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Blog Tour: DESPERATELY SEEKING A DUCHESS by Christi Caldwell

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Blog Tour: DESPERATELY SEEKING A DUCHESS by Christi Caldwell

What happens when an impoverished duke with a reputation for being a rogue collides with a strong-willed heiress who wants to explore the world? An unlikely friendship . . . and unexpected passion.
 
Cailin Audley does not fit in with Polite Society. A life spent among the working class taught her to value her independence in a way no newfound fortune or glittering ballroom could ever erase. When a major misstep sees the new heiress whisked away to the English countryside, Cailin soon realizes the vexing lengths her family will go to see her settled. But having risked her heart once before, Cailin has no interest in the men of the ton—especially not the frustratingly charming Duke of St. James.
 
Courtland Balfour, the Duke of St. James, devoted brother and notorious rogue, despises what he must become—a fortune hunter. With the ducal coffers drained by his late spendthrift of a father, Courtland knows his duty lies at the altar, and he will do anything to ensure a future for his siblings. Just his luck that the one lady who could make this new fate bearable, who enflames him like no other, is the one woman who wants nothing to do with him or his title.
 
When an act of desperation inadvertently lands him and Cailin at the heart of another scandal, Courtland knows better than to waste his chance. Surely he can convince Cailin to love him?

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EXCERPT

Courtland gave his head a wistful shake, as for the first time since he’d arrived, he felt a frisson of . . . guilt, about asking anyone to give up the comfort of obscurity here for the garish opulence that was the Town.

Ace whinnied noisily, and Courtland absently stroked the loyal creature between the eyes. His nostrils flaring, Ace arched his head back into that favorite-of-his touch.

From the corner of his eye, Courtland caught a faint flutter, and he swung his attention to find a person watching him.

The less-than-furtive figure in the cottage pressed her forehead against the glass.

“It appears we have company,” he murmured, patting Ace once more. “Which isn’t terrible, as it means the sooner I finish, the sooner we’re free to return to London.”

Ace gave a toss of his head in clear equine disapproval.

“It appears we are of like opinions then, on that score,” Courtland said, winking at his horse.

Once again, those curtains parted slightly, and a young woman peeked through the crack in the fabric.

Enormous, saucer-sized blue eyes, filled with mistrust, met Courtland’s gaze.

The sister, then.

He grinned. “Good afternoon,” he called, and sketched a bow. “I’m here to speak with Mr. Audley.”

Judging by the stretch of silence to follow, the young woman was anything but impressed. Alas, while he was on the other side of a doorway, without a line of sight to his quarry, she was afforded an unhindered view that put Courtland at a distinct disadvantage.

Giving Ace another pat, Courtland started down the walkway.

“Stop there!” she shouted, a healthy dose of anger and suspicion freezing him halfway down the path.

Anger and suspicion, both of which, as a duke, he was unaccustomed to being greeted with.

“What do you want?” she called, her voice muffled by the oak panel.

What did he want? Or what did he need?

A fortune.

Security.

His siblings settled.

All of which indirectly accounted for his being here.

Bringing himself back to the matter at hand, Courtland offered another smile and held his empty palms up. “I want nothing more than to speak with your brothers . . . or you,” he cajoled, using soothing tones meant to bring her outside.

At last, the wood panel swung wide, affording him his first full, unobstructed view. And Courtland went absolutely motionless.

Oh, hell.

The young woman, with her full, ivory-hued cheeks and golden blond hair, had the height of a child, but the hardened stare of a woman some three decades her elder. Unfortunately for Courtland, that flinty stare was leveled at him.

Along with her ancient-looking firearm.

Reflexively, Courtland’s palms went flying up in surrender.

The late summer sun glinted off the end of the barrel. That enormous weapon looked all the more enormous when held as it was by one of her spritely size.

He swallowed hard and cursed long and harder inside his head.

The young woman flicked a derisive glance over Courtland’s person, before settling it upon his face, her gaze bored; and his ears went hot, as for the first time in his life he knew what it was to have a woman find him lacking.

“Why does it not surprise me at all that a fancy London fellow like you would come here issuing orders to me?” she drawled, the lyrical, lilting quality of her voice in almost farcical juxtaposition to the threat hanging on her words, and the very real threat of murder she directed his way.

Courtland kept his smile firmly affixed, and when he spoke, did so in the careful, placating tones he used with his easily riled younger sisters. “Perhaps had you taken a moment to hear me out and discuss the business that brought me here, then I wouldn’t have had to issue them, Miss Audley.”

Her flaxen eyebrows went shooting up. “Are you . . . challenging me?” The rifle wavered on her arm.

Oh, bloody hell. He was usually better at speaking to the fairer sex. Much better. It should so happen that the one time he failed to charm would likely land him a bullet in the chest-and a swift end to his miserable existence.

“Well?” she demanded, dipping slightly and adjusting the weapon on her arm.

He winced. “I believe you’ve already determined that I was challenging you, and as such, it hardly seems necessary to confirm with a verbal statement, Miss Audley.” He bit out each syllable, giving up on the gentle warmth he’d previously attempted.

She lowered the rifle slowly, and he took heart. “Now,” he said, taking a step forward. “If you would be so good as to lower your weapon all the-“

A loud report thundered in the afternoon quiet, cutting off the remainder of his words, and he flew back, hitting the ground so hard the air was sucked from his lungs.

Bloody hell. This was how he would end his short reign as duke-by taking a bullet straight to the chest.

Excerpted from Desperately Seeking a Duchess by Christi Caldwell Copyright © 2022 by Christi Caldwell. Excerpted by permission of Berkley. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Christi Caldwell is the USA Today bestselling author of the Sinful Brides series and the Heart of a Duke series. She blames novelist Judith McNaught for luring her into the world of historical romance. Christi lives in Charlotte, North Carolina where she spends her time writing and being a mommy to the most inspiring little boy and empathetic, spirited girls who, with their mischievous twin antics, offer an endless source of story ideas. Learn more online at christicaldwell.com.

