The winner of Monica Burns’ new book is erinf1. Congrats, Erin! I’ll be in touch.
Thanks to everyone for stopping by the blog! Drop by tomorrow – I’ll have some cool contest info!
The winner of Monica Burns’ new book is erinf1. Congrats, Erin! I’ll be in touch.
Thanks to everyone for stopping by the blog! Drop by tomorrow – I’ll have some cool contest info!
Hooray!! The fabulous Monica Burns has a new book out! I love Monica’s very sexy and very cool historical romances, and her latest book is really something.
His Mistress is a sensually crafted BDSM historical romance, and is Book 1 in the Self-Made Men series. When Tobias Lynsted is blackmailed into marrying Lady Jane, neither realize they both belong to the same BDSM club, the House of Dark Pleasures. Tobias is haunted by dark secrets, until Jane becomes both his salvation and the mistress of his soul.
Here’s an excerpt to whet your appetite!
“I said kiss me again.” A sultry smile curved her lips. “Would that be such a difficult task to perform?”
Christ almighty, she wanted him to kiss her again. And she was ordering him to do so. She was a seductress demanding she be pleasured. Temptation threatened to overrule every sane thought he possessed. With one simple act, he’d awoken the beast inside him. A dragon that would devour her in one fiery breath. His gaze didn’t wander from her face as he struggled to devise a reason not to obey her command. In the back of his mind, a realization hollered out at him, but it subsided into the background as he shook his head as if doing so would clear it.
“I don’t think that would be appropriate, “ he choked out. “As you said earlier, a more private setting is called for.”
“Very well,” she murmured as she turned away and walked toward the door.
Relief lashed through him at the realization she’d spared himself and her from the darkness that flowed through his veins the moment she’d uttered her command. Disappointment followed a brief moment later. Bloody hell, he was mad to even consider the possibility of exposing her to his demons.
Tobias took a step forward to follow her then froze in his tracks as Jane locked the door. Disbelief made his muscles draw up taunt as she turned to face him and held up the key for a moment before slowly tucking it down into her bodice.
“There, I think we have all the privacy we could want. Wouldn’t you agree?”
There was a mischievous look on her face, but it was the determination in her voice that said he was in trouble. With a shake of his head, Tobias fought back the urge to give into her demands. Suddenly remembering the door into the earl’s study, he allowed himself a smile.
“I think my best course of action is to take my leave through your father’s study.”
He turned away with great effort as his mind flashed images of the dark, luscious valley the door key was nestled against. Even more dangerous than the image was the voice in the back of his head that said she needed to be kissed thoroughly. Kissed hard until she understood she was playing with fire.
Tobias crossed the floor to the door of the earl’s study and turned the knob. Locked. For a moment, he simply stared down at what should have been his salvation before he looked over his shoulder at Jane. Her lovely mouth curved in a slight smile, she rolled her shoulders in a small shrug.
“Father always locks his office when there are guests in the house.” The amusement he heard in her voice made him growl with frustration. In several long strides he was mere inches from her and returning her satisfied expression with a glare.
“You’ve no idea what you’re asking of me, Jane.”
“Oh, I think I do,” she murmured. “The problem is, you simply don’t want to do as I ask.”
“Ask?” bit out between clenched teeth. “I’d call it more of a command.”
“And would it be so difficult to surrender to my…command?” The softly whispered question was like a velvety iron fist to his stomach. He ignored the question.
“If one plays with fire, one should be prepared to burn, Jane.”
“You say that as if I’m in danger from you.”
“Maybe you are,” Tobias growled as the scent of her invaded his nostrils. God almighty, he wanted to bury his face in her neck just to savor her like one did the fragrance of a fine bottle of wine.
“Then I would like to experience that danger.” She reached out to brush her fingers across his unmarred cheek. “Now kiss me. I’ll not produce the key until you do as I say.”
“Do not forget that I warned you,” Tobias rasped as he tugged her into his arms with a suppressed violence at the way she’d forced his hand.
