Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Newsletter, December, 2010

I write surrounded by the blue bags that contain our Christmas tree. I used to have a real one, but then we got children and a cat, and they really don't mix very well, so now we get the artificial kind. It looks fine. And while, when the children were young, we had lots of glitter and tinsel, now we tend toward the more tasteful. I don't miss the tinsel and the bits of glitter that my vacuum cleaner used to pick up well until April.
Thank you for helping me to have such a good year! Looking back, I had fewer releases, but great sales, so something nice must be happening! Like most writers I've met, I have that amazed feeling of "when did this turn into a career"? but I'm really glad it has.
I moved further into the contemporary this year, with the release of "Texas Heat" and "Unbroken." I really enjoyed it, and I'll probably do some more. Which is probably my cue to tell you that I'm currently doing the edits on "Sunshine On Chrome," the next Cougar book. I've been floored by the number of "Seychelles Sunset" downloaded (the Naughty Nooner that is the epilogue to "Beauty of Sunset") so I have great hopes for "Sunshine On Chrome." The hero is a company owner who secretly yearns to go around the world on his motorbike. And who can blame him? I have a cover for the book now, and I thought you might like to take a peek. I love it!
On the historical front, I'm shortly to begin edits on "Maiden Lane," the latest Richard and Rose book, and the penultimate one before I give the series a rest. I might start with a new cycle, set a couple of years later, but it's been an amazing journey and it's not finished yet. I plan to write Freddy's story, for instance, but I haven't yet found the lady for him, although a few have shown up. After the fiasco with Corin, where I originally paired him with the wrong woman, I'm going to write a few chapters of Freddy with one or two women, and see which one really sparks.
And I have a cover for "Maiden Lane" now as well, and it's gorgeous!
"Griffin's Treasure," the latest Dept 57 book, will be out at Loose-Id in April.
The recent controversy on writers who review was interesting. Since I review for two big sites (ERWA and The Good, The Bad and The Unread) it was of great interest to me. I was relieved to find that most people like them. I do it because I'm a reader, a passionate one, and when a book works for me I really appreciate the chance to tell people so. But I don't think that a series of "this is great" reviews would give readers a reference as to what I like and what I don't like. I get the occasional galley to review, and when I do, I feel as if I owe a review. Sadly, they don't always work for me, although I do try to choose them carefully. Maybe if I were cold-bloodedly planning a career, I wouldn't do it, but I tend to take things as they come.
Currently I'm in the process of planning my trip to the States next year. I love my trip and I've discovered the joys of solo travel. It really is marvellous - you can do exactly what you want to do, and if I can arrange to meet up with people while I'm there, so much the better. I'm having a week in San Francisco before I move to Los Angeles for Romantic Times, so if anyone is around, that's where I'll be! Booking for the visit is probably the hardest part, but once that's done, I can look forward to the visit.
This year we are led to believe that the ebook really took off. That means that the big publishers are finally taking it seriously, although they are still offering a small amount to their writers in compensation, and sadly, most are accepting it. But when there are hundreds of writers waiting to fill the spots of published writers, the publishers tend to use that, and the writer's basic insecurity.
I decided to just carry on enjoying it. I don't know how long it will last, or what tomorrow brings, but I still love writing and doing it for a career.


Since I don't have a new release this month, and the last two excerpts were contemporaries, I thought you might like an excerpt from Eyton, which is newly out in print. If you see it in a bookstore, let me know, because I don't see them until I go to the States!

When Richard and Rose visit his family estate in Derbyshire to celebrate the christening of their firstborn, Rose comes face to face with some hard realities about the powerful Kerre family. The vast majority of them are far from delighted with Richard’s choice of wife. Plus, they think a man who shares his bed with his wife every night must have something wrong with him.
Rose is driven half mad by Richard’s overly careful love for her. Somewhere underneath that smooth, sophisticated surface lies the passionate, intense lover she longs for—and she takes steps to seduce that savage lover back into her bed.
Their joyous occasion is marred by the theft of a valuable necklace. Richard’s family looks to him to solve the crime—but something isn’t adding up. Evidence pointing to two trusted servants seems too convenient…and then they’re murdered.
From the tangle of jealousies, secrets and desperate lies, Richard and Rose once again dance on the edge of danger to achieve justice—without dragging the family name into public scandal.

I made to leave the room, but turned back on an afterthought. “You’d better use my safe for that thing.” Although I trusted Carier, I didn’t like to think the necklace might go missing again.

I nodded to the two men with their captive. I was glad to see he was quiet now. I went down the same stairs I had gone up, but went in the opposite direction to which I had come once I reached my part of the house again. I hoped to avoid the awkward questions of my mother-in-law and Lady Kerre.

I headed downstairs towards a quiet room where I could get some peace for a while so I could think. I was passing through the great hall, past the painting of an ancestor from the previous century, a Cavalier. The man had been a follower of the King and had died abroad in penury, like so many of his kind, but his portrait from kinder times was set here. Like all the Strangs, he was fair-haired, and his eyes seemed to be of the same porcelain blue that I saw every morning. Around him was gathered his vast family, all of them in the ravishing silks of the time, the foundation of a dynasty which sometimes seemed to me to encompass the whole of society. Several people, including the housekeeper, stared up at the work. Part of the housekeeper’s privileges included any tips from tours of the public rooms of the house, and while I was surprised to see this while the family was in residence, it wasn’t my house, and I concentrated on getting past them before they turned around.

Too late to attempt stealth, my unguarded footsteps made them look around from their contemplation of the picture. The housekeeper swept me a curtsey and following her example, so did the visitors. I was forced to pause in my flight. I acknowledged the curtseys with a gracious bow, and I stepped forward to greet them before I made my escape.

It was then I realised I knew them. The Sturmans.

I was at a loss as to what could have brought them here but I gave them a pleasant smile. “Why, Mrs. Sturman, how pleasant to see you. How are you all?”

There were three of them, the mother, father and their only daughter who had been and probably still was a friend of Miss Terry. Eustacia Terry had terrorised me in my younger days. She had laughed at my shyness and lack of style, and gathered the younger set about her. Miss Sturman had for a few seasons been her particular favourite, but she was by no means as vicious as her mentor. I still felt strangely nervous before them. I hoped it didn’t show.

“Very well, your ladyship.” Mrs. Sturman waited politely for me to say something else. I was trapped.

I asked them if they would like some refreshment, to which they naturally replied they would love some, so I glanced at the housekeeper who nodded to a footman standing next to the door to one of the rooms. He went away to arrange the refreshment.

“We’ll be in the Green Drawing Room, Mrs. Gravelines,” I told her. The lady bowed and left, and I took the guests to the room I had chosen to use. We climbed the great staircase. “Mrs. Sturman, what are you doing here, so far from home?”

“We have been to visit my sister in Scarborough, and we could not miss the opportunity to call on you on our way home.” Mrs. Sturman’s attitude was as critical as if she were still my social superior back in Exeter. She glanced at my simple gown, and for once I had nothing to blush for; it might be simple but it was in the latest taste and finely made.

While we walked she looked about her, but I had to confess I knew very little at what we were looking at. “I know the major points of the rooms, of course, but we don’t spend much time here. We’re here to celebrate the birth of our first child.”

Mrs. Sturman’s face unbent into a smile, and I remembered she had always been particularly fond of babies. “I’m glad to see you so well."

Scandal, murder and passion - an ordinary day for Richard and Rose
ISBN:  978-1-60504-691-4

Sunday, October 03, 2010

Newsletter, October, 2010


I've worn my computer in by finishing a story. It's a story I just had to write when I started thinking about the heroine and her dilemma. She's an ex addict. Three years ago she went into rehab and came out clean, and she's been rebuilding her life ever since, but her past catches up with her. I loved writing it, but this month and next, it's back to the dragons and vampires!

I'm planning the story of Andros Zelinski, who some of you might know from the STORM series. He had a wasting disease, but that was cured when he was converted to a shape-shifting dragon, but I'm fascinated to find out what scars are left when that happens, and how you cope. I've been looking at real life cases of people who've had a debilitating illness or condition, and what happens after they recover. It's not all a bed of roses. Sometimes they have to relearn skills they haven't used since childhood and they have to grow accustomed to a whole new way of life. How much would that affect a man who thought he'd die early and slowly lose his faculties, only to find himself stronger and longer-lived than any man on earth?

"Maiden Lane" was accepted at Samhain. That's the next Richard and Rose book, so I'm really pleased about that. It should be out in early Spring next year. Now I have to write the last one.