Photo Credit to Kimberly Rocha

Release Tour for The Wager of a Lady by Kathleen Ayers

Release Tour for The Wager of a Lady by Kathleen Ayers

Leo believes in playing the odds and is rarely surprised until he meets Georgina, the rebellious young bride of Lord Masterson. A game of cards quickly turns into an unforgettable night that leaves Georgina compromised in both heart and body. Fans of steamy historical and secret baby romances will devour The Wager of a Lady by Kathleen Ayers, the next book in the Beautiful Barringtons Series.

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A notorious bastard of a duke.

Leo Murphy believes in playing the odds, as long as the house wins. As the owner of Elysium, London’s most exclusive gambling hell, Leo’s existence depends on predicting his opponent’s next move. Rarely is he surprised. Until he meets the young bride of Lord Masterson losing at cards.

Georgina is beautiful, intelligent, possessed of a razor-sharp wit and a rebellious nature.

She is completely unexpected.

Leo is so struck by Georgina he doesn’t know whether to bed her or befriend her. He decides to do both.

A rebellious young American.

Wed to the scandalous and elderly Lord Masterson, Georgina detests London. Mocked for her accent and her family’s pedigree, she wants nothing more than to return to New York. When the wickedly attractive Leo Murphy offers to teach her how to play cards, she assumes he merely wishes to admire her bosom. She’s half in love with him before the evening ends.

A wager that ruins them both.

One unforgettable night with Leo leaves Georgina compromised in both heart and body. Now she’s keeping secrets from everyone, especially from Leo. 

Will he forgive her? Or let Georgina go forever?

Goodreads https://bit.ly/3JMErhx

Excerpt

Copyright 2022 @Kathleen Ayers

His steps slowed as he caught sight of the faro table. Not because Larkin was nervously twitching, terrified he’d make a mistake in front of the Duke of Windmere who sat at his table. No, it was because of a slender back clad in powder-blue silk.

Gold ringlets hovered at the base of her neck. One had fallen loose, cascading down the creamy expanse of her left shoulder. Her head tilted to the right as she listened to something Larkin said. She smiled back at the dealer, answering him in a flat, nasal tone.

American.

Something stirred inside Leo, wholly unexpected at the sound of her, though it wasn’t the first time he’d heard an American speak. He came up behind her, taken aback by the soft aroma of wildflowers. An entire field of them.

Arousal, sharp and swift, wound its way down his thighs. And he hadn’t even gotten a look at her face. Then there was the insane urge to run his lips across her shoulder, maybe tug at that golden curl with his teeth.

Larkin looked over the woman’s shoulder, catching Leo’s eye. He dipped his head. “Mr. Murphy.”

“Everything going well this evening, Larkin?”

The young lady seemed uncaring of his presence so close to her. She didn’t turn or acknowledge him. Didn’t she know who he was?

Highly unusual. Everyone in Elysium knew who he was. Leo found himself intrigued. A rare occurrence and something for which the odds were very low.

“Very well, sir.” Larkin turned to Windmere.

Leo studied the delicate shape of the young lady’s profile as her brow wrinkled in concentration. She was very young. Barely out of the schoolroom. And yet, she displayed not an ounce of discomfort sitting at a faro table alone at a gambling hell. A glass of wine remained untouched at her elbow as she studied the cards in her hand.

“Perhaps I can be of assistance.” Leo took the seat next to her.

“I sincerely doubt that.” She didn’t turn in his direction; instead, her chin tilted so mulishly one might have thought she was bracing herself to take a punch to the jaw instead of being offered aid by a gentleman.

Defiant little thing. “Are you sure? I’m rather good at cards.”

“Hmm. So claims every other lord in here.” The neckline of her gown was almost indecent, giving Leo a glimpse of what was clearly a pair of magnificent breasts. “Gentlemen say such things,” she continued, “so that under the guise of looking at my cards to assist me, they might admire my bosom.” Her gaze slid to his waistcoat; she shivered with what appeared to be distaste before barely glancing at Leo’s face. Her attention returned to her cards. She was completely uninterested in him.

“Is this the way all Americans behave?” The odds of any female in Leo’s immediate vicinity ignoring him were incredibly low. That is to say, it never happened.

She turned to face him with a sigh of exasperation. “Very well. I can see you wish us to become acquainted and won’t leave me in peace until you accomplish your aim. I am Lady Masterson.”

About Kathleen Ayers

Kathleen Ayers is the bestselling author of Regency and Victorian romance with strong, witty damaged heroes who can’t help falling for intelligent, sassy heroines. An avid reader, Kathleen fell in love with historical romance as a teenager after picking up a copy of Sweet Savage Love. She reads everything, from romance to thrillers, Stephen King and fantasy. When her nose isn’t stuck in a book, Kathleen tries to garden (with mixed results), works on perfecting her charcuterie board skills and enjoys a good wine tasting.

A Texas transplant, Kathleen shares a backyard swimming pool with her husband, son and two very spoiled dogs.

Follow: Facebook | Instagram | Reader Group | Goodreads | BookBub | Website | Newsletter | Amazon

This promotional event is brought to you by Indie Pen PR

Release Blitz: The Wager of a Lady by Kathleen Ayers

Release Blitz: The Wager of a Lady by Kathleen Ayers

Leo believes in playing the odds and is rarely surprised until he meets Georgina, the rebellious young bride of Lord Masterson. A game of cards quickly turns into an unforgettable night that leaves Georgina compromised in both heart and body. Fans of steamy historical and secret baby romances will devour The Wager of a Lady by Kathleen Ayers, the next book in the Beautiful Barringtons Series.

Blurb

A notorious bastard of a duke.

