My monthly blog post on the Sweet Americana Sweethearts blog is about incorporating a ready habit into characters in my stories.
Today my novella, Perfectly MIsmatched, book 1 in the “Sweethearts of Jubilee Springs” multi-author series is highlighted on N.N. Light’s Pot O’ Gold event featuring Irish characters.
Her father’s shameful arrest sends socialite Aurelia Northcliffe running to become a mail-order bride in Jubilee Springs, CO. The mining town is tiny but more shocking are the potential grooms–one unsophisticated and the other too discerning. Even if he makes her feel safe.
Initially resistant, mine manager Declan MacNeill remembers his short marriage in Ireland and realizes what he’s been missing. Seeing his potential bride sets his protective instincts on high alert. Everything about her behavior indicates she’s keeping secrets. And Declan is determined to find out why.
Enter the giveaway for a chance to win all 23 books.
Having a hard time choosing what to read in 2021? While there’re so many wonderful authors and books available, it’s imperative to have a dependable and responsible place that can help you choose what to read. It’s even better when you get a chance to win free books, audiobook codes, bookish prizes and gift cards! Every month, you can win free books and other prizes from multiple authors hosted by N. N. Light’s Book Heaven. Numerous authors are offering their books in this collaborative group entitled Literary Giveaway Portal. The best part is they’re all screened and approved by N. N. Light, a top reviewer.
Be Mine Bookish Giveaway: https://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/92db775096
Literary Giveaway Portal: https://www.nnlightsbookheaven.com/literary-giveaway-portal
My prize for the month is a copy of Cowboy Kisses, an anthology of 8 historical romances Print (US only) or ebook (International) containing my story titled When My Heart Knew.
The authors of the Keepers of the Light series (sweet historical romances) are hosting a scavenger hunt today and tomorrow. To be eligible to win a $15 gift card, you need to join the Facebook reader group and then follow the directions to find the letters on various authors’ sites to create a three-word phrase.
The first round had seven stories set in Spruce Hill, Oregon. Each one contained at least one scene at one of the town’s two lighthouses, either Puffin Point or Lookout Rock.
My first story is The Suffragette’s Vow.
Can a reclusive lighthouse keeper prevent a curious reporter from digging into his past?
Will a reporter wrest a story from a taciturn lighthouse keeper and gain her independence?
My upcoming story to be released October 13th is titled Between Two Beaus.
When Gala’s decision to act as a fake fiancée threatens the balance among the trio of friends, she is torn between Hal, who has suddenly shown interest, and fulfilling her promise to Bork.
When Pelican Book Group asked me to write a “New Adult” novella for their Pure Amore line, I jumped at the chance. I had a story in mind that came from the heart. A large part of this book harkens back to my teenage years, to a boy I had a huge crush on. He was definitely in the “elite” segment of our church youth group—the cool kids I so longed to be a part of.
In A Semi-Sweet Summer, I tried to transfer some of that raging angst into fodder for Cassidy’s discomfort in finding her unrequited love living right next door. Cassidy never really fit in, hardly that enviable cheerleader, not a person that anyone would notice. Rather, she sees herself as sort of an ugly duckling. Can anybody out there relate?
Cassidy Cooper is back in town. Ten years earlier, she’d given her heart to a boy who’d humiliated her deeply. As the beneficiary of her sister’s estate, she’s determined to accomplish her sister’s dream, a chocolate truffle shop.
Hunter Gray is intrigued by his new neighbor. His escape artist cow, Marigold, engineers an introduction…but it’s not the impression he was hoping for. Baffled by the suspicion he’s seen this woman before, he plots to win Cassidy’s heart.
With her unrequited love interest living so close, Cassidy prays for strength. Hunter? He just wants to get to know the pretty girl next door.
BUY LINK — Amazon
With weighted steps, Cassidy headed toward the car and crumpled into the passenger seat. “Where’d you get all that energy, Gabby? Don’t country people meander?”
She vaguely remembered when her life felt more like a brisk walk than the frantic gallop of her life in the big city. Vaguely.
“Us country-people tend to stroll through life and enjoy the journey—unless there’s fried chicken involved. Then it’s every man, woman, or child for themselves. Ready?” Gabby shifted into gear and prepared for take-off.
