Passionate Promises Release Blitz @DRCPromo

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Release Blitz

Passionate Promises: Nine Promises to Stir Your Passion
(An Embracing Romance Anthology Book 1)

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Buy Links

Amazon: http://amzn.to/1JUgSTg

BN: http://bit.ly/1VRENUK

iBooks: http://apple.co/1VRERnh

Kobo: http://bit.ly/1VREXLy

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Nine Promises to Stir Your Passions from Award-Winning, Bestselling Authors : Bronwen Evans, Ella Quinn, Collette Cameron, Maggi Andersen, Victoria Vane, Barbara Monajem, Michelle McLean, Violetta Rand and Christy Carlyle. Enter the dazzling world of brawny Vikings, Regency rogues, and sexy scoundrels as they take you on one romantic journey after the other in these tantalizing historicals filled with betrayal, intrigue, and passion.

 

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To Challenge the Earl of Cravenswood
by Bronwen Evans

A darkened garden, a case of mistaken identity, a drunken kiss, and a dropped emerald earring, leads Henry on a Cinderella hunt.

To Live Happily Ever After….Henry St. Giles, the Earl of Cravenswood, longs to find his soulmate. Now that his two best friends, both reformed rakes, are happily married, the need becomes an obsession. When they challenge him to find a wife by the end of the season or marry his neighbor, the innocently alluring Lady Amy Shipton, he can’t believe his luck. He wins, either way. But a darkened garden, a case of mistaken identity, a drunken kiss, and a dropped emerald earring, leads Henry on a Cinderella hunt. He knows the woman he held in his arms could be the one he’s searched for all his life. He just has to find her.

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Teaser 1 - Bronwen Evans

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A Promise of Love
by Ella Quinn

Can she keep her promise and be true to herself?

American heiress Genevieve McGowan has no love for the English, and has promised her father she will never marry a scurrilous Englishman. After meeting and rejecting eligible gentlemen in both America and Paris, she’s deduced her options of finding her perfect match are non-existent. To her consternation, when she’s dragged to London for her aunt’s wedding she finds herself unexpectedly drawn to the handsome Lord Frank. Heaven help her, he’s English!

Lord Francis Trevor, second son of the Duke of Somerset, is his father’s factor. With no property of his own, he has no thoughts of marriage, until he meets the alluring Genevieve MacGowan. Rich and beautiful, she sets his pulse hammering. But her reputation precedes her. She’s not only hard to please but deeply prejudiced against the English. Determined to win her hand, he’ll do anything to convince her not all Englishmen can be so easily forgotten.

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Teaser 1 - Ella Quinn

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A Kiss for Miss Kingsley
by Collette Cameron

A sweet Regency historical of love relinquished and redeemed as once betrothed Allen Wimpleton and Olivia Kingsley meet again after a three year separation only to discover, their love is stronger than ever.

Olivia Kingsley didn’t expect to accept a marriage proposal weeks into her first Season. Afraid her eccentric father will refuse his offer, Allen Wimpleton, heir to a viscountcy, begs her to elope. Having recently lost her mother, and concerned for her father’s health, she refuses.

Dismayed by her hesitancy, and unaware of her father’s illness, Allen impulsively demands she choose—him or her father. Heartbroken at his callousness, Olivia turns her back on their love and sails to the Caribbean for what was meant to be a one year stay.

When three years pass, Allen ruefully faces the inevitable—Oliva isn’t coming back, so he moves on. After her father dies, Olivia returns to England, and they come face to face at a ball. The flames of love ignite once again, but is it too late? Has Allen found another?

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Teaser 1 - Collette Cameron

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Stirring Passions
by Maggi Andersen

A passionate promise should never be taken lightly.

Kate Kilgarth, yearning for passion and excitement far from her country village, refuses to marry her childhood best friend, Lord Laurence. But Kate finds excitement right on her doorstep. Lord Broughton has returned from abroad to restore the partly burnt-out Broughton Hall, reigniting an old mystery.

When Kate overhears two plotters, she is determined to save Broughton Hall from murderous foes. She cannot count on Laurie’s help, he has become quite stuffy since he left Cambridge. But can she trust Lord Broughton? And why has the beautiful Frenchwoman, Angelique, come to stay at the Hall?

As Kate falls headlong into love, she risks far more than she intended.

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Teaser 1 - Maggi Andersen

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A Pledge of Passion
by Victoria Vane

Only a madman makes a promise in the heat of passion…And only a fool believes him….

Only a madman makes a promise in the heat of passion... During a midnight tryst in a moonlit garden, Nicolas Needham fell in love—only to walk away. As a younger son with few connections, his pride demanded that he better his circumstances before paying his suit to Lady Mariah. After receiving a promotion in the Foreign Service, Nicolas is finally given the opportunity he needs to advance—by negotiating a contract of matrimony on the British Envoy’s behalf. Little does he know, the intended bride is the same woman to whom he once pledged himself.

And only a fool believes him…. Lady Mariah Morehaven has lived a quiet, almost reclusive life in the country. While she accepts that marriage is her unavoidable destiny, as a baroness in her own right, and heir to one of the oldest and land-rich estates in England, she fears becoming the target of fortune hunters. Entrusting her cousin’s well-connected godmother to help her find a suitable match, Mariah decides on a diplomatic envoy, only to discover the man sent to negotiate for her hand is the one who broke her heart.

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Teaser 1 - Victoria Vane

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A Highwayman’s Honor
by Michelle McLean

He’s honor bound to protect his enemy’s daughter; but he never counted on losing his heart.

Charles II’s court is dangerous for Cromwell’s old followers; especially with a cavalier highwayman determined to dispense justice. When the notoriously gallant Highland Highwayman leaves Elizabet Harding’s family on the brink of ruin, her only option is marriage to loathsome nobleman. Until she meets devilishly handsome Lord John Ramsay, whose familiar eyes betray his secret. Unmasked, he must pay the price for her silence—marriage. John’s enemies will hurt Elizabet to get to him if they can. But he promised his protection and he’ll do whatever’s necessary to defend the woman he never expected to love. No matter the consequences.