Leo Murphy believes in playing the odds, as long as the house wins. As the owner of Elysium, London’s most exclusive gambling hell, Leo’s existence depends on predicting his opponent’s next move. Rarely is he surprised. Until he meets the young bride of Lord Masterson losing at cards.

Georgina is beautiful, intelligent, possessed of a razor-sharp wit and a rebellious nature.

She is completely unexpected.

Leo is so struck by Georgina he doesn’t know whether to bed her or befriend her. He decides to do both.

A rebellious young American.

Wed to the scandalous and elderly Lord Masterson, Georgina detests London. Mocked for her accent and her family’s pedigree, she wants nothing more than to return to New York. When the wickedly attractive Leo Murphy offers to teach her how to play cards, she assumes he merely wishes to admire her bosom. She’s half in love with him before the evening ends.

A wager that ruins them both.

One unforgettable night with Leo leaves Georgina compromised in both heart and body. Now she’s keeping secrets from everyone, especially from Leo. 

Will he forgive her? Or let Georgina go forever?

Add to Goodreads Here!

Buy Now or Read for FREE with Kindle Unlimited!

Excerpt

Copyright 2022 @Kathleen Ayers

 “Do you mind?” Leo pulled a cheroot out of his pocket without waiting for a response.

He flicked his wrist, lighting the end. The fragrant smoke spiraled up into the air above their heads, disappearing into the night. They sat in companionable silence for some time, with only the sound of the fountain.

“May I?” she said, holding out her hand for the cheroot.

He gave her an odd look but handed it over, the brush of his fingers against hers sending a tingle down her arm.

Georgina hadn’t indulged in a cheroot since coming to London and before, she’d only done so to shock whatever gentleman had produced it from his pocket. Ben, ever complicit in her bad behavior, had taught her one day when she was fifteen. Maybe sixteen. It became a small bit of rebellion to steal cheroots from her father’s study.

She took a short puff, blowing out a series of perfect smoke rings.

A sound came from Leo, sifting beneath her skirts like a wisp of the cheroot smoke, winding its way up her silken clad legs, identical to the sound he’d made when his head had been between her thighs.

“Quite a trick.” Taking the cheroot from her, he drew in the smoke then leaned over and caught his mouth against hers, blowing the smoke gently between her lips before breaking away.

Georgina immediately formed her mouth into an ‘O’ and blew another perfect ring of smoke into the night air. She turned with a wiggle of her brows to find his gaze fixed on her. “I have many talents.”

Tossing the cheroot, he ground it beneath his heel and reached for her before Georgina had a chance to move away. Fingers wrapping around the back of her neck, Leo pulled her close, mouth slanting against hers with exquisite tenderness.

“I still remember,” he whispered against her lips, “the first time I saw you. Powder blue silk, your dangerously low neckline edged in Belgian lace. I kept waiting for a nipple to pop out.”

“I wasn’t sure you even noticed I had a bosom.”

“I noticed everything about you. The way the silk of your gown rustled when you moved. The sound of your accent flattening every lovely word you spoke. Your scent, like something wild growing in the forest.”

“I told you.” Heat wafted off his body. “It is only soap.”

“I couldn’t take my eyes from you. I still can’t.” Leo leaned back, eyes shining with something that looked very much like anguish before he jerked his head away.

Buy Now or Read for FREE with Kindle Unlimited!

About Kathleen Ayers

Kathleen Ayers is the bestselling author of Regency and Victorian romance with strong, witty damaged heroes who can’t help falling for intelligent, sassy heroines. An avid reader, Kathleen fell in love with historical romance as a teenager after picking up a copy of Sweet Savage Love. She reads everything, from romance to thrillers, Stephen King and fantasy. When her nose isn’t stuck in a book, Kathleen tries to garden (with mixed results), works on perfecting her charcuterie board skills and enjoys a good wine tasting.

A Texas transplant, Kathleen shares a backyard swimming pool with her husband, son and two very spoiled dogs.

Follow: Facebook | Instagram | Reader Group | Goodreads | BookBub | Website | Newsletter | Amazon

Year in Review: 2021 Reading Challenge!

Year in Review: 2021 Reading Challenge!

Each year, I try to create a reading challenge that’s not only fun and challenging but also realistic. This year, I set the bar pretty high, and couldn’t be happier with the results. I’ve read over 128 books for this challenge, 113 of those being books that have sat on my kindle for far too long. I’ve discovered a lot of new authors and exciting books in 2021 and can not wait to see what next years challenge will bring.

Here are the books that made my 2021 Reading Challenge a success:

CategoryBook Title
Re-Read a favorite bookCity of Bones by Cassandra Clare
A book by an author new to meCrashing East by Aly Stiles
A ContemporaryBlame It On The Champagne by Fiona Cole
A New Adult ReadThese Monsterous Ties by K.V. Rose
A Biker NovelTounge by K.L. Savage
A Paranormal/FantasyA Court of Silver Flames by Sarah J Maas
A Sports RomanceThe Bombshell Effect by Karla Sorensen
A Romantic ComedyBet Me by Lila Monroe
A book chosen for its coverOne Tiny Lie by K.A. Tucker
Accidental PregnancySay Yes To Love by Anne Williams
Older Brother’s Best FriendFalling For My Brother’s Best Friend by Piper Rayne
Holiday Romance (any holiday)Holidate by Monica Murphy
ForbiddenSweet Dandelion by Micalea Smeltzer
BillionaireClose Quarters by Kandi Steiner
Bad BoySkater Boy by Mary Catherine Gebhard
Workplace RomanceBossy Nights by Liv Morris
Fake RelationshipThe Trouble With The Fake Boyfriend by Holly Renee
Marriage of ConvenienceDon’t Kiss The Bride by Carian Cole
Favorite tropeSancte Diaboli: Part One by Amo Jones
A book with a red coverThe Life You Stole by Jewel E Ann
4 books on your TBRThe Haunting of Brynn Wilder by Wendy Webb
The Saint by Kelsey Clayton
Corrupt My Mind by Kelsey Clayton
Savage by Caitlyn Dare
2 New ReleasesDestructive King by RVD
The Invitation by Vi Keeland
A trope you haven’t read in 12 monthsThe Dead List by Jennifer Armentrout
A Rock Star RomanceGone For You by Jayne Frost
A Non-Romance bookBecoming by Michelle Obama
A ClassicI Know Why The Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou
A book picked by a friendThe Kiss by M. Robinson
Dark/TabooFable of Happiness, Book One by Pepper Winters
Historical RomanceThe Songbook of Benny Lament by Amy Harmon
Fairy Tale Re-TellingThe Love Hack by Lauren Helms
A YA BookThe Problem With Forever by JLA
Enemies to Lovers tropeA Vow of Hate by Lylah James
A book that will make you Ugly CryBared Souls by Ellie Wade
A book with an Age Gap tropeDead Man Walking by Giana Darling
A book with Friends to Lovers tropeFor Keeps. For Always. by Haley Jenner
A book with a blue coverThe Life That Mattered by Jewel E Ann
4 books on your TBRShow Me How by Molly McAdams
Alpha’s Claim by Amelia Hutchins
Crossed Fates by Lexi Foss & Elle Christensen
Lost Souls by Emma Creed
2 New ReleasesUnderboss by Kristen Proby
One More Time by Aurora Rose Reynolds
1 DuetLove and Lies Duet by Stacey Lynn
MafiaRuthless Monarch by Ava Harrison
A NovellaForevermore by Alex Grayson
Sweet RomanceThe Bloom Girls by Amy Pine
Romantic SuspenseBroken Sparrow by Chelle Bliss
A book with a Cowboy on the coverTrue Love Cowboy by Jennifer Ryan
A book, where the main character is/, was in the militaryLove So Irresistible by Marquita Valentine
Small Town romanceSouthern Heart by Natasha Madison
First Responder (Police Officer/Firefighter/EMT)Protecting What’s His by Tessa Bailey
Second Chance RomanceRise by Cassandra Robbins
Dystopian/Science FictionRunner by Evie Mitchell
A book with a yellow coverEternally North by Tillie Cole
2 books on your TBRUnforgettable by Melanie Harlow
Beneath the Stars by Emily McIntire
2 New ReleasesBroken French by Tasha Boyd
Strict Confidence by Skye Warren
Insta-loveDistraction by Aurora Rose Reynolds
Bearded Man On CoverSide Hustle by Emily Goodwin
A Fighter/MMA BookFighting For Irish by Gina Maxwell
A TrilogyCruel Summer Series by Rachel Van Dyken
Finish A Series I StartedA Line of Duty Series by Tessa Bailey
Bully RomanceThe Bet by JL Beck & C. Hallman
2 DuetsThe Pawn Duet by TM Frazier
The Retake Duet by Ella Fox
2 NovellasBeautiful Nightmare by Giana Darling
Fallen King by Giana Darling
2 Sweet RomanceAnything But Sweet by Candis Terry
Kissing Her Crush by Ophelia London
A Suspense or Romantic Suspense NovelThe Au Pair by Emma Rous
Read 1 SeriesThe Baraginer Series by Laura Thalassa
2 Box Sets of BooksDark Legacy: The Complete Collection by Jaymin Eve Bleeding Hearts: The Complete Duet by A. Zavarelli
Small Town RomanceFragile Hearts by Amber Kelly
A Stand-alone NovelThe Love Interest by Kayley Loring
A Beach ReadAin’t He Precious by Sawyer Bennett
4 Books I Already Own Per Month
JanHere Be Sexist Vampires by Suzanne Wright
Dear Enemy by Kristen Callihan
Even If It Hurts by Marni Mann
Focused by Karla Sorensen
FebWreck by Cora Brent
Treachery by Lily White
Not What I Expected by Jewel E Ann
The Dare by Elle Kennedy
MarchCrazy for Loving You by Pippa Grant
The Sinner by Kelsey Clayton
Guilty Pleasure by Jessica Prince
Never Gonna Happen by Cynthia Eden
AprilWhat Are The Chances by Ashley Munoz & Brittany Taylor
Callous Prince by Brecker Gray
Bad Alibi by Jessica Prince
Wrong Text Right Love by Claudia Burgoa
MayTempt Me by Kally Ash
From Our First by Carrie Ann Ryan
Bad Liar by Lauren Rowe
The Legacy by Dylan Allen
JuneFaking Ms.Right by Claire Kingsley
Aggro by Coralee June & Carrie Gray
Love At First Fight by Carrie Aarons
Rich Prick by Tijan
JulyHawk by Kat Savage
Protecting You by Claire Kingsley
My Besties Ex by Piper Rayne
Waiting On The Rain by Claudia Connor
AugFlame by Chelle Bliss
Falling For My Enemy by Claire Kingsley
Cruel Temptation by Kelli Callahan
Gods & Monsters by Saffron Kent
SeptOff the Cuff by KI Lynn
My One Week Husband by Lauren Blakely
Dotted Lines by Devney Perry
Hold the Forevers by KA Linde
OctPretty Little Savage by Lucy Smoke
Reckless Memories by Catherine Cowles
The Lies We Tell by Becca Steele
Wreck & Ruin by Emma Slate
NovRuthless Stranger by Maggie Cole
Royal Line by Carrie Ann Ryan & Nana Malone
The Fall We Fell by Victoria Denault
Wicked Rule by KI Lynn
DecDevious Lies by Parker S. Huntington
Keeper by Harloe Rae
Saint & Sinner by Georgia LeCarre
Only One Night by Natasha Madison

Release Tour for Seducing the Warrior by Laura Shipley

Release Tour for Seducing the Warrior by Laura Shipley

Royce Davis has been living in darkness since an injury in battle left him with failing vision. When a fiery-haired vixen, Lily Moore becomes his employee, she brings with her an unexpected light and a yearning he can’t resist. But, when her past catches up to her, Lily and Royce find themselves caught up in a deadly game. Fans of steamy historical romances will want to sink their teeth into Seducing the Warrior by Laura Shipley, the first book in her To Love A Wicked Warrior Series.

