Wednesday, August 06, 2014

New release, new series! Rogue in Red Velvet - Families fight with swords drawn!

Out today! The first in an exciting new series. Families feud and Pretenders have one last attempt at power. And men and women fall in love.
Buy the book at Kensington here, or at Amazon, or at iTunes.

If Connie loses her standing in society, she risks losing everything…except Alex.
When country widow Constance Rattigan finds herself in a notorious London brothel instead of at the altar, only one person can save her from the auction block. Alex Vernon walked away from Connie once before, when he discovered her engagement. Now that her fiancĂ© has betrayed her, Lord Ripley doesn’t intend to leave her again. But Connie has other ideas… She won’t marry him until her name is cleared.
Alex decides to make Connie’s wishes come true, but it’s not that easy, even with the help of his powerful relatives known as the Emperors of London.


Extract: 

The Auction for Connie:



Tension knotted Alex's stomach and he only pretended to sip the wine one of the 'slave girls' had handed him.
He remained languidly draped over his chair, handkerchief held elegantly, every muscle, every nerve under rigid control.
The girl stared out at the audience but because her eyes were so dark, he couldn’t tell if sheer terror or drugs kept her rooted to the spot. She swallowed as the half-naked man playing the slave master sold her for three hundred guineas. Bidding was brisk and the girl went to Lord Tyrone, who would at least treat her with kindness. His for the night. She was not announced as a virgin.
Next, came the first declareded virgin, a fresh-faced girl who probably came straight off the coach. She was definitely drugged. Her eyelids drooped and she staggered.
Cratchitt caught and straightened her once more.
Alex held his fire and she sold to a man for five hundred.
The trouble with watching something like this was that he wanted to buy them all, or at least the drugged ones, and set them free. Someone had lured them into this. That would play perfectly into Dankworth’s hands. But he feared the man planned more.
Some ‘slave auctions’ were good-natured, lascivious fun, the girls willing, the virgins of the mock-maiden variety. This was certainly not one of those. It was disgusting, the girls drugged or scared.
Cratchitt hadn’t even tried to hide that some of the girls were drugged. They were here for dangerous play, the kind that could kill them.
Dankworth would not win.
The next girl on the block was definitely drugged, her steps sluggish, her eyes half-closed, and she was not advertised as a virgin. Had Cratchitt checked? Of course she had, the bitch.
She’d probably examined Connie, too. Infuriated, Alex shifted in his chair. He could only wait, get Connie out of here and then put events in train. The girl wore a shift, which drooped over her chest. She was skinny, with tiny breasts, her bones protruding, her skin stretched over them. If Cratchitt had any sense she’d have looked after the stock better than this. A servant girl, maybe, looking for honest work and finding this instead.
“What do I have for this handsome wench?” The slave master tucked his whip under the girl’s chin, forcing her head up. “Jest lookit her hair, gentlemen. Down to her backside. Your own personal harness to control her with!”
The room fell silent. Cratchitt nudged the girl and she yelped. Probably less of a nudge and more a pinch. “All scrubbed this morning. All the girls here are guaranteed clean inside and out!”
At last, Alex raised his hand. Costly lace fell back from his wrist.
The auctioneer saw him immediately. “A hundred, sir?”
Alex shook his head. “Fifty,” he suggested. “And I’m being generous.” He couldn’t bear it. This girl would die before too many days were out if she wasn’t attended to. He couldn’t let that happen.
Nobody else bid. The girls that had gone before had at least a chance and he would have a quiet word with their ‘owners,’ if he thought it necessary. He memorized the name of every man in the room. Alex let his lip curl in a sneer. Why not tell them what he thought of them?
Cratchitt brought the girl over.
Alex gestured a nearby chair. “Sit her there. I’ve not finished yet.”
The girl shot him a disinterested look then closed her eyes. Alex poked her. She was dangerously close to falling into a deep, dreamless sleep, the kind people rarely woke from. She came to with a start and sat upright.
A buxom blonde followed, alert and chirpy, giving back what they sent her. A willing slave. She fetched a good price.
Then a woman, honey-colored hair trailing over her face in bedraggled tails. She wore a shift and a pair of blue brocade stays, cinched so tight that her ample bosom swelled with every breath.
Connie.
Normally Alex would find the quivering of such sweet flesh enticing. Not tonight. He felt every pinch of that tight lacing, every short breath she took as if it was his own. Look at me. I’m here. I won’t let them hurt you anymore.
The slave master grabbed a handful of hair and jerked up her head. Connie’s chin jutted out and her eyes, red-rimmed and watery, stared sightlessly into the room. All Alex’s muscles tightened as he resisted the urge to leap onto that damned block and grab her, cover her with his coat, hide her from the leering eyes of the crowd. Fury and sense warred and sense won. Barely and only for her sake. He had to get her out of here and if he tried violence, the room, rendered volatile by excitement and strong drink, would erupt.
