Monday, June 17, 2019

#MysteryMonday #SweetTalkin'Sugar


Title: Sweet Talkin' Sugar
Author: Christine Young
Email: achristay@aol.com
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Book Heat Level: 4

Kindle Unlimited


Lyonesse McKenna, was dreaming or was she? Her family of shapeshiters believed in soul mates. She’d always been sceptical yet she couldn’t help but question the way her heart sped when he looked at her.

When Deacon appeared in Las Vegas he knew his first job was to save Lyn from a Sea Demon, but the next order of business was to convince Lyn he would someday mean more to her than she’d ever expected. But her stubborn nature and unbendable spirit consumed Deacon...and he had to chase away all the demons real and imagined in order to win her heart.


EXCERPT: Sweet Talkin' Sugar

In observation mode, he walked through the casino, hands in his pockets, listening and watching, his heart racing. Before the blackjack table at the end of the row, he paused to reflect and decide on a course of action. The air inside was sultry, hot and smoke-filled. He swept one hand through his damp hair, fresh from a summer rain. He forced his mind from the heat and the rancid smell of cigarettes, and with single-minded focus, stared at the table and the cards lying innocuously on the green felt.
The picture of cool calmness, she sat on a bar stool, a drink in hand and cards in the other, her legs crossed provocatively. Her daringly cut emerald V-neck dress didn't leave much to the imagination, but he forced his gaze to the man beyond who stared at her as if he owned her. Every hair on the back of his neck stood on end and a chill slivered down his spine, nerves on edge, muscles tensed. His brows furrowed when the man turned his attention, for one brief moment, his way.
The dealer gave her another card and she tipped one corner up to look at it then let it go. Her body language spoke volumes to him and he wondered if the dealer noticed too. The poker face she so obviously tried for was something she'd never possess.
Deacon McClain paused before settling on a bar stool across the table from her. He waited for the last hand to finish before placing his chips in front of him and nodding to the dealer he was ready to play. His fingers closed around his glass of whiskey as his heart thundered in his chest. She glanced his way, inquisitively cocking her head to one side before slanting him a sexy-as-hell-grin.
The grin sent a message that nearly catapulted him from his seat. Inhaling a deep breath to calm his splintering nerves, he turned his attention back to the cards he'd just been dealt. Not good, not good at all, he motioned for another, then sat back and gazed at Lyonesse. Lyn McKenna, the woman he'd been sent to find and bring home. He'd never believed this gig to be an easy one, but now he felt sure this might be his most difficult assignment of all. Her easy grin sent his heart into a tailspin and her long shapely legs were hard to ignore. What would happen if she gave him her full attention?
He'd lose all sense of perspective and balance.





Sunday, June 16, 2019

#RomanceSunday #Lakota/PinkertonBoxedSet


Author: Christine Young
ISBN: 978-1-62420-231-5

Genre: Historical Romance
Excerpt Heat Level: 1
Book Heat Level: 4
Kindle Unlimited $0.00

BLURB: Lakota/Pinkerton boxed set

Dakota's Bride

When Emma St. John received her brother's letter imploring her to escape her stepfather's vengeful scheme and to trust Dakota Barringer with her life, she was willing to chance it. But the handsome, brooding riverboat owner Emma found in Natchez was a danger of another kind. For Emma soon found herself surrendering to an unrelenting desire.

My Angel

When her father decided to send her to a finishing school back East, Angela Chamberlain refused to be confined to stuffy drawing rooms. He'd come to America looking for excitement, but Devil Blackmoor got more than he bargained for when he encountered a beautiful rebel who answered his kisses with a wild innocence that touched his very soul.

The Locket

The year is 1894. Seeking revenge for crimes against his family, Misha Petrovich follows a path that leads straight to Ariel Cameron's boarding house in Mist Harbor, Oregon. A family heirloom in Ariel's possession leads Misha to believe she is guilty.

The Talisman

Running from a marriage that lasted one night, Dr. Moriah McKeown discovers the land she has settled on is coveted by determined and lawless men. Yet the proud young woman who once vowed never to abandon her home has second thoughts when her adopted children are threatened. Her only recourse is to enlist the aid of a dark, dangerous gun for hire.

