Thursday, December 04, 2008

December Newsletter

Wow, where did the year go?

I'll try to do a year round-up next month, but this has been a very busy year, when I look back at it.

So what has December in store in terms of reads from yours truly? Two re-releases, or rather, rewritten and heavily revised books, both of which mean a great deal to me. I’ll put the official blurbs and details here, and I’ve also added pages on the website, with excerpts. And an excerpt below, or rather two! Exclusive to this group, the first segments of each story. I’ve been told that my contemporary style and my historical style vary. I’ve never seen it myself, I just try to tell a story the best way I know how.

First up, is "Yorkshire." The first book I ever had published and the first in the Richard and Rose series. I've taken the "spot the deliberate mistake" on page one, where Richard says "hello" to Rose, although I was tempted to leave it in! For those of you who don't know (and I didn't until the book hit the shelves, lol!), "Hello" as a term of greeting was purposely invented for the telephone, a mix of "halloo" from the hunting field and "hullo" as an exclamation of discovery. But I think what Richard says instead is even better!
For those of you with the original version, you'll be able to see just how much is changed. I’ve revised the whole thing, and the language is more accurate (Angie James discovered a couple of anachronisms that had sped past 4 editors so far – nothing gets past Angie!), and I’ve eliminated a few of the characters that really didn’t need to be there. Like Lord Southwood and his wife and daughter. I think it’s tighter now, and I love the new cover art!

Also out this month at Loose-Id is the first contemporary I ever wrote, “The Chemistry of Evil.” Originally written for a continuity series, I’ve rewritten it to be more in line with Department 57, since this is the book where the Department made its first appearance. Now it’s a fully-fledged Department 57 book, with a hero who has a very unusual Talent, and his archaeologist-turned-forensic-archaeologist girlfriend. I’ve added more steam, more sexual tension and more of the act itself. It was a delight to revisit Evan and Sophie, and I was really surprised to see how much my style has changed in the three years since the book made its first appearance.

I hope those of you who bought Moonfire last month thought it was worthwhile! I did enjoy writing Jake’s story. Next is Chris, and after that, exciting news about what’s coming next from Ellora’s Cave!

There's a competition going on at Samhain, which I'm involved in. Angela James organised it, and as well as winning two Kindles, there are a host of other prizes. We thought we'd really push the boat out this year!
If you want to play, go here:
and here:

So everyone be sure to have a happy Christmas, Hanukah, Kwanza and all the other celebrations that happen at this time of year. We need to count our blessings and give thanks in whatever way makes sense to us, because I fear there might be a tough time ahead. Nil desperandum. I’ll keep writing if you keep reading!

Excerpts and blurb:


Rose Golightly is a country girl who thinks her life will continue on its comfortable course, but a series of events changes that for good. On a visit to the ancestral estate of Hareton Abbey, Richard Kerre, Lord Strang, enters her life. A leader of society, a man known for extravagance in dress and life, Richard is her fate. And she is his.

Richard is to marry a rich, frigid woman in a few weeks, and has deliberately closed his heart to love. Then a coach accident throws his wounded body into Rose’s arms.

With one kiss, Richard and Rose discover in each other the passion they thought they’d never find.

But the accident that brought them together was an act of sabotage. Somewhere, in the rotting hulk of a once beautiful stately home, a murderer is hiding.

Richard and Rose set out to solve the mystery, and find the layers of scandal go deeper than simply determining who is guilty. And that doing the right thing could separate them—forever.

The first meeting, from chapter one of Yorkshire

At last, we came to a juddering halt at the top of the drive, nearly throwing us out of our seats. We waited as the steps were let down, which gave me the chance to take a few deep breaths in preparation for the ordeal ahead. James got down and helped Martha, Lizzie and me to alight.

Silence fell, suddenly oppressive. Steven stood by his horse. We stood by the coach. No one spoke, appalled and awed in equal measure by the sight before us.

We stood in the courtyard, before the main part of Hareton Abbey. Two great grey wings stretched out on either side. Elsewhere, they would serve as a protective barrier against the bitter Yorkshire winds, but here they seemed more like a trap waiting for the prey to spring it. No life stirred behind the windows, dulled with begrimed years of neglect.

The house was rendered in grey Yorkshire stone, formidable and forbidding. It had not been cleaned except by the weather, nor repaired where pieces of the stone had shattered in the frosts of winter. Pieces still lay on the ground. They must have lain there disregarded for some time. The main part of the building towered in front of us. Its air of abandonment was almost tangible: you could almost hear the house crumbling.

“Rose…” Lizzie whispered.

I glanced at her. “Dear God. What have we come to?”

Her face reflected my own apprehension. “I don’t know. This is Hareton Abbey, isn’t it? We haven’t come somewhere else by mistake?”

“It has to be,” Martha said. We spoke quietly; afraid of awakening echoes. “Don’t forget, James and I have been here once before, but it didn’t look like this the last time we came.”

“Lord, no.” James murmured. Martha clutched his arm as if she might never let go. “It’s supposed to be one of the show houses of the county; whatever can have happened?”

The rumble of wheels on the drive behind started us out of our shock. We stepped back to see what was coming, and to get out of its way.

Into the dilapidated courtyard bowled two travelling carriages, as different from our hired vehicle as possible. They were clearly private vehicles, bang up to date in style, bearing emblazoned crests on their doors. The shiny new black paintwork contrasted strongly with the dull, weathered finish on our carriage. The windows were glassed in, but despite their fashionable comfort, the bodies of the vehicles jolted and swung just as much as ours had. The horses pulling them were matched thoroughbreds. They must have cost a fortune.

They came to a brisk halt in front of the house. We watched liveried footmen leap down and run to let down the steps. “The Southwood party,” Lizzie whispered, awestruck. The cream of society, the top of the tree. Her ideal, her dream.

From the first coach alighted a figure that made my mouth drop open in disbelief. A vision of male gorgeousness, a sumptuous feast of a man. Lizzie gasped, but I didn’t turn to look at her. I kept my gaze fixed on the mirage before us.

He wore scarlet velvet, dressed for the Court. He would be sadly disappointed here. His white powdered wig was set just right, his waistcoat was a dream of embroidered magnificence. He swung around to help a lady descend from the vehicle, and when I again glanced at Lizzie, I saw she had temporarily lost all faculties of speech. No doubt remembering her manners, she closed her mouth.

This younger lady was attired—dressed would have been too clumsy a word—in a French sacque of blue watered silk, embroidered down the hem and the robings in fine floss. Frills and furbelows seemed to take on a life of their own, romping over her petticoats. Pearls gleamed at her neck. “Dear God,” whispered Lizzie.

Behind these visions of fashionable excess, another man climbed down. He wore his fair hair simply tied back; his clothes were just as well cut as the other gentleman’s though not as extravagant, and his attitude far more natural. “They’re twins,” Lizzie told me, back in control of her voice.

“I know,” I said. “You told us. More than once.”

To see the Kerre brothers was a different experience to merely reading about them.

The only identical twins in polite society, they made themselves more conspicuous still by creating scandal after scandal. Lizzie’s information continued, “The younger went abroad after eloping with a married woman. He’s only lately returned, after twelve years away. I wonder which one it is?”

“The peacock.” It had to be. The other looked far too sensible.

They glanced at us. The gorgeously dressed gentleman turned back to the coach, and said something only his brother could hear. His twin spun on his heel, the gravel grating under his foot and stared at us for one impolite moment before he looked away. I guessed the popinjay had said something like “country bumpkins”, and I resented the comment while at the same time agreeing with it. We were in a hired coach, and hadn’t thought to make a stop to change into better clothes as the other party obviously had. I smoothed my hand over my worn, brown wool gown.

With a leisurely gait, the peacock approached us and bowed. “You, sir, must be Sir James Golightly. Lord Hareton informed us you would be here.” His voice was faintly musical and touched with a low burr I found unusually attractive.

