Tuesday, January 31, 2017

She Came With the Tide by Viviana Mackade, The Rock Stars, Our Songs Boxset.



He’s impulsive, fearless, and fun loving.
Erik Axelsson, Ax, had it all: talent, fame, money. He’d lived the rock & roll life fully and with gusto until it wasn’t fun anymore. Without a second thought, he’d traded the spotlight with the Floridian sun, and the guitar with a surfboard. Young, rich, and free from anything - what more could he need?

She’s innocent, scared, and in trouble.  
Andrea Smith escaped the life imposed to her when her parents joined a cult. After years on the run, hunger pushed her to accept a stranger’s offer for breakfast. She had no clue her life changed with that simple ‘yes’. 

But the past catches up with her, forcing Andrea to choose what person she wants to be: the scared cult member that obeyed in silence, or the new woman Erik made blossom. 



She had no clue her life changed with that simple ‘yes’



It was over. He would kill her, if she were lucky enough. Otherwise, he’d take her back and, this time, she’d stay. Because ultimately, David had been right all along.
Time dragged on in clotted instants. She wasn’t strong or clever enough to be free from him and the Children. She wasn’t worth enough to have happiness. Because of that, Erik had paid.
Her beautiful, fearless Erik, had gone down like a leaf when David hit him.
Again, she’d been useless.
David and his men got into the car.
It sure was the best option for Erik, being rid of her. Safer. Quieter. He’d told her he loved her and she believed him, but she also knew how forgettable she was. Soon, he’d get over her, find happiness with someone else, someone more like him.
Thinking about it didn’t hurt. Nothing could pass the cold she carried inside. She’d tried to live and failed, and it would take too much strength to end her life by herself. She would wait for the end–whenever it came, she’d welcome it.
“Let’s go,” David said as he drove away.




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Monday, January 30, 2017

WORST WEEK EVER IS 99 CENTS FOR THOSE WHO HAVEN'T BOUGHT IT!


THE YEAR OF THERAPY
DID NOT TAKE. 
Carrie is simply too sweet to work in NYC!
She is a kitten in a Shark Pool!

HERE'S WHAT REVIEWERS SAY:

By Rebecca Grimaldi (Amazon Verified Purchase)  5 stars 
Ms. O'Connor really hit with this book. Her heroine is fantastic, funny, and unforgettable. Her voice is truly unique. I highly recommend Carrie and Worst Week Ever. It certainly helped to make my week better!

Her Billionaire Boss is truly in love...with himself
5 stars 
The humor is everything from dry sarcasm to slapstick but there are laughs from every direction. I guarantee everyone could find something to laugh about.
Billionaire Boss is driving Carrie nuts!!!!

By Janell from Goodreads
5 stars

This is the cutest book EVER! I could not stop reading it. Totally not like most of the books on my shelves... But I LOVED IT!!


Do NOT, I repeat, DO NOT EAT THIS CHOCOLATE


AND HERE'S MY TAKE ON THE MATTER. 
THE BLURB

What do you get when you put a hardworking, can-do middle-class young woman together with an egoistical, outrageous, billionaire boss, then throw in the worst week of disasters imaginable?

Book 1 of the 5 book series A Long Road to Love, named Worst Week Ever.

Trent Lancaster spends one month without his Executive Assistant (or as his drivers refers to Carrie: 'Trent's brain, left hand, and right hand'). He's had a miserable month without her at his side and to ensure it never happens again, he intends to marry this brilliant beauty. Only given all the times he's threatened to fire her, he's not sure she even likes him. However, the future of his company and his happiness depend upon him succeeding, so Trent begins a slow one-week seduction that happens to coincide with Carrie Hanson's Worst Week Ever when everything that can go wrong does so in hilarious form.

(Hilarious to the reader, Carrie is not having much fun this week.) 
Here's Carrie's week in video

COME JOIN THE FUN!!!
Hint: That's the Amazon Buy Link

Feeling Brave?
Buy the whole 5 book series

Friday, January 27, 2017

Jax: Resurrection by Victoria Danann

JAX: Resurrection 
Knights of Black Swan Next Generation, Book 2

by Victoria Danann

Genre: Paranormal Romance






When you want a job done right, get a womanizing vampire. 

Being a vampire playboy has worked for Jax for 600 years. 

That's about to change.


New York Times and USA Today bestselling author, Victoria Danann, continues the breathtaking new take on Knights of Black Swan with a sizzling follow up to Falcon.


