Tuesday, April 01, 2014

Newsletter April 2014. The Emperors of London are coming! And a re-release of an old favourite.

News

Here it is. If you’re on Facebook you might have heard this already but I was absolutely bursting with this last month. However the contract was only just signed and verified, so I didn’t want to say anything until it was done.
I’ve signed a new contract with Kensington Lyrical and it’s for a new series of historical romances set in the mid-eighteenth century. This is my first big venture into “straight” historical since Richard and Rose came to an end last year, and I’m super-excited about it.
When I wrote the first book it was planned as Freddy’s story. Freddy from Richard and Rose, since so many people asked me for it. But the book didn’t turn out as well as I wanted, and so I put it aside and worked on it. Occasionally I’d send out a version of it, but it still didn’t do it for me.
I loved the central idea, that of a respectable widow tempted by a rogue, who is forced to rescue her when she is drugged and put up for auction at a whorehouse, but somehow the theme was missing.
Then I started reading my text books, and I hit on the idea. What if this was part of a scheme by the Jacobites to bring the hero and his family down?
The 1750’s was packed with Jacobite schemes. They didn’t just go away after the ‘forty five. In 1752 there was a scheme to assassinate George II, for instance, and the Young Pretender visited London at least once. Probably more times.
The new series is concerned with a family nicknamed “The Emperors of London” because the Duke of Kirkburton and his sisters decided to call their children after emperors and empresses of the past.
The first book had long left Freddy gasping in the dust, poor boy. So the new hero is Alex. A revision using the enemies of the Emperors, the Dankworths, and the story had the backbone it needed. More ideas happened, because I couldn’t leave the cousins as also-rans, and I packaged the whole scheme up and sent it off.
Renee Rocco at Kensington Lyrical loved it. And I’m now thrilled to tell you that the first in the new series, “Rogue in Red Velvet” is out this September.
Such exciting news! I have a beautiful cover for the book, which I’ll be revealing on my website shortly, but I want to do the series justice and give it a lovely set of pages all to itself.

And don’t forget that I also have a new series from Samhain, the first of which is out next month. It’s historical paranormal, but the history is as accurate as I can make it, trying to blend the paranormal elements in. All the events “could have” happened! “Lightning Strikes” is a project that’s been building for a long time. In fact, I conceived the idea years ago, but I didn’t have the time to develop it until recently. And my new editor at Samhain, Amy Sherwood, is as enthusiastic as I am about the series. We get on line and talk myths!
I’m planning to showcase that series in the newsletter next month, so stay tuned.

Plans for RT Convention are almost complete. I’m sorting out my wardrobe now. As usual, I have far too many clothes to pack, so I’ll have to winnow them down. I either travel with a pair of jeans and a couple of T-shirts, or I go way OTT, and dress up in the froth. I’m doing Gothic Fairy this RT, so there’s lots of froth! If you’re anywhere near New Orleans, do drop in and give me a yell!

And just before RT I’m giving a talk about Writing the Erotic Romance at Warrington Literature Festival, here in the UK. That’s on May 3rd, a Saturday. Local recognition, no less!

The new release this month is a reissue, at a cheaper price, of “Griffin’s Treasure,” my Dept 57 story about a British soccer star and an ex-cop from San Francisco. Get it for $3.99 instead of its original price of $7.99!
More details and an excerpt below! And check out that gorgeous new cover!

Excerpt


International soccer star Josh Friedland has a secret. He’s a griffin shapeshifter, and a covert operative for Department 57. Josh’s brother Laurie is missing, and Josh is sure businessman George Skeffington is involved.
So he can’t trust Skeffington’s stepdaughter, Chana Rafiz, even though he wants her with every cell in his body.
When her controlling stepfather asks Chana to look after his guest, she suspects another trick to keep her by his side. Only to find that Josh is the man she’s been waiting for all her life.
Long, hot Californian nights see their bodies twined in more inventive positions than Chana knew existed, but when she finally discovers his secret, she uncovers one of her own. One she doesn’t even know about herself.
Together, Josh and Chana have to face dangers only Department 57 can help them with, only to plunge the whole Department into peril. If Cristos and the Department are to endure, Josh and Chana must succeed in their mission.