I'm thinking about Freddy's story. I know a few things about the happy-go-lucky Freddy that have never emerged in the stories, so I might use those aspects to develop his story. I also want to do Antonia's story, from Alluring Secrets, but I doubt that Freddy and Antonia will make a match of it.

As always, if you want to know anything, if you review for a site and want review copies, or if you just want to chat, do get in touch. I love to hear from you!


This month, "Texas Heat" is released at Loose-Id. I am incredibly excited about it, as it's my first full-length contemporary romance, and one that has been on my computer for some time. It's a story I've worked and reworked, one of the personal projects many writers have. But I thought it was time that more people met Annie and Vin, and luckily, LI liked it enough to accept it for publication.
Here's part of the first chapter. I do hope you like it.

    Colliding with a gorgeous man in London’s National Gallery leads Annie to sharing days of steamy passion with him, closeted in her hotel room. Even when she discovers that Vin owns the company buying hers, she can’t get him out of her mind -- or her bed. Poor Vin is going blind. Can she deny him his last sight of a woman’s naked body?
Vin’s worries are piling up -- the company he’s buying has financial problems verging on the criminal, and he’s going blind after an operation that went wrong. There’s a slim chance he could see again, as slim as the prospect of having Annie, after he discovers that it’s her company with the problems. But he can’t stop wanting her. Can’t stop taking her to bed and claiming her as his own.
She denies criminal activity and he wants to believe, but all the evidence is against her. His instincts tell him Annie is innocent, so he takes a new complication in her life as a chance to keep her close -- and safe from the danger that threatens her.
But Annie won’t let him take control of her life. She wants to prove her innocence, even at the expense of the man who took everything she had to give, and came back for more.

Chapter One

“Beautiful, isn’t it?”
Startled by the masculine voice so close to her ear, Annie let out a startled shriek and jumped back, colliding with the hard body just behind her. Her voice echoed around the hallowed space of London’s National Gallery, shattering the peace. Embarrassment heated her skin to the boiling point.
She and the man behind her tumbled into a heap of flailing humanity. From tranquility to chaos in the space of a few seconds.
Just like her life.
She pushed her hair back from her face and looked up. A curator sitting next to the entrance to the next gallery watched her warily but didn’t get up from his seat. People stared, some smirked, and Annie bit her lip, feeling every inch the clumsy idiot.
The curator glared at her, exasperation hooding his pale blue, rheumy gaze. Annie attempted a conciliatory smile, trying to share the joke of her clumsiness. The man remained unimpressed, and his mouth didn’t move at all. People walked on, murmuring to one other, reminding her forcibly of a T.S. Eliot poem.
But she hadn’t tripped over J. Alfred Prufrock, she realized when she turned her attention to the big body that had cushioned her fall.
Heat and masculine warmth surrounded her when he steadied her, both arms around her as he helped her to sit up. Horror struck her first and then confusion.
She stared into the blank lenses of the darkest sunglasses she’d ever seen. “I -- Oh I’m so sorry!” She had never wished so fervently for the world to swallow her up.
“Think nothing of it.” His voice slipped over her senses like hot syrup, a rich American accent adding to the unexpectedly visceral response that mingled with her embarrassment. When she shivered, his arms tightened a fraction before she shifted to get to her feet.
Could it get any worse? She’d just tripped over a visually impaired hottie, one of the most gorgeous men she’d ever seen in her life. His sharply defined cheekbones and strong jaw added structure to the full lips, currently quirked in a smile of amusement. Definitely something she didn’t feel at the moment. Well, at least she hadn’t sworn as she went down. She couldn’t have; the fall had knocked the breath out of her.
What the fuck was a blind man doing in an art gallery?
When she tried to scramble to her feet, her heels slipped on the polished wooden floor, and she fell on him. Again.
He crowed with laughter, but she just wanted to cry. If falling on a blind man weren’t bad enough, having the hots for him made her feel worse. Much, much worse. He shifted his body under hers. It was beautifully toned, if the way his muscles flexed against her offered any indication. For a bare instant, his crotch came into contact with her hip as he sat up again, and she froze. That hard ridge was unmistakable. He got turned on by having women fall over him? She didn’t want to know that.
No longer caring how she looked, Annie scrambled to her feet, hoping to get out of this place before she could do anything else. She didn’t know if she could ever come here again. But as she stared at him, sitting with his hands on the floor, ready to push to his feet, she knew she couldn’t just walk off and leave this blind man to find his own way. This sexy, gorgeous blind man.
This time she made sure she planted her feet well apart before she held out both hands for him to take. He took one, but he put no pressure on it, getting to his feet in one smooth motion.
People started to walk around again and stare at the art, the low conversations punctuated by the occasion chuckle. The small drama was over for them.
But not for her. Annie found herself close to the stranger, close enough to feel his warm breath on her cheek and smell his sharp aftershave. He had short dark hair, nearly but not quite black, which topped a frame that must have been over six feet. That smile still quirked his mouth. Blind, gorgeous, and probably bruised as well.
“I’m so sorry!” Her voice sounded girlish and flirty instead of the sensible adult tones she’d aimed for.
To think she’d come here for an hour or two to try to regain some serenity. Well, that hadn’t worked. Take me please, God. One little heart attack. It doesn’t have to be much.
That smile should be banned. It didn’t seem decent in a respectable place like this. “It doesn’t matter. I took you by surprise; that’s all. It’s as much my fault as it is yours.” The smooth Southern accent melted what was left of her composure. Dark and sinful, it invited her to sink into the honeyed tones and let him do whatever he wanted to her.
“Hey.” He lifted his hand to her cheek and pushed a lock of hair off her face, tracing a tingling path to her ear with one finger. “Are you okay? Do you need to sit down?”
“No, I mean, yes. I mean --” She swallowed, realizing one thing at least. “So you’re not --”
He grinned. “Blind? No.” He glanced at the painting that had so absorbed them both before she’d knocked him over. “I can still see that Bacchus is about to sweep Ariadne off her feet and carry her off to a happy ever after. I always wanted to see what happened next, but from the look on his face, I can take a pretty good guess.” His deepened voice told her he knew only too well, and brought heated visions to her mind, ones she could do without right now.
“It’s my favorite painting here.” She gave him a wry glance. “Or rather, it was.”
“Great, isn’t it?” He still held her hand and showed no sign of wanting to return it. Instead, he turned it over and smoothed his thumb over the back, along her third finger, sending chills right to the heart of her sexuality. “No wedding ring. It could be my lucky day.”
She couldn’t believe what he was saying. “After what I just did to you?”
He drew her aside as a couple walked past them. “Definitely. Calm down. I’m fine, and so are you. We just gave a few people some entertainment they weren’t expecting; that’s all.” She couldn’t see anything behind his sunglasses, but she felt his gaze on her, and her body tingled under his regard. A frown creased the space between his brows. “You’re shaken up. Would you like a coffee? This place has a good cafeteria, I’m told.”
What harm could there be in having a coffee with a stranger in a place as busy as the National Gallery Espresso Bar? And she didn’t want to lose contact with him. Not just yet. “Thank you. Yes, I’d like that.” She shot him a sly glance. “Though I don’t usually come here to pick up men.”
His chuckle rumbled low in his chest, and he tugged her hand, urging her toward the stairs.

Texas Heat from Loose-Id
When she's the last woman you'll ever see...
Order Page: http://www.loose-id.com/Texas-Heat.aspx
ISBN: 978-1-60737-863-1

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Friday, August 20, 2010

Newsletter, August, 2010


Although I know some of you will be fresh from the RWA conference, we in the UK have a big conference that month, too. Ours is the RNA Conference. This year is the 50th anniversary of the Romantic Novelists' Association, so we had it at the Old Naval College in Greenwich. In case you are unaware, this is the building designed by Inigo Jones in the early 1600's and the first pure Classical structure in England that survives today.
Frankly, it's an awesome sight. Huge, much bigger than it looks in the pictures. The weather was lovely and sometimes, crossing the quad to listen to another lecture, we could hear the music coming from the music college across the way. It was very tempting to get a bottle of champagne, a punnet of fresh strawberries and just lie on the grass by the Thames, enjoying the day.
Our bit of the college for the weekend was just across from the Chapel and the Painted Hall, so most of us took the chance to go and see them. We had a gala dinner on the Friday evening, a gorgeous sight of beautiful shoes and wonderful company. My friend Mandy (Amanda Grange) and I ended up on a table full of Harlequin Presents writers. Our banquet started demure enough, but it didn't finish that way! I met some wonderful women, and my special greetings to Sarah Morgan, who writes for Mills and Boon Modern, that end up as Harlequin Presents.
I also got the chance to visit the Thames River Police museum, site of the oldest police force in the country, dating from the 1790's. For those of you who have read my historical romances, you'll know that there was no such thing before then. Parish constables were something else entirely, and if your house was burgled, you had to prosecute the perpetrator yourself. If you could find him.
The custodian of the museum was Joss, a man with a chequered career, including bodyguard to the Queen. He had the information at his fingertips, and everything we asked him, he could answer. It was a delight to meet him.

