Tuesday, November 17, 2020

New For November: Virginia And The Wolf


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Virginia, Lady Dulverton, feels safer keeping the world at a distance. One man sees through her reserve to the woman beneath: the infamously rakish Francis, Earl of Wolverley. Now a widow, Virginia is wrangling with the terms of her late husband’s will. When she realizes Francis is in danger because of his connection to her, she feels compelled to help, regardless of the hazard to her own heart.

Francis has worked hard to strengthen his inheritance. But he’s also found time to play. Despite his many dalliances, his affections have never been involved. Those belong entirely to a woman he could never have. When he’s attacked in the street and told to leave Virginia alone, he decides to do exactly the opposite . . .

With the help of the Society for Single Ladies, they set out to discover who is targeting Virginia, and why. It’s a race that will lead to the Devonshire coast, a smuggling ring, and a love that, however perilous, is worth waging countless battles . . .


You can order the book here:

Apple : Amazon : Google Play : Kobo : Nook


Extract from Virginia And The Wolf

A hush fell at the end of the room, as Virginia was talking to Miss McLennon, her back to the company. Alerted to the tension around her, Virginia turned around, taking her time. Until she saw who had entered the room.

At the far end of the white and gold room, with its feminine curlicues and twists stood two men. Two extremely masculine men. But they did not look as if they didn’t belong there. They looked as if they owned the place.

Despite his elaborate silks and lace, the Duke of Colston Magna fooled nobody. He was no namby-pamby idiot. Inside that outrageous pink silk coat resided a powerful male with a fearsome reputation for never losing a duel, or a bout of fisticuffs. Those lily-white hands had pounded Col’s opponent into oblivion more than once in the boxing studio.

“One wonders why he is so angry. Beneath that pretty surface he is simmering,” Angela murmured.

The Earl of Wolverley wore scarlet and gold, the brilliants sewn into his waistcoat flashing as he moved. But not as much as his eyes. Those eyes held the promise of murder, and Virginia was afraid it was for her. Although they had parted in ostensibly amicable terms, he had not fooled her with his soft talk of pins and neighborly concern.

Virginia and Angela stood together, facing the incoming storm. The men fixed their eyes on them and did not look away as they made their way past all the other guests toward them.

The diamond dangling below Wolverley’s earlobe flashed as he turned his head when a woman laughed nervously. Then he returned his attention to Virginia. As the men walked up to them the women switched places, a swift rustling of skirts loud in the suddenly quiet room. The quartet accompanying the dancers had paused between sets. Conversation around them was muted. Or perhaps Virginia only imagined it that way.

The men made their bows, beautiful pattern-cards of obeisance.

Col asked for Virginia’s hand in the next set of country dances. Shooting a triumphant glare at Wolverley, she accepted, graciously placing her hand on Col’s chilly satin sleeve.

“Hasn’t the weather turned cold?” she inquired, as he led her on to the floor.

“It has, and after the wonderful sunshine we’ve been having lately!” he answered, full of bonhomie, but glancing past her to where Angela and Wolverley were standing, waiting for the dance to begin.

When she glanced at Angela, she caught a lovelorn gaze from Wolverley, there for all to see.

Virginia gritted her teeth. That one, fraught glance told Virginia what he was at. Retribution would not be long in coming. And well, she would have to learn to live with it. How dare he make his intentions so obvious? The whole of London would be talking about his approach tomorrow. His volte-face would be noted and gossiped about in every house in the country.

Before this night, their connection was known, but not remarked upon, since they behaved in a suitably neighborly way. But if he made his change of heart so obvious, that opinion would change in a flash.

Tonight, Wolverley gazed at her from afar, the wistful longing of a suitor. Or a lover. All the way through the dance he never let his attention stray, gazing at her as if she was all he could see, watching her dance with her other partners.

She wanted to slap that stupid expression off his face, and Virginia did not consider herself a violent woman.

Ladies gossiped behind their fans, and gentleman laughed softly as they watched. By the end of this evening they would believe that she and Wolverley were lovers.

Damn him to hell and back. She could curse all she liked in her mind, but outwardly she kept the polite smile on her face and her attention on her partner in the dance.

Unfortunately country dances meant changes of partner. They were social dances, until they ended with their original partner at the end of the piece. Short of stalking away from the dance floor, which would create a scandal all its own, she would have to face Wolverley and dance with him. Avoiding gossip was all but impossible.

