The Prince’s Passion by Nancy Morse

Here is Nancy Morse’s excerpt from her book THE PRINCE’S PASSION. Another fantastic book from the ONCE UPON A KISS boxset. Check out the blurb and a short excerpt below, then buy the box set from one of the links at the bottom of the excerpt. You can’t go wrong ten books, ten fantastic authors for one low price of  $0.99

Blurb:

By secret decree, Nicholas Romanov, a prince of Imperial Russia, is next in line to the throne. Driven by dark passions and yearning for freedom, he has sworn to avenge the death of his father who led an ill-fated revolt against the Tsar and the murder of his mother who spurned the Tsar’s love. But the dangerous charade he plays is threatened by those who would stop at nothing to prevent him from reaching the throne, and by the fiery American beauty who teaches him that, without love, freedom is just an illusion.

What begins for Alana Welles as a capricious European holiday turns into a journey of deceit and betrayal, where friends become adversaries and misguided affections lead to heartbreak. From the blood-soaked sands of the Spanish bullring to the verdant English countryside, from the war-ravaged Crimea to glittering St. Petersburg, Alana follows her reckless heart into the arms of the handsome Russian prince whose secrets can topple an empire.

Excerpt:

“Leaving so soon?” Nicholas asked. He stepped in front of her, barring her path with his tall frame. “Tell me, what is your name?”

She answered with all the courtesy due royalty.

“Ah, the Senator’s daughter from America. If I am not mistaken, your room should be on the floor below this one. Are all Americans so lacking in direction? Or is it discretion?”

Alana’s blue eyes flared. “I told you, Your Highness, I lost my way.”

His green eyes sparkling brightly, he said with a laugh, “I assure you, Miss Welles, the title is as decorous as the uniform. I don both for special occasions. As you can see, my personal tastes are somewhat simpler.”

He had removed the jacket with the gold buttons and was dressed casually in a plain white cambric shirt that was opened to expose a chest of darkly curled hair. The black trousers tucked into the tops of well-worn riding boots and the wind-tossed look of his hair told her he’d just come back from an evening gallop. Without the garnishment of his uniform and jewel-studded scabbard, there was nothing to distract from his alarmingly good looks. That, and his disarming candor, threw Alana off her guard.

“Why do you dress like that, then?” she inquired.

“They have come to expect it to me.”

“And you oblige them?”

He shrugged elegantly. “Whenever I can.”

She began to grow uncomfortable beneath the heavy weight of his stare. Gathering her skirts in her hands, she brushed past him. “If you will excuse me, I’ve been gone far too long and I wouldn’t want Monica to worry.”

He stepped aside with a speculative look. “I see. But it is rather uncommon of you to care what others think, is it not?”

The accuracy of his remark took her back. “How would you know what is uncommon of me?”

With a cool but devastating smile, he replied, “Just a guess.”

Alana started for the door.

“Will you join me for a ride in the morning?”

His invitation sounded more like a command, causing her to bristle. Tersely, she replied, “I have promised someone else.” She saw no particular reason to tell him that she had already committed her morning to Ross.

“Perhaps you would consider changing your plans to accommodate me.”

She whirled to face him, indignation brimming in her blue eyes. “I realize you must be accustomed to having your way,” she said heatedly, “but in this case, I’m afraid you cannot.”

“Oh?” he ventured. “And is that a guess into my character?”

“Not at all,” she replied. “Your reputation has simply preceded you.”

She was almost blinded by his luminous smile “I will take that as a compliment.”

“It was not intended as one.” And with that, she swished past him out the door.

Here are the buy links for ONCE UPON A KISS. Remember just 99 cents.

Amazon – http://a.co/8vk6CxX

Apple iBooks – https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/id1195459460

Barnes & Noble – http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/love-historicals-presents-once-upon-a-kiss-laurel-odonnell/1125454182;jsessionid=268F4B199A6DFCB4EA51C96FD6C581F5.prodny_store01-atgap09?ean=2940154233863

KOBO – https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/love-historicals-presents-once-upon-a-kiss

A visit with Gina Danna

What genre(s) do you write in and why? I write Ancient Rome, Regency, Victorian and American Civil War

What inspired your latest book?  This book was inspired by the movie Sweet Home Alabama – I liked the twist of 2 heros for the heroine to choose and the viewer could find both men worthy, so her decision wasn’t set exactly.

What is your next project and when will it be released? The 2nd book in my Civil War series, called Unconditional Surrender

What is your favorite dessert/food? Anything with chocolate; make it dark chocolate and I’ll love it!

Do you have a view in your writing space?  What does your space look like?   My writing space is a nook built into my apartment with a computer desk and bookcase. Like this little nitch.

Do you prefer to read in the same genres you write in or do you avoid reading that genre? Why?  I like reading Regency and English Victorian but American Civil War & Rome I just can’t. These two are usually depicted poorly, not historically correct, especially the Civil War. I’m a historian by degrees and a Civil War reenactor, so it’s gotta be right.

What are you currently working on? Finishing my manuscript for Unconditional Surrender (Book 2 in Civil War series) and then plan to finish the 3rd book in my gladiator series (its about ½ written now)

When did you start writing toward publication?  I started seriously writing about 8 years ago, when my son went to college, giving me the time to devote to it.

