture derived from and inspired by the designs of the Venetian architect Andrea Palladio (1508–1580). That which is recognized as Palladian architecture today is an evolution of Palladio's original concepts. Palladio's work was strongly based on the symmetry, perspective and values of the formal classical temple architecture of the Ancient Greeks and Romans – Wikipedia

This style was also popular during the colonial period and through the Revolutionary War in America. Palladian can still be considered a simple, boxy style home in contrast to the showy Georgian architecture which would typically involved white paint, crescent shapes and wrought iron balconies.





It is hard for some to think of the Regency period outside of London ballrooms and the flurry of the Season but the country house parties, the poor relatives and the vicar’s daughter were best featured in rural settings. I find a lot of comfort in the idea of changing seasons, planting and plowing and the inevitable cycle of life and death. Both the squire and the duke would maintain their herds, breed their horse stock and “chill” in the country.

Nearly all of my story arcs end up in the country: for healing, for peace, for family time. I find the English countryside to be one of my favorite story settings.


Sunday, November 8, 2015

Dukes, Earls, Viscounts, Oh, My!

We're celebrating historical romance all week!

One copy of my book Wicked Secrets is part of the Grand Prize Basket in the Dukes, Earls, Viscounts, Oh My event on Facebook. Monica Burns and Amanda Mariel, the event hostesses, have told me the Grand Prize contains over 40 books, mine included. Daily giveaways will be held as well as other fun posts. I hope you will visit Monica's and Amanda's event. The link is http://on.fb.me/1MpxHjh





Thursday, October 22, 2015

Let me introduce you to the Forresters

Hi everyone! I am finishing up the second book in the Infamous Forresters' series. I introduced you to Adam in the novella All A Mistress Wants. The rest of the family wasn't clear to me when I was writing that story but in the second book, about the third son named Joshua, the family is coming into clear focus.

The second son, Roman, is the heir to Sterling and Adam's confidant. Roman is a bit of a mystery to his family. He is a gambler but he is so much more.

Joshua is a traveler and an introvert. He loves his books, his maps, his history. And he has a great weakness when it comes to women in trouble. He can't save everyone but he does try. I haven't titled this book yet. It currently has the original title of "Joshua's story."

Nicolas, the fourth son, is off on an adventure in Hudson Bay, Canada. He is a sportsman and a hunter. On a return trip to London he becomes involved with a metis - an American Indian/French woman with an unquenchable spirit.

And then there is Oliver. The youngest son. A military man. Assigned to the HMS Victorious, Oliver's adventures leave him clinging to life, one wild adventure at a time.

The Forresters also have a married sister. I haven't made any decisions to write her story but she will be around.

The next story will be out in March 2016 in the Seven Nights of Sin Anthology. Like this page so you can keep up all the latest for this release.





Saturday, October 10, 2015

Pre-release sale of The Darkness in the Marquess of Dane

On October 14th, my new release The Darkness in the Marquess of Dane will be available but you can get it on sale now for only .99 cents. After that it will back to it's regular price of $2.99. Better hurry.



Here's a new blurb:

“Is deflowering all that you expected?”

She turned away from his mocking gaze. Dane rolled to his side beside her, slowing as he came to rest on his back.

“I’m not afraid of you,” she said.

“Is that what you think this is about? That I’m trying to scare you? I have better things to do with my time.”

She sat up in the bed and peered over her shoulder. “I think that you have nothing better to do than intimidate anyone who dares show you a kindness.”

“You aren’t old enough to know that no one is kind without an ulterior motive. And, in case you’ve forgotten, I’m paying you. Neither kindness nor fear has anything to do with our time together. Unless I wish it.”

He swung his feet off the bed. “Dress yourself, Miss Turnbow. I’ll send for the carriage.”

So he wasn’t going to accept the price for which they had bargained. She couldn’t read anything into his decision. Should she be insulted that he did not want her? Or should she be thankful his reasons for entering into their Faustian bargain were to remain unclear and unfulfilled?

If he was inviting her to leave, she wouldn’t hesitate. She ignored the torn undergarments but buttoned her short jacket. Her cape would cover a multitude of outward sins. Her conscience would have to deal with everything else.

Dane stood at the table, his robe still disarranged and too revealing. He had collected a metal box that now sat before him with the lid thrown back. “Your money,” he said, glancing at her as she approached.