Not waiting for her reply, he crushed her lips beneath his. Desire pounded its way through his blood as he molded her to his body. Beneath the harshness of his kiss, she froze against him, and he prepared himself for her protest. It didn’t come. Instead, she became soft and pliable in his arms. Deep inside, he shouted the need to stop this madness, but he ignored the warning.
With a sharp nip at the plump skin of her lower lip, he waited for the gasp that would part her lips. A fraction of a second later, his tongue slipped past her teeth to plunder her sweet succulent mouth. Mint and a hint of citrus made her taste cool and tangy. The flavors reminded him of her strength and the occasional mischievous side she kept hidden beneath her serene countenance.
One arm wrapped around her waist, he caressed the side of her throat with his free hand. The pads of his fingers could have been touching silk if he’d not known otherwise. Eager to taste more of her, his mouth left hers to make its way across her cheek and down the side of her neck. A low moan broke free of her lips, while her head fell backward and her breasts press deeper into his chest. Immediately, his hand slid downward to caress the peach-toned swells of her breasts framed by her gown’s bodice. She was lovely, and she didn’t deserve his darkness touching her in any form.
Whew! *Vanessa fans herself*
And here’s the blurb:
One man’s submission to pleasure
As a solicitor seeking justice for victims of violence, Tobias Lynsted must maintain control at all times while working in the seedy underworld of London’s East End. The darkness of his world creates a need for the intimacy and release he can only find in the forbidden pleasure of submission. The kind of pleasure where a powerful man has the freedom to let go of his control for a few sweet moments of oblivion. But when a blackmail scheme forces him to marry, the last thing he expects in a wife is a woman who will satisfy the darker side of his nature.
One woman’s awakening
Lady Jane Grisham has no desire to marry, but choosing marriage over a life of destitution is an easy choice to make. Although Jane knows love is for the foolish, Tobias awakens her most wicked and darkest of desires. In the sinful world of domination and submission, Jane uses her blossoming skills to make Tobias surrender not only his body, but his secrets. But she quickly discovers that the true test of her strength is trusting Tobias with her heart.
You can check out a longer excerpt on Monica’s website, and also find buy links. Trust me – if you’re looking for a sexy, wonderfully emotional read, this is it!
For my readers today, Monica is giving away a copy of His Mistress. Just tell me how sexy you like your historical romances for a chance to win!
I’m so pleased to welcome bestselling romance and epic fantasy author Patricia Borroughs to the blog today. Pooks, as she’s called, is here to talk about her latest book, This Crumbling Pageant–which has an interesting movie-related twist.
I was a very small girl the first time I saw that lush, gorgeous movie musical describing a different world and a different culture from my own. I had no idea what a courtesan was, or what Gigi was being raised to be. I just knew that I fell in love with the tale and several times since have watched it again, a bewitching romance in the old school way—a young girl raised to be a courtesan, who brings the hero to his knees both figuratively and literally.
They first met when she was a young girl, and part of the fun for me was watching scenes like this one, and anticipating the moment when he would see her—really see her—for the first time as a woman.
I certainly wasn’t remembering Gigi when I was plotting the early part of my trilogy, when Persephone is smitten with Sir Robin Fitzwilliam and he sees her as a precocious young lady deserving of his protection and affection but certainly not a love interest. The plot required that moment, and that age difference. And yet, I also didn’t shrink back in dismay. Historically, matches were frequently made between young women and more mature men.
I understand being turned off by the idea of a relationship that began, innocently, when Persephone was too young, even though it didn’t progress as a love relationship until she’s old enough to be presented to the queen. But in the 21st Century few of our readers would be thrilled to have their 17-year-old daughters fall in love with thirty year-old men. I get that.