The wine had its effect and the audience was yelling and hooting their approval. “That’s better!” someone cried. “I’ll give her something to wake her up!”
Alex would kill him.
Again, she wasn’t introduced as a virgin and Alex gritted his teeth, adding to the mental tally of what this Cratchitt bitch owed him. She’d had her hands all over Connie’s sweet skin. The slave master began his chat but calls from the audience almost drowned him out. They liked her.
Connie swayed as if she’d fall off the block. A tiny thread of drool slid out of the corner of her mouth but Mrs. Cratchitt took care of it with a rough swipe from a cloth. Connie flinched. If Alex had ever felt like hitting a woman, now was the time.
“Three hundred for Rattigan!” Dankworth cried.
Fury rose to choke Alex. How could he bandy her name like that?
The bastard was making sure everybody knew her name. Alex gritted his teeth and forced his temper down. He needed all his wits about him now.
Alex held his fire and let them bid. Occasionally Dankworth sent him a triumphant grin but Alex remained grimly silent, a supercilious smile firmly planted on his lips. He yawned again and shifted in his chair. Let them fight it out.
When the bidding had reached a pitch of intensity, but only in the hundreds he opened his mouth. “Five thousand.”
The room fell silent and the audience turned as a man and gaped at him.
He shrugged. “If we only have them for one night, we’d best get on with it, hadn’t we? With her, I’ll have my two.”
Murmurs followed his remark and a few “Hear hears,” too. Maybe they’d come straight from the debating chamber. But he’d made his point.
Nobody else wanted to pay more than five thousand guineas for the woman. After all, she was no virgin. They had Cratchitt’s word for that. When Lord Spinder opened his mouth and made a move with his hand, Alex met his gaze and let the smile drop. Gratifyingly, he received a shame-faced shrug and one man, standing at the back, nod in approval. An ally.
This wasn’t right and some of them knew it.
Thanks to Mother Cratchitt, no doubt coached by Jasper Dankworth, everyone in this room knew the name of the woman here tonight. Alex didn’t know if it was possible to recover from that. But she was barely recognizable from the woman he’d met at the Downhollands’. That could work in his favor.
Two bullies half-carried, half-dragged Connie off the block toward Alex. She staggered and stumbled, more asleep than awake.
He stood as they approached and swept her up, one arm under her knees and the other around her back, pillowing her head on his shoulder. Her hair straggled over the fine red velvet of his coat. The last time he’d seen it, she’d swept it up into a glossy knot, leaving a few curls to tease her shoulders saucily. He’d wanted her then. He wanted her now, God help him.
He nodded towards the other girl he’d bought. “Bring her,” he said curtly.
He strode from room, Mrs. Cratchitt abandoning her auction to chase him. The bully who’d shown him to his seat picked up the skinny girl as if she weighed nothing, which was probably not too far from the truth and followed him.
“This way, my lord,” the doxy crooned, gesturing to the stairs.
Alex spared her a scornful glance. “I think not.”
“Sir, you can’t take the girls out of this house. I bought them girls good and proper. You only get a night.”
Alex ignored her and headed down the stairs. Connie groaned and he took a moment to tuck her head more securely in the crook between his neck and shoulder.
“Sir, I’m warnin’ you—” Cratchitt’s accent grew less refined by the second.
He got to the bottom of the stairs and swung around, putting all his aristocratic hauteur into play. “I’ll warn you. Ask about me and who my friends are. Then try to make trouble.”
He was taking a risk because someone with influence and money had helped Cratchitt set this place up. “One peep from you and I’ll visit my lawyers. Abducting a respectable female could get you into more trouble than you want. And the other one?” He nodded at the skinny maid in the other man’s arms. “She’ll die if she isn’t cared for, I can see the signs. Do you want her dying here, or shall I take her to a hospital?”
“You can’t leave!”
“Watch me.”
He strode to the door and stood before it. The bully stationed there took a position before him and crossed his arms over his chest. Alex stared him out, his chin up, his eyelids lowered, looking down his nose at the man as if he meant nothing. Aristocratic hauteur often worked where swords wouldn’t. “Open the door,” he said quietly.
“Do it,” said the bully behind him. “This girl must have come in by accident, or somefink. She shouldn’t be here.”
At last, a man of sense.
The man in front of the door glanced over Alex’s shoulder. He must have received permission because he stepped back and flung the door wide. “And don’t come back!” Cratchitt shrieked after him.
Alex left the house with the other man at his heels, ignoring the madam’s shrieks that he should leave the other one behind. They raced down the steps and straight to the house next door.
The man stationed in front of it let them in without hesitation and slammed it in the faces of the pursuers.
 
http://lynneconnolly.com/rogue-in-red-velvet/

Tuesday, August 05, 2014

New Release and a Cover Reveal from Nancy Corrigan!


