Wednesday, December 05, 2018

December news and a new release!

Compliments of the season!

So we're at the end of the year. I wish we could interact in some way because here I am telling you all about what I do at this time of year, and I love to know what you get up to.
My tree isn't up yet (above is a picture of last year's tree), but the room is full of boxes, so tomorrow I'll get busy. In more ways than one, because Tuesday this week is a big day for me. More about that below. I don't want to wham and pow you with all that, because you probably know. But I can share more news with you, about what's next and what I'm planning.
I love this time of year, when it gets dark early. I know some people hate it, but winter is an awesome season. And then there's the movies - Meet Me In St. Louis is my favourite Christmas film, and I love an old Bette Davis movie, The Man Who Came To Dinner.
All that to look forward to!
And today is when Boundless comes out. The title comes from Romeo and Juliet, "My bounty is as boundless as the sea, my love as deep, the more I give to thee the more I have, for both are infinite."
Isn't that lovely? So when I came to write Livia's story and reveal the secret she's been hiding since the start of the Emperors of London, I had to give her a love that would surpass all her difficulties. It's an explosive secret that could destroy Livia and by association, her family. And it's tearing her apart.
But there's sadness as well, because this is the last of the Emperors (for now) even though there are members whose stories haven't yet been told. One day...
Next? Kensington have accepted a brand new series with new characters. More later, but the first book is in edits. It's set in the mid-eighteenth century (of course!) and the first book will be out in the spring. I promise to tell you more in the next newsletter, when everything is more settled.
And next summer, I have a series coming out from Tule Publishing, a contemporary (don't faint!) trilogy. I used to write a lot more of those, and I'd love to do more. 

New Release

This month sees the release of Boundless. Recently the previous book in The Shaws, Dauntless, hit the number one in Amazon Regency, and I got the orange flag that says it's a best seller. I'm so happy about that. Good sales means an author can continue doing what she loves best. So thank you for supporting me and buying the books.

