#BookBlitz “Sophie’s Choice (The Ladies of Harrington House, Book One)” by A. M. Westerling

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The Ladies of Harrington House, Book One

Historical Romance, Regency Romance

Publisher: BWL Publishing

 

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Lady Sophie Harrington is not one to abide by society’s strictures.

If there’s one thing she knows, it’s that she will not be paraded on the London marriage market in hopes of finding a suitable husband. When a handsome bachelor moves into the neighbouring country estate, she thinks her wedding prospects are solved – all she must do is make the man fall in love with her and convince her parents he would be a good match.

Successful barrister Lord Bryce Langdon escapes London to begin a new legal practice in the rugged county of Cornwall. However, being the object of desire for two beautiful sisters disrupts his life and distracts him from his true purpose for being there – infiltrating a local smuggler’s ring.

Can Sophie win Bryce’s love? What will she do when she discovers Bryce is not the honourable man he appears to be? Sometimes temptation cannot be resisted…

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Other books in The Ladies of Harrington House series:

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Leah’s Surrender

The Ladies of Harrington House, Book 2

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Catherine’s Passion

The Ladies of Harrington House, Book 3

Amazon

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Excerpt

Sophie slid off her mare, looped the reins over a convenient shrub and gave the horse a quick pat on the nose. She turned and began the familiar trip down the little path that meandered through the dunes to end up at the gravel and shell beach just on the edge of her family’s estate. When she neared the edge of the sea, she held out her arms and tilted her face to the June sun before stripping off her bonnet. She tossed it in the air where
the breeze caught it and whirled it about, ribbons and all, before it landed in a frivolous clump on the beach.

She sat down and removed her riding boots and stockings and wriggled her toes with sheer delight. Then she unpinned her hair and shook her head so the chestnut curls spilled over her shoulders and down her back.

“Aaaaaah.” Pleasure spiraled through her. “I have missed this so.” Feeling a little foolish for talking to herself, she glanced around to be sure that she hadn’t been heard. It would not do to have the locals gossip that Lord Harrington’s eldest daughter was daft!

Sophie gathered up the skirts of her kerseymere riding habit and crunched
across the beach to the water’s edge, dabbling first one big toe then
the other in the chilly waves. The gravel pricked against the soles of her
feet, delightful in its intensity and for the first time in weeks she felt
alive, well and truly alive. Not that she hadn’t enjoyed her stay at
boarding school, particularly the time assisting in the school library, but
it had been restrictive, to say the least.

She mimicked the head mistress. “Sophie, you must pour this way,
Sophie, you must set a stitch that way, Sophie, mind that your voice is
never raised.” Mama would be scandalized if she saw Sophie now, poking
fun at Miss Smythe and standing bare foot in the sea.

“Your mama would be scandalized.” A masculine voice interrupted
her, echoing her thoughts perfectly.

She spun around, dropping her skirts into the water. Rueful, she glanced
down for it was sure to leave a stain. Then she raised her gaze to the
stranger before her. And raising her gaze it was for he stood at least a
head taller than her own five foot five inches. Her breath caught in her
throat.

He was handsome, to say the least – tall, dark and lean with a
rapacious air about him as if he would pounce on his prey at any moment.
Judging by his burnished cheeks, tousled black hair and the crop dangling
from one wrist, he had also been out riding.

Sophie realized she must look a fool standing there dumbfounded and ankle
deep in water. For once in her life she was completely nonplussed.

“You, you …”, she stammered, managing to wobble her way
back on to the beach without incurring further damage to her habit.

“Yes?” Amusement tinged the stranger’s voice.

Bravado was her best option so she squared her shoulders and jutted her
chin. “I meant to say you’re trespassing.”

“I think not.” He pointed to a marker just off to one side.
“I believe that is the edge of my property. Indeed, you are the one
who is trespassing, Miss…?”  The question dangled between
them. When she didn’t answer, he swept forward in an elegant bow.
“Allow me to present myself. I am Lord Bryce Langdon. And you?”
Again he waited for a response and again she declined to answer.

Oh dear, she knew very well who
Lord Langdon was. He’d just acquired the adjacent land. In fact, they
were all to meet him this evening for the first time.  However, if word
ever got out that she’d met him in this situation, her reputation
would be ruined. Anger at herself for the foolishness that had brought her
here unchaperoned made her tongue sharp.

“You, sir, are an ill-mannered boor.” She spat the words at
him. “Only an ill-mannered boor would compromise a young lady as you
have just done to me.”

“I must beg pardon then for I had not recognized you as such.”
He pointed to the ten toes peeping out from beneath the hem of her skirt.
“I dare say your behaviour is sadly lacking.”

“You, you scoundrel, how
dare you insult me so,” she fumed.  “You, you -.” Her
mind went blank, sucked bare by the devastatingly handsome man before
her.

“Wretch?”  he suggested, the corners of his mouth
beginning to lift.

Sophie stared at him for a few seconds, watching the devilish grin threaten
to take over his entire face. Her lips twitched and she scowled in a vain
attempt to maintain her decorum. It didn’t work.

Giggles burbled up and burst free and she began to laugh. He joined her,
the sounds of their laughter mingling with the cries of the sea gulls
circling above. Bryce Langdon must be an astute judge of character for he
was entirely correct in his assessment of her. She detested the rules and
strictures of the upper class and it was that rebellious quality that had
landed her an extended stay in boarding school in the first place. There was
no point in denying it.

“No, you’re absolutely right. I’m not behaving like a
lady. That is,” she hastened to correct herself, squeezing out the
words between giggles, “in the sense I do not enjoy sewing and such.
Much to the dismay of my mother and sisters, I prefer to be
outdoors.”

