Monday, August 22, 2016

Win a book: Secrets of Nanreath Hall by Alix Rickloff


This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Alix will be awarding a digital copy of Secrets of Nanreath to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

What books/authors have influenced your writing?

I couldn’t begin to list every author that has ever inspired me, but I do have authors who hold a special place in my heart. I dedicated one of my books to four of them; Mary Stewart, Lois McMaster Bujold, Jane Austen, and Rosamunde Pilcher. These are my four go-to authors. Different in genre, style, characterization, but I read their books over and over whenever I need to get lost in a familiar story where the writing is flawless and the characters are old friends.

What drew you to the twentieth century and WWII as a setting?

My interest in the war began while I was in college. I watched Greer Garson in Mrs. Miniver and was forever hooked on the time period. But for twenty plus years and nine plus books, it remained merely a side interest until a recent conversation with my agent during which she asked the fateful question; “What do you really want to write about?” Suddenly, I was confronted with all sorts of exciting possibilities in genres and settings I’d never considered.

What inspired you to write Secrets of Nanreath Hall?

The first kernel of the story came from watching an episode of Downton Abbey. I was intrigued by the fatherless heir and the child of a scandalous elopement. From that seed, my what-if process started as I tried to imagine what their lives would have been like as they grew to adulthood during WWII.

This is your first straight historical fiction novel, though you write historical romance under the pseudonym Alexa Egan. Was it a difficult transition to switch genres?

Not at all, though the romance novelist in me insisted on a happy ending. And if a love story turned up unexpectedly, well…old habits die hard.

What are you working on now?

I’m working on a follow-up to Secrets Of Nanreath Hall. Lucy Stanhope is the spoiled daughter of an ex-pat socialite living in Singapore who is sent to England in disgrace just ahead of the attack on Pearl Harbor and Japan’s entrance into the war. There she befriends a young evacuee and the unlikely pair end up heading to London in search of his mother.

Can you tell us what you’ve got on your nightstand right now?

For work, I’m reading West End Front; The Wartime Secrets of London’s Grand Hotels by Matthew Sweet and for pleasure The Forgotten Room by Karen White, Beatriz Willams, and Lauren Willig

Cornwall, 1940. Back in England after the harrowing evacuation at Dunkirk, WWII Red Cross nurse Anna Trenowyth finds herself unexpectedly assigned to Nanreath Hall-her dead mother's childhood home. All Anna has left of her mother, Lady Katherine Trenowyth, are vague memories that tease her with clues she can't unravel. Anna knows this could be the chance for her to finally become acquainted with the family she's never known-and to learn the truth about her past.

Cornwall, 1913. In the luxury of pre-WWI England, Lady Katherine Trenowyth is expected to do nothing more than make a smart marriage. When Simon Halliday, a bohemian painter, enters her world, Katherine begins to question the future that was so carefully laid out for her. Her choices soon lead her away from the stability of her home and family toward a wild existence of life, art, and love.

As Anna is drawn into her newfound family's lives and their tangled loyalties, she must decide if the secrets of the past are too dangerous to unearth…and if the family she's discovered is one she can keep.

Enjoy an Excerpt:

Buildings leaned drunkenly on their foundations, their windows blown out, doors knocked from hinges. A jagged gap like a missing tooth was all that was left of the butcher’s shop. The pub looked comfortingly unscathed until she approached, then she noticed a tumbled slide of bricks and shingles where the roof had collapsed. A gleam of brass railing poked up through fallen plaster and splintered beams. A pint glass stood half- filled on a table in a corner. A dart stuck dead center in the dartboard still hanging on the back wall.

Ten paces. Twenty. The damage greater, the houses tumbled and spilled like a child’s toppled building blocks. Smoke hung low like a morning fog across the Thames. A few firemen replaced their hoses upon a truck. A policeman unrolled a coil of rope across the pavement where a set of marble steps led to . . . nothing.

No.

Anna’s chest tightened. Her throat closed around a hard painful knot. Pain lanced down her leg, buckling her ankle. The awkward weight of the valise knocked her to her knees. Dirt bit into her skin, scraped her hands raw. She retched, but there was nothing in her stomach except the weak tea she’d drunk this morning on the train. Still, she felt her insides shriveling, darkness crowding the edges of her vision.

It couldn’t be. There was some mistake. She was having another nightmare. She would open her eyes to see curtains at the windows and geraniums on the stoop. Graham and Prue standing on the steps to meet her.

“Here now, miss. Are you all right? You took a nasty spill on these cobbles.”

About the Author: Alix Rickloff is a critically acclaimed author of historical and paranormal romance. Her previous novels include the Bligh Family series (Kensington, 2009), the Heirs of Kilronan trilogy (Pocket, 2011), and, as Alexa Egan, the Imnada Brotherhood series (Pocket, 2014). She lives in Maryland with her husband and three children.

Website


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Friday, August 19, 2016

Win books: Passionate Pursuit by Tina Donahue


This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions Presents. The authors will be awarding digital copies of all the books featured to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

Is their passion strong enough to break her chains?

