Friday, 31 October 2014

Shivers and Tingles


Come party with The Brit Babes this Halloween! Click here to join the fun.

Monday, 27 October 2014

Romance on the border


Put your feet up and enjoy Alina and Harry's trials. It's a historical romance, as you might have figured out from the cover, and it's set in the Borders between England and Scotland in the year 1543, when Henry VIII is getting old and tetchy. 

Harry Wharton sets off on a mission, stops in Corbridge and gets distracted by Alina Carnaby, daughter of a local landowner. On the spur of the moment he adopts an alias, and Alina is shocked when she learns he calls himself Harry Scott, for her father has a running feud with the Scott family across the Border. It's an exciting story that ducks and weaves around the running feuds of the borders. Alina must face an arranged marriage to John Errington when the only man she wants is Harry. Standing in the church on her wedding day, she hears the words every bride and groom dread...



Excerpt: 
After two years of boredom confined in the stuffy, tension ridden rooms of King Henry’s court, where the heady mix of perfumes and fright made a man’s head ache, what could be better than being out in the cool night air, with an adventure about to begin? No hanging about at court waiting for greedy men to decide if they should petition the king before dinner, after it or wait until morning.
Harry looked up at the hall. Imposing, but not overlarge, and crenelated. Marauding Scots and greedy English reivers had pushed the owner into building a parapet; something to hide behind while he aimed arrows at his attackers.
He hoped to own something grander than this one day. With a good education behind him, a strong physique and his father’s support, he should manage it before he was much older, and he was prepared to risk his neck to get it.
Urging Bessie up the slope, he wondered if there would be guards peering through the crenels. He didn’t want an arrow in his back. Suddenly wary, he studied the parapet. The length of the wall ran away from him into the darkness of the forest on the other side of the ravine.
Not a guard in sight. He rode on, and halted Bessie before the massive gateway. A beast bellowed in the byre behind him, and another answered.
He looked around. All was in shadow but for moonlight hitting the rounded curve of a high drum tower midway along the wall. He could learn nothing more about Aydon or its young mistress tonight.
‘Come, Bessie. Time to move on.’
Probably just as well. Charming as Alina was, she was not the rich heiress of his dreams. Foolish whimsy had brought him here. He rounded the corner of a farm hind’s cottage. Shadowy grey in the moonlight, the lane stretched away into the distance, heading to the ridge where the Romans built their wall so long ago.
A muted cry reached him, and another.
Harry pulled his horse to a stand. Frowning, he looked around.
He caught the faint sound of hooves thudding against the earth, then the moan and bellow of disturbed beasts.
Harry scanned the fields, and found the moving black dots trotting diagonally towards the wall. The words of the packman resonated in his mind. ‘Lessen o’ course the Armstrongs be ridin’.’
It might not be the Armstrongs, but somebody was riding tonight. Was a raid taking place? Fascinated, he watched six or seven men round up the beasts and chivvy them into one dark, moving mass.
He ought to rouse the owner of Aydon Hall. He turned Bessie and urged her back to the gateway. Strangely reluctant to obey, she pranced on the spot. “Come on, Bessie!”
The mare made up her mind and lunged towards the castle. Harry looked over his shoulder. The moving black circle was much further across the hillside now. Pushing Bessie into a canter, he covered the half mile back to the hall, rounded the corner of the hind’s cottage and ran smack into a bunch of horsemen and cattle blocking the lane.
Bessie flung up her head and stopped of her own accord. Harry scanned the group warily. In the shadows, faces were no more than grey blobs but Harry was certain of three men, though less sure of the cattle that milled around him. The wide door of the byre stood open behind them and the sweet sour odours of penned cattle drenched the night air.
“Get ’im, Will!”


Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Guest blog by David Russell - Suz deMello: 'Kinky Toes'

Introducing Suz deMello’s latest HOT short story, Kinky Toes.

What’s it about, you ask?
Genre: contemporary erotic romance
Shelbie Nathanson resents Rick Saldano's ascension to C.O.O. of her family's shoe company, a job she's wanted all her life. But she can't resist his red-hot, sexy style of lovemaking... one that focuses on her passion: shoes.

Here’s a snippet to pique your interest:
A secretary entered holding a tray of coffees. She set it on the big desk and offered a cup to Shelbie. “Two sugars and a drop of cream, just how you like it, Ms. Nathanson,” the girl squeaked.

“Great, thanks.” Shelbie took the coffee while wondering why the secretary was so jumpy. Maybe she’d had too much caffeine.

The girl cast Shelbie another scared glance before giving a cup to Rick, visibly relaxing as she served him and then Shelbie’s father, who sat behind his big desk in the place Shelbie expected to fill once he retired. With another frightened peek at Shelbie, the gofer scooted out.