“And I am no drawing room fop so I see we shall get along
famously.  You have yet to introduce yourself?”

She curtsied. “Lady Sophie Harrington. We are to meet this evening
for dinner at Harrington House.” A wry expression twisted her
face.  “Please don’t mention to anyone that you saw me here
today.”

Bryce took her hand and raised it to his lips. “Rest assured, I shall
tell no one. Tonight when we meet, it will be as if for the first
time.” His dark eyes were admiring and warm with promise as he kissed
her hand again before dropping it. “I look forward to seeing you
again, Lady Sophie Harrington.” He said her name carefully, rolling
out the syllables as if he savored the cadence. He saluted her with his crop
then turned on his heel.

~~~

About the Author

A.M. Westerling, a best selling author for boutique Canadian publisher BWL Publishing, has written ten books, including Barkerville Beginnings, Book 4 of the popular Canadian Historical Brides Collection issued in honour of Canada’s 150th birthday.

A former chemical engineer, Astrid traded in her calculator, mechanical pencil and spreadsheets for a keyboard, history books and membership in her local RWA chapter. From Vikings to Viscounts, her adventure filled historical romances span the ages. Sophie’s Choice , the first book in her Ladies of Harrington House Regency Romance series, was a finalist in Long and Short Reviews Book of the Month.

She enjoys walks through her neighborhood, spending time in her garden and camping. This avid sports fan loves watching NFL (ballet on the grid iron!) and NASCAR (hot cars, cute drivers!) and cheering on her hometown Calgary Flames and Calgary Stampeders.

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#ReleaseBlitz “Marquess of Magic (Sisterhood of Secrets Book 3)” by Jennifer Monroe

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Sisterhood of Secrets, Book Three

Historical Romance, Regency Romance

Date Published: May 19, 2022

Publisher: WOLF Publishing

 

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In this mesmerizing Regency romance by Jennifer Monroe, a mysterious
marquess and a misunderstood beauty need to realize that when love and magic
mingle with desire, the results can be extraordinary…

Spellbound by a glamorous man…

Miss Diana Kendricks is the rarest of young women: She is actually looking forward to becoming a lifelong spinster!

Disillusioned by what she has seen of married life, she eagerly awaits the day when she is considered securely “on the shelf.” However, Diana fails to take into account the most treacherous twist—her own traitorous heart, which finds itself skipping a beat when she meets Lord James Barrington, mysteriously labeled as the Marquess of Magic.

Love is the greatest enchantment of all…

Lord Barrington has always loved magic. Since childhood, he has found it thrilling to perform illusions and conjurations, to shock an audience, and leave them breathless. But in ordinary life, no magic can vanish away the dangerous secret he hides. James should not even be considering marriage.

But when he chances upon Diana, she seems like his perfect match—beautiful, witty, with similar interests to his own. He cannot risk losing her to another suitor, and soon James has hopelessly ensnared both their hearts. 

But James’s secret will not stay hidden in the shadows. When it comes to love, the truth may be the greatest magic trick of all—and James must soon reveal it, lest he lose his one true love forever…

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The Full Sisterhood of Secrets Series

#1 Duke of Madness

#2 Baron of Rake Street

#3 Marquess of Magic

#4 Earl of Deception

#5 Knight of Destiny

#6 Captain of Second Chances

Amazon

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About the Author

Jennifer Monroe writes Regency romances you can’t resist. Her stories are filled with first loves and second chances, dashing dukes, and strong heroines. Each turn of the page promises an adventure in love and many late nights of reading.

With over twenty books published, her nine-part series, The Secrets of Scarlett Hall, which tells the stories of the Lambert Children, remain a favorite with her readers.

 

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Publisher’s Contact

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Purchase Link

Kindle Unlimited

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#BookTour “The True Purpose of Vines (The Winemakers Book 1)” by Giovanna Siniscalchi

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The Winemakers, Book One

 

Historical Romance

Date Published April 25, 2022

 

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“A headstrong Portuguese meets her match in the arrogant Englishman who threatens her beloved vineyards. Dive deep into Portugal’s rich culture in this intoxicating story about wine and love.”

 Portugal, 1870

A winemaker desperate to save her vineyards…

Julia Costa is the best winemaker in the Douro. When a greedy tradesman threatens the land her family has held for generations, Julia prepares to defend her legacy and independence by any means necessary.

The Englishman sent to uncover her secrets…

The last thing Griffin Maxwell wants is to waste time mired in a Portuguese backwater. Still, to guarantee a partnership with Oporto’s largest trading firm, he agrees to travel up the Douro river and chase some reluctant debtor.

A meeting of two cultures…

Nothing prepared Griffin for the headstrong winemaker. Alluring, she tempts him into enjoying Portugal’s vibrant tastes and is a threat to his carefully constructed plans. The arrogant Englishman arrived at Julia’s lands, believing himself entitled to everything, including her heart. But how can she resist an attraction headier than a vintage?

 An enemy too powerful to fight alone…

~~~

When a mysterious plague decimates Europe’s vineyards, Griffin and Julia put differences aside to find a cure, blind-tasting their way into an intoxicating passion. But reality demands an answer: will they choose their ambitions or the love of a lifetime?

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EXCERPT

Chapter 1

Oporto, Portugal – June 1870

A gust of wind blew in from the sea. Members flocked inside the British Factory House, holding their top hats and flapping coats. They lived outside the motherland but could still enjoy a gentlemen’s club as luxurious as White’s in London.

