Wednesday, May 30, 2012

The Story Behind the Story: Samuel - Delighting In Your Company

Win a copy of Delighting In Your Company

Answer the following question: 
What is the name of the tune that Jonathan always whistles?  
Hint:  see the web page

Delighting In Your Company by Blair McDowell
As writers we all know that our stories do not start on page one of our books. If our characters are to breathe life we have to know their history. We may never use that history, but without knowing it we cannot create believable characters. The character of Samuel in Delighting In Your Company is one I found particularly interesting to research and write.

The year is 1798. We are in Equatorial Africa. Samu awoke early that morning. He could hear the parrots chattering in the trees, heralding the dawn. This was an important day. Today he would accompany the men of the village as they went into the surrounding jungle to hunt for food for the tribe. It would be his first time as a hunter. It meant he was no longer a child. He had lived through twelve rainy seasons and was now old enough to be recognized as a man. To be given adult status in the Koromantyn tribe.

As Samu stretched and rose from his rush mat, he heard a sudden scream and then shouts from outside.  Rushing to the door of his family hut, he saw a raiding party from a distant village rounding up the men of his village.  His father had already been captured.

Samu moved to run to his father, but his mother grasped him from behind. “No, Samu. Not you too.”
“I must go. I must help him.” Struggling he broke loose and ran to his father.


The trek to the Gold Coast was long and arduous. Their captors had little care for the prisoners beyond giving them enough food and water to keep them alive. They were slaves now, and their black masters were not benevolent.

A week later they were sold to the captain of a slaving ship bound for the West Indies. He paid twenty-five dollars a head for them. Long gone were the days when Africans were satisfied with payment in glass beads.  At their destination, those of them who survived the voyage would fetch one hundred and twenty-five dollars each.

With the others, Samu was placed in the hold of the ship, chained to a narrow plank bed.  The men were so close together they could not easily turn over and the deck above them was so low they could not stand erect.

Once a day, buckets were lowered with food, usually a thin broth. Water was scarce. Within three days the stench was unbearable. Samu was suffocating for air, starving, and thirsty, but his father told him to be brave.

Then the sickness began among them. There was dysentery and small pox. Each morning the bodies of the dead were taken out and thrown unceremoniously into the sea. One morning, Samu’s father was among the dead.

The boy no longer spoke. He withdrew to a safe place inside his head and simply survived. Finally they reached land. They were led down a gangplank to a holding pen. The air was soft and scented with spices. It was possible to breathe again.

The next morning the auction began.

Samu peered through the cracks of the holding pen.  The men from his village and many others were being sold to planters who needed them to perform the backbreaking work of harvesting and processing cane. The naked men on the auction block were large and powerful. They brought high prices, the bidding coming fast and furious. 

Suddenly someone grabbed Samu, took him from the pen and pushed him roughly up onto the platform. He tried not to show fear, but he was terrified, trembling. 

The auctioneer looked at him.  
 “I’ll admit he ain’t much, but he might be some use as kitchen help. Don’t know how he got into this batch. Was supposed to be all field workers. What am I bid? Come on gentlemen, got to move along. Don’t nobody want this scrawny piece o’ nigger flesh?”
There was a moment’s silence. Then from the back of the crowd,
“I’ll take him. Ten guineas.” The speaker was a boy no older than the one on the block.
“Ten guineas?” the auctioneer sneered. “Might as well give ’im away. What am I bid, gentlemen?”
The crowd was silent. The boy reached into his pocket and counted out a handful of change. “Ten guineas and twelve bob.”
Someone in the crowd called out. “Jonathan Evans. Your pappy know how you’re squanderin’ his money?”
The crowd broke into raucous laughter.
Never you mind.” The auctioneer took control. “The boy’s money’s as good as anybody else’s. You got yourself a slave, boy. Come and git him.”
 Jonathan had bought a friend. Taking the boy by the hand Jonathan led him back to Evans Plantation.
There he confronted his father with what he had done.  Ernest Evans was a first startled, but realized that a companion might be just what the lonely, motherless boy needed. And so Jonathan Evans had a slave. 

The naked boy was bathed and clothed and fed while Jonathan watched. Only then did Jonathan try to speak to him. The boy clearly spoke no English. 

“Jonathan” the blue eyed white boy said, pointing to himself.

The black child at first looked puzzled. 

“Jonathan,” tapping his chest. He looked at the black boy and touched him.

The boy’s eyes lit with understanding. “Jonathan” he said pointing to his new master. Then he tapped his own chest. “Samu” he said.

“Samu? No. Samuel.” Jonathan replied.

Over the next years, the young slave, newly named Samuel, sat beside his master as Jonathan took lessons with his Jesuit tutor. Samuel quickly learned English.

 Jonathan studied Greek, Latin, History and Mathematics. Jonathan was a desultory student, but Samuel absorbed everything.

When freed from their lessons the two boys swam and hiked and fished and explored the island together. They were inseparable.  They grew up side by side, the tall, laughing, blue-eyed, devil-may-care Jonathan, and the small, dark, intellectual, intense Samuel.

