Love Vanquishes All Book 2
1571. France is in stasis. The peace struck after the latest War of Religion between Catholics and Protestants (Huguenots) is fragile and desperately needs more support to sustain it. The monarchy proposes a royal wedding joining a Catholic princess to a Huguenot prince as the needed bulwark. Negotiations are set in motion. All is good. Or so it appears.
On another front, France has fallen far behind other European nations in its quest to expand its empire overseas. Expenditures from civil wars have sapped her coffers, her energy and have stunted her economic dreams.
Could another marriage remedy the problem by mixing religious unity with the possibility of increased commerce?
Enter Awa, the daughter of a visiting, Roman Catholic, Wolof diplomat from the elite ranks of the Jolof Kingdom in West Africa. She embodies the best of her land in her manner and in her education. She is dutiful, proud, and respectful of her family, but after living a portion of her formative years at the French court, she has become outspoken and a tad willful.
Enter Blaise, the nephew of the most powerful leader of the Huguenot faction in the country. An aristocrat. Learned. Traveled. Haunted. Ladies’ man. Rarely sees a sunrise, unless he is retiring at that hour. He abhors responsibility of any kind. And Roman Catholics.
Two persons of noble lineage. Strangers. Foes. Pawns. Allies? Lovers?
If Awa and Blaise can cease fighting long enough, could their marriage quell domestic unrest, bring riches and stability to France, but most importantly deliver true love to them before the realm implodes over religious matters again?
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Blaise yanked her closer and spoke through a clenched jaw. “I am not finished with you. I have much I need to say. Your father came to this court as an envoy from another land. I would have thought that you’d have remained untainted by the goings-on around you simply because you were not of this place. But having been in this court these past five years, you might as well have been born into it. You’ve been tainted. Greatly. You are steeped in the stew of the dominant religion. Despite the blood of your country pulsing in your veins and written on your skin, you have soaked up the airs of those kissers of the Pope’s ring! Your actions and words are no different. You, therefore, are all I expected. Simply wrapped in a different package. Selfish. Spoiled. Self-centered. Enough of this nonsense. The matter is closed.” Blaise pushed her away. “You will be my bride in four months. Willingly or unwillingly. I did not choose you! It matters not to me.” Rushing for the door, he hurled it wide and bellowed, “Nurse! Nurse! Come now!”
Finding her balance before gracing the floor again, Awa ranted, “Be that as it may, men like you always find a way to overcome reservations about women they find troublesome. I shall perform my duty in what will be a dismal union. But know that I do not want you and I shall never love you.”
Blaise turned toward her, his tone suddenly sugar-coated and calm. “Have you not heard, wife-to-be, that neither friendship, or love, is required in a marriage contract. You will be mine in every way. I shall honor my uncle’s mad wish to save our brethren. One last thing. I have no reservations to overcome about women of any kind. I have found comfort in women who have wanted me. And they have most enthusiastically found it in me. If you believe nothing else about me, believe this, Awa. I come by my reputation honestly. A comely woman is a comely woman.”
“Swine! I should scratch your eyes out.” Awa jumped at him but Ngoné appeared in time to hold her back by the waist. “I’d sooner drink poison than succumb to you.”
“Awa. Vixen that you are,” he could barely get his jibe out past his smirk. “You really should not speak to me in that manner. It is like throwing down a gauntlet or waving a red flag. It excites me. And you wouldn’t want to do that. In any case, I have much to teach you. Take your mouth for example. In addition to making slanderous comments, it was created for pleasure too.” He winked.
“Base dog!” Awa cried, escaping Ngoné’s hold to snatch a perfume vial from the dressing table.
“Base dog? You wish me to be a base dog? The beautiful thing is, I can be whatever you want. Only you and I shall know,” Blaise said, strutting out the door, slamming it behind him in time just as his betrothed christened it with the vial, and him with another epithet.