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Teaser 1 - Michelle McLean

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Lord Quickthorn’s Bargain
by Barbara Monajem

To save her sister’s virtue, will she sacrifice her own?

Sensible Gwen Appleby is aghast when her foolish sister vows to pursue the notorious rake, Lord Quickthorn. To save her sister from certain ruin, she turns to her friend, the custodian of the fairy well. A simple spell, making Lord Quickthorn indifferent to her sister’s beauty, is all that’s required.

But Gwen’s friend is no longer at the well, and the new, mischievous, very male custodian agrees on one condition: Lord Quickthorn will turn his seductive wiles on Gwen instead. To save her sister’s virtue, must Gwen sacrifice her own? Worse, will the promise of passion make her long to do so?

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Teaser 1 - Barbara Monajem

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Wanted by the Warrior
by Violetta Rand

In a land where vendettas and magic separate the north and south, forbidden love is brewing between two ancient rivals…

Lady Sophia Camerot desperately tries to behave, but simply can’t follow the rules. After a stranger saves her life, she suspects her champion is from another place. And to make matters worse, despite the political ramifications of her refusal to marry the man her father handpicked, she prays for another chance meeting with her hero.

Prince Victor Allain is the notorious heir to the Solfine throne, the last line of defense against an envious world that wants nothing more than to purge Europe of pagans. Unable to resist his attraction for Sophia, he risks everything to possess her. Hunted by enemies for breaking the law, Victor and Sophia must outmaneuver their rivals to protect Victor’s country from destructive alliances.

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Teaser 1 - Violetta Rand

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Never Tempt a Rogue
by Christy Carlyle

An infamous rogue meets his match in a feisty chaperone who has all but given up on love.

Felicity Beckett’s uncle has tasked her with one goal for Lord and Lady Forsythe’s country house party. Keep her innocent cousin away from the notorious rake, Lord Lindsay. The man’s Rogue’s Rulebook has earned him the most scandalous of reputations, but no one warned Felicity how irresistible a rogue can be.

Alex Evering, Lord Lindsay, agrees to attend his aunt and uncle’s party for a bit of enjoyment before embracing the duties of his newly inherited title, but he loathes their scheme to redeem his reputation and marry him off to a proper young lady—until he meets Miss Beckett.

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Teaser 1 - Christy Carlyle

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Join The Release Party February 19th
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The Rake’s Irish Lady Release Blitz @BarbaraMonajem @BPICPromos

The Rake’s Irish Lady
by Barbara Monajem
Series: Scandalous Kisses, #2
Genre: Historical Romance – Regency
Publisher: Soul Mate Publishing
Cover Designer: Anna Spies
Release Date: December 30, 2015

 

 

ONE WILD NIGHT . . .
Widowed & lonely, Bridget O’Shaughnessy Black indulges herself in a night of pleasure.
After all, she’s in disguise. And the baby girl? An unexpected blessing…until an old flame claims the child as his own to force Bridget to marry him.

ONE DETERMINED LADY. . .
Many women pursued Colin Warren, but only one climbed in his bedchamber window. When Bridget does it for the second time, she doesn’t have fun in mind. Colin is unfit to be a parent, and yet he has no choice but to acknowledge the little girl.

RISKING EVERYTHING FOR LOVE
Circumstances force Bridget and Colin together, yet grave differences divide them. Can love bridge the chasm that keeps them apart?

 

Bridget shouldn’t let herself smile at Colin, because that invited a smile in return. The kind with dimples and a hunger that reached his eyes.

Probably reached hers, too, so she sighed and turned away. Yearning to touch him had become a physical ache, and even a brush of his hand, much less a boost on her derriere, made it a thousand times worse.

They wouldn’t catch up to the others tonight, but tomorrow, once the rain was over, they would find an alternate route. One more night of self-control…

She was a fool to want him, but she couldn’t help it. What had come over her? Suddenly, stupidly, she was willing to risk another illegitimate child by him.

They were almost at the inn. She dreaded another restless night. She needed something to distract her. “Where are those apples? The horses deserve a treat.”

Colin passed her the basket. She took four of the wrinkled apples. They pulled up in front of a battered old building with weathered timbers and dormers peeking from under a thatched roof. No eager servant came rushing out of the inn to greet them.

“House!” Colin bellowed, opening the coach door. Without bothering to let down the steps, he took Bridget by the waist and lifted her down into the rain. This time his hands didn’t linger. “Hurry up and give them the damned apples. Let’s get out of this bloody rain.”

“Would you stop fussing?” she cried. “We’ll catch up to Martin eventually.”

“That’s not what I’m fussing about,” he snapped, heading for the rear of the coach. Bridget offered apples to the wheeler and leader on one side and then stalked around to treat the others.

A spare, grizzled man limped out of the inn. “Come in, come in,” he said, but his eyes widened at the sight of Colin, in his wet but obviously costly clothing, unearthing two valises from the boot. “I’m that sorry, sir, but I don’t have accommodation for the likes of you.”

“Does your roof leak?” Colin demanded. “Do the fireplaces smoke?”

“No sir, but—”

“Will the horses be warm and dry too?” Bridget piped up, and suddenly she began to shiver.

“Aye, the stables is fine,” the landlord said.

“Then we’ll do fine, too.” Colin dropped the valises on the doorstep. “Warm and dry is all we ask, and I’ll pay handsomely for it.”

A stout lady in an old-fashioned mobcap appeared in the doorway. “What are you waiting for, Stan? I’ll light a fire in the guest chamber. Let the gentleman and his missus in before they catch their deaths.”