Forever His

Struggling to come to terms with the part she played in Jacob St. John’s death, Etta Barringer resigns from Pinkerton Agency and seeks peace and solace in a Rocky Mountain Cabin. Jacob follows her, determined to discover the reason Etta has betrayed him, sold him out to his enemy and left him for dead.

EXCERPTS:


Moonless and frigid, the December night sent chills down Emma's spine. Yet she didn't stop at the lighted inn nearby, nor did she break stride when she stumbled over a rut in the muddy road. Instead, she pulled her skirts higher. A carriage raced by, hell-bent in the same direction, spitting mud as it flew past

A frantic look over her shoulder did nothing to relieve the fear. He was closing on her, forcing her from her hiding place. She stopped for a moment while she quickly shook the mud off her cape, then she turned to the little girl.

"You all right, Clare?" Emma asked.

The little girl nodded but didn't say anything, her face screwed tight with concentration, her breaths ragged and hard.

The big Mississippi paddle wheeler, due to leave in ten minutes, let out two loud, booming whistles. To Emma's frayed nerves, the sound was heart-stopping.

The wind from the docks smelled of fish and tar. When it shifted, she could make out the aroma of fresh baked scones coming from the inn. Emma gripped the tiny hand she held in her own a little tighter, and prayed that Clare could keep up the pace.

"It's only a wee bit farther. We can make it," Emma told the little girl, her sister. Half sister, she reminded herself.

Clare's father was not her own. His demonically hand­some face leering at her while he calmly explained what he meant for Emma to do in the bordello was something she'd never forget.

Clare was a tiny and very fragile seven-year old. She had loving green eyes and a long, slender nose coupled with delicate cheekbones. Emma knew that someday Clare would grow into a classic beauty.

One long blond lock of hair slipped loose from Clare's cap. The little girl pushed it away with her free hand, wrinkling her nose disgustedly.

Frost coated the road, and each hurried step caused the almost frozen mud to crunch beneath their feet. A horse and rider passed them, the man tipping his hat as he and his mount thundered by. Church bells rang out, the sound hollow and thin. It was almost six o'clock. She had five minutes to reach the boat.

A gust of wind caught her broadside and whisked the hood of her cape off the top of her head. She grabbed the soft fur and pulled the fabric back where it belonged. Distracted by the wind and her haste to reach the boat, Emma caught the toe of her shoe on a rock and balanced precariously for an instant.

She swore softly under her breath.

Had only one month passed?

No, three weeks ago her mother had died and two weeks ago she had learned the awful truth. Lawrence Stevenshad slowly poisoned her mother. He had given her a small dose of arsenic each day until finally her mother took to her bed. Several days later Emma had held her mother's hand while she breathed her last.

Emma would never have known about the murder if she hadn't overheard Stevens speaking in harsh whispers with a friend of his. There were other things said and promised, things Emma had not wanted to acknowledge.

Disbelief and denial had caused her to waste precious time. Seven days had come and gone since she'd had her last horrible encounter with her stepfather. It was an encounter that had left her with no doubts that everything she'd heard was the god-awful truth. Stevens had meant to sell her to a whorehouse. Still, she'd had a difficult time believing the extent of Lawrence Stevens's depravity. But when he'd installed her in Madame leBon's bordello, she realized too late that her life was in grave jeopardy.

And Clare, sweet, sweet Clare, had understood all she'd told her and perhaps more. With the eyes of a child, Clare had somehow sensed the evil that surrounded her father long before anyone else did.

Five long days and nights they'd spent on the run. Clare had not complained. No matter how exhausted or hungry she was, the little girl had pressed on, understanding the imminent danger that faced Emma. Clare had somehow known that Emma had to get as far away from Lawrence as possible.



This incredible romance is one I positively fell in love with and is good enough to read again and again.
Cherokee
Reviewer for Coffee Time Romance & More 
4 Cups
I can’t remember the last time I was so engrossed in a book: Dakota’s Bridetook over my weekend, and even now, am wishing to go peruse it one more time…
Rating: 4.5 Books
Reviewed by Snapdragon Long and Short Reviews 
 My Angel

Denver, 1893

A polished azure sky looked down on a day that vacillated between winter and spring--a day unable to make up its mind. Cool breezes lifted Angela Chamberlain's brand-new canary yellow skirt off the moisture-laden sidewalk. A blazing hot sun dried the puddles in the street left over from last night's deluge.