Sometimes Samuel thought back to the time when he had been Samu and lived in the jungle with his mother and father and younger brothers and sisters. But on the whole, he was content with his new life and he was devoted to Jonathan.

Jonathan’s father died when he was just twenty-one. Jonathan’s first act upon taking control of the plantation was to give Samuel his freedom. Then he immediately hired him back as Plantation Manager. 

This was a job at which Samuel excelled. It was Samuel who ensured that Evans Plantation didn’t fall into the quagmire that overtook the cane-sugar industry in the early 1800’s, when the European market discovered that sugar could be made more cheaply from beets.

When Delighting In Your Company begins, Samuel is a man of twenty-one. He is still slight of figure. He wears wire framed glasses and always looks a bit puzzled by the world in which he finds himself. He’s black, but he’s not a slave. He’s educated and well read.  He knows much about the culture of the white western world, but he understands and empathizes with the world of the slaves. The world of Jumbies, the walking dead, and of Obeah, the black magic brought to the West Indies from Africa. It is this latter understanding that saves the day when the lives of Jonathan and Amalie, Jonathan’s fiancé, are in peril.

As a writer I found depicting the life-long friendship between these two men both interesting and challenging.  The template for their relationship was established centuries ago, by the friendship between David and Jonathan in the Old Testament. 

And in the end, Jonathan gave Samuel the greatest gift he could have given. The gift of family.

Purchase Blair's books today by clicking on the covers below.  You can then select the vendor of your choice.
Delighting In Your CompanyThe Memory of Roses
Contact Blair:

Saturday, May 26, 2012

'Hearts Restored' - Free in the Kindle store

'Hearts Restored' by Prue Phillipson from Knox Robinson Publishing is now available as a free download in the Kindle store from today until Sunday (May 27).

Here is the book blurb:

What can a young man of fifteen do when he is told by his mother that  the three cousins he is about to meet all want to marry him?

Daniel  Wilson Horden has arrived in London with his parents from their home in Northumberland on the very day of King Charles II's triumphant return to his capital. Receiving his own personal wave from the king, Daniel longs only to serve him, but first he must keep at bay the threat of marriage.

His two French cousins are adamant in their pursuit of him, but Daniel  is intrigued by his English cousin, Eunice, whose Puritan father snatches her away from the reunion celebrations. Unaware that his  gallant attempt to save her has endeared him to her, Daniel only just  escapes the marriage trap which his younger French cousin lays for him  and is sent off to study at Cambridge University.

Once she returns to  her father's home, Eunice is condemned to a life of austerity. Heart-sick, she is assured by her grandmother that Daniel will come for her when he graduates from university. But, unaware of his cousin's feelings for him, Daniel goes off to join the navy only to find that fighting in the king's service is not as glorious as he had imagined.

While the navy suffers at sea, London passes through plague and fire. Will Eunice survive the hardship? And will Daniel return to fulfil the promise in his eyes on that fateful day in London?

Friday, May 25, 2012

Sara Humphreys' 4th Annual U.S. Military Wives Contest

4th Annual U.S. Military Wives Contest—Open for Entries!

For the past couple of years, as a special thank you to our service members and their families, I have held a contest just for Military Wives. It turned out to be an incredibly rewarding experience. I had the privilege of meeting several incredible women and their beautiful families. It's so easy to forget that there are real people who are deeply affected by the conflicts overseas. Hearing the personal stories of these families helped me remember that our troops are husbands, fathers, brothers and sons who are immensely loved and sorely missed.

This contest will run from Memorial Day Weekend through Labor Day Weekend but start sending those entries in now!

Who is eligible? Wives of any U.S. military service member may enter. Retired or active-duty.

How do you enter? Send an email to with a picture of you and your family member in uniform. Tell us a bit about what branch he serves in, where you've been stationed, challenges and so forth. We want to hear your story! Please put "4th Annual Military Families Contest" in the subject line.

Once a week, beginning Memorial Day weekend, I will pick one entrant to be highlighted on my blog. These weekly entrants are semi-finalists. Labor Day weekend I will select three winners.

Second Prize: A $25 Amazon Gift Card, Signed copies of Unleashed and Untouched

First Prize: A $50 Amazon Gift Card, and signed copies of Unleashed and Untouched

Grand Prize: A $100 Amazon Gift card and signed copies of Unleashed and Untouched

For more information about the contest and Sara Humphreys, please visit and follow Sara on Twitter, @AuthorSara.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Sara Humphreys has been attracted to the fantasies of science fiction, paranormal, and romance since her adolescence when she had a mad crush on Captain Kirk. An actress and public speaker, Sara lives in Bronxville, New York with her husband, who is very considerate of her double life, and four amazing boys. For more information about the contest and Sara Humphreys, please visit

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Have YOU Heard About Discover a New Love?

Have you heard about Discover a New Love? It's an online readers club, featuring DRM-free eBooks. Members can join for a 6-month subscription for only $9.99 (that's like $1.67 per eBook). Every month they get a choice among 4 featured selections from various romance subgenres for download. They also get a hefty discount on any other books they want to buy from the website.