Richard and Rose are back!
Coming to Samhain Publishing on December 5th 2008

The Chemistry of Evil

(No cover art as yet)
Sophie Adams is engaged, but the second she sees sexy Evan Howell, she wants him. When her fiancé dumps her, Evan is there to catch her. And show her a passion she’d never dreamed of before, drawn from his dark experiments into sexual magick, a magick that has driven more than one man insane. Enthralled by the new world Evan introduces her to, Sophie wants more.
Evil follows them across the Atlantic. From Arthurian Cornwall to New York, Mordred, cursed son of King Arthur, stretches his evil influence to encompass Sophie, Evan and everyone they love. Evan has already lost his sister to Mordred and his supporters—he refuses to lose Sophie, too.
Evan, ex-convict hacker turned CIA computer genius for Department 57, explores the dark side of life. It will take all his skill to save Sophie from the danger threatening to take her over, body and soul. All his skill—in the bedroom as well as out of it.
Together, the three will embark upon a dance of danger, at the end of which there will be only two. . .or one. . .or none.

The first meeting of Sophie and Evan, from the first chapter of The Chemistry of Evil

Sophie’s dreams of violent, terrifying deaths halfway across the world faded in the peace of the English countryside.

Even here in Tintagel, a place that had seen murder and terror in its time, the atmosphere felt tranquil. The bloody history was long gone; only a pile of moss-encrusted stones remained as a mute reminder. On the other side of the world lay her new, exciting life.

She stretched her back and headed for the tent where the team laid out the day’s finds. A kettle lived there too, heated over a camping stove. The lure of tea was almost more important than the view. Almost.

“Find the Grail?” she asked Gwyneth, flashing a grin.

“Not today.” It was an old joke, masking a secret desire. Here, on the top level of Tintagel, one almost believed in Arthur and all the other old tales. The modern world seemed to recede, only the occasional plane flying high overhead reminding them of their time and place. “You?”

“Nothing like it. Just a few old shards.”

“Not as glamorous as New York, then. You’ll be back there soon enough.”

With Archie. He’d taken a job at the Metropolitan Museum, a lucrative position with a research fellowship attached. He always had to go one better than her.

Sophie would miss England, her native land. The soft grass, masking hard, unforgiving rock, the levels and layers, the knowledge that wherever one was on this little island, someone had gone before, perhaps dropped something, a coin, a jewel, a Holy Grail.

“I don’t think Archie would appreciate finding the Grail here,” she commented. She strolled with Gwyneth toward the tent. “It wouldn’t fit in with his theory. He’d be more excited if we found a hermit’s cave.”

“Some people came up today asking about Arthur. When we told them we were excavating the medieval monastery, they didn’t believe us. So Archie told them the castle was twelfth century.”

Sophie laughed. “How did they take that?”

“They said we were mad, that everyone knew it was Arthur’s castle.”

Their laughter rang over the small area of the dig. Several heads poked up to look at them, their owners’ bodies lost in the trenches of the main dig. People roused, their concentration broken, murmuring greetings to each other as they began to climb out of their self-dug holes. Moles facing the light, or perhaps bodies rising from the grave. Appropriate, since part of the dig was a burial ground. But Sophie doubted monks would wear a motley array of shorts, T-shirts, and tattered jeans or be discussing the character of skeleton deterioration over time in such a pragmatic way.

Sophie smiled to herself when she recalled her New York wardrobe with its sharp designer suits and elegant, understated eveningwear. But she still kept her old clothes. You never knew when an interesting opportunity to grub about in the ground might occur. Or perhaps it was a disinclination to let go of her old life and embrace the new. She found her new job extremely lucrative and prestigious, but not as much fun. She still loved digging and the camaraderie a team involved in a dig could engender.

The tent was a large one, which was just as well. Six people crowded in, to add to the four already in residence. A laptop was carefully set up at the end, away from the dirt. It formed their communication with the study center at the hotel in the village and a link to all the research documents, geophysics, and the rest. Long trestle tables held trays containing the day’s finds. Geophysics equipment stood propped up in the corner, expensive equipment that had to be hauled to and from the village each day.

Sophie moved to the part of the tent that contained “her” section, the section farthest from the opening, near to George, who was currently sitting in front of the laptop swearing at it.

Sophie’s woefully small finds section contained only one tray, instead of the three or more on the other tables. Uninformative pottery that merely served to confirm what they had already discovered, plus her one find, now cleaned and gleaming balefully at her, reminding her of her failure. Archie was probably right. The whistle, aulos, whatever, couldn’t be an ancient artifact, although it looked like one. Probably a modern reproduction, maybe bought from one of the tourist shops clustered in the village below and then dropped up here and lost. Similar to a Roman aulos but shorter, a whistle or pipe with only one finger hole, engraved with symbols and lines that looked vaguely Celtic in nature. Definitely an imaginative tourist piece. Archie would be pleased she hadn’t made a major discovery.

Foolish to think like that. She had succeeded in disproving a rival’s theory that a settlement lay buried in that area. His theory put the site farther to the east. Had Sophie found anything interesting, it might have delayed Archie’s departure for New York and his new job at the Metropolitan Museum. And their marriage.

So why did she feel depressed? Why had she tried so hard to find something? She knew. Perhaps she would tell him tonight that she couldn’t marry him and then leave for her mother’s house before going back to the States. They'd nearly finished the dig now, so she couldn’t put it off much longer.

An arm curled round her shoulders. “Well, Sophie love,” a voice soft as a whisper breathed hotly in her ear. “New York, here we come.”

She forced a bright smile and turned around. “Yes, here we come. Back to the FBI for me.”

He frowned. “You could always join me at the museum. I’m sure I can find something for you.”

A curl of anger crawled through Sophie’s mind at his patronizing attitude. “I don’t want you to. I want to stay with the FBI, if they’ll have me, perhaps even apply for citizenship and join full-time.”

“I don’t like you working with those…bodies.”

Sophie laughed. “I’ve been working with bodies all my adult life, Archie love. Just that these are more recent, that’s all.”

“And have living relatives.” His other arm went around her waist, imprisoning her. “It’s only that I worry about you.”

Sophie suspected it might be more. Archie was the primary male, the supervisor of this group, built like a golden bear, all bulging muscle and gleaming teeth. Gorgeous and clever, he wasn’t used to a slip of a girl besting him, but she’d done it, getting better marks than he at university, and earning her doctorate a year earlier than he did. His overwhelming niceness saved him from the accusation of alpha-ism. Sophie’s doubts had crystallized into certainty in the last few days. Where once she had loved him, the gentle liking that remained, together with a response to Archie’s undoubted sex appeal, was no longer enough for her.

When she’d needed him, when her father died, he’d been there for her. She owed him for that, but she didn’t owe him the rest of her life.

She smiled and reached up to kiss him on the cheek in a gesture more friend than lover. “I’m starving.”

“Shall we go to the pub? I’ll miss their lasagna when we leave.”

“It’s only because they serve it in large roasting tins. Big enough portions for you.”

Sophie tried to pull away, but Archie was having none of it. He dragged her back and angled his mouth over hers, settling in for a nice, leisurely kiss. The whistles and catcalls from the interested bystanders only served to encourage him. When he finally pulled away, she felt numb from the pressure of his arms and mouth. He waited for her reaction and gave her a cocky grin when she smiled at him. “I can’t wait to leave because of what happens next.”

He released her. Sophie took a deep breath, trying not to show her anger at his enforcing his so-called male superiority. Tonight. She would tell him tonight, as soon as she had a private moment with him.

The whistle gleamed evilly in the find tray, reminding her of her failure. Archie saw where her gaze went and picked it up, tossing it high into the air and catching it without looking at it. “Someone’s tried his or her hand at engraving this. I had a look earlier. But it’s not old.”

“How do you know it’s not old?” She wished she could take the words back. She knew.

Archie gave her a pitying glance. “Really, Sophie! If it’s silver, it would have tarnished and rotted. If it’s steel, then by definition it’s modern. Good steel didn’t occur on a regular basis before the nineteenth century. Take it as a souvenir. I’ll sign it out as irrelevant to the dig.”

Sophie felt hurt by his light response, as though he denigrated her efforts that day. Archie could still make her feel as though her achievements amounted to nothing. He did it to most people, and she suspected he wasn’t even aware of it. Defiantly she picked up the whistle and rubbed it against her T-shirt to polish it up. “I’ll use it when I need help. It might come in handy in New York.”

“Down those mean streets?” Archie laughed, just as a new voice, dark as night and twice as sinful, sounded from the open flap of the tent.

“I believe that quotation was about Los Angeles.”

The occupants of the tent fell silent, their end-of-the-day chatter stilled. Before them stood the embodiment of masculinity. Handsome, as dark as Archie was fair, tall, and whipcord lean.