And when I got home, I had to work. With "Hareton Hall" coming out, this month has been quite eventful, but highly enjoyable. It was such a treat to see the book out at last, and I celebrated by putting an extra out with Smashwords and Amazon. "Barbara's Wedding," it's called, if you want to hunt for it.
I've written the next Richard and Rose and sent it to my editor. Fingers crossed! I have one more in the series to write, then there should be a break. And since so many people have asked and he interests me anyway, I want to write Freddy's story. I have no idea what it will be, yet, but I have some thoughts. I also have another historical project in mind, but this year has been so busy, I haven't had time to get it off the ground, yet.

I'm currently writing what I hope will be the next Cougar book for Ellora's Cave. I do enjoy writing these stories about older women and younger men, because the conflicts involved are different. The women know how their lives are going, they are usually confident, have a career, even children, so they're looking for something different. Perhaps something that starts light-heartedly morphs into something deeper and they find what they haven't yet found. I've loved working with the women on the series. They were chosen very carefully, as professional writers who can put out a well-written story on the same theme but vastly different in theme and execution. It's been a sheer delight.

After that, I have a contemporary I dearly want to write. The idea came to me last year, and I've been working on it since. I have an idea of the publisher I want it to go to, but of course that's not my call.

On the big publisher front, there's no news, I'm afraid. I've had manuscripts requested through my agent, but I'm told that things are still very slow and publishers are loath to take on many new authors. Whatever the reason, I'm delighted to have made a career in ebooks, especially considering how the market is going!

I have two more releases this year for sure, but more about those as the time comes. I've just finished edits on "Emotion in Motion" so we'll have to see when that is going to be released! It's Jack's story, from the STORM series, but with the Ecstasy in Red series ending, I'm starting a new direction for the series. Britain, to be precise. There's a sexy vampire earl in this new book who I can see featuring in a book of his own, and I'm thinking about writing a sexy Scot. How do you all feel about Scotsmen, even if they don't usually wear kilts?

I'm still doing columns and reviews for The Good, The Bad and The Unread. I absolutely love Sybil, who heads the blog, and I enjoy writing about the publishing world. It keeps me on my toes, that's for sure! I also write for the Raven Happy Hour and UK Regency and Georgian authors, so don't forget to check me and the other contributors out there!


Since I gave you a historical excerpt last month, how about a contemporary this time? Or a paranormal?
Lest you forget, the Department 57 series is still going strong at Loose ID. My next release there is unconnected with the series, but I am planning another instalment, which hopefully I'll get written before the end of the year. Originally the Dept 57 was going to have an Arthurian theme, but a plethora of Camelot books at the time, made me think further and develop the secret agent aspect more. So here's a reminder of the first book I ever wrote for the Department 57 series, "The Chemistry of Evil."

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.

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.

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. 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.

Chemistry Of Evil - a Dept 57 book
A volatile mix of passion and danger detonates explosive desire
ISBN: 978-1-59632-845-7
From Loose-ID Publishing

newsletter July 2010

Newsletter, July, 2010

New Releases

One new release this month, and it's a biggie, for me, anyway. A brand new Richard and Rose, out on July 20th from Samhain.
These books always take a lot of writing. I have to immerse myself into their world before I start, and because the same couple feature in all the books, the continuity is a nightmare. I made one mistake, when I changed the name of Richard's sister, but when there's three years between books, as there was at one time with Richard and Rose, it's sometimes tricky to get everything right. And I made it right in the book I've just written (news below!)
After the relative tranquillity of Eyton, in which Richard and Rose concentrated on family affairs, as well as discovering the murderer of two footmen, Hareton Hall plunges them right back into their central struggle. Richard's vicious past comes back to bite him again, and threatens his present happiness. An enemy emerges, someone who has been there all along, but someone Richard only meets in this book. And, as usual, Rose isn't just there to make weight. She has her own decided opinions, and won't take the easy way out if it's not good for them.
I've given you the whole of chapter one as an excerpt! You won't see this anywhere else, so it's all yours.


I have a little news. First, yesterday I finished revising the next Richard and Rose story, and sent it into my editor. It's provisionally titled "Maiden Lane" and it's set in London. Now I have to wait and see if my editor likes it. It's always a nail-biting time! It takes me a long time to write these books, but I do love doing them.

On the weekend of the 9th July, I'll be in London, for the Romantic Novelists' Association conference. I love this annual shindig, and this year it's even more special than usual. It's our 50th anniversary. Luminaries like Denise Robbins and Barbara Cartland were members of this venerable association, and our current president is Katie Fforde, whose books and personal presence are both sheer delights. The conference is at the Naval College, Greenwich, and yes, it is that amazing place where Greenwich Mean Time originated. Here's a picture of the main building:

Awesome, yes?

I got the cover art for Emotion in Motion. Absolutely beautiful, but it might not be work safe in some places. I had one of those "stop the press" moments when I saw it:

My free Naughty Nooner from Ellora's Cave went live on Amazon this month. If you've read "Beauty of Sunset," or even if you haven't, it's a short story designed to enliven your lunch hour. And absolutely free. You can pick it up here:

Or here, for Kindle:

It was at number 23 in the Kindle list of free reads this week, something I'm really proud of. I'd love to do a Richard and Rose free read! There are some on my website, and maybe I should think of doing a few more.

I'm starting the next Cougar Challenge book this month, and then, I don't know. I'm really tempted to do a new contemporary romance. Ideas have been flowing for those recently, and I really need to let the contemporary muse run for a while. Any preferences?

Speaking of which, I have a release date for "Texas Heat" from Loose-Id. October! It's always nerve-racking, moving into a new genre, but exciting, too. But I don't plan to give up the paranormals or the historicals anytime soon!

As Richard returns with Rose to her childhood home of Darkwater for two weddings, romance is in the air—but so is trouble. It begins with Rose’s stolen watch. Tensions rise when they learn their old adversaries, the Drurys, have taken a house nearby. A series of attacks on those they love, plus a rise in smuggling activity, only add to the threat of violence.

Then illness strikes at the worst possible time, threatening everyone in the district—especially the children. Questions abound: Was the infection deliberate? Is someone striking at Richard through Rose, or are their enemies targeting Rose for information she possesses?

Richard calls on his resources, public and private, to counter an enemy that threatens to destroy his beloved Rose. Rose is no helpless victim, however, and refuses to let anyone—even Richard—take away her independence. She finds ways to fight that aren’t in his armoury. Whether he likes it or not…