But even though This Crumbling Pageant does tell a complex and complicated—and ultimately, passionate—love story, it is first and always a fantasy. I can tell my story as it needs to be told, with the ages and situations demanded by the plot, without worrying about contemporary rules that might stand in the way if I were writing only about Persephone’s romantic story arc—an arc, I must add, that won’t end until the entire trilogy is written.
Alas, a youtube search did not turn up the moment when Louis Jordan takes a look at Gigi and realizes she is a woman, when he experiences that gut-clench of possession and realizes that she means far more to him than he ever dreamed. I guess I’ll have to watch the entire movie again. (As if that’s a sacrifice!)
In the meantime, I will give you that moment for Persephone and Robin.
Robin stepped onto the first floor landing to realise that from below him, people were gathered, looking up. Guests who had been milling near the ballroom entrance were now turned, also looking up expectantly. He followed their gazes up the stairs.
Persephone’s brothers—Dardanus and Cosmo—descended, Dardanus’s expression one of ill-masked concern that caused Robin’s heart to leap.
Cosmo, however, exuded confidence, his eyes glittering.
And why did that leave Robin uneasy?
The Duke Regent descended next, as regal as if he already bore the crown. The slight rigidity around his eyes was all that betrayed that he, too, might have concerns. It was a detail few would detect.
When the three reached the foot of the stairs, they turned as one and awaited the announcement of her name.
And finally, the slow, graceful descent of Apollo Fury and his daughter.
A soft gasp echoed through the assemblage.
And he… he could do nothing but stare up as Persephone came into view…
Wearing a dress of purple so dark, it was almost black.
Her hair was unfashionable, a sleek fall of ebony. Usually so flat in colour, it shimmered, with a silver laurel wreath its only adornment.
Her skin wasn’t the milky white of her sister, but in this light, against such a dress, it had a honeyed cast that glowed with life. The wide neck of the gown was low on her shoulders, exposing the delicacy of the joining of sinew and bone, the hollow at the base of her throat. Her mouth was wide and tinged with rose.
But it was her eyes, large and liquid, that dominated her face with their dark intensity.
Her presence was magnetic. There was no way any eye could have been on any other woman in the room.
She appeared to have stepped from a medieval portrait at Erinyes Manor, despite the fact that her dress was of the most recent fashion, with snow-white gloves that covered her from fingertip to above where sleeve met wrist—an effect obviously created by a modiste of the first stare. Down to the finest detail, it could not be faulted in any way.
Except for its hue that no young lady of fashion would ever choose.
A hue that made her glow.
The blood-draining grip at his elbow, the carefully composed expression on Electra’s face as she looked—simply looked—at Cosmo, and his return smirk told Robin everything.
This presentation was Cosmo Fury’s doing.
And Persephone’s sister Electra, the Duchess of Aubyn, was rigid with rage.
Persephone drew closer. Robin looked into her eyes, and his breath caught at the intensity of her apprehension.
Oh yes, her chin was high, her shoulders straight, her posture impeccable. Few would know that she reeked of tension, only those who knew her well.
And yes, he knew her so well.
And it hit him.
Persephone didn’t know. Electra had yet to recognise. The first shock had not worn off.
None of them with the exception of Cosmo had quite yet realised.
Persephone Fury was stunning.
Whether trope of cliché, this is one of those moments I love to read and to write, that moment when an awkward duckling appears as a swan to the man she’s been yearning for.
How does Gigi hold up today? I didn’t even address the fact that she was raised to be a courtesan here.
Can you still enjoy it as a love story, or does it squick? Is it still a fabulously romantic tale of a girl who rises above her ‘station’ and wins the world be bring the hero to submission? Or is it one of those stories best left behind to another time and place, a guilty pleasure at best and a glamorization of a dark time for women at worst?
Vanessa, here. Readers, what do you think of Pooks’ question? I love the idea for this book and I also love Gigi, so let’s talk about it! Pooks will give away a $10 gift card and I’ll give away a copy of my latest book, Confessions of a Royal Bridegroom, to one person who comments.
Persephone Fury is the Dark daughter, the one they hide.