 

What is your writing routine like? My writing routine is write as often as I can, even bringing my laptop to work to write on my breaks – not that I always can or do but that’s my goal.

Excerpt – This Love of Mine

“Capt’n!”

Before him, two of his men stumbled into the room, their hands holding a woman’s arms. She fell down, dragging Norm with her.

“Billy, whatever are you doing?” Where the hell had a woman come from? No doubt, one of the men snuck her aboard for whatever reason, though he could guess what. Or worse, she was a runaway who stole aboard to escape whatever issue plagued her—prostitution, irate father, poverty, drunkard, or many more excuses.

“Found ’er in the hold, sir, hidin’,” the taller, bulkier pirate sputtered.

He gave her a look-over, a little deeper than previous. She was petite just in comparing her size to Norm, who was one of the shorter pirates aboard the Equuleus’s crew. Definitely young, her skin was ivory white and her golden sable mane looked as if it had been coiffed up at one point during her voyage, but now, long locks of curls escaped the few hairpins’ hold. Her gown, a striped blue and white garment, held tears and stains of a harsh life but it’s silk material made him wonder if she wasn’t some kept courtesan with a brutal lover she escaped from. Her brilliant blue sapphire eyes stared at him with no hesitation or fear, which surprised him and instantly made him decide she must be a runaway. With a deep inner breath, he would have to correct her plans, for stealing onto a pirate ship was the worst choice a woman could make.

“Who might I be addressing here? Miss….?”

His addressing her seemed to snap her into her position now and she struggle to free herself of the two men. He motioned to them to let her go and once they did, she bounced to her feet—her bare feet.

She stood, glaring at him, anger and frustration reflected in her gaze but somehow, he didn’t think it was necessarily at him. If nothing more, his attraction to this waif was growing, for she didn’t appear the slightest concern at being on a pirate ship.

“The question, dear captain, should be who are you?” She glanced back at her escorts. “To call me to your ship, only to throw me into the grasp of your underlings.”

A visit with Wanda Ann Thomas

How did you get started writing?

Two books were milestones for me prior to my taking up writing. Pride and Prejudice introduced me to the world of historical romance. I was always drawn to historical novels, but adding a romance totally enchanted me. Julia Quinn and Mary Balog books are on my keeper shelf. In my search for historical fiction containing a great love story, I eventually stumbled onto Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series. I loved, loved, loved Jamie and Claire, and they provided the inspiration for me to try my hand at writing.  As an odd juxtaposition, I had also read the works of the ancient historian Josephus, and fascinated by that time period I wrote several Christian Fiction/Romance hybrid books. Once I had honed my writing skills I published a three-book series – The Herod Chronicles.

The time period limited my word choices, but stretched me as a writer. Most clichéd phrases and similes are too modern to work in ancient times, which forced me to be creative. The Herod Chronicles is a family drama, and I learned I enjoyed creating a world centered around the love, joys, trials, and tribulations of a dynamic family. The experience also taught me that I enjoyed writing the romance more than the history.

 

Tell us about your current series.

When I decided to write Sweet Historical Westerns I knew I wanted to write romance focused stories. I centered the series around a family of adopted brothers struggle to carry on the legacy of operating a cattle ranch dedicated to rescuing homeless boys.  The cowboy heroes of the Brides of Sweet Creek Ranch have been fun to write.  The tone of these books is lighter, a change that is a better fit for me.

 

What genre do you write in and why?

I love writing historical romance for the same reason I love reading it.  The chance to escape into past worlds, with larger-than-life heroes and heroines finding their happily ever after.  If I ever venture outside writing historical romance, the only genre that holds any appeal is a post apoplectic / syfy story.  Which makes a strange sort of sense, as it is an escape into a future world of limitless possibilities.

Excerpt – The Mail-order Bride Carries a Gun – Book One Brides of Sweet Creek Ranch

Ella jumped at the knock on the plain wooden door. The tinkle of out-of-tune piano music drifted up from the saloon. She smoothed the wrinkles of her blue woolen dress. “Come in,” she called, her voice too shaky for her liking.

Ty Haven ducked through the door and removed his hat. Sandy-blond bangs slid over dark perfect eyebrows. “Miss Hunter…ma’am, may I call you Ella?”

Good glory, a justice of the peace was waiting below to make them man and wife. Ty Haven would be her husband before the next song on the piano faded. How was she going to marry the man who killed Johnny? “Call me any name you like, Mr. Haven.”

“Call me Ty, ma’am…um I mean Miss Ella.” A slash of red showed on strong cheekbones and he held out a box tied with a rose ribbon. “A wedding present.”

She backed up and bumped into the narrow bed. Ty Haven’s towering presence stole her breath. “You didn’t need to do anything special.” Heart pounding in her ears, she ran her fingers over the smooth satin bow.

She stared into Ty Haven’s golden-brown eyes for the telltale signs of the man she’d seen twenty years ago. She wanted to snatch up her journal and compare the photo pasted inside with the man standing before her. Could this man who took in homeless boys be the same person who had murdered Johnny?

“What’s wrong?” he asked.