Unlike the day, Angela had no trouble making up her mind. Angela knew what she wanted out of life. She touched one finger to the sapphire earrings adorning her newly pierced ears.

She wanted adventure.

She had a terrible craving to see the world--to climb to the top of the Eiffel Tower, to walk the Great Wall of China. She yearned to fly in a hot-air balloon high above the earth, or ride in a gondola in Venice. She wanted to fall in love with a man who was as brave and smart as her father and as dangerous as Devil Blackmoor.

Angela's wish list had no end.

Instead of adventure and romance, in three short weeks she'd be enrolled in Miss Somebody's finishing school for young ladies, where knowing which fork to use was more important than riding with the wind on her favorite horse, Kangee. A place where changing one's clothes three times or more each day was common practice.

Two days ago she'd told her father she didn't want to go.

And two days ago her father had told her she would learn to appreciate the schooling and that she was a very lucky young woman. He'd also promised her a trip to the continent for a graduation present.

A graduation present! She wanted to yell at him, but wisely kept her mouth shut. She wanted to travel now. Today. But more than anything, she didn't want to be confined to the stuffy drawing rooms in the East. Just like her father, she needed freedom. But her father meant to take the choice from her.

To gossip and chatter with rich society women was not her destiny. To know which wine was served with fish would not make her happy. This was his dream for her. Sam Chamberlain needed to look to his own heart and remember the choices he had made twenty-five years ago.

Her destiny was out there somewhere, waiting for her to snap it up and hold the moment close to her heart. She knew what she wanted, and to prove her point, she'd bought a camera and had the machine sent over to the hotel. She meant to photograph all her adventures, every nook and cranny, every monument, every intriguing person.

Across the street and down two blocks, Devil Blackmoor had just taken the saddle off his horse. He brushed the stallion's back, all the while petting the animal's sleek coat and crooning into the horse's ear. Mesmerized, she watched his hands and the gentle way he stroked the horse. 

She wished she had her camera.

Devil Blackmoor commanded her attention. He symbolized everything a father cautioned his daughter to be wary of. Despite the warning, Devil's strong jaw, his powerful shoulders and the confident way he held himself beckoned to every feminine nerve in Angela's body.

Angela clutched her hands to her chest, willing her gaze to shift to something or someone who wouldn't shatter her senses and set her blood boiling. Helpless to control her wayward heart, she kept looking back at Devil. She noticed everything about him, the way he moved, the way his denim jeans clung to his legs and the way they molded to his backside. Devil laughed at something the bouncer from the saloon said, andwhen he smiled, one edge of his mouth tilted crookedly. Ange­la's heart swooned and fluttered, and she thought she might never breathe again.

The Locket

Oregon Coast,1894

Bone-weary from a hard day at sea, Misha trudged up the long mud-rutted road to the boarding house that sat on top a hill less than a mile outside Mist Harbor, Oregon. A thick, cold mist hovered close to the ground wetting everything: the rhododendrons that grew wild, the azaleas that lined the cement walkway to the front porch, and the saw grass that grew easily in the sandy soil. Misha paused a moment to push back a lock of hair that repeatedly fell across his brow and into his eyes.

The land was windswept and salt battered, yet he enjoyed the salt-taste of the air and the swooping sea birds as well as the playful sea animals. He loved the way the trees bent to the power of the wind and found a way to survive despite the brutality of the elements. 

His purpose here was short lived, he reminded himself. He didn’t intend to find himself attached to these parts in any way. 

He smelled of a hard days work. The lingering aroma of sweat and Chinook salmon filled his nostrils. It was not a scent he had any use for, but for the time being the job on the fishing boat gave him a reason for staying in the small coastal town. Right now he couldn’t wait to submerse himself in a hot bath, wash the stench from his body, and ease his stiff, strained muscles. 

The sea had always been one of his favorite places. But fishing?