Sophie lifted her gaze and met his dark stare. Now she knew where her restless feeling came from. This was her fate.

The Chemistry of Evil – A Department 57 book
Coming Soon from Loose-Id Publishing

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Alluring Secrets

I have a new release this month! Alluring Secrets, the story of Severus and Penelope! It hit number four on the Samhain top ten this week, the highest I've ever been!

Severus Granville, Earl of Swithland, finds himself dealing with a wholly unfamiliar urge—to settle down and produce an heir. But among the bevy of beauties vying for his attention, none hold his interest except for one: Penelope. Clumsy, intelligent, appealing Penelope is the one woman with whom he could escape…but she’s expected to marry another.
Afraid she’ll be labeled an unmarriageable bluestocking, Penelope’s family forces her to go without her badly needed spectacles in public, and to hide her intelligence. Though she has loved Severus for years, the best she can hope for is a loveless union with a perfectly suitable—and perfectly boring—cousin. Except Severus seems to have changed his mind.
Hours spent in his rooftop observatory leads to a passion they couldn’t deny. Yet just as their eyes are opened to the possibility of lasting love, Penelope is embroiled in a plot to destroy her family and take her away from Severus forever.
If he wants to keep his heart’s treasure, Severus will have to fight for her with everything within him—mind, body and soul.

His hands stilled, and his head bowed over the papers. “Yes, but on an amateur basis. I’m an enthusiast, not a Newton.”
Rising, she went over to him, and looked at the papers. It was difficult to make anything out in the dusky light but she could make out symbols and colored diagrams, as meaningless to her as her graphs had been to him earlier. “I’m trying to map Venus,” he told her. “I don’t think I’ll be able to, but it gives me a reason to come up here and look.”
“I have every confidence in you.” With one finger, she gently traced the curves of a gleaming brass instrument lying in a case on the table. “A sextant,” he told her. “They use them at sea to calculate their position.”
“It’s lovely.” The gleaming curves fascinated her. She looked up at him and realized he was watching her, not the sextant, in what she could only describe as a noticing way. He seemed to be looking at her with a new awareness. She felt the same. “They do have a—a beauty of their own, don’t they?” Suddenly shy, she looked down.
He reached out, put a finger under her chin and guided it up, so she met his intent gaze. “It seems appropriate.”
“At least you don’t look right through me.”
All humor gone, he glared at her. “Who does that?”
She tried to smile, but failed and settled for a shrug. “Most people do. Women don’t see me as a rival in their matrimonial aspirations.”
“Why not?”
She was astonished by his response. That should have been obvious, she thought. “Look at me. Add that to my clumsiness, and social ineptitude and you can see why they do that. They think I’m slow, they laugh at me. I don’t mind, really I don’t, but I don’t court their company, either.”
He looked at her, studying her until she felt uncomfortably warm. Then he lifted a hand from her arm and caressed her cheek. She didn’t mean to, but she leant into his hand, loving the feeling of being cherished, however false.
Because she’d closed her eyes for a moment she missed his bending his head to hers, but she felt the soft pressure of his lips. He slid his hand around her neck, and when she didn’t withdraw, touched her lips with his tongue. She shuddered, and heat spread through her. When she opened her mouth slightly, he took advantage of it, sliding his tongue just between them to taste her.
Toby had kissed her once, about three years ago, a kiss stolen in the orchard one summer. She’d allowed it, but escaped soon afterwards and felt no inclination to repeat the experience. Sev’s kiss wasn’t like that. It felt wonderful, as unlike Toby’s wet, messy embrace as possible. Penelope responded instinctively, reaching up to hold on to him. His response was to draw her closer and deepen the kiss.
Penelope tasted the brandy on his lips and knew that if he wasn’t drunk, he was well-to-go. She didn’t care. If he hadn’t been, he would not be kissing her like this, in this hot, demanding way that drove tingles to the tips of her toes. He broke the kiss, took a quick breath and returned to the fray. He caressed the back of her neck, his fingers moving slowly over the small curls clustered there. He seemed to be enjoying himself. Or perhaps, Penelope thought cynically, he wanted flirting without any expectations. If he’d done this with any one of the other young ladies in the house, taken her up to a private room and then kissed her, she would have expected a proposal of marriage in the morning. Penelope wouldn’t insist, wouldn’t tell anyone or demand anything from him that he wasn’t willing to give. With one small touch of his lips against hers, he drew back, and gazed at her, his eyes dark in the gloom. They were both breathing quicker, and Penelope followed his gaze to see her breasts rising and falling above her tight-laced, low-cut evening gown. “Sir?”
“Sev. Penelope, I’m sorry, I don’t know what came over me—”
Was he apologizing because he remembered, rather belatedly, that he was a gentleman, or because he didn’t find the kiss interesting? “Sev, I—no, I’m sorry. I don’t expect—well, I’m not officially—” She stopped, floundering.
“It makes me wish you were,” he murmured, still too close to her for comfort. He rested his forehead against hers before drawing back. His gaze remained intent on hers as he withdrew his hand from her neck and touched her face, drawing his fingers down her cheek and tracing the line of her lips.
She stared up at him, the dim starlight softening his face. She wasn’t averse to another kiss, but she was unsure what to do. Should she behave like a lady, and deny all pleasure, or invite further caresses and perhaps the sobriquet of wanton?
Her experience didn’t extend this far. Nobody had looked at her in such a caressing way, or shown any inclination to kiss her. She’d assumed her lot in life was to be taken for granted and perhaps laughed at for her clumsiness. Now she was rapidly reassessing that. If such a connoisseur of women as Severus Granville took notice of her, she must have something worth looking at.
He bent to kiss her once more, this time briefly. “I didn’t mean this to happen. I wanted to reciprocate—show you my obsession. Believe me, this isn’t an attempt at seduction. It’s just that I haven’t—noticed you before this visit and I like what I see. Very much. I’m sorry.”
“Don’t be.” The words were out before she could suppress them. “I’m glad you wanted to show me this. And it was only a kiss.”
“Yes.” His mouth twisted up at one corner. “Only a kiss.”

Alluring Secrets - the Second in the Secrets trilogy
True Love Sees With The Heart
ISBN: 978-1-60504-214-5
From Samhain Publishing

Friday, August 01, 2008

Newsletter, August 2008

Newsletter, August 2008


Most of my news this month is of the under the hood variety.
Lots of rewriting and editing, getting books into shape for releases later in the year and early next year.

I already told you about selling Richard and Rose to Samhain. I'm really delighted I'm going to be working with Angela James on these books. They're very close to my heart.

I've written a new book and sent it off to New York editors and agents. It's a paranormal romance, so keep your fingers crossed for me!

I did go to the RNA conference at the start of the month. I still haven't written my notes up, but I will, and I'll put an account on the Goodies page of the website.

After the conference, I went to London to visit my good friend Jean Fullerton. She has a trilogy coming out later in the year which will knock your socks off! We visited the London Docklands Museum, and the Jack the Ripper exhibit is wonderful, well worth it. It even had the Dear Boss letter there!

We also went on the Ripper walk. There isn't a lot left of the Ripper's London, but despite that, the walk was really enjoyable. It put everything into perspective, to walk the area and see just how small a part of London was terrorised by the monster. My money's on Tumblety as the Ripper, but our guide thinks it was Koslowski. Any other Ripperologists about?

Currently, I'm writing a paranormal romance book, the next Dept 57 offering, but I've started to think about a new historical series. I just can't keep away from the historicals! When I tried to write Corin's book for the Triple Countess series, the book died on me. It happens sometimes, and I don't really know why, except I suspect I chose the wrong heroine.

So are there any secondary characters you want to know more about? I have a few noted down, and I thought I might write a new series about some of the characters that have interested me, but I had to leave alone for the time being. I can see Corin and maybe his sisters featuring there.

I'd love to get a buzz going about the books, but I haven't the faintest idea how to go about it! Maybe I should just keep writing!


How about a bit from Topaz Delirium? Exclusive to this group,
here's a naughty bit, to heat up your August, a bath scene!

Jasper lifted Svetlana off the bed and carried her to the bathroom

She opened her eyes and smiled up at him. “I’m not that weak.

