Category Archives: Historical Romance Books

Historical Romance: Madame’s Double Life by Keegan Lace @KeeganLace


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madames double life

Genre: Historical Romance

Lady Victoria was born into high society and high standards in the the English country side. The dictates of Victorian society do not provide a good fit for a 17 year old free spirit. Lady Victoria is as wild as the lavender growing on the white cliffs of Dover. She is a dreamer when her life is thrown into turmoil with the arranged marriage to the much older Lord Hawthorne.

He is the Duke of Wellington, a womanizer looking for his next conquest. Lady Victoria is just the type of woman the Duke can love and leave.

Will Lady Victoria give in to the dashing Duke of Wellington and risk causing a scandal to her husband’s name? Or will the Duke of Wellington discover love for the first time.

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Excerpt:

Chapter One:

It was late morning and Victoria was deep in slumber beneath piles of linen sheets and goose down puffs. Heavy emerald velvet covered enormous windows to shield out the early spring sunshine. The sun was a tease at this time of year. Boots were beginning to dry from the winter rains and the lawn was ready to explode with fresh sprouts. The staff at the Markham Estate was busy preparing the equipment for spring sports. The moment before the bloom, the deluge reared its head again. This Saturday was a bonus day. A peak at the summer that all of Dover would welcome.

“Good morning my Lady. There you are love. Come. It is time to reveal yourself. Tea, before we prepare for repast with the man and your brother and sisters? Your Mother is half-way to London by now. She will be with her sister at Persimmon house. She is already preparing for June social season. Your father is about and out on horse. You will want to be ready upon his return.”

Lady Victoria was in her seventeenth year. She was hopeful. Her world was getting larger as time passed and she had dreams of finding love like all girls of her age. She was sandwiched between an older brother and two younger sisters. Peter was 19, his military plans delayed due to sickness. Elaine was the baby at 15 and Mary was 16 years of age. Her mother was quick to have her children but for unknown reasons she stopped producing after Elaine. It left The Countess with time on her hands at an early age.

Countess Tompkins travelled to London in the springtime to assist her sister. Lady Sterling was preparing Persimmon House for the social season beginning in June. Peter met an appropriate girl in London the year prior and the marriage between the two was to be officially finalized. They had shared a lengthy courtship. The Honorable Jane Marley was a worthy match for Peter. She was 18 years old and guaranteed a healthy virgin. Peter would eventually inherit the entire Markham Estate and Jane was well suited to fill it with children. Victoria noticed a change come over her cherished brother with the mention of Jane. A delicate love born of mutual respect had blossomed between them. It gave Victoria hope that a similar love would fill her world someday.

“Lady Victoria. I sense the daydream in which you are lost. Time does not allow for it at this moment. Rush, you father will be waiting.”

The Earl was a brutish sort to most who only briefly made his acquaintance. Victoria knew her father was a solitary man who loved his wife and children very much. He was actually a humorous gentleman, especially among his girls who were a constant source of amusement. He was like a cat in ways. Lady Victoria’s father retained a sense of mystery and aloofness, but when treated in distinct manner by those close to him he was embraceable.

“I will be ready Esther. I want to roam the grounds in comfort today. Presentable yes, but something which allows for free movement.”

Esther pulled out a light pink cotton dress with sky blue flowers and a velvet sash. It was high in the neck. She would go uncorseted. Her coltish figure did not require such impediments when not necessitated by custom. Victoria ran wild when allowed. With the Countess away in London and Father reading in his study, she would be free to do so. Esther had been with Lady Victoria since infancy. She was her maid, but so much more. Esther was a mother figure to Victoria, as her mother was busy with the younger girls. She shared and kept all of Victoria’s privacies as she bolted through adolescence into young womanhood. Esther knew that matters between Peter and Jane were to be finalized but she was also aware that Victoria’s betrothment was keen on her mother’s mind. There was certainly something at hand. Powerless, she hoped for the best.

Victoria emerged from the washroom ready to be dressed for the day. Her alabaster skin showed a natural peach glow. Her sapphire eyes showed a good night’s rest and a lack of years. She sat at the vanity to have her gossamer hair pulled back sensibly.