Out of the corner of Cassidy’s eye, something huge and decidedly bovine moved over by her property line. “Hold up.”
Gabby pulled up short and Cassidy stiff-legged it out of the car. She strode across the lawn, her heels sinking into clover with every step. When she was ten feet away from a mangled fence, she spied a man headed in her direction, picking his way across the field next door. His periwinkle-blue cotton shirt stretched across broad, muscular shoulders, his thick, dark-brown hair was ruffled by the light breeze.
OK, he had nice, wide shoulders, but she had a damaged fence. She stepped closer. The oxford button-down fit him as if it was made for his fine physique. Her ex-boyfriend’s London tailor couldn’t have done any better.
Cassidy moved another step closer. The man’s chestnut-brown eyes, with a hint of copper, zeroed in on hers as he swiped an errant lock of hair off his forehead.
The blast from her past nearly slapped her to the ground. In high school, she’d pined for this man from afar. In her adolescent journal, she’d waxed lyrical about his many fine attributes. She’d lain awake countless nights dreaming of the dimples in his face, his broad chest…and his lips.
And then, at the end of her sophomore year, he’d ruined it all. Her passion swung the other direction—hatred for his despicable self.
Hunter whistled through his teeth, a slow smile gracing his lips. “Well, hello, neighbor.”
“Is that your animal on my lawn?” She knew a bovine when she saw one, and this one was impressive. Long, long legs, massive hooves, and…who knew cows could be so whopping enormous?
The cow turned dark, liquid eyes on Cassidy and she could swear the creature smirked. Wickedly. As if it were claiming the lawn as its own.
“Oh, you mean Marigold?”
He named his cows after flowers? “Yes. Why is Marigold on my lawn?”
“What can I say? She’s the adventurous type.” He pushed a hand through hair the color of brisk iced tea—that wavy, tousled hair. “Don’t worry. I’ll fix your fence.”
She screwed up her face until she found the semblance of a smile. “Fine. And I’d appreciate it if you’d get your cow off my turf. Now.”
Why wasn’t she over this stomach-clenching angst? She’d forgiven him years ago, so why did the rusty barb of humiliation pin her like a bug to a board?
She smothered a sigh just as the recalcitrant cow lifted her tail and plopped a cow-pie on spring-green grass.
JAN ELDER is an inspirational romance writer with a passion for telling relateable stories. She strives to write novels that will strengthen the reader’s faith, while also providing an entertaining and engrossing love story. She lives in Maryland with her beloved husband and two pampered cats.
Connect with Jan
One ebook will be given away to a lucky person who leaves a comment on this post.
Meet Sara Grenard, the main character and narrator of Diane Burton’s Mission to New Earth.
How about you introduce yourself by providing the basics?
My name is Sara Grenard. I’m commander of the mission to Serenity. That’s the name my team gave to the Goldilocks planet that might be just right for humans. We’ll explore, build a settlement, and start families.
None. A few distant cousins, I guess. I have no sibs, and my parents were killed in an auto accident 10 years ago. That made it easier to leave everything behind to go on a one-way trip to a new planet. Although I have no blood family, my team is my family. The six of us have bonded better than relatives.
Are you athletic?
You bet. I can’t sit still. That’s why teaching wasn’t my best choice of occupations.
Why didn’t you continue teaching?
A student who was much bigger attacked me. My principal didn’t support me, so I filed a police report. That didn’t go over well. I figured it was a losing battle. When I saw that the United Earth Space Agency was looking for volunteers to go on a one-way trip to new planets, I knew that’s what I wanted to do. To be a pioneer.
What’s your favorite participation sport?
Surfing and swimming. Running and taekwondo. The latter I learned so I could defend myself. No one will ever attack me again and get away with it.
What do you like most about being an astronaut?
The challenge. Our training has been demanding. Mentally, physically, emotionally. We’re going to make sure humankind has a safe place if an evacuation is necessary. From all the crises on Earth, that may be necessary sooner than we think.
Would you go on a one-way trip to explore a new planet? Would you do it to save humankind?
Earth’s overpopulation and dwindling resources force the United Earth Space Agency to expedite exploration of new planets for a possible new home. When new crises ensue—a giant tsunami and the threat of nuclear winter—the timeline changes. Eight years of training crammed into four. Sara Grenard and her team prepare for launch, but are they ready for the one-way trip? Will the Goldilocks planet prove just right for Earth’s inhabitants? Before time runs out.