The remaining company in London were avidly waiting for a scandal, something to enliven the gossip over the teacups. Virginia refused to provide it. Utterly refused.

When Wolverley faced her in the dance, he smiled in that way she’d seen when he flirted with women. No, not flirted, but indicated something deeper.

As they crossed in the dance, she hissed at him, “I am not your mistress and I will never be.”

“Did I ask you that?” His deep voice resonated through her, thrilling those parts of her she worked hard to keep dormant. “I would not suggest such a thing.” He paused, while they executed steps that separated them then brought them back together. “Unless I thought you wanted it.”

That last was delivered in such a sultry tone that her palms itched. That would have thrilled the spectators. Two more measures and she was done with him. “I would never wish for it. You know that, Wolverley.”

“I know no such thing. We have been dancing around each other for years, rather like we are doing now. Isn’t it time we faced what lies between us?”

For a moment, a fraction of a second, he gazed at her as if she was his world, as if he meant the nonsense he was parroting. Then it was gone, frustratingly covered by a flirtatious smile, as if she’d said something witty.

So she laughed. A little too high-pitched, but it would serve to persuade people that nothing was serious here. Move along, people, find the next show. “You’re angry with me, but this is unfair.”

“Is it? Nothing is unfair in war or love. Surely you know that.”

She turned the old saying back the right way. Love came first. “I know nothing of love or war.”

She had said too much. Virginia bit her lip, desperately finding something to cover her sentence. But she was too late.

As she made to move on in the dance, back to Colston Magna, Wolverley said, his voice soft and low, “Then I shall teach you.”

His breath grazed her ear, making her gasp.

Somebody else had said that to her once. Revulsion filled her, so sudden that she recoiled from it, and the duke had to catch her elbow to steady her. She pretended she’d stumbled, and thanked him, forcing another light laugh. “My mother always said I could trip on a speck of dust. Thank you, sir.”

“Think nothing of it,” he said somberly. “Madam, if the Wolf troubles you too much, I will stand your friend.”

The last thing she wanted to do was to draw any more attention to this atrocious business. “Wolverley? No, we have known each other for years.”

Damn the man.

November news

 

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News for November

I didn’t send out my usual newsletter at the beginning of the month, because there was no way I could have competed with the US Election!

Congratulations to the winner, and now let’s get on with our normal lives, shall we?

I’ve put a picture of my local park up there for you, because it’s so beautiful. That’s a Constable sky if ever I saw one. I stood there for ages just looking at it. We need to get back to that, appreciating what we have, to get through these difficult times.

This month I have two books that are new on the shelves, one that’s been out for a few weeks, and one that is out today!

Virginia and The Wolf is a road romance, and it was huge fun to write. I took my old map book of England and Wales, and let my characters hurry along it in their search for smugglers. Many of the inns I describe in the book are still there today, and one day I’ll visit them.

Since this is the newest release, I’ve put an excerpt below. You can read an excerpt on Amazon, the beginning of the book, so I’ve chosen one from a little later, but no spoilers, I promise!

I’ll be sorry to say goodbye to The Society For Single Ladies, but for now, the ladies are resting, although next year, who knows? But, sadly, the publisher, Kensington, doesn’t want any more. This is a hard time for everybody, so I’m not complaining about it, but I can’t deny I’m disappointed. Mind you, if it got to number one bestseller, I’d be a happy author!

I do have other irons in the fire, though, and I’m carrying on with new projects. A new publisher, and some new projects. I’ll be rereleasing a series soon, from L.C. Connolly, my alter ego for contemporary romance. More later! It probably won’t be this side of Christmas, because they aren’t Christmas books, but they’re ready to go!



 

Tuesday, November 03, 2020

The importance of secret ballots

Chairing the Member by William Hogarth

In 18th and most of 19th century Britain, you had to be a male landowner in order to vote in elections.

You had to go to the polling place, stand in front of the crowd and declare your vote. Or it was decided by a public show of hands. Then your vote was recorded in a polling book.

That was one reason the polling process was so corrupt. The Members of Parliament were usually allies of the local bigwig, who owned a few rotten boroughs as well, boroughs with no population or very few, which could be easily manipulated.

If you voted for his opponent, it was likely that you'd be beaten, your house burned down, and if you were a farmer, your crops and livestock destroyed.

Not until 1872 was the secret ballot introduced. That gave every voter (still all male) the right to keep their vote secret. Go into the booth, put an X opposite the name of your candidate, fold it, and post it in the box. No names attached.
So if you don't want to tell anyone how you vote, you have the right to refuse anybody who asks.