“What’s with her?” Shelbie sipped. “Is she new?”

“Yeah, but it seems that your reputation precedes you,” Rick said drily.

“What do you mean?” she asked.

“I mean that no assistant of yours has lasted longer than six months. Word gets around.”

“That’s not my fault.” She stirred her coffee. “The last one was impossible.”

“Failing to know the difference between heliotrope and mauve isn’t impossible.”

“It is if you work for me. And calling my beautiful shoes Shelbie’s Slut Heels wasn’t appropriate.” She stretched out her leg to again admire her handiwork.

“True,” Rick said. “Talk like that damages the company.”
She glared at him, noting his attention fixed on her shoe. Man, he was just too easy.

If you want to find out what happens between this sexy couple, find the book here:

About the author:

Best-selling, award-winning author Suz deMello, a.k.a Sue Swift, has written seventeen romance novels in several subgenres, including erotica, comedy, historical, paranormal, mystery and suspense, plus a number of short stories and non-fiction articles on writing. A freelance editor, she’s held the positions of managing editor and senior editor, working for such firms Totally Bound, Liquid Silver Books and Ai Press. She also takes private clients.

Her books have been favorably reviewed in Publishers Weekly, Kirkus and Booklist, won a contest or two, attained the finals of the RITA and hit several bestseller lists.

A former trial attorney, her passion is world travel. She’s left the US over a dozen times, including lengthy stints working overseas. She’s now writing a vampire tale and planning her next trip.


--Find her books at http://www.suzdemello.com

--For editing services, email her at suzdemello@gmail.com
--Befriend her on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/sueswift, and visit her group page at  https://www.facebook.com/redhotauthorscafe
--She tweets @Suzdemello

--Her current blog is http://www.TheVelvetLair.com

Sunday, 5 October 2014

Sale! A SIMILAR TASTE IN BOOKS for 99 cents


As part of the Clean Indie Reads Fall Sale, I'm offering A Similar Taste in Books, Book 1 of my Regency "Love and the Library" series, for 50% off. That's 99 cents! A Similar Taste in Books will be on sale from October 5 through October 11, 2014.

A Similar Taste in Books is on sale at Smashwords only (note, Smashwords has all formats) with coupon code MT58S (not case sensitive).

A Similar Taste in Books on Smashwords here: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/247691

If you don't care for sex, violence and profanity in your reading material, check out the other Flinch-Free Fiction in the Clean Indie Reads Fall Sale here: http://arcaniarts.com/index.php/fall-clean-book-sale

The CIR Fall Sale sale runs from October 5 through October 11, 2014.

Have fun.

Thank you all,
Linda
Linda Banche
Welcome to My World of Historical Hilarity!
http://www.lindabanche.com



Tuesday, 30 September 2014

New Release: Woodland Daughter

Woodland Daughter is set in Yorkshire in 1902, Queen Victoria has died and the new century has brought in many changes, including another Boer War in South Africa, which features a little in this story.


Blurb
A new century brings change to the carefully ordered world Eden Harris maintains, change that threatens all she holds dear. Despite years of devoted service to the Bradburys, the leading family of the community, Eden hides a secret that would affect them all. When an enemy returns, her world is shattered and her secret exposed. Torn and provoked, she strains to protect her family until a devastating accident leaves her alone and frightened. As the threat against her grows, Eden takes her precious daughters and flees from the only place she's called home, to live amongst masses in York. Her attempt to start anew is not so simple as the past haunts her, and the one man she thought lost to her so many years before, returns to claim what has always been his. Eden must gather her strength and look into her heart to accept what the future offers. Can she find the happiness she longs for?