From the pictures sent back by the probe of the Earth-like planet we named Serenity, our new home would look as natural as Earth itself. I wanted so badly to believe the reports that the surface would have breathable air, that we would be able to walk outside without our enviro suits, that we could live there as we lived on Earth. After two years in an enclosed environment, I was going a little stir-crazy. More than a little. Being an outdoor girl, cabin fever had hit me a lot sooner than the others. Rather, I used to be an outdoor girl.
So how did a California beach girl like me end up on Saturn’s moon, preparing to make history? It was a long story, best reserved for a starlit night in front of a campfire overlooking the dark waters of the sea, and accompanied by a cool glass of wine. With Marsh, of course. Even he didn’t know my whole story. Just like I didn’t know his.
The short version: I volunteered. Slightly longer version: my parents died in a car accident; teaching bratty kids sucked, especially when a kid eight inches taller and a hundred pounds heavier attacked me, and the principal didn’t support me. Believe me, I was ready for a change.
And what a change.
I never imagined I’d be selected. Not when over fifty thousand applied within ten hours. Or so I heard. Out of five hundred thousand applicants, the eighteen of us became the chosen teams. Oh, not as easy as that. The tests they put us through—physical, psychological, intellectual—still boggled my mind.
And I used to think teaching high school kids with more money than smarts was a challenge. Nothing prepared me for the adventure of a lifetime.
Being a pioneer.
Diane Burton combines her love of mystery, adventure, science fiction and romance into writing romantic fiction. Besides the science fiction romance Switched and Outer Rim series, she is the author of One Red Shoe, a romantic suspense, and the Alex O’Hara PI mystery series. She is also a contributor to two anthologies: Portals, Volume 2 and How I Met My Husband. Diane and her husband live in West Michigan. They have two children and three grandchildren.
For more info and excerpts from her books, visit Diane’s website: http://www.dianeburton.com
Goodreads: Diane Burton Author https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/2902110.Diane_Burton
Amazon author page: http://amzn.com/e/B00683MH5E
Sign up for Diane’s newsletter: http://eepurl.com/bdHtYf
Tell us a bit about you and your background
Hi Linda, thank you so much for making me so welcome and hosting me on your blog today. I live in a truly beautiful part of the UK – Devon. I grew up in London and have lived in New York. Devon is as far away from those 2 cities as you can get, all green fields, farms and beaches. We often times would dream about living here when on holiday with our 3 boys. We were fortunate enough to make it happen so here we are! My career has seen most of my time spent within PR and marketing in the music industry, although over the last decade or so I’ve been working within healthcare. A real mixed bag which has afforded me some amazing experiences and great ideas for writing!
What’s the logline that describes your writing?
Contemporary romantic suspense. Chicklit with a twist is how it has also been described.
What are your hobbies away from the computer?
I have an 18-month-old Springer Spaniel called Poppy who I seem to spend an inordinate amount of time training! When not running through fields full pelt chasing her, I like to crochet and bake (not at the same time although that could be interesting). Oh and reading, of course. I try to read at least one book a week, sometimes it happens other times not!
Do you start a new story with the plot or characters first?
The simple answer is both. For me it seems to be that wherever the catalyst for the story starts that’s how it then develops. With my debut novel All Tomorrow’s Parties, I had a strong powerful image of the lead main character Laine Marshall first, the plot then evolved from her. However with my current WIP, it’s the other way around. I had a light bulb moment where the plot unfolded to me, the characters are developing through the storyline as we speak. For me this works well as it’s the inspiration that keeps me passionate about my writing.
Is your writing style planned or freestyle?
Most definitely freestyle. Most days I feel as if I’m a time thief. I’m constantly grabbing 10 minutes here, stealing an hour there. I often travel with my job so I’m becoming quite skilled at blocking out the noise of the train station or airport lounge and quietly sitting and writing a few pages (I carry a notebook everywhere these days).Interestingly in my day job, I have to be incredibly well organized and plan out everything emmm… maybe that’s why my writing is so freestyle….
Have you traveled to any locations that appear in your books?