“My Lady, your golden locks look as though you have just emerged from a gale. I dare not imagine your dreams as you toss and turn so much. Your night cap is always discarded next to your bed by morning.” Esther tamed her hair with a pearl handled hairbrush.

“Esther. Please, gentle. My tender scalp.” Victoria fussed until Esther laid down the paddle. She stepped into her dress and fussed a bit more. A quick glance in the head to toe mirror tilted to welcome her presence and led to a nod. “Perfect as always Esther. I love you.”

Victoria ran down the long corridor, which led to the imposing mahogany staircase. Portraits of people who Victoria had never known frowned upon her through ornate frames. She vowed never to sit for such a depiction. What could cause such ominous scowls? She thought for a moment about slithering down the black bannister. It was something she did often as a young girl, but her 5’5” delicate frame was not suited for such folly.

“Good morning father.” Victoria gently bussed her father before taking her seat at the dining table. She sunk into the ivory upholstered chair, which had become accustomed to her form. Her place was designated between her two sisters who were first to arrive. Peter sat alone across the table and father took the head. Mother’s chair remained vacant due to her travels.

“Good Morning Victoria. You are late to arrive which has become the custom. Peter is about to lead prayer. You are just in time.”

Victoria smiled at young Elaine who was rarely at a loss for words. Elaine was at times a plaything to her older siblings but even Elaine herself knew it was heartfelt affection. She enjoyed the ribbing, as it gave her relevance among the Tompkins children.

“God bless all present and Dear Mother, may she be safe in her travels. Please make the food sustaining and palatable. Amen.”

“Clever Peter. You always have a way of getting to the significant part. Your brevity is appreciated, although the words are hardly prosaic.”

“Thank you Victoria.” Peter waited until Father and his sisters were served before he devoured his oysters and bacon.

“I am happy to see you all this morning. We have no callers today. With your Mother at Persimmon House, I thought it best we not receive today. I am certain you can all busy yourselves on a sunny day. I gave notice at the stables should any of you wish to ride the grounds. I may take a jaunt myself. I would like to have tea with you Victoria, in my study at half past three”

“Yes father. I plan to stroll the hop gardens but I will plan tea. I promise to be timely. I will alert Esther of my engagements.”

****

Victoria spent the day on the many acres gardens of the Markham Estate. It was her favorite spot, encircled with stonewalls covered in early spring hops. Azalea beds showed no bloom as of yet but they would burst in bright hues come summer. As Victoria walked, she dreamed of life beyond the Estate grounds. She welcomed what London would bring. The adventures ahead seemed endless. Victoria was unaware that the machinations of the Earl and Countess. As her parents they had already forged a path towards her future.

At 17 and the eldest of 3 girls it was dictated by society that a suitable mate be found for carefree Victoria. Peter was the male heir. He would inherit the title of Earl and everything that would entail including land and other assets. A man of means and title would care for Victoria. She would provide him with an ample flock of descendants. Dreams of ambling down the Champs Ellysees with a man whom she loved were to be just that – dreams. It was not an urgent reality. She remained blissful.

“Come along now Victoria. Your Father will look for you at half past. We must begin our journey back to the house. You have a time for a quick refresher before tea.”

“Always prompt Esther. We must arrange for a change of fragrance. I am tired of Lavender. It has become too youthful and common. I prefer something mature. Fetch me some samples as the week passes. More sophisticated and dare I say – alluring.”

Esther laughed, amused by the request.

****

“Hello Father. I am weary from the afternoon and ravenous.” Victoria fell onto the cushioned sofa.

“My dear Victoria, I need not ask you to make yourself comfortable.”

“If you expect formality you u have chosen the wrong Tompkins to join you to tea.” Victoria filled her mouth with smoked salmon on toast. It was rare to have tea alone with her Father in his study. It was a dark and comfortable room. To be invited to his inner sanctum was an honor. Books lined the shelves, which reached the ceiling. She imagined he had read them all, as he was not one for show in his private space.

“Victoria, we anticipate your mother’s arrival home by next week end. Any longer and I worry she will never find her way back to Dover. She gets lost in the excitement of London as the season approaches.”