Additionally there are great perks—Barbara Vey, romance expert and blogger of Beyond Her Book, will be blogging weekly, and hosting monthly parties and galas, giving members an opportunity to connect with one another and directly with authors.

Things are still new, but we're so excited about where everything is going. And we have A LOT of fun stuff that will be starting in May and throughout the summer…

Starting Tuesday, May 1st, the titles that members can choose from are:





Additionally, we have a couple of new benefits beginning in May, too:
  • Save an additional 15% off the member pricing on the purchase of any additional Featured Selections.
     ·         Get an extra 10% off any title by the authors of our Featured Selections.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Unspent Time Launch Party

Unspent Time Launch Party

Get free books and win a Kindle Fire or a Kindle Touch

Warning: reading this novel may make you more attractive and elevate your random luck by about 9.332%* (* These statements have not been evaluated by any person of consequence!)

From the award winning author of ‘No Hope for Gomez!’ comes a collection of impossible tales. Permeating the cracks between the past and the present is the realm of Unspent Time; time that was allotted but never spent. This is where we find the stories that could have been true. Such as the story of Kiala, whose caretaker disappears one day, leaving her as the sole Huntress to battle the giant octopi to feed her village. Or the revealing tale of Goki Feng Ho, the ancient Chinese art of decoding the meaning of car license plates. And the heartbreaking story of the man responsible for choosing the colors of the insides of your shoes. And let’s not forget the story behind Unspent Time itself, the metaphysical ramifications of which will leave the scientific community feeling mostly indifferent about it for decades to come… Unspent Time is nominated for GoodReads Laugh out Loud book of 2012 For the launch of the new novel I decided to discount it to $0.99 for today (PC and eBook), give away some exclusive content, and raffle off two Kindles. All entrants will get:

  • An exclusive spin-off novelette (not available for purchase anywhere!)
  • Making of Gomez: behind the scenes eBook
  • Signature for their paperback or kindle edition
  • Chance to win a Kindle Fire or a Kindle Touch
(Prizes can be traded for Amazon gift certificates if you already own them.) Just email your receipt to to enter. Each purchase counts, so stock up on birthday presents (for people you don't like that much, for instance) The discount ends today, but be sure to send the receipts no later than June 1st. (Or order the books from any bookstore.) Coupon code for today: ZB77D And then get by ing about your purchase and another by mentioning it on facebook

Sound bites from Unspent Time: “I'm looking into my past lives. I'm convinced some of them still owe me money.” “I'm very polite by nature, even the voices in my head let each other finish their sentences.” “I didn’t actually want to do it,” Kiala told the boy. “The universe just kind of conspired to force me to make a fool of myself. It does that quite a lot, actually.” “Sadly, my socks are like snowflakes, no two are exactly alike.”

Here's what reviewers had to say: "A veritable page turner of nonstop laughs!" -- Reader Views "An unputdownable read. a Coens Brothers' film in book form." -- “Extremely witty and clever writing.” -- California Chronicle "A Party for your Brain!" -- Warren Baxter Bio:

Graham Parke is responsible for a number of technical publications and has recently patented a self-folding map. He has been described as both a humanitarian and a pathological liar. Convincing evidence to support either allegation has yet to be produced. No Hope for Gomez! was voted GoodReads Funniest Read of 2010 GoodReads Facebook

Monday, May 21, 2012

FEATURE and GIVEAWAY: Lucky in Love by Jill Shalvis

Top Pick! 5 star review!

"LUCKY IN LOVE hits all the right notes--funny yet sweet, a light romance that was made all the more unforgettable by its witty heroine and Mysterious Cute Guy hero."
~ Ashia

Mallory Quinn has had enough of playing it safe. As a nurse and devoted daughter, she takes care of everyone but herself. And as the local good girl, she's expected to date Mr. Right. But for once, she'd like to take a risk on Mr. Wrong. And who could be more wrong than Ty Garrison? The mysterious new guy in town has made it clear that he's only passing through, which suits Mallory just fine. Besides, his lean, hard body and sexy smile will give her plenty to remember once he's gone . . .

For the first time in his life, Ty can't bear to leave. Helping this sexy seductress-in-training walk on the wild side is making him desire things he shouldn't including leaving the military for good. As their just-for-fun fling becomes something more, Mallory and Ty wonder if they could really be this lucky in love. After all . . . anything can happen in a town called Lucky Harbor.

Read an excerpt.

About the Author:

USA Today bestseller Jill Shalvis is the award winning author of over four dozen romance novels, including her upcoming sexy contemporary novel Simply Irresistible, book one in the Lucky Harbor series. The 4-time Rita nominee and 3-time National Readers Choice winner makes her home near Lake Tahoe.

Check out her website .

*** G I V E A W A Y ***

Thanks to Hachette Book Group, who is donating 1 print book of LUCKY IN LOVE for giveaway!


1. You must be a US/Canada resident.
2. Be a follower! (GFC, Facebook, Twitter, The Romance Reviews)
3. Leave a comment here on the blog to enter the drawing!
4. If you blog about this contest and the one below, you'll get an extra chance! Please leave your post URL in your entry.

