#CoverReveal “Frozen Stiff Drink (Braxton Campus Mysteries #6)” by James J. Cudney





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A winter blizzard barrels toward Wharton County with a vengeance. Madam Zenya predicted the raging storm would change the course of Kellan’s life, but the famed seer never could’ve prepared him for all the collateral damage. Nana D disappears after visiting a patient at Willow Trees, leaving behind a trail of confusion. When the patient turns up dead, and second body is discovered beneath the snowbanks, Kellan must face his worst fears. What tragedy has befallen his beloved grandmother?

Kellan’s brother Hampton learns essential life lessons the hard way after his father-in-law accuses him of embezzlement. While trying to prove his innocence, Hampton digs himself a deeper hole that might lead to prison. Sheriff Montague wants to save him, but she receives the shock of her life as the past hurtles forward and complicates her future.

Between locating Nana D and solving the scandalous murder of another prominent Braxton citizen, Kellan and April’s worlds explode with more turmoil than they can handle. Too bad neither one of them knows what to do about the psychic’s latest premonition. The suspicious deaths happening around town aren’t ending anytime soon.

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6th in Braxton Campus Mysteries

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Author BioJay_suit

James is my given name, but most folks call me Jay. I live in New York City, grew up on Long Island, and graduated from Moravian College. I spent fifteen years building a technology career in the retail, sports, media, and entertainment industries. I enjoyed my job, but a passion for books and stories had been missing for far too long. I’m a voracious reader in my favorite genres (thriller, suspense, contemporary, mystery, and historical fiction), as books transport me to a different world where I can immerse myself in so many fantastic cultures and places. I’m an avid genealogist who hopes to visit all the German, Scottish, Irish, and British villages my ancestors emigrated from in the 18th and 19th centuries.

Writing has been a part of my life as much as my heart, my mind, and my body. I decided to pursue my passion by dusting off the creativity inside my head and drafting outlines for several novels. I quickly realized I was back in my element growing happier and more excited with life each day. My goal in writing is to connect with readers who want to be part of great stories and who enjoy interacting with authors. To get a strong picture of who I am, check out my author website or my blog. It’s full of humor and eccentricity, sharing connections with everyone I follow—all in the hope of building a network of friends across the world.

When I completed the first book, Watching Glass Shatter, I knew I’d stumbled upon my passion again, suddenly dreaming up characters, plots, and settings all day long. I chose my second novel, Father Figure, through a poll on my blog where I let everyone vote for their favorite plot and character summaries. It is with my third book, Academic Curveball, the first in the Braxton Campus Mysteries, where I immersed myself in a college campus full of so much activity, I could hardly stop thinking about new murder scenes or character relationships to finish writing the current story. Come join in the fun!


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List of Books


Watching Glass Shatter (October 2017)

Father Figure (April 2018)

Braxton Campus Mysteries

            Academic Curveball – #1 (October 2018)

            Broken Heart Attack – #2 (November 2018)

            Flower Power Trip – #3 (March 2019)

            Mistaken Identity Crisis – #4 (June 2019)

            Haunted House Ghost – #5 (October 2019)



#TeaserTuesday “Diana: The Voice of Change” by Stewart Pearce


Now a #1 Bestseller in UK, US, France, Australia, Canada and Germany


Non-Fiction / Self-Help
Date Published: Jan 10th, 2019
Publisher: Fitzrovia Press (Imprint: Shimran)
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DIANA – THE VOICE OF CHANGE ……isn’t just another biographical account of Diana’s life, but rather it is a deeper exploration of the unique idiosyncrasies, extraordinary events, and changes of destiny that created a flow of force by which Diana evolved, transmuting from being the People’s Princess into the Queen of Everybody’s Heart, and so to beyond her death………

It is written by the legendary Voice Coach: Stewart Pearce, who confidentially coached Diana during the last two years of her life, adding both a physical and metaphysical support to Diana’s vast transformation. This we palpably saw, as she moved from the demure and pained young woman, seen in the Martin Bashir interview, to the assured, powerful humanitarian leader witnessed in July 1997. For Diana’s voice revolutionized both the African Landmine issue, and the face of the Global Aids epidemic, and irrespective of her HRH title being removed, Diana acquired such public support that her voice of freedom almost toppled Queen Elizabeth and exposed the anachronisms of the Windsor Household!

The book answers volatile questions such as:

Why was the marriage of a century known as a Fairy Tale?