*Oh, dear.*

The landlord still seemed uneasy. “I’m sorry, sir, but we’ve only the one small guest room, and not even a private parlor.”

“We’ll do fine,” Bridget and Colin said simultaneously. Their hands touched and twined together. Clung together, as if one or the other of them—or both—was afraid the other would let go. Or as if they were about to plunge off a cliff and holding on for dear life.

Bridget’s heart began to pound. She slid her gaze surreptitiously toward Colin. He wasn’t looking at her but rather straight ahead. A drop of water rolled from his wet hair, over his brow, and down to his upper lip. His tongue flicked out and licked it up.

Desire roared through her. She shuddered. His right dimple appeared, but so briefly she almost didn’t see it.

The landlady bustled away, and the landlord grabbed the valises. “Just you follow me, then. I’m Stan Butterworth, and that’s my rib, Martha.” He led them through the taproom. “You’ll want to change out of them wet clothes first of all, and then we’ll see to your supper.” He preceded them up a narrow flight of stairs. “My Martha’s a right good cook, and we had mutton stew to our dinner, but it won’t be what you’re accustomed to.”

“I’m sure it will be delicious,” Bridget managed. Could food possibly have been farther from her mind?

“It can get right rowdy in here on a fair evening,” Mr. Butterworth said, “but we won’t have much custom tonight, what with the storm and all. You’ll have a peaceful sleep.”

Colin made a sound between a snort and a laugh, but he didn’t let go of her hand.

 

 

Winner of the Holt Medallion, Maggie, Daphne du Maurier, Reviewer’s Choice and Epic awards, Barbara Monajem wrote her first story at eight years old about apple tree gnomes. She published a middle-grade fantasy when her children were young. When they grew up, she turned to writing for grownups, first the Bayou Gavotte paranormal mysteries and then Regency romances with intrepid heroines and long-suffering heroes (or vice versa). Some of her Regencies have magic in them and some don’t (except for the magic of love, which is in every story she writes).

Barbara loves to cook, especially soups, and is an avid reader. There are only two items on her bucket list: to make asparagus pudding and succeed at knitting socks (or maybe tea cozies). She’ll manage the first but doubts she’ll ever accomplish the second. This is not a bid for immortality but merely the dismal truth (hence the tea cozies, which she hasn’t tried yet). She lives near Atlanta, Georgia with an ever-shifting population of relatives, friends, and feline strays.

 

 

 

 

 

The Rake’s Irish Lady Pre-Order Blitz @BarbaraMonajem @BPICPromos

The Rake’s Irish Lady
by Barbara Monajem
Series: Scandalous Kisses, #2
Genre: Historical Romance – Regency
Publisher: Soul Mate Publishing
Cover Designer: Anna Spies
Release Date: December 30, 2015

 

ONE WILD NIGHT . . .

Widowed & lonely, Bridget O’Shaughnessy Black indulges herself in a night of pleasure.

After all, she’s in disguise. And the baby girl? An unexpected blessing…until an old flame claims the child as his own to force Bridget to marry him.

ONE DETERMINED LADY. . .

Many women pursued Colin Warren, but only one climbed in his bedchamber window. When Bridget does it for the second time, she doesn’t have fun in mind. Colin is unfit to be a parent, and yet he has no choice but to acknowledge the little girl.

RISKING EVERYTHING FOR LOVE

Circumstances force Bridget and Colin together, yet grave differences divide them. Can love bridge the chasm that keeps them apart?

Bridget crept past the mews in the murky London darkness and into the tiny garden. She’d planned it all ahead of time, so she knew exactly where to go. She knotted her skirts front and back, climbed onto the rain barrel, shinned up the drainpipe, and pulled herself onto the roof of the bump-out behind Colin Warren’s lodging house.

The bump-out housed the landlady; conveniently for Bridget, Colin occupied rooms on the first floor at the back. His windows could be accessed from its roof.

It wouldn’t have come to this if Colin Warren wasn’t a lazy, good-for-nothing rake.

Well, perhaps not good-for-nothing at all. He’d been incredibly exciting in bed years ago. What a pity that one wild night was the cause of so much trouble now.

She crept slowly across the roof, keeping low. There were two windows; when she reached the one behind which a light showed, she raised herself slowly until her eyes cleared the sill. She peered through a gap in the curtains.

There he was, the good-looking devil, slouched on the sofa, running his hands through his thick, wavy, annoyingly gorgeous hair. The fireplace glowed with fading coals; a wine bottle and a chipped cup sat on the table beside a pile of newspapers.

The very papers in which she’d advertised! She would gladly strangle him if she didn’t need his help. She sneaked to the next window, which she knew from the previous evening’s reconnaissance was Colin’s bedchamber. He slept with it open, impervious to the smoke and grime. She would never understand why anyone chose to live in this filthy city. Colin had a perfectly good estate in Lancashire a few hours’ ride from her own house, in the brisk, clean countryside.

Gently, she pushed on the window sash. She eased it up, four, eight, twelve, sixteen inches. Listened—no sound from within. She glanced about—no one. Now or never.

She rose, shoved the window up hard, and climbed through, one leg, then her body, then the other leg. The bunched-up skirts of her gown caught on the sill, ripping as she yanked it through. She lost her balance and tumbled to the floor.

“What the bloody hell?”

Ah, well. She’d hoped for a more dignified meeting, but this would have to do. She stood and began calmly untying her skirts. Calmly in appearance, at least; her heart thudded chaotically and her fingers fumbled with the knots.

Colin Warren appeared in the doorway of his bedchamber, a branch of candles in one hand. Her breath caught, just as it had the first time she’d seen him, several years ago. What was it about him? Certainly, he was a handsome fellow. He had enough charm for ten men and knew his way around the bedchamber. But otherwise he was useless. She shouldn’t be so profoundly affected by him.