Excerpt from Hareton Hall

Chapter One
"Rose, my love."
I opened my eyes to see my husband's face. Since we were alone in the coach, I'd pillowed my head on his shoulder, after having spent an indifferent night on a lumpy mattress in what was supposed to be a first-class inn.
"We're nearly there, my love. Should you like to stop somewhere to freshen up?"
I sat up. "Your shoulder must be numb."
"Not really," he said, but I didn't miss the way he flexed his arm as I took my weight off him.
"Liar." We exchanged wry smiles. "If you don't mind, I'd like to go straight there. I want to see what James has done to the manor."
His smile turned wicked. "I thought you didn't want to leave Oxfordshire."
"I didn't." I let my mind wander back over the last two blissful months. "It was wonderful. But I do want to see Tom get married-and Lizzie of course."
The coach jolted as the driver pulled on the reins to stop the horses so abruptly I was thrown forward, but I saved myself by seizing the strap above my head.
My husband grabbed me by the waist and restored me to my seat before he glanced out of the window. "It appears we're being held up." His voice sounded calm, but I knew him better than that and I noticed his note of alarm.
"What? Highwaymen?"
Almost without thinking I took off my ruby betrothal ring and slipped it down the front of my dress, but when I tried to take off the wedding ring, Richard put his hand over mine. "No. He'll expect to see a wedding ring, and if he doesn't find one he might go looking. I'll buy you twenty more, but let that one be."
I saw the sense of that and did as he bade me. Richard reached up and took the pistol that hung in its holster above us. He thrust it into his coat pocket then spoke over the shouting that was going on outside. "Give him your purse and anything else of that nature he asks for. If he tries to go too far-I'll deal with it." He gave me a smile of encouragement as the door was wrenched open.
Cold air rushed into the coach. A figure swathed in a greatcoat with a muffler covering most of his face stood silhouetted against the rain-spattered hedge and trees. He'd pulled his hat well down and had a pistol in each hand. His eyes were grey, but I couldn't see any more of his face.
I'd never gone through this experience before, but I'd read a lot about it in the papers. The country was currently at peace, the army mostly disbanded, and many disaffected soldiers had taken to crime. Highway robbery was on the increase, together with housebreaking and shoplifting, but we were usually better protected than this and hadn't been touched before. I could only thank God that our daughter and her entourage were a few miles behind us.
The man gestured, one pistol jerking towards us. "Get out."
Richard climbed down and held his hand out to help me down, then took a position slightly in front of me, shielding me as best he could.
The two postboys stood by the front of the vehicle. The robber kept one pistol trained on them and one on us, but when he moved we saw he had more flintlocks thrust into his belt.
"Your valuables, please. One person at a time."
He moved to the postboys and I examined him closer. He was a little shorter than Richard, and that glimpse of the weapons shoved into his belt also showed me his figure was actually quite slight. He might be young, but then highwaymen rarely lasted very long. They worked alone or in pairs, vulnerable to a determined person.
He took the watches and purses the postboys offered him without demanding more, and moved on to us. Richard silently handed him his watch and some guineas from his pocket. He wasn't wearing the diamond solitaire pin he used at his neckcloth, for which I was thankful. I'd have hate d to see that go.
I gave him my purse and the necklace I wore, part of an agate set I hadn't owned for long. He pointedly stared at my hand, and reluctantly I slipped off my ring. It was a plain gold band, but it had been engraved inside for me. I was sad to lose it, but Richard was right. It wasn't worth risking injury or abuse for. I handed the ring over, trying not to touch his hand. Highwaymen sometimes took more than items of monetary value. Rape and beating weren't unusual. Richard would kill him if this man attempted that with me.
I tried to meet his gaze steadily, although inside, fear was turning my stomach.
"There's more. Your pockets, if you please."
I'd hoped to keep it from him. Unlike some people, I didn't carry two purses, one for the robber and another for me, so I had my handkerchief, my necessaire and the watch Richard's brother, Gervase, had given to me, which was a fine item, a French enamelled repeater set with gems, but it wasn't the value I'd miss. Gervase had bought it for me in Venice in thanks for the help I'd rendered him there.
Reluctantly I handed the highwayman the watch. He turned it over in his palm to see both sides of the pretty toy. "Thank you. You can have this back." He gave me my wedding ring.
It hurt to thank the man who had just robbed us, but I managed it.
He indicated a space away from the coach with the pistol he carried in his left hand. "Move over there."
We obeyed him, Richard keeping his body between me and the highwayman, who climbed into the coach. I remained as still as I could, controlled my trembling and lifted my chin, just like the time when I'd been presented at court. The fear I felt seemed identical.
Ladies hid their more valuable items in secret compartments, but although he found the one in ours in a few moments, its vacant nature must have disappointed him. I was thankful he was on his own, for if he'd got down on his hands and knees outside the vehicle he might have seen the long box lashed to the underside of the coach. But on his own he would be too vulnerable in such a position, so he didn't make the attempt.
A fine bay horse stood by the side of the road gently cropping the grass, but there was nothing to be deduced in that. The horse was part of the highwayman's stock in trade, and he would acquire the best he could find. The chill left by the recent shower of rain raised goose bumps on my arms, but I restrained my shiver. I wasn't afraid, just cold. Not that I could fool myself with that notion for long. Highwaymen were brutal and unpredictable. He might take our valuables and then kill us anyway, since both offences carried the death penalty. Dead witnesses were safer than live ones.
Our horses champed at their bits and shifted, but the coachmen easily kept them under control. We'd collected them at the last inn, but they were a good team, and I doubted they'd bolt or panic. One blew down his nose, the harrumphing sound unnaturally loud in the still air.
Richard had attempted no violence, but he was ready if he needed to. I sensed his tension radiating through him, waiting for a chance. Although events had shaken me, I could still think, and I was pleased to discover that my hand remained steady after my efforts to control it. I wanted to reach for Richard's hand for comfort, but I knew better than to do so. He would need to be free of encumbrances if the man should offer violence to us.
A loaded pistol reposed in the pocket of my travelling cloak. It pulled that side of the garment.
We waited while the man searched the coach as well as he could, but he found nothing except the empty holder for the gun. He wrenched it down, the first time he'd done anything remotely violent, and despite my good intentions, I flinched. He glared at us. "Drop it on the ground," he ordered, looking straight at Richard. "And any others you have."
Richard kept his sangfroid as he took the gun out of his coat pocket and threw it to the ground a few feet from where we stood. The man didn't look at it. "Any more?"
"No," Richard lied. I don't know if the man knew he was lying, but he let it be. He climbed down from the coach.
"I'm going to ride away now. Count to a hundred, then be on your way. I have people watching you."
Richard nodded. The man went to his horse and mounted. If we planned to take him, now would be the best time, but neither Richard nor the postboys made a move.
In the saddle, he wheeled around to face us. "Goodbye."
We watched him ride up the road away from us, and Richard turned around and put his arms about me. I leaned my forehead against his shoulder and took a couple of deep breaths before I showed him an untroubled countenance.
"Spring 'em," he ordered the postboys. "I want her ladyship safe at Hareton as soon as possible."
The postboys nodded and climbed up to their seats on the box while Richard helped me back into the coach and pulled the steps up behind us.
The vehicle set off again with a jerk. The coach rocked as the driver whipped up the four horses and it moved faster.
Richard kept his arms about me, and I was grateful for the comfort. "All right?" I heard a note of anxiety in his voice.
I snuggled in to his warmth, feeling like a small child. "I'm fine. But I'm sorry he got my watch."
He sighed. "So am I, but we might yet get it back."
"If he sells it locally, it might reappear in Exeter. I'll send people to look. It's a distinctive thing, perhaps even unique." He cupped the back of my head in his hand in a soothing movement. I looked up at him to show him I was all right and he kissed me gently. "He didn't try to get the only thing I'd have killed him for."
I smiled at him. "I had a pistol too," I told him. "I might have killed him first."
"He wouldn't have got that far."
I tumbled against him when the coach went over a pothole in the road. This wasn't a good road, and our driver must have been very skilful to go over it at such a pace. "He didn't find the diamonds either," I pointed out.
"It would take two or more of them to get to that box." Richard kissed me again. "I might as well take advantage of this. We won't be alone again until tonight."
"No." I'd have consigned the robbery to history, but he drew back as though he'd thought of something. "What did you think of him?"
"The highwayman? He knew what he was about, that's for sure, but I don't think he was very old. Early twenties perhaps."
"Maybe younger," Richard commented. "But you're right-he's been doing this for some time."
"He's not a Devon man. He spoke with an accent, but it wasn't from here."
He nodded thoughtfully. "I think so too. His voice had the twang of the cockney about it, but there's something else there too-the north, maybe. Many of these men are disaffected Jacobites, so perhaps he's been in Scotland." Richard smiled. "We should wait for Helen's coach to catch up with us." He forbore from reminding me that I had been so anxious to press on that we'd left Helen's nurse changing her and letting her nap at the last inn. We should have waited, but in that case, she might have been held up too. "Shall we get you upstairs when we get there? For a rest," he added hastily, when he saw my raised brows.
"No indeed, what sort of person do you take me for? Of course I was afraid; what sane person wouldn't be? But we're not hurt and we have most of our belongings still."
"Such heart." He drew me to him again.
When I could, I smiled at him. "I've been through worse than that with you."
"Yes," he said regretfully. "And all I wanted to do was to look after you, cherish you and keep you from harm. I really think we should give up on Thompson's, give it back to Carier and Alicia." Richard's valet, his friend Mrs. Thompson and ourselves jointly owned Thompson's, one of the best domestic staffing agencies in the country. And sometimes our private spy network. Every household required a variety of servants and Thompson's could provide them all. Occasionally some of them had special duties to perform.
"That would be foolish. Thompson's is our protection, and as long as we have enemies it would be an act of great folly to give it up."
"But we don't have to get involved in the special activities," he pointed out.
"I enjoy it," I told him. "And I enjoy seeing what it does to you. You come alive, you know you do."
"And I'm not alive at other times?" His smile would have once made me blush, but not now.
"Very much alive. Richard?"
"Yes, sweetheart?"
"Will you comfort me again?"
The seat creaked as he drew me onto his lap and we forgot everything except each other for a time.