Griffin left his hat and coat in the vestibule and entered the foyer. Light from two horse-sized chandeliers flashed on the arched ceiling. Voices and clinking glasses mingled with the pianist playing a sonata in the corner. All the British port-trading gentlemen were here. Some stood near the tall colonnades while others talked in groups, their black and white finery stark against the blue walls. Friends, passing acquaintances, competitors — all would give their left foot to be in Griffin’s position. After courting Croft for a year, he would extract a yes from the wily fox.

Nothing could go wrong. Their partnership was a fait accompli.

Griffin’s pulse hammered a staccato rhythm on the veins of his neck. He rolled his shoulders to release the tension as he scanned the crowd. Coat straining over his stomach, Croft chatted with Fladgate and Taylor. He looked like a benevolent sea lion with the points of his mustache curving down like ivory tusks. His appearance masked his ruthlessness in business. The man knew the value of things, be it wine, horses, or properties, and could bargain a fellow out of his trousers and sell it back to him for double the price.

They made eye contact, and Croft waved. Waiting to speak with him until after lunch would be as pleasant as shaving himself with a barbed wire. Griffin wrestled a place on the leather couch and hoisted the Times, scanning the London news.

He usually enjoyed the newspaper, as it arrived in Oporto only once a week, but today the headlines blurred. Failure crept into his thoughts, listing everything that could go wrong. Griffin shut his eyes, dispelling the unusual pessimism. Croft neared retirement. With no sons to assume his business, he had reason to value a partnership.

The upholstery dipped. “You know what would be grand? If my dear friend lent me the phaeton and his flashy team tomorrow.”

Griffin lowered the paper a few inches and raised a brow. Charles Whitaker eyed him expectantly, his hair in disarray, sporting a bright yellow vest that clashed with his striped trousers. No doubt he had sailed from a night of debauchery straight into the Factory House.

Griffin lowered the paper. “Another race? After last time—”

“No, no! Not that. Your blacks put to shame any horseflesh in Oporto, and I mean to impress—”

“The baroneza’s husband will kill you if the races won’t.”

Charles’ affair had ended in a very public and embarrassing duel. Griffin abhorred expressions of passionate liaisons, be it drunken serenades or pistols at dawn. His mistresses needed to be desirable, but discreet. Let the Portuguese rant and rave about love. His life would never be ruled by such animal instincts.

Charles extracted a cigar from his pocket. “This isn’t about Carmen. I promised Anita an outing to Sintra. You know her. The ballet dancer. Come with me tonight.” He brightened. “She has this blonde roommate that does a marvelous rond de jamb.” He licked his lips as if he meant a dessert and not a dance step.

Griffin grimaced at the alcohol fumes his friend exhaled, strong enough to burn his nose. “I’m taking Anne to the opera.” His little sister had pestered him all week to see the reopening of Nabucco. The brat had a way of sweet-talking him into doing her bidding. “Why don’t you try a respectable outing for a change? You may even like it.”

“You sound like my father. But I must warn you, I have a hell of a time understanding his speeches when I’m soused.” Charles perked up and spoke in a plummy imitation of Mr. Whitaker, the senior. “What a man does in private, he repents in private, but what he does in public, he regrets in his privates.”

Griffin hid his laughter under a stern façade. “A little decorum, for heaven’s sake. This is the Factory House, not some shady tavern.”

The two gentlemen across from them glowered, whispering behind their hands as they moved to the whist table.

Charles narrowed his eyes. The devil-may-care attitude seeped from his features to reveal an unusually thoughtful expression. “You are just like them, are you not? The best sportsman in Oporto, a really capital fellow, locked in this… this paddock like sheep.” He gave the company of gentlemen a contemptuous look. “There is a whole of Portugal you ignore, waiting beyond these walls.”

Not caring for Charles’ unflinching stare, Griffin crossed his arms, forcing a blank expression. If he had embraced Portuguese temptations, he wouldn’t have transformed his uncle’s small trading firm into the fastest growing port company in the city. “I’m taking the coach to the countryside tomorrow.”

Charles gaped, the unlit cigar slipping from his lips. “You? Leaving town?”

Griffin shrugged. “A few weeks. I’m going to the high Douro. My late uncle’s Quinta is leaking more money than a drainpipe, and I will set it to rights.”

“You know there are no English people up there, don’t you?”

The Douro River was Portuguese territory—home to the Quintas that produced port wine. It was a wild, unruly corner of the world that held no interest for Griffin. Still, the business required his attention. “I’m perfectly aware the Queen won’t be there to greet me.”

“Will you sell the place?”

“I don’t know yet.”

The bell sounded, and Charles staggered to his feet. “It will do you good to spend some time outside this paddock.”

Griffin watched him swagger to the dining room. Had Griffin ever been carefree like Charles? Of course not. His mother and sister had been under his care since he was seventeen years old. If this partnership went well—no, not if, but when—he would restore his family to the former status they’d had in London.

The hours dragged by as Griffin endured lunch and stilted conversation. His watch pulsed inside his pocket as if counting the seconds until he could speak with Croft, a countdown to his future. On a sidebar, servers lined up port decanters.

Croft grabbed a bottle, chest puffed. “I raided the cellar for this gem. I dare you to guess the year and the producer.”

Members applauded while the footmen distributed chalices. Griffin ignored the bets. When his glass arrived, he took it by the stem and twirled the amber liquid. Why this fuss? There was good wine and bad wine. Obsessing about terroir, vintage, and bouquet fell in the same category of Portuguese romantic notions he avoided. When Croft declared the winner, Griffin didn’t raise his eyes.

Finally, members left in pairs and trios, some unsteady on their legs.