CONTEST ENDS: May 23, 2012 1159pm EST


Winners will be selected randomly by the system or Good Luck!

Sunday, May 20, 2012

GIVEAWAY: Lethal Rider by Larissa Ione

They're here.

They ride.

The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse

Born of a match between good and evil, four siblings stand between hell's minions and everything they want to destroy. They are the Lords of Deliverance, and they have the power to ward off Doomsday . . . or let it ride . . .


Thanatos, the most deadly Horseman of the Apocalypse, has endured thousands of years of celibacy to prevent the end of days. But just one night with the wickedly sexy Aegis Guardian, ReganCooper, shatters centuries of resolve. Yet their passion comes with a price. And Thanatos must face a truth more terrifying than an apocalypse-he's about to become a father.

Demon-slayer Regan Cooper never imagined herself the maternal type, but with the fate of the world hanging in the balance she had no choice but to seduce Thanatos and bear his child. Now, as the final battle draws closer and his rage at being betrayed is overshadowed by an undeniable passion for the mother of his child, Thanatos has a life-shattering realization: To save the world, he must sacrifice the only thing he's ever wanted-a family.

The Romance Reviews is giving away this book to one lucky commenter! (International)

No, don't comment here on the blog.

Check out our Featured Book Interviews below, and each comment you make entitles you to ONE POINT to count towards the drawing. Follow each link to comment: 

Contest ends May 31.

Winner will be announced in June, on any of the featured interview links above.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

All Around the World with Jane Contest

The Romance Reviews is bringing you news of an awesome contest! Read on!

In the June memoir, All Roads Lead to Austen the author Amy Elizabeth Smith took Jane Austen's works along with her as she traveled to foreign countries. Her goal was to see if the magic of Jane Austen could hold its power across borders, languages and cultures.

Amy took Jane to far off countries – and we need your help to take her even further! We are holding a contest called All Around the World with Jane! Join us on our Austen love fest by printing out our Jane Austen "flat Stanley." Take pictures of yourself with Jane in your hometown or on your vacation, and submit it from April 30th – June 30th!

We will award the following prizes to the individuals with the most creative picture:

1 Grand Prize Winner will receive:
  • An E-reader with all of our available Austen sequels/continuations downloaded on to it
  • A signed copy of All Roads Lead to Austen by Amy Elizabeth Smith
  • A Skype session with Amy Elizabeth Smith
3 Second Place Winner will receive:
  • A signed copy of All Roads Lead to Austen by Amy Elizabeth Smith
  • A choice of 5 Jane Austen sequels/continuations from Sourcebooks
5 Third Place Winners will receive:
  • A signed copy of All Roads Lead to Austen by Amy Elizabeth Smith

You can then submit your pictures on the All Around the World with Jane Facebook page or email your submission to

Below are some examples of where Jane has been already (Times Square, The Jane Austen Centre in Bath, and the Sourcebooks offices!) along with the flat Stanley that you can print off (also available on the Facebook page). 

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Hop Against Homophobia - May 17 to 20

The Romance Reviews is part of the hop! Check out our post here:

Comment and have the chance to win awesome prizes!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

What is it about BDSM?

Most young girls love horses. I read once that the smaller the child, the larger the animal they will be attracted to. It kind of makes sense: when you’re tiny and vulnerable, having something strong, powerful and friendly is a nice thought, isn’t it? Kind of like having a big, strong daddy who you know loves you and will protect you. Being carried on Daddy’s shoulders is not dissimilar to riding a powerful horse.

I think there’s a connection there to the way that many women (and men too, of course) are attracted to BDSM and, in particular, power exchange (domination/submission). Women in the past had very few choices when it came to who was going to be in charge of their lives. They usually went straight from father to husband with no chance of determining for themselves how they wanted to live. Obviously it’s very different now. Women are expected to be powerful themselves, in charge of their own lives, capable of handling anything. And we are. But I think there is still a small part of our brains that yearns for that feeling of having someone big and intimidating on our side. (I’m not going to go into religion here, but you can see the parallel.)

Think about the heroes in our romance novels. The cliché is that they’re all 6’3”, ex-Special Forces, sun-kissed (i.e. rugged), and bigger than life in every possible way. If they’re not particularly muscular or trained in military combat, then they’re incredibly wealthy—which also translates to powerful. As a woman, we have some control over them, but we want them to be in charge and capable of handling anything. We like to put them in situations where they have to prove that they’re brave, capable of being warlike, and utterly dedicated to our wellbeing.

The women in BDSM novels are a little different, though, than our mothers’ “romance novel heroine.” They have troubles, of course, that they can’t handle on their own—hence the need for a hero. But they are also strong enough to submit, which is an interesting and counterintuitive concept. In our world of ultra-feminism, we like to be told that we can be strong and capable in everyday life but also be able to look to someone bigger and stronger than us when we need it. We can allow ourselves to feel cherished and protected without giving up our careers and our dignity. In the real world as well as fiction, BDSM can meet that need. Women don’t have to give up their independence in order to submit to someone—in fact, being responsible for your own happiness is a big part of the D/s lifestyle.