What was wrong? She was attracted to a no-good Yankee devil, and sweating like a thousand-pound hog, and her brain was in danger of turning to mush. She didn’t come to Wyoming Territory for pretty presents. She was here to take back Johnny’s saber.

She shoved the box at Ty Haven. “Are you prepared to uphold our agreement?”

His eyes clouded. “A man doesn’t forget a small matter like agreeing to not consummate his marriage on his wedding night.”

Author Bio

Wanda Ann Thomas is the author of Sweet Historical Western Romances and Historical Christian Fiction. She adores heart-felt love stories, featuring honorable heroes and courageous heroines. Men and women who will brave any danger for loved ones and who struggle against overwhelming obstacles to win their happily ever after.

A native of Maine, Wanda starts each day bright and early at her computer writing and drinking coffee. When the weather allows she and her husband average three rounds of golf a week. She confesses to being overly fond of chocolate chips cookies, winter vacations spent in sunny Florida, and her large boisterous family.

Author Website

www.WandaAnnThomas.com

Amazon Author Page

http://dld.bz/Bookpage

 

The Sweet Taste of Love by Anna Markland

The Sweet Taste of Love is by Anna Markland. Here are the blurb and excerpt for your enjoyment. It’s another fantastic book from the ONCE UPON A KISS boxset. Check out the blurb and a short excerpt below, then buy the box set from one of the links at the bottom of the excerpt. You can’t go wrong ten books, ten fantastic authors for one low price of  $0.99

Blurb:

 Bound by guilt, freed by love

Riddled with guilt after the drowning deaths of his parents, Aidan FitzRam takes himself off to Lindisfarne in Northumbria, determined to atone. He immerses himself in caring for the bees essential to the production of mead the abbey is known for.

Nolana Kyncade is a Scot fleeing the tyranny of a cruel stepfather when she bumps into Aidan at the market.

Smitten with her, Aidan quickly realizes that he is not cut out to be a monk.  But her stepfather intends to marry her to an older man who will pay handsomely for the privilege.

 

Excerpt:

Aidan was ready to collapse with fatigue. He had never been a lethargic man. His mother had often complained he had too much energy. He and Blythe had on occasion led their parents a merry dance when they were growing up. What he wouldn’t give now for a scolding glance from his mother.

He raked his fingers through his hair and leaned back against the wooden frame of the stall, brushing away the horseflies drawn by the honey. What would it be like once he was tonsured? His hair had always been long, dark like his father’s.

Memories of his parents filled his head. A lifetime would not be enough to atone for the manner of their deaths. Their bodies had never been recovered. His father’s long-held desire to be interred alongside his father in the crypt at Montbryce would not be fulfilled.

A shuddering breath caught in his throat. He eyed the containers of mead, estimating how much longer they would remain in the crowded marketplace. His sandaled feet were caked with dust, his throat bone dry. Idly wondering how he might filch a sip of the precious mead without the Abbot noticing, he closed his eyes, absorbing the sounds of commerce around him.

A fly buzzed in his face. He swatted at it and forced one eye open. A young woman was walking to the haberdashery stall across the way. At least, he thought she was a young woman. How odd to be shrouded by a playd on such a warm day. But her bearing and figure bespoke a young person. He stood up straight to get a better view. Her garb indicated she was a Scot, but not a lowlander, and not a person of low birth. Her léine had been dyed saffron. She reached out to finger the colored ribbons hanging from the crossbeam, glancing around furtively, drawing the brown playd further over her head.

She’s afraid.

His gut clenched. When she turned to look directly at him, her obvious nervousness did nothing to detract from her loveliness. His mouth fell open. She turned back to the stall, reaching up to point to a particular ribbon. The merchant handed it to her. She raised her arms. The playd fell to her shoulders, revealing the flame red bounty of her hair. Aidan’s breath caught in his throat. For once he was glad of the shapeless robe. His erection was a rod of iron.

She replaced the shawl quickly and paid for the ribbon. Four or five armed men came into view, sauntering through the market. He did not recognize the devise they bore on their tunics. The woman lowered her head, turned away and hastened in the direction of the stall selling mead.

Jesu! She’s coming this way!

Here are the buy links for ONCE UPON A KISS. Remember just 99 cents.

Amazon – http://a.co/8vk6CxX

Apple iBooks – https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/id1195459460

Barnes & Noble – http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/love-historicals-presents-once-upon-a-kiss-laurel-odonnell/1125454182;jsessionid=268F4B199A6DFCB4EA51C96FD6C581F5.prodny_store01-atgap09?ean=2940154233863

KOBO – https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/love-historicals-presents-once-upon-a-kiss

An Interview with Dorothy Callahan

What genre(s) do you write in and why? I tend to write in many genres, since the stories demanding to be told don’t care! So far, I can throw my hat into the rings of contemporary, time travel, paranormal and I’m also tweaking a young adult trilogy.

What is your favorite part of writing? Oh, I love writing myself into a corner and then trying to figure out how my characters are going to save the day with only seconds left to save themselves. It’s the ultimate brain-strain and I seriously get a rush when the solution comes to me. Oh! Oh! I know what happens next! Yeah. That’s me.

What is your least favorite part of writing? It’s not my least favorite, but it’s definitely the hardest part, and it’s marketing and advertising. Hard work! Whew!