Why was Diana the most photographed woman in recorded history?

Was Diana murdered?

Why did her incandescent love affect so many, and where did it come from?

What was the extraordinary energy that affected 5.9 billion people during August 31st and September 6th, 1997?

What has happened to Diana’s voice post-death, the resonance of which appears to have precipitated significant social movements, such as the #METOOCAMPAIGN?

The book is packed with Vocal Exercises, Sound Meditations, and Presence Techniques, which allowed Diana to become the spell-binding, radiant being that she became – about which Henry Kissinger said: “I remember, Diana was a beautiful young woman whose blue eyes melted grown men’s bones!”

The content of this book is seen as a developing work, which will eventually evolve to become a series of workshops known as THE DIANA HEART PATH.

Stewart Pearce
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Now a #1 Bestseller in UK, US, France, Australia, Canada and Germany


Stewart PearceAbout the Author

Stewart Pearce is a Master of Voice and Corporate Presentation Coach who finds and liberates the authentic power and presence in the world’s most extraordinary people.

As a Master of Voice, Stewart has a reputation for his holistic training of the Actor, within renowned Actor Training Centers throughout the World, – Stewart was Head of Voice at the Webber Douglas Academy between 1980-1997, assisting the pioneering of Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre between 1997-2010, as well as consulting on Broadway and in the West End. Stewart has coached world-acclaimed actors such as Oscar-winning Eddie Redmayne and Mark Rylance, Matthew Goode, Hugh Bonneville of Downton Abbey, Simon Callow CBE, Vanessa Redgrave, Michelle Williams, Minnie Driver, Gwendoline Christie. Stewart also develops iconic presence for luminaries such as Marianne Williamson, Dame Anita Roddick, Margaret Thatcher, Mo Mowlem, and Diana, Princess of Wales.

In the corporate sphere, he is the “go-to” Mentor for Presentation Coaching with senior iconic business people and organizations. Corporations, where he has developed leaders and chief executives, include Giorgio Armani, L`Oreal, BT, BBC, ITN, Qatar Holdings, World News, McKinsey & Co, Merrill Lynch, WPP, UBS, Nat West, Vidal Sassoon, Redken, and McKenzie Boston and The British Government and the LONDON 2012 OLYMPIC Bid.

Stewart Pearce is the author of several acclaimed books about the human voice and its power for personal development and healing. In addition, he has recorded six award-winning sonic meditation albums. Stewart’s work is regularly featured in the global press, and he is sought after for private Mentorship, and Master Classes throughout the world.

Stewart Pearce’s great passion is to assist extraordinarily talented individuals to change the world, whilst finding and embodying their soul’s note and signature style, which brings a magnetic presence to the work. In this work, Stewart helps people find great joy, authenticity, and clarity of purpose in their work and personal lives.

Stewart Pearce is based in London and New York and leads Master Classes around the World.

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#ReleaseBlitz “Insatiable (Steel Brothers Saga #12)” by Helen Hardt

Insatiable (Steel Brothers Saga #12) 

by New York Times Bestselling author Helen Hardt


Amazon: https://amzn.to/2Vebwx7
Print: https://amzn.to/2XLyVX8
Nook: http://bit.ly/2Y8e24X
Apple Books: https://apple.co/2GAnDf8
Google Play: http://bit.ly/2VWwn4k
Kobo: http://bit.ly/2IJL2wg

Goodreads: bit.ly/GR_Insatiable

Genre: Contemporary Romance 

#Insatiable #SteelBrothersSaga #HelenHardt

#ReleaseBlitz #RomanceRead #BareNakedWords #WaterhousePress


Marjorie Steel and Bryce Simpson have finally declared their love for each other, but their chance for happiness is once again yanked out from under them. As Marjorie is forced to confront her demons and find an inner strength to save herself and another, Bryce rushes to solve the puzzles his dead father left behind.

An ominous lawyer, twins with a secret, and a premature birth present new obstacles as the two lovers scramble to escape the conundrum and leave their families in peace, all while their desire for each other becomes more and more insatiable. When an unexpected figure from the past emerges, leaving them both thunderstruck, the mystery deepens even further.

It’s a race for healing.

It’s a race for love.

And Marjorie and Bryce are determined to have their happy ending.