Read Now!

A soldier losing his vision. A lady fleeing for her life.  An unlikely couple… bound together in desire, need, and love.

The man in the shadows…

Injured in battle and his sight failing, Royce Davis has been dwelling in darkness since his return to England, in more ways than one. Consumed by bitterness and pain, Royce is determined to make his way in the world alone. But when a fiery-haired vixen takes up his offer of employment, his heart is awakened by a woman whose beauty enthralls him and whose touch ignites a yearning he cannot resist.

The woman who brings the light…

On the run from a ruthless enemy, Lily Moore finds refuge in Royce Davis’s home. Refusing to be put off by her employer’s coarse manners, Lily senses the real man behind the facade…as well as a desperate passion she finds herself longing to answer.

The darkness that cannot be escaped…

Royce refuses to believe he could ever be worthy of a woman like Lily. But when the past catches up with his new assistant, he will move heaven and earth to keep her safe. Royce must prepare to do battle with a cunning adversary while fighting against his own blindness. Lily never meant for Royce to be caught up in this deadly game. But now what began as a business arrangement has become something much more. Can a bargain born of necessity lead them to a fated love? Or will a madman see them parted forever?

Add to Goodreads!

Excerpt

Copyright 2021 Laura Shipley

Lily didn’t answer right away, but he heard her footsteps move closer until he knew she was right next to him. He put his hand out and brushed her shoulder. Lily let out a tiny cry before she fell into his embrace. Royce put his arms protectively around her. They clung to each other.
“I have been alone for so long, dealing with this. Sometimes I feel like I am in an abyss of my own making. Fear has been the driving force in my life for so long—fear of the unknown, so I’ve been trying to accomplish all I can before it’s too late.”


She caressed his face. “You don’t have to be alone.” Lily’s voice trembled. “You have people who care about you, like Mr. Templeton, Percy,” she paused for a second, “and me. I understand that at times things may seem hopeless, but that is when you need to lean on others the most, and I know that may be difficult.”


He leaned into her soft touch. How had this extraordinary woman come into his life, just when he needed her the most? Since coming home from the war, Royce had felt adrift. Lily’s presence anchored him, gave him a beacon to hold on to, and by God, he would hold her close tonight if she let him.


“What did I do to deserve to have you in my life, sweet Lily?” He placed his hand over hers and kissed it.


“I might ask myself the same thing. Before coming here, the last few months, I had been alone and scared. Fearful of everyone and everything. Ever since I have been here, I have found friends and the happiness that has eluded me for quite some time. I feel like I belong.”
Royce tightened his grip on Lily and pulled her closer. “You will always have a place here, for as long as you wish. I ask for no promises and I give none.” On that, at least, he had to be honest.
“I understand.”


“I may not give you a promise, but I can give you a choice. Stay with me tonight. I will do whatever you ask—I am yours for the commanding. All I ask is that you share this room with me. I cannot bear another night without you.”

About Laura Shipley

Laura Shipley is an indie author who writes Victorian historical romance with dark, brooding heroes and strong-willed, feisty heroines. Her love of romance began the first time she “borrowed” one of the mother’s books and was hooked. While she reads all genres, paranormal romance is a close second to historical.

When she is not writing, Laura enjoys spending time with her husband and children. She has never met a piece of chocolate or a glass of wine that she did not like. Her third addiction is Starbucks, and the never ending need for caffeine to keep the creative juices flowing. She prefers movies over tv, too much of a time commitment, but likes spending time outdoors including hiking and rafting.

Her greatest joy is transporting readers to another time and place with her books, and to have her readers fall in love with the characters just as much as she does. Laura’s email is always open to comments or questions at thelaurashipley@gmail.com. Don’t forget to follow her on Facebook at TheLauraShipley for updates and other fun stuff.

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This promotional event is brought to you by Indie Pen PR

Release Blitz: Seducing the Warrior by Laura Shipley

Release Blitz: Seducing the Warrior by Laura Shipley

Royce Davis has been living in darkness since an injury in battle left him with failing vision. When a fiery-haired vixen, Lily Moore becomes his employee, she brings with her an unexpected light and a yearning he can’t resist. But, when her past catches up to her, Lily and Royce find themselves caught up in a deadly game. Fans of steamy historical romances will want to sink their teeth into Seducing the Warrior by Laura Shipley, the first book in her To Love A Wicked Warrior Series.

Blurb

A soldier losing his vision. A lady fleeing for her life.  An unlikely couple… bound together in desire, need, and love.

The man in the shadows…

Injured in battle and his sight failing, Royce Davis has been dwelling in darkness since his return to England, in more ways than one. Consumed by bitterness and pain, Royce is determined to make his way in the world alone. But when a fiery-haired vixen takes up his offer of employment, his heart is awakened by a woman whose beauty enthralls him and whose touch ignites a yearning he cannot resist.

The woman who brings the light…

On the run from a ruthless enemy, Lily Moore finds refuge in Royce Davis’s home. Refusing to be put off by her employer’s coarse manners, Lily senses the real man behind the facade…as well as a desperate passion she finds herself longing to answer.

The darkness that cannot be escaped…

Royce refuses to believe he could ever be worthy of a woman like Lily. But when the past catches up with his new assistant, he will move heaven and earth to keep her safe. Royce must prepare to do battle with a cunning adversary while fighting against his own blindness. Lily never meant for Royce to be caught up in this deadly game. But now what began as a business arrangement has become something much more. Can a bargain born of necessity lead them to a fated love? Or will a madman see them parted forever?