Thursday, October 01, 2020

New reads for October! And a bit of Frankie fun!

 Hello!

Frankie says hello, too!

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I don't know about you, but my favourite way of escaping from this crazy world is by reading a good book. Or by writing one!

And routine, although my routine is a bit on the crazy side. I'm a night owl, so I start work late and finish early. I've always been that way, but this year, it's gone to extremes. I love dawn, and the quiet hours of the night. That's when the characters really speak to me.

When I was little we had no money but lots of books, because books, bought by the crate from auction houses, were good insulation.

Because I spent a lot of my childhood ill in bed, I worked my way through them. From Charles Dickens to Enid Blyton to Mickey Spillane, they were all fodder for my curious mind. And when I went back to school I was way advanced in reading and literature, but absolutely awful at maths.

That hasn't changed much.

Now I'm lucky enough to write all the time. The stories keep coming.


News for October

If you're into historical romance, there's lots of reading for you in this newsletter that I feature in.

Historical romance newsletter

And in November, I have a new release, the third (and for now, final) book in the Society for Single Ladies series. I've put a link below for you, and next month I'll put an extract and a full description.

I've also written a Christmas story from The Daring Dersinghams world. You can't go wrong with this anthology, and since I haven't read the other stories yet, you bet I'm going to get it!


My story, Past, Present, Future, is about Frederick, the brother of the hero of A Whisper of Treason. He comes home, at last, to claim the woman he loves. For three nights he will give her three gifts, symbolising what they've shared, what they have, and what they could have in the future. A castle in Scotland for Christmas, what's not to love!

Here's the link: O Night Divine

And the pretty cover! image


Out In November: Virginia And The Wolf

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Virginia, Lady Dulverton, feels safer keeping the world at a distance. One man sees through her reserve to the woman beneath: the infamously rakish Francis, Earl of Wolverley. Now a widow, Virginia is wrangling with the terms of her late husband’s will. When she realizes Francis is in danger because of his connection to her, she feels compelled to help, regardless of the hazard to her own heart.

Francis has worked hard to strengthen his inheritance. But he’s also found time to play. Despite his many dalliances, his affections have never been involved. Those belong entirely to a woman he could never have. When he’s attacked in the street and told to leave Virginia alone, he decides to do exactly the opposite . . .

With the help of the Society for Single Ladies, they set out to discover who is targeting Virginia, and why. It’s a race that will lead to the Devonshire coast, a smuggling ring, and a love that, however perilous, is worth waging countless battles . . .


You can order the book here:

Apple : Amazon : Google Play : Kobo : Nook


Future Plans

Another series, for the new year. I'm planning an entry into The Lyon's Den series, which will probably start a new series, but this time, Regency set.

And a project I really can't say much about right now, but I am so excited about it! I want to tell people, but I can't!

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Autumn Reads for you

 

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See the whole newsletter here!



Lightning Unbound

Lightning Unbound

When Gerard Sterling, Earl of Ellesmere, races to Bedlam asylum to rescue a wrongly committed friend, he’s astonished to find Lady Faith Bradley. Fascinated and enchanted by her, and inspired by her dedication saving her brother from the horrors of the Incurables ward, he includes them in his rescue mission. But woo her he cannot—not with a fatal disease that saps more of his strength every day.

When Gerard discovers he is the god Jupiter, they face a deadly enemy—Kronos, whose plan to regain power includes Gerard’s death. To foil his plan, Gerard and Faith must defy Fate itself.

Each book in the Even Gods Fall in Love series is a standalone story that can be enjoyed out of order.

Buy the Book

Excerpt
Amazon : IBooks : Barnes and Noble : Kobo :

Books2Read Universal Links

Tuesday, September 01, 2020

A Whisper of Treason is out!

 

New Release!

The story of the last Dersingham sister is out on September 3rd!

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Marrying the love of her life means Delphi might have to leave the family she is so close to. Forever.

Marriage isn’t for Delphi…

Only one man ever penetrated Delphi Dersingham’s obsession with the ancient world, and he abandoned her. She tells herself she doesn’t need anything else. Until the morning she is seized and ruthlessly kissed on the steps of Trajan’s Column.

