GREAT SUMMER READS 2019, PART 1 – FEATURING AUTHOR ZINA ABBOTT





My name is Robyn Echols. Zina Abbott is the pen I use for my historical novels. I’m a member of Women Writing the West and Western Writers of America. I currently live with my husband in California’s central valley near the “Gateway to Yosemite.”

I love to read, quilt, work with digital images on my photo editing program, and work on my own family history.

I am a blogger. In addition to my own blog, I blog for several group blogs including the Sweet Americana Sweethearts blog, which I started and administer.




Will Virginia’s chosen vocation fill the empty spaces in her heart?

It is 1858. With both parents dead, Virginia Atwell lives with her older brother, Jefferson, and his family in Booneville, Missouri. Under the pseudonym, V. A. Wellington, she secretly has been submitting articles to a well-respected investigative journal about controversial topics. To her dismay, she learns her family plans to buy new farmland in the wilds of central Kansas Territory, making it almost impossible for her to continue her clandestine article submissions. More importantly, Virginia is terrified of the prospect of living so close to hostile Indian tribes and dying by their hands because they resent white Americans moving onto their traditional buffalo hunting grounds.

Virginia persuades her brothers to give her a share of their parents’ inheritance so she may attend one of the few colleges in Ohio that accepts female students. There, she finds Avery Wilson, one of her professors and fellow boarder at Bettina Calloway’s boarding house, resentful of female students, conceited and annoying, especially after his criticism and resentment directed towards the author, V. A. Wellington, whose articles are published while his submissions are rejected.

Virginia’s publisher insists V. A. Wellington meet with him in person in St. Louis to discuss a new assignment. When her landlady insists she cannot travel alone, Avery, curious about Virginia’s secretive meeting and unable to resist his growing attraction to the irritating but brilliant student, offers to escort her.

Once the editor discovers his star contributor is a woman, he refuses to send her to write about conditions on the Kaw reservation and the proposed treaty the government intends to impose on the natives. Hoping to favorably impress the editor, Avery offers to pose as Virginia’s fiancé in order to accompany and protect her on her assignment. Her heart goes out to the Kaw, but what can fill the empty spaces of her heart?

Virginia’s Vocation is also part of the author’s Atwell Kin series




Top Ten List:

1.  My faith and attending Church
2.  My family
3.  Writing
4.  Reading books
5.  Dark chocolate (There is a symbiotic relationship between 3, 4, & 5)
6.  Road trips with my husband
7.  Attending writing conventions (6 & 7 are also related)
8.  Quilting
9.  Digital photo-editing

10.  Genealogy





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GREAT SUMMER READS 2019, PART 1 – FEATURING AUTHOR FIONA INGRAM




I am a children’s author, but up until a few years ago, I was a journalist and editor. Something rather unexpected sparked my new career as an author—a family trip to Egypt with my mother and two young nephews. We had a great time and I thought I’d write them a short story as a different kind of souvenir…. Well, one book and a planned book series later, I had changed careers. I have now published Book 3 (The Temple of the Crystal Timekeeper) in my MG adventure series Chronicles of the Stone, with many awards for the first book, The Secret of the Sacred Scarab, and a few for Book 2, The Search for the Stone of Excalibur, and one already for Book 3! I also teach online novel writing for aspiring authors and I find that very satisfying. Relaxation time finds me enjoying something creative or artistic, music, books, theatre or ballet. I love doing research for my book series. I love animals and have written two animal rescue stories. I have two adorable (naughty) little dogs called Chloe and Pumpkin, and a beautiful black cat called Bertie.





 A 5000-year-old mystery comes to life when a scruffy peddler gives Adam and Justin Sinclair an old Egyptian scarab on their very first day in Egypt. Only when the evil Dr. Faisal Khalid shows a particular interest in the cousins and their scarab, do the boys realise they are in terrible danger. 

Justin and Adam embark upon the adventure of a lifetime, taking them down the Nile and across the harsh desert in their search for the legendary tomb of the Scarab King, an ancient Egyptian ruler. They are plunged into a whirlpool of hazardous and mysterious events when Dr. Khalid kidnaps them.  With just their wits, courage, and each other, the boys manage to survive … only to find that the end of one journey is the beginning of another! 
 This is a must-read for Middle Graders keen on action, adventure, and Arthurian stories! 