Where do you get the ideas for your stories? Oh, dear, they honestly come from everywhere. Some are literally from dreams I’ve had, while others have been prompted by newspaper articles. Sometimes it’s a minor character who has caught my attention, and then suddenly I’m trying to figure out who that person is and what they need and who the heck is the perfect match? I don’t seem to lack for ideas; the more I write, the more I want the ideas to gel with the perfect person.

What advice do you have for other authors wanting to self-publish? Make sure your book is really publisher-ready. Get a professional cover. Hire proofreaders and editors to make sure the story makes sense. Run it by critique partners to make sure the story is coherent. And give yourself plenty of time to learn the ins and outs of the industry.

Do you have critique partners?  Absolutely! I have the two best CPs around. Laurie Gifford Adams, author of YAs, and Lorraine Lander, author of MGs, are my peeps. Seems like a weird combination, since I write romance, but our strengths are such that we can take a story down to a microscopic level and it still works.

Was your road to publication fraught with peril or a walk in the park? It was like crossing the Sahara with two twisted ankles and blistering with sunburn and having only a test tube of water to keep me alive while being chased by poisonous scorpions and then falling down and landing on a cactus. Yeah.

Give us an elevator pitch for your book. Is it possible to forgive and trust the only man who ever shattered you?

Tell us about your hero.  Give us one of his strengths and one of his weaknesses. Matteu MacKenzie is a hot Scottish bagpipe player, a Master Piper for a fictitious traveling band. He is crazy talented and super driven to accomplish his goals, but they always came at the cost of choosing his music over Cora. Now that he’s accomplished his goals, he assumes she’ll forgive him and take him back.

Tell us a little about yourself and your latest book.  I’ve worked with animals in many capacities in my life, and knew I wanted to write about a veterinarian someday. My newest release, Ever Since, happens concurrently with Crazy Little Fling, but they are both standalone novels. In Crazy Little Fling, the veterinarian, Carla, goes on her dream vacation, but something bad happens to her technician, Cora, while she’s gone. So Cora goes home for the Christmas break and finds her family playing the matchmaker with Matty, the man who broke her heart. They have until the ball drops on New Year’s Eve to make the relationship work, or say goodbye forever.

Here’s an excerpt from EVER SINCE:

Matty accepted a plate from Nana and scooped up his slice of lasagna, his full attention on Cora, though she thought she did a credible job of pretending he didn’t exist, even going as far as to suggest some great colleges for her younger cousin to consider, throwing herself fully into the conversation.

But her cousin took one look at Matty’s glower and pushed out of his seat. “Cousin Matty! Here, take my seat. I’ll go sit with my brother.”

“How verra kind of ye, lad.” He set down his plate to her right and almost sat before stepping back into the kitchen.

The sisters exchanged glances. Cora whispered to Sherry, “Was it something I said?”

They chuckled and focused on their meal when Matty returned to her side, holding a sandwich plate with two slices of bread, one lightly buttered and one heavily.

“With a sprinkle of sugar, just the way ye like it,” he said, pointing to the barely-buttered one as he placed it between them.

Sherry audibly sighed.

Cora impaled her with a deadly stare. Not a peep for fourteen months, and his first words to her were about sprinkled sugar? No greeting, no apology, just a snippet that would ensure any of her family would believe he’d never left her side.

Cora seethed at his assumption that she’d blindly play along.

 

About the Author

Dorothy Callahan is one of those authors who annoys other authors by refusing to be tied down to one genre. If a tale demands to be told—even if she’s never read a single story like it—she’ll find a way to write the book of her heart. This is the only way to quiet those demanding characters begging to be heard.

She lives in New York with her wonderful husband, a pride of demanding cats, and two loyal dogs, all rescued from shelters (well, not the husband). Her love of both animals and writing prompted her to start READ AND RESCUE, an organization where animal-loving authors and readers can find one another. The unique aspect to this group is that each author pledges a portion of proceeds to his/her favorite animal cause.

When Dorothy is not writing, she and her husband enjoy shopping for antiques and renovating their pre-Civil War house. If you are interested in learning more about Dorothy or how to help other animals in need, please visit her at dorothycallahan.com, dorothycallahanauthor@gmail.com, Facebook at Dorothy Callahan Author, or Twitter @Callahanauthor.

 

Thank you, Cindy, for letting me join you today. I had a great time hanging out, and hope you did, too. Happy New Year, and happy reading!

A Knight to Remember by Catherine Kean

This is the blurb and an excerpt from A Knight to Remember by Catherine Kean. Blurb: A Knight to Remember © Catherine Kean. It’s another fantastic book from the ONCE UPON A KISS boxset. Check out the blurb and a short excerpt below, then buy the box set from one of the links at the bottom of the excerpt. You can’t go wrong ten books, ten fantastic authors for one low price of  $0.99

Blurb: A Knight to Remember © Catherine Kean

When widowed Lady Aislinn Locksmeade finds a naked, unconscious man in the forest, she wonders if he’s Hugh Brigonne, her first and only true love. When he wakes, he can’t remember who he is or what happened to him.

Does she dare to love the roguish stranger, or is there far greater danger to Aislinn than risking her heart?