He stared, bemused and not particularly disturbed, as she got the knots undone and her skirts fell to her ankles where they belonged.

“You’ve got lovely legs, darling,” he drawled, “and it’s kind of you to offer, but I’m not going to take you up on it.”

Winner of the Holt Medallion, Maggie, Daphne du Maurier, Reviewer’s Choice and Epic awards, Barbara Monajem wrote her first story at eight years old about apple tree gnomes. She published a middle-grade fantasy when her children were young. When they grew up, she turned to writing for grownups, first the Bayou Gavotte paranormal mysteries and then Regency romances with intrepid heroines and long-suffering heroes (or vice versa). Some of her Regencies have magic in them and some don’t (except for the magic of love, which is in every story she writes).

Barbara loves to cook, especially soups, and is an avid reader. There are only two items on her bucket list: to make asparagus pudding and succeed at knitting socks (or maybe tea cozies). She’ll manage the first but doubts she’ll ever accomplish the second. This is not a bid for immortality but merely the dismal truth (hence the tea cozies, which she hasn’t tried yet). She lives near Atlanta, Georgia with an ever-shifting population of relatives, friends, and feline strays.

 

 

 

 

To Kiss a Rake Release Day Blitz

 

To Kiss A Rake
by Barbara Monajem
Series: Scandalous Kisses, #1
Genre: Regency Historical Romance
Release Date: July 29, 2015

 

 

WHEN A LADY IS ABDUCTED BY MISTAKE…

Melinda Starling doesn’t let ladylike behavior get in the way of true love. She’s secretly helping with an elopement, when she’s tossed into the waiting coach and driven away by a notorious rake.

REVENGE REALLY DOESN’T PAY.

Miles Warren, Lord Garrison, comes from a family of libertines, and he’s the worst of them all—or so society believes. When Miles helps a friend to run away with an heiress, it’s an entertaining way to revenge himself on one of the gossips who slandered him.

Except that he drives off with the wrong woman…and as if that wasn’t scandalous enough, he can’t resist stealing a kiss.

 

Setup: Miles and Melinda have just been united in a marriage of great inconvenience which neither of them wished. They haven’t consummated the marriage yet (for a reason Melinda would rather I didn’t mention here). Miles is taking advantage of the next few days to work up to it, though.

     Miles guided the greys between two wagons. “Putting on an act, pretending to be madly in love, worked well enough in a pinch, but now that we’re married, we should take a different approach.”

“Which is?” asked Melinda.

“We should get to know one another,” he said.

She huffed. “Obviously we’ll do that.”

“By means of flirtation.”

That delicate flush arose in her cheeks again. “I beg your pardon?”

“Think about it. If I were courting you, we would flirt.” He paused to let her absorb the notion. “Wouldn’t we? You must have flirted with many men.” His heart beat painfully at the thought that she might continue to do so.

“Only if I knew they weren’t serious,” she said. “The moment they got that intent expression in their eyes, as if they wanted to steal a-a kiss…” Her eyes widened. For a hushed second, her gaze hovered on his lips. Abruptly, she looked away. “I wouldn’t let them.”

“Ah.” He suppressed a smile. “That privilege fell to me, and I seized it most unfairly.”

She took a deep breath. Did she realize how it made her bosom rise and fall? “And if it seemed they were on the verge of making an offer, I stopped flirting straightaway.”

“But that was then and this is now, and you’re already married to me. Think of the next few days as our courtship. We’ll drive in the Park, we’ll perhaps have ices at Gunter’s, we may even get invited to a ball or two, and…”

“We’ll flirt.” She glanced at him from under her lashes—at his mouth again—and away.

“But it will be much different from before. Instead of stopping at the first sign of serious intent, you’ll carry on as if your interest is as genuine as mine.”

She chewed on her bottom lip. She toyed with the fingertips of her glove.

“As if it’s leading somewhere,” he said.

Melinda knew perfectly well that he meant the consummation of their marriage, but why must she blush so easily? She’d mentioned that kiss, and all of a sudden she couldn’t keep her eyes away from his mouth. “Which it is,” she said gruffly. There wasn’t much room on the seat of the curricle—enough for the two of them, but very little space between. She’d never flirted with a man in such close proximity before. It certainly added spice to the experience.

“So there’s no reason to shy away or give me the cold shoulder or whatever you did to those fellows,” he said. “You may indulge your natural enjoyment of flirtation as much as you like.”

She bristled at that. “Who told you I enjoy flirting?” Then she remembered. “Is it something Lord Bottleford said? He was forever reprimanding me for being too friendly, and saying a lady should maintain a proper distance at all times. To him, that meant ignoring everyone else and listening enraptured while he prosed on and on. And on.” She rolled her eyes. “And on.”

His lips twitched. His eyes gleamed. Something inside her did a strange little flip.

She pulled herself together. He disconcerted her without even saying a word. “Who, then? My grandmother?”

“No, I didn’t mean you in particular, but rather one’s natural tendency to flirt with members of the opposite sex. It’s quite primitive, I think—rather like mating rituals of birds or beasts.”

Primitive. What an odd word to use of flirting, which had always seemed a highly civilized behavior until now. And yet…how very enticing.

She wanted him to kiss her again.

 

 

Winner of the Holt Medallion, Maggie, Daphne du Maurier, Reviewer’s Choice and Epic awards, Barbara Monajem wrote her first story at eight years old about apple tree gnomes. She published a middle-grade fantasy when her children were young. When they grew up, she turned to writing for grownups, first the Bayou Gavotte paranormal mysteries and then Regency romances with intrepid heroines and long-suffering heroes (or vice versa). Some of her Regencies have magic in them and some don’t (except for the magic of love, which is in every story she writes).