See my blog ( later this week for a discussion on taking D/s even further and using it for personal and professional growth.

Friday, May 11, 2012

~THE DEVIL DEVERE~ by Victoria Vane

A racy, rollicking Georgian Romance Series 

"Reckless hearts, battling wits, and plenty of steam in a wonderfully well drawn Georgian setting.”- NYT Bestselling author Grace Burrowes 
"Victoria Vane ignites the Georgian era with her delightful characters and deliciously wickedsensuality." - AllisonChase, author of Recklessly Yours 

In my recent TRR book interview  I was asked a number of great questions about my DEVIL DEVERE series, recently launched with A WILD NIGHT'S BRIDE, the first of four novellas that comprise this scorching HOT historical romance series. To explain a bit more about it, all of the novellas fit seamlessly together to tell the story of my six main characters and their respective romances with each ending with an epilogue that leads directly into the next story. I think readers will really enjoy this fresh and different approach that makes it almost like reading a serial novel.

The first title introduces all of the main characters who will appear in the other stories, and each of them are linked to one another through Viscount Ludovic "The Devil DeVere."  DeVere is a fabulous character, a master manipulator and quintessential rake, who plays a major secondary role in the first and second books, while the third and fourth are both dedicated to his story. That may seem highly unusual, but the romantic liaison between DeVere and Diana was so complex that it could be be done justice in one book. Thus, I decided to tell their history in THE DEVIL YOU KNOW and their HEA in THE DEVIL'S MATCH. These are also the longest stories. For those who MUST have a happy ending, I advise you to read  these titles back-to-back. Incidentally, these two novellas  will be combined for release in a trade paperback in late August or September.      

The cast (in order of appearance)

Viscount Ludovic "the Devil" DeVere: Devious and machinating rakehell, brother to Hew, godfather to Vesta

Sir Edward "Ned" Chambers : Respectable and celibate widower with a powerful right hook, father to Vesta, best friend to DeVere

Phoebe Scott "alias Kitty Willis": Struggling actress with a past, in need of a protector

Lady Vesta Chambers: 18-year-old daughter of Sir Edward, spoiled, passionate, willful

Captain Hewett DeVere: War hero younger brother to the viscount, his opposite in every way

Baroness Diana Palmerston-Wriothesley: Godmother to Vesta, beautiful but embittered widow with several closely guarded secrets

 Book I  A WILD NIGHT'S BRIDE (4/27/12)

What happens when a struggling actress and a grieving widower come together in a night of unbridled debauchery orchestratedby a bored and machinating rake? With the Devil in Charge, there will be Hell to pay…

She’s a lonely lady down on her luck...  Phoebe Scott, alias Kitty Willis, is a struggling Covent Garden actress with a bruised heart and a closely guarded secret.

He’s steadfast and eminently respectable... Sir Edward Chambers, Ned to his intimates, is guilt-ridden over his beloved wife’s death and avowed to live out a rustic and mundane life … of celibacy. 
With the devil in charge — there will surely be hell to pay...Devil in disguise, Viscount Ludovic DeVere, is determined to return his best friend, Ned, to the land of the living. His meddling machinations result in a night of mind blowing passion after which “dull dog Ned” awakes to find himself in the King of England’s bed! A WILD NIGHT’S BRIDE, a sexy, rollicking Georgian romp! 
Excerpt (mature content) :


Desperate times call for devilish measures… Lady Vesta Chambers is accustomed to getting what she wants, but when the object of her passion has eyes for another, it’s time to take matters in hand! 

Lady Vesta Chambers is accustomed to getting what she wants… And what she wants is Captain Hewett DeVere… Coddled and pampered, since her mother's death, Lady Vesta Chambers is beside herself when her father goes to London to prepare for her come-out and returns with a young bride of his own. With her world turned upside down, Vesta accompanies her godmother, Diana, to town, where she is smitten the moment she lays eyes on a certain captain of the Seventeenth Light Dragoons.
But when the object of her passion has eyes for another…  Captain Hewett DeVere, younger brother and heir to Viscount Ludovic "The Devil" DeVere, has returned from the American war scarred, disillusioned, and looking forward to settling down to a quiet and respectable life. But when the handsome and straight-laced captain turns his eyes toward the widowed Diana, Vesta is prepared to take devilish measures to prove just how wrong he is.
The Devil DeVere looks after his own… Recruiting the aid of her godfather, Vesta vows to prove to Hew once and for all that she is no longer a little girl, but a woman with the passion of …a huntress. Excerpt: 

Book III  THE DEVIL YOU KNOW (7/27/12)

When dealing with the devil it's easy to be burned…especially when passion ignites the flames… 

Who can find a virtuous woman… Beautiful, respectable, and dutiful, Lady Diana Palmerston-Wriothesley has long resigned herself to her decade-long loveless and childless marriage to a feckless husband…until his gambling pushes them to the brink of financial ruin. 