“Humor me” was all he said, his handsome face grimly set. He set her on her feet beside a large ivory-colored bath, half-sunk into the floor

Then he stripped off his robe, tested the water, and climbed in, reaching up his arms to help her

When he sat down, he leaned against the bath and pulled her into his arms, so her back lay against his chest. She felt his cock, hard against her back.

He caressed her, his hard palms sweeping down her body in long strokes. “This is what I should be celebrating in my work, the pure beauty of a real woman.” He cupped her breasts then slid his palms back down again. “Your skin is so soft, so silky. It’s a joy to touch.=

She smiled. “I’m glad it brings you pleasure.

He stroked her buttocks and cupped them under the water. “You have lovely curves that should be celebrated and not suppressed.

“You’re an artist, Jasper.

“A craftsman,” he corrected her. “But don’t tell anyone.” She looked up at him, delighted by his flash of humor. Jasper Lebec had a wonderful natural smile, slightly one-sided, his mobile
mouth curving, his gray eyes full of mirth. She’d never seen him smile so wickedly before, or with the humor that lit him up, making her smile back. “I promise. Why did you go into fashion? It’s such a frivolous industry."

“It’s influential, and it’s powerful, especially here in France. We Department heads need positions of power to stand with the political leaders of our society. We can’t help other Talents if we don’t command respect. Or at the very least, gold. So I spent years making money, moving from alias to alias, as we all do, before I went into this.” He paused, gazing into her eyes. “And I love beauty, I love women. When I saw the ateliers of Paris, I knew I’d found a home.” He stroked her back in rhythmic caresses, his other hand under her head, holding her close

She snuggled closer. Then she wriggled

“Don’t distract me, Svetlana. I’m working very hard on not falling on you like a rutting stag.”

She caught her breath. “Why fight it? You want me that much?”


“Then do it. Fuck me so that when I meet Hugo Berthier tomorrow, I’ll have part of you still with me.” His need excited her, that he would want her so much, so soon.

“You’ll always have that.” He lifted her and slid under her body, his cock pushing briefly at her anus, then sliding up to her clit. She shuddered at the sensation that spiked through her. “But
I’ll fuck you with great pleasure. I know you’re tired, but you’ll have to do without sleep for a while yet. I can’t get enough of you tonight.” His terse, clipped tones belied by the heat simmering in his body, she felt him put up blocks against something he didn’t want her to see. It might be Department business, but she thought not. It felt more personal than that.

She dipped her fingers in the water and touched his cock head. It felt silken, more so than out of the bath, but the skin resisted against her fingers for a moment. She pulled the tiny slit at the top open slightly. His low groan told her he liked it. Gently, so gently, so as to torment him more, she stroked him and curled her fingers under the ridge to explore him. He sat very still under her, and then he groaned.

“Exquisite torture,” he whispered. “Never stop.”

“That’s what I’d like. To never stop.”

“Svetlana --”

“Not now, Jasper.” She lifted her body enough to push him inside her. She used her fingers to ease him into her body and let her fingers push inside with him. Feeling him in her, with her, was addictive, and from the small whimpers Jasper was making, he liked it too. She tried an experimental probe and memorized the feeling of his body inside hers before she withdrew.

She cupped his balls and caressed them. He slid his hands around her waist and up to her breasts, massaging and tugging her nipples in the way he’d already learned she liked.

“Oh Jasper!” She gasped when he drove deep and hard, hitting the spot every time. Her fingers froze on his balls, unable to move while he brought her to orgasm, pulling and tweaking, thrusting deeply.

She was his. She’d always be his. Not that she’d tell him. This was a night of hot sex, frantic fucking, nothing more.

One day, she might be able to believe it.

He rocked into her, holding her tight so all she could do was brace her feet against the sides of the bath and watch and feel. He plunged deep, his body hard under her ass and against her back.
Bending to her, he nibbled and sucked at her neck until she turned her head and blindly met his lips. His tongue thrust into her mouth in sparkling counterpoint to his thrusts into her pussy.

“There’s no one to hear you except me,” he whispered, his breath sinfully hot against the tender flesh of her neck.
“Scream for me. Show me how much you want me.”

She needed no more encouragement. She opened her mouth to cry out for him and for herself, letting him take her higher until she regained a little bit of control and pushed against him. His hand slid down her body to her stomach, and he pressed in with the palm. “Oh God, I can feel us. Svetlana -- darling -- this is so good!”

Topaz Delirium from Loose-Id

Order Page:

ISBN: 978-1-59632-664-4

Where to find Lynne Connolly and her Books

My website

The hub of everything I do. It's updated regularly, with excerpts,
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To join, go here:

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I currently write for Samhain
, Ellora's
and Loose-Id.
So you can find me on their loops and on their websites.

I write columns for Sybil at The Good, The Bad and The Unread:

And my email is

Friday, May 30, 2008


Icefire from Ellora's Cave

Shapeshifters rock!

Order Page:

ISBN: 9781419916410

At the Pure Wildfire concert...

Gina opened her eyes, right on to the speculative, sharp gaze of Ryan
Hawthorne. He wouldn’t be able to see her, not really, she assured

She looked away but she’d felt the contact and it couldn’t be undone.
She felt naked, open, just for a moment. That was why she avoided
meeting eyes unless she had shielded herself, prepared for the
encounter. Whoever said eyes were windows on the soul was right. She
looked deep inside Ryan Hawthorne and caught an amazed, vulnerable,
open soul for a second, or perhaps even less. Then he turned away, his
whole body pivoting in the other direction and took his microphone from
a roadie. Just an illusion. It had to be...


Ryan held out his hand to her. She swallowed and looked up at him.

His expression now was completely controlled, the deeper emotions
masked, a query in his eyes. She could refuse him but that would be the
act of a coward. And besides, something inside her urged her to go to
him, as he evidently wanted.

Behind him, Splinter played on. Taking a deep breath, she leaned up and
took his hand. “Come up,” he said softly, so softly she couldn’t hear
him, only follow the shape of his sensual mouth.

One of the security staff lifted her and she scrambled over the low
barrier separating them, sliding from the edge into his arms.

He released her as soon as she’d steadied but not before she felt his
astonishing steely strength. Who would have imagined such a
slender-seeming man would be so strong? When she looked closer, she saw
muscles bunch as he turned away, his hand in hers, to lead her to the

Time slowed, as he seated her next to the guitarist, then began the
song. She knew many bands did this, drew a member of the audience into
a song and her seat was conveniently close. But however much she told
herself This is a gimmick, a device, she couldn’t separate her
professional self from the vulnerable woman underneath.

She tried not to listen, tried to keep the smile fixed on her face, the
blank expression in her eyes. But she couldn’t. Ryan had evoked Maria
perfectly in the song—her fragility, her gentleness, her touching
naïveté. Her image—slight, blonde, ethereally pretty—swam before Gina’s

Damn, when had she started to cry? Tears spilled over her eyes and ran
down her cheeks, two big, fat tears the spotlight would only emphasize.
The man taking video shots for the band knelt in front of them and she
knew the camera would magnify her distress tenfold. She couldn’t use
her trick of squeezing her eyes tightly closed, because anyone watching
the video would see it and know. So she forced her sight past the tears
and gazed at Ryan. Right into his eyes.

Shock lanced between them.

When Ryan Hawthorne and Gina Russo meet, the heat between them burns
hot and raw. But an event five years before set them apart and it lies
between them now.

Ryan Hawthorne is the charismatic vocalist for the band Pure Wildfire
with the world at his feet. He’s also a shape-shifting firebird more
than a hundred years old, torn apart by the death of his lover. Maria
died of a drug overdose but Ryan always suspected foul play. Now he’s
back in New York to find out.

Gina always blamed Ryan for her stepsister Maria’s death, but when she
meets the devastatingly sexy singer she finds Ryan is the embodiment of
all her wet dreams, and she’s had plenty.

They set each other’s worlds ablaze but they have to find Maria’s
killers before they get to Gina.

Or Ryan will lose her, too.

Icefire from Ellora's Cave

Shapeshifters rock!

Order Page:

ISBN: 9781419916410

Thursday, May 01, 2008

New release!

I have two new releases this week (greedy, ain't I? lol!)

The first is TOPAZ DELIRIUM from Loose-Id

Someone is killing vampires with a new drug and
the only people who can discover the source are Svetlana Yevchenko, top model and Jasper, head and chief designer of the House of Lebec and the head of Dept 57 in France.