He threw the money on the table one bill at a time, giving her time to count. When he stopped at two thousand five hundred, she said, “But you’ve already given me five hundred.”

“Humor me.”

She reached for the money, feeling a moment of uncertainty now that Dane’s sexual excesses officially tainted her. Tarnished, that was what she was.

He started a second stack that grew to five thousand pounds, the pile of money in a small mound on the table.

“Another week, Miss Turnbow. What do you say?”

* * * * *

Mark stood at the library door, drink in hand, when Christina came in the front door of their townhouse.

Looking at her brother was more difficult than she imagined it might be—after the events of last night.

“You look like you could use a drink,” he said.

She did not bother to remove her cape, instead brushing past him and walking to the sideboard. She had never been interested in hard alcohol, preferring sweet drinks like ratafia or lemonade. Drunkenness to the point of forgetfulness seemed a good idea for the first time in her life. It would dull her memory temporarily, but she thought she’d earned a few hours to disconnect from her new reality, that of a fallen woman.

She poured the brandy into her glass and lifted it with shaking fingers. Mark reached around her and took the glass.

“Christina.”

She turned into his chest and his arms went around her.

There were no racking sobs, but the trickle of tears came. The pent up pressure crumbled beneath her brother’s support.

“I got the money,” she said. Before she left, Dane had stood at his table, counting out the bills as if they were ha’pennies. And then, when he’d counted out another five thousand, she’d almost gotten sick. His offer was untenable and no one would ever have to know about the new offer or the twenty-four hours she had agreed to spend with him.

“Am I the worst brother in Christendom, allowing you to do this wretched thing?”

“I had to help, Mark.”

“I know.”

“And you will be happy to know I am still a virgin.”

Mark took her by the shoulders at held her at arm’s length. “Dane? He didn’t touch you?”

She sucked in a breath and she felt the crush of anxiety at the realization of what she had done. “I didn’t say that. He is…very different.”

She reached for the brandy. Mark didn’t stop her this time. Once she swallowed, the golden elixir trailed down her throat, leaving behind a scorching reminder that she was not a practiced drinker.

She coughed and set the glass aside.

“Do you want to talk about it?”

“I don’t even know where to begin.”

“I will make this up to you some day. I don’t know how, but I promise I will.”


“Just help John make this right. Use this money wisely so that when I do have to give up my virginity, it is to a man who will appreciate my worth.”




Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Wicked Affairs, Book Seven - Readers' choice

Decisions, decisions.

I'm toying with book seven in the Wicked Affairs series. I've got three stories I'm working on and want your opinion on the book you most want to read. The titles are all tentative so don't read anything into them AND the stories aren't under contract yet either (so a contract will win out, no matter how things go here). So here they are:

Option One:
Wicked Shades
Audrina and Gray Paquin find themselves in a problematic marriage. Gray is the consummate gentleman but his wife needs a very strong hand. Audrina is the sister to Clarissa (Wicked Desires) and Juliana (Wicked Indiscretions).

Option Two:
Wicked Scandal
Emberline Booth (we met her briefly at Glen Arbor, Edward Chase's home in Wicked Lord) is a long time acquaintance of Trenton James (we met him in Wicked Siren, one of Viviana Love's backstage admirers), one of the ton scoundrels, who has suddenly set his gaze upon widow Emberline. She'd rejected Trenton once and he'd punished her in return - causing great harm to both families. What is she to do know that she really needs him?

Option Three:
Wicked Jade
Viscount Robert North (brother of Emberline Booth) is tempted by a married woman. (I know who this is, but to tell you would give away an upcoming storyline).

Leave a comment for the story you'd most like to read... And please bear with me on which ever story it ends up being. 

Can't wait to hear your thoughts.



Saturday, September 19, 2015

Imogene Farrell - Book cover reveal

I've got a new series coming up, something near and dear to my heart, mostly because I love the tough, foul-mouthed orphan Imogene Farrell.

I'm showing the covers here but jump over to the series page and you can also see the blurbs for each book.

I have the lovely Dar Albert to thank. It wasn't easy to find a cover model that would work for all four covers, but she got close.  I absolutely love the Book Three cover for the Frenchman's widow - it is so absolutely perfect for that book. Right now, I'm targeting November 1st as the release date for book one!