Yes I have. All Tomorrow’s Parties is set in London and Venice, places I’m fortunate to know well. I would urge anyone who has never been to Venice (or Italy in general for that matter) to go, it really is magical. My second novel (planned for release in May) has three main locations – the West Country of England (about 100 miles away from where I live), a small town called Monflanquin in France where I spent last summer and New York where I once lived. I like to draw on locations I know. I use them as stages in which to place the characters. It really helps me to visualize the characters sitting in a café or catching the subway. Hopefully it drives the descriptive side of my writing.
Can you really have a happy ever after?
Set in the music industry of 1980’s London, All Tomorrows Parties is a journey through life and love. Laine Marshall isn’t a product of the 1980’s she is the epitome of it. 18 years of age and working for one of the hippest labels around Vestal records. She takes the day to day hedonism of working for Vestal in her stride and experiences every emotion under the sun except the one she craves the most – love.
She has a DJ boyfriend Danny she ‘likes’ and a music editor lover Tony ‘she could love’, but no smack bang between the eyes kind of love. That is until a chance encounter in Italy sets her pulse racing and her heart in pieces. With her life turned upside down, she tries to navigate towards love with tragic consequences. Someone is trying to derail her happiness but who and why? Can her heart be broken and rebuilt?
“Let’s find a café somewhere, grab some lunch and plan our day, agreed?” said Andy as they finally stood on the quayside.
They made their way to Café Pietro just off St Mark’s Square. After a quick lunch and glass of wine, they all decided to go their separate ways and explore elements of the city that appealed. They agreed to meet back at the quayside to catch the vaporetti at 6pm.
Andy, Pete, Mary and Ella went straight to St Mark’s Basilica whilst John whispered to Laine he had a surprise to show her and they headed off towards the waterfront. “You’re being quite secretive John, what’s this about?” asked Laine.
“Ah you’ll see”, he said, grabbing her hand and moving towards a small ferry.
The boat took them to the small island of San Lozarro degli Armeni. The island was home to the order of Mekhitarist Monks, originally from Armenia. John explained that the island had been a place of love for the poet Byron. He knew from their conversations that Byron held a special place in Laine’s life. It was also fortuitous that San Lozarro deli Armeni was also home to some of the world’s rarest roses – a favourite for them both. Walking along the beach that first night, they had both been surprised by the other’s love of roses. It had sparked a debate on the origins of the rose and a discussion around why both the UK and the US had adopted it as their national flower. It had been the first of many coincidences.
As they approached the island they were struck by its beauty. The monastery tower framed picture perfect against the powder blue sky, the jade blue sea contrasting against the backdrop of the soft coral stonework of the island. The island itself seemed to be perfectly square with the monastery centrally placed.
Laine had heard of the island when she had read about Byron’s life and his love of Armenian culture but had never expected she would be able to visit it. “This is amazing John – how did you know about this place?” she said, taking hold of his hand. “One of the guys at the base mentioned it a while back, it’s not that well-known, but really worth the trip. When you mentioned you loved Byron, well, it all kinda fitted together”, he said, squeezing her hand just a little.
They walked hand in hand through the cloisters of San Lorrazo del Armeni. The air was heavy with hints of musk and tea rose. Their olfactory senses at first overwhelmed as the subtle changes in scent presented itself, ebbing and flowing like the tide. The roses in the gardens were nurtured like much loved children, now resplendent in a wild spectrum of colours. A monk knelt, a trug by his side. His secateurs delicately dead heading the myriad of rose bushes. He turned and nodded as they passed.
These roses had seen lovers come and go. The memory of their scent imprinted, able to trigger emotions of either love or sorrow. Petals fell as the breeze drifted through and scattered them onto the cobbled path. A carpet of resplendent blooms in multiple colours lay ahead of them. They walked slowly along the path; petals appeared to drop from the sky as if heralding their arrival. Instinctively, Laine took off her sandals. A mix of smooth velvety gloss and heat from the cobbles tickled the soles of her feet. John smiled. The more time he spent with Laine the more he realised how similar they were –both cherished simple beauty where they found it.
Nicole Fitton is a freelance writer who lives in Devon with her children, husband, 10 old hens, 1 very old rabbit, an even older cat and a very young springy springer. Her career to date has spanned 3 decades working in PR and marketing within Europe and the USA. She currently works within healthcare management in the UK. When not ‘doing the day job’ and apart from writing, she enjoys field trialing her spaniel (who is very trialing!), playing golf (badly) and drinking copious amounts of coffee. She likes all things shiny and really really likes fast cars.