Craving – book 1
#1 New York Times, #1 USA Today, and #1 Wall Street Journal Bestselling author Helen Hardt’s passion for the written word began with the books her mother read to her at bedtime. She wrote her first story at age six and hasn’t stopped since. In addition to being an award winning author of contemporary and historical romance and erotica, she’s a mother, a black belt in Taekwondo, a grammar geek, an appreciator of fine red wine, and a lover of Ben and Jerry’s ice cream. She writes from her home in Colorado, where she lives with her family. Helen loves to hear from readers.
Buy Links for all Helen’s Books: http://www.helenhardt.com/book/

#ReleaseBlitz “More Dangerous Heroes: Sizzling Tales of Timeless Desire” by Multiple Authors

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coverSizzling Tales of Timeless Desire
Historical Romance
Date Published: January 28, 2020
Publisher: Scott Publishing
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USA Today & Award-Winning Authors present 1600 pages of Romance, Adventure, English Lords and Highland Warriors, and heart-stopping romance.


The Time Traveler’s Desire – Amy Jarecki
A man’s life can fall apart in an instant…
Tougher than oxhide, Lachlan Wallace can take about anything except a breakup call from his wife two minutes before competing in the Karate Championship of the World. Arriving home with a loss, he agrees to watch his uncle’s cat over the holidays. Or so he thinks–until he awakes on a fourteenth-century battlefield beside a woman fighting for her life.


The Wicked Lady – Brenda Jernigan
When Trevor Claremont is blind-sided by a pickpocket, he isn’t prepared for the feisty redhead whom he finds is one wicked lady. Seeing a solution to his pressing problem of finding a bride to please his dying grandmother, he offers her a deal: marriage to him…or prison, never imagining that this little cut-purse will also steal his heart.


A Knight’s Desire – Catherine Kean
Lady Rosetta Montgomery is on her way to her wedding when she’s kidnapped by a rider dressed all in black. She discovers her abductor is Lord Ashton Blakeley, her first and only true love, who left her to go on Crusade. Ash is a changed man now, with disfiguring scars and agonizing secrets. As rumors of lost Anglo-Saxon gold and treachery unfold, and Rosetta grows to understand the man Ash has become, will she help him fight for their love, or will the danger surrounding the hidden riches cost them all that they treasure?


The Angel and The Prince – Laurel O’Donnell
In this exciting medieval romance, the French lady knight known as the Angel of Death wages a battle of wills and desires against her dreaded enemy — the English warrior known as the Prince of Darkness.


Highlander in Her Dreams – Sue-Ellen Welfonder
They met through Highland Magic, can true love keep them together?
After stepping through a magical gateway, Kira Bedwell finds herself in fourteenth-century Scotland, face-to-face with Aidan MacDonald, the irresistible Highlander who has visited her in dreams. As their romance transcends to reality, it will take all of their courage and will for their love to survive beyond time itself…
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#Excerpt “The Forgotten Duke (Diamonds in the Rough #5)” by Sophie Barnes

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book 5 coverDiamonds In The Rough, Book 5
Regency Romance
Release Date: January 28, 2020
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From USA Today Bestselling Author, Sophie Barnes
The Forgotten Duke
Book 5 in the Diamonds In The Rough Regency Series
He never imagined he’d be the man he was born to be, or that one woman’s faith in him would change his life forever…
When Carlton Guthrie, the Scoundrel of St. Giles, encounters a runaway bride, he offers to help her. Not out of kindness, but because she’s the Earl of Hedgewick’s daughter. Using Regina to exact his revenge on her father seems like the perfect plan. Until Carlton starts to fall for the innocent beauty.
Seeking refuge with a notorious crime lord, was never part of Regina’s plan. But in her blind attempt to escape the fate her parents have planned for her, options are limited. What she doesn’t expect, is to pull aside Carlton’s facade, and to find a tormented man who makes her feel safe and cherished – a man she could easily love, if he’ll let her.

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Chapter One


September, 1820

Everything in Regina’s life had always gone according to plan. She’d been born on March fourteenth, exactly as the physician and midwife had predicted. Since then, her sole purpose had been to become an accomplished lady. She’d been educated in a manner befitting the daughter of a British peer. And so, it was not surprising that she could play the pianoforte, embroider monograms on handkerchiefs, converse in French, and dance as if floating on air.
Her life was as it should be, as it had been designed to be, and she had no illusions about the duty that would one day be required of her. As a female, she would have to make the best possible match. Love would not factor into this eventuality since her marriage would without doubt be one of convenience.