                       

Monday, September 14, 2015

Play It Cool: Release day September 16th

Wow, this release happened fast. Seems like just yesterday I was editing this story. Play It Cool is book three in the Cold Play series. This is a romantic suspense series, all with international settings from London, England to Athens, Greece and all points in between. The heroes are all very, very bad men who've come to the realization there is only one thing worth dying for - not country, not money, not power - but the women they love.

Blurb for Play It Cool!

Ingrid is attracted to the sexy Spaniard and he’s just the man she needs for a one-night stand. He’s the perfect lover and a great antidote to forgetting her fiancĂ©. Too bad she hasn’t told him who she really is.

Rafe is a thief and liar. He has spent his life breaking hearts and scamming the unsuspecting. Until he is caught up in a scheme that threatens his daughter, Rafe has never considered settling down. Until CIA strongman David Freeman forces him into a corner.

Just as Rafe finds love and lust with the peaceful beauty Ingrid, his world comes crashing down. He learns the hard way the woman he is falling for is the missing Rittenhauser heiress. Just the kind of woman he needs to avoid if he is to change his ways.

And just the kind of woman to despise him for his humble beginnings and illegal activities. One last job for Freeman to earn his freedom and maybe win Ingrid the old fashioned way...with sex and seduction.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

All A Mistress Wants


Last November, I participated in an anthology titled Wanton Christmas Wishes with a story titled All A Mistress Wants. Well it is finally available on its own. And check out this beautiful cover by Dar Albert from Wicked Smart Designs.


Eloisa Larkin wishes for the one thing she can’t have—the love of the powerful Duke of Sterling. Being his mistress provides many luxuries but being hopelessly devoted to a man who loves another as left her feeling alone and the last thing she wants is to spend Christmastide with him and his family.


In book two, you’ll meet Joshua Forrester and the mysterious woman who’s being immortalized on a scandalous painting. Coming soon!

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Wicked Affairs, Book Six: Wicked Siren Cover Reveal

Have I said this before? I love release day.

Wicked Siren, the story of Alex Preston and opera singer Viviana Love, is the sixth (can you believe it?) story in the Wicked Affairs series and will release on July 10th!

If you read Wicked Lord (#3) you probably saw the writing on the wall… Alex and Viv were destined to be together. They are true opposites – he a country gentleman and she a vivacious opera singer who thrives in London.

As a character, Viv was a fun one to write. She’s not like the other women of the Wicked Affairs series. She has scraped and fought for what she has but, seeing the twilight of her singing career, Viv must make some hard decisions.

For a Regency historical reference, the opera singer Angelica Catalani from Italy had an unrivaled career in the opera for seven years. Her singing range was nearly three octaves. While I didn’t write Viviana with the same sort of star power, she does have moments of fame.

And true hero that he is, Alex is the only man who can accept Viv as she is and recognize the torment that has haunted her past.

And you are the first to see the awesome new cover. What do you think? It is a great addition to the Wicked Affairs covers.

Blurb:
An unconventional woman. An inconvenient marriage. An unconditional love.

Famed diva Viviana Love will do what it takes to survive in London. Seduce titled men. Give up her child in order that he might have a better life. Hide her past so that she might have a future.

And when she makes the mistake of a lifetime a second time, she does the unthinkable and agrees to marry Baron Alexander Preston—the staid and proper country gentleman who believes life in the country is all a man needs.

Alex is confounded by the wild creature he is to escort to London. Miss Love is an indiscreet harridan who believes she can seduce him. And she succeeds royally. When she presents him with the opportunity for his heir, he does what no sane man would. He marries Viviana and finds his life turned upside down.


Alex has never felt more alive. Their nights are filled with passion, their days with conflict. When Viviana realizes she might lose her proper gentleman, the truth is the only thing that can save her.

All books in the series are stand alone but introduction of characters are best understood by reading the books in order.

Books One - Three are on sale at all the usual retail outlets.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Life in Brighton - England's royal destination

My current work in progress is set in Brighton, England (plus London) so I've been busy collecting useful and hopefully usable information.

The area, generally, had several encampments dating to around 3500 AD. "Brighthelmstone" existed before the Doomsday Book was written - that's 1086 folks! Here’s a photo of the page written in Medieval Latin and some non-Latin abbreviations. Me? I can’t make out a single word. I just find it interesting.