“I shall welcome her of course. She will need time to recover before we should receive visitors. The staff will be alerted. Everything will be in place for her return to Markham. Is there anything specific I should arrange upon her return?” Victoria shifted as she expected to receive instructions.

“We will receive a caller the day following the Countesses return. He is a gentleman. He is Lord Hawthorne from the upper region of Kent. He has joined us for a hunt in years past here at the estate. He travels with his brother, Lord Damian. He is a widow and a pal from years ago. Victoria, he is a dear friend similar in years to me and a man of superior manners.”

“Yes father. I shall make plans for his arrival. Are overnight accommodations required?”

“Juliet and Samuel are preparing quarters for them. I will expect you to be dressed in your finest attire for receiving a guest of his high honor. Preparations have already begun for Lord Hawthorne’s arrival.”

Victoria became confused by the grandeur behind Lord Hawthorne’s visit. She awaited her Father’s explanation.

“My dear daughter, you are to be married to Lord Hawthorne.”

“Oh.” Ann was speechless and astonished by her father’s announcement. She was not planning to be promised to another before laying eyes upon him. Her dreams only hours past were unattainable musings. A man her father’s age was a sour joke. “No father.” Her face grew wet in reaction to the horrible news.

“Your mother and I have considered the matter carefully. It is to be Victoria. Lord Hawthorne can provide you with substantial wealth and a proper place in society. You are betrothed to Lord James Hawthorne. Go to your quarters and rest up before dinner. Allow time for the shock of the announcement to settle in.”

“I ask to be excused from dinner father. The day has proved too much.”

“Good day Victoria. I will see you when the sun rises on a new day. You know what is expected.”

****

Victoria returned to her room and collapsed on a chaise. She was devastated with a hyperventilating fit. Drops fell from her eyes. Esther came to console the sweet girl she helped bring into the world. She cradled Victoria’s head in her fleshy arms.

“Esther, I must tell you what my parents have done. They….” Victoria was cut off.

“I knew this was coming me dear. I was powerless.”

“Oh, Esther. You knew and you held it a secret? You are like me mum. How could you keep secrets? The whole world is against me.”

“I let you dream. I could not devastate you with the impeding arrangement.”

“I will not be happy. I will wish for the day I die.”

 


About Keegan Lace:

Keegan Lace was born and raised in North Carolina, currently residing in the Charlotte area. She has always loved books, especially romance novels and wished that everyone would find love, romance and happiness.

When she is not writing, reading, or being a wonderful mother to her children; she can be found enjoying some of her favorite hobbies: yard sales, house hunting and traveling.

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13+ Of The Best Historical Romance Books Of All Time


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The Best Historical Romance Books Of All Time

Please note, this list is going to be updated. Often. There are so many awesome historical romances out there that we had to add a +.  Make sure to leave your favorites in the comments below (and bookmark this page) as we will be adding on more to the best historical romance books of all time list!

As of right now, we are sharing some of the more recently published books, but we will be adding some older “bodice rippers” soon.  There are so many awesome historical romances that were published in the 80’s and 90’s, and we can’t wait to share these with you from our own personal reading lists! In the meantime though, step back in time with these intriguing reads.


RecklessWager_300x450Set against the backdrop of London’s dangerous East End in 1888, Victorian propriety and passions collide when a beautiful widow makes a wager with a wounded police detective bent on solving the Ripper mystery.

Unlucky in love and estranged from his family, Detective Sergeant Benjamin Quinn is obsessed with solving the Ripper crimes. When he’s suspended from the Metropolitan Police, it’s another failure in a long line of disappointments. But a new mystery arises when a beautiful widow shows up at the most infamous pub in Whitechapel seeking his help. He’s determined to assist Kate Guthrie, and equally determined to quell his growing attraction to her.

Kate Guthrie hides painful secrets from her first marriage and has avoided matrimony for nearly ten years. Now she’s finally decided it’s time to remarry and move on with her life, even if it means giving up the charity clinic work in Whitechapel that makes her days worthwhile. But when a battered young woman turns up at the clinic claiming to have been attacked by Jack the Ripper, Kate seeks out Detective Sergeant Benjamin Quinn, a man who sparks feelings in her too potent to deny.