Her parents had spent the last eighteen years preparing her for this. And yet her father, Charles Berkly, Earl of Hedgewick, still managed to surprise her when he interrupted tea one afternoon to inform her that she and the Marquess of Stokes were to be married.

The very next day.

By special license.

Apprehensive and slightly dazed, Regina told herself that all would be well. Her father had made a magnificent match – one that would elevate not only her but her entire family. She trusted him to have her best interests at heart, so she did not think to protest the hasty union or to remind her father that she and Stokes had never met. Instead, she breathed a sigh of relief when he described the marquess as a handsome youth with a fondness for poetry and music. She imagined herself enjoying his company, of entertaining him in the evenings with music and song, and of giving him children as duty required. She convinced herself that in time, love would blossom between them and that they would be happy together.

But when Stokes arrived that same evening for an introductory dinner, and was shown into the parlor by Plath, the butler, Regina realized that everything she’d imagined was but an illusion. Instead, she was expected to walk into hell and live there.

The resolve required to maintain her composure as Stokes approached her, to drop into an elegant curtsy and not run screaming from the room, was extraordinarily difficult. Like sitting still while a swarm of bees tried to sting you. But she now understood why she’d never met the marquess before and why she had to marry him faster than she could blink. Most likely, her father hoped to complete the task before she realized she was marrying a child.

Even though it was rather difficult not to notice such a thing, considering Stokes’s appearance. He had the typical rounded features of a young adolescent with a lanky body to match. Regina supposed he could be fifteen, if she were lucky, but rather feared he might be much younger than that. His face was regrettably covered in pimples of varying sizes, though this was the least problematic aspect since he would likely be rid of those within a few years. Of greater concern was his difficult gait, which suited an aging old man much better. And when he extended his hand to Regina, the stiff rigidity forcing his fingers to curl at odd angles was more than she could bear.

With a gasp, she looked up, only to be met by pain in his eyes. The heartbeats thumping fast inside her slowed, easing a path toward sympathetic understanding. He did not want this marriage any more than she did.

So Regina smiled. Not because she was pleased on either of their behalves, but because it was what Stokes deserved. However difficult this situation was for her, surely it must be worse for him, not only because he was so much younger but because he probably thought she would spurn him.

“It is a pleasure to finally meet you, my lord,” she said as she placed her hand in his.
Behind him, his parents, the Duke and Duchess of Windham, looked on with a mixture of hopefulness and concern.

“The pleasure is entirely mine,” Stokes told her politely. He gave her hand a gentle pull and she let him create the appearance of helping her rise. “Perhaps the two of us can take a turn about the room together before we’re called in for dinner?”

“I’d like that,” Regina said. She deliberately avoided looking over at her brother Marcus, whose glower she could feel as acutely as the heat emanating from the fireplace. He would undoubtedly have some choice words with their parents later, but for now, Regina believed the best policy would be to make the most of an already difficult situation.

So she placed her hand lightly on the arm Stokes offered and forced her steps to match his as they moved toward the far end of the room.

They reached the bay window looking out on the dusky garden and drew to a halt. Giving her a sideways glance, Stokes spoke in a low whisper. “I am sorry about all of this. When my parents told me of their intention to see me wed, I did my best to dissuade them. But Papa is determined to secure the lineage of his title and with the undeniable progression of my illness, he sees Hedgewick’s offer as the only hope of doing so.”

His comment caused numerous issues to poke and prod at Regina’s mind, like how her father had apparently started all of this by approaching Windham. And the idea that she would have to lie with him tomorrow after the wedding.

Forcing all her aversions to this aside, she chose to get to know this boy whose life must be unbearably difficult, and asked, “Do the physicians know what it is that ails you?”

He inhaled deeply, as if this subject required additional strength. “They say it is primary asthenic gout.” He looked at her directly. “Incurable, by all accounts.”

“I am sorry.” It was all she could think to say even though she knew it was not enough.

“Apparently, it is rare in children, which makes me special according to some physicians.” He gave a low snort. “I must say I’ve never felt so myself.”

Regina winced. The physicians were idiots if they believed that Stokes would find comfort in such a notion. “How long have you suffered like this?”

“The symptoms began five years ago and have been progressing since.”

Hoping he wouldn’t detect the pity she felt for him, she casually asked, “And how old are you now, if you do not mind my asking.”

“Fourteen.” The edge of his mouth lifted and for a second she caught a glimpse of the fun-loving boy he might have been if he’d been granted good health. “It is the age of consent for a boy, provided his parents approve.”