Griffin strode inside the treasurer’s office, taking in the battle paintings, the stale tobacco smell, and the tray filled with port and whiskey decanters. The anxiety that had plagued him all day left in waves, leaving in its place the cold-headed focus that guided him in daily life. Croft sank behind his Georgian desk and invited Griffin to sit.

“Great lunch,” Griffin said, wondering how much small talk was needed before he could speak about the partnership.

“Glad you enjoyed it, Maxwell.” Croft lit a cigar and puffed a steady stream of smoke. “Do you know a wine property named Quinta do Vesuvio?”

If he’d never heard about the best wine producer in the Douro, he wouldn’t have a long life in this business. Griffin pulled the flap of his coat to sit. “I believe they neighbor my uncle’s plantation.”

“Two years ago, I lent money to Mr. Bernardo Ferreira so he could increase wine production. But the man died, and I’m worried—”

“You want me to see if they complied?”

“I would consider it a great favor.” Slightly out of breath, Croft flattened a yellowed map over the desk. Vesuvio stood to the Douro River’s right side, closer to Griffin’s property than he had expected. “These are the current plantings. Call it an old man’s intuition, but I think they hide something there, and it’s not codfish.”

Griffin pocketed the map, dismissing Croft’s fears. In his few dealings with the Portuguese, he found them to be many things, but not dishonest. “I will let you know.”

“I’ve sent Mrs. Costa a letter. I told her it would be a personal favor to me if her estate manager gave you guidance in winemaking.”

Griffin needed no help from this widow. How hard could it be to make a Quinta profitable? If the Portuguese could do it, so could the English, with better results. A few weeks in the countryside would be enough to succeed in this now dual-task—check if Vesuvio had increased production and make his property thrive.

Croft stood and faced his battle paintings, cigarette smoke cascading from his mouth. “We won Portugal back to them. I was a lad, but my father helped Wellington’s forces scourge the frogs out of Oporto.”

If Croft started talking about Napoleon’s peninsular battles, Griffin would never hear the end of it. It was time.

Griffin rose and moved behind the chair. “I examined your firm’s client list. If you agree with the partnership, the overlap will be small. Your clients are based in London, while mine are spread over Scotland, New York, and Russia. Together, we’ll have a major market share.”

Heart pounding in his ears, he counted the rise and fall of the older man’s chest. One, two, three.

“I don’t want you as a partner,” Croft said, staring at the redcoats.

Griffin gripped the back of the chair, his stomach lurching as if he was inside that clipper again. Croft knew. A vision flashed of his family’s retreat to Oporto twelve years ago—the cramped third-class cabin, his sister’s gray pallor, his mother’s constant weeping.

Croft turned, his skin flushed, and laid a chilly hand on Griffin’s shoulder. “I want you as a son.”

Griffin sucked in a breath, thoughts scattering like pickpockets after a police raid. Speech deserted him, and he focused on Croft’s red-rimmed eyes.

“Cheer, boy, cheer! You look as if you saw a ghost. I am not getting any younger, you know.” Croft chuckled, exposing yellowed teeth. “I fear for my business, but also for Beth’s security.”

Griffin staggered away. What a wallop in the gut. Had he heard correctly? Could he be proposing marriage? “Your daughter wants this?”

“What is there not to want?” Croft followed him around the room like an insistent salesman. “She is probably in love with you already. Half the girls here are. Anyway, she is a dutiful English lady.” He extinguished the cigar in the crystal ashtray. “Go fix Quinta da Boa Vista. When you come back, we will sign the papers.”

book cover

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About the Author

Giovanna Siniscalchi chased narrative arcs and climax points in the Nasdaq for twelve long years working as an economist. Still, her romantic imagination was wasted in the financial markets, so she decided to put it to
better use: write fiction. She is married and has two great kids. Her passions are eclectic, including reading, traveling, surfing, wine, and of course, historical romance.).

 

Contact Links

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Purchase Links

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#ReleaseBlitz “The True Purpose of Vines (The Winemakers Book 1)” by Giovanna Siniscalchi

~~~

The Winemakers, Book One

 

Historical Romance

Date Published April 25, 2022

 

photo add-to-goodreads-button_zpsc7b3c634.png

“A headstrong Portuguese meets her match in the arrogant Englishman who threatens her beloved vineyards. Dive deep into Portugal’s rich culture in this intoxicating story about wine and love.”

 Portugal, 1870

A winemaker desperate to save her vineyards…

Julia Costa is the best winemaker in the Douro. When a greedy tradesman threatens the land her family has held for generations, Julia prepares to defend her legacy and independence by any means necessary.

The Englishman sent to uncover her secrets…

The last thing Griffin Maxwell wants is to waste time mired in a Portuguese backwater. Still, to guarantee a partnership with Oporto’s largest trading firm, he agrees to travel up the Douro river and chase some reluctant debtor.

A meeting of two cultures…

Nothing prepared Griffin for the headstrong winemaker. Alluring, she tempts him into enjoying Portugal’s vibrant tastes and is a threat to his carefully constructed plans. The arrogant Englishman arrived at Julia’s lands, believing himself entitled to everything, including her heart. But how can she resist an attraction headier than a vintage?

 An enemy too powerful to fight alone…

When a mysterious plague decimates Europe’s vineyards, Griffin and Julia put differences aside to find a cure, blind-tasting their way into an intoxicating passion. But reality demands an answer: will they choose their ambitions or the love of a lifetime?