Excerpt.
Joel rested his body against the ship’s rail, bracing himself for the slightest pain in his shoulder. With one arm in a sling tucked beneath his uniform jacket, he was careful to keep out of the way of people. The slightest touch could have him sweating in pain. The sea breeze lifted the hair on his forehead and neck, cooling him slightly. He needed a haircut, but he’d wait until he’d reach England before attending to that.
Below him on the deck, he watched the crowds scurrying about like ants. Soldiers, nurses, travellers, ship crew, dock workers all hurried back and forth. Behind him, from within the ship, came the noise of eager travellers settling in for their ocean journey.
He stared out into the distance, where Table Mountain dominated the view. He was sad to be leaving Africa. He’d come to think of it as home in a way. The sights and sounds, the heat and people were familiar now. Of course nothing competed against Bradbury Hall, but he’d been in Africa for seven years. It was a long time. The army had replaced his family. He’d learnt to rely on his fellow officers to ease the loneliness, and at first it had worked well. The adventure and excitement kept his mind from thinking of home. But lately, for the last year and a half, a yearning to return home had claimed him and not let go.  
The ships funnels belched smoke and the boarding siren wailed. Under his feet he felt the deck shudder as the enormous engines surged with power. Anticipation welled. He was going home. Despite the ache in his shoulder, he smiled. Time to start a new phase of his life. Time to reaffirm the links with his family, the estate, old friends, and… Eden.
He was conscious of the changes awaiting him back home. Much had happened in his absence. Not long after he joined the regiment, his mother died. That had been a blow, but on the whole he had managed to keep the family and home intact in his mind. When he’d left England, his father had been alive, Charlie well, Annabella cheeky, pretty, naive and Eden… Eden had been beautiful, a free spirit of the woodland where she lived.
What awaited him now?
The ship eased from its berth and glided out into the harbour. The breeze sharpened and Joel turned away from the rail. He glanced at a crippled solider standing near the door leading into one of the saloons. The soldier swayed on his crutches, one leg gone in battle.
“Major Bradbury?”
Joel checked his step and hurried over to steady the man with his good arm.
“Thanks, Sir.” The solider smiled.
“Stevens, isn’t it?” Joel mused, helping the man to lean against a wall and out of the way of other passengers.
“Stevenson, Sir, Corporal Dave Stevenson.” He leaned against the support and breathed out slowly. “I still haven’t got the hang of these things yet.” He held up the crutches.  
Joel grinned. “I think it might be an art that takes practice, Corporal.”
Dave took of his hat and wiped the seat off from his forehead, his fair hair stuck to his head. “Do you mind, Sir, if I sit down? This leg isn’t used to holding all the weight and gets a bit shaky, like.”
“Of course, man, sit.” Joel again aided Stevenson in lowering to the deck. There were no chairs about and after a moment’s hesitation, Joel join him and gently eased his backside down, careful not to jar his shoulder. “We should have gone inside, it would be more comfortable.”
“Sorry, Sir, but I’m no sailor. Once inside my stomach has a mind of its own. I’m better out here.”
“Well, I’ll keep you company for a while until dinner is announced. My stomach is the opposite of yours. Once on the ocean I’m always ravenous. I do nothing but eat.”
“You might struggle with a knife and fork, using only one hand.”
Joel chuckled. “Yes, true. So far I’ve had only soup and sandwiches.”
Stevenson laid his crutches beside his good leg and gazed out through the iron rail. “So, we’re going back home to England. I’ve been away three years. I should be happy to be going back, but I’m not as excited as I should be, I don’t think.”
“It affects men in different ways.”
“If you don’t mind me asking, Sir, how do you feel? Was your clipped wing the reason for you to go home?”
“Yes. My shoulder stopped a bullet.” He glanced down at his padded and bandaged left shoulder. “Normally they’d take it out and I’d be back in the mix of things, but this Boer bullet went in at an angle and wedge itself deep. The surgeon managed to get it out, but he wasn’t sure what damaged had been done. Only once the swelling has gone down and the soreness gone, will I know what strength remains in the arm.”
“Does your family know about it yet?”
“No, not yet. It didn’t seem worth writing when I was going home anyway. What about your family?”
“Oh aye, they know. I’ve been in hospital a while, long enough for letters to go back and forth.” Stevenson bent up his leg and rested his elbow on it. “They say they don’t care if I come home missing a leg, as long as I’m coming home to them. I’m an only child see, and I used to help my father run our grocers shop.”
“Will you do that again?”
“I guess so. Funny how things change, isn’t it. I hated working in that shop as a lad. All my friends would be out playing football or cricket and I’d be stuck behind a counter. The first opportunity I got to leave I took, and that was the army.” He tapped the toe of his boot on the deck. “Now, I can’t wait to get back there. I miss me mam and dad, and me gran, who lives with us. My mam makes the best jam roly-poly you’ve ever tasted. Dad brews his own beer in the back shed and Gran used to be my partner in cards.”
“There’s nothing better in this world than returning home to a family that loves you.” A picture came into Joel’s mind of the estate in autumn, the tall graceful trees, their leaves turning gold and amber, the squirrels scurrying around in the wood, collecting the last of their booty, harvest time and bringing in the hay, the smell of open fires as the gardeners raked up and burnt the fallen leaves.
He leaned his head back and smiled in remembrance. “I long to go riding with my brother. We used to ride for miles. Sometimes we’d stop at a pub and have an ale and a hot pie smothered in gravy.”
“Me mam has written of a neighbour’s daughter, Vera, who she hopes I’ll one day marry. I’m not so sure what Vera has to say about it though. We got along all right before I went away, but…well, I’m not as I once was.”
“If this Vera is a decent woman, she’ll not mind.”
“Maybe.” Stevenson lifted his face to the breeze. “Will you have a girl waiting for you at home, Sir?”
Joel’s stomach clenched. “Perhaps. I’m ready for a family. However, I’ve been away longer than you, and I’m not sure what to expect when I arrive home.”
“None of us are, Sir, none of us are.”   
A group of children ran by, the shoes thundering on the timber deck. One cheeky boy paused and waved to Joel and Stevenson before scampering off again. A harassed nanny tried to catch up as she wheeled a pram after them. Joel watched until they turned a corner at the bow of the ship and were out of sight. His heart constricted, thinking of the boy’s lively face. A son. He wanted a son so badly it hurt. A boy to teach all the things his father taught him, to hunt, to fish, to ride, to play sports. He thought of Charlie. Two sons perhaps. Two fine boys to grow up together like he and Charlie did.
Emotion clogged his throat and he coughed to clear it.  He’d been away from home too long…