Regina nodded. The duke and duchess were hoping to marry him off as expediently as possible before he got worse and lost his chance completely.

Determined to put a positive spin on the situation, Regina said, “You’re probably the most eligible bachelor I’ve ever met. A pity you’re going to be squandered on an old woman like me.”

He grinned with what appeared to be genuine amusement. “I doubt there’s a woman in all of England as beautiful as you.”

She nudged him slightly while giving him a sly smile. “Top points for charm and for not inquiring about my age.”

Affecting a debonair look, he said, “No proper gentleman would ever think to do so.”

“I am eighteen,” Regina confessed with a chuckle.

“And entirely wasted on me.”

Regret flickered in his eyes and Regina’s heart squeezed painfully in response. “Don’t say that. You and I—”

“Have no hope of happiness.” His blunt statement, as obviously simple as it was, jarred Regina’s soul.

“Don’t say that,” she whispered.

“Why not?” He gave her a quizzical look. “It is the truth, when you think of it.” When she said nothing in response to this, he added, “My illness will not kill me for at least a couple of decades.”

With a gulp, she met his gaze head on. “I should hope not.”

“You say that now, but as I deteriorate with time, you will regret being my wife, just as much as I will regret ruining your life.”

Regina stared at him and as she did so, it occurred to her that she had to find a way to save them both. Perhaps they could have the marriage annulled immediately after? It was an option, though not a very good one when she considered the vicar who would be conducting the ceremony. He ought not be able to do so unless she and Stokes gave their consent. And yet, it was becoming increasingly clear that they would be pronounced husband and wife no matter what they said or did. Their parents were powerful people. What chance did she and a child stand against their determined wills?

Fear started to drip through Regina like freezing rain. “I’ll find a way out of this,” she assured him.

He raised an eyebrow. “How?”

“I don’t know.” Short of running away…

Her nerves tightened in response to that thought. It went against the obligation instilled in her since childhood. It felt wrong and disobedient and…wonderfully freeing, all things considered.

Swallowing, she glanced sideways. Assembled on the sofa and in the armchairs were their family members, all watching with syrupy smiles painted on their faces.

Except for Marcus, who looked rather grim. His eyebrows were drawn together, one partially obscured by a dark blonde lock of hair. Jaw tight, he appeared to be holding a great deal of anger in check. If she were to flee, she would miss him the most, which was something she contemplated a great deal as the evening wore on.

When the time eventually came for Stokes and his parents to depart, he stepped close enough to Regina so he could whisper next to her ear, “Time is running out.” He leaned back and gave her the sort of sad smile that quickened her pulse with the knowledge that only she had the power to act.

“We shall see you again in the morning,” Lord Windham said as if they were preparing to start a joint venture together, which Regina supposed they were, in a way.

Hedgewick smiled with the satisfaction of a lion who’d just caught a fat gazelle. “Eight o’clock sharp.” He smiled again and bowed toward Lady Windham. A few more parting words were spoken and then Stokes was helped down the front steps of Hedgewick House and into the awaiting carriage. The front door closed with a deep thud and Regina expelled a long breath.

“Well,” Hedgewick said, turning about so he could regard his family. “That went rather splendidly I’d say.”

“The Windhams are delightful people,” Louise said in support of her husband. “Very proper and most elegantly attired.”

Marcus stared at them both as if they’d just performed a series of cartwheels. “Are you serious?” Apparently he’d decided the time had come to speak up. “That is all you have to say?”

“What else is there?” Louise asked her son in that timid voice that had always been so comforting and soothing. Now it just sounded weak and devoid of character. Like tepid tea.

“I don’t know,” Marcus clipped in an acrid tone that warned Regina of the argument to come. “How about the fact that you’re planning to foist Regina off on a decrepit child?”

Hedgewick’s eyes darkened to storm cloud grey. “Your sister is going to be a duchess one day.”

“At what cost?” Marcus asked. He swung around to face Regina. “You cannot go through with this. I won’t permit it.”

“You. Won’t. Permit. It?” Hedgewick’s voice trembled while fine flecks of spittle flew from his mouth. His face had turned beet red. Leaning forward, he glared at his son. “Perhaps if you were head of this family you’d have a say in the matter. But you don’t.” He turned his attention on Regina whose skin began to prick in response to his anger. She’d never seen him like this. He’d always been loving and kind. “Everything has been arranged, so the wedding will proceed as planned.” Leaning back, he puffed out an agitated breath through his nose. “I suggest you get some sleep now so you can be well-rested and ready.”