~~~

~~~

About the Author

Giovanna Siniscalchi chased narrative arcs and climax points in the Nasdaq for twelve long years working as an economist. Still, her romantic imagination was wasted in the financial markets, so she decided to put it to
better use: write fiction. She is married and has two great kids. Her passions are eclectic, including reading, traveling, surfing, wine, and of course, historical romance.).

 

Contact Links

Website

Facebook

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BookBuzz

~~~

Purchase Links

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~~~

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~~~RABT Book Tours & PR

#ReleaseBlitz “The Wicked Wallflower (The Duchess Society Series, Book Three)” by Tracy Sumner

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The Duchess Society Series, Book Three

 

Historical Romance, Regency Romance, Steamy Romance

Release Date: April 21, 2022

Publisher: WOLF Publishing

 

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In this sizzling Regency romance by award-winning author Tracy Sumner, an unconventional lady of the ton and an untitled businessman need to risk something in order to gain everything.

An Incorrigible Hellion

Independent, impulsive Lady Philippa Darlington guarantees her freedom by playing the role of wallflower for two miserable seasons in the ton. With the guidance of the most feared feminist enterprise in London—the Duchess Society—Pippa vows never to marry. But a madcap misadventure throws her plan off course and puts her face-to-face with the only man she’s ever wanted. A man who doesn’t want her.

A Rule-Breaking, Rookery Titan

Prince of the streets, Xander Macauley crawled from the slums to rule an empire. He has secrets—and fierce desires. One being that he’s smitten with his best friend’s little sister. Although reckless Little Darlington is the last woman in England he’d risk his heart over. When he has to rescue her from a masquerade ball gone awry, Xander finds he will go to lengths greater than he’d imagined to possess her.

The risks are undeniable.