Early Reviews Say...
"NO ONE can tell a love story like Victoria Danann!" - Pam J.
"The thrill of the hunt at its finest." - Becky B.


The Next Generation of Black Swan knights continues the struggle to rid the world of "deadheads", virus infected vampires who are barely more cognizant than zombies. Jax, one of the vampires turned by the immortals, joined the fight and became Falcon's partner.


For six hundred years Jax has seduced women, drunk their blood, and left them feeling blissfully satisfied, but without memory of the event. It was a good and manageable life for a vampire until the deliciously wild redhead came along and showed him what he's been missing.


Find out why readers are saying it is awesome, riveting, steamy, and that they are totally in love with Jax.


Jax followed the woman into a crowded upscale bar where she was greeted by several female friends, also in their mid-twenties, also dressed as professionals. When she turned around, his breath caught in his throat. She was a titian-haired beauty, so like Brighton. She wasn’t Brighton, of course, but she was a near twin which, in his mind, meant feminine perfection right down to the last freckle.


He stood in the shadows and watched as she was greeted by the little gathering. She apologized for being late and asked how many drinks she was behind. Even though the music was near-deafening, he could zero in on the conversation halfway across the room. One of the advantages to being vampire.


Suddenly he was thinking that making a commitment to Black Swan had been a stupid move. If he wasn’t obligated to finish patrol, he could make a move on her right then. A move she would not be able to resist. As it was he needed to find a way to locate her the following night, when he wasn’t patrolling.


He melted into the shadows before breezing by her table and scooping up her little clutch bag, disturbing the air no more than would a waiter hurrying past. In a dark corner he opened it, withdrew her ID and memorized her name and address. Finding a few of her business cards was tantamount to striking gold. He took one, closed the bag, put it back before she realized it was gone, then rejoined Falcon on the street.


“Where were you?” Falcon demanded. “What was that about?”


“Sorry. Bathroom.”


Kris narrowed his eyes. “Nice try. I’ve been with you long enough to know you only go, what, once a week?”


Kris rolled his eyes.


“None of your business.” After a pause, he added, “At least three times a week.”


“The point being that the urge didn’t just overtake you.”


“Some things are private.”


“Yeah? I don’t keep much from you.”


“That’s your choice.”


“You’ve got an answer for everything.”


“One of the advantages of being six hundred years old.”


“See? You even have an answer for that.”








Amazon
The knights are losing the war with the mutated virus. Humanity's extinction is a possibility.



Black Swan needs a miracle.



Who would guess that it might come in the form of a womanizing vampire?


"Reminiscent of My Familiar Stranger."


The next generation of the Knights of Black Swan have been inducted and vested with all the privileges and responsibilities of the B Team legends in whose shadows they took their training. K Team is coming into their prime as servants of The Order, with most of their lives ahead. Or so each one hopes.


New York Times and USA Today bestselling author, Victoria Danann, brings us a sizzling new take on the Knights of Black Swan. The boys are all grown up and bursting at the seams looking for action.


Black Swan believed they'd found the cure for the vampire virus, but it mutated and the resurgence threatened to be the extinction of humanity within a generation. Help comes from a most unexpected source, a vampire.


Meanwhile, the new Director of Operations is cute, curvilicious and has Falcon reeling. And he doesn't need distractions when he's busy saving the world.


"Grabs hold and won't let go." - The Paranormal Romantic


The epic saga that has won BEST PARANORMAL ROMANCE SERIES the past three years in a row (Reviewers Choice Awards, the Paranormal Romance Guild) continues with a new crop of vampire hunters that we already know and love.


Grab your copy TODAY and find out why KBS is called astonishing, breathtaking, nail biting, spectacular, unique, and a wild and sexy ride.





New York Times bestselling authorof seventeen romances including paranormal, scifi, fantasy, contemporary, and teen. Victoria's Knights of Black Swan series won BEST PARANORMAL ROMANCE SERIES THREE YEARS IN A ROW. Reviewers Choice Awards, The Paranormal Romance Guild.

Victoria is co-host of the popular ROMANCE BETWEEN THE PAGES podcast. 

The rich characterizations come from being a lifelong student of behavior, casually, and a serious student of behavior academically. She has also studied comparative religion, myths, and Dark Ages history.

Victoria lives in The Woodlands, Texas with her husband and a very smart, mostly black German Shepherd dog.