Excerpt: A Knight to Remember © Catherine Kean

Aislinn walked toward the man, who was lying exactly as when she’d first spied him. The nettles and dock slid against the hem of her cloak, making a soft hissing sound. Her view was partially blocked by the greenery, but he was clearly a broad-shouldered, well-muscled fellow. No doubt he fought for a living, whether as a knight or an outlaw.

Nearing him, her eyes traveled the expanse of naked flesh, mottled by the sunlight filtering though the boughs overhead. Blotchy red patches covered his arse. Her focus shifted, running up the curve of the man’s spine. His back was also dotted with red spots—places where he’d been stung by the nettles, she realized.

His sun-bronzed flesh also bore the scars of long-healed wounds. Such marks were common for a man who’d trained from an early age to first become a squire, then a knight, and who’d fought in battles. The torso of her late husband, Matthew, had borne many scars, most from local skirmishes or weapons training. The marks on this man in the forest could have come from wounds he’d gotten while on Crusade in the Holy Land with England’s late king, Richard the Lionheart.

Of course, he could also be a mercenary, a killer who fought for money.

Tilford emerged from the trees. “He is alive, milady, although badly wounded.”

“Thank you.”

His sword held ready for attack, Tilford headed back into the undergrowth.

Aislinn’s gaze settled on the tangled mass of the injured man’s chestnut-brown hair, then slid to his left arm, reaching out as though he’d tried to fend off attackers. Around him, plants lay crushed. A tremendous struggle had taken place. A tingle of admiration, of gladness that the man hadn’t fallen easily, raced through Aislinn. Ridiculous, since she had no idea who he was, but the emotion was still very real and poignant.

“God’s bones,” Gilly whispered. She stood behind the prone figure of the man, her gaze on his bare buttocks.

Aislinn walked down the length of his body to his feet, then up the other side of him. The man was a magnificent creature, his skin satiny and bronzed, his arms and legs bulging with muscle. A large, ugly bruise darkened his right hip, as well as his right forearm.

She dropped down in front of him. His eyelids didn’t flicker, his breathing didn’t change, and he didn’t stir or give any other sign of being aware of her. He had strong features—high cheekbones, a prominent nose, a bold jawline darkened with a day’s growth of stubble. His lashes, where they lay against his face, were long, dark, and thick. His features held a harshness that suggested his life hadn’t been easy or kind.

Disquiet raced through her. His face wasn’t one she recognized. Twelve years ago, when she was just ten and five, she’d known—loved—a young lad with hair as dark and silky as this man’s, and with a mouth as wide and sensual. She brushed away the memory of Hugh Brigonne and the accompanying anguish, for ’twas unlikely this was the same man but twelve years older. Indeed, ’twas about as likely as a hard frost in July.

Here are the buy links for ONCE UPON A KISS. Remember just 99 cents.

Amazon – http://a.co/8vk6CxX

Apple iBooks – https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/id1195459460

Barnes & Noble – http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/love-historicals-presents-once-upon-a-kiss-laurel-odonnell/1125454182;jsessionid=268F4B199A6DFCB4EA51C96FD6C581F5.prodny_store01-atgap09?ean=2940154233863

KOBO – https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/love-historicals-presents-once-upon-a-kiss

A Breath Taken by Bonnie Edwards

BLURB

The mysterious spirits of Perdition House are up to mischief again, but this time lives are at stake. . .

Blue McCann wants a second chance to live. Drawn into a vintage clothing shop by a mysterious woman, she tries on an antique corset…and wakes up in 1913 in the body of another woman.

Dr. Colt Stephens has been attracted to a woman he first met in Perdition House. Unfortunately, he made the wrong assumption about her role in the famous, exclusive, “gentleman’s retreat.”

But now it seems by saving her life, he’s in her good graces and in her bed. She’s everything he’s ever wanted…even if she’s not the woman he thinks she is.

Can Blue McCann learn how to stay in this life she’s been given or will she have to return to the present where death awaits her?

In the fifth instalment of Tales of Perdition, secrets are revealed and answers are found…

EXCERPT

Blue McCann traced the lines of the corset through the glass of the store window. Ivory satin and lace, the exquisite vintage piece looked way out of her league. She admired the delicacy of the hand stitching, as perfectly even and precise today as it had been a hundred years ago. Timeless, the handcrafted corset pulled her toward the window every time she passed by.

Timelessness was alluring to people whose time was up. Today, she’d gone out of her way to stop by just to look. Silly to dream of having a piece of clothing like this one. Still, the corset pulled at her, made her dream of wearing it. She smiled through her next cough. That’s why she came here in spite of the rain and the unrelenting coughing and pain; the corset reminded her she was a woman and still a sexual being. If she wore something like this corset she might be desired, maybe even loved.

Loved? She must be delusional. A cough wracked her chest and she turned away into the wind. Rain lashed her face so she turned back, chilled. She had to get home before the wind pushed the rain through her clothes.

The coughs deepened. She bent over, hating the hollow feeling in her chest. She leaned on the glass for a moment to catch the little breath she could. Love, the idea was ridiculous, coming from a woman whose very name described the color of her skin when she was found in a restaurant trash bin. The cop told the Head Nurse the newborn girl he’d found had been so blue he thought she was a painted doll.