But so is true, devastating love.

~~~

 Other books in the The Duchess Society Series

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The Ice Duchess

Prequel to the Duchess Society Series

A scandalous countess plays matchmaker…for a man she once longed to take for herself.

Amazon

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The Brazen Bluestocking

The Duchess Society Series, Book One

In this Regency romance by award-winning author Tracy Sumner, a willful bluestocking matches wits with a devilish scoundrel she never expected to desire with every beat of her heart.

Amazon

~

The Scandalous Vixen

The Duchess Society Series, Book Two

In this enemies-to-lovers Regency romance by award-winning author Tracy Sumner, a bold lady and a ruthless duke realize they need to agree to an ardent alliance to get what they want.

Amazon

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About the Author

Award-winning author Tracy Sumner’s storytelling career began when she picked up a historical romance on a college beach trip, and she fondly blames LaVyrle Spencer for her obsession with the genre. She’s a
recipient of the National Reader’s Choice, and her novels have been translated into Dutch, German, Portuguese and Spanish. She lived in New York, Paris and Taipei before finding her way back to the Lowcountry of South Carolina.

When not writing sizzling love stories about feisty heroines and their temperamental-but-entirely-lovable heroes, Tracy enjoys reading, snowboarding, college football (Go Tigers!), yoga, and travel. She loves to hear from romance readers!

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WOLF Publishing

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#BookTour “Magic Touch” by A.S. Fenichel

MagicTouch copy (1)

Such a beautiful cover!

Welcome to the book tour for Magic Touch by A.S. Fenichel. Read on for more info and a chance to win a signed copy of the book!

MagicTouch-ASFenichel-Final-2-ebook

Magic Touch (Witches of Windsor #1)

Publication Date: April 19, 2022

Genre: Paranormal/ Historical Romance/ Witches

ESME

I never dreamed my small curatives shop in Windsor, England would attract the attention of war hero Sir William Meriwether. My feminine heart is aflutter when he enters. But I’m a witch and a healer, and he’s a man in pain, so I heal him. Desperate to do him a good service, I stretch my powers to the limit—or perhaps beyond. Somehow, in curing his ailing leg, I unleash powers inside William. At a loss to stop what’s begun, I’m forced to seek assistance from the coven I’ve sworn never to join. I dread the encounter, but for William’s sake, I put my family’s hatred aside. Getting to spend more time with William is an added enticement.

WILLIAM

I’m mesmerized by Esme O’Dwyer from the moment I lay eyes on her. Despite our different stations in society, I want something more personal than any restorative tea she might offer. As a gentleman, I contain those baser needs, and accept her assistance to ease the pain in my leg. When the alluring witch’s touch bestows me with magic of my own, I want no part of it. But the coven’s leaders insist magic never make mistakes, and for this to have happened, I must be needed. I’ve never been one to shy away from duty, and being secluded for training with Esme is magical in more ways than one.

ESME

Trouble is coming to Windsor. The signs are all there. The race is on to train William as a witch before his power is needed, but our growing attraction is as undeniable as the battle that lies ahead.

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Now Available

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About the Author

Fenichel_A.S._

A.S. Fenichel gave up a successful career in New York City to pursue her lifelong dream of being a professional writer. She’s never looked back.

A.S. adores writing stories filled with love, passion, desire, magic and maybe a little mayhem tossed in for good measure. Books have always been her perfect escape and she still relishes diving into one and staying up all night to finish a good story.

Multi-published in historical, paranormal, and contemporary romance, she also writes Contemporary Instalove as Andie Fenichel. A.S. is the author of the several series, including Forever Brides, Everton Domestic Society, Wallflowers of West Lane and more. Strong, empowered heroines from Regency London to modern-day New Jersey are what really excites her, and that’s what you’ll find in all her books.

A Jersey Girl at heart, she now makes her home in Southern Missouri with her real-life hero, her wonderful husband. When not reading or writing, she enjoys cooking, travel, history, puttering in her garden and spoiling her fussy cat.

A.S. Fenichel | Facebook | Twitter

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#GuestBlogger Meet the Character Day: Chatting with Ashton Bailey from “Dangerous Indenture” by Kelli A. Wilkins

This “Meet the Character Day” blog is part of a series examining my romance novels. In each “Behind the Scenes” blog, I talk about why I wrote the book, share my thoughts on the plot and/or characters, and reveal what I loved most (or least) about writing the book. The “Meet the Character Day” blogs are fun chats with the heroes and heroines from my romances. Warning: blogs may contain spoilers.

Today we’re chatting with Ashton Bailey, the hero from Kelli’s historical mystery-romance, Dangerous Indenture. Let’s get to know him better…

Dangerous Indenture

Q: Greetings, Ashton. Before we get started, could you tell readers about the book?

Certainly. Dangerous Indenture is a historical romance novel set in Colonial Pennsylvania. It blends romance with mystery and suspense. The heroine (Shauna) is an Irish indentured servant, and the hero (me) is a dashing gentleman… with more than a few problems. Here’s the summary and important links (whatever those are):

 

DANGEROUS INDENTURE

Indentured for five years… how long can Shauna resist her master’s son?

Desperate to escape her past in Ireland, Shauna Farrow signs on to become an indentured servant to Joshua Stewart, a wealthy man in Pennsylvania Colony. But a life of servitude quickly turns to drudgery, and Shauna’s hopes for starting over and creating a better life for herself are waning—until she meets her master’s roguish son, Ashton.

Ashton needs to redeem himself in his father’s eyes and earn the respect he has always longed for. Meeting Shauna turns his life around, and he sets out to win her heart. Torn between propriety and passion, Shauna struggles against her growing attraction to Ashton as long as she can.

But amidst their flirting, something dark stirs. Shauna soon discovers why no other servants wanted to work for the strange Stewart family.

Stewart House has an unsavory reputation: a previous servant died there under mysterious circumstances. When another servant goes missing in the middle of the night, Shauna is convinced that a member of the family is responsible.

Shauna’s investigation leads her close to the truth, and yet, she’s not sure who she can trust. Events take a deadly turn when she confronts the murderer and discovers the mystery of the Stewart family.

Will Shauna be rescued before time runs out, or will she meet with the same fate as the other servants?

Order your copy here:

Dangerous Indenture

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07PJVQ7XJ

All other platforms: https://books2read.com/u/3JyROP

Read reviews here: https://www.kelliwilkins.com/dangerous-indenture

Like historical romances? Follow Kelli’s Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/Historical-Romances-by-Kelli-A-Wilkins-1703805359922371/

 

Q: Tell us about Dangerous Indenture. How does the story begin for you?
The book opens with our new servant, Shauna, arriving from Ireland and settling into the house. She has left everything behind to work for my father, Joshua Stewart. For me, the story begins when I meet Shauna. I’ve been sent home to Stewart House in disgrace and I’m at a pretty low point. I’m drinking too much, womanizing too much, and basically hating my life. I didn’t want to return to Stewart House, but I had no choice.