Add to Goodreads Here!

Buy Now or Read for FREE with Kindle Unlimited!

Excerpt

Copyright 2021 Laura Shipley

The horizon appeared to stretch on forever, though she knew across the sea lay the continent, but in this moment, she felt as if she were the only person in the world. All of a sudden, a great weight lifted from her.  It felt like the sea had taken with it the part of her which had, for these last months, known nothing but pain and sorrow and had released her from it. A sob escaped, but Lily covered her mouth, trying to suppress the noise. She shouldn’t be crying, but perhaps they were only tears of joyful gratitude. After all this time, she might finally be able to have a life free of fear.


Time seemed to pass at its own pace. The sun’s changing position in the sky the only indication that the day was progressing. How long had she stood there, gazing at the blue waters below? Surely it was time to return to the manor house. Lily took a few steps when she heard a horse approaching. Her pulse quickened, and she froze in place. Who would be coming here, so far away from any place? Should she try to hurry into the safety of the woods, or wait?


No, she was tired of running and knew there was nothing to fear. The men who had been after her wouldn’t know she had fled to the other side of the country. She waited, and after a moment, a horse and rider came into view, making their way up the hill that she stood on.


The man appeared young, perhaps around her age. He wore a long black riding coat, the tails bouncing behind him in time with his horse’s gait. His hat hid is hair, but she could see it was a darker color. Overall, she was inclined to call him handsome. All of this she saw in the few seconds before he pulled up his horse before her.

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About Laura Shipley

Laura Shipley is an indie author who writes Victorian historical romance with dark, brooding heroes and strong-willed, feisty heroines. Her love of romance began the first time she “borrowed” one of the mother’s books and was hooked. While she reads all genres, paranormal romance is a close second to historical.

When she is not writing, Laura enjoys spending time with her husband and children. She has never met a piece of chocolate or a glass of wine that she did not like. Her third addiction is Starbucks, and the never ending need for caffeine to keep the creative juices flowing. She prefers movies over tv, too much of a time commitment, but likes spending time outdoors including hiking and rafting.

Her greatest joy is transporting readers to another time and place with her books, and to have her readers fall in love with the characters just as much as she does. Laura’s email is always open to comments or questions at thelaurashipley@gmail.com. Don’t forget to follow her on Facebook at TheLauraShipley for updates and other fun stuff.

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Release Day Promo: Emily’s House by Amy Belding Brown

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Release Day Promo: Emily’s House by Amy Belding Brown

From USA Today bestselling author of Flight of the Sparrow Amy Belding Brown comes an evocative new novel about Emily Dickinson’s longtime maid, Margaret Maher, whose bond with–and ultimate betrayal of–the poet ensured Dickinson’s work would live on.

Massachusetts, 1869. Margaret Maher has never been one to settle down. At twenty-seven, she’s never met a man who has tempted her enough to relinquish her independence to a matrimonial fate, and she hasn’t stayed in one place for long since her family fled the potato famine a decade ago.

When Maggie accepts a temporary position at the illustrious Dickinson family home in Amherst, it’s only to save up enough for a ticket west to join her brothers in California. Maggie never imagines she will form a life-altering friendship with the eccentric, brilliant Miss Emily or that she’ll stay at the Homestead for the next thirty years.

In this richly drawn novel, Amy Belding Brown explores what it is to be an outsider looking in, and she sheds light on one of Dickinson’s closest confidantes–perhaps the person who knew the mysterious poet best–whose quiet act changed history and continues to influence literature to this very day.

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A Conversation with Amy Belding Brown, Author of Emily’s House

What inspired you to write EMILY’S HOUSE?

For decades, I’ve been fascinated by the life and works of Emily Dickinson, drawn to her jewel-like poems and eccentric reclusiveness. My aunt, a great admirer of Dickinson’s work, was a poet and storyteller who first brought Emily alive in my imagination when I was young. It was she who told me I share an ancestor with Emily on my father’s side. A graduate of Amherst College and native son of nearby Northampton, my father took our family to visit Amherst many times. Though it wasn’t open to the public in those days, I was always intrigued by the mysterious brick house behind the fence on Main Street. When I began researching a novel based on Dickinson’s life, I thought Emily would be the leading character. Then I read Maid as Muse by Aífe Murray and encountered the story of the remarkable Margaret Maher. As soon as I learned that she had refused to burn Dickinson’s poems, I knew I’d found my protagonist — an energetic, ambitious, and insightful Irish immigrant. A woman Emily described as wild and warm and mighty and one I wanted readers to meet.

How did you approach the research for this book?

I began by reading all the material I could get my hands on about Emily Dickinson and 19th century Amherst. I soon discovered there are dozens of different takes on Dickinson. Though she’s one of the world’s literary greats, she’s still veiled in mystery to this day, so it’s difficult, if not impossible, to know the true Emily. But for my novel, I had to make some decisions about who she really was and, most importantly, view her through the eyes of my protagonist. So my research into the Irish immigrant experience in 19th century Massachusetts was vital. I looked into the particulars of Margaret Maher’s life, studying the syntax of Hiberno-English speech, what her childhood in County Tipperary must have been like, and the experience of Irish immigrants in Massachusetts in the mid-1800’s. I researched what it took to skillfully manage a household in the 19th century. I visited Amherst and the Emily Dickinson Homestead and sought out the location of Kelley Square where Margaret’s family lived, using old maps, charts and town records to immerse myself in the Amherst of Margaret’s time. Once I start writing, I continue to research, guided by questions that arise as I go along. So my research is both driven by and informing the story as I go.

Was there anything you learned about Dickinson’s work that you didn’t know before writing this novel?

I was surprised at how difficult I found much of Dickinson’s poetry. Like many, when I was young I read some of her relatively accessible “nature poems,” and later I studied some of her more famous ones, guided by Dickinson scholars. But when writing the novel I read hundreds I’d never encountered before. I was dazzled by her word choices, but frequently confused about her meaning and intention. I found that I could only read a very few at a time, that they need to be taken in small doses if I’m going to absorb them.