She is a member of the group Authors Helping Authors. Her second novel is due for release in 2016.
Tell us a bit about you and your background.
Hello Linda, and thank you so much for welcoming me on your blog today. I live in the very green and pretty Rossendale Valley in Lancashire, England, and although it is very different from Lyon in France where I grew up, I love being here! I always wanted to live in England (I blame Jane Austen, the Brontë sisters and Thomas Hardy for firing my imagination!), and I came to work at the university of Manchester as soon as I finished my studies in France, and I never left!
I now teach full-time time in a secondary school. I have three children, two boys and a girl, who are growing up very fast.
What’s the logline that describes your writing?
Atmospheric settings, haunted heroes and unconventional heroines.
Do you start a new story with the plot or characters first?
My characters always come first and somehow the plot evolves around them.
Is your writing style planned or freestyle?
I don’t plan enough and that always leads me into trouble. Every time I start a new story I resolve to plot more and not rush into things, but every time it’s the same and I end up backtracking, deleting, rewriting…
If you use music while writing, name your favorite types.
I love listening to music, but not when I write. I prefer silence – although in my house, that never happens! However there are always specific songs and composers that accompany me whilst writing a story. For example, when I was writing my DANCING FOR THE DEVIL Trilogy, I listened to Rumours by Fleetwood Mac as well as to traditional Scottish folk songs. When I was writing THE LION’S EMBRACE, which is set in North Africa, I listened to a lot of music from local Tuareg artists, including modern ones such as Bombino.
What is the starting point for research—story concept or when you get stuck while writing?
Research starts the moment I get an idea for my plot. I absolutely love it! I love the excitement of finding anecdotes, facts or pictures which will make my story and characters come to life. And very often I will find a little gem that will steer in a completely new direction.
Can you share a tip about what you do when you get stuck in creating a story?
I go for a walk either on my own or with my daughter. Although she is only ten, talking to her can sometimes help me see the way forward in a story. Another thing that works for me is scribbling on my notebooks and letting my imagination run wild.
What’s your dream vacation destination?
I have several! I love going to Devon and Cornwall. Last summer we went to Northumberland and it was absolutely breathtaking! I still dream about the long walks we took on the beach near Bamburgh Castle.
Do you use visual aids (storyboards, Pinterest, collages) when plotting or writing?
All the time! I love travel guides, paintings, history books and maps for inspiration about locations. I also need to find a photo of my hero – or a few and then I do a mix in my mind – but funnily enough, not of my heroine as I always know exactly what she looks like. I have recently ventured on Pinterest and had a lot of fun creating boards for my novels.
What resources do you use for picking character names?
Maps and road signs, especially in the West Country, Devon and Dorset, are great sources of inspiration for characters and location alike. I do like to look on the internet for first names and I try to make them as realistic to the period and setting as possible. There are great sites around – for example, Gaelic names for boys and girls.
BLURB for The Dream Catcher, book 1 in Dancing With The Devil trilogy
Can her love heal his haunted heart? – Cape Wrath, Scotland, November 1847.
Bruce McGunn is a man as brutal and unforgiving as his land. Discharged from the army, he is haunted by the spectres of his fallen comrades and convinced he is going mad. And he is running out of time to save his estate from the machinations of Cameron McRae, heir to the McGunn’s ancestral enemies. When the clipper carrying McRae’s new bride is caught in a violent storm and docks at Wrath harbour, Bruce decides to revert to the old ways and hold the clipper and the woman to ransom. However, far from the spoilt heiress he expected, Rose is genuine, funny and vulnerable – a ray of sunshine in the long, harsh winter that has become his life.
Rose is determined to escape Wrath and its proud master – the man she calls McGlum. Will she be reunited with Cameron McRae, the dazzlingly handsome aristocrat she married after a whirlwind romance in Algiers, or will she risk her heart and her honour to help Bruce discover the truth about his past and solve the brutal murders committed on his land?
A giant stepped in front of her. Dressed in black riding boots, black breeches and riding coat, he was so tall and his shoulders so broad the already dark horizon darkened further.
His voice was deep and calm, the voice of a man used to be obeyed. The crowd hushed at once.