Website ✯ Twitter ✯ Goodreads ✯ Amazon ✯ Facebook ✯ Street Team ✯ Newsletter ✯ Pinterest









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Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Death of a Sculptor in Hue, Shape, and Color by M.C.V Egan

DEATH OF A SCULPTOR in Hue, Shape, and Color
by M.C.V. Egan


Genre: Women's suburban fiction






Color-coded love stories and revealing female anatomies lead to the puzzling death of world-renowned sculptor, Bruce Jones.


In life, the artist loved women, almost as much as women loved him. Adored for his art, colorful personality, and sexual prowess, Bruce is mourned by the world. The multifaceted perspectives of his four ex-wives, the current wife, his new love interest, and their children narrate this pulse-pounding tale.


Loose ends are tied up by the insights of Sylvia, his son Aaron’s wife and a trusted keeper of secrets; Scott, the private investigator and family friend; Nonna, the quintessential grandmother everyone loves but to whom few are truly related; and Detective Jim Miller who will not rest until he discovers Bruce Jones’ murderer.



Mary: Wife No. 1


Thunder, lightning and rain, that was what we had at our wedding. However, on the day of his funeral, the Florida heat and humidity made my face shiny with perspiration. My hair looked like a dark Brillo pad. My children requested I attend the funeral of my first husband. Bruce Jones, the world-renowned sculptor.


The parking lot was already packed with an unexpected variety of cars. I then realized that it was not peak season. The South Florida snowbirds are attached to their cars and they migrate with them back and forth each year.


I noticed a police car and a uniformed man by the entrance. Even for Bruce a bit much; however, since 9/11 security has been tight everywhere.


The valet attendant opened my rental car door. “Welcome ma’am. Your daughter is waiting for you.”


“Thank you. Please make sure you keep the car in the shade. August Florida heat and sun are not my friends.” I pulled a five-dollar bill from my purse to tip him, but he shook his head and mumbled, “No, thank you.” After all It was Palm Beach. I probably should have pulled out a twenty.


I was surprised that the building looked like an actual church, at least from the outside. The church had a long name. It was Universal something or other; apparently, a place of worship with neither affiliation nor strictures. Bruce’s life had, after all, been too outré to pretend he followed any conventional religious norm.


“Thanks for coming, mom.” Clair’s voice shouldn’t have surprised me, but I stood still, focused on carefully dabbing my shiny nose. I clicked the compact shut, smiled and answered, “Anything for you and Aaron sweetheart.” She nodded as she guided me where to sit. It was toward the back of the church; the ex-wives’ pew.


“Please mom, don’t look at me that way. This funeral is a time for forgiveness and closure.”


Clair always found a way to get me to do whatever she wanted. The last thing I wanted was to be in the company of the women sitting there. I touched my frizzy hair, regretting my rejection of the keratin treatment.


Wife number two, Leslie, was the first to say hello. “Mary, you look lovely. It’s been years.”


“It has, thankfully,” I replied. The other two simply nodded, and I nodded back. Leslie, the one Bruce left me for, handed me a packet of tissues and winked. Forcing a smile, I took them. The idea that she assumed I planned to cry had not crossed my mind. I pulled the compact out of my purse again to check my makeup; it looked fine. Through the mirror I saw the reflection of the fifth and last Mrs. Bruce Jones, the widow. She was standing waiting for the ushers. I shook my head in disbelief. There next to Brooke was the coffin. The ushers waited with the coffin for the minister’s signal. It had images of Bruce’s artwork. Digital photography makes it possible to decorate anything in living color. Some of the images were blocked from my view by the ushers, but not mine. There I was paraded as a nude sketch. Each one of Bruce’s loves had a color and mine was pink. It was kitsch…even worse, it was downright tasteless.


Bruce had a type. We all had brown hair, and pretty faces with full lips and straight noses. The eye color varied as did our size and build. His type was limited to our physiognomy. I clicked the compact shut, and the other ex-wives faced me, startled by the sound. I shrugged with a coy apologetic smile. Look at the five of us; he had a type.


Bruce’s love also had a shelf life. He took the seven-year-itch need to scratch very literally. Some marriages were shorter, because sometimes the divorces got complicated and his new loves always overlapped with the old. Public or private, his relationships always lasted seven years.


I was nineteen when I first walked into his classroom. He was tall and muscular. I felt a tingle at the base of my neck when I saw his back, as if somehow I already knew. When he turned to face me, I was gone and completely in love. I fell in love with Bruce and the sculpture next to him all at once. I soon learned he made love in a way no other man did─not that I was very experienced then─Bruce traced every inch of my body with every part of his. At twenty-four, he already made a good living from his sculptures, but teaching remained his passion. As he grew older and wealthier, he taught short workshops in different parts of the world. His last one had been just a few months before his untimely death. He was after all, only sixty-two.