Sometimes the devil is in disguise…as a gentleman… Viscount Ludovic, "The Devil DeVere", is a man accustomed to taking what he wants according to his whim and heedless of the cost…until he encounters a woman who won't be had at any price.

When dealing with the devil, it's easy to be burned… When Diana discovers a secret that shatters the carefully built façade concealing her private pain, she seeks aid and comfort from the most unlikely place…the devil's arms. But will a single night of heavenly passion damn them both forever? 
Excerpt (mature content):


Blurb and cover coming soon:

I hope I have piqued everyone's interest with this sneak preview and look forward to your comments.
Warmest Regards,
Victoria Vane


A lover of history and deeply romantic stories, Victoria Vane combines these elements to craft romantic historical novels and novellas for a mature reading audience. Her writing influences are Georgette Heyer for fabulous witty dialogue and over the top characters, Robin Schone , Sylvia Day, and Charlotte Featherstone for beautifully crafted prose in stories with deep sensuality, and Lila DiPasqua for creative vision in melding history with eroticism.  Ms. Vane also writes award nominated romantic historical fiction as Emery Lee 

OTHER TITLES:     A BREACH OF PROMISE, Ellora's Cave (N.O.R. *Top Pick*)
Emery Lee Titles:  FORTUNE'S SON, SOURCEBOOKS  (TRR *Top Pick* and Best Historical Romance nominee)
                                    THE HIGHEST STAKES, Sourcebooks

Facebook:  Author Victoria Vane  and   Author Emery Lee
Twitter: @authoremerylee

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Erotic Romance Madness Hop May 10 to 14

Just a few more minutes.... Get ready to Hop, Hop, Hop!

The Romance Reviews will be giving away the following prizes to 7 lucky winners (International)!

- 3 pcs of $30 Amazon Gift Certificate (3 winners)
- 1 package of any 2 ebooks of the starter titles mentioned in the post above (1 winner)
- 1 print book from Sophie Oak (winner's choice of author's backlist) plus swag (pen, postcard, bumper sticker) (1 winner)
- 1 ebook from Sophie Oak (winner's choice of author's backlist) plus swag (pen, postcard, bumper sticker) (1 winner)
- 1 ebook copy of Songs of the Sirens: Seduction from Piper Rowan (1 winner)

How do you increase your chances to win?

 1.      Register and log in at TRR during the hop. This hop will take you to more than 50 blogs and websites, and the best news is, no need to get a pencil or open a spreadsheet to list down the blogs that you’ve visited. When you log in at TRR, TRR takes care of automatically directing you to the blog that you haven’t visited yet.

How? Just click on the TRR Erotic Madness Hop button (yes, the orange button). Whether you’re at TRR or any of the participating blogs, as long as you’re logged in at TRR, just click on the button that each blog will have on their hop post and you’re taken automatically to a blog you’ve never visited before. (Sign up/log in at The Romance Reviews.)

However, if you want to do it the manual way, feel free. We have listed the participating blogs. Take note though that you will not be eligible to win the prizes at TRR.

2.      Visit all the listed participating blogs. Each blog you visit earns you 5 chances for the prizes (only if you’re logged in). Awesome giveaways are also being given away at the blogs. So visit them!

3.      Answer all the Q&As correctly. Each correct answer earns you 10 chances for the prizes. Need I say more?

What are you waiting for? Start the blog hop here!

Monday, May 7, 2012

WINNER: Twisted by Laura Grifin

The winners of the giveaway are:



Please send me (carole @ the following information:

Snail Mail Address

Please note that you must satisfy all the rules stated in the giveaway post to be eligible. Thanks!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

In Which We Meet Our Heroine by Stefanie Sloane

Book Summary:

Possessed of a brilliant mind and a love for puzzles, Dashiell Matthews, Viscount Carrington, is a crucial member of the elite Young Corinthians spy league. Assuming the façade of an addle-brained Adonis, he hunts for a notorious London murderer known as the Bishop. When fate causes him to cross paths with Miss Elena Barnes, Dash discovers an enigma that will prove delightfully intoxicating to unravel: a voluptuous beauty as intelligent as she is fearless.

Only the lure of a collection of rare books bequeathed to her family by Dash's late father could tempt Elena from her cozy rural life to the crush and vanity of London. But if Elena finds his lordship to be the most impossibly beautiful man she's ever seen, he also seems to be the stupidest. Which made her body's shameless response to his masterful seduction all the more unfathomable. Yet when she discovers Dash's mission to track the dangerous Bishop, she willingly risks everything—her trust, her heart, her very life—to join him.

In this excerpt from THE SAINT WHO STOLE MY HEART, our heroine, Miss Elena Barnes, is busily reading—something she is quite fond of doing. And then her dear father arrives with a request that she return to London—something she's quite loathe to do. But there are books in London! FOND! And a viscount who'd never bothered to notice Elena during her coming out season. UNFOND! It's a bit of a difficult day for Elena. But she's about to embark on the adventure of her life. Read on!




Miss Elena Barnes, the only child of Henry Barnes, Baron Harcourt, wrinkled her nose in unconscious protest when her father's voice intruded upon her reading.