Today I have the huge pleasure of introducing you to the fabulous Nancy Corrigan, and her new release from Ellora's Cave.
While the excerpt is safe for work, the book surely isn't!


Hunter Betrayed
Nancy Corrigan

Wild Hunt, Book 1
Tainted from birth, Harley lives a life cloaked in darkness and temptation. She resists the lure of her evil legacy by holding the memory of her ghostly savior close. Every night without him is agony. She fantasizes about him and yearns for his body, but he’s not the protector or lover she’s envisioned. He’s a Hunter bred to eliminate her kind. He’s also her only hope of salvation.
Calan, the leader of the Wild Hunt, was created to protect mankind from the Unseelie Court. For a millennium, he’s sacrificed to ensure the horrid creatures remain in the Underworld, but his strength wanes. He must rely on his enemy’s daughter to save him, but he doesn’t expect the intensity of their lust or love. Her touch calms his wild nature and ignites his carnal desires. He’ll risk all to save her, but doing so forces him to make the ultimate sacrifice, one that’ll damn him to suffer forever in his own living hell.
A Romantica® Paranormal erotic romance from Ellora’s Cave
Excerpt

“Wh-who are y-you? What…” She focused on where his chest should be. He glanced down and saw the ground, not his body or even a ghostly apparition. “What are you? A g-ghost?”
“Not a ghost. I’m alive. I’m just not here.”
He stretched an invisible hand out… and touched her cheek. The surprise in connecting with her in a tangible manner nearly pulled him away from her. With mental fingers, he tugged her closer. He wouldn’t lose her.
Not now, not ever.
He slid a hand to her bottom and pressed her body flush to his. The cushion of her breasts stirred his lusts. His erection thickened in response to her nearness. Impossible, so he would’ve thought.
The half-breed fairy in his arms would one day become his enemy. A child of Dahm, she carried the chaotic taint he’d willingly invited into his body. It should’ve begun to corrupt her, turning her into a monster too. Yet…it hadn’t. Why?
Calan tipped her head back. Her dark blue eyes captivated him. Fear shown in them. After a moment, a desire to match his flared. He skimmed his fingertips over the contours of her angelic face. Possessiveness rose within him and mixed with an intense need to protect her. She was special. He sensed it, but didn’t have time to explore it.
“You need to run. You cannot allow them to steal the goodness you’ve managed to retain.” Because it belonged to him. So too did the female. He would claim both and she would be the one to free him.

Pre-Order Links (Releases SEPTEMBER 3, 2014)

Add to your Goodreads TBR list! Hunter Betrayed

Author Bio
Nancy Corrigan believes in unending love and epic tales with a paranormal flair. She enjoys transcending the boundaries of reality to take her readers on an erotic, emotional and romantic journey.
She resides in Pennsylvania with her husband and three children. When she’s not weaving sizzling fantasies, she works as a chemist in a pharmaceutical lab.

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Friday, August 01, 2014

Lynne Connolly Newsletter, August 2014



A big month this month. New series, new release, new publisher and a return to the historical romance, specifically the Georgian romance.
In May, the new “Even the Gods Make Love” series was released over at Samhain. I’m passionately devoted to that series, and I’m lucky that the third book has just been contracted, but this is the month of the Emperors of London.