"Hareton Hall" will be out on July 20th from Samhain Publishing

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Newsletter, May, 2010

New Releases

Two releases in May and one in early June! I sent you an email about them, but I've spent all month playing  catchup. I haven't caught up, but I'm on the way!
These releases were:

Red Inferno
One kiss was all he wanted. And one kiss was the only thing she denied him.
Dragon shape-shifter Ricardo wakes in a sweat, knowing he has telepathically contacted a woman in trouble. The same trouble he got into a year ago. With the help of STORM, he tracks her, the latest victim of the evil Dr. Bennett
But Kristen is no pushover. A bodyguard for the first openly Talented senator, Ricardo’s brother Sandro, she’s used to looking after herself and doesn’t wait for someone else to rescue her. She escapes, and Ricardo finds her naked and shivering on a crowded New York street.
Need sparks between them; they can’t resist each other. They set the night on fire and Kristen loves Ricardo’s sizzling passion, even as she resists loving him. But Bennett wants her back…which means the lovers could lose everything.

Red Inferno from Ellora's Cave
One kiss is all he wants
Order Page: http://www.jasminejade.com/p-8368-red-inferno.aspx
ISBN: 9781419928017

And the other was Jewel of the Dragon.
This one was out in a very different form a few years ago. I rewrote it for Loose-Id, and it was re-edited. It was a fascinating exercise to do, and I was pleased with how well the book held up. I added some heat, tidied up other parts and I hope, made it even better than before! But of course, as always you are the judges of that.

Dev Wyvern is Welsh, tall, dark and sexy as sin. When he walks into Alix Lancaster's jewelry shop he knows her brother, Clay, has set a trap for a shape-shifting dragon. Which he happens to be. The minute he sees Alix he wants her. She sets him on fire, and it’s not long before Dev persuades her into bed for a heated and passionate lovemaking session. But he doesn’t know if he can trust her, if she’s a member of the enemy to all Talents, the PHR society.
Alix has a choice. She can betray her brother by warning Dev or she can let Dev walk into a lethal snare. Nobody has turned her on like this before, nobody has seared her soul the way he does but Dev isn’t only a shape-shifter, he’s an agent for Department 57. He’s sexy, dangerous and she wants him.
It’s time to make up her mind. And maybe start living her own life.

Jewel of The Dragon - a Dept 57 book
His only love born of his only hate
ISBN: 978-1-60737-800-6
>From Loose-ID Publishing


Not so much news this month, after last month's exciting times in Columbus. I'm writing like mad! I do have a little news - Emotion in Motion has been accepted at Ellora's Cave!
The Ecstasy in Red series concluded with Red Inferno, but there were some characters in that series who were left without their own stories. So I told one of them in Emotion in Motion. It's Jack's story - the new jaguar-god shape-shifter, still getting used to his new form when his lady was killed. Now, in Emotion in Motion, he returns to his old haunts in Oxford, England, the city of dreaming spires. Old friends of his are involved in a money deal, and he's traced their old nemesis back here. He wants to discover if there was any connection with his and Megan's involvement in New York, and his enemy Bennett's involvement with his friends. And he meets Shere, a devastating Egyptian bastet, or cat shifter. He's wary of looking for love, but hot sex works well for him. Or so he thinks.

I'm currently writing the seventh Richard and Rose, which is currently called Maiden Lane. I was going to call it Pall Mall, but apparently that's a brand of cigarette in the US, so I've shifted the location of the club that gives this book its name. I'm drawing several threads together in this one, John Kneller's, and Steven and Julia Drury, so it's taking some time, for which I apologise.

Hareton Hall will be out in July, but more about that next month!

Excerpt from Red Inferno

As always, although this except might appear elsewhere in the future, you are the first people to see it, outside my editors. This excerpt is for over 18's only.

“Sounds good to me.” She dropped her gaze to his groin. He had pubic hair, black and thick, and she wanted to feel its texture. Was it wiry or silky?

Silky, she decided a moment later. Ricardo took a deep shuddering breath when she caressed his balls. Maybe she was wrong about the wanting part. “I missed this.”

“You couldn’t have missed me.”

She wasn’t so sure. Something about him screamed at her not to get close or she’d find herself tangled up in something she didn’t want to cope with right now. If ever. But she could have sex. That didn’t have to lead to real intimacy.

“I missed this, missed fucking a man blind. I can do it, you know.” She drew her hand over his balls, stroking so gently he’d hardly be able to feel it, then up and around his thick cock. A very generous cock. Uncut if the furl of skin around the straining head was anything to go by. That intrigued her. More to play with.

Exhaustion still crept along her bones but she put it aside, her training coming to her aid. She wanted him. The moisture gathering at her crotch wasn’t just water—its slickness told her that. His cock lay about four inches under the water in the deep tub. She straddled his legs and widened her knees so he could look his fill.

He did more than that. At last. His hand, until now curled around her waist, slid down to her thigh, the fingers curving over her buttocks and then across her stomach, trailing slowly toward her cleft.

His gaze met hers. She read desperation there and wondered at it. “I feel all kinds of shit for doing this. You should stop me.”

She laughed, genuine pleasure filling her. It felt like a long time since that had happened, long before her captivity. Perhaps she’d been working too hard for some time. “Why should I stop you when I started it?”

Oh she wanted this, wanted him in her, filling her. She slid closer, the silkiness of the fragrant bathwater making it easier for her, and reached out to grip his shoulders. He looked up at her, then down at her breasts, now at his eye-level. “You have lovely breasts.”

“Small but exquisitely formed?”

“Something like that. They make my mouth water.” He groaned. “Oh fuck.”

“That’s the general idea.”

She sank down, savoring every moment. When his lips touched her nipple, her body went into spasms of pleasure, and when he took one into his mouth and sucked, she hissed between her teeth and then moaned. He knew how to do it right. Perfect. For her at any rate. He alternated licking with sucking. She hovered, waiting, his cock close but not touching.

Christ, Kristen, you’re so hot!

“Oh Ricardo, you too, you too, baby.” Unable to wait any longer for her reward, she sank down and felt his cock head touch her clit. She nearly shot back up with the reaction but she clutched his shoulders and held on, gritting her teeth as she let his cock, now slick with her juices, slide toward her pussy.

He touched it, filled it. Despite her arousal she had to push, his cock too big to slip inside her without help. She sank down far enough to lodge his cock head inside her body.

She wanted to enjoy every moment of this, feel every inch. She wasn’t into measuring, figuring it only took a few inches to reach her sweet spot, but Ricardo was a tight fit and he seemed to go on forever. She bore down, pushing her knees forward, bringing them closer but holding him off enough so he could carry on tormenting her breasts. He nipped a little harder this time and she brought herself farther down. And down and down until he was fully seated inside her.

Only then did she look. He let her nipple go with a soft pop and leaned back, his arms sliding up and around her waist to rest on her ass. “You’re so pretty.”

“Tits like apples,” she commented.

“Always my favorite fruit.”

Looking at the expression on his face, she didn’t doubt it. Fear clutched at her, as it sometimes did during sex when she felt herself getting too emotionally close to her partner. She needed to lighten the mood. “So do you only fuck women with small tits?”

His smile broadened and a knowing look entered his eyes, as if he recognized her attempt. “No. I appreciate beauty.” Again she thought he was about to say something else but he didn’t. He bit his lip, letting the subject go, and bringing her attention to it. “So what do your lips taste like?”

She never kissed anyone except small children and in greeting, small childish pecks. No soul kisses for her, an intimacy she refused from everyone.

So she avoided it now, laughing and lifting up so he couldn’t reach her lips, and slid down again. “You have a beautiful cock and it works so well. Have you been practicing?”

“Would it matter to you if I said yes?”


A shade of sadness crossed his expressive eyes. She felt it in his mind, then it was gone. “Pity.”

She didn’t want to wonder why. Instead, she concentrated on the fucking. Which was fine. Except he kept missing the best spot inside her.

Then he caught it. Fucking a Talent was always better than fucking a mortal because they picked up what you wanted. She didn’t have to say a thing.

She grinned and tried to regain the position where he’d caught her sweet spot. But he shifted again, and when she glared at him, he raised a brow and smiled. So cool, as if he were sitting opposite her having a conversation instead of lying beneath her with his cock embedded deep inside her. “You want something?”

“Yes, damn you!”

His smile broadened, then disappeared. “I’m afraid somebody else has already done that. You seem to have no problem expressing yourself. What exactly did you want?”

She tried to push an image into his mind of the direction she wanted him to take, but he blocked it effortlessly.

“Tell me.” His voice deepened. “Maybe I like it when my partners talk dirty to me.”
A suspicion crossed her mind—that he recognized something in her she wasn’t aware of herself. No, it couldn’t be that. He just liked dirty talk. Well, sometimes so did she. And this was most definitely one of those times.