"I saw that." 

Elena smiled with warm affection. "You always do."

"And yet," he replied, taking a seat next to her on the chilly stone bench piled high with brocade pillows, "you continue to give yourself away. Attempting to deceive me is a hopeless habit, if there ever was one," he added amiably, settling his small frame comfortably on the makeshift settee and sighing with relief.

Elena slipped a satin ribbon between the pages to mark her place and reluctantly closed her book. Her gaze moved past the folly columns to the lake beyond and the white stone of Harcourt House shining brightly in the distance. "Really, one would think twitching my
nose would be far easier to hide, even from you, considering that fact that everyone seems to agree that I always have my nose in a book."

Her father turned to her and cleared his throat, his eyes twinkling with wry disbelief.

"Oh, all right," Elena ceded with a smile, looking at the dear man. "It is true that I spend much time reading. It's my favorite indulgence. But must Lady Van Allen mention
it at every dinner party? Even Lord Van Allen sighed when she brought it up again, and he never hears a word the woman says."

Her father reached out and took one of her hands in his, the weight and familiar feel acting as a gentle balm to Elena's stinging pride.

"Actually, I believe he does hear every word," she amended. "But it's not like the man to reveal he's heard her comments, which only proves my point. Really, I have no illusions about my status as a bluestocking. Nor does anyone else in Dorset— or the whole of England, I would venture to guess. Perhaps even the entire world, though I would have to consult Lady Van Allen on that point," she finished, winking conspiratorially.

Last evening's spring gathering had gone well and exactly as planned— with the glaring exception of Lady Van Allen's comment. The turbot had been braised to perfection, the wine her father's favorite, and those in attendance the best of friends. Elena adored every single person present, including Lady Van Allen, a bosom friend of her mother's before the baroness's death.

It was this very connection that drove the well intentioned woman to say such things, Elena reminded herself. Lady Van Allen's conviction that Elena would eventually find her prince was both endearing and vexatious. Elena was all for perseverance. She thought it a commendable trait in the right situation. But when it came to her marital status, one would have to be an absolute lackwit to hold out any shred of hope for a happy announcement in the Morning Post.

She was five- and- twenty. If there'd been a prince for her, he'd long ago gone in search of greener pastures, Elena thought philosophically. She calmly met her father's gaze, and then pointedly turned her attention to the fine day.

Brilliant yellow daffodils and creamy Lady Jane tulips bloomed in clusters about the folly. A sea of bluebells spread out before her, their miniscule heads bobbing on the breeze. And just past the lake, a doe and her speckled fawn nibbled at the sweet spring grass.

Elena contemplated the beauty of her pastoral home. She was content, in her own way. Hours spent relegated to the ranks of older women and wallflowers in ballrooms during her one season had firmly beaten down any hopes she may have harbored for a life in London. She'd been plain. And even worse, curved where she should have been straight. Heavy, when she should have been light. None of which had mattered a whit in Dorset.

But in London, everything about her appearance and comportment was taken into consideration. And the women of the ton had judged her harshly— as if her inability to attract a man somehow made her completely undeserving of kindness or friendship.

She discreetly eyed a long curl of her brown hair where it lay against her shoulder, thoughtfully studied the formless moss- green muslin gown that hid her generous curves, and finally looked at the leather-bound book in her lap.

Bluestocking. Elena could still recall the first time she'd heard a fellow debutante call her that. She'd questioned whether the funds used to sponsor a young woman's season wouldn't be better spent on the poor. The room had fallen eerily quiet at her temerity, like a Dorset winter's morn after the first snowfall.

Elena mentally shook herself from the cold, crystalized memory. She'd left London shortly after. Turned tail, some surely said. Elena, in her darkest moments, might agree.

She'd been fully aware that returning to Dorset permanently would, most likely, end any chance of a suitable match. Again, perseverance was all well and good. 

But Elena was no fool.

Her father stretched his legs, the effort causing him to wince from pain.

The movement drew Elena from her musing and she slipped the cashmere shawl from her shoulders to tuck it around her father's. "What on earth possessed you to risk inflaming your gout by venturing this far afield? It is spring, but still cold enough to do you harm."

"The lure of seeing you smile was too great to resist," he replied cryptically.

Elena narrowed her eyes. "Come now, I do so all the time. Surely you could have waited until dinner."

"Oh, but this smile . . ." Lord Harcourt paused, grinning knowingly, "This smile will rival that of Euphrosyne."

Elena's heart leapt at the mention of the Greek goddess of joy. Her father knew better than to invoke one of her favorite mythological characters without just cause.

"You've my complete attention. Please, amaze me with your news," she proclaimed eagerly.

Reaching into his waistcoat, he drew out a letter. He slowly opened the thick, cream-colored paper and began meticulously smoothing out the folds— every last one of

"You torture me for the fun of it, don't you?" Elena admonished, craning her neck in a vain attempt to read the inverted script.

Lord Harcourt chuckled and mercifully handed the letter to her. "Just a touch. You do make it so easy— and enjoyable. No one would blame me."