England, 1811. Few are aware of a hidden magical England, a people not ruled by poor mad George, but by the dying King Pellinore of the House of Pendragon.
The Furys are known for their music, their magic, and their historic role as kingmakers. When Fury ambitions demand a political marriage, Persephone is drugged and presented to Society—
Only to be abducted from the man she loves by the man she loathes.
But devious and ruthless, Persephone must defy ancient prophecy and seize her own fate.
Get swept away into the first book of a dark fantasy series combining swashbuckling adventure, heart-pounding romance, and plot-twisting suspense.
I’m so pleased to welcome one of my favorite historical romance authors to the blog today. Theresa Romain is smart, witty, and an all-around great gal. AND she writes fabulous books. She has a new one out this week called To Charm a Naughty Countess that is already garnering fantastic reviews.
Here’s the blurb:
CAN A RECLUSIVE DUKE…
Brilliant but rumored mad, Michael Layward, the impoverished Duke of Wyverne, has no success courting heiresses until widowed Lady Stratton takes up his cause–after first refusing his suit.
WIN LONDON’S MOST POWERFUL COUNTESS?
Caroline Graves, the popular Countess of Stratton, sits alone at the pinnacle of London society and has vowed never to remarry. When Michael–her counterpart in an old scandal–returns to town after a long absence, she finds herself as enthralled with him as ever. As she guides the anxiety-ridden duke through the trials of society, Caroline realizes that she’s lost her heart . But if she gives herself to the only man she’s ever loved, she’ll lose the hard-won independence she prizes above all.
And here’s an excerpt from the book!
Michael had never thought of conversation in terms of discrete tests and tasks. The idea was intriguing.
“Simple as that, you say. One should talk of the weather and then identify something in common.” He blew out a deep breath, then returned to his seat. “Let us test it out.”
“What would you say, then, if I should ask you about the weather?”
Michael narrowed his eyes at Caroline. There was nothing in her question that could be tested. “I would ask you if you had looked outside lately. That is where the weather is always to be found.”
She smothered a laugh. “It’s not a literal question, and that is not a polite reply. But I’ll ask it of you differently. What do you think of the weather?”
Better. There was room to supply information here. “I think it is unusually cold for this time of year, though less so than in Lancashire. Perhaps the fog helps hold heat in to the City.” An idea ribboned through his mind. “Caro. Has anyone has ever recorded the relationship between the temperature and fog density? It bears further study, I am sure.”
Caroline held up a hand. “Michael. Stop. I have no idea whether anyone has catalogued the… whatever you said. And neither will anyone else. If someone asks you what you think of the weather, they do not expect a detailed discussion of temperature. Simply say something like, ‘Deuced cold, isn’t it?’ That’s all.”
“But that’s a meaningless answer.”
“It’s not meant to provide information. It’s meant to reassure the other person that you are of his class, of sound mind, and reasonably pleasant to be around. From such reassurance comes social success. Now, try again.” She lowered her voice to resemble a masculine rumble. “Rotten weather, what?”
Michael parroted, “Deuced cold, isn’t it?” Even as Caroline smiled, he shook his head. “That might work as a semblance of a greeting, but I can’t simply repeat that all day. And what if the weather should warm?”
“Then you say, ‘Deuced warm, isn’t it?’ I should have thought that would be obvious.” She gnawed on her lip; the gesture made him shiver. Deuced warm. “But you are right, it’s only the first step. And it must feel natural, or you’ll sound as though you’re speaking a part on the stage—and badly. Can you give me a brief version of what you said before? About the cold or the fog?”
Michael stretched his mind back. “You ask me about the weather. Then I could say that it’s cold, but less so than Lancashire.”
“Perfect.” Her sunbeam smile struck him in the solar plexus. “That sort of reply will do wonderfully. It is no social trespass to speak of what you like best, only to talk on for too long. Remember, we always want to make other people feel at ease.”