Svetlana wants Jasper, and he wants her. But they can never give in because Jasper is cursed and through all the lives he remembers no woman has survived the curse. An affair might weaken their attraction to each other – or it might strengthen it.

Svetlana is the greatest temptation Jasper has ever tried to resist but their relationship can never be more than sex. As the latest Dept 57 assignment throws them together, their resistance weakens to the point of total, steaming breakdown. The more they fight the attraction, the deeper it gets.
But when the assignment is over they must face their fate. Again.

Jasper nodded and gazed down at his plate. “Is there something wrong with the food? It came from my usual service which is generally reliable but it seems to taste of very little tonight.”

Svetlana forced herself to lift a morsel to her mouth and concentrate on tasting. This was the first real meal she’d had all week, so she should really have more appetite. “It’s fine. Better than fine.”

He considered his plate, his head tilted to one side, his invariable habit when thinking about something. “Perhaps I’m not in the mood for it.” He shoved his plate aside and reached for his glass. “It gives me pleasure to see you eat, though. So many models never eat at all.” He toasted her, lifting his glass. His lips quirked in a smile though the look in his eyes remained distant. “I’ll design for real women like you. With curves.”

“Isn’t that more difficult?”

He shrugged and tilted his chin up in an arrogant gesture. “I am Jasper Lebec.” He grinned, deliberately ruining the effect. “I can do it. It’s true that breasts disturb a drape or break up a sweep of pattern but I’ll make breasts fashionable if I can.”

She forced another mouthful down. “So why do you think many women have breast augmentations?”

“A different market. Less refined.” His gaze sharpened. “You haven’t had such an abomination, have you?”

She laughed. “No. You’d have noticed, in any case.”

He put his empty glass down on the fine linen tablecloth. “So I would. I see you naked several times every season. But it’s just business. In the atelier you’re another shape to challenge me, that’s all.” He opened his mouth but closed it again without saying anything. Abruptly he got up from the table and tossed his crumpled napkin down by his plate. “Would you like some dessert? It’s something with raspberries, I believe.”

Svetlana recognized the gesture; Jasper was getting too close to revealing his true feelings, so he changed the subject and broke eye contact. Her naked body disturbed him, did it? Was it that, or the thought of her stripping for Hugo Berthier? Tough shit. He was sending here there, after all so he’d have to suck it up. “I don’t want any dessert. You’ll have to take my word for it, Jasper. I don’t starve myself, I’m just not hungry tonight.” She couldn’t take any more.

She had to leave. She wanted Jasper so much, she was wet and ready for him already, dampening her panties under the severe blue skirt. Her thoughts were too disturbing, too close to the surface and Jasper’s powerful Talent would discern them before too long if she didn’t leave now.

“Too late,” he murmured, so quietly she had to strain to hear him. He turned around to face her.

The expression in his silver eyes was nothing like she was used to. Hot, passionate and desirous. Needy. He spoke to her, every word throbbing with sincerity. “Every movement you make is agony to me. I want you so much, it hurts me every time I look at you.” He paused and she stared back, stunned. “What, you can’t take the truth? Shall I send for your car?”

She shook her head. “Why, Jasper?”

“Why what? Why do I want you? God knows.”

“Jasper?” If they wanted each other, if he’d wanted her all this time she’d wanted him, why hadn’t he said anything? Was he afraid of commitment, perhaps? She had no idea. She couldn’t read him unless he let her in, and his face remained impassive apart from the fire in his eyes.

He lifted his hand, then dropped it again, the movement jerky, so unlike his usual elegant, considered gestures. “Every time I look at you I want you with a despair that eats at my soul.”

“Why haven’t you come to me before?” She wasn’t hearing this, she couldn’t be.

He shook his head. “Too many reasons. But, Svetlana, we can have tonight.”

Temporarily bereft of words, she stared at him.

“Tomorrow you begin an assignment I’m still not sure I should give to you. Times are desperate but I won’t send any of my agents into a situation they can’t handle. You won’t let me read you, you’ve kept your barriers hard up against me and I won’t force it.”

“You could,” she said, like him, in English.

“Yes. But I won’t. So tell me and be honest. Do you want this assignment? Should I send someone else?”

She met his gaze frankly, needing to meet honesty with honesty. “Read me, Jasper. Learn the truth.” He shook his head, watching her, his eyes wary. “Then I’ll tell you. No, I don’t want it but yes, I can do it. And Berthier has the hots for me, you made sure of that by throwing me in his way every opportunity you had. I’m the best person for the job.”

“You’re right.” He swallowed, his throat pale against the mandarin collar of his black jacket. “But I don’t want you to do it. Nothing about this assignment feels good. But if you take it, we can have this.”

“So you’re giving me one night of bliss before snatching it away?” Anger, never far away when she dealt with Jasper, swelled within her.

“It has to be. Understand that, Svetlana. If we take tonight we can’t have anything else.” He stayed where he was but turned his hand, palm up and held it out to her. “Neither of us can think straight for this desire we have for each other. It’s a physical thing, no more. Maybe it’s an inconvenience we can rid ourselves of tonight. Can you do that?”

Could she? Take this and work out her obsession with Jasper Lebec in one night? She had to try or she’d go mad.

Svetlana took the step that separated them and put her hand in his. His warmth surprised her. He usually felt so cold when he touched her but now his heat enveloped her.

Now it was his turn.

He moved with a fluidity that shocked her, releasing her hand only to wrap his arms about her and take her lips in a welcome kiss.

Earlier in the day Jasper’s kiss had been punishingly savage but this time he cherished her, parting her lips with his tongue to stroke and seduce, taking her more thoroughly with that one kiss than anyone had ever done before with his whole body. His tongue caressed hers and moved on to stroke the roof of her mouth, exploring her.

Topaz Delirium from Loose-Id
Order Page:
ISBN: 978-1-59632-664-4

I'll tell you about the other release tomorrow, when I have the order page!

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Following up on the details.

When writing a historical romance, it's important to follow up on the details. So if you have a plausible, but unusual plot, you have to follow it up. Less the facts of the time, more the manners, and expectations of the age - the zeitgeist. That's where novelists often make their biggest mistakes.
I write in the Georgian era, and here are a few of the mistakes commonly made. Plots that I've seen that either need a bit more work to make plausible or wouldn't work at all.

1. The duke marrying the governess. No. Just no. A gentleman, a high-ranking member of the upper middle class, yes, but if a duke marries a governess, he can expect to be socially shunned.

2. Speaking of which - disregarding the fact that society will shun you. Better than imagining it's no problem. This didn't mean not being invited to a few parties, it meant being cut off from everything that made the peerage what it was. Being an aristocrat in this era was similar to being the Chairman of the Board or Senior Executive in a big-ass corporation these days. Not exact, but near enough for the analogy to work. Being cut off meant having your peerage disbarred. 'Companies,' that is, other peers, the network of financial organisation, contacts and goodwil that make a company work, all gone. So yes, it happened, but it also could lead to the total destruction of the 'company' or peerage, and all the structures that depended on it for their living. Estate workers, farm workers, lawyers, servants, industries - everything.
If a man's word couldn't be trusted, then the structure collapsed, too. The code of honour meant something.

3. Another situation - the hero and heroine blithely assuming they could have a 'temporary' marriage, that they could divorce or have the marriage annulled after a trial period. Never, ever. Divorces involved an Act of Parliament, and wherever the fault lay, usually put the woman beyond the pale. Annulments were so rare as to be discounted, and when they did occur, they were for legitimate reasons - and those reasons were rigorously tested. Again, yes, it happened, rarely, but the consequences were dire, especially for the ex-wife.

Consummation has never been valid grounds for an annulment of a marriage. There isn't one case of a marriage annulled from non-consummation in the Georgian era. An annulment on the grounds of the male's impotence could be invoked, but the male's impotence had to be tested, by putting him in a room with several sexy women who would try to arouse him. One doubtful case in the late Georgian era is all we've been able to find. But no, annulment for non-consummation never existed in the Georgian era and wasn't valid grounds.