Anyway, as I sat down to dinner, Shauna came into the room. The moment I saw her, I was glad I’d been sent home, because that meant I could spend time with her. Shauna was having a rough time serving dinner; my father was constantly scolding her and my despicable half-brother Colin was making her drop things, just so she’d get in trouble. I felt bad for Shauna because she was trying so hard to do a good job.

Over the course of the next few days I got to know Shauna a little better. She’s intelligent, strong-willed, has a temper, and is pretty damn courageous for coming to the Colonies to start a new life. I fell in love with her, and I swore I’d protect her while she was living at Stewart House.

I don’t want to go into too many details, but the house has a bad reputation, and my father couldn’t hire any local servants to work for him. A previous servant named Sarah Purdy was murdered and nobody was certain who did it.

Q: What was your life like before Kelli started pulling your strings?

Where do I start? I’ve been described as “a bit of a rogue” by people: I’m opinioned, have a biting wit, tend to be sarcastic… and yet, I’m utterly charming… when I haven’t been drinking too much at the local tavern. (Laughs.) Of course, these “good qualities” have driven members of my stuffy family utterly mad. They referred to me as the “drunken whoremonger with no sense of responsibility”—but I had my reasons.

When Kelli was writing about me, she was kind enough to see past all of my so-called faults and realized that deep down I’m a sensitive, caring individual who needed to find my way in the world. Meeting Shauna changed me for the better.

Q: Dangerous Indenture features several interesting secondary characters. What can you tell us about them?

Although everyone’s family has issues, the Stewart clan is probably more dysfunctional than most. The house is always filled with conflict or some sort of drama. My father, Joshua, is rather stern and has high standards. We don’t get along very well, and he sees me as a failure. My half-brother, Colin, is a vile beast, and his long-suffering wife, Minerva, is a little off balance (to put it politely). Adding Lila (a new servant) to the mix really stirs up things around the house and sets people on edge. Kelli has created quite a unique group of individuals! (And one of them might be a killer.)

Q: Yes, this is a mystery-romance… tell us more about the mystery elements of the book.
After Shauna learned that Sarah had been murdered, she was extra cautious when she was alone with Colin and Minerva. Minerva is a troubled woman, has fits of rage, and can be quite violent. Colin is a horrid excuse for a human being and is condescending and abusive to everyone in the house, even my father. We’ve certainly had our fair share of arguments and brawls.

I warned Shauna to be careful and not to be alone with Minerva or Colin. I didn’t trust either one of them, and for all we knew, one of them could have killed Sarah. Things were fine in the house for a while, until Colin convinced my father to hire Lila. Lila was more trouble than she was worth and caused even more problems for Shauna.

One night during a storm, Shauna heard a racket downstairs. There was lots of yelling and fighting. Come morning, Lila was nowhere to be found. Minerva told Shauna that she dismissed Lila in the middle of the night. Shauna was suspicious and started investigating… She suspected Lila had been murdered. I’m ashamed to say that none of us believed her—until it was too late.

I won’t give away the ending of the book, but I can reveal that Kelli keeps everyone guessing about the identity of the murderer up until the end. Readers follow along and figure out the clues as Shauna does, and there are many twists and turns.

Q: You have a lot of emotional and physical struggles in the book. Kelli put you through the wringer at times. How do you feel about that?
Well, I realize Kelli knows what she’s doing when it comes to writing a good story, but really? I had my fair share of heartache, self-doubt, depression, lack of purpose, and a few thrashings over the course of the book.

All the emotional baggage forced me to take a long hard look at my life and my choices and decide I wanted something better. I wanted to have a happy life with Shauna. She was my main inspiration for turning my life around. I wanted to prove to her that I was decent, respectable, and I could make something of myself. I also had to redeem myself to my father. He had a very low opinion of me and thought I was a worthless failure.

I also got the hell beat out of me on a few occasions and suffered a near-fatal accident toward the end of the book. And I confronted the murderer when I was in less than peak health. So, Kelli really made me suffer! I understand it was all for the good of the story, but still…

Q: Kelli has written a lot of romances in all genres in all heat levels. How does she switch back and forth so easily?

I’ve been curious about this myself, so I asked some of her other characters. Basically, each book comes to her in a different form. Sometimes an entire story “jumps” into her head, and she’ll know everything that happens to the characters. (It happened with A Deceptive Match, A Most Unusual Princess, Loving a Wild Stranger, and Four Days with Jack.)

Other times, she gets bits of the story and parts of the characters. Once in a while, she’ll have a character come first and then the other pieces of the book fall into place, like a puzzle. (It happened with Redemption from a Dark Past, Trust with Hearts, and A Secret Match.)

Before Kelli starts a book, she says she needs to know who the characters are and what’s going to happen to them. Then she outlines the scenes and starts writing. As Kelli writes, she explores things she hadn’t considered in her outline and might add entire scenes or write scenes that are later omitted. Writing a new book is always an adventure, and she never knows where the characters or stories will take her.

Q: Anything else you would like to add?

Kelli did an excellent job of blending romance, mystery, and even a bit of Redemption from a Dark Past coverhumor into this anything-but-boring historical romance novel. I’d recommend it to readers everywhere. I’ve also heard her other historical romances (such as Redemption from a Dark Past, Loving a Wild Stranger, and Love, Lies & Redemption just to mention a few), are excellent reads, as well. I’m looking forward to reading all of her romances. I want to see what other interesting characters she has created and follow their adventures.

 

Q: Tell us more about your author. Where can readers find her website/blog?

Kelli asked me to tell readers that she is an award-winning author who has guest bloggerpublished more than 100 short stories, 20+ romance novels, 7 non-fiction books, and 5 horror ebooks. Her romances span many genres and settings, and she likes to scare readers with her horror stories. She released two mini-mysteries in 2021: More Than I Bargained For and Silent Sentinel. Earlier in 2022 she published a full-length paranormal mystery-romance novel, In Another World.

Kelli says readers can visit her website www.KelliWilkins.com and blog http://kelliwilkinsauthor.blogspot.com/ to learn more about all of her writings.

 

Thank you for letting me chat here today. I hope everyone reads Dangerous Indenture and falls in love with me as much as Shauna has. If you missed any blog in this series, you can catch up here: https://www.kelliwilkins.com/blog

Cheers!

Ashton Bailey

#GuestBlogger Behind the Scenes: “Dangerous Indenture (A Historical Mystery-Romance)” by Kelli A. Wilkins

This “Behind the Scenes” blog is part of a series examining my romance novels. In each blog, I’ll talk about why I wrote the book, share my thoughts on the plot and/or characters, and reveal what I loved most (or least) about writing the book. Warning: Blogs may contain spoilers.

Hi everyone,

Imagine this scenario: a young woman moves to a new town to work for a family. She is on her own and has to adjust to her employer’s rules while adapting to life in a new environment. After she arrives, she discovers the job isn’t exactly what she thought it would be and realizes she has gotten herself into a troubling situation. All seems lost until she meets a handsome young man…

