Tag Archives: Class Act Books

Guest Release Promotion—It’s In The Blood by Juanita Aydlette



Never stare at a shirtless hunk with green eyes. Gabrielle Madsen is drawn in by such a pair of eyes that captures her soul and leaves her a prisoner of an addictive kind of love–not that she’s complaining. But her educational trip turns out to be more than just a fun-filled summer escapade.

She’s faced with a life-changing decision that could affect the world around her. Her discovery of this ancient, legend-come-to-life proves to be deadly, but her heart can’t break away. She and Josh Van Ness fall in love and must battle the forces that want to keep them apart.


Class Act Books

Amazon ebook



Away from the open menagerie was a path surrounded by dense trees. It was across a narrow decorative bridge built into the landscape. The thick greenery provided a shady side to the open garden. A spotlight created by the sun beckoned to me from inside and I walked away from the others. My eyes were fixed on the pink and red groundcover that glimmered with a hypnotic seduction. I ventured toward the fragrant breeze, unaware of how far I had strayed.

After only a few yards inside the cover of the trees, my body was seized again by a rumble and a frightening snarl. A chill blanketed me and I couldn’t move. I didn’t dare look around, for the back of my blouse had already been saturated by the heated moisture from the breath of the beast. My first instinct was to scream, but fear had stolen my voice. So I took a deep breath and held it. The scent of horror filled my lungs. It was familiar. Was I being stalked by the animal that lurked outside my hotel grounds?

Help me please, rang inside my head. My eyes squeezed shut as its sharp fangs pinched my shoulder. Tears filled my eyes and my hands formed a fist. I waited to feel my bones snap when suddenly, it let go. The leaves crunched. The sound grew fainter by the second, then nothing. My eyes remained closed as I trembled and listened.

“Miss?” A woman’s voice severed my nightmare. “I saw you come out here. We’re getting ready to go to another area. You don’t want to be left behind.”

Without hesitation I ran past her, clutching my throat and sobbing. The other tourists were boarding the van and I made my way to the back. The woman I believed saved me from certain death, came and sat beside me.

“Hi. My name is Kara. Are you okay?” She placed her hand on my shoulder.

“Did you see anything?” I searched her eyes for a confirmation. “An animal? It was behind me.”

“I’m sorry, I didn’t see anything,” she said and smiled.

“Was it a spider?” the little lady with the blinding yellow blouse asked.

“No. Never mind, Kara. I guess I’m just tired. Thank you for checking on me.”

“You’re welcome, you take care.” She quickly returned to her seat.

My body trembled as the bus came to stop. I ran from the tourist center to the hotel. Once inside the bathroom, I stripped and examined my shoulder. A painful bruise was both in front and in back. I cried out loud, shook convulsively, and then laughed hysterically. Was I going mad?


Juanita Aydlette is from Shreveport, Louisiana, and now lives in Texas.  She’s the only girl in a family of four brothers. She love music, planting flowers and is a dog lover…that’s why she works at an animal clinic.




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Twitter: @Juanita Aydlette

Guest Release Promotion—Dragon: The Tower of Tamerlane by James Austin McCormick



A reluctant solo agent, Sillow is called upon to undertake his first mission, investigate the Tower, a high-tech prison complex along with the oligarch who runs it, a mysterious nobleman who calls himself Tamerlane.

All the while, something has been evolving, growing stronger inside the Tower, something intangible yet far more dangerous than Tamerlane ever could be, a being implacably opposed to all life in the galaxy…

…and only Sillow has any chance of stopping it.


Class Act Books


Amazon UK


Laser fire and shouts echoed as Sillow was thrown headlong into the cell.

“What are you?” a female voiced asked. “Some type of green midget?”

Sillow groaned and tried to get up. He settled for a slumped kneeling position.

“I’m a Sylvan,” he replied. He squinted into the shadows and saw a figure seated on the upper berth of a bunk. He could make out little apart from a muscular, yet shapely pair

of legs. “Who are you?”

The figure jumped down from the bunk. She was an Amazonian, strong and athletic with an impressive cleavage and long chestnut hair falling around her shoulders. She was

also extremely pretty despite the artificial eye and cheek implant. She stretched out a perfectly formed silver arm, extending her hand. “Titanya.”