4. The duke (or marquess or earl) marrying a courtesan and society forgiving and forgetting her notorious past. Never, ever happened. Once a courtesan, always a courtesan. If a peer did something that foolish, then not only him but his children would be tainted. Not to say it didn't happen in a more discreet fashion (I used this loophole in "A Chance To Dream"). But no, such a woman would never, ever be openly acknowledged or accepted in the fashionable salons which were the powerhouses of the time.

5. A woman dressing in bifurcated garments, under or over her clothes. Until the Victorian era, no bloomers or knickers or panties (except for titillation). From a practical pov, imagine trying to pee in one of the primitive toilets or chamber pots of the time, holding voluminous skirts out of the way and trying to hold a pair of panties down as well? And if a woman dressed in male clothing, or rode astride, she would probably be locked away as a lunatic. Menfolk could and did get rid of inconvenient females that way.

6. Women who refuse to marry a man after she has slept with him, on the grounds that "he didn't say he loved her." After she'd lost her virginity, she could well be pregnant and to deny a child the chance of legitimacy carried severe, and permanent consequences for the child. Not the act of a heroine, in my book.

See what I mean? These things could happen, but you have to follow through on the consequences. You can't pick and choose, you have to accept the times as they were.
And what is most frustrating to me is that there are some great stories to be told if the consequences are followed. What happens when your mother is shunned as a Fallen Woman? Do you stick with her, or do you accept the offer of your stiff and proper Auntie Honoria, for her to take you into her household, bring you out into society and find you a husband? Can you turn your back on your much beloved mother? But no, many writers assume that society was as flexible then as it is now, that its mechanism is much the same. It isn't, and it wasn't.
Another reason why I admire people who write in past ages, and who recreate a society long gone. I only write about times 300 years ago, but already it's alien to many readers.

And don't expect your editor to pick up your historical inaccuracies. Editors don't pick up those errors. They aren't there for that, and usually they will question a few points, but editors aren't often history experts, too. They might be editing a variety of books, from paranormals to sweet Inspirationals, to cowboy romances, and they aren't experts on that, and most publishing houses don't expect them to be.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Seductive Secrets

Well I don't want to outface Nicola's news, I couldn't if I tried, but I did just get the most beyoootiful cover art for my June release, "Seductive Secrets," the first in the Secrets Trilogy.
Georgian England again, and all three of these books take place outside London, two in country houses and one in a small town.
Isobel has a lot of secrets her new husband, Lord Cardington, doesn't know until after the marriage. But Nick loved her years ago, and has come back for more, so he thinks he's prepared for what lies ahead. He isn't.
I put a bit of the new technology to mid-Georgian England in each book, so the first book has a bit of the agrarian revolution, the new developments in agriculture. It was so enjoyable to write and I'm so pleased the book is coming out. And with such a lovely cover, too. Vivat Anne Cain!

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Another one gone

Sadly, it looks as if another epublisher has gone. Dark Eden Press is closing because of the illness of its proprietor. My best wishes to Debra and everyone orphaned by the closure.
Again, sadly, it's given the detractors and the gossips another stick to beat the epresses with. I've been epublished since 2000, and I've seen the constant criticisms and detractions, and like most generalisations, while there's a nugget of truth in it, there's also a lot of misinformation.
You can't any longer tar all epublishers with the same brush - if you ever could. Many are print publishers as well, which should more accurately bring them the title of small press. And some are definitely larger and more stable than others. They just aren't the same thing any more.
And risk. Every venture carries some risk. A risk assessment of the publishing industry is no different. When I was at business school, many years ago, risk assessment was a whole discipline to itself. and it still is. You can put numbers to it. I'll show you in the next entry. Everyone going for publication should really take the risk assessment into account, but they don't.
That's why I don't intend to send work to any more smaller of the small presses, if I can help it. But it took me a long while to get here and when I look back, I can see, much to my surprise, a career structure. Who'd have thunk it?

Thursday, March 20, 2008


They're at it again.
Last year, when Triskelion Publishing got into difficulties, it was astounding to see how the gossips gathered around. What should have been a private author loop leaked like a sieve and what was always thought to be private ended up on public blogs.
And the vultures gathered around the corpse.
In truth, the company went down because the print program was a failure. Too much investment, too fast, led to cash meltdown and that was that.
But if you read the blogs you would have thought it went down because of incompetence and selfish behaviour by the owners. It wasn't. If they had made a roaring fortune from the print books, they would be laughing now, and they could have shaken off the critics. But the money ran out. At least they went bankrupt. In the past, epublishers just melted away in the night and the poor author rarely got closure.
The company has gone now, and remains as a Grave Lesson.
Now it's starting up again with another company. These things come in cycles, it seems.
I know nothing about the company currently under the spotlight. I've never had books there, never submitted any, but it is one of the longer-established epublishers and it has its way of working. Leaked emails are appearing all over theplace, to be lampooned and cut apart, when the emails weren't even meant for them. I have no bone to pick this time. I'm completely neutral.
But in the wake of every company that dies, whether it is because of its own faults or something else, it leaves a slew of bitterly disappointed and upset authors.
However, this is a symptom of market development. It really is. The smaller companies will either find themselves a niche or they will die, taken over or blown to the four winds. Bigger companies are venturing into epublishing and it's beginning to show.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

New contract!

I've been offered a contract from Ellora's Cave on the third Pure Wildfire book, MOONFIRE. I am so pleased that Jake's story will be out!
Jake is a sweetie, but nobody's fool, and when he returns to his home town of Springwater, Texas, he finds more than he bargained for, and a woman who can stand up to him.

Friday, February 22, 2008

A Night Out with Pure Passion

What a treat to put that subject in my mail!
I attended the Pure Passion presentation last night and I took my daughter as my guest.
First I have to thank Rosemary for the invitation. What a lovely night it was!
We arrived by train from Warrington and, as always, I entered Manchester Town Hall with a fair bit of awe. The Town Hall was built in the era when Manchester was the wealthiest city in the world, sometimes called Cottonopolis because it was the centre of the cotton industry. The Town Hall was built in the high Victorian Gothic style, embellished inside with murals, vaulted ceilings and grand staircases. It really is a wonderful sight. If you ever go to Manchester, the Town Hall and the Exchange are the two buildings that really express the grandeur and wealth of the time.
Gathered in the Conference Room were writers, editors, librarians and readers. What better combination of people could there be?
The presentation went very well, helped along by witty speeches by Jenny Haddon, Catherine King and special guest Jan Etherington, TV scriptwriter and all-round good egg. Fashion notes I'll leave to someone else, except to say that my daughter looked her usual astonishing self.
A very enjoyable celebration of romantic fiction, and a fitting tribute to the genre. I'm looking forward to the exhibition in June at the Manchester Central Library, another tribute to the breathtaking confidence of the Victorian occupants of the city.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008


Recently, I've been rewriting books I wrote before and a few things occurred to me. "Sunfire" is heavily rewritten, for example, but that was for a new publisher (Ellora's Cave) who had different requirements to the book's first publisher. I really thought the book was improved by the rewrite. But there wasn't much time before the original and the rewrite.
I'm currently going through edits for "Devonshire," the second book I had published and I'm finding myself less inclined to make any big changes.
Why? Because I wrote it long enough ago for me to have been a different writer then. I did things in that book I wouldn't do today, but that doesn't necessarily mean I'm better now - just different. I know what I was trying for when I wrote it, and it isn't always what I go for today. My concerns have changed, my writing style has changed.
And I revised "The Chemistry of Evil" ready to present it to publishers. I was happy to revise that because it is part of a series (Dept 57) that I'm still writing today. It gives me a chance to check the continuity. But I deliberately held back on heavy rewriting. I added a scene that I thought improved the story, but it's only a little one, and kept other things I wasn't entirely sure about, but I was then.
So where does revisionism stop and improving start?

Thursday, February 14, 2008

The RNA's best male celebrities

In a fun poll earlier this year, I voted for my favourite male celebrities, along with most of the other members of the RNA (Romantic Novelists' Association). So here are the results. What do you think about our choices?

The top ten male celebrities voted the Perfect Romantic Hero were:

1. Johnny Depp

2. Daniel Craig

3. Sean Bean

4. Richard Armitage

5. Hugh Jackman

6. Colin Firth

7. Alan Rickman

8. Pierce Brosnan

9. George Clooney

10. David Tennant

A second poll, taken by members of the RNA bravely admitting to being ‘over a certain age’, voted for male celebrities over fifty who’ve ‘still got it’. Remarkable for his appearance on both polls, Pierce Brosnan took the crownfor the over fifties by a huge margin.