By God no, he’d just as soon relax and watch the sails billow on a clipper as the majestic ship rounded the horn or stand at the tiller with the wind whistling around him. He’d even rather battle a hurricane off the Bermudas. 

Blending in with the people who lived in this small coastal village had been imperative.

The quest he’d undertaken had led him straight to Miss Ariel Cameron’s boarding house in Mist Harbor, and there the trail stopped. Thinking about Ariel set his nerves on edge. 

Ariel was willow thin, femininely delicate, and hardly capable of the atrocities he’d set out to avenge less than a year ago. Yet the evidence he’d uncovered had sent him here, to her home. The name he’d followed had been her name. The men he’d followed had landed in Mist Harbor more than once, her father one of them. 

He walked up the immaculately kept steps to the house and opened the door to the screened in porch.

"Misha," the captain boomed out a welcome. "Fine weather we’re havin’ now. Just right for the salmon runs."

The rocker squeaked as the captain moved back and forth in the wicker chair.

"Just right," Misha acknowledged and stepped through the next door to the parlor. A blast of heat met him as he nodded his head in polite recognition to the other borders. In a pale blue day dress, Ariel moved with a slight limp through the hallway and disappeared into one of the first floor rooms. Even though she seemed to favor one leg, the sway of her hips enticed all of Misha's senses. 

He didn’t understand the feeling but in a way no other woman had touched him, she beckoned to him. Her amber colored eyes were wide and when she smiled, they glistened and shimmered, reminding him of the bronze mosques in Constantinople when the sun beat upon them. Miss Ariel Cameron was unique--unconventional--and she fascinated him. She was the key to his revenge as well as his salvation.



The Locket is a very exciting tale with a dramatic setting. Overall, this is a very entertaining story.

Maura
Reviewer for Coffee Time Romance

The Talisman

Buffalo Creek, 
South Dakota 
1895

Hot, dry air scorched the prairie grass. Sweat slid along his spine. Danger clung to every whisper; seemed to swirl and grow with each passing second. Ivan Civanovich watched the woman below. With deadly purpose, he studied the lady who had hired him--the woman who had bought his gun and perhaps death.
"Reckless courage," Ivan mused. 
"Si Senor, she does have what you call a great courage, but I don’t know about the reckless part. She is always so very careful," Pedro said. 
"I’m a dangerous man, Pedro." 
"This is why she hired you."
"The lady has no business hiring men like me. She’s a woman. She is supposed to nurture lives."
"She needs you to keep the bad men from taking the land away--our home," Pedro said.
Ivan pushed the tip of his hat back from his brows. From his vantage point, he considered the woman while she hung the freshly laundered white sheets on the line. A strange shudder swept through him, his muscles tensing with the sudden feeling he knew this woman, had known her forever. The sensations were too strong, the feelings too acute, and it troubled him because knowing her was impossible.
Her hair, a wild mop of red curls, battled with the stiff, hot wind rising off the prairie. The breeze and her hair flowed in undulating currents between the lines, threatening to tangle themselves in the wire. She bent over at the waist, giving him a perfect view of her backside while she toyed with something on the ground. Seconds later she picked up the object of her curiosity, turned it over in her hands then tossed it aside.
He didn’t like to think about what could happen to her in the next few weeks. She’d advertised for a gun for a hire. She didn’t know what she bargained for, and he’d bet his inheritance she didn’t have any idea what kind of trouble she’d purchased. 
When she looked up the hill, his grin widened. She couldn’t see him, but her shoulders tensed and she sucked air. Her hand touched her forehead, shielding her eyes from the blinding sunlight. She scanned the horizon, turning a complete circle before she stopped.
"Good," he said, "she is cautious." 
"She knows someone is up here," Pedro announced. 
"She’s got more starch in her drawers and the stiffest backbone of any woman I’ve ever seen." Ivan whistled through his teeth, his eyes intent and focused upon the woman.
"Si." Pedro agreed. "She sure enough does but her heart is made of spun gold."
Ivan wiped the back of his hand across his forehead. Beads of sweat dripped down his back. His gaze swept across the barren landscape then followed the line of trees that bordered the creek. He lifted the glasses to his eyes and turned his attention to a spot about a mile north of her ranch. The railroad wanted easement rights. So why wouldn’t she sell to them. "Spun gold, huh." He dropped the binoculars, letting them dangle from their strap around his neck.
"Si, boss."
"I see." Ivan leaned forward, resting his forearm on the saddle horn.
Ivan wasn’t sure he understood. Women had a lot of fine qualities, many of which he didn’t want to live without but a soft, feminine heart shouldn’t be deciding life and death matters. 
Spun gold.No, he’d never met a female with a heart of gold, spun or otherwise. He’d never known a woman who wouldn’t betray a man for a piece of gold. Save one, he amended, and his best friend had married her. Alexi Popov had his trials too. He had kidnapped Angela and spirited her away to his home in the Crimea. In the end though, he gave up his title, his land, and most of his wealth for Angela. He followed her back to America and married her.