Cousins Adam and Justin Sinclair are hot on the trail of the second Stone of Power, one of seven ancient stones lost centuries ago. This stone might be embedded in the hilt of a newly discovered sword that archeologists believe belonged to King Arthur: Excalibur. 

However, their long-standing enemy, Dr. Khalid, is following them as they travel to Scotland to investigate an old castle. Little do they know there is another deadly force, the Eaters of Poison, who have their own mission to complete. Time is running out as the confluence of the planets draws closer. Can Justin and Adam find the second Stone of Power and survive? 



A plane crash! Lost in the Mexican jungle! Will Adam, Justin, and Kim survive long enough to find the Third Stone of Power?
With only a young boy, Tukum, as their guide, the kids make their way through the dense and dangerous jungle to find the lost city of stone gods, where the Stone of Power might be located. River rafting on a crocodile-infested river and evading predators are just part of this hazardous task.

Of course, their old adversary Dr. Khalid is close behind as the kids press on. But he is not the worst of their problems. This time Adam will clash with a terrible enemy who adopts the persona of an evil Aztec god, Tezcatlipoca, and is keen to revive the ancient tradition of human sacrifice.  Will they emerge alive from the jungle? Will Dr. Khalid find the third Stone of Power before they do?

   



Top Ten List:

1.     Travel – I have been fortunate enough to visit many countries but there are still more on my list.
2.     Animals – I love animals and wish I had tons of money to donate to many of the causes I read about. One day, I will!
3.     Movies – I LOVE movies. Detective, thrillers, animal feel goods, historical series, adventure, action, marvel character movies, I love it!
4.     Books – I LOVE books, of course, and still have many of my old childhood favourites inherited from my parents and grandparents.
5.     Music – listening to music, mainly classical and movie themes, is very relaxing.
6.     Theatre and ballet – would you believe it I started out studying drama at university, went to drama school in London and mime school in Paris, came back home and ended up in writing and publishing.
7.     Writing – not just writing middle grade adventures though. I have an alter ego named Arabella Sheraton who writes Regency romances and has actually written more books than I have. Arabella is the proud author of eight books so far. Do I have a problem wearing two hats? Not at all. I love jumping into a historical fiction romance and having fun.
8.     Antiques and collectibles – I have inherited so many beautiful antiques (furniture and collectibles) but that hasn’t stopped me browsing flea markets and antique shops to enjoy the beautiful items of yesteryear and sometimes buy.
9.     Friends/family – getting together with good friends is something that can’t be beaten. I love having friends/family over and making a great dinner for us to enjoy.
10.Giving talks on child literacy – I didn’t start off as an expert on child literacy, but after I fostered and later adopted my daughter Mabel (a disadvantaged young African girl) I had to learn pretty quickly because she came to me just about illiterate at age eleven. From my experiences in teaching Mabel to read, I then was asked to address many institutions and groups on the topic. I enjoy helping parents and teachers to get kids to love reading.





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GREAT SUMMER READS FEATURING LAURIE (L.C.) LEWIS

 

 

 

 

Laurie (L.C.) Lewis will always be a Marylander at heart—a weather-whining lover of crabs, American history, and the sea. She admits to being craft-challenged, particularly lethal with a glue gun, and a devotee of sappy movies. Her ninth published novel, her first romance novella, Sweet Water, was inspired by a visit to Oregon’s magnificent coastline, and time spent with Mother Eugenie, upon whom the character Mother Thomasine is based.

Laurie’s women’s fiction novels include The Dragons of Alsace Farm (2016), Awakening Avery (2010), and Unspoken (2004), written as Laurie Lewis.

Using the pen name L.C. Lewis, she wrote the five volumes of her award-winning FREE MEN and DREAMERS historical fiction series, set against the backdrop of the War of 1812: Dark Sky at Dawn (2007), Twilight’s Last Gleaming (2008), Dawn’s Early Light (2009), Oh, Say Can You See? (2010), and In God is Our Trust, (2011).

She is currently completing a political suspense novel planned for a summer 2018 release, are -release of a romantic comedy, and she’s working on another historical fiction novel for a 2018 release. She loves to hear from readers.

 

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Matthew Grayken is young, successful, and dying, which is why he’s about to propose to a total stranger. He isn’t interested in love. He needs a caregiver, a companion, and someone to be his legal voice when he can no longer speak for himself.