Barbara loves to cook, especially soups, and is an avid reader. There are only two items on her bucket list: to make asparagus pudding and succeed at knitting socks. She’ll manage the first but doubts she’ll ever accomplish the second. This is not a bid for immortality but merely the dismal truth. She lives near Atlanta, Georgia with an ever-shifting population of relatives, friends, and feline strays.

 

 

 

 

 

 

To Kiss a Rake Pre-Order Blitz

 

To Kiss A Rake
by Barbara Monajem
Series: Scandalous Kisses, #1
Genre: Regency Historical Romance
Release Date: July 29, 2015

 

 

WHEN A LADY IS ABDUCTED BY MISTAKE…

Melinda Starling doesn’t let ladylike behavior get in the way of true love. She’s secretly helping with an elopement, when she’s tossed into the waiting coach and driven away by a notorious rake.

REVENGE REALLY DOESN’T PAY.

Miles Warren, Lord Garrison, comes from a family of libertines, and he’s the worst of them all—or so society believes. When Miles helps a friend to run away with an heiress, it’s an entertaining way to revenge himself on one of the gossips who slandered him.

Except that he drives off with the wrong woman…and as if that wasn’t scandalous enough, he can’t resist stealing a kiss.

 

Setup: Melinda Starling was abducted by mistake and is now being returned home by her abductor. She falls asleep in the carriage.

Melinda dreamed she was safe in the arms of a truly wonderful man. He adored her with a passion that knew no bounds; she loved him with all her heart. The swaying of the coach pressed them together. She inhaled his warm, male scent and snuggled closer, savoring the way her breast rubbed against his arm. She ached for the pressure of his lips on hers, yearning, yearning… She always woke before her dream lover kissed her.

Not this time. His lips were warm and soft, his breath hot and laced with brandy. Her lips parted instinctively beneath his, and she heard herself give a little moan of pleasure. The tip of his tongue slipped between her lips and touched hers.

The coach came to a halt. Her eyes fluttered open as she woke. The obnoxious lord who’d sworn he wouldn’t touch her broke the kiss, still holding her in his arms. She shoved at him, but he held fast.

“How dare you?” she cried.

The interior of the coach was still cloaked in gloom, but dawn was well on the way. She caught a glimpse of amused eyes before he pulled the brim of his hat over his face. “You fell asleep and slid right into my arms,” he said, his calm voice feeding her rage. “I couldn’t resist.”

She wiped a hand across her mouth. “I was—I was—” She couldn’t get the words out. She’d been saving her first kiss for the man she would marry, and this dastardly person had stolen it.

Thank God she was home. She wrenched herself from his arms just as the groom opened the door.      She tumbled out of the coach without waiting for the steps, gathered the skirts of her costume, and ran up the pavement to the house.

She lifted the knocker and rapped it hard against the door, and rapped it again. And waited, shivering in the chill dawn wind, her arms tight about herself. Hurry!

No one answered. The servants must be asleep, but surely Grandmama would have left someone on watch for her. She knocked once again. And waited.

Silence, but for the shuffling of the horses, the barking of a dog, and the rumble of a wagon in the next street. London was coming to life.

She turned, anxious now. Why did the coach still wait? “You needn’t stay any longer. Someone will wake up and let me in.”

“Someone should already be awake and waiting,” the man said irritably from within the coach. He didn’t give the order to leave.

Melinda rapped again. What was going on? She thought she heard a sound within the house, thought she heard a voice, and knocked once more… Nothing. This was ghastly. She had to get indoors before someone saw her.

“Miss Starling, are you sure this is the right house?” The man who’d kissed her was framed in the coach window, his hat low over his brow once again.

“Of course I’m sure. Why don’t they answer?”

“Try the area stairs,” he suggested softly.

She’d never gone in by the servants’ entrance, but it was a good idea, the sort she would usually think of herself, but she couldn’t get her mind to work properly. She lifted the latch and hurried down the steep, winding stairs, shivering now from anxiety as much as the chill dawn air. She banged hard on the door. It was close to the housekeeper’s room, so surely that kindly woman would hear.

From inside the house came a furious bellow. “No! Do not open that door.”

Melinda froze. That was Grandma’s voice. She was…ordering the housekeeper not to let Melinda inside.

Her shiver became a tremble. She stumbled up the steep, narrow stairs and through the gate. She gaped at the dark house, her home, its curtains drawn like the blank eyes of a statue, cold and forbidding and utterly silent again.

“Damn,” the man who had kissed her said. “What the devil is going on?”

The sky lightened, and it finally dawned on Melinda. Grandmama wasn’t going to let her in. She’d been turned away from her own home.

“Did I hear her say not to open the door to you?” the man asked in a low, disbelieving voice.

Melinda blinked back hot, horrified tears and faced him, away from the house and the grandmother who had always wanted to be rid of her. “She used to threaten to wash her hands of me,” she said. “And now she has done it.”

 

 

 

Winner of the Holt Medallion, Maggie, Daphne du Maurier, Reviewer’s Choice and Epic awards, Barbara Monajem wrote her first story at eight years old about apple tree gnomes. She published a middle-grade fantasy when her children were young. When they grew up, she turned to writing for grownups, first the Bayou Gavotte paranormal mysteries and then Regency romances with intrepid heroines and long-suffering heroes (or vice versa). Some of her Regencies have magic in them and some don’t (except for the magic of love, which is in every story she writes).

Barbara loves to cook, especially soups, and is an avid reader. There are only two items on her bucket list: to make asparagus pudding and succeed at knitting socks. She’ll manage the first but doubts she’ll ever accomplish the second. This is not a bid for immortality but merely the dismal truth. She lives near Atlanta, Georgia with an ever-shifting population of relatives, friends, and feline strays.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lady of the Flames Blog Tour

 

Lady of the Flames
by Barbara Monajem
Series: A Most Peculiar Season
Genre: Regency Historical Paranormal Romance
Release Date: March 23, 2015

 

 

Magic is fraught with peril—but so is love.