The top ten Over-Fifty Perfect Romantic Heroes were:

1. Pierce Brosnan

2. Harrison Ford

3. Ranulph Fiennes

4. Bill Nighy

5. Liam Neeson

6. Sam Neill

7. Sean Connery

8. Peter O’Toole

9. Clint Eastwood

10. Omar Sharif

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Met By Chance

A new book out in time for Valentine's Day!

There’s more to this man than satin and lace.

After a serious riding accident, Perdita Garland is back in society. Unfortunately the first man who catches her interest, Charles Dalton, Marquis of Petherbridge, turns out to be a popinjay with a spoiled daughter in tow. And his equally spoiled sister is flirting with the same fortune-hunting suitor who almost cost Perdita her life. What’s a lady to do? Warn the marquis of the danger, of course.

Charles knows that English society finds his manners and dress astonishing, but they cover a man broken by a disastrous marriage to a faithless wife. Now a widowed father determined not to be fooled again, he is nevertheless charmed by Perdita and the steely strength of will under her fragile exterior. If only the lady would mind her own business.

But when his impulsive sister elopes and kidnaps his daughter, he finds himself wishing he had listened to the little busybody. And Perdita, feeling partly responsible for the disaster, boldly sets out to help him put things right.

Alone in a strange city with his lordship, plunged into danger, Perdita discovers there is more than meets the eye under the pampered skin of the marquis. There is strength, power…and passion beyond her wildest dreams.

Met By Chance, from Samhain Publishing
There's more to this man than satin and lace!
Order Page:

A sharp exclamation, swiftly bitten off before the profanity entirely escaped his lips made her pay complete attention to the man by her side. “Good God, what is she doing here?” he cried, in a completely different tone of voice.

If she was less surprised, Perdita might have admired his skill in bringing his horses to a swift halt, and even more by his athletic leap from the vehicle, while his tiger scrambled to take the reins and climb up beside her. He started in the direction of the trees, a discreet gathering of oaks and sycamores, intended, she assumed, for added privacy, if needed. A flash of yellow drew her attention to a parasol wielded by a lady with her back to them, her hand resting on the arm of a man Perdita knew and had long wished she didn’t.


Charles was halfway to the trees before he realised just how improper his behaviour was. He didn’t stop walking, since the deed was done, but he owed Lady Perdita a deep apology for his behaviour. The trouble was, once he saw Millicent heading for the undergrowth he knew precisely what would happen next.

Exactly what happened last time. Only this time the result might not be as favourable as the last. His sister was an accomplished flirt, and didn’t know where to draw the line. The last time it had taken a fortune to quiet the budding scandal. Kissing a man in the corridor at the Opera they had, not unnaturally, been seen. She was at it again, and Charles intended to save himself considerable expenditure by finishing it now.

They were some way ahead, Millicent and the unknown man, and Charles hadn’t caught up with them by the time they disappeared between the trees. Only a flick of blue from Millicent’s gown betrayed their progression to the rear of the copse, where it was darkest. Charles quickened his stride, until he heard something behind him and turned to see the cause of it.

Damn! Lady Perdita was determinedly following. Why couldn’t she have waited in the phaeton? He would have to take her into his confidence now. Charles frowned when he saw her stumble on the rough ground. He had no choice. He waited for her.

Her breath came in short gasps, and it was only then he recollected her accident, the one that had broken both her legs. His agitation had driven the memory momentarily out of his mind. Lady Perdita had only been ambulant for a year, and still felt the effects of such severe injury. He’d felt as much last night, when he’d danced with her. He cursed his carelessness that made him forget.

She stared at him, getting her breath back. “Don’t stop! Go after them!”

Astonished, Charles held his arm out for her. “Come. We’ll go after them together. How did you know?”

She shot him a frowning look. “What else could it be but an impending scandal? Who is she?”

“My sister Millicent.” The hand on his sleeve tightened, but she did not use him as support, instead using it to help her quicken her stride.

They reached the trees. “Where are they?” he wondered. In the time he’d taken his attention from his sister to attend to Lady Perdita, Millicent had disappeared.


All he could hear was her laboured breathing, slowly settling.

Then he heard a giggle, some way distant. “There!” He set off as quickly as he could, considering he had to consider someone else. He didn’t have to tow her, although his pace was probably too quick for her.

The trees here, past the sycamores, were old elms, interspersed with newer saplings, an artificial construct. Not being familiar with Hyde Park, he wasn’t sure where they led. Although reading his mind she said, “This comes out by the Serpentine. There will be people there.”

He let out the breath he didn’t know he’d been holding. “She’s a flirt,” he said, lightly, “but too young to have complete control of herself. I returned from France to find her deep in trouble, and having extricated her from that, I have no desire to see her do it again.”

“She could empty your coffers.”

So she realised just how he’d extricated Millicent last time. He glanced at Lady Perdita’s face, and saw total understanding there. He hoped he saw discretion, too. His irritation with his sister grew. He had been enjoying his drive, and enjoying her company. Millicent had ruined it. He dismissed his twinge of regret and plunged on, determined to do his duty.

Lady Perdita kept up, gamely refusing to lean on his arm, but determinedly keeping pace with him. When he glanced at her, he saw her lips tightly compressed, a sure sign of strain. He prayed the swift walk would do her legs no damage and fervently wished she’d remained behind.

They came out of the trees suddenly, a small copse, but artfully designed. People strolled this side of the bank of trees, enjoying the fine day and the view of the small river winding through the park. The sunlight blinded him and he blinked while his eyes adjusted to the altered circumstances. Then he spied his sister and the unknown man. She stopped walking, and faced her suitor, ready for his kiss.

Charles watched, aghast, as Millicent moved closer to her swain. How much this time? Two thousand? Three? More?

Then another couple moved out of the trees, heading for the Serpentine. Charles recognised them at once. The Earl and Countess of Ilford. Incorruptible leaders of society. If they saw this little scene, the game would be up, and his sister married to a man who was likely a fortune hunter, prepared to milk Charles and his family of everything he could get, and more importantly, make Millicent’s life a misery.

He felt a tug on his sleeve, and he turned, but without taking his attention from the awful scene being enacted before him. When he finally looked at Lady Perdita, the entreaty in her eyes startled him. Her hand curled behind his neck, and he bent towards her, rather than resist. Then he realised what she was about.

A distraction. Perfect.

Their lips met. Feeling hers part under his, Charles succumbed to the urges never far under the skin since he’d met her last night and clasped her closer, so she couldn’t get away even if she wanted to. Her mouth hot under his, he pushed her lips further apart with his own, so he could enter her with his tongue.

Exquisite hot, damp, warmth. Something he hadn’t felt for five years. The welcoming, feminine form moved closer, and his hands tightened on the warm silk of her gown, giving himself up to the kiss, forgetting everything but their startlingly intimate embrace.

When she gasped, he pushed his tongue between her lips in exploration, found the firm, sweet roof of her mouth and stroked it, as though caressing her bare skin with his hands. She was open to him, unknowingly offering all she could give, and if it weren’t for the time and the place he would be tempted to take it.

His own thoughts reminded him of the time and place. Allowing courtesy to dictate his actions, he slackened his grip, removed his tongue from her inviting mouth and finished the kiss with a quiet, closed mouth caress.

Charles allowed himself a moment to gaze at her, so close, her wondrous blue eyes as dazed as he knew his own must be. Then, brought back to the immediacy of the situation, he drew back and looked around him.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008


Today is the 50th anniversary of the Munich Air Disaster.
I'm a Manchester United fan, so I'm remembering today and raising a glass to the boys who died that day. And they were boys.
In case you don't know what I'm talking about, Manchester United is one of the best football teams in the world. And the richest in the UK. On this day in 1958, the United team of the day was the best in the country, packed with young hopefuls and on its way to winning the European Cup. The manager was Matt Busby and the team was called "The Busby Babes."
Until Munich.
On its way home, the plane didn't lift off, but crashed at the end of the runway. There were 44 passengers on board, and 23 died. Including 8 players. The manager was in intensive care for a while.
Ten years later, Manchester United won the European Cup under Sir Matt's managership but nobody has ever forgotten Munich.
So spare a minute tonight to remember them.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

MET BY CHANCE - Out today!