On another gust of biting wind and rain, the shop door opened and a woman stepped out. “May I help you? Need to use the facilities? Or maybe a phone?” She stepped around Blue and put her hand on her shoulder. Warmth radiated where the woman touched, even through her thin jacket and thinner sweater.

She’d heard of hands like this–healing, warming hands. Blue had always hoped she had them.

The woman’s body shielded Blue from passersby and the nasty wind. “This corner is a raceway for wind gusts,” the woman said. Her warm hands firmly urged her toward the entrance to the store and Blue couldn’t resist the softness of the warm air that drew her into the store.

Out of the corner of her eye, the corset shimmied, but a truck went by and rattled the glass. That was all it was. The weight and rumble of the heavy truck had made the glass shiver. She couldn’t have seen the corset move on its own.

“Thanks.” She nodded at the woman. “I was just…” she hesitated, knowing she was silly to ask. “How much is that corset? It’s beautiful.” The heat from the woman’s hands infused her back and made her feel stronger. She straightened and squared her shoulders.

“Come inside out of the rain and I’ll take a look. I can’t remember the price. But with your coloring, it will look fabulous on you.” Her husky, amused tone made it seem like a done deal, but Blue was broker than broke and living on nothing but dreams and whimsy. And not for long, either.

As Blue stepped to the door, she tried to see the price, but a draft twirled the tag like a leaf in autumn. “Whenever I try to check the price, the tag’s facing the wrong way.” She coughed again and the woman helped her to a stool by the cash desk. The woman’s healing hands fell away and Blue sank onto the stool, appalled at how weak she felt.

“I don’t want to cause you any grief with your boss,” she said when she could. She knew how she looked. This kind of store didn’t entertain her kind of customer. The broke kind and now that–

“My name’s Faye Grantham,” the woman’s voice cut off Blue’s thought, “and I am the boss. Welcome to TimeStop.

BIO

Multi-published author Bonnie Edwards has written novels, novellas and short stories for Carina Press, Harlequin, Kensington Books and Robinson (UK) although now she publishes her work herself.

Sometimes her stories have a paranormal twist, likes curses and ghosts, other times not. But they’re always entertaining and guarantee a happy ending.

For more info and sample chapters: http://www.bonnieedwards.com/

Find her here:

Amazon author page: http://www.amazon.com/Bonnie-Edwards/e/B001IO9UTO

Twitter: https://twitter.com/BonnieEdwards

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Bonnie.Edwards.Author

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VAIN  by Jill Hughey

Here is Jill Hughey’s excerpt from her book VAIN. Another fantastic book from the ONCE UPON A KISS boxset. Check out the blurb and a short excerpt below, then buy the box set from one of the links at the bottom of the excerpt. You can’t go wrong ten books, ten fantastic authors for one low price of  $0.99

BLURB

Lily had her life planned, neat and tidy as thread on a spindle, until her mother died and her father snipped at the seams of her future by abandoning Lily in their shop. A nobleman unexpectedly gives her hope when he brings fabric for a special garment. Lily survives on his first payment, and immerses herself in sewing and embroidering an incomparable tunic for him, as her tidy plan continues to unravel.

Theophilus, Lord of Ribeauville, takes his responsibility to his townspeople seriously and, therefore, does not dally with local women. Desire wars with duty when Lily glances up at him while adjusting the hem on his Easter tunic. As her deteriorating circumstances push them together, Theo and Lily learn that the path to his heart just might be through his wardrobe, though the exquisite outfit she creates is the only part of her that fits in his precarious aristocratic world.

EXCERPT

She rushed out the door, flustered. What had happened? Everything had been fine until she’d begun making adjustments to his hem. That had felt horribly awkward to her. Had it bothered him too? She had been trying to do her job briskly, just as her father had always done. Maybe a man did not mind another man touching his hem but very much minded a woman doing so. Lily sighed, pressing her back against the wall, then resting her head there, as well. Even though she occupied the same world she always had, every day brought unforeseen and unfamiliar questions and challenges. She did her best to guess and fool her way through it all. In truth, the only time she felt comfortable in her own skin was when she worked on the lord’s tunic. Or at least she felt comfortable when her lord was not in the tunic as she worked on it.

She sighed. If only her father had returned. He would have that hem rolled and marked in a thrice. He would explain Riculf. He would talk to Cluny and set her life on the right course again.

Her lord emerged, once again smartly attired in the green tunic and mantle she had sewn last spring about this time. He did not know she had sewn it. Her father had done the fitting. She had made every cut and stitch. “Father is never coming back, is he?” she blurted.

The question did not surprise him. He stood straight and proud and confident in his own comfortable life. “Not soon enough,” he said.

At first she did not understand the answer. Then it clicked. Not soon enough to help you. Not soon enough to manage Riculf or Cluny. Not soon enough to return you to normalcy or even respectability. “He lives with a woman?” she asked, eager to familiarize herself with all the ugliness at once.

Her lord cursed softly under his breath. “Yes. He misses your mother desperately.”

Her hand flew up, and she pressed the back of it to her mouth, stifling an unwanted sob of distress. She turned away to compose herself. “It must be very difficult for him,” she observed with the feeling of seeing things from a great distance.