Sillow’s eyes widened. “The Pirate Queen?”

The woman nodded.

The Sylvan took her cybernetic hand and let himself be hauled to his feet. He found himself head high to her magnificent chest.

“Sillow,” he replied, smiling at her breasts. “I’m from the Alliance.”

“Up here, short stuff,” the woman told him.

Slowly and very reluctantly, Sillow turned his attention upwards. He grinned. “Nice to meet you.”

Outside, cries and weapon fire continued to echo through the halls.

Titanya frowned. “Any idea what all that’s about?”

“Whole place is going crazy,” the Sylvan replied. “Something got into Tamerlane’s AI system.”

The woman took a couple of tentative steps toward the door. Screams echoed through the walls.

“Sounds like a warzone out there,” she remarked. “You sure the AI is causing all this?”

Sillow frowned. “You know, this is going to sound kind of crazy but…” he paused, running a hand over his pointed chin.

“What?” Titanya demanded.

“Well, it kind of looks like the one causing all this is Darius Drake. You heard of the guy?”

“Oh yeah,” the Earth woman answered. “We’ve met.”

“Well, somehow he’s put himself into the computer system.” Sillow gave an embarrassed shrug. “Sounds sort of off the wall I know.”

There was a sudden explosion and flames tore through the slits at the top of the door.

“Look out.” Sillow threw himself at Titanya, knocking her off balance and sending her tumbling to the floor. The Sylvan landed on top of her, head buried in her thick auburn

locks. A fireball tore past them, turning the bunks into cinder.

It was some moments before Sillow glanced up. He found himself looking at the stern, beautiful features of the Terran woman.

“You okay?” he asked. “Just so you know, that was me protecting you.”

“Just so you know,” Titanya replied, “under any other circumstances I’d have busted your jaw for that.”

Sillow grinned. “You mean saving your life?”

Titanya flung the little Sylvan back onto his feet. “Yeah, right. I can’t believe a pipsqueak like you got the drop on me.”


James Austin McCormick is a college lecturer from Manchester, England who considers writing pure escapism. After the publication of his first SF novel, Dragon, he realized he wanted to keep exploring the universe he’d created. So far he’s written two more Dragon books, Dragon: Smuggler Tales and the most recent, Dragon: The Tower of Tamerlane, and three stand-alones.



Class Act Books





Guest Release Promotion–The Story of a Peace-Loving Man By Toni V. Sweeney




Against the background of an interplanetary war comes the story of Allan McAllister and N’Sagar sh’en Singh.

He’s a Paxist, a believer in peace, forced by the United Terran Federation into military service to punish his treasonous kinsman. She’s the daughter of a Felidan pride chief, one of the enemy, but there’s no hatred in her heart for the lone Terran marooned on her planet.

Thrown together, then torn from each other by the aftermath of a war neither wanted, their love will be a tragedy and a triumph as a man sworn to walk the road of Peace is made to follow the dictates of War and suffer its consequences.

This is their story…


Class Act Books




Pardee had a package from Shelagh. Home-made cookies. He opened the little box, offering it to Allan. The smell of ginger and cane sugar wafted out. “Gingerbread raisin. Have one, Mal.”

“Why do you call me that?” Allan asked, selecting a large, thick wafer. He inhaled the spice’s sharp scent. It made his mouth water. Taking a bite, he spoke through the sweet mouthful. “My name’s Allan. I don’t use my middle name.”

“No, you’re Mal. Short for Malcolm, aye.” Jon picked his own cookie, ate it in two bites before going on. “But mal also means “bad” an’ you’re a bad boy, Allan Malcolm McAllister…just like I am. Whether you want t’ be or not.”

“What do you mean you’re bad? I don’t see anyone beating up on you. They may be a little deferential to you but at least you aren’t ostracized like I am.”

“Is that your way o’ askin’ about me background? For if ’tis, I’ll be tellin’ a sordid tale, boyo.” Pardee could turn the thickness of that Irish accent on and off at will, but it always became more pronounced when he got serious. He picked another cookie.