This is a wonderful tale, full of action, emotion and a bit mystical at times. Enjoy this one.

Maura
Reviewer for Coffee Time Romance & More 4 Cups

Forever His

The sun beat down. Searing heat waves hit the hard packed earth, blistering, charring everything, even the dry prairie grass. Jacob St. John, his arms stretched overhead and bound to a whipping post, no longer counted the lashes tearing into his back, no longer felt the horrific agony. 

More than a half-dozen men and one woman were gathered in the sage-patched backyard of the run-down shack. So far not one person made a sound as they watched Chavez wield the whip, stripping the flesh off his back.

If Chavez weren't so angry and seeking revenge of his own, he would probably have just had him shot. Revenge was a powerful motive. Chavez wanted Jacob to suffer, to yell before he died. It seemed Etta Barringer did too. So far Chavez was toying with him, taunting and teasing him, cutting an inch here, ripping an inch there, not doing much damage but making mincemeat out of his back.

Jacob hadn't made a sound yet, not even a sharp, indrawn breath. He wasn't about to even though he knew Chavez would get impatient and start slashing. There was no hurry. Chavez had as long as he wanted. No one save Etta knew where he was, no one would come looking for him, at least not until the sun went down. By then Chavez would be done with him, and he would either be dead or buzzard-bait. For the life of him, he couldn't figure why Etta would hand him over to Chavez. She had always been Pinkerton to the core, yet she had betrayed him once before. If he survived this, he meant to have answers. He'd move heaven and earth to search out the lying Etta Barringer and find out exactly what she had against him.

The pain of betrayal at the forefront of his mind, and vows of revenge against the instigator of this kept him going. He focused on the woman's laughter and the scent of lemons that permeated his soul.

He had been taken by surprise. Still, he didn't go down easily. It took all of Chavez's men to get him bound securely to the post in back of the shack. And of those men, not one came away from the encounter without a scratch. Blood from the multitude of small cuts Chavez had inflicted ran in rivulets from his back, pooling on the parched thirsty ground, soaking into the dirt, staining it. 

He stood, his head proudly erect and that seemed to draw anger from Chavez. The grip of his fingers curled around the top of the post, the only sign of Jacob's pain--and fury.

The first real stroke of the whip felt like a red-hot branding iron searing across his back. Jacob didn't flinch, nor would he as long as he could hear her laughter or smell lemons floating languidly on the breeze. He wished he could see her, stare into her beguiling, green eyes until she knew he'd never stop hunting for her. Fury at his own weakness rose, and the anger he felt deep inside simmered, because she'd always attracted him. Ever since she showed up in a small town in Oregon, seduced him then drugged him and left him to sleep off the opium-laced whiskey, she'd fascinated him.

Concentrate on her--on what you're going to do when you find her again . . . 



Christine Young has done it again in this historical romance. The blizzards, betrayal, deceit and a ruthless bandito like Chavez made this a great romance.

Melinda for Night Owl Romance     5 out of 5




Saturday, June 15, 2019

#Sci/fiFantasySaturday #WorldWithoutEnd


World Without End
G. Lloyd Helm
ghelm11109@earthlink.net
Fantasy



When an author writes a story, creates a world and the creatures in it, does the literary world actually come into being in some parallel universe? Joshua Gordon, creative writing professor and writer of pulp fiction thinks so and is in fact so convinced it is true that when he is diagnosed with a terminal illness he sets out to find a protégé who he can convince to take over as the creator god of the world. He finds that protégé in the person of John Fisher.