“I did try, Lily. I reminded him of his duty to you. I reminded him of your mother. I tried every argument.”

Unwarranted resentment boiled up in her. Who was this Theophilus to involve himself in her life? Why should she feel gratitude when he stood so calmly to tell her how bad things were? Why should he be allowed to make her uncomfortable in her own shop? How dare he? She bit the inside of her cheek against the angry, unfair slander she wished to shout at him. “Thank you, my lord,” she gritted as meekly as she could manage. “I appreciate your efforts today. I am sure you have pleasanter plans for tomorrow. Now, I must continue my work.”

She forced herself stiffly through the door. She did not close it until she heard her lord’s retreating footsteps. The tunic waited, lovingly spread on the worktable. Her strange, quick anger receded, replaced with the more sane and familiar despair. Her fingertip traced across the slightly overlarge shoulder to the clever neckline. This neckline was the only perfect thing left in the entire world, as near as she could tell. Tonight, she would rework the shoulders. Tomorrow, she would sew the pleats and join the body pieces and sleeves. Soon, she promised herself, she would make tiny invisible stitches around this neckline, and that would be one right thing. And she must consider the embroidery. She must devote some time to the pattern.

Blessedly immersed in her work, she did not let herself think about Father anymore.

Here are the buy links for ONCE UPON A KISS. Remember just 99 cents.

Amazon – http://a.co/8vk6CxX

Apple iBooks – https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/id1195459460

Barnes & Noble – http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/love-historicals-presents-once-upon-a-kiss-laurel-odonnell/1125454182;jsessionid=268F4B199A6DFCB4EA51C96FD6C581F5.prodny_store01-atgap09?ean=2940154233863

KOBO – https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/love-historicals-presents-once-upon-a-kiss

A Visit with Alana Lucas

What is your favorite part of writing?

Researching!! I love to research history and learn new things. The problem is, I sometimes (all the time) get sidetracked.

Where do you get the ideas for your stories?

A lot of my ideas come from music. I love listening to Beethoven, Big Band, and Depeche Mode. Now having said that, the idea for A Cowboy’s Mistletoe Promise started with a Western themed Lego set.

What is your favorite dessert/food?

My favorite indulgence is dark chocolate and a glass of red wine.

Do you have a view in your writing space?  What does your space look like? 

My desk, bookcase (one of seven in the house), and I have claimed a corner in the living room. I live up in the mountains, so my view is pretty nice.

What genres are you drawn to as a reader?

I read a lot of historical romance.

Has your muse always known what genre you would write and be published in?

My muse has decided we need to add to our repertoire. I recently decided to pen a contemporary. It was a lot of fun and completely out of my comfort zone.

Do you write under a pen name?   Why or why not?

I write under my name. I tried out a couple of pen names, but none felt like me. Plus, I’m not very good at remembering names and thought I might have an identity crisis ;-)

Do you have any words of inspiration for aspiring authors?

Listen to other authors, but do what’s best for you.

Please tell my readers a little bit about your book. 

It took Michaela Akerman years to garner the courage to leave her abusive husband. Sneaking out in the dead of night, she embarked on what she hoped would be a better life. In Cottonwood, Montana, she’s found anonymity and a kind of happiness. Although she longs for more, she is content with her little cottage on a ranch outside of town, and she works for wonderful people who’ve become like a family.

Gunslinger Drake Jaeger has always lived life by his own rules, doing whatever it takes to survive, and now he has the opportunity to seize his lifelong dream. All that he has to do is help a man who once saved his life. All that stands in his way is the fetching Miss Michaela Akerman. And Christmas. Dark secrets are about to be revealed, and to complete his job Drake must put duty over everything—including the sudden allure of all that’s good and true. And love.

What’s next for you?

I am working on a self-pub project with nine other authors that will be out this July. I am completely in love with the hero, Captain Alexander :-)

EXCERPT

“Drake?” She didn’t think she was able to hide the shock from her voice. She opened the door wider. “What are you doing here?”

“Good morning, ma’am.” He tipped his black Stetson with a quick flick of his hand. His other hand was suspiciously hidden behind his back. “I…I brought you a present.”

He stepped aside, revealing the tiniest, most precious little pine tree Michaela had ever seen. It was a perfect cone shape.

“You got this for me?”

“Hunt and me went out this morning to cut down a tree for the house and one for the party. I overheard you and Eva talking about Christmas trees, and I thought…”

“You did this for me?” she asked again, hardly controlling the lump forming in her throat.

“Yes, Michaela.” The sound of her name on his lips sent a thrill straight down to her toes.

Time seemed to stand still between them. Something magical that would’ve happened in one of the stories her mother told her as a little girl floated between her and Drake. Emotions got the better of her, and she was feeling bold—perhaps too bold. She closed the distance between them, went up on her tiptoes, and kissed him on the cheek.

“Thank you,” she uttered, afraid to say more for fear of breaking the beautiful spell.

Drake leaned the little tree against the side of the house, and then cupped her cheek. “If I’d known you’d kiss me for bringing you a tree, I would’ve brought you one sooner, darlin’.”