The Shaws are one of Britain’s most influential, dynamic families, but one Shaw prefers to keep a low profile. Unfortunately, the limelight can shine behind-the-scenes . . .
She’s the unlikely wallflower of the extraordinary Shaw family. A woman who will never marry, but not for the reasons you might think . . .
Attacked on the streets of London, Lady Livia Shaw is relieved when a gentleman comes to her aid—and startled to discover her rescuer is Adrian, the Duke of Preston, a notorious rogue. But their association—and instant attraction—does not end there, much to the Shaws’ distress. For Livia was robbed of a memento—one that is both her most precious possession and a reminder of a shameful secret. It is a secret she knows will cause her to lose Adrian forever, yet he is determined to track down the thief . . .
Adrian never wanted to be anyone’s hero, but now he’s finding the prospect as pleasing as he does Livia’s company, and her beauty. Certainly he wants her in his bed, but what surprises him is how much she comes to mean to him. Which is why the revelation of her scandalous past is nearly his undoing. Arrogantly, he had assumed only he had the power to shock. But it is too late to turn back, and now Adrian may have to risk everything for Livia, even his heart . . .
Adrian slumped against the squabs of the hackney cab as it set off from his house in King Street. Correction––Ophelia’s King Street house. He’d already had the deeds put in her name, but she’d generously given him another day to quite the premises.
In the shadows of the vehicle, he grinned. A house was a small price to pay to rid himself of the exquisite, grasping, tediously mundane person Ophelia d’Arblay had turned out to be. Every man in London wanted Desiree for his mistress. Well, she was back on the market and they were all welcome to her.
With a groan, he stretched his limbs. After a tough all-night session in the House of Lords, he’d repaired here to find Ophelia entertaining one of the few peers not in Parliament that evening. Truly, he should have guessed she was seeing someone on the sly. But what had surprised him the most was his inability to care. Her subsequent spectacular tantrum merely bored him. It did not move him. She had broken his one and only rule, and she must suffer the consequences.
Exhausted, he looked forward to falling into his own bed and leaving the day behind.
A movement ahead caught his attention. A woman stood at the edge of the road, her gown a flash of bright blue, swirling around while children scurried like rats around her. One skinny youth had his mouth open, laughing, catching her attention while the other––Adrian spied trouble. And where trouble lurked, so did he.
Grabbing his cane, he rapped the roof of the carriage. “Stop! Stop now!”
Before the driver had managed to haul the nag to a halt, Adrian had opened the door and leaped into the street. Turning only to toss a shilling to the cabbie, who caught it deftly, pocketed it and gave his horse the office to continue in one smooth move, Adrian faced the trouble.
That blue silk belonged to a lady, although the gown had become sadly smeared with mud and torn in her efforts to escape her tormentors. Her face was obscured by the broad brim of her bergère hat, its pink ribbons askew and the jaunty bow on top crushed. For all that, this was a lady. The gown was good, the skirts too wide for this part of London, and her linen fine, the nearly sheer veil over her tantalizing bosom hinting at the pink flesh beneath. Despite his recent disappointment, Adrian’s mouth watered.
All this he absorbed as he headed at speed for the unfortunate woman beset by street urchins. He kept his attention on her while he struck out with his cane, lashing out right and left, ignoring the ensuing yelps and protests.
The woman whirled right into his arms, and Adrian found himself with an armful of warmth and silk. That made wielding his cane trickier. Rolling the woman to the left, he looped his arm around her waist and used his right hand to advantage. Battle heated his veins, sending a fire coursing around his body and rousing him from his ennui. He had not felt this alive for a long time. Although he was only one man against six youths who had learned to fight on the streets, he made a good account of himself. The trouble was, they kept coming at him from different directions. Catching one importunate boy a crack across his shoulders appeared to deter them. All but one, who darted around the other side of the female before shrieking. The one in front crashed into her and a sickening crack rent the air before he tightened his hold on her and dealt the boy a telling blow to the side of his head with what was left of his cane. The responding yelp warmed his heart.
“Let me go!” she said. “You can’t fight like this.”
She was right. Her voluminous skirts and the cloak around her shoulders were hampering him. He snapped, “Don’t go out of my sight,” before releasing her and settling in to the rhythm of the fight. Fully awake now, all traces of tiredness gone, Adrian swung his cane, wielding it more like a club than a delicate weapon. Sooner or later it would break, and then he’d have to resort to his fists.
He looked forward to it.
“Come on then, you cowards!” he yelled as one of the assailants ran off, screaming. Crouching into a fighting stance, he stood ready, his cane held before him, waiting for the next attack.
His maiden stood where he’d told her to, the bright blue of her gown a flag in this grimy London street. She leaned to one side. Had that crack he’d heard a moment ago been one of her bones? And yet she didn’t move.
As if someone had waved a gun, the boys turned tail and ran, scattering into the alleys feeding the street, like the rats they were.
He flicked his gaze over the woman, scanning her disheveled appearance. Clearly she needed help. With the blood of war still thrumming through his veins, he drew a deep breath, savoring the sheer joy of being here, alive and healthy. Why would he not? His relentless pursuit of life all led to that wonderful feeling, better than a case of wine, better than the best French brandy. And for sure better than a night’s gambling.
Better than spending a night in his mistress’s bed? Perhaps. Not the one he had just discarded, but this one…he might have found his new interest. A well-dressed young woman in this part of London would hardly be the kind he’d meet in the ballrooms of Mayfair.
“They got my purse,” she said then. Although her voice was soft, it still trembled. She was more shaken than she cared to tell him.
“Did they take much?”
She shrugged a delicate shoulder. “A few guineas, an ivory comb, a fine linen handkerchief––no, not much.”
Aha. Any woman who considered that haul “not much” had recourse to more.
Gallantly, he offered his arm. “You are shaken, madam. May I offer you the hospitality of my house?” At least, it was his house until the morning when the new deeds came into effect. “You may tidy yourself up and recover from your ordeal.”
From beneath the broken brim of her hat, she regarded him warily. “You speak like a gentleman.”
“And you sound like a lady.”
Without warning, she sagged, dipping forward, threatening to fall. Adrian caught her, curving his arm around her waist at the front and tilting her gently back to lean against his shoulder. “Can you walk?” he murmured, his mouth so close to her ear that her curls tickled his skin. She had blonde hair with a hint of red. He’d seen that shade before, but for the life of him he couldn’t remember where.
She nodded, lowering her head to rest on his shoulder. If he had to, he’d carry her.
To his relief, when he took a small, slow pace, she came with him. Although her feet dragged, he detected no sign of a stumble, or anything that would indicate she was hurt. If they took it at a snail’s pace, they could manage the distance. “The house isn’t far, at the end of King Street.”
His hackney had almost reached Covent Garden. King Street abutted it. Since his mistress worked as an actress at Drury Lane, in fact was a star of the stage there, she liked the proximity. No doubt she would continue to do so.
“I should not,” she murmured.
Shock, he assumed. Tilting up her chin, anticipating the credit his good deed would accomplish, he gazed into her face.
Damn and blast it. He recognized her. He would not be making this woman his mistress, sadly.
But what was Lady Livia Shaw doing in this part of London, and on her own, too?

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