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MoonstoneConspiracy_ByElizabethEllenCarter-453x680Revolution in France, rebels in England, and one woman caught in the crossfire…

For her unwitting participation in a plot to embezzle the Exchequer, Lady Abigail Houghall has spent the last two years exiled to the city of Bath. A card sharp, sometime mistress, and target of scandalous gossip by the London Beau Monde, Lady Abigail plots to escape her gilded cage as well as the prudish society that condemns her. But the times are not easy. France is in chaos. The king has been executed, and whispers of a similar revolution are stirring in England. And because of her participation in the robbery plot, the Spymaster of England is blackmailing her into passing him information about the members of London’s upper crust.

When the dashing English spy Daniel Ridgeway takes a seat at her card table and threatens to expose her for cheating, she has no choice but to do as he demands: seduce the leader of the revolutionaries and learn what she can about their plot. As she’s drawn deeper into Daniel’s dangerous world, from the seedy backstreets of London to the claustrophobic catacombs of a war-torn Paris, she realizes an even more dangerous fact. She’s falling in love with her seductive partner. And the stakes of this game might just be too high, even for her.

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23591089In the new novel from the bestselling author of The Earl I Adore, May Bradford isn’t afraid to play devil’s advocate when it comes to a duke.…

After her mother’s death, May’s sea captain father sends her halfway around the world to live with his stodgy sister in England. The summer festival in Bath made for a lovely distraction, but now she can’t wait for her father’s return so she can leave this country, its suffocating rules, and one infuriatingly proper nobleman in particular behind.

Because he is the Duke of Radcliffe, William Spencer’s whole life revolves around his duties. He never steps foot outside the bounds of proper behavior, and he expects the same of those around him. With her devil-may-care ways, May vexes him nearly as much as she tempts him, but there’s something about her that he just can’t resist. He knows he’s falling hard for her, but with lives that are worlds apart, will they ever be able to find any common ground?

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91J974nORFL._SL1500_Violet was fascinated with the legends and lore of New Orleans. She was so fascinated that she left everything behind to run a B&B in the French Quarter. But she never imagined that vampires were really real… not until the night she found herself swept back in time to 1797.
Beaten and scared, Violet quickly realizes she’s trapped… and in the most exotic bordello of all. But its clients aren’t mortal, at least not anymore. Locked in an era that’s not her own, she must find a way to escape from the powerful lure of vampire seductiveness… before it’s too late.

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*This was the FIRST romance book I read, so The Spanish Rose holds a special place in my heart. If you can’t find this for a reasonable price in the bookstores, make sure to check your local library or Ebay.*

A historical romance from the author of MIDNIGHT MASQUERADE, telling the story of a beautiful Spanish girl who falls in love with her father’s sworn enemy, an English pirate.

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what_she_wants__ri_200Lynsay Sands knows what romance readers want: love stories that are thrilling, sexy, and fun—whether they concern the amorous affairs of English lords and ladies of the Regency ton, the lairds and lasses of the Scottish Highlands, or the more contemporary vampires of the Argeneau family. In the incomparable Lynsay’s historical romance classic, What She Wants, a Scottish knight finds himself at wit’s end trying to figure out how to win the heart of the fair, if equally hard-headed, lass he is determined to marry. Everyone who enjoys the novels of Julie Garwood and Jill Barnett will be delighted to discover What She Wants…and will be enchanted by Lynsay Sands’s humor, passion, and storytelling magic.

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51i1lUTWx7L._SX309_BO1,204,203,200_Victorian Romance

Scarred from a terrible accident, Lucas Stanby swore never to return to England. But his brother’s murder forces him home ten years later as the new Earl of Berkmond and guardian of his two young nieces.

As the local vicar’s daughter and a childhood friend, Moira Dorsey naturally set aside her hopes of a family of her own to care for the earl’s daughters. Lucas’s return makes it impossible for her to remain since he broke Moira’s heart years ago, but the girls have other ideas.

Lucas realizes he needs Moira to keep his personal demons at bay as well as deal with two rambunctious girls. He offers Moira a marriage of convenience, hoping to keep his dark secret, aware he’s too broken to be the husband she deserves.