Elena righted the letter and began to read. The elegant handwriting was unfamiliar, but soon enough, the names mentioned within the lines began to make sense. As did the message itself. Thrilling, fantastic, perfect sense.

"Am I to understand . . ." Elena asked, carefully setting her book on the bench between them before abruptly standing with the correspondence in her hand.

"I'm afraid I won't be of much use until you complete your sentence, my dear."

Elena reread the letter, turning in slow circles as she did so. "That the fifth Viscount Carrington has died— "

"Rather a sad fact for you to be so happily contemplating, wouldn't you say," her father interrupted to point out.

"Oh, of course," she agreed remorsefully, stopping in front of him. "He was a dear friend, was he not?"

Her father grinned again. "That he was, Elena. And he'd lived an interesting life, which is a blessing, indeed. I'd venture to guess the man is sitting at the right hand of the Almighty at this very moment, happily setting to work on one puzzle or another, as he was wont to do."

Elena realized he'd only been teasing her further and frowned at him before continuing. "Am I to understand," she began again, "that the fifth viscount Carrington died and his son has offered you the late lord's entire collection of antiquarian books?"

Lord Harcourt appeared to be contemplating her words. "Yes," he finally confirmed.

"Including the Paolini?" she ventured, not stopping to scold him as she held her breath.

"Including the Paolini."

Giacomo Paolini's Abecedary Illustrations of Greek Mythology dated back to the fifteenth century. A single copy had survived. And it resided in the Carrington library.

Elena felt the rush of excitement bubble from her belly to her chest, and finally her face.

"Ah, that is the smile I was waiting for," her father said, standing with some difficulty.

She automatically offered her arm just as the sun's rays began to slant toward the horizon. "When will you go?"

"Go where, my dear?" Lord Harcourt asked as he allowed Elena to assist him down the steps of the folly.

"To Carrington House in London, of course," she replied distractedly, her mind already contemplating where the valuable tome would be placed in the library at Harcourt House.

"Oh, there. Yes, well, you see, I won't be."

Elena stopped, forcing her father to do the same. "What do you mean? Lord Carrington is expecting you."

He gestured ahead to where a cart and horse waited, and they set off once again. "That may be, but I can hardly travel with this gout plaguing me so. You will have to go in my stead."

"Father, is that really necessary?" Elena countered. "Could we not send Mr. Ghent after the book— that is, books?"

Lord Harcourt patted his daughter's hand. "And are you aware of my estate manager's knowledge of such things, my dear?"

"No," she admitted, already anticipating what would come next.

"Mr. Ghent knows no more of priceless books than a robin does," her father replied. "He's a good man, Mr. Ghent, but not the sort one sends to collect such valuables. Your expertise is needed, my dear." 

Elena could hardly argue. She would not risk her father's health by insisting that he travel, and she'd not risk the safety of the books by employing Mr. Ghent.

Besides, there was no one more uniquely qualified to catalogue the tomes than herself. Their own library was a thing of beauty, if Elena did say so herself. From the time she could toddle along with the help of her dear nurse's hand, the baron had welcomed Elena into the enormous room that housed his most prized possessions. She'd come to love not only the books themselves, but the respectful process that was required for the care and safekeeping of the delicate volumes. They were an extended family of sorts to her, each one with its own unique place in her heart.

And Lord Carrington's books? Could she leave them in the hands of an unschooled individual? Elena envisioned rare books being tossed hither and yon, thrown into trunks without the benefit of even the most basic of lists to distinguish one collection from the other. It was too much to bear.

"I see," she answered practically, relishing the warmth of the sun's fading rays. "Of course, I'll go. We've no other choice, do we?"

"No," her father confirmed, patting her arm reassuringly. 

Elena looked again at the letter in her hand. She'd met Dashiell Matthews once, which had been quite enough for her. She couldn't recall much about him, but she did remember the man had caught the attention of eligible females within the length and breadth of London— and quite a few ineligible ones as well. He was tall and broad, with golden hair and a face that could only be described as beautiful.

If you liked that sort of thing, Elena thought, feigning disinterest.

"And so I shall go," she agreed resolutely. They reached the aged farm cart and Elena allowed the groom to lift her onto the seat. She attempted to smooth her wrinkled skirt, ultimately accepting defeat and folding her hands tightly in her lap.

Returning to London had not been in her plans— ever. But neither had acquiring Paolini's Abecedary.

She would travel as soon as possible, catalogue and pack the books, then return to Harcourt House before her father had time to miss her.

Simple. Straightforward. Just as Elena preferred.

"Ms Sloane has a unique voice that allows you into her addictive Regency world where you never want to leave. With characters like Elena and Dash and drama that keeps you turning the pages, THE SAINT WHO STOLE MY HEART is sure to posses enough magic and appeal to steal your heart. " ~ Lisa Jo


Stefanie Sloane is giving away all four of the Regency Rogues books to one winner (open internationally). Awesome! Thanks, Stefanie!

Leave a comment or a question to qualify for the drawing.

Contest ends May 20.

Winner will be announced by May 25.
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