It was clear by the careful shape of his sculptures that he knew the shape of my legs, ankles, feet, and every other part of my body. His sculpture venues varied, his talent knew no boundaries. Bruce loved and sculpted as instinctively as the rest of us breathe. Whoever inherited the rights to his art would be wise to market his sketches as limited edition lithographs. Bruce liked to keep those private, but he always added color to the sketches in a way that made them works of art unto themselves. Bruce was as gifted with hue and color as he was with shapes. Those were the sketches that someone had the poor taste to use for the coffin. As the ushers moved around I heard the reactions of the other ex-wives, a blend of gasps and giggles. We recognized all the shapes and colors.


Focused on raising our children, I had not noticed when the sculptures started to change. That was when Leslie entered the picture. Bruce may not have planned to divorce me, or at least for years I tried to believe that, but then Leslie got pregnant.


Our marriage, his first as well, was the longest marriage, it lasted ten years. Three of those, Bruce had spent loving Leslie, but playing house with me. His marriage to Leslie was far shorter. I could tell by the sculptures he had loved her for seven years. We all met him through his art in one way or another. Wife number three, Petra, worked in an art gallery. Although not an artist she was very involved with his work. I derived great pleasure from the public scandal when he hurt Leslie that way, leaving her for a mere merchant. By then Bruce had a name, an art, and a face that was recognized everywhere. Leslie had ended my marriage, so curiosity as to who had ended hers interrupted my life for a time. Hers was the only one of Bruce’s love stories I followed carefully, aside from my own.


Aside from relishing in Leslie’s pain, his personal life did not pique my interest. I knew my children were always respected and old enough to voice concern if anyone mistreated them. I could not remember if it was the third or fourth wife who was the only one of us who did not have children with Bruce.


Chopin’s somber Marche Funèbre snapped me back to the moment. The elaborate coffin encasing Bruce’s body had been placed on a movable catafalque. The catafalque with squeaky wheels carried Bruce’s body in a guided procession down the aisle. He was always a large man and had managed to become larger as he aged. His appetite for food and drink superseded all his other appetites.


Leslie whispered in my ear, “She doesn’t look sad.”


Glancing over at the person in question, I nodded in agreement. The widow could not be described as grieving. Grief is, of course, different in all of us. The body language of grief, though, is universal; the defeated, slumped shoulders, head bowed, tears flowing. Leslie was right. The widow was crying, but they almost looked like tears of relief.


A montage of Bruce’s works on a screen at the side of the altar shaped in a semicircle created the focal point. The aisle inclined and my pew toward the back provided a good vantage point. The incline was slight, but pronounced enough to give those of us in the back a full view. The ushers seemed to be holding back the coffin so it would not speed down the aisle. The wheels continued to squeak. Bruce would have hated this. The minister or priestess─I am not sure what title this universal church gave them,─had a very unpleasant voice and thus was difficult to listen to. No voice, even a pleasant one, could compete with Bruce’s art. For all the rotten things I would be happy to tell you about Bruce Jones, his art was not something anyone could criticize. Even the most prestigious critics raved about his talent and his work.


The slides were in chronological order. The memory and pain from the sting of betrayal flooded me as it had twenty-eight years earlier. I could see Leslie through the corner of my eye and the blush that betrayed her shame.


As wife number two, she had been party to betrayal because she too had been betrayed. I know Leslie grew to love my children very much. I guess she saw me as an extension of that love in some ways. I felt terrible. I had been so curt.


My hand reached to her shoulder in a gesture of solidarity and forgiveness when the images on the screen segued to show the shape of ex-wife number three. My heart ached for Leslie because we had similar builds, and many would not have been able to distinguish when Bruce transitioned from sculpting my body to sculpting hers.


Ex-wife number three, Petra─a very tall woman, with long slender limbs─had a body that blatantly displayed the transition from Leslie to her replacement. The unquestionable change in shape left no doubt Bruce’s affections had shifted again. Leslie, pregnant with her second child at the time, lost the baby to grief, a loss I also knew well.


At that point, I did need the tissues Leslie had given me, but I was shedding tears for her, not for Bruce. I miscarried a child with my second husband. I understood her pain and sense of loss. Mine, too, was the last child, the child I never had.