Moira discovers Lucas’s cold demeanor hides deep scars but glimpses of the boy she loved give her hope. She counters his proposal, asking for a babe of her own, wanting Lucas to see he’s not the monster he believes.

Unable to deny his growing feelings, Lucas agrees, but his past disrupts their second chance at love, dragging Moira and the girls into danger. He soon realizes he must share his terrible secret with Moira and risk losing her forever in order to stop the villain who threatens them all.

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gone with the windSince its original publication in 1936, Gone With the Wind—winner of the Pulitzer Prize and one of the bestselling novels of all time—has been heralded by readers everywhere as The Great American Novel.

Widely considered The Great American Novel, and often remembered for its epic film version, Gone With the Wind explores the depth of human passions with an intensity as bold as its setting in the red hills of Georgia. A superb piece of storytelling, it vividly depicts the drama of the Civil War and Reconstruction.

This is the tale of Scarlett O’Hara, the spoiled, manipulative daughter of a wealthy plantation owner, who arrives at young womanhood just in time to see the Civil War forever change her way of life. A sweeping story of tangled passion and courage, in the pages of Gone With the Wind, Margaret Mitchell brings to life the unforgettable characters that have captured readers for over seventy years.

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5152F086FTL._SX287_BO1,204,203,200_Kiss of the night wind. . .Whispered kisses. . .Follow the wind. . .

The novels of Janelle Taylor sparkle with her unique blend of adventure and passion. And her unforgettable tale of the warrior Gray Eagle and his beloved Alisha is perhaps the most special of all. For it begins one of the most romantic and memorable sagas ever written. . .

Savage Ecstasy

It was like lightning striking, the first time they looked into each other’s eyes: Gray Eagle, the captured Indian brave, and Alisha, the beautiful young settler. As the proud Oglala warrior was being tortured by his white captors, only Alisha seemed to notice that he was a human being–handsome and strong, and one who took her breath away. But if Alisha could have read Gray Eagle’s thoughts she would have been even more disturbed. Because from the moment he saw her, the Indian knew he had to possess the fair-skinned one–and his life would not be complete until he had made her his slave!

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513PH1J5MCL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_Rosalind Rutherford knows full well the scandal she courts when she attempts to seduce the notorious Armond Wulf–in fact, she’s counting on it as a means to escape her sadistic stepbrother’s control. Unfortunately, Lord Wulf’s better instincts prevail…although not before he gives Rosalind a tantalizing taste of what she’s missing. And when the opportunity arises to rescue Armond from a grim fate while changing her own, Rosalind knows she must seize it…

Armond can no more ignore the Rutherford woman than his ancestor could resist the temptress who cursed the Wulf men with a terrifying transformation that occurs at the appearance of the full moon–and is set in motion by love. Now, to save her reputation and his freedom, Armond must marry Rosalind. But he vows that while they may share the pleasures of the marriage bed, she will never have his heart…

Yet as strange and mysterious events bring them closer in body and soul, Armond finds it increasingly difficult to keep his feelings for his new wife locked away. Especially when the reality of unquenchable desire–and certain danger–burn stronger than ever by the light of a full moon…

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51KP30t-OUL._SX310_BO1,204,203,200_Eager to escape her past in Ireland, Shauna Farrow signs on to become an indentured servant to Joshua Stewart, a wealthy man in Pennsylvania Colony.

But a life of servitude quickly turns to drudgery, and her hopes for starting over and creating a better life for herself are waning—until she meets her master’s roguish son, Ashton.

Shauna fights her growing attraction to Ashton, torn between propriety and acting on her emotions. But amidst their flirting, something dark stirs. Shauna soon discovers why no other servants will work for the strange Stewart family.

Stewart House has an unsavory reputation: a previous servant died there under mysterious circumstances. When another servant goes missing in the middle of the night, Shauna is convinced that a member of the family is responsible.

When Shauna’s investigation leads her too close to the truth, it’s up to Ashton to save her before time runs out.