Speaking of which, I had a recent research trip to London that I enjoyed very much. I went to the British Library, and renewed my love for the Treasure Room, which contains such wonders as two copies of the Magna Carta and the original lyrics for “Help!” and “Hard Day’s Night,” both of whichy mean a lot to me in their different ways! And we got to sit on the golden book!
We also wen to the Dennis Severs House. This is less a museum, more theatre, and it’s magnificent. It’s set out as if the family who live in the house have just left the room. Its creator’s spirit is everywhere, and it’s his legacy to the world. Please, if you visit, remember what they ask and tour the house in silence. Immerse yourself. Listen to the carriages passing by in the street outside and the church bells ringing out to celebrate the new Queen (Queen Victoria!). It’s a magical place.
The Geffrye Museum has some wonderful room sets, with furniture from more modest houses through the ages. It also has a beautiful herb garden and one of the very nicest cafes I've ever known, with fantastic home-made food. I can personally recommend their apple and rhubarb crumble!
And I got to see Nelson’s Trafalgar coat at the NationalMaritime Museum in Greenwich! I knew they had his uniform, but I didn’t realise it was the coat that he was wearing when he received his fatal wound! And it looks so innocuous, just at collar bone level, but it shattered his backbone, and he was done for. So sad, but such a thrill to see the coat and the other Nelson relics. Did you know he had a laptop?
How exciting to see Prince Frederick's royal barge! He sailed down the Thames in style in this magnificent boat. 
We also went to the Queen’s Gallery at Buckingham Palace, to the Georgian exhibition, and you can just imagine how excited I was! It was as if the exhibition was just for me. Lots of descriptions of battles, and layouts of palaces, notably St. James’s Palace and Kensington Palace. I photographed them all. There were a lot of details of Culloden, for example, and since the “Emperors of London” concerns itself with the Jacobite Cause, that was absolutely wonderful!
We visited the newly reopened Imperial War Museum, and the new First World War galleries. It's a hundred years since war was declared, and the gallery is very moving and presents a clear picture of how events unfolded. Highly recommended and on August 4th I won't just be celebrating a new release, I'll be remembering that day and what it meant. 

Back to the books. I wanted this series to show the struggle for the throne in the 1750’s. It’s less known than the battles of 1715 and 1745, because it went underground. But it’s all the more fascinating for that. After one last try in 1759, the Cause went into steep decline, but we’re looking at it with hindsight. Before then, the return of the Stuarts was a real possibility. But of course I write romance, and that’s what I’ll always do, so each book is most concerned with the couple at its centre. They are from a family nicknamed “The Emperors of London” because of their outlandish names, but each family has its own concerns and setup. In one, brothers are at loggerheads, but in another, the siblings get on well and the household is far more chaotic. I’m so fortunate as to have a contract for all 7 books in the series, and the potential to write more, if the series is a success.
I’ll be popping up on blogs all over the place in the next month. “Heroes and Heartbreakers,” for instance, and “Romantic Historical Lovers,” as well as my usual haunts of the UK Regency group and of course my own blog!
Instead of making this newsletter really, really long by including an extract to “Rogue in Red Velvet,” I’m going to do a separate mail and blog. I don’t want to overwhelm your inboxes! Coming up shortly, then, the blurb, cover and an extract from my new book. With buy links, of course!
I’ve decided to concentrate on the historical romance in the immediate future. The contracts coming my way are for that genre. But it doesn’t mean that I’m going to abandon the contemporaries and paranormals! Far from it, but I’m radically rethinking the way I approach writing the books and how I want to present them. For instance, using another pen name for them. I’d love your opinions on that!
As always, thank you so much for your support and your emails. I really appreciate you being here. If you want to review, or comment, or even help spread the word, I’d be very grateful, but please don’t feel obliged. I just want to write books that people enjoy, and continue to do so. If you read it and like it, that’s more than enough. But I am listening!

Tuesday, July 01, 2014

Newsletter July 2014. Two new cover reveals!