Andalucía Spain, 1489: Innocent Beatriz is desperate to escape the threat of a miserable marriage to a cruel Marquis. Forced into the betrothal by her ruthless merchant papá, her only hope is to conceal her identity and become a servant in a nearby castle—a life drastically different from her comfortable upbringing.

Tomás doesn’t know what to make of his well-spoken new servant girl. Her beauty and charm captivates the military hero; her mysterious nature intrigues him. And the desire she ignites burns brighter with each glance, as does his longing to claim her for his own.

Beatriz can’t resist Tomás’ passion nor deny the heat of her own. But neither the lush countryside nor the walls of the opulent Moorish castle can entirely protect her—and if he were to discover her secret, she could be torn away from him forever. Yet how can she sustain his love if she’s living a lie?

Enjoy an Excerpt:

A gentle breeze carried laughter and converse from the señoritas who surrounded Tomás, each vying for his attention. The one in dark green silk with a matching caul danced around trying to get closer to him. The one in red with a white flower in her hair elbowed past another girl. Those in gold and bright yellow were even less demure, pushing into each other, speaking loudly, far removed from how a lowly servant had to act.

Especially to please Nuncio.

How dare he make her solely responsible for a man’s carnal moves? Beatriz had no control over anyone’s passion except her own. Thus far, she’d failed miserably at quelling her desires.

Despite what Nuncio had said, she still ached to feel Tomás’s heat and strength, to have him imprison and possess her. No threat in the world would change her longing. However, she wasn’t foolish enough to act on her attraction. Poor man already had enough trouble.

His broad shoulders were slumped, mouth turned down. She wanted to make him smile. To have him stand as the noble lord he was, magnificent in his dark blue robe and doublet, his hose snug to his sinewy thighs and calves.

Several young women spoke to him at once. A señorita in a bright yellow gown touched his upper arm. The girl next to her, clad in vivid orange silk, touched his jaw.

Jealousy heated Beatriz’s face and throat.

Tomás drew back until the young woman groped air, not him. He faced the window, his gaze touching Beatriz, his dark brown eyes flooding with warmth, bronze complexion deepening.

Weak with desire, she leaned against the sill for support.

The señoritas gestured to him, talking endlessly, their words too garbled to understand.

Whatever they said, Tomás ignored them. He studied Beatriz’s eyes, then her lips and lingered there. She was smiling without realizing it. He answered with a broad grin and stepped closer.

About the Author:
Tina Donahue is an award-winning, bestselling novelist in erotic, paranormal, contemporary and historical romance for Kensington, Ellora’s Cave, Samhain Publishing, Siren Publishing, Booktrope, and indie. Booklist, Publisher’s Weekly, Romantic Times and numerous online sites have praised her work. Three of her erotic novels (Adored; Deep, Dark, Delicious; Lush Velvet Nights) were named finalists in the 2011 EPIC competition. Sensual Stranger, her erotic romance, was chosen Book of the Year 2010 (erotic category) at the French review site, Blue Moon reviews. The Golden Nib Award at Miz Love Loves Books was created specifically for her erotic romance Lush Velvet Nights. Deep, Dark, Delicious(erotic romance) received an Award of Merit in the RWA Holt Medallion competition. Take Me Away (erotic romance) captured second place in the NEC-RWA contest. And The Yearning (erotic paranormal) was honored with an Award of Merit in the RWA Holt Medallion competition. She’s featured in the 2012 Novel and Writer’s Market. Before penning romances, she worked in Story Direction for a Hollywood production company.

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Tuesday, August 09, 2016

Win a $50 GC - Solitary Horseman by Deborah Camp


This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. One randomly chosen winner via rafflecopter will win a $50 Amazon/BN.com gift card. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Texas rancher Callum Latimer believed that the Civil War had killed everything tender and yearning inside of him until he struck up a partnership with Banner Payne. His dark-haired, golden-eyed, spirited neighbor stirred embers that he thought were long dead . . .

Sunlight glided over hair as she shifted from one boot to the other, and before his mind could catch up with his instincts, Callum reached out and wrapped his index finger around one of her auburn curls. Its softness against his calloused skin sent longing through him like a rushing river. She’d be like that all over – soft where he was hard, giving where he was not. He heard her gasp and his heart bucked.

Enjoy an Excerpt:

They finished eating, sopping up the last of the gravy with biscuits and popping the final bite of bacon or sausage into their mouths. All except for Callum, who seemed to have lost his appetite. He pushed aside his plate, nodding when Banner reached to take it away.

In the kitchen, she began preparing to wash the dishes, as she went over and over the unsettling conversation. So, the vigilante groups were stirring up more trouble along with memories that some people were trying hard to bury. She’d noticed that Hollis seemed to be worse lately. Sullen. Anger simmering just below the surface. Stalking off to be alone with his thoughts. Snapping at her when she questioned him about his moods.

Her brother was a sensitive soul and when there was unrest around him, he felt it, through and through. Living with him when he was jittery was like handling a porcupine. There was no way to touch it without getting pricked.

Someone cleared his throat right behind her and Banner spun around with a gasp, her wet hands flying up and slinging drops of water across Callum’s faded red shirt.