The Regency and Victorian period were a dazzling time for Brighton. The Prince Regent was known for his love of the area and spent much time there. However it wasn't until 1841 when the London and Brighton Railway made its first run between the two cities that things really took off. The railroad made the “day trip” possible for a mere three and six pence.

The Royal Pavilion is one of the most fascinating buildings in Brighton, which George began building in 1787. At a young age, George suffered from gout (all that rich food) and his doctor recommended he take the seawaters as treatment. The pavilion was a work in progress, extending through three major renovations but the first portion, called the Marine Pavilion, included a fantastic “Great Dome.”

George was partial to the French style which he used at Carlton House, employing French decorators, draughtsmen and craftsmen. “Something of this French influence was to manifest itself in the Prince’s new pavilion. On the ground floor of the north wing the Library was “fitted up in the French style” with a paper of brilliant yellow. The “Eating Room” adjoining was painted in yellow and maroon with a ceiling of sky-blue, and in it were four columns of “scagliola” – imitation marble. The corridors were painted “French blue”. The walls of the staircase were bright green, and the ceiling grey and white.”

Not everyone loved the Royal Pavilion. One critic, Anthony Pasquin, said, “The room in which the Prince usually dines may be compared to a sort of oven; when the fire is lighted the Inmates are nearly baked or encrusted.”

Years later, John Nash, completed additional enhancements to the Pavilion. The look of the structure is one that reflects Indian touches, including battlements and eaves of the Indian chujahs design. The last portions were completed in 1821 which including a new north face and the development of the King’s private apartments.

About the time the Pavilion was completed, there was talk of a railway between London and Brighton. During the 1830’s there were several steam-driven coaches and omnibuses running short distances but in 1833 a fourteen-seater Hancock coach began running between the two cities in eight and a half hours. An improvement but nothing like the efficiency the rail would bring. The approve was novel and appealing but was limited by the number of passengers it could haul along with the coal and water needed to power the coaches.

Finally, in 1840, the Shoreham branch of the railway was operational. It wasn't until the following September, 1841, that the main line opened. The rail was dependent on the Ouse viaduct being completed. At the same time the Merstham and Balcombe tunnels were finished, completing the most difficult part of the line. The project took three years and 2,000,000 pounds to complete.

 The Ouse viaduct was designed by the architect David Mocatta. It is considered one of the finest examples of railroad architecture. The viaduct included “thirty-seven tall arches and eight charming Italiante pavilions, four at each end of the viaduct, and the delightful stone balustrades.”

 
The first voyage began at 7:00 a.m., with nearly the entire population of Brighton there to watch, and the train arrived in London a little after nine. One hour and fifteen minutes (or longer depending upon the class of train – first class, mixed and “Parliamentary” trains.) Quite a change from the days of horse and carriage.


Both the pavilion and the railway are important to my heroine in 1841. Imogene, a child of the streets, is an observer of London, growing and changing with the times.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Imogene's World

Greetings, friends. The days pass quickly especially when time must be spent between an EDJ and writing... And the one thing that always seems to get neglected is the blog.

So what have I been doing?

I'm spending my allocated television time obsessing over Outlander, re-watching Part One of Season One. Only twenty days to go until we get new episodes. There have been some great interviews with the Outlander cast and crew. I hope you haven't missed them. This is the sort of epic I dream of writing.

Well I am working on an interesting project at the moment. Needless to say it is a historical novel but with this one, I am straddling the Regency/Victorian eras. I'm calling it my Dickensian novel. It is a four part story with two parts per book - the total word count is going to push 180,000 words so, for me, it will be a pretty big undertaking. I am currently writing Part Four, the final, glorious phase of my heroine's life.

Let me tell you about Imogene. In my mind, I see her as "Olivia" Twist. A street urchin with three brothers who manage to get by on the streets of London. She is on the cusp of womanhood and a certain madame wants Imogene to whore for her - a situation Imogene is resigned to. She has also met a certain gentleman who has taken an interest in her.

Imogene falls in love with Jack, knowing they will never be together. But he is fun and he is willing to pay her well for a few months of her time. Needless to say she is left heartbroken.