 July has come with a flurry of sporting activity – the World Cup and Wimbledon are both going strong as I write. While I’m a big football fan, I’m only a tennis fan for two weeks in the year—and there has to be strawberries.
But I’m also writing like  a demon. I’ve made some decisions this month that I’m still pondering about. Some have just happened. For instance, after a couple of fallow years, I’ve come over all historical. I couldn’t be happier. With two series starting this year, it seems my stories of Georgian Britain are in demand again.
Not that I’m saying that the old ones have stopped selling, or I don’t get letters about them, because I do. Every month I get letters about Richard and Rose – will there be any more stories? Will I write spinoffs about some of the characters? Freddy? Gervase?
Sadly, the way matters are at the moment, probably not. But for Richard and Rose lovers there are themes I want to continue to explore and characters I want to develop, perhaps take them in a different direction. What was it like to be different in those times? Gay, for instance? Or what if your family is dedicated to a cause you don’t believe in? What if you’re an aristocrat with no money? All different, and all need looking at in their own way, on their own terms. I’m busy working with that in the Emperors of London series, but in the Even Gods Fall In Love series, I’ve taken an even more extreme view. What if the gods are still among us, foisting their gifts on people who might not want them? Things that make them so radically different they don’t feel at home anywhere? Then add an enemy, a fight they’ve engaged in over the centuries, and drag in ordinary people who don’t know what they’ve got themselves into.
I’m thrilled to say that the first Even Gods Fall In Love book, Lightning Strikes, sold well enough to get into several bestseller lists, and so the series is off to a great start. The second book is on its way and the third book is contracted. Here’s your treat for the month – the cover reveal of the second book, “Mad For Love.” We’re on to Bacchus’s story. Blaize, the Marquis of Stretton is finally let loose on the world. Can Bacchus survive his Ariadne? Not only does Blaize have to cope with the fact that if he stops drinking wine, he goes mad, but he falls for the one woman he shouldn’t, the daughter of his worst enemy. That’s coming later this year, in October.
People who wanted to do their own thing resonate with us. There will always be loners, people living on the edge and people who don’t fit for one reason or another. They are my main subjects, I’ve discovered over the years. Maybe it was because I discovered my place, the place where I feel most comfortable, after years of fighting through worlds where I demonstrably didn’t fit. So I can sympathise and write about it in my romances.
Of course, it’s all romance and part of finding a place for me includes finding people who feel the same way, who are looking for something or someone. That’s what I do.
So, on to this month. My paranormals also concern difference and people who are hunting for part of themselves. In “Jewel of the Dragon,” the heroine is part of an insidious organisation that she wants to escape from. Or rather, she is refusing to have anything to do with it, but one of the people she loves most in the world, her brother, is deeply enmeshed in it. Then she finds someone, who by his very nature is different and apart. Dev Wyvern works for a successful auction house, but he’s also a shape-shifting dragon. How’s that for difference? He feels adrift, although he does have connections in Department 57, and works for the paranormal branch of the CIA sometimes. “Jewel of the Dragon” is now out in a new edition, with new cover art. And it’s cheaper! For those of you who already have the Loose-Id version, it’s probably not worth buying it, unless you want to collect the complete set, but if you haven’t caught up with the Department, now’s your chance. I should really do a proper promotion for it, but I’ve never found anything that works as well as putting out a good book and asking people to take a look.

Extract
Here you go with the new cover art, blurb and extract.

Dev Wyvern is Welsh, tall, dark and sexy as sin. He’s also a shapeshifter. When he walks into Alix Lancaster’s jewelry shop she knows her brother, Clay, is setting a trap for him. Clay is a member of the PHR, sworn enemies of all Talents. So does Alix betray her brother by warning Dev, or let him walk into a lethal snare?
Dev is drawn to Alix like few other women. But can he trust her? Sent by the enigmatic Cristos, the boss of Department 57, to expose a PHR cell, he finds love and danger waiting for him. He takes both of them on, and has to make a choice; will she forgive him if he destroys the brother of the woman he loves?
Will they get out alive?

She had no more defenses, nothing left in reserve. He took her in his arms, and she couldn’t resist him, but she fought her tears. No point crying. It wouldn’t alter anything.
Still, she found it soothing to rest on his shoulder, softly padded by his terrycloth robe. His arms enclosed her, not with desire, but with mutual comfort. He spoke, his words low, his lips against her hair. “Would you like a T-shirt or something to sleep in?”
She appreciated his kind gesture, but she honestly didn’t care. He’d seen all of her and still wanted her, the only man she could remember who didn’t criticize some part of her body. The knowledge came as easement in itself. She shook her head, clearing her brain of the smothering miasma of sheer exhaustion.
Gently, he undid the belt holding her robe in place. He led her to the bed and threw the covers back before sliding the robe down her shoulders and throwing it aside. He kept his attention on her face, but he slid his arms around her waist and urged her to sit on the bed. She lifted her legs, and he drew the covers over her before walking around to the other side of the bed.
She tried not to look, she really did, but from the first time she’d met him, his butt had attracted her, so when he drew off his own robe, she did sneak a glimpse at him. He looked fine, really fine. And once, he’d wanted her. He slid into bed back first, so she couldn’t tell if he still wanted her.
He rolled over, and propped himself up on one elbow. At least a foot lay between them. Even in her exhausted state, she felt a yearning, wanting to feel him, to touch him. And she knew she could trust him. If she said no, it would mean no, and he would accept it. Trust. Something she had used misguidedly in the past but never again.
“I could put a pillow down the center of the bed if you like.”
She grinned. “That would be a bit silly. Dev, I’m too tired to think for myself. You can do what you want with me, and I won’t complain.”
“You put me on my mettle. I can hardly do anything now you’ve said that, can I?” He smiled, a gentle, understanding smile that encompassed everything she’d suffered. “I’d very much like to hold you, but if you don’t want me to, I won’t take offense.”
“I’d like that too.”
She began the move, sliding closer to him, but he lifted the covers so she could slip into his embrace. His arms folded her close, and she felt their body heat combine into comfortable warmth. No desire.
Relationships were forged on less. Far less.