Without giving anything away, what do you hope readers will take away from reading EMILY’S HOUSE?

While I’m writing my novels I actually don’t think much about what I want readers to get out of them. I’m focused on discovery — finding the universal truths embedded in the history and I kind of expect readers will do the same. I came away from writing EMILY’S HOUSE with a new appreciation for challenges of the immigrant experience and the hardships and exploitation frequently suffered by domestic workers. It’s all too easy to overlook the profound influence servants have had on the lives of their employers — and on our nation’s history. The Irish immigrant, Margaret Maher, recognized Emily Dickinson’s literary genius and it’s thanks to her we have access to the work of America’s greatest poet. The world of literature would be much poorer without her courage and insight. Yet in most accounts, Mabel Loomis Todd gets credit for sharing Dickinson’s poetry with the world. I believe that, once Margaret saved them from the fire, the poems would have been discovered and published sooner or later, with or without Mrs. Todd. And it leaves me wondering how many other immigrants and servants over the years have taken similarly pivotal actions that have been credited to others.

About the Author

Amy Belding Brown is the author of historical novels, including the USA Today bestselling Flight of the Sparrow, and Mr. Emerson’s Wife. A New England history enthusiast, Amy was infused at an early age with the region’s outlook and values. A graduate of Bates College in Lewiston, Maine, she received her MFA from Vermont College and now lives in rural Vermont with her husband, a UCC minister and spiritual director.

Release Tour for The Marquess Method by Kathleen Ayers

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Release Tour for The Marquess Method by Kathleen Ayers

Lady Theodosia has long been infatuated with the Earl of Blythe so in an effort to secure his affections, she paints a scandalous miniature of herself. When her reckless behavior endangers her reputation, Theodosia knows she must retrieve the miniature. Unfortunately, the miniature is gone and the only thing she finds waiting for her in Blythe’s study is the disreputable Marquess of Haven. Fans of steamy historical romances will devour The Marquess Method by Kathleen Ayers, the next book in her Beautiful Barringtons Series.

Read Now!

Lady Theodosia Barrington is practically begging to be ruined.

That’s the assumption of the Marquess of Haven after spying Theodosia at a house party given by the Duke of Granby. After his father left him little else but a title and a crumbling estate, Haven is in desperate need of an heiress. Not only is Theodosia rich as Croesus and beautiful, but she’s also a Barrington. Her brother is Leo Murphy, owner of Elysium and the man Haven holds responsible for ruining his father.

Theodosia is the solution to all of Haven’s problems.

Lady Theodosia has long been infatuated with the Earl of Blythe. In an effort to prove her affection and perhaps induce him to offer for her, Theodosia paints a scandalous self-portrait of herself for Blythe as a birthday gift. The small token of affection is incredibly improper. Her behavior reckless.

She regrets gifting the miniature to Blythe immediately. Desperate to save her reputation before it can be destroyed and escape humiliation, Theodosia makes another rash decision. Retrieve the miniature from Blythe’s study.

Except the miniature is gone. And the only thing waiting for her is the Marquess of Haven.

And her own ruination.

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Excerpt 

Copyright 2021 @Kathleen Ayers

It was becoming difficult for her to breathe with Haven and all his near-naked magnificence. Yes, she found Haven handsome. Appealing. But now, looking at the way the firelight played over the hard ridges of his body, Theo felt as if she was heating slowly from the inside out, her skin sensitive to the brush of every bubble in her bath. 

They stared at each other, a haze of desire winding over them both. Haven wrapped the curling strands of her hair around his wrist and pulled her close.

“Are you going to ravish me?” Theo whispered. 

“God, yes.” His lips fell on hers, urgent and hot. “I have such hunger for you, Theodosia.”

About Kathleen Ayers

Kathleen Ayers is the bestselling author of Regency and Victorian romance with strong, witty damaged heroes who can’t help falling for intelligent, sassy heroines. An avid reader, Kathleen fell in love with historical romance as a teenager after picking up a copy of Sweet Savage Love. She reads everything, from romance to thrillers, Stephen King and fantasy. When her nose isn’t stuck in a book, Kathleen tries to garden (with mixed results), works on perfecting her charcuterie board skills and enjoys a good wine tasting.

A Texas transplant, Kathleen shares a backyard swimming pool with her husband, son and two very spoiled dogs. 

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Release Blitz for The Marquess Method by Kathleen Ayers

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Release Blitz for The Marquess Method by Kathleen Ayers

Lady Theodosia has long been infatuated with the Earl of Blythe so in an effort to secure his affections, she paints a scandalous miniature of herself. When her reckless behavior endangers her reputation, Theodosia knows she must retrieve the miniature. Unfortunately, the miniature is gone and the only thing she finds waiting for her in Blythe’s study is the disreputable Marquess of Haven. Fans of steamy historical romances will devour The Marquess Method by Kathleen Ayers, the next book in her Beautiful Barringtons Series.

Praise for Kathleen Ayers

“Kathleen Ayers has become a favorite for me. I loved the “Wicked Series” but the “The Theory Of Earls” (don’t you just love this title) is my favorite so far.” – MiaBurke54, Bookbub Reviewer

“I am absolutely enamored with this book! It has a breathtaking romance, characters with sizzling chemistry, and a dialogue that is so clever and witty…” – Catherine, Goodreads Reviewer

Blurb

Lady Theodosia Barrington is practically begging to be ruined.

That’s the assumption of the Marquess of Haven after spying Theodosia at a house party given by the Duke of Granby. After his father left him little else but a title and a crumbling estate, Haven is in desperate need of an heiress. Not only is Theodosia rich as Croesus and beautiful, but she’s also a Barrington. Her brother is Leo Murphy, owner of Elysium and the man Haven holds responsible for ruining his father.