“Yes, Papa,” she obediently murmured while Marcus gave her a stupefied look of concern. Pretending to be agreeable seemed like the simplest option while coming to terms with the fact that not even her brother was able to sway her father’s decision.

“I do not understand you,” Marcus told her moments later when both of their parents had retired. “You cannot seriously want this for yourself.”

“Stokes isn’t so terrible.” She started up the stairs while Marcus trailed behind. “He and I will get along well with each other, I think.”

“But he’s…I mean…how will you…” His words were blown away on a heavy sigh of frustration.

“I have always known that I would marry for convenience. This isn’t much different than the women who have to marry men thrice their age.”

“It’s different in the sense that Stokes might stay alive for some time yet.”

“Good God,” Regina gasped as she halted halfway up the steps and glanced back at her brother. “I should certainly hope so.”

Marcus lifted one shoulder. “Forgive me. That comment was in bad taste. I just wish you could marry the man of your choosing and not be a pawn in whatever it is Papa’s trying to achieve.”

“You think there’s more to his wanting this marriage than social status alone?”

“Considering how angered he was by my mere suggestion that you not go through with the wedding, I’d say so. But I cannot imagine what it might be.”

Regina pondered this as she resumed her progress. When she reached her bedchamber, she paused. “I love you dearly, Marcus. You know that, right?”

Tilting his head, he gave her an odd look. “Of course.”

She forced a smile. “Good.” She pressed down the handle and opened the door. Telling her brother she might not be there by morning would be a mistake. He’d only want to help her escape and thus implicate himself in her disappearance, which was something she could not allow. Besides, she still wasn’t sure she’d go through with it.

“I love you too,” he told her gently, and she was glad for the darkness because it stopped him from seeing the tears in her eyes. “Sleep well.”

Echoing his parting words, she entered her bedchamber, closed the door and leaned against it. Could she really run away? Her parents would not expect it, which would make the task so much easier. This was a benefit to being the dutiful daughter, the proper young lady who never strayed from protocol and always behaved with decorum. She could simply walk out the front door and vanish.

Glancing at the white lace gown hanging from a hook on the wall, Regina allowed the idea of running away to capture her imagination more fully. She’d worn the dress when she’d made her debut at the Coventry ball three months earlier. It had been altered slightly this afternoon by a maid tasked with turning it into her wedding dress. In Regina’s opinion, too much lace and silk netting had been added, but she supposed it would do. She stepped forward and touched the fabric, letting it slide between her fingers. The bonnet she would wear sat on her dressing table, with additional silk netting sewn onto the brim to create a frothy ruffle that descended toward the back where it fell away in a big voluminous tail.

Regina allowed a sad chuckle. She would look like a cake in this.

Her brow puckered even as she pulled the gown into her arms and pressed it against her chest. What would life be like for her if she married Stokes? It wasn’t as if she loved some other man. And yet, the realization that they wouldn’t dance with each other or ride together or enjoy the sort of active life that was meant for people their age was a blow. Instead, they would live like old people, imprisoned in some large manor somewhere.

She laughed bitterly. What good would her title do her then? What solace would she find in having done her duty when even Stokes had made it clear that he had no desire to marry? Indeed his features had softened with gratitude when she’d said she would find a solution. But could she go through with it? She clutched her dress tighter. If she sought refuge with friends her father would find her. The inevitable would only be delayed. So where would she go?

She pondered these questions for hours while pacing her bedchamber floor, until she was sure she must have worn out the sheen. Each question left her more indecisive and unsure than the last. At some point during the night, she’d put on her wedding gown and matching bonnet for no other purpose than to confirm how ridiculous she would look. She still wore it now as the darkness began to recede to the corners of her room. Dawn was breaking and she’d soon lose her chance to leave.

Could she be brave and do the unexpected? Could she face the unknown alone?

“I have to,” she murmured. It was time to put herself first for a change. Only then would she stand a chance of building the sort of future she wished for – a future she hadn’t even known she wanted until today. But the truth was that she dreamed of falling in love and of being loved in return. She longed for compatibility with a man strong and healthy enough to be her partner for life.

Glancing at her cheval glass, she considered the woman reflected back and made her decision. “I have to save myself and Stokes from misery.”