Lord Fenimore Trent’s uncanny affinity for knives and other sharp blades led to knife fights, duels, and murderous brawls. Five years ago, he faced a choice: marry Andromeda Gibbons, the woman he loved, or find a safe, peaceful use for his blades by opening a furniture shop—an unacceptable occupation for a man of noble birth. The choice made itself when Andromeda turned to another man. The furniture shop prospered, but now Fen’s partner has been accused of treason. In order to root out the real traitor, he may face another unpalatable choice—to resort to the violent use of his blades once again.

Once upon a time, Andromeda Gibbons believed in magic. That belief faded after her mother’s death and vanished completely when Lord Fenimore, the man she loved, spurned her. Five years later, Andromeda has molded herself into a perfect—and perfectly unhappy—lady. When she overhears her haughty betrothed, the Earl of Slough, plotting treason, she flees into the London night—to Fen, the one man she knows she can trust. But taking refuge with Fen proves to mean far more than getting help—it means learning to believe in love, magic, and the real Andromeda once again.

 

 

Years ago, Andromeda had felt no need to talk when with Fen, but now it was uncomfortable, like conversing with a stranger. She took a sip of coffee and ate a sausage roll. She sipped some more coffee. She gazed around the room and finally found something to say.“Did you carve the figures on your looking-glass frame?” she said. As a boy, he had whittled constantly. “They seem so…familiar somehow.”

“They should,” he said with a sudden smile. “I carved it from my memories of the fairies and hobgoblins back home.”

“Fairies and hobgoblins?”

“At your father’s estate,” he said. “Surely you remember Cuff the bedchamber hob, and Heck the buttery spirit, and all the rest.”

“My mother told stories about them,” Andromeda said, nostalgia filling her again. “I must say, I like the way you’ve imagined them.”

Fen frowned at her, his smile fading, his eyes perplexed. “I didn’t imagine them,” he said. “I saw them.”

Andromeda rolled her eyes. “That sounds like something my mother would have said.”

“Because she saw them, too.”

Andromeda began to be annoyed. “Don’t be ridiculous, Fen. She made up stories based on tales she was told as a child.”

Fen shook his head. “You saw them when you were small. You saw Cuff and Heck and the others. We both did.”

“No,” Andromeda said. “We saw movement out of the corners of our eyes and said they were fairies, but we were just playing games.”

Fen’s expression was pained. “You really don’t remember, do you?”

“There’s nothing to remember,” she insisted, wolfing down another cream puff. “As a matter of fact, that happened to me this morning. I had the impression that one of the creatures on the looking-glass winked at me, but of course it didn’t really do so.”

“What a pity,” Fen said.

“What’s that supposed to mean?”

“That you’ve forgotten. That wink was Cuff’s way of saying good-day to you. He’s somewhere hereabouts. He’s the only one I didn’t have to carve from memory, because he came with me when I left home.” He glanced toward the tin cup and plate by the wall. “He ate the bread and milk I put out, and I gave him the rest of your brandy, too.”

She couldn’t stand any more of this. “Fen, stop this nonsense! We’re in danger from traitors and spies who murder people, and all you can talk about is hobgoblins.”

He went on as if she hadn’t spoken. “I wondered why he came with me when I left, but it’s because he enjoys human company.” He grimaced. “Your father and aunt aren’t his sort of humans. I thought you were, and so did your mother, but evidently you’re not.”

That struck her like a blow. “What do you mean, my mother thought I was. Was what?”

“She had a sizeable amount of fairy blood, so she thought you must have some, too—but perhaps she was wrong.” He paused. “I know I have some. It’s not uncommon for children to see fairies, but I didn’t lose that when I grew up. Not only that, it’s their magic that guides my knives and tools, and inspires me when it comes to furniture design.”

She couldn’t bear it. “Stop it! You’re as—as mad as my mother was.”

“She wasn’t mad, Andromeda.” He sighed. “And whether or not you see the fairies, they’re still here.”

She put her hands to her ears and shut her eyes. After all the chaos of yesterday, this was too much. When he said and did nothing, she opened her eyes again. “Why did she discuss me with you?”

“Who else was there to speak to? Your father and aunt, although worthy people, wouldn’t have understood. They already found her far too strange.”

This was true—but it was because Mama’s mind was unbalanced.

“She knew I cared for you,” Fen said.

His eyes were kind but dispassionate; his use of the past tense meant that he didn’t care anymore, except perhaps as an old friend. Why couldn’t she become accustomed? Every single reminder hurt.

“You believed in them at the time your mother died,” he said. “She gave you that heart-shaped locket, didn’t she?” It still hung at her breast, but she resisted the urge to clasp it in her hand.

“I was nine years old. I believed in many foolish things then,” she retorted. Such as magic, but a household run by her aunt was no longer vibrant with promise or belief in anything much at all. And then, when she was seventeen, Fen had destroyed what little belief remained. She didn’t try to keep the bitterness from her voice. “I learned soon enough what utter nonsense it all was.”

He watched her, head cocked to one side, as if she were some strange, incomprehensible creature. “As a matter of interest, when did you stop believing?”

How dare he ask such a personal question? “What business is that of yours?”

“None, I suppose.” He shrugged and stood. “Stay away from the windows. I’ll see if my valet has found you something to wear.” He took the last of the beignets, set it on a saucer, and left it on the floor by the wall.

As if prying into her business wasn’t enough, now he was mocking her. Did he seriously expect her to believe that a hobgoblin would eat the beignet? Anger stirred and grew within her. “If you must know, it was at the same time I gave up other foolishness, such as believing in love!”

Fen stared at her, his expression incredulous. He left the room, slamming the door behind him. By what right was he upset? Not content with playing stupid games with her, did he really not remember what he’d done to her five years ago?