About the Author:
P. J. Dean has always loved making up stories for as long as she can recall. Fiction book writing was a no-brainer. Scribbling stories since childhood, she put away the thought of becoming a published writer as she got older and as life’s responsibilities beckoned. Work, ill family members and other distractions of lesser urgency stayed her dream. But through it all she never stopped writing. Writing was her escape. It kept her dream alive. After a job loss and after the family illnesses ended, she concentrated on writing with an aim to be published. She finally did, at first on her own, then through an early e-pub and now with Extasy Books. She thanks Extasy for picking her up. The medium-sized publisher has given her the freedom to create what she wants without pigeon-holing her into writing in a certain way, as many traditional Big Five publishers would have expected her to do if they would have even considered what she had to offer at all.
She writes historical and paranormal romances with diverse characters. Her interest in history coupled with a B.A in French Civilization helped her write her first book, a historical romance set in late 16th century France with the court of Charles IX as the backdrop. The need to see people of color in more romance books, written by people of color, led her to create her own paranormal romance series with an interracial duo and lots of different people. In addition to the aliens.
Her “Felig Chronicles” series, in particular its 4th book, Paradox, has received a 2014 SFR Galaxy Award for the “Best Unpredictable Sci-fi Romance”series.
She hails from the mid-Atlantic USA and enjoys the change of seasons there. Sometimes. When heavy thunderstorms or 45-inch snowstorms or 100-degree summers with matching humidity hit, she dreams of Bermuda. Otherwise, the rest works for her.
Thanks for doing an interview! Could you tell our readers a little bit about your writing journey? My journey began with reading. My mom read to me when I was a little kid every night until I was about six years old. Her action turned me into an avid reader which in turn made me want to write. I’d write things and then read them to her. I’ve been writing ever since then. The question was, “Was it any good?” Mom thought so and that was all that mattered. Books were a drug. I was fascinated by the way a person could gather their thoughts and assemble them on a page. So, I tried it and I liked it. My pursuit got sidetracked a lot as I got older. Work, life, etc. would pop up. But I persevered and made time for my passion no matter what. I was writing for pleasure and not for a living. I still don’t. Many times, writing was the only thing that helped smooth over life’s rough spots.
How many books do you currently have published? I’ve written seven. Five in my on-going science fiction romance series, Two in my stand-alone historical romance series.
What has been your favorite book to write so far? I’m torn between the historical romance stand-alone series I write, and the science fiction romance series I write. You’ve put me on the spot. I can’t pick a favorite. I like writing them both for different reasons. My science fiction romance series allows me to create what I want. The frontiers in science fiction romance are truly limitless. Anything goes. I can combine elements of the present and spin them into a possible future. Plus, for my pleasure, my heroine in the series is African-American. She carries the series along with her hero. I pray no panel of experts pops up to set up official rules for science fiction romance like they’ve for other subgenres. Not that I’d follow them anyway.
I like writing my historical romance series because I enjoy giving agency to characters in time periods from lands mainstream authors don’t tackle. I only pen black heroines in this subgenre because there is a dearth of black heroines in historicals. Oh, there are some wonderful writers who pen moving portraits. However, there are some who…don’t. I do deep research. I don’t just whip up any old inaccurate plot line for the sake of sticking a non-White face in the story. The heroine must have a back story. And for me, that back story must be rooted in real, not alternate, history. So, I can’t narrow it down to one book. I like them all my books for varied reasons. .
Are you currently working on a book? I’m making notes for the book 6 in my science fiction series and promoting the object of this post, DISSENT, book 2 in my historical series, LOVE VANQUISHES ALL.
What do you enjoy most about writing? I enjoy the freedom of creating what I want, how I want. As a hybrid author, I’ve been blessed with a traditional mid-sized publisher who rolls with my style. eXtasy Books never told me “No one will read a main character who is black and carries the story.” In fact, eXtasy was the sole publisher who took my sci-fi series back in 2011 without questioning my choice in a black heroine. I got questioned about that choice more times than I care to remember when I was shopping it around. I’ll continue to publish my sci-fi through them but have branched out into self-publishing with my historical series.
Do you ever get writer’s block? If so, how do you deal with it? I do get it. When I’m stuck, I’ll step away for a bit. Watch some shopping channels. Read an actual newspaper. Meditate. Then I come back to the manuscript feeling less tense and with fresh insight.