Bruce never sculpted pregnant women. Consequently, wife number three, the one who had never been pregnant had seven years that boasted more sculptures than the rest of us. At the seven-year mark, Bruce’s transition into a new love story, a new model. Petra’s telltale sobs showed her grasp of Bruce’s tell. After all, loving Bruce was a gamble. The change of model in the sculpture showed his change of heart. Petra was from a foreign country, I never paid much attention where. My kids interacted with her, and she welcomed them with kindness. In tandem, Leslie and I passed her the tissues.


Petra took both tissues we offered and her lips moved in a quiet whisper; the words were obviously meant for Leslie, though I could discern they were, “I am sorry”


My daughter, Clair, had always lived up to the dual meanings of her name; clear and famous. Clair could see things with great clarity, and she could convey them as such. I could only assume that she knew the ex-wives belonged together, ‘for closure and forgiveness’ as she had said.


Clair’s modeling career had started in her teens at her insistence; she was not pushed nor did anyone suggest she should model. She knew she was very attractive, and she knew she could convey her beauty and charm to an audience, a photographer, a camera.


Her modeling spun into acting. She was as natural on a screen as on a stage. It came to her with ease, though she was happy to take classes and learn. My Aaron is also successful, but he is a behind-the-scenes sort of person. I took great pride in knowing that I had always been a good mother. I had known how to allow my children to forge their own paths.


Not everything in my life succeeded, but I was a success at being a mother. I recognized Bruce’s love shelf life because I had one of my own, with a trail of the remains of ended marriages or relationships. Mine perhaps more impressive than Bruce’s.


I guess Bruce might have been the love of my life. But now in my mid-fifties, I questioned whether a spouse or companion had any viable use? I loved art, my passion, and although my work is not as popular or renowned as Bruce’s, I have achieved a certain level of success.










M.C.V. Egan is the pen name chosen by Maria Catalina Vergara Egan. Catalina was born in Mexico City, Mexico in 1959, the sixth of eight children, in a traditional Catholic family. From a very young age, she became obsessed with the story of her maternal grandfather, Cesar Agustin Castillo--mostly the story of how he died.


She spent her childhood in Mexico. When her father became an employee of The World Bank in Washington D.C. in the early 1970s, she moved with her entire family to the United States. Catalina was already fluent in English, as she had spent one school year in the town of Pineville, Louisiana with her grandparents. There she won the English award, despite being the only one who had English as a second language in her class. In the D.C. suburbs she attended various private Catholic schools and graduated from Winston Churchill High School in Potomac, Maryland in 1977.


She attended Montgomery Community College, where she changed majors every semester. She also studied in Lyons, France, at the Catholic University for two years. In 1981, due to an impulsive young marriage to a Viking (the Swedish kind, not the football player kind), Catalina moved to Sweden where she resided for five years and taught at a language school for Swedish, Danish, and Finnish businesspeople. She then returned to the USA, where she has lived ever since. She is fluent in Spanish, English, French and Swedish.


Maria Catalina Vergara Egan is married and has one son who, together with their five-pound Chihuahua, makes her feel like a full-time mother. Although she would not call herself an astrologer she has taken many classes and taught a few beginner classes in the subject M.C.V. Egan's new series DEFINING WAYS uses Astrology and other Metaphysical tools.


BLOGS





Saturday, January 21, 2017

The Order of the Crimson Lotus by Suzanne Quill

THE ORDER OF THE CRIMSON LOTUS
by Suzanne Quill

Genre: Historical Romance




The Ravished Rose


Attractive, capable, intelligent, Elizabeth Mannings returns to London after two years on the Continent, looking forward to experiencing her first Season and finding a man to love and marry. Instead, she is brutally attacked, forcing her to flee London and abandon her hopes for the future.


Allan Ridgefield, Earl of Ridgecrest, no longer has a need for love, having had his heart crushed two days before his wedding when his childhood sweetheart fell from her horse and died. Ten years later, he desperately seeks a marriage of convenience in order to meet the terms of his father’s will and retain his estates and title.




“I know this is very awkward for you. It is for me, too. I, at least, had a momentary glimpse of you back in London. I knew you were attractive and from what I have heard, you have at least a degree of intelligence.”


A degree of intelligence, she thought to herself with disdain, his condescension raising her ire. Indeed! I’ve had the best education. I’ve read the classics, speak French and Italian fluently, and acceptable Spanish and Russian. I’ve even had some Latin. My logic is impeccable when I choose to use it. A degree of intelligence, indeed! She rallied to control her feelings before she erupted in his face.