The third book in the Triple Countess series.
Set in the glamorous age of Georgian England, Met By Chance is Perdita's story, the sister of Orlando, featured in A Chance To Dream.
For brand-new excerpts and buying, go here:

Now read on:
There’s more to this man than satin and lace.
After a serious riding accident, Perdita Garland is back in society. Unfortunately the first man who catches her interest, Charles Dalton, Marquis of Petherbridge, turns out to be a popinjay with a spoiled daughter in tow. And his equally spoiled sister is flirting with the same fortune-hunting suitor who almost cost Perdita her life. What’s a lady to do? Warn the
marquis of the danger, of course.
Charles knows that English society finds his manners and dress astonishing, but they cover a man broken by a disastrous marriage to a faithless wife. Now a widowed father determined not to be fooled again, he is nevertheless charmed by Perdita and the steely strength of will under her fragile exterior. If only the lady would mind her own business. But when his impulsive sister elopes and kidnaps his daughter, he finds himself wishing he had listened to the little busybody. And Perdita, feeling partly responsible for the disaster, boldly sets out to help him put things right.
Alone in a strange city with his lordship, plunged into danger, Perdita discovers there is more than meets the eye under th pampered skin of the marquis. There is strength, power…and passion beyond her wildest dreams.

Met By Chance, from Samhain Publishing
There's more to this man than satin and lace!
Order Page:

I hope you like! And get a shufti at that beautiful cover!


So much for daily blogging! I tried, I really did. But so many things happen and all at once I don't really believe January is actually over!
I have a new release tomorrow, which I'll blog about then, and January was a blast, with the release of "Sunfire." I absolutely loved writing that book and the reviews that have come in have blown me away. They like it. So I'm safe to keep writing for now!

Saturday, January 26, 2008


I was pointed to an excellent post on historical accuracy in romances:
Go read. It's good.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008


To celebrate the release of Sunfire, I went and did the tail-end of the sales yesterday.
I love the tail-end. When the sales first start, you go out and get the things you really want, or the things that are in short supply. Then, towards the end of the sales, one last trawl for those hidden gems, the piles of things that have been overlooked. I got some bandanas for 50p, silk ones, a great bargain, and now I've decided to keep my hair long for the time being, I need more hair stuff. And a skirt from Monsoon. I can rarely resist Monsoon so I have a new skirt to add to the beautiful new handbag I bought at the start of the sales. I've been stroking that bag for weeks. It's velvet, you see, very strokable!
Or is it just me and my inveterate bargain-hunting self? Perhaps nobody else likes them. Debenhams was packed with stuff, mostly clothes, so there is some indication of overbuying, or maybe they just didn't buy what people wanted. Oops. I had an interview for fashion buyer there many moons ago, but I didn't like the unwieldy corporate structure, so I went into advertising and marketing instead, which was huge fun but I always wondered what I'd missed!
I might just go back for that John Rocha skirt.......

Friday, January 18, 2008

Sunfire is out today!

Sunfire is out today!
I am really thrilled that this book is getting a new lease of life, and the others in the series will be released for the first time.
Rock musicians and shapeshifters, yum!
You can read an excerpt on my website, here;

and you can buy the book here:

Rock meets classical. Paranormal meets mortal. Will anybody get out
alive? The members of rock band Pure Wildfire are firebird
shape-shifters. Manager John Westfall will sacrifice anything for the
power they wield, even his daughter Corinne.

Corinne attracts Aidan in a way he's never known before. He'll do
anything to release her from Westfall's trap. He offers her marriage,
but Aidan wants more from Corinne — he wants her heart. And he'll give
her his in return.

Classical guitarist Corinne is desperate to escape her father's
control. She loves Aidan but craves her freedom — can she trust him to
give it to her? Can she trust the wild man of rock with her heart?
There's only one way to find out. Dive into the wildfire!

And here's a snippet to tempt you!
Aidan’s way out of the manor led past the rehearsal room, he made sure
of it. Maybe Corinne might still be there. Maybe he’d have another
chance with her.

The waves of grief hit him like a wall of icy water on his way past. He
couldn’t ignore such anguish, so he turned the knob and went in.

The door opened silently, like the door to Westfall’s office, gliding
on well-oiled hinges. She stood with her back to the door, head bowed,
shoulders shaking in quiet pain. Her sobs filled the room with sorrow.

At first, Aidan wasn’t sure which sister wept so heartbrokenly, but the
white clothes and the feel of the atmosphere soon told him. Guessing
her wish for privacy, he closed the door quietly before he walked
forward and placed his hands on Corinne’s shoulders to tell her she was
no longer alone.

“What is it? Is there anything I can do? Who made you cry like this?”

Her shoulders froze, tensing under his touch. She drew a deep breath
and her hand went up to wipe away the tears. Only then did she turn.

Her eyes, made even darker by her tears, gazed steadily into his. Her
cheeks were still wet but she’d composed her face before she turned to
him. She looked ethereally beautiful and heartbreakingly lovely. Aidan
caught his breath in wonder.

“You,” she said. “You made me cry.”

Let me know what you think!

Monday, January 14, 2008

The plagiarism debate

Except it's not a debate any more.
A best selling author of 100 books, Cassie Edwards, has been accused of lifting material from other books without acknowledging them.
It's now become so bad that people are asking if there is a book where she didn't copy.
I've heard some authors saying that "we" should stick together to support the romance community. To my mind, there is no "we" in this case. Copying someone else's material and claiming it as your own is wrong. Whoever, whatever. The whole thing makes me very sad, but just because one person is doing this, doesn't mean it's okay to do it or that everyone who ever writes a book is the same as the next person who writes a book. If there's anything I've learned about writers, it's that there are no generalisations, the only common factor being the writing. Every writer has her own technique, every writer has his methods.
But this isn't a writing technique. It's a patchwork way of constructing a saleable product. Until somebody finds out. And they have found out.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Read me! Read me!

I've been thinking about promotion lately. I freely admit I'm not all that good at it. I can't do the "I am better than X, read me" post, or the "I am great, look at this!" one either.
I write what I love to write and I'm continually astonished that industry professionals and readers enjoy what I write, too. They even take me seriously.
Not to say that I don't, because I work very hard at it. But I didn't know I could do it. Then I read a book of mine that I've let "rest," before I edit it and think, "That's not half bad." And when I get a severe round of edits, it's almost a relief because I knew something was wrong and I couldn't quite work it out.
Which brings us back to promotion. Brits are notoriously bad at trumpeting their own worth, and I seem, in this regard at least, to be typically British. I cannot stand up and say I'm better than all the others, I can't even admit I'm a published writer sometimes. I still blush.
Daft? Yes, maybe. But a lot of writers do it because they feel they're socially inept, that they don't fit in, in a strange kind of way and perhaps they're used to it by the time they achieve any kind of success. Used to people thinking they're a bit odd, used to the pitying looks when they talk about their work.
After that, promotion can be a bit tricky. But I've found a way, one that works for me and doesn't leave me looking either obnoxiously pushy or stupidly self-effacing. Just about.
Of course, what I dream about, what every author dreams about, is being told that she is great, having people talk about their books and how much they enjoy them. Some achieve it, some naturally, most with a bit of artful promotion, the kind I don't seem to be able to do, or afford. Which is a bit strange because I did a stint in marketing and for the most part enjoyed it very much. But when it comes to my own wares, I'm not so brilliant.
Am I complaining? Not really, just indulging in a bit of wishful thinking.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008


I'm definitely having an "I suck" day. Every now and then I get these, and I'm told others have them too. Days when you think that everything you do is doomed to failure, when you read what you've just done and you're convinced it doesn't work. It usually comes along with a rejection, but today, it's probably post-Christmas gloom.
It helps when others admit to feeling the same way but I've learned that you just have to wait it out.
Or is it just me? Or do I really suck?

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Happy New Year!

I do hope you all saw the new year in the way you wanted to. So we're in 2008. And I have to take stock because that's what people do at this time of year.
New publishers, a new venture I can't really talk about yet and a new series to start writing. Recently people have commented on how busy I am, how hard I write, but really, it's just that I find it hard to do anything else. I never imagined it would be possible that anyone else would enjoy my work, but they do. And I never imagined I would make new friends through my writing, but I have.
Still gobsmacked, though keeping on!