“Ha.” Michael could not remember feeling less at ease in recent memory. This physical turmoil was as distracting as his usual headache, though in a different way. It was not a wish for pain to end, but a yearning for something wakeful and exotic to begin.
Caroline talked on. “Do you take snuff? That’s another topic you could introduce. Gentlemen can easily spend hours talking about their favorite sort and why it’s the only one that’s worthwhile.”
Michael stared at her lips. He wanted to rub his thumb over that mobile mouth, to see if it felt different from his own. He needed to touch her, to feel the skin of another human being against his. He needed to…
He needed to answer the question. Snuff, wasn’t it? “Ah—no. I never have taken snuff. What is the pleasure in forcing oneself to sneeze?” As if his body didn’t grow agitated enough on its own without prompting from inhaled particles.
It was growing agitated now. Not from a headache, nor from the tension that often corded his arms. Instead, his fingers tingled, as though wanting again to cast everything away and forget himself.
“What is the pleasure in anything?” Caroline looked quite serious.
“What do you mean?”
Caroline spread her hands. “There’s no pleasure in snuff. There’s no pleasure in talking to the ton and forming everyday connections. You do not play cards or music. I have never known you to dance. In what, then, do you find pleasure?”
It was not a question he was accustomed to hearing, much less asking himself.
Possibly because there were indeed few pleasures in his life. His mother had died in his infancy, and thereafter, his youth had been a bitter war of opposing temperaments, until his father abandoned the battle for the grave. Even the satisfaction Michael once got from resurrecting Wyverne had slid away from him as his plans burgeoned, as details and money slipped from him and never came back within his grasp.
It was already more than he could keep within control, so there was no room for any other kind of pleasure. Though he could almost forget that as Caroline watched him, her lips parted. She smelled faintly of jasmine, like spring brought to life in the middle of the City. He could spring to life too, if she would show him how. For what other reason would he be here today?
Book order links:
For my readers today, Theresa is kindly giving away a copy of To Charm a Naughty Countess (North America only). Let’s talk about what characteristics we find charming, especially in a man. Is it good manners, kindness, a sense of humor, a fabulous night out? What really knocks your socks off when it comes to guys?
Are you a fan of New Adult romances? Do you like sports romances, too? I’ve got a wonderful book to recommend that combines the best of both. It’s The Stillness of You, by Julie Bale. It’s gritty, emotional, sexy, and beautifully written, and it’s book one in Julie’s Beautifully Damaged Series.
Here’s the blurb:
“Ben Lancaster had just tattooed himself onto my soul and the thing about tattoos? They’re painful to remove.”–Georgia King
Georgia King is trying to survive after spiraling into a darkness that nearly took her life. In therapy with her college dreams on hold,she’s trying to get healthy. Trying to still the craziness inside her. She has no room for someone like Ben Lancaster,and if he was smart he’d stay away. Because everyone knows Georgia is bad news–she ruins people–and if Ben isn’t careful, he’ll be next in line.
Ben Lancaster is a young, hot shot hockey player on his way to the top. Newly signed to the Philadelphia Flyers, he’s living the dream. The girls. The money. The fame. He thought he had everything he wanted until he met Georgia. Suddenly he wants more–he wants her. He’ll do whatever it takes to get her and Ben Lancaster always gets what he wants.
But the girl who’s different from anyone he’s ever known is hiding secrets. And as the dog days of summer pass, only time will tell if Georgia’s secrets can be healed. Or if her bruised soul is strong enough to resist Ben Lancaster…
Sounds awesome, doesn’t it? Trust me when I tell you that Julie is a wonderful writer. You’ll want to pick up The Stillness of You before her next book in the series comes out. That’s The Chaos in Me, which will be on shelves this summer. Check out this gorgeous cover!
For my readers today, Julie is giving away a Kindle copy of The Stillness of You. Do you like angsty, emotional romances? What are some of your favorites? Tell me all about it for a chance to win Julie’s wonderful book!