He bent down in front of her.
‘Well, well, who do we have here?’
Even though she could hardly see his face, she felt his eyes bore into hers, and it was enough to make her mind go blank.
‘Where are the others, your servants, your maids?’
‘I… I don’t have any.’
‘Really? That’s a surprise. All right then, come up.’ He held both his hands out.
She hesitated a moment before placing her hands in his. He pulled her up and she flew straight into his arms, landing with a bump against his broad, hard chest. He was so tall she had to tilt her face all the way back to look at him. Her heart skipped a beat, then started bumping fast and loud.
His eyes were grey and framed by dark eyelashes, his nose straight and strong, his cheekbones high and sharp. Thick black stubble covered his cheeks and chin, and his hair flew around his face, the colour of a raven’s wing. There was something dangerous about him, something reminiscent of a brutal warrior from days long gone by.
She wriggled to free herself but he didn’t let go and his mouth curved into a mocking smile.
‘Well, Fàilte, my sweetheart. ‘I’ll say this for McRae. If there’s one thing the rascal can do, it’s pick his fancy women.’
His hand slid from her waist and he patted her bottom.
Her reaction was instinctive. She swung her arm and lifted her hand to slap him. She didn’t have the chance. Without batting an eyelid he caught her wrist.
‘Steady on, sweetheart. You have a nasty little temper.’
‘And you have no right to insult me in this way, you vile brute,’ she hissed. ‘I am not Lord McRae’s fancy woman, as you so elegantly put it, I’m his wife!’
She had expected at least a shocked response or a groveling apology but he merely smiled.
‘It’s all right, gràidheag, you don’t have to pretend.’
‘Pretend you’re married to the man. I don’t care if you’re McRae’s mistress or his laundry maid, if you scrub his back or his dirty shirts.’
‘I am telling the truth, you stubborn macaque,’ she shouted in frustration. ‘I married Lord McRae in Algiers four weeks ago.’
‘Please don’t scream quite so loud. I heard you the first time. I just don’t believe you.’
‘First you introduce yourself as Rose Saintclair, now you’re spinning me a tale about being married McRae. Make up your mind, sweetie.’
He glanced at her hand. ‘I don’t see any wedding band on your finger.’
‘That’s because Cameron wanted to keep the wedding a secret. Never mind, I don’t have to explain anything to you. Now let go of me.’
She wriggled to break free, but he was still holding her wrist, leaving her no choice but to kick him hard in the shin with the tip of her boot – the very pointy tip of the fashionable new boots she had made in Algiers.
‘Ouch. Steady on, sweetheart.’
‘Let go of me, you deranged baboon! And stop calling me sweetheart.’
She kicked him again, harder. He muttered something in a strange, guttural language she didn’t understand and let go of her so suddenly she staggered backward and fell on her bottom on the hard, wet cobbles.
Her breath caught in her throat, her heart beat hard, erratic. Tears blurred her vision as people sneered and clapped around her. She knew McRaes and McGunns were enemies, but she had nothing to do with their feud, so why did everybody here seem to hate her so much? And why was the big hairy brute intent on humiliating her and not believing a word she said?
He stepped closer and offered his hand.
‘Come on, now, sweetheart. Let’s start again. I think we got off on the wrong foot.’
He sounded contrite but she wasn’t ready to forgive to forgive him. Ignoring his hand, she scrambled to her feet, and straightened her back. Attack was the best defence, her brother often said, and Lucas knew what he was talking about. He was the best scout in the whole of the Barbary States – or Algeria as the French now called her country.
‘Take me to your master immediately,’ she started in a voice as cold and steady she could manage, ‘so I can ask him to have you whipped for your insolence.’
There was a collective gasp from the people around them. Not looking in the least impressed, the man crossed his arms on his broad chest and arched his eyebrows.
She took another deep breath.
‘That’s what I do to disrespectful servants on my estate, and I can assure you they stop smirking after five lashes.’ That was an outrageous lie, of course, but no one here was to know.
‘If what you said earlier is true, then I see McRae chose his bride well.’ The man’s eyes were now hard as steel. ‘You and he are indeed a match made in heaven, or in hell. I’m sure you’ll be very happy together.’ He paused. ‘I’m sorry to disappoint you, sweetheart, but I don’t approve of whipping people, or beasts, for that matter.’