EXCERPT: World Without End

Joshua Gordon, The Creator, was fifty-eight years old when he felt himself beginning to die. He was of medium height with graying hair, brown-gold eyes, a face pleasantly marked with smile wrinkles and a body with a tendency toward plumpness in the middle. The feeling was just an odd little twinge at first; a sort of pinching at the base of his neck, producing a barely perceptible weakening in his legs, gone almost before noticed, not to be thought of again until the pinching became stronger and the weakness more pronounced. His medicos said the condition was a genetic defect, accelerated neuro-myelitis, but when Gordon began questioning what the hyphen bearing Latinate gobbledygook meant, they hemmed and hawed, provoking him so he lost his temper.

"You mean you have not the foggiest notion on God's green earth what is wrong with me! Am I right?"

"Take it easy Dad," Joshua's son Lucian said, putting his hand on his fathers shoulder. Lucian, the very image of his father at the same age, had driven Joshua to the doctor, pushed the wheelchair Joshua did not really need down the hospital corridors.

"No sir! It does not!" the young doctor protested. "We know the sheathing around your nerves is growing thinner, at some places it has thinned to nothing. Without sheathing, the signals traveling along your nerves are diverted or scrambled."

"In other words, I have a short circuit in my electrical system because the insulation around my wiring isn't any good?"

The doctor smiled at his question. It was so typically Gordon and the doctor had been a fan of Joshua Gordon's books since he was a child. "Yes sir. Pretty accurate description," he said.

"So, why is it happening, and what can be done about it?"

Now the doctor was not so quick to reply. "I can't answer those questions, Mr. Gordon. We don't know what causes it yet, and because we don't know we don't--"

"Yeah, OK." Gordon said holding up a hand to stop the doctor. "How long?"

"Mr. Gordon, it’s--"

Gordon held up his hand again. "Just go ahead and say it. A year, a day, an hour-and-a-half, what?"

The doctor hated what he was about to say, he knew the reaction he was going to get, but there was no avoiding it. With a mental shrug he said, "We don't know."

Gordon opened his eyes wide in disbelief just as the doctor had seen him do on countless talk shows. He knew it alwayspreceded the skewering of some pretentious asshole. 

"You don’t know?" Gordon said softly.

"No sir."

Obviously holding in an explosion Gordon said, "Then get me a doctor who knows something."

The doctor blushed. "Your privilege and I recommend it, but they will all tell you the same thing, Mr. Gordon. They will say it differently, but it will boil down to the same thing. There are several related genetic conditions and we have no cure for any of them. There is an experiment going on now in Scotland where some Vets are trying to re-grow or create new myelin sheathing in dogs born without the sheathing, and there are several genetic studies going on, but there is no way of knowing what sort of success they are having. And as to how long--it depends on the rate of degeneration. Your onset was late in life, which may be good-"

"But it may be bad."

"Yes."

"So I could live another sixty years, or I could suddenly collapse with the galloping shakes and kick over in the next couple of minutes."

"You probably will not live another sixty years..." the doctor said with an earnestness which pinked Gordon in his twisted, ironic wit and caused him to smile despite the situation.

"Can't ever tell Doc," he said. "Can't ever tell."







Friday, June 14, 2019

#Friday'sFeaturedTitle #MyAngel


My Angel by Christine Young
Excerpt Heat Level: 1
Book Heat Level: 



BLURB: My Angel

A BEAUTY IN BUCKSKINS 
When her father decided to send her to a finishing school back East, Angela Chamberlain refused to be confined to stuffy drawing rooms. Instead, the daring spitfire who could shoot like a man and ride like the wind longed for a life of adventure and romance—and she knew exactly who could give it to her. Devil Blackmoor was a hired gun with a dangerous reputation. But Angela was willing to go to the ends of the earth to capture the handsome devil's heart.

A DEVIL IN DISGUISE 
He'd come to America looking for excitement, but Devil Blackmoor got more than he bargained for when he encountered a beautiful rebel who answered his kisses with a wild innocence that touched his very soul. Yet standing between them were more obstacles than either ever dreamed. For Devil had strapped on a gun for the wrong man. And that made Angela his enemy. Now he'll have to choose between his duty and the woman he loves more than life. 