Allan continued, “To you, however, I am an unknown quantity. You must be very intimidated by me, your new surroundings, and everything that has happened.”


Everything that had happened? Had her father told him the details? Did he know what she had actually been through?


“I hope this marriage of convenience will turn into a friendship, at least, over time. I will not force you to do anything you do not wish to do. Elizabeth, I will never force my attentions upon you. If at some point we both choose to, we may have greater intimacy, but for now I don’t think that is appropriate.”


Elizabeth stood as still as the post she clung to. Had she heard right? He would not bed her tonight? She did not have to tolerate his hands on her body, the intimacies she did not want?


“Elizabeth, did you hear me?”


She let out a quiet gasp of relief. “Yes, my lord.”


He started to go, then stopped and turned back to her. With great care, he laid his hands on the sides of her face, tilting it up.


Elizabeth stiffened once again.


“Look at me,” he said firmly but gently.


Her body trembled, her eyelashes fluttered as she reached for all of the strength she could to gaze up, to face the man she had married, her husband. When their eyes met, she was sure he could see the fear, distrust, the sense of danger that must reflect in her eyes.


She could see . . . What? His eyes were clear and blue. They held strength and coldness, but something more. She could see gentleness, like his voice. He could take her if he wished. He certainly had the size and strength to do it. But that did not show in his eyes, nor his touch. Both were gentle now. Tender to her.


His voice broke into her thoughts. “Elizabeth . . . may I kiss you good night?”


What should she say? What should she do? He was her husband. He had promised not to force his attentions. His hands strong and warm against her face, his eyes delved deeply into hers. “Yes, my lord,” she heard herself say, not knowing from where the answer came.


He bent over her to gently brush his lips on hers. Then he pressed his mouth to hers, firmly, tenderly.
Shivers coursed through her body, not missing a spot. His energy poured through her. The heat in her heart rose.


Review of The Ravished Rose by Suzanne Quill

This is a well written, long book, of the late Regency era.
All in all, I enjoyed the book a great deal. There were a few pages of describing furniture, fabric, and beadings that went on for too long, but that was the only time I skimmed, and this was a very long book. So kudos to the author.

The premise was most interesting and engaged me right off. I genuinely like both the hero and the heroine. While I suspected the identity of the villain early on, it didn’t undermine my enjoyment of the story. The story was fabulous throughout. It did not require a surprise villain to shock all.

Elizabeth’s friend Amanda and her new sister in law, Helen, both left me with ample mistrust of each. Not sure if that’s what the author intention, but I’d never trust either of them again. (A reader doesn’t have to like everyone in the book. They just need to genuine people, which they most decidedly are!)

And the villain. Now he is very evil.

I received an ARC for an honest review of this book.









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An Improper Seduction


Geoffrey Chisholm doesn’t want to be the head of a family, no less a marquess. But, his life radically alters when a cousin dies. At five and thirty, he must manage estates, marry, and provide an heir. A difficult chore considering how jaded he has become with affairs in the ton. He refuses to leg-shackle himself to just any woman; she must be one for whom he has some feelings.


Most women live to marry or must do so for family or finances. Angeline Hartley, her father’s estates unentailed, has no requirement to wed. Two years past her thirtieth year, she is on the shelf, her life contentedly complete. After the Marriage Mart and encounters with local gentlemen, she has vowed to remain unattached. After all, men do it when they have no need of a wife.


But Geoffrey meets Angeline and entices her to sample the intimacies of lovemaking. The coupling is explosive and now two strong-willed individuals must decide if they will give up personal stubbornness to make a bond for a lifetime.



“Lady Angeline,” Geoffrey began, “I will be off shortly.” He would for sure if he didn’t get his rampant sex away from her immediately. “I thought it best to come to say goodbye. And, before I take my leave, I thought I should tell you your father has given me leave to court you.”


Angeline turned upon her heel, her eyes blazing, the seafoam depths now a raging sea, wrath plain upon her angelic face. “I think not, my lord. I have no desire for your attentions,” she said with scorn. “You shall only be wasting my time and yours in such a fruitless endeavor. Leave me be. I do not wish to be the center of your marital goals. Surely there is some other woman who would be easier met to satisfy your needs.”


“There is no one else I wish to assuage my needs, my lady,” Geoffrey assured her as his rod twitched within his trousers. “And to attain your interests ours will not be a proper English courting.”


Throwing caution to the wind and taking the bold path, Geoffrey lowered his voiced and asked, “Tell me, my lady, have you ever felt the pleasures of a man? Have you ever swelled under the feelings of desire?”