‘And I don’t care a fig if you approve or not. It is for your master to decide your punishment, and from what I’ve heard of Lord McGunn, he is neither a patient nor compassionate man.’
He arched his eyebrows. ‘I didn’t know I had such a bad reputation.’
Rose’s heart stopped. He wasn’t… he couldn’t be…
‘I realise I failed to introduce myself. I am Bruce McGunn.’ He bowed his head in a military salute.
‘You are?’ The words came out as a squeak.
His lips stretched into a tight smile that didn’t warm his eyes.
‘At your service, my lady. Now the introductions are over, shall we make our way to the Lodge?’
Marie offers an ecopy (pdf, mobi or epub) of The Dream Catcher to one person who leaves a comment on this blog.
The second book in the Dancing With The Devil trilogy, Blue Bonnets, is also available now.
SNIPPETS FROM 5-Star Review
“This is an arresting and original story, full of suspense, well-researched, with great descriptions of the Scottish setting and a wonderfully likeable heroine.”
“From the very first sentence I was hooked.”
Sword Dance will be available in March, 2016
Originally from Lyon in France, Marie has lived in the beautiful Rossendale Valley, Lancashire, England, for the past few years and likes nothing more than dreaming up romance stories and handsome, brooding heroes. She writes historical and contemporary romance. Her contemporary romance A SPELL IN PROVENCE, as well as her historical romances, ANGEL HEART, together with the award-winning THE LION’S EMBRACE, and the DANCING FOR THE DEVIL Trilogy (which includes THE DREAM CATCHER, BLUE BONNETS and SWORD DANCE) are all published by Áccent Press.
You can find out more about Marie Laval and her novels on her Amazon UK Author Page.
She also blogs at http://marielaval.blogspot.co.uk/ and has recently venture on Pinterest where she loves finding photos for every one of her novels (https://uk.pinterest.com/laval0232/)
and lastly on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/marielavalauthor/?fref=ts
Tally Rosella, acclaimed child psychiatrist, avoids adults because their brains rant at her. When she begins a child study to connect her findings to PTSD, devious colleagues at a California university block her progress.
Army Major Cole Messer won’t admit trauma destroyed his marriage and ability to lead. His priorities: enroll his highly anxious son in Tally’s study and return to active duty.
Someone is dead set against Tally’s presence at the university, and blowback from her battles put Cole and his boy in jeopardy. Watch what happens when people struggling with shades of anxiety collide with corrupt, revengeful foes.
NOTE: This title is free August 11 and August 12. Save the link.
“California. Recycle capital of the world,” Tally muttered as she hauled two big plastic bags across the parking lot to the garbage cans. “And I have to walk from my apartment to China to dump mine.”
At the beginning of the tricky business of lifting the container lid and hoisting one heavy bag into it, she heard, “Wait! I’ll help,” from behind her.
Startled, she let the lid drop with a bang. Owen Harper. Damn his hide. Was he watching from his kitchen window to catch me out here? Now she was cornered behind high walls, at dusk, with a mean-headed man. Tally pulled in air for courage, inhaling fetid odors instead.
Harper reached for her garbage bag, resting his hand on hers for a couple seconds before he pulled the plastic from her grip and dumped the bag. She barely had time to compose herself before she faced him and said, “Thank you.” After her minor victory with her new assistant, cutting off the corners of the woman’s bitterness, why not try it with Harper?
She handed him the second bag. “How are you doing, neighbor?” Tally avoided his eyes by checking her hands for dirt and dusting off her black pants. Does he hear fear wobbling my words?
“Fine, Tally. Saw you struggling with a heavy load. Thought you could use some help.”
“Rescue number two,” she said, holding up two fingers. “Nice of you.” Neighborly chit-chat next. “Is SLO home for you? Do you have family nearby?”
“A half sister is all. Sad to say we’re not close.” His neutral expression implied he wasn’t sorry.
With a glance at her watch, Tally tried one more entrée. “Charles tells me you’re busy all day doing interviews.”
He shrugged. “At this stage of the study, I’m usually in my car or in a VA hospital.” When she winced, he gave a wry smile. “Somebody’s got to do the follow-ups.”