EXCERPT: My Angel


A polished azure sky looked down on a day that vacillated between winter and spring--a day unable to make up its mind. Cool breezes lifted Angela Chamberlain's brand-new canary yellow skirt off the moisture-laden sidewalk. A blazing hot sun dried the puddles in the street left over from last night's deluge.

Unlike the day, Angela had no trouble making up her mind. Angela knew what she wanted out of life. She touched one finger to the sapphire earrings adorning her newly pierced ears.

She wanted adventure.

She had a terrible craving to see the world--to climb to the top of the Eiffel Tower, to walk the Great Wall of China. She yearned to fly in a hot-air balloon high above the earth, or ride in a gondola in Venice. She wanted to fall in love with a man who was as brave and smart as her father and as dangerous as Devil Blackmoor.

Angela's wish list had no end.

Instead of adventure and romance, in three short weeks she'd be enrolled in Miss Somebody's finishing school for young ladies, where knowing which fork to use was more important than riding with the wind on her favorite horse, Kangee. A place where changing one's clothes three times or more each day was common practice.

Two days ago she'd told her father she didn't want to go.

And two days ago her father had told her she would learn to appreciate the schooling and that she was a very lucky young woman. He'd also promised her a trip to the continent for a graduation present.

A graduation present! She wanted to yell at him, but wisely kept her mouth shut. She wanted to travel now. Today. But more than anything, she didn't want to be confined to the stuffy drawing rooms in the East. Just like her father, she needed freedom. But her father meant to take the choice from her.

To gossip and chatter with rich society women was not her destiny. To know which wine was served with fish would not make her happy. This was his dream for her. Sam Chamberlain needed to look to his own heart and remember the choices he had made twenty-five years ago.

Her destiny was out there somewhere, waiting for her to snap it up and hold the moment close to her heart. She knew what she wanted, and to prove her point, she'd bought a camera and had the machine sent over to the hotel. She meant to photograph all her adventures, every nook and cranny, every monument, every intriguing person.

Across the street and down two blocks, Devil Blackmoor had just taken the saddle off his horse. He brushed the stallion's back, all the while petting the animal's sleek coat and crooning into the horse's ear. Mesmerized, she watched his hands and the gentle way he stroked the horse. 

She wished she had her camera.

Devil Blackmoor commanded her attention. He symbolized everything a father cautioned his daughter to be wary of. Despite the warning, Devil's strong jaw, his powerful shoulders and the confident way he held himself beckoned to every feminine nerve in Angela's body.

Angela clutched her hands to her chest, willing her gaze to shift to something or someone who wouldn't shatter her senses and set her blood boiling. Helpless to control her wayward heart, she kept looking back at Devil. She noticed everything about him, the way he moved, the way his denim jeans clung to his legs and the way they molded to his backside. Devil laughed at something the bouncer from the saloon said, andwhen he smiled, one edge of his mouth tilted crookedly. Ange­la's heart swooned and fluttered, and she thought she might never breathe again.


Thursday, June 13, 2019

#Ravyn's Marriage of Inconvenience #HistoricalRomance


Author: Christine Young
Email: achristay@aol.com
Genre: Historical Romance
Excerpt Heat Level: 1
Book Heat Level: 4


BLURB: Ravyn's Marriage of Inconvenience


When the duchess decides to wed her to a wastrel and a fop, Ravyn Grahm takes matters into her own hands and declares her engagement to another man. Instead of fessing up and telling her great aunt what she has done, she goes through with the pretense. Aric Lakeland is the bastard son of an earl and has a dangerous reputation. But Ravyn is willing to do most anything to keep the duchess from discovering the lie.


He'd bought land in America, looking to put down roots and end his life of adventure, but Aric Lakeland got more than he bargained for when he encountered a beautiful heiress who made a promise she didn't want to keep. But the promise could not be undone and standing between them were more obstacles than either ever dreamed. Aric had made plans to spend the rest of his life in America and that was at odds with Ravyn's plan of living in England and running her father's estate. Now, he'll have to choose between his dreams and the woman he loves more than life.