So she said as calmly as she could manage, “I want your cock touching my G-spot with every stroke. I want to give you a good hard fucking.”

“Why didn’t you say so?”

Red Inferno from Ellora's Cave
One kiss is all he wants
Order Page: http://www.jasminejade.com/p-8368-red-inferno.aspx
ISBN: 9781419928017

One kiss was all he wanted. And one kiss was the only thing she denied him.
Dragon shape-shifter Ricardo wakes in a sweat, knowing he has telepathically contacted a woman in trouble. The same trouble he got into a year ago. With the help of STORM, he tracks her, the latest victim of the evil Dr. Bennett
But Kristen is no pushover. A bodyguard for the first openly Talented senator, Ricardo’s brother Sandro, she’s used to looking after herself and doesn’t wait for someone else to rescue her. She escapes, and Ricardo finds her naked and shivering on a crowded New York street.
Need sparks between them; they can’t resist each other. They set the night on fire and Kristen loves Ricardo’s sizzling passion, even as she resists loving him. But Bennett wants her back…which means the lovers could lose everything.

Thursday, May 06, 2010

Newsletter, May, 2010
New Releases

I had two releases this month, neither of which I could promote because I was in a hotel with expensive, awful Internet. I did sign up to one day's service so I could do a little promotion, but it wouldn't let me upload my website, or any promotion. But I am so pleased with these releases.

The first is a new Department 57 book from Loose-Id. Crystal Tides is the story of Kai, the merman who featured in Liquid Crystal. I've had numerous requests for Kai's story, so here it is, and I've included an excerpt below. I loved Kai, and it was very rewarding to give him his happy ending. You can buy Crystal Tides here.

The second is a free release from Ellora's Cave. Seychelles Sunset features Edie and John from Beauty of Sunset, and takes place a year after their Cougar story concluded. You can pick it up here. And it's free, although it's been properly edited and is an official Ellora's Cave release!


I am just back from the Romantic Times Booklovers' Convention, and this year it was a great conference. No controversies, lots of fun and great signings and book fairs.
I went to Columbus via Chicago, where I went for the Chicago International fair, a huge collection of lovers of miniatures and dolls' houses. For those of you interested, I bought a kit that will see a venture into half scale. I've been a diehard inch scale (1 foot to 1 inch) user, but a few half or quarter scale projects might prove interesting! The quality of skill on display is absolutely amazing.
I decided to fly over a day early, as I got a cheaper flight, and it meant I could sleep off most of my jet lag. Sneaky, jet lag, it gets you when you think you're over it, and you end up asleep in your dinner if you're not careful! So I booked into an airport hotel, the Aloft at O'Hare, which turned out great, and slept. The day after, I went to the convention hotel to meet my roomie, Thelma, and people kept telling me I was lucky to be there. Well, yes, I knew that, and I was thrilled, but it was only when someone mentioned the volcano, and I said, "What volcano?" that the full extent of the disaster was brought home to me. The disruption was immense, and I couldn't believe my luck, as well as feeling sorry for the people caught up in the mess.
Then I moved to downtown Chicago for a week's stay. I stayed at the Allerton, which has mixed reviews at Trip Advisor, but honestly, it was my favorite hotel of the stay. I absolutely loved it. The decor wasn't "just another hotel," and while the room was smaller than most of the other hotel rooms I stayed at, it was plenty big enough, and actually made me feel a bit cosier. Those big, open spaces tend to fret me a bit. Since I was a lone traveller at this stage, I didn't go out at night, but there were lots of great restaurants and cafes nearby where I could buy to take out. My room had a view right down Michigan Ave, and I really enjoyed Chicago. Vibrant and exciting, with some great shops, and the Art Institute is awesome. The Thorne Rooms, a collection of miniature rooms assembled in the first half of the 20th century, were amazing. And I got to do a booksigning at Borders, Michigan Ave.
Then Columbus. Another good flight. My friend Linnea Sinclair met me off the plane, with Stacey Kade. Great to see them again. I taught at the precon. There was a mix up with the workshops, so I ended up on the synopsis panel, but it was a really good experience, and I got to critique the first 5 pages of 5 new authors, all of which showed promise.
For me, the convention proper started on Tuesday night, with the private Ellora's Cave party. That's always fun, with people to reconnect with and new people to meet. I couldn't possibly do the whole conference for you, I'd bore you rigid, but here are the highlights of my Romantic Times:

1. The Ellora's Cave Paint It Red party. That was fun, the dancing was appropriate to an erotic romance imprint, but not embarrassing, and the music was good.
2. Sharing with Judith Rochelle/Desiree Holt. One of the most fun people around, and a hugely successful writer. I had lots of fun with Judith. She's retiring Judith Rochelle this year, and going with Desiree Holt for future releases.
3. The Cougar Growl in Club RT. We had a special event on Thursday, and had a draw for Sheba, the cuddly cougar, about the only cuddly thing about us. Writing "Beauty of Sunset" for the cougar series has been a wonderful experience, working with savvy writers I'm proud to be associated with. The Growl was less of a promotion, and more of a celebration. I plan to write another cougar book, but I don't write as fast as some people, so although I'm aiming for this year, I'll have to see how my other projects go. I'm currently writing a new Richard and Rose, and they always take time to do.
4. Meeting friends and reconnecting. Gail Delaney and Jennifer Rainieri of Desert Breeze Publishing, all the Cougar ladies, Kathryn Falk and her husband, Kenneth Rubin, Ollie, Supereader and now bookseller, Cait Miller, Linnea Sinclair and many others. That is such fun. And meeting new people, like the utterly charming Victoria Alexander and Cheyenne McCray and Judi McCoy. I should really try to promote myself more, but at RT I tend to get carried away and I have far too much fun!
5. The two booksignings. So wonderful, that people buy my books! I never cease to be amazed by that. This year I had Ellora's Cave and Loose-Id ebooks at the Expo, and three of my Samhain historicals at the book fair. Amazingly, I sold out of "Yorkshire" quite early on, and was only left with a couple of copies of "Tantalizing Secrets" and "Met By Chance." We're only allowed three titles. Amazingly, because the "star" authors were urban fantasy writers, and so the fans who travelled there wanted to see the likes of JR Ward, Jim Butcher and Richelle Mead, so I thought my historicals wouldn't stand a chance. I was wrong, and very happy to be so.
6. I have to mention meeting Barbara Taylor Bradford. Oh my lord, I was star struck. I read "A Woman of Substance" when it first came out, and I loved it. It opened my eyes to certain possibilities, and did influence my writing. I stammered like anybody would, but she was gracious and extremely nice.

Worst part was coming home, because the volcano got me. They diverted our flights, because although Manchester Airport was open, Scottish airspace was not. I was put on a flight to Heathrow 6 hours after my scheduled flight. There I got lucky, having a seat with extra leg room and sitting next to a very nice family, who didn't want to converse all the time, and didn't want to ignore me. The flight from Heathrow to Manchester was tolerable, and then I got home. And slept the clock around. I can't remember the last time I did that.

Excerpt from Crystal Tides

This excerpt is for over 18's only.

Kai had just about given up on love -- until he met sexy merman Tyler and Tyler's wife Zoe. The three heat Kai's hot tub to scorching together, but now Kai's seen something he wants and he plans to have it. He doesn't want another fleeting relationship. He wants Tyler and Zoe. For keeps.

Zoe's not sure she can commit to two men, but when danger threatens the underwater archaeological excavation she's working on, she needs them both to protect. Zoe and Tyler's oldest enemy has returned. They've always run from him, but now it's time to turn and fight.

But Tyler's going to have to trust Kai to protect the love of his life. Can he?