Lonely, compassionate nurse Mikaela Compton is intrigued by Matt Grayken’s tender request, but when their friendly marriage turns into love, she rejects the inevitability of Matt’s death and prays for a miracle instead.

Mikaela succeeds in reigniting Matt’s will to fight, but his body is losing the battle, and her determination to save him causes her to betray the fundamental promise she made him–to help him die peaceably.

Their last hope at saving Matt’s life will require a sacrifice from each of them and force them to decide how far out on a limb they’re willing to go for love.

 

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“Mikaela swallowed hard and leaned forward. “So why marry me? Why not just hire me?”

“Because I don’t want to be the pitiful soul with only an attorney, billing hourly, as his voice. I want a wife with the legal power to speak for me when I can’t speak for myself and the personal connection no one else will challenge.”

“Like your parents when they come to take control of your care.”

“As well-intentioned as they’d be, yes. And I trust you.”

“You’d be pitting me against them.” She leaned back, but he was impressed that she wasn’t discounting everything he had said. “No. I would make my wishes clear. You would just enforce them when I no longer can.” He leaned farther forward, to close the distance between them, and looked straight into her eyes. “I know you’re alone, and I know money’s an issue. I can fix that. I have a lovely home that will be yours when I’m gone. And I’ll pay off your debts and provide tuition to medical school. You’ll be a doctor, Mikaela.”

 

 

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GREAT SUMMER READS FEATURING TJ AMBERSON

 

 

 

 

TJ Amberson hails from the Pacific Northwest, where she lives with her husband and nutty cocker spaniel. Her most recent novels include The Kingdom of Nereth, The Council of Nereth, Fusion, and Love at Lakewood Med. When she’s not writing, TJ can probably be found enjoying a hot chocolate, pretending to know how to garden, riding her bike, playing the piano, or surfing the Internet for cheap plane tickets.

With a love of writing in multiple genres, TJ Amberson strives to provide well-written, age-appropriate, and original novels for tweens, teens, and new adults.

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Savannah Drake would be thrilled about starting her final year of medical school if it weren’t for one thing: she has to spend a month working in the emergency room with cold, aloof Dr. Wesley Kent as her mentor.

When her first day in the ER proves to be a humiliating disaster, Savannah is ready to swear off emergency medicine forever. Gradually, though, she finds that the unpredictable, emotional experience of caring for patients in the emergency room is affecting her far differently than she expected–and Dr. Kent turns out to be anything but the arrogant attending physician that she assumed him to be.

But just when Savannah finally admits to herself that she is falling for Dr. Kent, she learns that things at the hospital are not all what they seem.

Faced with a seemingly impossible choice, Savannah must decide between her future career and everything that she has come to care so much about.

 

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Danielle uses her fork to stab another strawberry out of her fruit salad. “Come on, you can’t tell me that working with someone as good looking as Doctor Kent isn’t going to help you enjoy this rotation a little bit.”

“Are you kidding?” I exclaim. “You saw how he was at the orientation meeting yesterday. He’s completely devoid of personality.”

“Devoid of personality or not, Doctor Kent is handsome.” Danielle gives me a wry smile. “At least your view at work will be nice.”

 

 

 

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GREAT SUMMER READS FEATURING SALLY BRITTON

 

 

 

 

Sally Britton is sixth generation Texan, received her BA in English from Brigham Young University, and reads voraciously. She started her writing journey at the tender age of fourteen on an electric typewriter, and she’s never looked back.

Sally lives in Arizona with her husband, four children, and their dog. She loves researching, hiking, and eating too much chocolate.

 

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“I didn’t really understand what love was.

I didn’t know what it meant, that I should’ve fought harder for it.”

 

Banished from home by her angry father, Julia Devon travels to Bath to fulfill her role as family spinster by assisting her cousin, Lady Macon, in caring for her dying husband.

Nathaniel Hastings’s life runs in a predictable pattern, until a routine visit to one of his ailing patients brings him face to face with Julia, the woman who broke his heart five years before in London.

Julia and Nathaniel find themselves unlikely allies as they work together to tend to the family’s needs, fend off Lady Macon’s scheming brother-in-law, and avoid confronting the pain of their shared past. But could this accidental meeting be their second chance at love?”