“I guess I am,” Allan replied. “I’ll admit I’m curious. You’ve become my friend, Jon, and I can’t help wondering why. Is it for the notoriety, or are you just a glutton for punishment? It certainly can’t be because of my winning personality.”

“Now that…” Pardee pointed at him with the second cookie, closing one eye in a weird little squint just short of a wink. “…is where you’re wrong. I’ll admit I felt sorry for you at first, but it didn’t take me long to see you an’ I are alike in a way, an’ if an’ when things get down to basics where’er we’re goin’, ’tis you I want guardin’ me back, Mal. Just as I’ll be guardin’ yours.”

That floored Allan. That this man who was almost a stranger would come right out and say he trusted him with his life and would be willing to protect him, too.

“In that case…you’d better tell me how you became a bad boy, Private Pardee. Give me the whole, sordid mess.”



Toni V. Sweeney has lived 30 years in the South, a score in the Middle West, and a decade on the Pacific Coast and now she’s trying for her second 30 on the Great Plains. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Fine Art and a diploma in Graphic Art and also produces book videos. Since the publication of her first novel in 1989, Toni divides her time between writing SF/Fantasy under her own name and romances under her pseudonym Icy Snow Blackstone. Her novels have garnered awards from The National Writers Association, Preditors & Editors, The Maryland Writers Association, and The Paranormal Romance Guild. In March, 2013, she became publicity manager for Class Act Books. She is also on the review staff of the New York Journal of Books and the Paranormal Romance Guild.  Recently she was named a professional reader by netgalley.com.



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Twitter: @ToniVSweeney

Guest Author Interview—Jeremy Higley

Tell us a bit about you and your background.

I was born in California, raised in Alabama, I earned my bachelor’s in Virginia, lived and served in Colorado, and now I live in Arizona. I’m an avid consumer of text, video, and apples. I love writing, teaching, and making people smile.

What’s the logline that describes your writing?

A vague prophecy, an ancient war between immortal wizards, and in the middle of it all, a young apprentice named Skel just wants to save his infant brother from a dream cult more powerful than magic itself.

What are your hobbies away from the computer?

It’s scary, actually, just how much of my life involves my computer. Work, school, and play are all digitally entangled in some way or another. The biggest thing I do away from the cyber-void is talk to random people I meet in public. In the line at the grocery store, on the curb as I walk down the street… anywhere, really. The world is full of amazing stories hidden in plain sight.

Do you start a new story with the plot or characters first?

I start with the milieu. The geography, the chronology, the theology, the magic systems… not until I’ve fleshed out the world a bit do I feel comfortable filling it with characters and designing good stories for them to be a part of.

Is your writing style planned or freestyle?

I plan more than Ray Bradbury, less than J.K. Rowling. My planning functions as a really basic sketch, but then I follow the characters as they fill out the details in their own way. I build the world, and then they explore it.

If you use music while writing, name your favorite types.

For action scenes I’ll often pull out tracks from Star Wars movies, or anything similarly epic that can pull me in and help me keep my pacing. For everything else I’m usually listening to EDM, especially Lindsey Stirling.

What is the starting point for research—story concept or when you get stuck while writing?

Neither, really. I’m more likely to just start over again if I get stuck. Research is something I do when questions come up. I make a lot of notes during the world-building process, and sometimes that requires some research, but more often the original idea for something comes from research I remember doing a long time ago.

Have you traveled to any locations that appear in your books?

The Eltar plains are loosely based on the African savannah, which I have never visited. The Blood Mountains are based on the Appalachians more than anything, and I have been there. The Mirror Desert was actually inspired by a picture I drew when I was a Boy Scout of a reflective desert under a sunset. Irontree Mountain is meant as an echo of the Old Forest in Lord of the Rings, a place many of us have been in spirit. Personally, I’d much sooner brave the Old Forest than go anywhere near Irontree Mountain, as you’ll understand when you get to the end of the book.

Can you share a tip about what you do when you get stuck in creating a story?

It’s very true that I often start over. If it’s the chapter that’s giving me trouble, I start the chapter over and use a different character’s perspective. I’ve done that three times in a row before. Whatever it takes to get the story across in the best way possible. I completely restarted Son of Dark after the first two years of working on it, and it ended up being a much better novel as a result. Sometimes I wish I’d started it over again before publishing, as it would have given me more time with it. Couldn’t have hurt, but I’m really enjoying having it published and working on the sequel.