Links for A Cowboy’s Mistletoe Promise

www.alannalucas.com

https://www.facebook.com/AuthorAlannaLucas/

https://twitter.com/alannalucas27

https://www.amazon.com/Alanna-Lucas/e/B00HPC0MYU

http://boroughspublishinggroup.com/authors/alanna-lucas

http://www.theromancereviews.com/mypageprofile.php?location=Alanna427

http://www.romancebooks4us.com/Alanna_Lucas.html

Buy Links:

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01N2R8UDB

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/a-cowboys-mistletoe-promise-alanna-lucas/1125298882?ean=2940153899855

https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/a-cowboy-s-mistletoe-promise

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/687917

AUTHOR BIO

Alanna Lucas writes sweet, spicy, seductive historical romances. When not daydreaming of her next hero and bygone eras, Alanna can be found reading, spending time with family, or plotting her next travel destination. For more information about Alanna and her novels please visit her website- www.alannalucas.com

Love & Reckoning by Gina Danna

Love & Reckoning by Gina Danna is another one of the fabulous books that are included in the ONCE UPON A KISS boxset. Check out the blurb and a short excerpt below, then buy the box set from one of the links at the bottom of the excerpt. You can’t go wrong ten books, ten fantastic authors for one low price of  $0.99

Love & Reckoning blurb –

Rome 100 CE

Conquered, beaten, sentenced to die in the Colosseum, Ganius of Gaul escapes his execution only to find himself enslaved as a gladiator. His rise to champion ensures his life, but does nothing to lessen his desire for vengeance against the Roman soldiers who destroyed all he knew.

Locked into a repugnant betrothal, the beautiful Roman Aurelia turns to her brother’s champion gladiator for help. Promising him his freedom if he helps her escape, Aurelia soon discovers she wants not only Ganius’s help, but to capture his heart as he’s captured hers.

In love with his sworn enemy, Ganius realizes Aurelia is the key to his freedom. But to take her with him would risk both their lives, yet leaving her behind to be a pawn in her brother’s machinations is a wretched alternative. Ganius must choose – love of a Roman or freedom to make the Romans pay. This is a fight the champion gladiator might lose…

EXCERPT 

Love & Reckoning

Rome 100 CE – The Colosseum

Aurelia sat rigid on the bench, quiet as a mouse, like the rest of the crowd. The Celt, condemned to die with his countrymen, stood victorious on the sands. He was the one with that mark upon his arm. Her gaze riveted to him, amazed, appalled and so attracted to him that it sent a thrill through her.

Suddenly, the stands burst into applause and demanded for him to live.

The man stood, in the midst of a filthy, blood-covered arena, the remains of the dead and dying lay around him. He was covered in sweat, blood and sand. His muscles—prominent from fighting the gladiators—were corded, detailed like the statues of the gods, and the effigies of dead victorious gladiators, both forms standing virtually nude throughout the city. But he was living, breathing, on fire. When he shot a glance up at the podium, where the Emperor’s appointee sat in his absence. Even Aurelia could see the flames of violence tangible in his stare. She could not pull her eyes off.

Aurelia’s brother had secured them the box seats next to the podium, quite a sign of position she usually didn’t give a moment’s consideration, but today was more than thankful because they were very close. She gazed at the Celt and in the sunlight, despite his dirty appearance, his eyes glowed, the color like amber in the brightness.

He looked like a god.

“Caius,” she whispered to her brother. “Don’t you need a new man for your stable of fighters?”

He laughed. “What a strange thing for you to say, dearest.” He looked beyond her to see her fascination. “Aurelia…”

“Oh Caius, can you imagine? He defeated three gladiators! The odds stood against him!”

“They were not from the best house…”

“But they were gladiators,” she argued and bit her lip. “Brother, the man must be blessed by the gods to have won so, and to win over the crowd to spare his life.” She gave him her innocent but pleading look. With the exception of severing her betrothal, he never denied her anything.

“She is right, Caius,” Aulus joined in. “I could have him trained. His winnings would bring you considerable coin.”

Caius looked at her. His eyes narrowed. They darted to the Celt in the arena and back to her. The air grew heavy as she waited, though the longer he took to say a word usually meant she won. Holding her breath, she silently prayed to Jupiter.

Caius’s lips slowly curled up into a smile. “So be it. Aulus, let us see if we can’t alleviate the state of her impertinent prisoner.” He kissed her cheek. “And my darling sister, don’t push me for any more extravagant dresses or jewelry, for I fear this animal may take many coins to train before I see the favorable results.”

As he walked away, Aurelia’s gaze returned to the man on the sands. As the property of her brother, a slave, she’d have easy access to see the mark on his arm. Her lips curved at what other opportunities might be available to own a man so blessed by the gods…

Here are the buy links for ONCE UPON A KISS. Remember just 99 cents.

Amazon – http://a.co/8vk6CxX

Apple iBooks – https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/id1195459460

Barnes & Noble – http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/love-historicals-presents-once-upon-a-kiss-laurel-odonnell/1125454182;jsessionid=268F4B199A6DFCB4EA51C96FD6C581F5.prodny_store01-atgap09?ean=2940154233863

KOBO – https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/love-historicals-presents-once-upon-a-kiss