The heat and color rose to Angeline’s face so quickly Geoffrey could not help but see it.


“That is none of your affair, sir. What I have or have not felt is no one’s business but my own. Your questions are most improper.”


Geoffrey moved a few steps closer, putting him less than a foot from her. He could easily reach out now to stroke her hair, her breasts, to raise her skirts from over her sensual derrière. “I thought not, based upon our little encounter this morning. My dear Angeline. . .”


“I gave you no leave to call me by my Christian name,” she spat out at him. “Please desist from these efforts and leave me be.”


Eyes still glaring, she refused to give him the satisfaction of backing off. She remained rooted in place before him, her cheeks an explosion of red color.


“Lady Angeline,” he went on, ignoring her reprimand, “let me be blunt. Do you truly wish to die a virgin? Do you have no thought to leave this plane having some knowledge of the secrets held between a man and a woman?” he quietly demanded. Only inches from her face, her lips, pink and full, enticed him to take them with his own.


***


Angeline was startled and appalled by his inquiry. “That is no business or concern to you, my lord.” But the heat was pooling in her abdomen.


What was it like to feel such things with a man?


“Ah, but it is, my lady, because I choose to be the one to teach you the pleasures between the sexes. You may never marry, me nor anyone else, but you shall not go to your grave pristine and untutored. You shall know the very meaning of passion and desire.”


His eyes were heavy-lidded and held a glint of knowledge she knew she wished to share. But she would not. Especially not with this. . .this. . .rake.





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Only You


Denied the right to marry his beloved Jessica due to his depleted estate, Jonathan Stratton, the Earl of Sheffield, travels the world in search of his fortune. Not only does he gain wealth, he learns the ancient Tantric sexual teachings of the Order of the Crimson Lotus. Returning after a five-year voyage, which was only supposed to take three, he finds Jessica more beautiful and desirous than when he left and married another.


Heiress Jessica Esterly, Lady Wickham, is beside herself. Not only was she forced to marry a man she did not love, she discovers him to be a debauched, avaricious rake of the first water. To make matters worse, she's having nefarious nightmares and hauntings that are threatening to drive her mad.


Then Jonathan returns, handsome, wealthy, and ready to love her and share the ancient Tantric mysteries of the Order of the Crimson Lotus.


How is she to tell Jonathan of her impending madness? How is she to tell him her husband will kill her rather than give up any of the funds her inheritance provides?



“No, no, that’s not all of it!” She jerked away from him. “There’s more, you see. You’ll not want me after you know but I must tell you. I am . . . I’m losing my mind. I’m going quite mad. I know I am. The sounds, the visions . . .” Jessica collapsed against his shoulder and sobbed once again.


“Mad, Jessica? What are you talking about? There’s no one in your family who has ever gone mad, no such tendency. Whatever would make you think you’re going mad?” Jonathan nudged her gently away so he could scan her tear-stained face. Tears were still coursing down her cheeks.


“Truly, Jonathan, I’m not making this up. I wake in the middle of the night for no reason at all. Then I hear sounds, awful sounds.” Jessica’s voice cracked with anguish.


“Tell me about the sounds, my heart, I’m listening.” He cleared his mind of all other thoughts as he held her gently to his chest, his only concern now her current state of safety and well-being.


“Moans and groans and chains. They start softly at first. I can barely hear them when they start. They sound so far away.” Jessica’s eyes glazed as she seemed to go into a trance. Then she came back to herself abruptly. “They get louder and closer. Soon they’re right inside my room. And then it comes. I know not what it is.”


“You see something, my heart? Something appears to you?” he inquired with care.


“Yes, yes. It’s white, I think, and not quite there. It seems to float. It groans and moans. Sometimes I think it calls my name. Sometimes it reaches out to me.” Her voice was still strained, her face downcast.


“Who have you told about this? Who else has seen or heard the vision?”


“No one else that I know of. I told Martin. He told me I was dreaming, having a nightmare. He says they can recur when a conscience is not clear. That there has never been a ghost in the house before. He suggested I might grasp a little tighter on to reality,” she said forlornly.


“I see,” Jonathan said, his mind reviewing all she had said. “It’s all right, my heart, maybe it was a bad dream. Maybe it’s not. Promise me you’ll let me know the next time it happens.”


“I never know when it will happen, Jonathan. It just does.”


“I know, Jessica, but I’m here now, you don’t have to go through this, or anything else, alone. Promise me. Promise that you’ll come to me or send a message the next time it occurs. Maybe I’ll see it, too, or maybe I’ll be able to figure out what it is.”