Zoe got her first good look at the tub and caught her breath. It lay at the end of the room and up two upholstered steps, steam wafting into the air. The bathroom itself consisted of shades of blue, with the porcelain white and the fittings shiny chrome. Roman blinds were the only adornment the windows had, and she saw why once she'd mounted the steps and slid into the bath.
Headrests lined the wall the bath—or rather, the hot tub—rested against. And it stood higher than the rest of the room because the whole point was the view.
It revealed a magnificent view of the sea. Gray waves, crested with foam, lapped against tiny buoys that blinked orange as the water washed over them. The long pier jutted like an invasion at the left. Altogether three windows opened onto the view.
Kai joined her, and he moved to her right, while Tyler stepped in and took her left side.
Zoe broke the silence. “This is fantastic.”
“I love it.” Kai slid his now wet hand up her arm and cupped her shoulder. When she tore her gaze away from the view outside and watched him, he was staring down at her breasts. Then he lifted his regard, taking his time, and she felt as if he touched her before he met her eyes.
Blue, blue eyes stared into hers. His smile came slowly. For a moment out of time they held that position, and Tyler, sitting quietly next to her, let it happen. Then Kai leaned forward and reached out a hand to Tyler.
Zoe knew Tyler never wanted to touch the partners they occasionally shared their bed with but he tolerated the necessary contact. This time he took Kai's hand. “I know what I want,” Kai said, “but I don't want to make either of you unhappy at any time. That doesn't mean I don't want to push. I will, and I'll keep pushing. But please open your mind, take everything as it comes, and if it feels good, block your judgment and just let it happen.”
Next to her, Tyler stiffened. Then he took a deep breath. “Deal,” he said and shook Kai's hand in an oddly formal gesture.
Deciding she wasn't about to be left out, Zoe put her hand atop their clasped ones. “Deal.”
Kai gave them an easy smile and broke contact first. He reached behind him and lifted down a clear glass jar. Frowning critically, he took off the lid and sniffed before sprinkling a handful of the jar's contents on the water. Dried leaves and flowers floated on the surface, but unlike dried herbs they began to melt. A scent Zoe knew well lifted into the steam-laden air. She gave a happy sigh. “Lavender and roses.”
“A friend of mine makes these.” Kai replaced the jar. “She does several mixtures, and this is the relaxing one.”
“Why are they melting?” Zoe asked, fascinated. She picked up one of the buds and watched it dissolve in her hand.
“She crystallizes them or something. I don't really know, but she claims every ingredient is natural.” Kai rubbed a few leaves over her skin then leaned forward to smell them. “Beautiful.” He licked her neck. “Tastes good too. That's what sold me on these.” He drew back, watching her, his eyes turned suddenly mischievous. “So how are you feeling now?”
He cupped one of her breasts in his hand and curved his thumb up to touch the peak. “You have lovely breasts. 'A quite magnificent bosom,' as another friend of mine was fond of saying a very long time ago.” He glanced at her face. “You look like honey personified, and you taste of spice and the forbidden.” He leaned forward, taking his time, slowly nearing her nipple that crinkled as his breath touched the tip.
She moaned.
“Oh yes,” he murmured, before he took it into his mouth.
He sucked, and her head slammed back. Just as well for the headrests, because the jolt of awareness that went through her forced carelessness into her. Hot water lapping around them, the spiking awareness of something new happening, and sheer sensation.
Tyler stroked her other breast, and a gentle swirl of water indicated he'd changed his position. His hand slipped between her thighs, and she opened for him. Tyler's hand was broader, his fingers thicker than Kai's.
Kai had left some slickness for Tyler, and he caressed it, took the clitoris between his finger and thumb, and pinched it the way he knew she liked.
Gasping for air, she realized the two men must be working in tandem, Kai's sucking in rhythm with Tyler's pinching. They meant for her to come again. Soon.
Kai's voice came darkly into her mind. “That's the beauty of having two Talents taking you.”
Oh yeah. Working together. Tyler kissed her throat. His tongue snaked out to lap a passage up and down, and he nipped the pulse at the base of her neck. She was finding it hard to breathe. Two mouths, four hands, all for her. At her pleasure. But not at her command.
Kai murmured to her, the words purring against her skin, and he touched her other breast, the one he wasn't kissing, tweaked it, and stroked it. Her legs opened, and Tyler slid his thumb into her, his fingers curling behind to pet and tickle her anus. He'd introduced her to that incredibly sensitive skin, and she'd let him take her there a couple of times, but she hadn't really enjoyed it. Maybe with Kai…
Such a beautiful man. Strong and lithe, built like a sprinter, muscles honed but smooth. She watched his cock and idly wondered what it tasted like.
Kai's groan didn't come as a surprise. She'd felt his presence in her mind, the kind of warmth Tyler had taught her to notice, that meant a Talent was making contact. Kai had picked up her thoughts about his cock, so she concentrated on that now. It strained, the top shiny, peeking clear of the water when he moved, reddened and engorged. Ready for her.
And the other joy about fucking Talents was that they didn't need to use protection. The thought gave her a lift of pleasure. Talents didn't transmit mortal diseases, neither were shape-shifters fertile, except during the three days of the full moon. The thought shot her arousal up to nuclear. She could experience them with nothing between them. Bareback.
“Please. Please one of you, fuck me now.” Her voice sounded strangled, tight. She pulled in a breath. Another.

Crystal Tides - a Dept 57 book
Kai finds his woman - and his man!
ISBN:      978-1-60737-571-5
From Loose-ID Publishing

Where to find Lynne Connolly and her Books

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Lynne Connolly, author of Sophisticated Sensual Romance

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

New Release - A Betting Chance

Sapphira Vardon needs five thousand pounds to avoid a cruel marriage and a grim future, and there’s only one path for her. Don a mask and an assumed name, and risk everything to win at the gaming tables. First, though, she has to get through the door. Luckily she knows just whose name to drop.

Corin, Lord Elston, is curious to find out who used his name to gain entrance to Mother Brown’s whorehouse and gaming hell. The enigmatic woman who calls herself Lydia isn’t the sort of female usually found here. Behind her mask and heavy makeup, she’s obviously a respectable woman—who plays a devilish hand of cards.

Sapphira is desperate to keep her identity a secret, but Lord Elston’s devastating kisses and touches demand complete surrender. And once he learns the truth, there’s more at stake than guineas. Corin finds himself falling hard for a woman who’s poised to run. A woman who’s about to learn that he only plays to win…

A Betting Chance
In this game of hearts, winner takes all!
ISBN: 978-1-60504-973-1
From Samhain Publishing

“I wish you’d trust me with your secret. I might be able to help,” Lord Elston said.
“I don’t know you.” Not in any recognized meaning of the word. The connection Sapphira felt to him had to be her imagination. He couldn’t feel it, not this wild needing.
“I think we should get to know each other better. I want you to trust me.” He touched her chin, his forefinger stroking her skin. She wanted to purr like a cat, but instead she moved back. Before she could retreat out of his reach he tilted her chin up so she had to meet his direct gaze. His eyes bored into her soul. “There’s something about you—I don’t know.” He bit his lip. It was the first time she’d seen any vulnerability about him and she found it meltingly seductive.
She couldn’t risk weakening. She put her guard back up and kept it firmly in place, reminding herself that he was a stranger, that she didn’t know him. “I told you, I can’t do that. I’m here to play cards, no more.”
“I love a challenge,” he murmured, and lowered his head.
The first touch of his lips against hers paralyzed her. Recognition—of what she still didn’t know—shot between them and she opened her mouth to protest, but he used it to his advantage and licked her lips before he slid his tongue into her mouth.
Now shock held her rigid. Nobody had ever kissed her like this. She hadn’t imagined it possible. She’d seen the caricatures in the shops with their sometimes explicit content, watched a man fondling a whore, seen mercenary transactions take place in the street—she’d thought herself reasonably au fait with sexual matters, for a virgin.
She’d been wrong. She knew that watching and experiencing were two different things but had never known it could be so devastatingly different. The intimacy floored her, and she could do nothing other than reach out for something to steady herself.
The memory of that other kiss—that disgusting, slobbering kiss George Barber had forced on her—returned in full measure. This didn’t compare, couldn’t. She wanted to press closer to Elston, not jerk away, put as much distance between them as she could. Nothing like that. If anything had told her that she couldn’t go ahead with marriage to George Barber, this did.
Corin cupped the back of her head as her hand made contact with his velvet-clad arm. She clutched it, praying for control as he took his time exploring her mouth, caressing her with soft strokes that made her heat up right down to the forbidden area between her thighs. He held her safe, didn’t move his hands or try to unfasten her clothing. One arm curved around her waist, the other over her wig. She wanted his hands under it, in her hair, cupping her head intimately. One of the strings of her mask loosened.
She jerked back, her hand going to her only protection against discovery. “No, don’t!” Her voice was breathless, whispery, but at least it still worked. As did her common sense.
“I want to see you.” He sounded as out of breath as she did.
“No, you can’t.” She reached up and retied the one string he’d managed to undo. Luckily the other one still held firm. He’d dislodged her wig, and she pulled it back into place, but he must have seen that she was a brunette.
“Why not? Will I know you?”
Having regained her composure, enough to confront him anyway, she shook her head. “It’s highly doubtful. But you might see me somewhere else.”
“And you’ve lost that accent. I knew you’d assumed it, but there’s still a tinge left. Are you a Londoner?”
Born and bred. “I’ve visited London a lot,” she said, hoping desperately to put him off the scent. She had to get out of here before he guessed more. Before he had her out of her clothes and spread out on the bed for his pleasure. How could she have been so stupid?
But she had to pass him to get to the door, and he caught her skirts. “A challenge, sweet Lucia. Just between us.”
“Because of the danger. Because you want a bit of excitement in your life.” If only he knew she’d have more excitement than she’d ever wanted soon. But she appreciated that he didn’t threaten her. He could have her barred from this house with very little trouble, but he hadn’t done it.
She turned around, willing at least to listen, but keeping some distance between them, as much as this small room would allow. He sat there in his splendid clothes looking every inch a prince. A wicked prince. He released his clutch on her skirt, and she resisted the urge to put her hand where his had just been, to touch the residual warmth. “Well?”
“Let me get to know you better. You intrigue me. Can you meet me, talk to me, with your mask and maquillage off? Can you look me in the face without your protection?”
“No.” She couldn’t do it. With no mask or makeup he’d see every expression on her face, and he’d know she was his for the taking, however hard she fought against it.
He leaned back, smiling. “A challenge, then. A bet, just between us, with no money at stake. If I recognize you and challenge you in public without your disguise, you promise to meet me at a place of my choice.”
He smiled. “I want you, sweet Lucia. I want to see your face while I’m making love to you.”
Before she could repress it an image flashed into her mind. Him, naked, admiring her naked body, kissing it, touching it. Oh she wanted it so much, but she couldn’t. Mustn’t. She held back her shock. Barely. “And what’s in it for me?”
His rich laugh filled the small space with joy. “I hope to give you pleasure as I’m taking it.”
She pulled out of his grasp, put her hand on the door latch. “I can’t.” Then she was gone, hurrying toward her servant, Frankie, as fast as she could without colliding with anyone or losing her foothold.