Until Adam comes back…

Astonished to see the love of his life in Rome, Adam, Duke of Kilsyth, claims the kiss he’s been longing for. Under suspicion of being a Jacobite like his father, Adam is threatened with the ruin of everything he has worked for since the death of his father at Culloden. How can he drag Delphi into the mess his life has become? Except, by that impulsive kiss, he does.

Can she marry a traitor? If he is a traitor, that is…

Adam and Delphi discover the dangerous Jacobite plot his brother Frederick is embroiled in. The hare-brained plot to assassinate King George in London threatens Adam and Delphi’s happiness. Nothing is what it seems in this topsy-turvey world. Only one constant remains, their love for each other.

But if they don’t solve a devilish cipher and discover the true culprits, their future together is in peril.

You Can Buy The Book Here. It's also available in Kindle Unlimited, and at the moment, it's only 99 cents/pence!

A Whisper of Treason - buy



September Already


What's happening this month?


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This is the park I walk in almost every day, and this is what it looks like as of yesterday. It gives me a lot of peace and solace. I do think it's important for all of us to find a special place, one where we can find some peace, especially in these troubled times.

Please, all of you, take care of yourselves.



Monday, August 03, 2020

Happy August!














What a confusing world we live in!
Everything seems to be happening at once. And like my mother said, it might get worse before it gets better. But it will get better, really it will. One day.
I usually go to the USA every year at least once, to attend conventions and to visit the friends I've made over the years. I miss them all, and I'm so sorry that I can't see you all this year. Kathryn Falk and her beautiful home in Texas, and the amazing one she shares with her husband in New York. Rosechel Sinio, and her fantastic bookstore in Los Angeles. Laurie Pennison and her lovely home and family in New Orleans, one of my favourite places in the world. I miss so many more people I've spent time with and shared good times with.
And now we're all trying to get used to a new way of life, and a new way of being. We have to find our own ways of coping, and I daresay we've all been downright depressed, or sad, or just out of sorts. Remember the old proverb? Well, we certainly live in interesting times! I'd love to know what you all do to get through these times.
Seriously though, my heart goes out to anyone who is worried or confused and who is facing hard times ahead.
My answer is to read, write and go for long walks. I'm lucky enough to live close to a beautiful park, where I can spend at least an hour a day. I've shared a picture I took of the rabbit warren. Why we have wild black rabbits I'm not sure, but we do! There's another warren with the normal brown kind, too. I go and sit on the bench, and just watch them. They don't care about politics, or Covid, or anything else. They just get on with it.
The only thing I can suggest, and I know it's not nearly enough, is to get lost in a good book. I've read a lot of them recently, and I'm trying to write one!
I'm making an effort to do more promotion, although I'm not the best at it. Although marketing was my career, there's a huge difference between selling yourself and selling desserts for Kraft Foods!
Anyway in the spirit of promotion, I've joined a company that puts out regular newsletters. I entered this month's with a book I loved writing, Lightning Unbound, about the Roman gods alive and well in 18th century Britain. I've put the link to the newsletter, which has lots of fun books  for summer reading, and an extract from my contribution.





This book is featured in the newsletter:

 
Lightning Unbound
 
When Gerard Sterling, Earl of Ellesmere, races to Bedlam asylum to rescue a wrongly committed friend, he’s astonished to find Lady Faith Bradley. Fascinated and enchanted by her, and inspired by her dedication saving her brother from the horrors of the Incurables ward, he includes them in his rescue mission. But woo her he cannot—not with a fatal disease that saps more of his strength every day.
When Gerard discovers he is the god Jupiter, they face a deadly enemy—Kronos, whose plan to regain power includes Gerard’s death. To foil his plan, Gerard and Faith must defy Fate itself.
Each book in the Even Gods Fall in Love series is a standalone story that can be enjoyed out of order.
 
 
Buy the Book
Excerpt
Amazon : IBooks : Kobo :

Saturday, July 18, 2020

New Release! Christmas In July!

Out now!

A Bunch of Mistletoe


Companions aren’t supposed to marry dukes.

When Matilda, chaperone and aunt to the most scandalous family in London, takes a tumble from a tree, she’s rescued by the most unlikely saviour. Toplofty stickler Harold, the Duke of Trensom, is more than annoyed to find Matilda on his property.

Worse when he finds himself falling for her.

Buy the Novella:

Amazon

A Bunch of Mistletoe was part of the When Stars Are Brightly Shining anthology which came out at Christmas, but now it has its own release and its own gorgeous cover!

If you have that anthology, there's no need to rebuy the novella, unless you just have to add to your Dersingham collection.