Theodosia is the solution to all of Haven’s problems.

Lady Theodosia has long been infatuated with the Earl of Blythe. In an effort to prove her affection and perhaps induce him to offer for her, Theodosia paints a scandalous self-portrait of herself for Blythe as a birthday gift. The small token of affection is incredibly improper. Her behavior reckless.

She regrets gifting the miniature to Blythe immediately. Desperate to save her reputation before it can be destroyed and escape humiliation, Theodosia makes another rash decision. Retrieve the miniature from Blythe’s study.

Except the miniature is gone. And the only thing waiting for her is the Marquess of Haven.

And her own ruination.

Add to Goodreads Here

Buy Now or Read for FREE with Kindle Unlimited! 

Excerpt 

Copyright 2021 @Kathleen Ayers

“I think about kissing you every moment of every day.” Haven spoke without hesitation, the husky quality of his voice hovering over her limbs before sinking into her chest. “I’ve kissed you a total of four times, and I’m being generous in counting that chaste peck we shared in front of the vicar. I would have kissed you much sounder except I didn’t want Pith to take my head off. If I’m not thinking of the way you taste, or the small sounds you make when I hold you, it is only because I’m asleep. But even then, I dream of you.”

Buy Now or Read for FREE with Kindle Unlimited!

About Kathleen Ayers

Kathleen Ayers is the bestselling author of Regency and Victorian romance with strong, witty damaged heroes who can’t help falling for intelligent, sassy heroines. An avid reader, Kathleen fell in love with historical romance as a teenager after picking up a copy of Sweet Savage Love. She reads everything, from romance to thrillers, Stephen King and fantasy. When her nose isn’t stuck in a book, Kathleen tries to garden (with mixed results), works on perfecting her charcuterie board skills and enjoys a good wine tasting.

A Texas transplant, Kathleen shares a backyard swimming pool with her husband, son and two very spoiled dogs. 

Follow: Facebook | Instagram | Reader Group | Goodreads | BookBub | Website | Newsletter | Amazon 

This promotional event is brought to you by Indie Pen PR

Release & Excerpt Tour: The Most Beautiful Girl In Cuba by Chanel Cleeton

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Release & Excerpt Tour: The Most Beautiful Girl In Cuba by Chanel Cleeton

THE MOST BEAUTIFUL GIRL IN CUBA by Chanel Cleeton

On sale May 4th, 2021

At the end of the nineteenth century, three revolutionary women fight for freedom in New York Times bestselling author Chanel Cleeton’s captivating new novel inspired by real-life events and the true story of a legendary Cuban woman–Evangelina Cisneros–who changed the course of history.

A feud rages in Gilded Age New York City between newspaper tycoons William Randolph Hearst and Joseph Pulitzer. When Grace Harrington lands a job at Hearst’s newspaper in 1896, she’s caught in a cutthroat world where one scoop can make or break your career, but it’s a story emerging from Cuba that changes her life.

Unjustly imprisoned in a notorious Havana women’s jail, eighteen-year-old Evangelina Cisneros dreams of a Cuba free from Spanish oppression. When Hearst learns of her plight and splashes her image on the front page of his paper, proclaiming her, “The Most Beautiful Girl in Cuba,” she becomes a rallying cry for American intervention in the battle for Cuban independence.

With the help of Marina Perez, a courier secretly working for the Cuban revolutionaries in Havana, Grace and Hearst’s staff attempt to free Evangelina. But when Cuban civilians are forced into reconcentration camps and the explosion of the USS Maine propels the United States and Spain toward war, the three women must risk everything in their fight for freedom.

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Excerpt

“I’m here for a job if you have one. As a reporter. I’ve spent the last few years writing for smaller papers, getting experience where I could.” I gesture to the leather folio in my lap. “I’ve brought samples of my work if you’d like to look at them. They’re not necessarily the kinds of stories I want to cover, but they’re a start.”

“Why do you wish to work here, Miss Harrington?” Pulitzer asks, making no move to take the folio from me.

“Because of the stories you cover, the impact you have. The World has one of the largest circulations in the world.”

Indeed, Mr. Pulitzer has just slashed the World’s price to one cent, saying he prefers power to profits, circulation the measure by which success is currently judged.

“You have the opportunity to reach readers, to bring about change, to help people who desperately need assistance,” I add. “I’ve admired the work you’ve done for years. You’ve long set the tone the rest of the New York newspaper industry follows. You’ve filled a gap in the news, given a voice to people who wouldn’t have otherwise had one. I’ve read the articles you wrote when you were a reporter yourself in St. Louis, and I admire the manner in which you address society’s ills. You’ve revolutionized the newspaper. I want to be part of that.”

“That’s all fine and good, but why should I hire you? What would you bring to the World that someone else wouldn’t?”

“My gender, for one. A woman knows what it’s like to be pushed to society’s margins. There are some who might argue that a woman cannot do this job as effectively as a man. They would be wrong. Nellie Bly has proven that. You did, too, when you hired her.”

“And what do you know of Nellie Bly?”

“You gave her a chance when others wouldn’t.”

“Cockerill gave her a chance,” he replies, referring to his editor.

“With all due respect, Mr. Pulitzer, we both know this is your paper. You saw something in Nellie Bly. And now she’s gone, and you need another reporter who can take on the kinds of stories she did and can go places your male journalists can’t. What she accomplished at the Women’s Lunatic Asylum”—the words “lunatic asylum” fall distastefully from my mouth—“on Blackwell’s Island, going undercover like that, was nothing short of extraordinary. Those women’s lives have been changed because of Miss Bly’s courage and her daring. Those placards out there, the philosophy with which you run your newsroom—I promise to uphold it every single day I work for you.”

Pulitzer leans back in his chair. “You’re plucky like Bly, I’ll give you that.”

“I am.”