 

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“Father did not approve and never would have. Nathaniel—Doctor Hastings—had dreams of becoming a physician. I could not ask him to wait for me, putting an added burden upon him, and I never could’ve convinced Father.”

“But Julia, if you loved him—”

“I didn’t really understand what love was,” Julia said hastily. “I didn’t know what it meant, that I should’ve fought harder for it.”

 

 

 

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GREAT SUMMER READS FEATURING FLAVIA BRUNETTI

 

 

 

 

Born just outside of Rome, Flavia Brunetti grew up bouncing back and forth between Italy and California, eventually moving back to the Eternal City and confirming her lifelong commitment to real gelato.

Flavia holds a Master of Arts degree in Government and Politics from St. John’s University and a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from John Cabot University.

Today she travels the world working for an international humanitarian organization and spends her free time writing and wandering around her beloved Roma in constant search of bookstores and the perfect espresso.

You can find her city blog on Rome at whichwaytorome.com and her portfolio of published writing at flaviinrome.com.

 

 

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Until her dad died, Little considered herself a Californian. Now, thanks to half a letter, a symbol she can’t quite remember, and writer’s block, she finds herself back in Italy, the country of her birth. In a headlong rush to return to her beloved San Francisco, Little will travel throughout Italy, enlisting the help of the aunt who raised her, friends old and new, and the country itself, in her search for the answers she needs.

This is the powerful story of those in search of a balance between wanderlust and the necessity to come home, a reminder that although we may be fragments, we are never a lost cause.

 

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If you were here, I would tell you about what I saw, and I would say, Papà, I think Italy is an artery. Jarring in its incredible ability to become lifeblood not just for the people who are from here, but also for the people who only come for a little while, or who have never been here at all but dream of it nonetheless. If Italy is blood, then it is the vibrant color of that which has gathered oxygen and will sweep from the heart to the entire being. An arterial nation.

 

 

 

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GREAT SUMMER READS FEATURING MORGAN J. MUIR

 

 

 

 

Morgan J Muir lives in Utah with her fantastic husband, three offspring, and as many cats (but she doesn’t carry them with kits in sacks and has never been to St. Ives). She grew up riding horses and motorcycles and listening to her grandmother read poetry. She grew up reading any sci-fi/fantasy novel she could get her hands on and so was surprised the day she discovered that she also really enjoyed historical fiction.

Morgan always loved to write and draw and her parents always liked to say that they knew she’d write a book some day. Ever since she was small she told stories and drew pictures for her tales. When she got old enough, all of her spare time between classes was spent writing and she always had a notebook with her.

Her first novel was originally written after her first child was born, to help her pass the long, lonely hours as a new stay-at-home mom. As her kids got older and more came she was too busy to do much with her stories, until one year she was introduced to NaNoWriMo, which finally rekindled the spark that led her to finish what she’d started.

Morgan’s favorite authors are Brandon Sanderson, Kristen Britain, and Marion Zimmer Bradley.

 

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Mariah has chosen to become a vampire, but she can’t remember why.

 

Upon waking in the labyrinthine caves of Sophus, a centuries-old vampire, Mariah can’t remember all the choices that brought her there, but she does know there are dangerous secrets hidden within her. As she learns to control her powerful new body— and its bloodthirsty urges— Mariah discovers a unique ability to travel through a world of spirit, the key to remembering her past, and possibly the future.

At first, it seems her path is simple: learn to control her bloodlust, find her missing husband, and return with him to raise their son. However, things are more complicated than they seem, and neither Sophus nor her husband’s captor is willing to let them go. Mariah must use whatever skills she can to find her husband and protect her still-mortal son, but will it be enough?

 

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A moment of silence crept by before Elisa gave out a joyful cry and reached toward him, dropping the flower. “Miguel! I knew you would come for me!” At these words Miguel lost all traces of uncertainty as he knelt before the blonde woman, taking her hand and kissing it gently.

You snake! Mariah hissed at her old friend, trying without success to knock Elisa’s hand away. Her spectral form could do nothing here.

“Am I dead?” Elisa asked, reaching up to touch Miguel’s face. “If so, you are a most beautiful Angel of Death.”

“No”—Miguel held himself very still—“though an Angel of Death I may be.”

“You are changed. Have you come to take me with you?” the woman asked, peering into his penetrating eyes.