 

 

 

Paperback

 

Barbara Monajem grew up in western Canada. She wrote her first story, a fantasy about apple tree gnomes, when she was eight years old, and dabbled in neighborhood musicals at the age of ten. At twelve, she spent a year in Oxford, England, soaking up culture and history, grubbing around at an archaeological dig, playing twosy-ball against the school wall, and spending her pocket money on adventure novels. Thanks to her mother, she became addicted to Regency romances as well. She is the award-winning author of several Regency novellas, many of which include elements of magic, and the Bayou Gavotte series of paranormal mysteries. Apart from writing, she loves to cook (especially soups), and the only item on her bucket list is to be successful at knitting socks (which she doesn’t expect to achieve). She lives near Atlanta, Georgia, with an ever-shifting population of relatives, friends, and feline strays.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lady of the Flames Release Day Blitz

 

Lady of the Flames
by Barbara Monajem
Series: A Most Peculiar Season
Genre: Regency Historical Paranormal Romance
Release Date: March 23, 2015

 

 

Magic is fraught with peril—but so is love.

Lord Fenimore Trent’s uncanny affinity for knives and other sharp blades led to knife fights, duels, and murderous brawls. Five years ago, he faced a choice: marry Andromeda Gibbons, the woman he loved, or find a safe, peaceful use for his blades by opening a furniture shop—an unacceptable occupation for a man of noble birth. The choice made itself when Andromeda turned to another man. The furniture shop prospered, but now Fen’s partner has been accused of treason. In order to root out the real traitor, he may face another unpalatable choice—to resort to the violent use of his blades once again.

Once upon a time, Andromeda Gibbons believed in magic. That belief faded after her mother’s death and vanished completely when Lord Fenimore, the man she loved, spurned her. Five years later, Andromeda has molded herself into a perfect—and perfectly unhappy—lady. When she overhears her haughty betrothed, the Earl of Slough, plotting treason, she flees into the London night—to Fen, the one man she knows she can trust. But taking refuge with Fen proves to mean far more than getting help—it means learning to believe in love, magic, and the real Andromeda once again.

 

“It’s time for bed now,” Fen said.

Andromeda’s eyes widened, but mercifully she was too exhausted to try any of her wiles on him. Not that she seemed so inclined at the moment, but earlier, when their eyes had met for a few seconds, he’d wondered. Oh, how he remembered kissing and licking those lovely feet—and stopping right there, for if he hadn’t, his tongue would have wandered elsewhere and feasted indeed.

He knew for certain that she remembered it, too.

But he also doubted that she could undress by herself. “There are no women here, so I suppose I’ll have to unlace your stays.” He knew he sounded surly but couldn’t help it. Time was when he’d wanted nothing more than to love this woman forever.

“If you don’t mind,” she said stiffly, standing up, hissing as her injured feet touched the rug. She pulled a small reticule from the top of her stays and set it on the dresser. “If I can put up with it, surely you can, too.”

He swore under his breath and went behind her to undo the hooks at the back of the gown. Quickly, he unlaced her stays and stood back. “I’ll give you something of mine to wear. It’ll be too big, but you need more than a shift.” He went over to his chest of drawers, pulled out a nightshirt, and tossed it onto the bed.

This would not be comfortable or easy, but they both had to sleep. “There’s a chamber pot under the bed. I’ll be back in a few minutes.” He went to the door. “Call me when you’re ready.”

“Ready for what?”

“To go to bed.” She frowned, and he added, “When you’ve changed into the nightshirt and used the chamber pot and done whatever else you have to do. There’s a hairbrush on the dressing table if you need it.”

“Very well, but why would I call you?”

“So I can come to bed, too,” he said.

She was already pale with fatigue, but now she went stark white. “You can’t come to bed…in here…with me!”

Considering the way she’d thrown herself at him five years ago, this should be hilarious. It wasn’t. It made him want to swear and throw things. “I have nowhere else to sleep.”

“No other bedchambers?”

“One, but it belongs to my valet.”

“No settee? No sofa?” She clenched her small fists.

“Only chairs. And before you ask, we’re out of sofas in the shop, too.” A damned good thing, because he didn’t relish sleeping in the showroom for all his workers to find in the morning. “I need what little sleep I can get. The next few days are going to be hell in too many ways.”

If she took that as an insult, so be it. She put her hands on her hips and tried to look fierce, but her lip trembled.

He relented a little. “Don’t be a fool, Andromeda. We’re not going to do anything we shouldn’t.”

She narrowed her eyes. “No, we certainly are not.”

Lord, what a fiasco. “Then what’s bothering you?”

“I won’t be able to sleep at all if you’re naked!”

He burst out laughing. Was that all that bothered her?

“It’s not proper,” she shouted, crimson with rage. The fire crackled, sounding as angry as she. “It’s not right!”

“Hush,” he retorted. “Someone might hear you.”

“Just because I’m now completely ruined doesn’t mean I should be treated like a trollop.”

Where had she got that idea? He’d thought he was treating her rather well. “I won’t be naked, you idiotic girl,” he said. “I’ll wear what I have on now.”

“It’s still not right,” she said. “I’m unmarried. I can’t share my bed with a man.”

“In case you have forgotten,” he said between his teeth, “it’s my bed, and I don’t want you there, either.” He lit a candle from the branch on the dresser and went to the door. “But unless you wish to sleep on the floor, that’s the way it will be.” He left the room, shutting the door behind him.