Excerpt
Exhaustion filled Chana. Knowing she had to get up in the morning to attend to Josh’s requirements, she staggered upstairs to get to bed as quickly as possible. Only when she stood outside the door to her bedroom did she realize her stepfather hadn’t even thanked her for her efforts. She remained by the door, her forehead resting on the wall, gathering her thoughts before she went inside, because she knew as soon as she took off her clothes, she’d be asleep.
A sound just behind her made her start, fully awake. “Tired?”
“Oh, I didn’t hear you.” Heart beating wildly, she turned to confront Josh.
He stood very close to her, so he didn’t have to move to take her in his arms, except to curve them around her and urge her to lean against him instead of the wall.
“You’re done in. Come on, I’ll help you.”
He’d changed out of his tuxedo and wore a soft robe of silk that came down to his knees. As far as she knew he wore nothing else.
She heard the catch on her door click as he opened it, and then he guided her inside.
“I’ll just help you into bed. Then I’ll go. I won’t hit on you. Enough people have tried to do that tonight.” His voice turned grim. “I hope your stepfather’s paying you well for this. I wouldn’t let you do this, if you were mine. Come on.”
Her gown unzipped at the back, and the halter parted around her neck. Too tired to protest, she felt the gown slide down her body. When she began to pull away, he hushed her with soft words and led her to the bathroom.
She hadn’t known what he intended until she heard the shower, the hard sound of water on tile. With a sinking heart, she realized her evening hadn’t ended. She felt too tired to enjoy any sexual encounter she might share with Josh. Yes, she found him attractive. Yes, she would probably have ended up in bed with him sooner or later, but not tonight.
He lifted her with gentle hands, and his voice came just as gently. “No, not tonight. I’ll help you get ready for bed. That’s all. You’re too knackered to do it for yourself. How do you take your makeup off?”
With an effort, she lifted her head and stared at him, his golden eyes clear and wakeful, watching her calmly. “Cream in the cupboard over there.”
He chuckled. “Get in the shower. I’ll bring the cleanser.”
She did as he told her, stripping off her thong and stockings before she got in and gloried in the warm spray cleaning her body. He’d taken off the needle setting she usually used and set the temperature to pleasantly warm. He’d aimed everything at relaxing her. She felt cared for, the notion alien to her.
When he drew back the screen and got in, she didn’t protest; she only wished she could stay awake enough to appreciate the toned body drawing her close. His arousal jutted against her stomach. “Ignore it,” he told her. “I want you—of course I do—but that’s not what this is about. Not now.”
He reached for the cream and tilted her face up, stepping back so his body was out of the hot stream of water. She hadn’t realized the simple action of spreading cleanser on her face could feel so enjoyable, but his gentle touch made it more than that. Despite her exhaustion, her lower body stirred, came awake, although he did nothing other than clean the makeup off her face. He reached for a handful of tissues he’d placed on the broad shelf at the end of the shower and wiped her face gently, paying special attention to her eyes, which she’d loaded with cover-up and mascara to hide her tiredness.
“Keep them closed,” he murmured and steered her under the shower again, tipping her head up to receive the gentle, warm spray.
“You do that better than I do,” she confessed. “Sometimes I just wash it all off with soap.”
“Hmmm.”
She shook her head and opened her eyes to see him pick up a bottle of shampoo.
“Turn around.” He pulled her against his chest, where she rested gratefully while he pulled out all her hairpins, tossing them on the shelf. When they’d all gone, he ran his fingers through her hair, loosening its heavy weight and letting the water soak through. “You apply makeup very well. Too well.”
“What does that mean?”
“It wasn’t until I took it off I saw the shadows under your eyes.” He rubbed shampoo through her hair.
“How much do you charge for showering women? I could employ you every day.”