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350684“Whitney, My Love” stands as Judith McNaught’s timeless bestseller — a novel so rich with laughter, tears, and the power of dreams that millions of readers have returned to it again and again to savor its beauty and majesty. Under the dark, languorous eyes of Clayton Westmoreland, the Duke of Claymore, Whitney Stone grew from a saucy hoyden into a ravishingly sensual woman. Fresh from her triumphs in Paris society, she returned to England to win the heart of Paul, her childhood love . . . only to be bargained away by her bankrupt father to the handsome, arrogant duke. Outraged, she defies her new lord. But even as his smoldering passion seduces her into a gathering storm of desire, Whitney cannot — and will not — relinquish her dream of perfect love.

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691009*This isn’t on Kindle, but it’s so good I have to mention it!*

Beautiful, headstrong Nicole Ashford was yet untouched by passion, but destined for adventure – and pleasure – beyond anything a woman of her time had ever known.

Outwitting a ruthless plot against her, she fled her aristocratic England home on a privateer’s ship bound for the luxurious pirate havens of New Orleans – and exquisite abandon in Bermuda’s hidden coves. Yet the very daring of her escape plunged her into even graver peril as captive mistress to notorious high seas outlaw, Captain Saber, whose savage passion made her a woman, but whose tender kisses plundered her soul.

And nothing now could stop what was begun between them – nothing could still the urgent fires of the love they were born to share!

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Featured Western Historical Romance: Seize the Flame by Lynda J. Cox @lyndacox


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Western Historical Romance


SeizetheFlame_w9687_medJessica Depre’s life is in tatters. She’s on the run, thanks to her abusive husband Robert, who needs to silence her about his criminal escapades and the part he forced her to play in them. When bounty hunter Drake Adams walks into the boarding house where she works, Jessica slips away into the night. Her only hope of surviving and protecting those she loves from her husband’s rage is to vanish forever.

Unable to accept that the only woman he ever loved left him standing at the altar and married another, Drake Adams has given up a good law practice in the Wyoming Territory. If he’s not hunting down bounties, he’s pursuing the bottom of a bottle of bourbon. When Drake learns his former fiancée, Jessica Majors-Depre, has a price on her head, he decides he will collect the reward.

Can the bounty hunter and the bank robber ignite a future from the ashes of their past when they are trapped by a blizzard in a mountain shack or will playing with fire burn them both?

AmazonThe Wild Rose Press


Excerpt:

“Drake, please, let me go.” She wasn’t sure if she was asking him to actually release her or to stop emotionally holding onto her.

“I wish to hell I could.” He let go of her arms only to catch her face between his hands and she forced herself to look at him. The taut control over his expression and tone was gone. In its stead was a burning that ignited in the depths of his eyes. A desperate hunger etched the lines of his face. His voice rasped with that burning hunger. “I wish to hell I could convince myself to let you go.”

Her arms remained trapped between them. Almost of their own accord, her hands unclenched. The stubble darkening his jaw rasped against her fingertips as she traced the line of his jaw. She felt his chest hitch with his quick intake of breath. His response lent her enough bravado to search his features. The laugh lines at the corners of his eyes were deeper, and there were a few silver hairs at his temples, now, giving him a distinguished, polished air. His brows still arched and slanted upwards, as if he saw everything with a curious amusement.

His intense gaze raked over her face, lingering on her lips.

The kiss that hung between them, unfulfilled, was there if she just leaned into him. Heedless of the consequences, she licked her dry lips.

The heat in his eyes grew, and his breath hitched again as she worked her arms loose enough to encircle his neck, plying her fingers through the waving curls of his black hair.

“You’re playing with fire, Jessie.”


About the Author:

Certain she was born about 150 years too late and in the wrong part of the country, Lynda J. Cox can’t remember a time when she didn’t want to live in the Old West. Short of inventing a time machine, she’s settled for writing romances set in the wide open spaces of what was then the Wyoming Territory. With a love of writing and history, she combined both into a double major in English and history and continued on to a master’s degree in English.
When she isn’t writing, she can often be found on the road, traveling to the next dog show. Those long road trips allow her to plot out her novels.
You can contact Lynda on Facebook by searching for Lynda J. Cox. She loves to talk about writing, books, dogs, and horses.