“I have.”

 

 

 

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GREAT SUMMER READS FEATURING SHAUNNA GONZALES

 

 

 

Shaunna Gonzales currently resides with her family in the greater Seattle area. Married

over thirty years, her role as wife and mother of four continue to be her priorities.

A storyteller in her youth, she endevored to extend her love of stories to the written word and in 2005 began to write her first novel. Though that manuscript will remain buried, she has continued to learn.

Once told by her doctors that she would never leave her wheelchair — due to her Multiple Sclerosis. It has been tucked in a closet while she continues on. (In other words muddles on.)

Shaunna has worked as a professional reviewer for InD’Tales eMagazine for three years. In 2012 she also served as the vice president of Moonwriters, the on-line chapter of American Night Writers Association (ANWA She prefers to write romantic fiction and has ventured into the romantic suspense, and time-travel genres. Her debut novel, Dark Days of Promise was released by Desert Breeze Publishing in 2012 re-released 2015.

Although she prefers to spend her days writing, she is willing to share what she has learned from the school of life and is often found “giving back.”

 

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Thirty-four year old Vicki Laramie must learn to trust before she can love, but she might die trying.

 

While Vicki’s children grapple with the death of their father — a man whom she’s successfully fabricated as loving, a lie her rebellious teenager recognizes — she must find a way to support her family and find a role model for her boys.

She never intends to fall for Staff Sergeant Chase, her best friend’s son, who suffers from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). She’d much rather choose a safer man to love, but her children have a voice in the decision she makes.

With two deaths to deal with, a suitor after her money, a rebellious son, and Sergeant Chase’s repeated attacks, she can only hope to survive the danger she faces. If she doesn’t, her children will be left without either parent.

 

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My heart raced. I hadn’t heard a car or even footsteps on the porch. The visitor had caught me unawares. I answered the door, opening it no more than six inches, the security chain in place.

Kelly stood in the amber glow of the porch light. The purple scarf and gloves he had borrowed in hand. I found myself staring, captured by the honey brown of his eyes.

It required considerable effort to pull my gaze from his smoldering eyes. I cleared my throat in a genteel manner to mask the effort. A foray of butterflies flip-flopped within my stomach. Couldn’t he turn it off for even a minute? I knew he had at the restaurant. There I’d experienced his cool regard from a distance. The animal magnetism seemed a better choice.

I glanced over my shoulder at the glittering tree lights, bidding them deference until later.

 

 

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GREAT SUMMER READS FEATURING LAURIE LEWIS @laurielclewis

 

 

 

 

Laurie (L.C.) Lewis will always be a Marylander at heart—a weather-whining lover of crabs, American history, and the sea. She admits to being craft-challenged, particularly lethal with a glue gun, and a devotee of sappy movies. Her ninth published novel, her first romance novella, Sweet Water, was inspired by a visit to Oregon’s magnificent coastline, and time spent with Mother Eugenie, upon whom the character Mother Thomasine is based.

Laurie’s women’s fiction novels include The Dragons of Alsace Farm (2016), Awakening Avery (2010), and Unspoken (2004), written as Laurie Lewis.

Using the pen name L.C. Lewis, she wrote the five volumes of her award-winning FREE MEN and DREAMERS historical fiction series, set against the backdrop of the War of 1812: Dark Sky at Dawn (2007), Twilight’s Last Gleaming (2008), Dawn’s Early Light (2009), Oh, Say Can You See? (2010), and In God is Our Trust, (2011).

She is currently completing a political suspense novel planned for a summer 2017 release, are -release of a romantic comedy, and she’s working on another historical fiction novel for a 2018 release. She loves to hear from readers.

 

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Fears and secrets are the dragons we each must face. . .

 

In need of his own redemption, Noah Carter finally confronts his childhood hero, the once-beloved uncle who betrayed him. Instead of vengeance, he offers forgiveness, also granting Uncle John a most curious request—for Noah to work on the ramshackle farm of Agnes Deveraux Keller, a French WWII survivor with dementia.

Despite all Agnes has lost, she still has much to teach Noah. But the pair’s unique friendship is threatened when Tayte, Agnes’s estranged granddaughter, arrives to claim a woman whose circumstances and abilities are far different from those of the grandmother she once knew.