What was your biggest surprise in the editing/revision process?

How fast everything goes! It felt like saying my goodbyes to a good friend while waiting for his plane to leave. I’m a bit of a perfectionist, and it hurt to let go of a project I spent three years of my life on. I expect it will get easier as I write more novels, but a part of me kind of hopes it won’t.

Describe a normal writing day (or period, if you have other employment obligations).

I hardly ever write for longer than an hour or two. Because of other obligations, especially grad school, I snag time for writing in the evening before bed, and some writing sessions only last a half hour. I have a group of writing friends who will sit and write with me on their own projects for a couple hours each week, and lately this has been a huge help.

What’s your dream vacation destination?

Egypt. I would love to visit Egypt and see all the sights. Especially the pyramids.

In what genre do you read?

Classic literature, such as Shakespeare, Dickens, Twain, and Hawthorne. Science fiction, such as Ray Bradbury, H.G. Wells, Isaac Asimov, Jules Verne, and Orson Scott Card. My tastes for fantasy include such authors as Brandon Sanderson, Brandon Mull, Madeleine L’engle, Sean Flanagan, Patricia C. Wrede, T. S. Eliot, and Tolkein. Also, huge Bill Watterson fan.

What resources do you use for picking character names?

I develop a feel for each culture by coming up with a bunch of names that involve similar constructions and patterns, then choose from the list the names that will fall easiest on modern ears and don’t sound too similar to each other. As such, most of the names I come up with come straight out of my head, but I’ll fiddle with them a bit until they sound right. If that doesn’t work, I’ll look up obscure names to borrow. Orihah, for example. I got his name from a seldom-referenced genealogy list toward the end of the Book of Mormon.

What do you hope readers gain from your stories?

Most of all I hope they have a fun time. I can’t ask for much more. If there’s one moral I’d like them to pick up from this first book, it’s that suicide is never an answer. A second one might well be that you can find friends almost anywhere. Also, the darkness in the world is often not as strong as it seems, so long as you’re willing to stand up to it and not let it grow in your home or in your heart.



A thousand years ago, the wizards of the Nynsa were tricked. They failed to follow the prophecy of the Darksome Thorn, and now the greatest evil of their time has survived into the next age. They will do anything the fix their mistake.

The Darksome Thorn, meanwhile, has revealed a new prophecy, and the very evil they failed to kill is working to use that prophecy to his advantage.

Forces of evil run rampant in the land of Duskain. Ancient powers are stirring. A greater darkness is imminent…

…and Skel, the foster son of an elephant herder, finds himself caught in the middle of everything…




For more information on Jeremy, visit his webpage

Guest Release Promotion—Four By Moonlight by Linda Nightingale


An anthology of love in the moonlight…in the paranormal universe.

“Gypsy Ribbons” – A moonlight ride on the moors and meeting a notorious highwayman will forever change Lady Virginia Darby’s life.

“Star Angel” – Lucy was stuck in a rut and in an Idaho potato patch. She’d seen him in the corner of her eye—a fleeting glimpse of beauty—now he stood before her in the flesh.

“The Night Before Doomsday” – All his brothers had succumbed to lust, but Azazel resisted temptation until the wrong woman came along.

“The Gate Keeper’s Cottage” – Newlywed Meggie Richelieu’s mysterious, phantom lover may be more than anyone, except the plantation housekeeper, suspects.

AboutStar Angel”

At its very basis, “Star Angel” is about soul mates coming together across a great distance for a universal purpose.  Soul mates, are we thinking of them in the wrong way?  There are three types of soul mates.

First, there is the romantic kind, and we’re not necessarily meant to be together forever, but these soul mates have powerful lessons to teach each other.  They help you navigate from point-to-point, insuring that you learn your lessons on the way.  They may not stay your life long

The second is the soul mate most people think of when you say the word.  They are the ones who allow you to be your true self, feeling comfortable with yourself as you may not have done for many years.

The third is the platonic kind, the friend you are really connected to, you tell all your secrets, but there is no romance involved.