“Right,” she said, unable to think of another response and feeling too isolated from buildings and people. Tally shivered, rubbed her arms and took two steps toward the opening of the corral. Harper moved as if to block her exit.
What could she do but look up into his eyes? Was he teasing her? Hoping to say more? Wanting to ask her out? Ready to attack her? God knew.
His brain screamed: Die Bitch. Die Now Bitch! Loud. Clear. With knife-sharp consonants.
“Oh,” Tally said, horrified. “Forgot. I’m the test audience for Andy’s bird show-and-tell. Better go.”
Harper turned, squinting in the direction of Cole’s apartment. Was he checking for a light to prove she was telling the truth? While he was diverted, she pushed her way around him and scurried toward the complex. “Hey, wait,” he said. “I’ll walk you back.”
“That’s okay. Thanks for the help. I’m late.”
She wanted to run from him after what she’d seen in his eyes, but she walked. Briskly. She walked because she’d learned something very important about Owen Harper. He got off on scaring her. He’d misinterpreted her downcast eyes as a submissive gesture. Damn it, avoiding his gaze had sent the wrong message.
Instead of tamping down Harper’s rant, she’d just hiked it up to a new level. Not only did he want her to die, but inadvertently, she’d cranked up his rage to the point he wanted her to die now.
Scandinavian, Army Brat, English Teacher, High School Principal, Golfer, Boater, World Traveler, Author. She delights in creating imperfect characters faced with extraordinary, transforming challenges. Her hope: You’ll devour her ‘makeover’ suspense novels in the wee hours of the morning, because her stories, settings and characters capture your imagination and your heart.
OTHER TITLES of Award-winning Suspense Spiked with Romance
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Eva, a minor goddess of the Venus variety, descended from a distinguished line of matchmakers, operates a business called Someday My Prints Will Come, a virtual lost and found of mismatched prints for photo processors around the country. She uses the leftover space on the database to accomplish her primary mission as a modern-day matchmaker. While she successfully helps others find their soul mates, she has never been in love.
No matter how hard she tries, she can’t find the perfect woman for a particularly picky client—Noah Prince, the emissary for rich and powerful CEO Adam Prinsky of Prinsky Electronics. Noah holds the key to Eva’s past and he’s hoping to win her heart before he has to break it.
This paranormal/fantasy tells the tale of how the matchmaker, who also hopes that one day her prince will come, finds a match.
“Mr. Emissary, just for the purposesof discussion, if ever we became lovers—that is to say, if I were yours and you were mine, and I held your heart—would you honestly want me to seek variety, as you call it, with other men?”
He hadn’t considered that. It was a trick question, and he thought the best course was to answer it with silence.
“That’s what I thought. I’ve heard it told that fidelity can be quite a turn-on. In my opinion, it is a virtue. You should keep that in mind.”
She had cleared away the plates, and they were sitting on a very roomy and comfortable couch in front of a roaring fire, looking out the window at the waves crashing, drinking wine that tasted like the nectar of the gods out of crystal goblets, and munching on delicate slices of those *almond cookies Eva was always baking.
“What do you put in these things?” he asked. He thought it was very definitely some kind of a love potion, because he was feeling more amorous by the moment.
“Calm down. I told you before, they’re just cookies.” She paused, drew a breath, and continued. “I’ve been thinking, and after some consideration, I’ve decided to let you instruct me in the ways of seduction.”
He choked on his wine and had to put the goblet down. He was speechless. The things that came out of her mouth were a constant surprise.
“I’m beginning to like the sound of this,” he said eagerly, moving closer to her. “It’s not every day a man gets to initiate a goddess. I imagine there would be a lot of pent-up demand, over the centuries.”
“I’m talking about love, Mr. Emissary, not sex.”
*The book contains two recipes for Eva’s special almond cookies.
Marilyn is a corporate public relations consultant in Atlanta. She’s a member of Romance Writers of America and Georgia Romance Writers, and winner or finalist in writing awards in single title, suspense romance, novel with strong romantic elements and paranormal romance.
Marilyn writes in a variety of genres, including: Humorous coming-of-middle age women’s fiction psychic suspense, historical romantic thrillers and humorous paranormal short stories. A native of Miami, Florida, Marilyn now lives in Roswell, Georgia.
Blog Marilyn blogs with Savvy Authors on the 22nd of every month