“Yes, Jonathan, I’ll let you know. It would be a relief to share my nightmare with someone. It would be even better if I could make it go away. I promise, I’ll let you know.” She dropped her head against his shoulder. She was so tired, tired of being scared, tired of crying, tired of being alone and lonely.





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If Love Were Enough


Priscilla Brunell, Marchioness of Rutherford, is in desperate need of a son and heir. Her seventy-year-old husband of ten years has died leaving her a virgin and the protectress of his estates. If she can’t produce a son in the next nine months, the current heir, Damon, will succeed in ruining the family fortunes in a matter of a few years due to his gaming and womanizing. Dare she ignore her morals and pass another man’s child off as her husband’s? Can she do so without losing her heart?


Soon to be the Viscount Brookfield, Brandon Bradley arrives at a house party at the insistence of his dying father. In all rights, he should be home marrying Estella and begetting his heir. Estella is certainly pleasant and attractive, but in all their years of friendship he has never felt anything but a cold distance from her. Then he meets Lady Rutherford. Not only can she help him through his grief, he is immediately attracted to her. Can he let down his father and Estella merely for his own benefit? Can he break the pattern of society and marry for love?


Priscilla thought of her last moments with Robert, how he held her hand so weakly, his hand frail and dry clasping hers. He had looked into her eyes, but the twinkle had dulled in his. Still, his earnestness, his caring, had been apparent.


He counseled her to find another and to marry once again. But he begged her not to be dictated to by Society. She would have money from his estate. She should look for a man to love her not her fortune. Look for someone who could gratify her in all the ways his old, arthritic and impotent body failed to do. She should find someone who would teach her the full meaning of marriage and the conjugal relations that could be shared within its bounds. She should seek gratification that could be given by another.


Tears ran down her cheeks again, and she dabbed at them as she tried to regain her composure. She turned her face away again using the brim of her bonnet to hide the image of her grief.


She was afraid and intimidated by such thoughts. Of course, she knew what should happen in bed between a man and a woman. But that never happened with Robert because of his maladies. After waiting so long, she feared she would not be able to release herself to someone else’s care and tenderness, no less return the same intimacy with him.


Robert asked too much of her, considering he could never demonstrate what she should expect to give or have returned.


But she had smiled and reassured him amidst her tears. She agreed she would try. If it never occurred, it would not be her fault, nor would it be a promise broken since it was predicated on deep feelings that would never exist.


But she would have a man bed her in hopes of an heir. And, if she could manage it and get over this incessant crying, she would like to make it this handsome stranger who had some of Robert’s younger features and seemed so much kinder than she could have ever hoped.


Her companion shifted next to her. A shiver ascended her spine once again. She was sitting too close if she could sense him so easily.


And she could breathe the scent of him.


This man did not smell of ointments and age. He smelled of sandalwood, leather, and something indefinably male. She knew too little of the world in general and men in particular to be comfortable in his company.


But he did quirk her interest. And he could solve her problem. He could unknowingly gift her with a son.


Knowing what an old man felt like beneath her hands, what would this Corinthian, with his muscles and strength, feel like when her fingertips slid over his skin?


She felt heat pool in her belly as her thoughts meandered to the intimacies she could share with him.
And he, being a rake of the first water, would know what to do with a lady, to her, to deliver on the promises whispered between them before the mating.





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Suzanne Quill, the nom-de-plume for Susan Dudics Dean, has been pursuing a fiction career for over fifteen years. With prior experience writing articles for interior design trade magazines and local newspapers she decided to find a more creative outlet for her vivid imagination. Inspired by romances from such icons as Amanda Quick, Diana Gabaldon and Mary Balogh, she chose historicals as her first genre. She is currently writing a sensuous series called The Order of the Crimson Lotus. The series includes: If Love Were Enough, Only You, An Improper Seduction, and The Ravished Rose. All are offered through Soul Mate Publishing and Amazon.com.


Currently a member of Romance Writers of America and the Washington Romance Writers Chapter, Suzanne lives in the Eastern Panhandle of West Virginia. She is happily married, has a beautiful daughter, two inside cats and two outside cats. After years of running a successful interior design business that started in Southern California, relocated to the San Francisco Bay Area and finally in the Greater Washington D.C. Area, she has finally retired to pursue her writing dreams full time.


Look for more in the Crimson Lotus series soon and contemporary romances under the name of Susan Dean in the near future.


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