But first, she had to get changed.

So she reached for the end of the ribbons that held her bonnet in place and prepared to give them a pull when the sound of an upstairs door closing caused her to pause. The servants were already rising. There wasn’t any more time.

Giving a resolute nod, she abandoned the thought of putting on a more practical dress, eased her bedchamber door open and stopped to listen. The clock in the hall chimed five. Soon the maids would start cleaning the downstairs rooms.

With this in mind, Regina stepped into the hallway and headed toward the stairs. Descending them on her tiptoes, she made her way into the foyer. No one was about yet. The front door was right there. Unguarded.

Regina moved toward it, unbolted the lock, and opened the door to cool morning air. Mist sat low in the street, concealing most of the buildings. Heart pounding, she glanced back over her shoulder once before stepping outside, closing the door behind her, and breaking into a run.

She wasn’t sure where she was going exactly, but she had to get out of Mayfair before someone saw her and forced her to go back home. The wrath she would face there would likely surpass what her father had shown toward Marcus last night.

Turning onto Piccadilly, she raced toward a side street and almost skidded into it in her haste to escape the clatter of hooves from a carriage somewhere behind her. This was madness. Good God, what was she thinking? Perhaps she ought to go back before anyone realized she was missing. But her feet didn’t slow, they just kept going as if propelled by the part of her brain that refused to accept what her parents were doing. Why would they force such a hasty wedding upon her or Stokes? Why was her father so unrelenting? It was almost as if this match mattered more to him than she did.

Regina’s chest tightened against the air being forced in and out of her lungs. She had no idea where she was now, she reflected as her slippers struck the pavement with increasing speed. The streets and buildings were unfamiliar, though still somewhat respectable.

Something clanged behind her, causing her to dart down a street to her left where she almost smashed into a man. He staggered sideways, his hand briefly touching her elbow as she swerved around him.

“Looking for a groom?” His drunken voice turned to lewd laughter. “I’ll help you out!”

Ignoring him, Regina continued on her way with increased determination. The silk netting and lace billowing out around her merged with the thickening fog in a ghostly effect. Three streets later, her toe caught an uneven spot on the ground and she tripped, stumbling forward with a gasp. Her arms cartwheeled as she made a desperate attempt to maintain her balance. But her body was angled too far forward, and her speed only added momentum to the fall that now seemed inevitable.

Until her entire front connected with something warm and wonderfully solid that instantly stopped her descent. An arm came around her, bracing her against the person who’d caught her, and Regina instinctively started to struggle.

“What the devil?” a masculine voice muttered. “Be still, damn it!

Regina gasped and looked up at the man who now held her.

A pair of coffee-colored eyes stared down into hers with mesmerizing intensity. Raven locks protruded at haphazard angles from beneath the brim of a velvet top hat. Expressive eyebrows drew together in wonder, puckering a prominent forehead and drawing Regina’s attention toward the man’s nose. It was elegantly shaped in a chiseled straight line that slanted toward a neatly trimmed moustache. The dense hair hovered above a wide mouth that presently smirked at her with what could only be described as lethal amusement.

Recognizing him from all the sketches she’d seen in the newspapers over the years, she blurted the first thing that came to her mind. “I know who you are.” Carlton Guthrie’s notoriety was such that not knowing who he was would have been impossible. His smirk became more pronounced as the edge of his mouth curled upward. “You’re the Scoundrel of St. Giles.”


Other Books in the Diamonds In The Rough Series:

book 1 cover
A Most Unlikely Duke
Diamonds In The Rough, Book 1
Publisher: Avon
Published: June 2017
He never thought he’d become a duke, or that the secrets of his past would cost him his greatest love…
Raphe Matthews hasn’t stepped foot in polite circles since a tragedy left his once-noble family impoverished and in debt. The bare-knuckle boxer has spent the last fifteen years eking out an existence for himself and his two sisters. But when a stunning reversal of fortune lands Raphe the title of Duke of Huntley, he’s determined to make a go of becoming a proper lord, but he’ll need a little help, and his captivating neighbor might be just the woman for the job…
After her sister’s scandalous match, Lady Gabriella knows the ton’s eyes are on her. Agreeing to tutor the brutish new duke can only lead to ruin. Although she tries to control her irresistible attraction to Raphe, every day she spends with him only deepens her realization that this may be the one man she cannot do without. And as scandal threatens to envelop them both, she must decide if she can risk everything for love with a most unlikely duke.
book 2 cover
The Duke of Her Desire
Diamonds In The Rough, Book 2
Publisher: Avon
Published: December 2017
He was only supposed to keep an eye on his friend’s sister . . . now he’s about to lose his heart . . .
When Thomas Heathmore, Duke of Coventry, agrees to steer his friend’s inexperienced younger sister through society, he doesn’t expect the lady in question to be so infernally stubborn. Amelia Matthews seems to have little interest in balls or suitors at all. Instead, she intends to open a school, and against his better instincts, Thomas offers to help. Yet somewhere along the line, Amelia ceases to be a simple responsibility . . . and becomes an undeniable temptation.
Since her brother inherited a dukedom, Amelia’s prospects have transformed. But though she’s long been secretly infatuated with Thomas, she refuses to heed the arrogant aristocrat’s advice. If only it were as easy to ignore his heated touch. And as Amelia soon learns, the ton is a minefield, where one moment’s indiscretion can unleash a scandal—or entice her to surrender everything to the duke of her desire . . .
book 3 cover
The Illegitimate Duke
Diamonds In The Rough, Book 3
Publisher: Avon
Published: August 2018
United in a common cause…
Lady Juliette Matthews longs to be much more than just another pretty ornament in society. But using her recently acquired fortune to do some good is more complicated than she anticipated. Young ladies are not expected to risk their safety in helping the less fortunate. And the one gentleman who could help in her mission is stubborn, infernally handsome—and far too honorable to act on their mutual attraction.
And in a desire impossible to deny…
Florian Lowell has suddenly been made heir to the Duke of Redding—a far cry from his status as a dedicated physician. Yet even with his new role as the country’s most eligible bachelor, the beautiful, fearless Juliette is utterly beyond his reach. The scandalous circumstances of his birth would destroy both their reputations if they became known. But when a more urgent danger threatens Juliette’s life, Florian must gamble everything…including the heart only one woman can tame.
book 4 cover
The Infamous Duchess
Diamonds In The Rough, Book 4
Publisher: Avon
Published: March 2019
A woman with a shocking past…
Branded a money-hungry con artist for marrying the elderly Duke of Tremaine days before his death, Viola Cartwright has found refuge in her work at St. Agatha’s Hospital. No one must know the painful reason behind her marriage. She steers clear of attachments—until Henry Lowell, heir to the Viscount Armswell, lands on her operating table after a duel. Charming and wickedly handsome, Lowell is one of London’s most inveterate scoundrels. Yet he may not be all that he appears.
And the man who can promise a future filled with love…
Posing as an unrepentant rake has helped Lowell avoid women pursuing him only for his title. But now that duty has finally called on him to marry, he finds himself entranced by the mysterious, independent-minded Viola. Then her late husband’s son returns from overseas, contesting Viola’s inheritance. Lowell longs to help her and sets out to convince Viola that a strategic union may be the best way to save all she holds dear. But can he also persuade her to take a chance on love…?


Sophie BarnesAbout the Author

USA Today Bestselling Author, Sophie Barnes, has spent her youth traveling with her parents to wonderful places around the world. Born in Denmark, she has studied design in Paris and New York and has a bachelor’s degree from Parson’s School of design, but most impressive of all – she’s been married to the same man three times, in three different countries and in three different dresses. While living in Africa, Sophie turned to her lifelong passion – writing.

When she’s not busy, dreaming up her next romance novel, Sophie enjoys spending time with her family. She currently lives on the East Coast.
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#CoverReveal “The Breaking (Northern Witch #3)” by K.S. Marsden

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Mark thought being a witch would be easy, but it has ruined everything.

Now, he has to fight for his friends and the guy that he loves.

Which would be challenging enough, without school being a living nightmare; more demons than he can handle; and witches that have strayed from the light.

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Publication Date: 20th March

 Winter Trials (Northern Witch #1)is currently available for Free mybook.to/WinterTrials


Author Bio K.S. Marsden

Kelly S. Marsden grew up in Yorkshire, and there were two constants in her life – books and horses.
Graduating with an equine degree from Aberystwyth University, she has spent most of her life since trying to experience everything the horse world has to offer. She is currently settled into a Nutritionist role for a horse feed company in Doncaster, South Yorkshire.
She writes Fantasy stories part-time. Her first book, The Shadow Rises (Witch-Hunter #1), was published in January 2013, and she now has several successful series under her belt.

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