He chuckled. “I might be too expensive for you.”
“You’d be surprised. My expense account is very large.”
“Who’s talking money?”
He pulled her back when she jerked away in shock, realizing just how relaxed she felt with him. How could she allow him to take her off guard like this? She’d opened to him again, let his mind soothe hers, persuade her to take part in this outrageous scene.
“Don’t worry,” he said as if he could read her. Of course he could. She’d just let him. “We’ll talk about it another time. For now, just accept that it is. That we can communicate mentally. Your barrier is strong, so I can’t read your inmost thoughts, just your outer layer. Okay?”
She nodded, relishing the sensation of his fingertips gently massaging the shampoo through her hair. He guided her head under the showerhead to rinse, then drew her close to him again, her back to his front. His cock pushed against her, and she flinched before relaxing back against him. “You’d be puzzled if it didn’t happen, wouldn’t you?”
Yes, she would. They were naked and relatively fit, so yes, a natural reaction when she thought about it in that way. “I’m too old for you. You shouldn’t want me.”
A rumble began low in his chest and erupted in a gale of laughter, but he wouldn’t let her go, holding her around her waist, close to him. “You have no idea,” he managed weakly. “No idea at all.”
He wouldn’t explain but instead reached for the body shampoo. It smelled of one of her favorite scents—vanilla—sweet but not too feminine for him to use. He disdained the sponge and washcloth, using his hands to smooth the shampoo over both of them, turning her to face him. Kneeling down, he soaped her legs, her calves, her thighs, then her pubis. That he sent thrills through her when he touched her sensitized skin was hardly his fault. He couldn’t have failed to notice.
“Relax,” he said. “I’d have to be a monster to take you now. Your tiredness is beating at my mind. You’ll be in bed soon, I promise.” He separated her labia, guided her so the water rinsed her, and just grazed her clit when he released her. A sharp jolt of arousal went through her, enervating her, but he didn’t take advantage. He could, so easily.
He rinsed her thoroughly but slowly, doing nothing to break the sense of warmth and well-being suffusing her mind and body. He leaned over her to turn off the water.
“Just relax. I’ll do everything. Close your eyes, sweetheart.”
She did as he asked her, feeling the warmth of a soft towel draped around her shoulders. He toweled her hair, then rubbed her body, all his movements cherishing, gently caring rather than arousing. “You’re in complete control of your body, aren’t you?”
His rich chuckle answered her. “Almost. I have to be, in my game.” He lifted the towel away from her hair and then lifted her into his arms. His lips, pressing softly against hers in a featherlight kiss, hushed her small squeak of protest. She relaxed as he took her through to the bedroom and laid her against the cover, pulling it back before lifting her to lie on the crisp ivory sheets. Before he could cover her, she gripped his wrist and opened her eyes.
He gazed at her. Only the bedside light remained on, and softened by the golden shade, his skin gleamed invitingly. “Don’t go yet,” she murmured. “Please stay for a while. Get into bed with me.”
She didn’t want to be alone. She spent every night alone. A long time had passed since she’d shared the dark hours with anyone else. Tonight she wanted company, and she no longer cared if he wanted sex in return. She’d welcome it. His toned, gorgeous body made her mouth water, he liked her, and this would be the first time she’d had a younger man in her bed.
He met her gaze honestly, and she felt him stirring in her mind, removing his presence. She didn’t want that.
“I can’t,” he whispered, so close his breath heated her skin. “I’m at the end of my endurance.” His mouth flattened in a wry grin. “I have to go, or you’ll get no sleep.”
“I can stay awake a little while longer.”
“You need to sleep.”
“Please, just get in.”
He straightened and glanced around the room. “If I get into bed with you, I’ll make love to you. Fuck you. Are you sure you want that?”

 Ibooks coming soon!