Have you ever had one of your characters to take a twist you weren’t expecting and surprise you? Yes. The character of Rozina, Kindred’s grandmother, from book 1 in my historical romance series. Rozina from KINDRED: AN AMERICAN LOVE STORY was not supposed to survive beyond the prologue. But she wrote herself into a bigger, more expanded role and she is in the entire book.
Which of your characters is your personal favorite? Least favorite? Why? You’re killing me here. I love certain traits about certain characters. My heroines are not weepy pushovers but they are not harpies either. All my heroes are Betas. I do not write Alphas heroes. I do not like them. I find nothing attractive about the monosyllabic, misogynistic, grunting specimens who now rule a lot of romances. But, I do love to write Alpha villains, be they male or female. I must say, I write a damned good Alpha villain/villainess except mine happen to be witty and chatty in addition to being vile.
So far, what has been your favorite scene to write? In all my books, there is a scene where the heroine/hero has a confrontation with the villain/villainess. These scenes are always both amusing and harrowing, and the villain regrets facing off with the heroine/hero no matter how the scene ends.
What lessons have you learned since becoming a writer? I’ve learned to stop listening to, and giving credence to, the experts and to people who have made it their life’s work to be unprofessional, or to remain stuck in a time warp, or to just be plain bitchy. Some folks are a combination of all three. Right out the gate, I knew that not everyone was going to like what I write. Nor do they have to. I just want one thing from reviewers/bloggers/readers: if they ever review any of my books, please have the review make sense. Also, as far as the romance writing business is concerned (and it is a business), I’ve learned it does not lead. It follows. It is not an innovator. It has no method of divination on what the next big thing is going to be. So, that means by the time the traditional side of the business decides it’s going to explore such-and-such because it sees such-and-such is selling in the indie world, such-and-such has been around a loooong time in the indie world. That’s why I loathe when a trend develops. It’s the death knell for whatever that fresh hook was that had readers excited.
Do you have any tips for new writers? Yep. Stop listening to others. Stop copying others. Develop your own style. Write what is aching to come out of YOUR soul; not what is on some best seller’s list. But if you feel the need to produce what’s trending…Be my guest. Most importantly, never give up. Never. No matter how many times someone tells you your book is crap, or too weird, or too out there, or not what the reading public is accustomed to. Or worse, that there is no audience for it. You might not know it (and the naysayers surely don’t either), but your book could be the one to quench someone’s long-unfulfilled hunt for something different.
If you were to recommend your books to a stranger, which book would you advise them to start with? Why? I say start with one of my historical romances as each book is a complete story, and because I’d like the reader to see more black women in past eras who were educated, and who were not just chattel.
Do you have any extras you’d like to share, like a teaser about an upcoming new release, a summary of a deleted scene, or a teaser about a surprising plot twist or character? Unfortunately, no.
Now it’s time to get to know you! What are some of your favorite books to read? I do read romances but I LOVE reading history books and reference books. Yeah, I’m geek-ish. I was mesmerized by The Kushiel’s Dart series by Jacqueline Cary. Her imagination is riveting.
What about television shows? Movies? Lucifer. Empire. Power. Shades of Blue, Poldark (past and present). Comet TV and public television. Scifi movies and historical movies are my catnip.
Is there a book that you have read that you feel has made a big impact on your life? Why? There have been a few: Anything by Octavia E. Butler, A Knight in Shining Armor by Jude Deveraux, that time-travel romance series by Suzanne Frank that starts with Reflections in the Nile. Her creation of Cheftu and Chloe. Sigh. They rival Claire and Jamie. In any case, that’s the next series Starz needs to do after Outlander. They all had the ability to take me elsewhere for a spell.
Can readers find you at any live events, such as book signings or conventions? No. Conventions are costly and not in my present budget. I’d like to go someday to observe the scene. Book signings can be bad if no one shows. I avoid them like the plague.
If you had to sum up your life as a writer in ten words, what would you say? “Thank you, Mom, for making me read, question and dream.”
Do you have anything else you’d like to share with readers? I love cats, organic gummy bears, animal crackers, black currant tea. And of course, writing.