Historical Romance Feature: Odin’s Shadow by Erin S. Riley @erinsriley1


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Series: Odin’s Shadow #1

Genres: Historical Romance, Viking Era

 

Book Synopsis: Obsession. Treachery. Revenge. Redemption. Certain themes resonate across the centuries. Odin’s Shadow is the first book in a series of three about an Irish woman and the two Viking brothers who love her. The novel is set against the harsh backdrop of the Viking era in the 9th century, a time when the sight of a Viking longship sailing up the coast of Ireland would chill the blood of any man, woman or child. One young Irish woman, however, is not afraid of these Northmen, and a fateful encounter with one of them changes the course of her life forever.
Selia is a girl on the verge of womanhood, frustrated by the confines of her gender and resentful of the freedom her brother boasts of. She is intelligent and resourceful in a time when neither is valued in a female, and longs for an escape from her sheltered existence. Selia is fascinated by the tales of Viking raids told by her maidservant, and her hunger for independence is fed through the stories of heathen ferocity she hears at the woman’s knee.
A decision to sneak to the city’s harbor to view the Viking longships leads to an encounter with Alrik Ragnarson, a charismatic Viking warlord. With the knowledge that her father is about to announce her betrothal to a man she doesn’t love, Selia marries Alrik and within a day is on the longship bound for Norway and a new life.
As Selia’s relationship with her new husband grows, her friendship with his brother Ulfrik grows as well. The tension mounts between the two men, and as Alrik’s character flaws come to light Selia begins to have misgivings about her hasty marriage. Ulfrik’s desperate love for Selia causes him to reveal a secret from the past that threatens to destroy them all, and Selia is left to make a heart rending choice between the two Viking brothers.

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Author Bio:

Erin S. Riley has an undergraduate degree in psychology and a graduate degree in clinical counseling. She is also a board certified lactation consultant. Since Erin was a child, she has been fascinated with human nature and what motivates behavior. She enjoys writing stories that reflect real life: Erin’s books feature complicated, imperfect characters who love deeply, make impulsive decisions, and try again until they get it right.

Erin has a bit of an obsession with all things Viking, and owns an embarrassing number of reference books on Vikings that she reads for fun. While reading about berserkers, she had an epiphany and realized that the crazed, shield-biting men of sagas were actually suffering from a mental illness. On that day the character of Alrik Ragnarson was born.

Erin is drawn to any creative pursuit, from making hand-stitched quilts to producing mini-movies for family and friends from home videos. But writing has always been her passion. When Erin isn’t writing, she enjoys spending time with her two children, reading anything she can get her hands on, watching football, and renovating her house with her husband of 16 years.

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Prehistoric Fiction: Daughter of the Goddess Lands by Sandra Saidak


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Genres:  Prehistoric Fiction

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Blurb:
Daughter of the Goddess Lands is the unforgettable saga of Kalie, a courageous young heroine born into the untamed beauty of prehistoric Europe.
Kalie’s peaceful life is shattered when a brutal attack by horsemen from the east leave her scarred in body and soul. As the sole survivor of the assault, Kalie makes her way home, and warns her people to prepare for the invasion that she knows is coming. But the goddess-worshiping farmers of her home have no concept of battle, and dismiss Kalie’s warning.
When the marauders strike again, they cut a swath of destruction and death that prove too late the truth of Kalie’s words. Then Haraak, the leader of the invaders, demands a tribute of gold, grain and women in exchange for sparing her village. Yet it is in Harak’s cruel show of power that Kalie sees a chance to save her people–and gain revenge for herself.
Kalie leads a group of volunteers to infiltrate the horseman’s society, and then destroy them from within. Once she is among them, Kalie uses her skill as a storyteller, and her knowledge of healing to penetrate the horsemen’s inner circle and to discover the secrets that could lead to their destruction.
But Kalie discovers that price of revenge is high, and that a quest for vengeance can become a journey of healing and redemption.

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Excerpt (from Ch. 12):

But what does he mean?” asked a young woman, whose plaintive tone reminded Kalie of a sheep. “People cannot be owned! Women or men, it makes no difference. Can’t you just explain that to him?”