Not just anyone can fulfill you like your soul mate can. Your soul mate is your heart’s other half and a life partner. Your soul mate makes you feel entirely whole, healed and intact. On the other hand, a life partner may be a wonderful supporter and long-time companion, but his/her ability to enrich your spirit may be limited.

Lucy discovers, but her unnamed hero has always known, that they are split-aparts. He is the other half of her soul. She is the missing half of his. In Florida, I had a friend who was very into new age, and she led me into an exploration of soul mates.

Why does everyone not have his/her soul mate, or split-apart?  Because we may give in to the innate fear of being alone and settle for a life partner relationship instead of waiting and hoping. Some relationships must last a certain time to complete a karmic chapter of life, while in others we’re meant to have children with our partner but not necessarily remain with them.

I’m quite certain that once I met my soul mate, but like Tory and Simon, the highwayman, in “Gypsy Ribbons,” it was too late.  He was already married as Tory was in the short story.

Do you believe in soul mates?


Class Act Books


EXCERPT from “Star Angel”:

“I’ve seen you before.” In astonishment, Lucy stared at the most beautiful man she’d ever seen, not brave enough to blink or draw breath for fear he’d disappear. “A flash in the corner of my eye.”

Each time she saw him, she was left sad, lonely, and longing for more than a glimpse. Her throat tightened on unshed tears. She could only gaze at him in mute admiration…and the pain of yearning for something she could never have. With his long, pale hair and chiseled face, he looked an angel. Why in the world would an angel bother with Lucy Spears, stuck here in the middle of an Idaho potato patch, stuck in a rut?

“Are you an angel?” Her hand flew to her mouth, but the thought had escaped in words, no longer recapturable.

God, she didn’t want to scare him away. Lucy, that’s assuming angels can be frightened.

He didn’t answer, but looked at her as if he thought she might fade from sight. In the dark of the moon, before he appeared, the room had been pitch-black. A suffused glow, a faint aura of light, outlined him. His eyes were colorless. No, their faceted depths refracted a myriad of colors, like those crystal wine glasses at Macy’s, the ones she’d wanted for a wedding present and didn’t get. His skin had the translucent quality of fine porcelain.

“You’re so beautiful.” She tensed, hadn’t meant to say that either. If she didn’t curb her tongue, he’d vanish.

“As are you to my eyes, Lucretia.” He halted between each word, his voice raspy as if he were just learning to speak.

When he bowed like a hero in the novels she devoured along with bars of chocolate, silky hair brushed the floor. Lucy’s romantic heart skittered, and feelings she’d thought dead stirred.

He straightened, shook back his hair, a faint smile teasing his lips. Like he doesn’t really know how to smile. Smiling or not, his sensual mouth begged for kisses. Excitement shivered over her. A delicious throbbing awoke deep inside. Desire had been a stranger for so long, the sensations shocked her. She sat straighter in bed, tugging the covers to her waist. The damned old flannel gown would cover the rest. Oh to be wearing a sexy negligee. Yeah right.

The next instant, Lucy’s heart soared. She felt light as the wind rustling the tree outside her window. Her body resonated to the new tune her soul was singing. Wanting to see him and memorize every detail, she rose and walked past him to flip on the lights. She sensed his steady regard, but simply could not meet his eyes…yet. She turned. At the sight of him, her heart clenched in wonder. What would he think of the washed out tan walls and the old wedding ring quilt on the bed? She was uncomfortable about the dust on the furniture and regretted not cleaning on Saturday.

Irresistibly drawn to him, Lucy slowly approached the stranger who seemed more like a friend. A foot away, she ran out of courage and coasted to a halt, took a deep breath, and gazed into his crystal eyes. At five-six, she was a head shorter than her mysterious visitor.

She didn’t see him move, but his long fingers cupped her chin. Only that small caress and she tingled as if he’d embraced her. His voice no longer hesitant, he whispered four strange words, as it should be, in her thoughts. Shocked and wary, her gaze darted to his crystalline eyes. Could he read her thoughts? That would be terrible. All of her feelings were tangled around sex and this magnificent stranger. She’d die of embarrassment. His fingers on her skin were warm, the touch feather soft. Tremors of anticipation rippled over her. His odd, but beautiful gaze shifted to her lips. She tensed, hoping for more…much more.