In Part Two, we find out what Imogene has been up to. She is a new woman, the widow of a respected Parisian merchant. And upon her return to London, she runs into the love of her life.

Will Jack break her heart all over again?

The setting in the first part of the novel is London but the second part is set in Brighton so I'm getting to know the town and its amazing Royal Pavilion, Chain Pier and other locales. Plus the Brighton and London Railway.



 I'm hoping Imogene will be available for sale sometime this summer with back to back releases.


Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Wicked Indiscretions

It's here: Book Five in the Wicked Affairs series. Release day is February 18th!

Marriage is fraught with emotion and I love writing about this bond. This is Book Five in the Wicked Affairs series and in it, we meet David and Juliana Abernathy. David is the strong, silent type and a reluctant marquess, titled after his brother died. He is married to the beautiful Juliana (sister to Clarissa Dunnaway from Wicked Desires and sister to Audrina Paquin that you met in Wicked Secrets) Juliana is vivacious and chatty, the perfect foil to David's seriousness. And his dogs love her.

They are madly in love and welcome their first child - only he dies in his infancy. David and Juliana are heartbroken and grief destroys their loving relationship.

Grief is a dark, debilitating emotion and has many facets, affecting one physically, socially and spiritually. It tears David and Juliana apart. This might be the most moving story I've written.

So here's the blurb:

David and Juliana Abernathy’s marriage is unique in the ton—they have real love. That is, until the loss of their only child shatters their short-lived happiness. Despair and anger drives David into the arms of countless paramours and Juliana into the arms of a notorious Italian Lothario.

When David realizes what he has lost, he arrives in Italy with one goal and snatches his wife from the bed of her lover, intending to bring her home. Could their situation be worse?

They are no longer the innocent, loving fools of their first year of marriage and they demonstrate that each night they are alone together. Beneath the hurt and betrayal, they can hide their love but their passion burns hotter than ever.

Monday, January 19, 2015

The Trouble With Scots - Release Day January 20th

I love this story.

And I lie yet again. I love every story.

Let's see, here is the order for why it's so great to write and publish.

First, there is the idea and the wonder whether you can pull it off. It works in your head. Will it translate on paper?

Next is the title. You've played around with a couple of options. You've tinkered. You've asked your friends. And then it hits you.

But you have to have a cover to go with that title. Yes, a Scot. Of course, a castle. When you get your perfect cover, you hope the story is worthy of the cover. It's that good!

Your story is dragging. Oh, what to do? Barrel through it? Or stop and work on something else for a bit? Then you get over the hump and it is so wonderful to write THE END.

Then off to your editor while you set up your pre-order at Amazon and B&N and everywhere else people might buy. And then at Goodreads, hoping you'll see your fans and some new readers click the I WANNA READ button.

And when my editor gives a thumbs up. A WOW! But you can't breathe easy yet.

The book still has to sell. Yes, RELEASE DAY! Ta Da! On January 20th!

Here it is The Trouble With Scots, Book Three in the Body of Knowledge series. Check out the Body of Knowledge page to see all about the other books in the series.


Here's a blurb:

Normally his visions were through his eyes. This one as if he looked on outside himself at the events unfolding.

Eadan fought to keep the vision alive. For once he did not want the vision to end.

One thing stood out besides the beautiful, laughing woman. He was wearing his clan blue-and-black kilt and a white linen shirt covered by his black jacket and waistcoat with silver buttons and buckles. His sporran was about his waist. The clothes were distinctive because they were the clothes he wore now, including the new broach he had just purchased in London.

When the carriage came to a stop, Eadan glanced out the window. A flash of lightning pierced the sky but it was a storm without rain—the kind one expects to produce a deluge but expends itself in the drama of threatening thunder and perilous streaks of blue-white light.

The inn yard was busy. Several carriages filled the space as the inn filled for the night, all worried about the hazard of road travel when the ground beneath the wheels would be unsteady. The noise was deafening and would have been crippling if his headache had remained.

But a certain excitement stirred in his heart and in his loins, for it couldn’t be denied the visionary miss had held his interest for far too long and without relief. He could almost believe she was a ghost, a figment of his imagination, except his visions were specific. He had watched her mature into a woman—a disturbing, uncomfortable result at times.