Kalie sighed, tired of answering the same question, no matter how many different ways it was phrased.

“Well?” demanded the man seated next to the speaker, his arm around her. The meeting was being held in the largest shrine in Riverford, much larger than the one Kalie had met them in the night before. Perhaps eight hands of people were crowded inside, with several times that number waiting anxiously in the courtyard outside.

Kalie looked at the young couple, afraid that if she tried to explain yet again, she would say something that she would regret.

She was spared having to answer by Maris. “Whether we like it or not,” the ancient healer said in a voice that belied her age, “we have been called to deal with people who are entirely different from any we have ever encountered. Or imagined. Kalie has explained this notion of ‘slavery’ to us. Refusing to believe it will not change the fact that it is.”

“I will gladly hand over the gold and cloth,” said Yelene. “Even weapons of copper, though I shudder to think of those tools in the hands of such creatures. And as for food, I say give them our honey and wine and every bit of seed grain we have. All of that can be replaced! But I cannot give them human beings! I cannot ask any one of us to even consider such a sacrifice.”

A heavy silence settled over the room. Kalie knew it was now or never.

“There may be a way,” she began. “Yelene is right when she said that material wealth can be replaced. But now that these beastmen know of us—of great wealth in the west, held by people who know nothing of war—they will return, and in greater numbers. If the lands of the Goddess are to survive, I believe that the answer lies within Haraak’s demand for slaves.”

There was a roar of protest, but Yelene silenced it with a glance. “How?”

“What I am going to suggest will sound like madness—and it may very well be.” She faltered, suddenly unsure of how to continue.

“It’s all right, child,” said Maris. “The words are in you. Just let them out.” She whispered to the apprentice beside her, and the young woman brought Kalie a cup of something steaming. Kalie thanked her and sipped carefully. A rich, flowery tea greeted her tongue, and while she was trying to guess the ingredients, inspiration struck.

“There is a story I learned while I lived with the healers at Hot Springs.” Kalie’s voice took on the cadence of a storyteller. “Far in the north, where the snow never melts, there lives a bear that is pure white. When it stands on two legs, it is the height of three men, and no spear or arrow made by the hand of man can kill it. But the people who share this bear’s domain have developed an unusual weapon, for such times as when a bear ravages a village, or when hunger makes the people desperate.

“They take a ball of fat, softened by fire, and into it they slide a double bladed knife, folded together, and held in place by the fat as it hardens. They then leave the ball by whatever water source the bear drinks from. The bear usually swallows the ball whole, and goes on his way.”

“And when the fat melts inside his stomach…” Maris took up the story. “The knife springs open and kills the bear—from the inside.”

“A rather cruel way to hunt,” said Yelene.

“Killing is often cruel,” said a man across the room. “As much as we might seek to make it otherwise. But when threatened, all creatures will use whatever means are available to be the one who survives, even if another must die.”

Yelene fixed Kalie with a piercing gaze. “What do you have in mind, child?”

“Haraak has demanded slaves. I say we should give him slaves. Women, willing to sacrifice their lives to save our world from his. We will be the knife swallowed by the bear. We will destroy their world—from within.”

 


About the Author:

Sandra Saidak is a high school English teacher by day, author by night. Her hobbies include reading, dancing, attending science fiction conventions, researching prehistory, and maintaining an active fantasy life (but she warns that this last one could lead to dangerous habits such as writing). Sandra lives in San Jose with her husband Tom, daughters Heather and Melissa, and two cats.

Sandra’s prehistoric fiction series, Kalie’s Journey began with the novel, Daughter of theGoddess Lands, an epic set in the late Neolithic Age, and published in November 2011 by Uffington Horse Press. Book 2 of the series, Shadow of the Horsemen, was released in July of 2012. Book 3, Keepers of theAncient Wisdom will be released later this year. Stories set in the Kalie universe can be found in Sandra’s short story collection, In the Balance and inthe stand alone novella, Oathbreaker’s Daughter.

Sandra loves to hear from her readers, so feel free to post a comment on her Author’s Page, or her website at http://www.sandrasaidak.com/.

 

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