This premise could be the basis of any number of romances: a Victorian-era story about a governess moving to a remote estate, a contemporary tale about a physical therapist or teacher relocating across the country, or, in the case of my historical romance, Dangerous Indenture, an Irish indentured servant leaving everything behind to start a new life.

Dangerous Indenture

Dangerous Indenture is set in Pennsylvania Colony and blends a sensual romance with mystery and suspense. Right from the start, readers (and the heroine, Shauna) are warned about Stewart House: “It’s got more haunts than the Tower of London.”

Here’s the book summary and links:

DANGEROUS INDENTURE

Indentured for five years… how long can Shauna resist her master’s son?

Desperate to escape her past in Ireland, Shauna Farrow signs on to become an indentured servant to Joshua Stewart, a wealthy man in Pennsylvania Colony. But a life of servitude quickly turns to drudgery, and Shauna’s hopes for starting over and creating a better life for herself are waning—until she meets her master’s roguish son, Ashton.

Ashton needs to redeem himself in his father’s eyes and earn the respect he has always longed for. Meeting Shauna turns his life around, and he sets out to win her heart. Torn between propriety and passion, Shauna struggles against her growing attraction to Ashton as long as she can.

But amidst their flirting, something dark stirs. Shauna soon discovers why no other servants wanted to work for the strange Stewart family.

Stewart House has an unsavory reputation: a previous servant died there under mysterious circumstances. When another servant goes missing in the middle of the night, Shauna is convinced that a member of the family is responsible.

Shauna’s investigation leads her close to the truth, and yet, she’s not sure who she can trust. Events take a deadly turn when she confronts the murderer and discovers the mystery of the Stewart family.

Will Shauna be rescued before time runs out, or will she meet with the same fate as the other servants?

 Available here:

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07PJVQ7XJ

All other platforms: https://books2read.com/u/3JyROP

***

When I wrote the book, I wanted to evoke a sense of danger and mystery around every corner. This wasn’t going to be a typical romance with the hero and heroine from different classes falling in love and having a forbidden affair. Nope.

The romance is almost a sub-plot of the book, and when the story begins, finding love is the last thing on Shauna’s mind. She’s more concerned about doing a good job than getting involved with Ashton (even if he is handsome).

I liked creating the incredibly dysfunctional members of the Stewart family. They all have secrets and practically have dual personalities. Joshua (the patriarch) is a big bear of a man who comes across as gruff and insensitive, yet at times can be caring. Colin (Joshua’s son) appears to be a respectable married businessman, but underneath his proper exterior lurks a dark and dangerous manipulator (among other things).

Colin’s beleaguered wife, Minerva, is mentally unstable and trapped in a terrible marriage. Readers and the other characters in the story aren’t sure if she’s truly mad or not. And she might be a murderess…

Our hero, Ashton Bailey, is flawed and has a lot of problems to overcome. For starters, he’s the black sheep of the family and has been sent home in disgrace. He drinks too much, womanizes too much, and has nearly given up on life. He’s a failure in his father’s eyes and wants to redeem himself, but isn’t sure how. Ashton knows that Stewart House is a terrible place and vows to protect Shauna while she’s working there.

This cast of characters and their interactions (fighting, name-calling, secrets, and lies) carry the plot. Everyone has an agenda, and readers learn that not everyone is telling the truth… or is exactly what they seem. Ashton wants to become respectable, Colin wants him disowned, Minerva wants Shauna gone, Shauna wants to stay out of trouble, and Joshua just wants some peace.

Writing the twists and turns of the mystery was a lot of fun. When the new servant, Lila, goes missing in the middle of the night, Shauna is convinced someone in the house killed her. But who? Shauna is a clever amateur sleuth, and when she starts to solve the mystery, she realizes that she’s in danger.

The book has a “Dark Shadows” feel to it. A mysterious house, a strange family, everyone has secrets… In fact, several of the character names in the book (Colin, Joshua, and Minerva) appeared in the original “Dark Shadows” series.

Like many of my historical heroines, Shauna is ahead of her time. She’s intelligent, independent, has a strong sense of self, and is not afraid to start a new life on her own. But she wasn’t always this way.

The original version of the book was 120,000 words (more of a mini-series than a novel), and very different. The plot was drawn-out and had several backstories. Shauna was a virgin, less self-confident, and suffered harsh treatment at the hands of Joshua Stewart.

Ashton had even more emotional baggage and bad habits, and I explored his difficult relationship with Joshua. I even wrote a long backstory about Ashton’s mother, her paintings, and the garden.

I’m happy to say I changed all that. Major cutting, revising, and rewriting tightened the story and made it a much better book. Readers loved it, too. Here are a few kind words:

“5 stars! This novel will keep you riveted from start to finish! I was hooked from page one and did not put it down until I finished it. I cannot say enough wonderful things about this novel. If you love romance with mystery then pick up a copy of this one today and get lost in the story. I certainly did. It’s perfectly written to keep you turning page after page, and I promise, you won’t be able to guess the ending! If you’re looking for a great romance story with a whole lot of action, drama, and mystery then this is your book!!! Definitely a MUST READ!” – April P., Reviewer, My Book Addiction & More

“Combining mystery with romance, this novel keeps the pages turning. Shauna and Ashton are well-developed characters readers can root for. Overall, a great beach read.” – Emily Thompson, SUNY-Oswego, Library Journal

“Kelli A. Wilkins delivers a colonial-era mystery that will appeal to mystery and romance readers alike.” – Lisa Marie Wilkinson, author.

“4 stars! This book was a thrill a minute! No leisurely stroll through the gardens in this romance, but non-stop danger and drama. A flawed hero and heroine fight for their lives and their relationship to get to their HEA.” – Paula, Amazon Reviewer

I can’t add anything to that! I hope you enjoyed this look at the making of Dangerous Indenture. I welcome comments and questions from readers. Be sure to follow my blog for the latest updates and visit me on social media. I also made a Facebook page for my historical romances: https://www.facebook.com/Historical-Romances-by-Kelli-A-Wilkins-1703805359922371/

Happy Reading,

Kelli A. Wilkins

 ~~~

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Kelli A. Wilkins is an award-winning author who has published more than 100 short stories, 20+ romance novels, 7 non-fiction books, and 5 horror ebooks. Her romances span many genres and settings, and she likes to scare readers with her horror stories.

Her latest novel, In Another World, was released in January 2022. This contemporary mystery/romance is set in the world of the paranormal.

She also released two horror shorts, More Than I Bargained For and Silent Sentinel in 2021.

In 2021, Kelli published Journaling Every Week: 52 Topics to Get You Writing. This fun and innovative guide to journaling is filled with hundreds of thought-provoking prompts designed to get you writing about your feelings and emotions.

Kelli posts on her Facebook author page: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorKelliWilkins and Twitter: www.Twitter.com/KWilkinsauthor.

Visit her website/blog www.KelliWilkins.com for a full title list and to find all her social media links.

~~~