Items hidden in Agnes’s attic raise painful questions about Tayte’s dead parents, steeling Tayte’s determination to save Agnes, even if it requires her to betray the very woman she came to save, and the secret her proud grandmother has guarded for seventy years.

The issue strains the fragile trust between Tayte and Noah, who now realizes Tayte is fighting her own secrets, her own dragons. Weighed down by past guilt and failures, he feels ill-equipped to help either woman, until he remembers Agnes’s lessons about courage and love. In order to save Agnes, the student must now become the teacher, helping Tayte heal—for Agnes’s sake, and for his.

 

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“You were amazing, Agnes . . . so brave. You knew just what to do.”

She smiled. “I am all they have. Being needed makes you brave. Sometimes we simply do what we must. But then, you know a bit about that as well, don’t you?”

Noah looked at his pocked arms. “You mean my scars?”

“From cigarettes??”

Noah’s lips pursed as he remembered the feel of the burns. “It was my father’s way of motivating me.”

“Beast.” It was spoken like a curse, and it made Noah smile. “The shame is his. Not yours.”

Noah undid the ties that fastened the three-inch-wide leather band worn over his wrist. Beneath it were rows of straight scars. “Not just his, Agnes. I did these myself.” He felt his face burn with shame.

Agnes leaned on her shovel and searched an unknown spot in the sky. “When the bombings ended, only one tree remained in the park near my house. Everyone said we should protect it and honor it. I went out at night and threw rocks at it. I pulled on its branches and tried to kill it because I thought, better I should kill it than wait for the dragons to return and destroy this one also.”

Now Noah understood. “The Nazis were the dragons?”

“There are many dragons, mon cher. You fought yours in the only way you knew how, but that war is over now.”

“You think so?”

Agnes walked to him and placed a wrinkled hand on his cheek. “You slew your dragons. I can see peace in your eyes.”

 

 

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GREAT SUMMER READS FEATURING DONNA HATCH @donnahatch

 

 

 

 

 

Donna Hatch is the author of the best-selling “Rogue Hearts Series,” and a winner of writing awards such as The Golden Quill and the International Digital Award. A hopeless romantic and adventurer at heart, she discovered her writing passion at the tender age of eight and has been listening to those voices ever since. She has become a sought-after workshop presenter, and also juggles freelance editing, multiple volunteer positions, and most of all, her six children (seven, counting her husband). A native of Arizona who recently transplanted to the Pacific Northwest. She and her husband of over twenty years are living proof that there really is a happily ever after.

 

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The widowed Elise is a perfect English lady living within the confines of society for the sake of her impressionable young son. Her quiet world is shattered when she meets the impulsive and scandalous Jared Amesbury. His roguish charm awakens her yearning for adventure. But his irrepressible grin and sea-green eyes hide a secret.

A gentleman by day, a pirate by night, Jared must complete one last assignment from the Secret Service before he can be truly free. Elise gives him hope that he, too, can find love and belonging. His hopes are crushed when his best laid plans go awry and Elise is dragged into his world of violence and deceit. She may not survive the revelation of Jared’s past…or still love him when the truth is revealed.

The Guise of a Gentleman is a clean and wholesome Regency Romance, a.k.a. “clean” that explores finding one’s true self, loyalty, honor, and trusting loved ones. With plenty of swashbuckling action, it provides several good twists that play off of familiar situations and proudly proclaims the redemptive power of love.

 

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“You are a woman of great courage to face those cutthroats alone.”

His fingers closed around hers as if she were a lifeline. Her late husband’s hands had always been smooth and soft, the hands of a gentleman, so unlike this man’s calluses which bespoke hard work. She marveled at the strength in those hands, not to mention the tingles that traveled up her arm.

A flush crept over her face and she struggled to retain her composure. “I saw a cruel act and felt compelled to intervene. I could do nothing less.”

His eyes darted over her face and he said in a stronger voice, “Those men might have turned on you.”

“I’m an excellent shot.”

“And did you not consider that you may have been in danger from me?”

She suspected many women found him a very great danger, but not for the reason he spoke.

Swallowing against a dry mouth, she lifted her chin. “You hardly looked dangerous at the time. And I daresay you lack the strength to offer any threat now.”

The barest hint of a smile twitched his lips and a wicked light glinted in his sea-green eyes.

 

 

 

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