Linda Nightingale is a native-born South Carolinian who has lived in England and Canada, and now resides in Texas.

She is a winner of the 2013 Georgia Romance writers Magnolia Award, as well as Best Mainstream Novel from Preditors & Editors Readers Poll in 2015.

Four by Moonlight is her first novel for Class Act Books.






Twitter: @LNightingale

Guest Release Promotion—Dark City by Kenneth Gordon



Jeremiah Xidorn is taken from the world he thinks he knows into a one of decision when he discovers the truth behind the company he works for.  Artificial Intelligence has progressed farther than Man expects. Now they want to go even further…and replace Man altogether.


Class Act Books


Amazon UK



“I’ve been promoted. I am now in my boss’ position.” Joe flailed his arms with glee.

“That’s great. Congratulations!” they all said in unison.

“Where’s Joe?”

“I don’t know. He just left. An appointment I guess,” Sarah responded.

“The ’droids are settin’ things up, so I’ll stay out of their hair for a bit.” Jeremiah spun around as if to show off to his friends. . Something was off, but he couldn’t pin it down. Joe had disappeared, and no one seemed to know where he went.

“I’ll find him,” he told himself and bolted for his new office.

The androids had done their work quicker than expected, and Jeremiah’s office was quiet when he got there. He had to use the scanner to get in. Immediately, he was taken aback. On his desk were pictures of his family that he didn’t put there. Setting that thought aside for the moment, he jacked into the phone system and sent the sequence to dial.

He called Joe’s office. No answer. A moment later, he called the central office to see if Joe could be located.

The automated attendant replied, “We are sorry, that person is no longer employed at this company.”

A sense of panic raised the hair on the back of his neck. Immediately, he ran with every ounce of strength to his friend’s office. It was empty. No trace that Joe worked there or had ever worked there was found. It was swept clean.

“Maybe I went to the wrong place,” he thought. “All these offices look the same.”

To his own chagrin, he knew too well the location of his friend’s office. The paranoia built to a steady state when, upon finding his other compatriots, they had no knowledge

that Joe had ever been part of their group. Jeremiah’s heart sank. He even checked the payroll office and no trace of his friend could be found.

“I think I’ll go home. I’m not feeling well,” he said out loud.

The security desk saw him approach. “We’re sorry you aren’t feeling well. Go home.”

Even in his emotional state, he couldn’t detect any emotion coming from the people behind the desk. It was as if they had been replaced by replicants. “Yeah, thanks. I will.”

Jeremiah made his way to a CAB, slid in and told it where to go. He was going over to Joe’s house. The place where he lived was no longer a single family dwelling, but a high rise multi-unit condo style building. There was no trace that Joe ever existed.

Jeremiah checked the street sign to make sure the CAB didn’t take him to the wrong place.

There was no mistake. Joe had been intentionally erased.

Kenneth Gordon-1024

Kenneth Gordon grew up in Milford, NH and still lives in that state. When he isn’t writing scifi-infused horror novels, he plays PC games, electric and acoustic guitars, and drums. He also holds a brown belt in Kung Fu.





Class Act Books

Guest Promotion–Love Is Silent By Icy Snow Blackstone



David Woods, 27th Baron Mayfield, has been deaf since the age of five. Now approaching his majority, he faces a competency hearing filed by a greedy cousin wanting his inheritance.

His sister hires Anna Leighton, a teacher of the deaf, to instruct him in sign language so he can testify in his own behalf. Unfortunately, the things David wants to learn from Anna aren’t on the usual curriculum.

Even worse, Anna finds herself responding to his undisciplined advances. Is she betraying the trust of a naïve student placed in her care, or is David more knowledgeable than even his sister suspects?


Class Act Books



“David, come in,” His sister didn’t appear to notice. She raised a hand, beckoning. “Let me introduce you to our guest.”

His Lordship’s eyes widened. His head whipped around immediately, looking from Anna to his sister. Dark brows scowled.

Standing, Eleanor took the little slate from the desk, scribbling a few words upon it and holding it out to him.