He strolled through the courtyard, entered the inn and made arrangements for a room. Glancing about, he was supremely disappointed to see there wasn't a single woman in the main hall, only several boisterous men well into their cups.

His valet, a proper stiff who made sure Eadan was turned out appropriately when he was on English soil, also made sure his luggage was carried in. Eadan requested a room at the back of the inn where, he hoped, the cacophony would be minimized.

“Would you like me to arrange supper in a private room, my lord?”

“Have the food sent up, Mr. Terry. I believe I will turn in after.”

“An early start in the morning?”

“Ten should be soon enough.”

“Headache, sir?”

“Remnants. Nothing a good meal and good sleep won’t cure. If ye could arrange for a bath also.”

“As you wish.” Mr. Terry gathered Eadan’s belongings and headed to the assigned room.
Eadan worked a coin from his pocket and tapped it on the wooden counter.

“My lord.” The chubby woman working at the inn rubbed her hands on a dirty apron, glancing only at the coin she was about to earn.

“Is there a woman here, about so high?” He held his hand to his shoulder. “Auburn hair.”

“Her name, my lord?”

He cleared his throat. “I dinna ken. She smiles—”

Eadan realized how ridiculous he sounded. The only thing more ridiculous would have been to tell the mistress of the establishment he had only seen the auburn-haired woman in a vision. “Never ye mind.” He tapped the coin one last time before placing it on the counter.

Eurydice. Where are you, Eurydice?

The trouble was no one else seemed to know where she was either. Or who. Was he going to have to go to Hell to find her?

He strolled to the main dining hall and glanced about the dimly lit room. A few of the inhabitants stared back, examining him over their pewter mugs of ale. Their shuttered looks reminded him he was more at home in Scotland. Then again, perhaps he ought not wear his kilt while on English soil. Even if it wasn't illegal.

Another burst of thunder sounded and another party of travelers stumbled into the inn.

The throaty laughter of women caused Eadan to turn toward the commotion.

His chest constricted painfully, nearly stopping his breath.

She used both hands to throw back the hood of her swirling cape and laughed again. “My goodness, we've only just made it in time.”

Her smile was brighter than a thousand suns and her dark eyes sparkled with mischief. He knew from a hundred visions her eyes were green.

Eadan stared, the realization heady and warming. His heart thumped with a steady beat and he heaved a sigh as if he’d been relieved of a great weight. And then he understood why he had never met the striking beauty. She was a Colonist. An American.

“Good evening, your ladyship,” the innkeeper’s wife said.

“Three rooms, my good madam,” she said.

“Of course. Right away, mum. Oh, and mum, there was a gentleman looking for you earlier.”

“For me? Goodness, I can’t imagine why.”

Her laughter filled the lighted foyer and she tossed a glance in his direction. Her smiled faded at the sight of him. The edge of her brows creased inward and her eyes closed slightly, taking his measure.
Visions of her had been consistent—always the laughing, sensual creature who came to him willingly.

There was a palpable tension between them now. Aye, she knew.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

She doesn't believe in curses...until after the ball

Was the rapid beating of her heart a mere symptom of disloyalty? Or a greater excitement? The ball, her scandalous dress—the mysterious and desirable man before her?

So why hadn’t she determinedly said no? The idea should have been dismissed with an arrogant wave of her hand and a haughty lift of her brow.

The skin at his neck was tanned but not overly so, as if he might spend time out of doors. His hands were roughened but not unpleasantly. His cologne, what she could smell, was light, fresh and not overbearing. Underneath the costume and faux accent, he was a gentleman in language and manner but he was not a dandy. His behavior was that of a cautious rake, subtly testing her will and resistance to determine if she had either. Was he playing a part too?

With little willful intent, just a natural curiosity to know who this man was, she stroked her finger over the skin of his neck. Contemplation of his question was a surprise. What was she worth? And was she really considering such a shocking—outrageous—proposal?

“I know a private place,” he said, assuming her lack of response was acquiescence. Maybe it was.

Was sin only about circumstance, she wondered? Here, at this ball, dancing with a stranger, he presented an unthinkable opportunity. What a strange word to describe something so inherently wrong. And something so foolishly dangerous.

An occasion to sin, that’s what this was.


An occasion to do something delightfully wicked, scandalous in magnitude and unforgivable if discovered.