Saturday, March 20, 2010


I'm really sorry I've neglected this blog recently. I send most of my stuff to the ladies at The Good, The Bad and The Unread, where a great bunch of duckies hang out. But I should try to do this more often!

March 2010 newsletter


Wow, March! And finally the snow goes away and the sun comes out!
Not that I can do much more than look at it out of the window while I get on. When did this absorbing hobby become a full-time job? Not that I'm complaining (much) because it's the best job I've ever had.

So in a couple of days I'm off to Loughborough, to sit on a panel at the Writing Industries Conference. The panel is "Traditional Romance vs Paranormal Romance." While these things make me incredibly nervous (am I supposed to admit that?) I'm with authors Mary Nichols and Sue Moorcroft, so I'm also looking forward to it enormously.
The conference looks great, with one-to-one editor and agent meetings and a number of panels and workshops. So if you can make it, here are the details:
I know I mentioned it last month, but I thought a reminder might be in order, since it's happening this weekend.

The first ERWA newsletter has come out with one of my reviews in it. I'm really enjoying the new challenge.

And there are quite a lot of my reviews this month at The Good, The Bad and The Unread, together with a column on the growth of self-publishing, and what might be driving some of the demand.

I was one of the two runners up in the Love Romances annual awards, for "Harley Street." Since I share the award with the wonderful Alex Beecroft, I'm delighted with it. I don't do much canvassing for awards, so it's doubly warming when I win something.

And to writing:
I'm still writing Jack's book from the STORM universe. Jack led me a wild dance and I had to stop part way through and rewrite. It happens sometimes, when a character doesn't work within the plot, and needs rethinking. Since I care more about the characters, it's always worth stopping and rewriting.

I've also been deep in planning with the ladies from Tempt the Cougar for our Cougar Growl at RT Convention. We've booked an hour at Club RT on the Thursday where we plan to have lots of fun and give stuff away. It's been an absolute joy working with these women, so much that I want to do another cougar story. The conflicts fascinate me.

No new releases in March, except for "Venice," out in print, so I thought you'd like a little of that for this month's excerpt.

Excerpt from Venice

Venice is perfect for their honeymoon. Unless an assassin plays his cards right…

Richard and Rose, Book 3

At long last, it is Lord and Lady Strang’s wedding day. Yet no sooner do Richard and Rose leave their wedding breakfast than two shots ring out, forcing a hasty change in honeymoon plans. Instead of traveling together by yacht, Richard goes on ahead, making sure the road to Venice is safe for his beloved.

Rose is by no means alone, however. Along her journey by packet, coach, even mule, she befriends young couple, the Ravens, who have a strange confession to make. They are traveling incognito—and are really the newlywed Lord and Lady Strang!

Once reunited in Venice, Richard and Rose heat up the sheets, making Richard consider the delightful possibility of keeping his wife in bed for the rest of their stay. Except Venice is as full of knaves as London, and one of them is still trying to find them with a bullet.

The Ravens could hold the key to the assassination attempts. Or perhaps they are playing a deadly game of their own…


The following day the sound of bells woke me, myriad bells, commanding the faithful to attend church. If we had joined the British community here, no doubt they would have expected us to attend, but we had protected our privacy too well to let it slip now.

I turned my head to look at my husband, but he was still asleep. I watched him, so vulnerable in sleep I could almost see the boy he had been, before his nightmares had begun.

I slipped out of bed and went to the chair where I had thrown my dressing gown the night before. I threw it around my shoulders, thrust my arms into the sleeves and then went to the two long windows, withdrawing the bolts holding the shutters closed on the first one. I didn’t open the other window, because its light would have fallen directly on the bed and woken him.

I stood by the window, looked out at the glow of Venice and listened to that glorious sound, from the deepest boom to the brightest, highest chime.

How could I have got this far? Last year, a forgotten old maid, preparing to dwindle into a dependant spinster, this year the cherished wife of the man I was meant for. How close we came to not meeting at all! Or, if we had met and it had been in company, I doubt he would have noticed me. I never showed well in company. He might even have been married already to Julia Cartwright. I might have married Tom, spent all my life in Devonshire, the wife of a country squire. Once I would have been happy with that but not after I’d met Richard.

If Richard was a country squire, it was enough, more than enough. That he was not sometimes left me feeling inadequate, not up to the position I must now learn to take. I hadn’t been brought up to it, as the girls he’d been presented to year after year had—to be the eventual mistress of a great estate and a member of one of the first families in the country. It filled me with dread but I would do it for his sake. Here, in this paradise, I’d start to learn.

The rustle of the sheet behind me told me he had woken, but I didn’t turn round. I heard him cross to the chair in his turn and fling on his gown and then felt him slip his arms around my waist and rest his cheek on my hair. We didn’t speak, but I put my hand over his and we stood, listening to the Sunday greetings outside.

“I’m so afraid I’ll let you down when we go home.”

“You won’t,” he assured me calmly. “If you’re reserved, everyone will assume you’re proud. Stand tall and always make sure they look away first.”

His warm breath tickled my neck. “I love you very much,” I said.

“I know. It’s all that matters. We’ll buy you some fine clothes, the sort that stand alone and you can inhabit them while they speak for you. Shall we buy an estate in Devonshire and go and live there, in seclusion?”

I turned away from the window into his arms. He could have been reading my mind. If I had accepted his offer he would have gone through with it, but it wouldn’t make him happy. “No. You are what you are and as long as you’re here with me, I’ll do whatever’s required of me gladly. Will you come to my presentation at court?”

“Of course. My mother will present you. It’s soon over and a dead bore. I don’t move in any royal set, so be assured that won’t come into our lives to any great extent. For the rest, we’ll please ourselves and if you’re not happy, you must promise to tell me.”

“I promise.” We kissed to seal the bargain.

I slipped out of his arms and went to open the shutters on the other window. Light streamed across the unmade bed. I turned to see him watching me from the middle of the room, golden hair lit by the sun, tousled from sleep, making him look like a knowing putto. I went back to him.

“I said something once about these bells,” he reminded me, mischief in his voice. “Do you remember?”

Of course I remembered. It had been in the humble nursemaid’s room at Hareton Abbey. “That you’d like to make love to me in the Venice sun, with the sound of the water outside and the bells. You made me blush.”

“So I did. Do you think I could make you blush now?” He undid the frogged fastenings at the front of my dressing gown.

“Without a doubt.” He slipped his hands inside the gown and I let it slide down my arms to the floor.

He loved me, just as he’d once promised. He kissed my mouth, my throat and went down on one knee to take a nipple into his mouth, running his tongue around the very tip, then the other and then lower still, making me sigh in pleasure. My knees grew weak from his caresses. I gripped his shoulders to keep from falling to the floor and he delved between my legs, kissing and tasting until I thought I might die. But he didn’t let me climax, he withdrew when he had me shivering with need.

Venice - Richard and Rose, book four
Venice is perfect for their honeymoon. Unless an assassin plays his cards right…
ISBN:      978-1-60504-517-7