He glanced at the slate, then back to Anna, and the scowl deepened. A hand went to his riding pocket, bringing out a small rectangle similar to Lady Eleanor’s. A chalk pencil was attached and he pulled it loose, writing a couple of words and turning it so his sister could see.

Anna saw also.

Guest…not maid?

He thinks I’m a servant? Anger sputtered then died. I am, aren’t I? In a way.

Shaking her head, Lady Eleanor proceeded to write more. “She’s here to teach you the deaf language.”

On the slate Anna could see the words, teach you…deaf language…

Something she could only call fury flashed across his face. His lips tightened, pursing into a pout. He shook his head, glanced at Anna again and repeated the movement even more violently, making curling strands of hair escapes from its club. One hand shook in a decidedly negative gesture, then clenched into a fist.

“There’ll be none of that. She’s here and that’s all there is to it.” Lady Eleanor wrote on the slate, held it up.

He read what was there and… the fist relaxed. Biting his lip, Lord Mayfield forced away his anger with a visible effort. He wrote a single word.


Miss Anna Layton. Lady Eleanor turned to Anna. “I’m spelling your last name as it sounds. He hasn’t been able to grasp the gh concept in spelling.”

Anna smiled. “I understand. English can be a very difficult language even for those of us with hearing.”

Nodding, Her Ladyship added another word. Manners.

His Lordship reacted to that by turning to Anna so quickly she nearly jumped. Bowing deeply so his hair fell over his face, he straightened to look her directly in the eye.

“Your Lordship.” She bobbed a curtsey and held out her hand.

He stared at it in a way making it appear he’d never seen a female hand encased in a white kid glove before. Replacing the slate into his pocket, he stepped toward Anna, took her hand in his own and bowed over it.

Briefly, the scent of horse, dust, and leather was almost overpowering. Anna’s nose crinkled. She took a deep breath and held it, fearing she was about to sneeze. He raised his head, eyes meeting hers. At her inhalation, mischief danced in them. The corners of his mouth twitched as if he found her distress amusing.

Releasing her hand, he stepped back. Lord David smiled, writing a final message to his sister. Go now…See you…dinner…

“You’re excused, David.” She wrote rapidly on her own slate. “Dress for dinner tonight.”

That brought another scowl, much as his reaction to the announcement of Anna’s identity, as well a shake of his shaggy head.

“We have a guest.” Lady’s Eleanor’s voice was adamant though he couldn’t hear. Anna imagined her handwriting was just as firm. “Dress for dinner….shave.”

He stared from her to the slate. One hand brushed against his jaw. There was a single jerk of a nod and an equally stiff bow. He spun on his heel and stamped out.

“I apologize for my brother’s behavior,” Lady Eleanor said quietly. “I’ve spoiled him, as you can see, and he doesn’t like not getting his own way. I’m afraid he doesn’t want a teacher.”

“I assure you I’ve had more reluctant pupils,” Anna assured her. He didn’t want to dress for dinner, either. “That little show of temper…”

“I’m afraid that wasn’t a show of temper, Miss Leighton—”

Through the still-opened doors came a loud crash and a liquid splashing, then the sound of someone running up the stairs.

“—that was.” Lady Eleanor showed no other reaction, except to say, “Drat. I particularly liked that vase. I thought it went perfectly with the décor in the foyer.”


This past December, Toni V. Sweeney celebrated her 73 birthday. This month, she’s celebrating the release of her 70th novel.

Toni V. Sweeney has lived 30 years in the South, a score in the Middle West, and a decade on the Pacific Coast and now she’s trying for her second 30 on the Great Plains. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Fine Art and a diploma in Graphic Art and also produces book videos. Since the publication of her first novel in 1989, Toni divides her time between writing SF/Fantasy under her own name and romances under her pseudonym Icy Snow Blackstone.   In March, 2013, she became publicity manager for Class Act Books (US) and also Double Dragon Publishing (Canada). She is also on the review staff of the New York Journal of Books.


Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/tvsweeney

MySpace: https://myspace.com/tvsweeney

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/579429.Toni_V_Sweeney

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Toni-V.-Sweeney/e/B002BLQBB8/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1451677756&sr=1-2-ent

Twitter: @ToniVSweeney