 

 

Paperback

 

Barbara Monajem grew up in western Canada. She wrote her first story, a fantasy about apple tree gnomes, when she was eight years old, and dabbled in neighborhood musicals at the age of ten. At twelve, she spent a year in Oxford, England, soaking up culture and history, grubbing around at an archaeological dig, playing twosy-ball against the school wall, and spending her pocket money on adventure novels. Thanks to her mother, she became addicted to Regency romances as well. She is the award-winning author of several Regency novellas, many of which include elements of magic, and the Bayou Gavotte series of paranormal mysteries. Apart from writing, she loves to cook (especially soups), and the only item on her bucket list is to be successful at knitting socks (which she doesn’t expect to achieve). She lives near Atlanta, Georgia, with an ever-shifting population of relatives, friends, and feline strays.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lady of the Flames Cover Reveal

 

Lady of the Flames
by Barbara Monajem
Series: A Most Peculiar Season
Genre: Regency Historical Paranormal Romance
Release Date: March 23, 2015

 

 

Magic is fraught with peril—but so is love.

Lord Fenimore Trent’s uncanny affinity for knives and other sharp blades led to knife fights, duels, and murderous brawls. Five years ago, he faced a choice: marry Andromeda Gibbons, the woman he loved, or find a safe, peaceful use for his blades by opening a furniture shop—an unacceptable occupation for a man of noble birth. The choice made itself when Andromeda turned to another man. The furniture shop prospered, but now Fen’s partner has been accused of treason. In order to root out the real traitor, he may face another unpalatable choice—to resort to the violent use of his blades once again.

Once upon a time, Andromeda Gibbons believed in magic. That belief faded after her mother’s death and vanished completely when Lord Fenimore, the man she loved, spurned her. Five years later, Andromeda has molded herself into a perfect—and perfectly unhappy—lady. When she overhears her haughty betrothed, the Earl of Slough, plotting treason, she flees into the London night—to Fen, the one man she knows she can trust. But taking refuge with Fen proves to mean far more than getting help—it means learning to believe in love, magic, and the real Andromeda once again.

 

Setup: After learning of a treasonous plot, Andromeda fled into the London night to find Lord Fenimore, a man she can trust.

There was a woman outside his window, and as Fen pushed it full open, he realized who she was. “What the devil are you doing here?” he said.

Andromeda burst into tears. Oh, hell. Fen climbed out onto the roof.

Diggs, the beggar who habitually slept in the yard, called from below. “You want I should fetch the Watch, my lord?”

“Unnecessary.” Fen pulled the sobbing Andromeda to her feet. She gasped as if in pain, and tears streamed down her face. Her hair lay in a tangle on her shoulders, and her slippers were torn to ribbons. Had she walked all the way here in footwear suited only for dancing at a ball? What in hell was going on?

His mind raced through the possibilities of what her arrival just before dawn, exhausted and distraught, might mean. She wasn’t wearing the same gown as before–probably because she’d spilled her wine on it.

A knife on the roof beside her was making its presence known. Be still, he told it. Was that blood on the blade? “Damn.” Confound it, he’d cursed again, but he couldn’t afford to have a woman on the premises. It just wouldn’t do, and especially not this woman, and especially not now.

“Don’t usually see visitors of the female persuasion here, my lord.” Diggs sounded amused. Everyone knew about Fen’s past reputation, even though he’d been discreet for five years.

“That’s not about to change. She’s just a friend who’s gotten herself into a spot of trouble.”

Diggs snorted, and Andromeda gaped at Fen with wide, tear-drenched eyes. What if she really were with child? He hoped she wasn’t such a fool, but he didn’t intend to let it become his problem.

He pushed her gently toward the window. “Go inside and wait for me. I’ll take you straight home.”

“No!” squeaked Andromeda. “Please, you mustn’t. It’s—it’s life or death, Fen.”

“Go inside,” Fen said through gritted teeth. “Now.”

Andromeda hiccupped on a sob and got a hold of herself. She hiked her skirts, hobbled to the window, and hitched one leg over the sill. Her gown rode up, revealing shapely legs. She sagged inward, raised the other leg, and would have toppled inside if Fen hadn’t grabbed her by the arm and bum and let her down slowly.

He made a point of not noticing the soft plumpness of that bum.

He padded across the roof of the bump-out, got down on his haunches, and spoke quietly to Diggs. “Go back to sleep, and keep your mouth shut about this. There’ll be a shilling for you in the morning.”

“Right you are, my lord.”

Fen watched the beggar amble back to his pile of rags. What had happened to Andromeda between an hour ago and now? Why had she come to him? Why didn’t she want to go home? And what the devil was he going to do with her?

He pulled himself together; he would get the story from her soon enough.

The knife came eagerly to his reaching hand. He climbed in the window, shut it, and closed the curtains. Andromeda was huddled on the hearthrug, eyes closed, her knees drawn up to her chest, racked by great, convulsive shudders.

He set the knife on the dressing table, examining in the candlelight the dark stains on the blade. He put one fingertip to the sticky blade, then sniffed it. Blood indeed.

Something terrible must have happened to drive Andromeda here, and she was clearly in a state of shock. He knew an urge to take her in his arms, to hold and comfort her, but dismissed that as insanity. He had almost ruined his life once for Andromeda; never again.

He lit the branch of candles on the dresser. “I’ll start a fire, shall I?” he said briskly. “Get you warmed up.”

She opened her eyes and stared at him, teeth chattering. “Y-y-you’re stark naked, Fen.”

 

 

 

Barbara Monajem grew up in western Canada. She wrote her first story, a fantasy about apple tree gnomes, when she was eight years old, and dabbled in neighborhood musicals at the age of ten. At twelve, she spent a year in Oxford, England, soaking up culture and history, grubbing around at an archaeological dig, playing twosy-ball against the school wall, and spending her pocket money on adventure novels. Thanks to her mother, she became addicted to Regency romances as well. She is the award-winning author of several Regency novellas, many of which include elements of magic, and the Bayou Gavotte series of paranormal mysteries. Apart from writing, she loves to cook (especially soups), and the only item on her bucket list is to be successful at knitting socks (which she doesn’t expect to achieve). She lives near Atlanta, Georgia, with an ever-shifting population of relatives, friends, and feline strays.