Buy in ebook or paperback from all online retailers such Amazon USA and Amazon UK, iBooks, Nook, etc. 

I hope you enjoy it.

Sunday, 7 September 2014

A DISTINCT FLAIR FOR WORDS, Book 3 of Love and the Library, Is Here!




A Distinct Flair for Words, the latest in my Regency Love and the Library series, is now available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Smashwords and Apple.
 
Love and the Library - A celebration of the beginnings of love wherein four young Regency gentlemen meet their matches over a copy of “Pride and Prejudice” at the library. 

Book 3: Felicity and Frank

BLURB:
Every woman should have her own Mr. Darcy--unless she prefers Mr. Bingley.


Something strange goes on in that library.

Not one, but two of Mr. Frank Wynne’s friends found the ladies of their dreams at the library over a copy of “Pride and Prejudice”. Magic? Divine providence? Hardly. Coincidence or luck? Perhaps. And to prove or disprove the possibilities, he’ll go to the library and read “Pride and Prejudice”. Day after day after day. To his surprise, the book is funny, and he does like that Bingley chap. His lady doesn’t appear, though. Of course not. But still…

Miss Felicity White adores “Pride and Prejudice”. But while most ladies swoon over Mr. Darcy, Mr. Bingley is the man after her own heart. Happy, good-natured, cheerful, outgoing Mr. Bingley. She loves him so much, she even rewrote “Pride and Prejudice” from his perspective. Now, if she can only find a gentleman like him…

When Felicity and Frank run into each other, the enchantment of “Pride and Prejudice” and the library just might strike again.

A sweet, traditional Regency romance, but not a retelling of “Pride and Prejudice.” 45,000 words.


I write in the style of my favorite author, Barbara Metzger. If you like her Regency comedies, you may enjoy mine.

EXCERPT:


“I have the most wonderful news!” Felicity maneuvered herself and Frank to the only two seats together. Unfortunately, they were in the middle of the semicircle, with ladies on both sides
Frank sat on the edge of his seat. The chairs’ arrangement was unnervingly like a gigantic feminine claw, ready to snap shut on a tasty treat.
Him.
He stilled. Mayhap if he didn’t move, they would forget he was there. And pigs will fly.
Miss Barrett clapped and the murmuring ladies quieted. “Felicity, please tell us your news.”
Felicity popped up. “You know I have written Pride and Prejudice from Mr. Bingley’s viewpoint.” She gave a little bounce. “Mr. Blackmore of Blackmore Publishing has requested the manuscript!”
Feminine squeals reverberated around the room. Miss Barrett rose to shake Felicity’s hand. “Well done. Mayhap you will pave the way to the future, when others will want to read about the further adventures of the Pride and Prejudice characters.”
Miss Liddell, one of the ladies who had squinted when he entered, squinted anew. “I doubt anyone will want to read about Mr. Wickham’s experiences. Or Lydia’s.”
“Never say never.” Miss Nisbet, seated at Frank’s other side, sniffed. “Some people enjoy tales about villains. I daresay they like to see the blackguards receive their just deserts.” She leaned closer to Frank. “Have you read Pride and Prejudice, Mr. Wynne?”
Gazes on both sides of the pincer-like arrangement of chairs closed in on him. More perspiration broke out on his forehead. “Yes, I have.” Outnumbered. Perhaps he had better say as little as possible.
Miss Liddell squinted again. “You are unusual, sir. Most men do not read novels. Or at least, they claim not to.”
He flashed his most winning smile, the one that normally made the ladies melt. Almost-clergyman he might be, but that did not preclude him from appreciating the fairer sex. “I am not most men.”

AVAILABLE AT

Amazon US 

Also available in all the other Amazon stores.

Barnes and Noble

Nook UK

Smashwords (note, all formats are available on Smashwords)

Apple

Coming soon to Kobo

Thank you all,
Linda
Welcome to My World of Historical Hilarity!
http://www.lindabanche.com