“Didn’t mean to startle you.”

“I . . . got your shirt wet.”

He shrugged. Banner hoped to see a softening in his eyes and she was disappointed.

“I’ll be back tonight, but it will be late. You go on home at the usual time.”

“I was mighty proud of you just now.”

He raised his brows and shook his head, clearly puzzled.

“What you said about the war and how nobody wins a fight.”

He held his hat in one hand and rubbed his chin with the other. “I don’t think I said that exactly. Fights are won, but sometimes the cost isn’t worth it.” He took a step back from her, running his hand down the front of his shirt and Banner watched the journey.

She so loved his hands. Long fingers, wide palm. She knew the tenderness of his touch and how they could trail fire along her skin. “I’ve missed you.”

He stared at her a few moments and something vulnerable shimmered in his eyes before he abruptly turned and walked away from her. “I need to get.”

“Callum!” She grabbed the back of his shirt. “Wait.” When he didn’t face her, she stepped around him. “Is something wrong? I feel like we’re on a seesaw here. Up and down. Up and down.”

Walking his fingers around the brim of his hat, he avoided her probing gaze. “I guess that sums it up. I’ve had a lot of time to think lately and maybe you’re right. We need to keep our heads clear and . . . well, a woman like you and a man like me . . .” He shrugged.

What in tarnation did that mean? Was this about her being a lowly Payne? Feeling as if he’d ripped opened an old wound, she glared at him, but he wasn’t looking at her. Finally, he glanced up and his eyes widened fractionally.

“Go on then.” Banner snatched his hat out of his hands and whacked him with it. “Get. I don’t have time anymore for this silly game.” His look of surprise angered her even more and she crushed his hat against his chest, making him grab it. She caught sight of Shane standing in the dining room, not hiding his curiosity at the scene unfolding. “Shane needs to talk to you. I’m finished with you.” Whirling around, she stomped through the kitchen and out the back door where the air was bitterly cold, matching the season in her heart. She would not cry! She wouldn’t! Should have known that he’d finally realize that he was too good and proper to be sporting with that Payne gal. He’d been raised to see her as filth and he couldn’t shake it.

Striding purposefully across the frozen ground, she made a beeline for the hen house. It would be warmer in there. Mary had already collected the eggs, but there were probably a few more that she could—.

Out of the corner of her eye, she saw the scrawled lettering across a big white banner that had been nailed to the side of the barn and her shoes slipped in the snow. She almost fell, but regained her balance in the nick of time. Staring at the ugly message, she was aware of pounding footfalls behind her.

“Damn it all, Banner! Just hold up. I didn’t mean to—.” Callum’s grouchy apology stopped at the same time he did. “What the hell?”

JOIN OR DIE

A Confederate flag was nailed below the fluttering white sheet that bore the menacing order. When had this been done? Banner wondered, her mind spinning back to when she’d been out earlier. She would have noticed it then. And the men had ridden up for breakfast! They would have seen it. Someone – no, more than one person – had done this while they’d all been inside. The audacity!

“Sons-of-bitches.”

Banner looked at Callum, sharing his disgust but not the wrath stamped on his chiseled features. She touched his hand. “Callum . . .” she whispered, trying to calm him.

He backed away, having none of it. “No. Don’t. Not now, Banner.” Then he spun about and marched toward the house again, yelling to Shane. “Take that bullshit down off the barn and burn it. The flag, too! Do it now.”

“Yes, sir,” Shane said, already trotting toward the barn.

Banner stood rooted to the spot as Callum swung up into Butter’s saddle and rode away, the horse’s hooves muffled by the snow. Cold air wrapped around her and she shivered, her teeth rattling.

Looking toward the house again, she saw Seth Latimer standing on the front porch, his squinty eyes fixed on the barn. He shook his head slowly, then turned and made his way back into the house.

Banner went inside, too, but she stood at the kitchen window and watched as Shane jerked down the big sheet and Confederate flag. He bundled them up and set them on fire, standing near them until they were nothing but ashes scattered by winter’s breath.

Gone. But the malevolence had left its stain like the black hole in the snow.

About the Author:
Author of more than 45 novels, Deborah lives in Oklahoma. She has been a full-time writer since she graduated from the University of Tulsa. She worked for a few years as a reporter for newspapers before becoming a freelance writer. Deborah's first novel was published in the late 1970s and her books have been published by Jove, New American Library, Harlequin, Silhouette, and Avon. She has been inducted into the Oklahoma Authors Hall of Fame and she is a charter member of the Romance Writers of America. She is also a member of the Author's Guild.

Lover of the west and the people who tried to tame it, Deborah likes to write about strong, independent women and the men who are their equals. She grew up on a diet of TV westerns which have served her well. Since she appreciates men with devilish twinkles in their eyes, she likes to mix laughter in with the love scenes in her books. Also widely published in non-fiction, she writes and edits for a magazine focused on small businesses. Deborah taught fiction writing for more than 10 years at a community college. She is currently working on her next historical romance set in the wild, wonderful west.

Her books have been re-issued on Amazon for Kindle Direct and have attracted tens of thousands of new fans. For a list of them, visit her website.

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