Ravyn smiled, curtsied, and stepped into Ryder’s arms with a grace learned from the first tutors in her English castle.

At the sideboard, Aric watched with veiled eyes. He poured himself a stiff drink then another, cursing silently the whole time. He had wanted so much to have Ravyn in his arms, to feel her softness and warmth beneath his fingertips and against the hard angled planes of his body. He could smell her delicate perfume and see the intense clarity of her eyes.

And he had let another man do all those things.

The mug hit the sideboard with a muted thud that was lost in the music of the pipes. A few long strides brought him to the fireplace. He stood in the shadows, leaning against the mantle, gazing intensely at Ravyn with a hunger he could no longer hide. Her simple day dress of the palest lavender made her eyes a more vivid shade of violet. Her skin glowed like fragile porcelain lit from within. The simple chignon emphasized the delicate lines of her face. Tendrils of hair escaped to lie in soft curves at her temples, nape and ears.

Even as Aric felt anger sweeping through his body at the sight of his wife burning like a candle flame in another man’s arms, Aric reminded himself there was nothing improper about the dance. Though Ryder’s unusual size made an intense foil to Ravyn’s fragile femininity, Ryder was holding her properly, neither too close to his body nor too familiar in the placement of his hands. Nor was Ravyn clinging too much. They were just dancing and skimming gracefully around the parlor floor.

Then the darkly handsome Ryder grinned down at Ravyn and began singing in his fine voice about the rolling hills of Scotland and the brave lads and lassies. When a braw Scotsman spied a bonnie lass by a clear meadow stream. The Scotsman’s charms quickly seduced the pretty girl, who pleaded for his name in marriage.

Ryder’s dark eyes simmered with suppressed laughter as he watched Ravyn react to the wry lyrics. Her golden laugher bubbled up contagiously, bringing forth more laugher.

Aric was too furious to laugh. Seeing the change wrought by Ryder on Ravyn’s pallid appearance made Aric feel murderous. The only thing preventing him from retreating to another room was the thought of not being able to watch Ravyn. At the moment, he was simmering for a good fight, and Ryder was at the top of his list.

Ryder kept on, whirling her easily around the room until she was breathless with laughter.

Unnoticed, and unable to keep himself from watching, Aric leaned against the doorframe leading to his bedroom. He stood with his arms crossed over his chest, staring at Ravyn with an impassive face and thoughts that promised Hell to anyone who ventured too close.

Aric couldn’t help noticing Ravyn, who appeared stunningly feminine next to the massive bulk of Ryder. Barely five feet one inches tall, she was eleven inches shorter than Ryder, yet there was nothing childlike in the proportions of her body. The curves of breast and hip, waist and ankle showed clearly against the soft folds of her dress as the cloth swirled fluidly with her movements.

Finally, the dance ended in a fast and furious pace, Ryder lifting Ravyn high over his head. After Ravyn landed gracefully on the floor and the music stopped, Ryder smiled and lifted one of Ravyn’s hands to his lips kissing the back of it. She curtsied deeply, graceful as a flower. Though he didn’t speak his thought aloud, it was clear from his expression he was thoroughly enchanted by his dance partner.

"Again, Damian," Amorica murmured. "That’s one of my favorite songs."

The melancholy strains of the pipes flowed through the room. A reminder of an ancient heritage they would not forget. Soon Ryder and Ravyn were whirling around the room again. Ryder held his partner lightly, gazing down at her with approving eyes, singing in his fine voice. No one could hear Ryder’s words but Ravyn blushed and laughed with transparent pleasure. Ryder spun quickly, taking Ravyn with him, making her skirt billow like wind-blown flame. He stopped and dipped deeply, forcing her to depend upon his strength for her balance. When she accepted his lead without protest, his smile flashed, transforming his face, making his handsome enough to stop a woman’s heart.

A burning fury swept Aric.

When I touch her, she berates me as a bastard. Yet when Ryder holds her, she stares at him as though she’s been struck by a lightening bolt.

I don’t know who is the greater fool--me for caring or Ryder for falling for a dream--for someone who can steal his heart but give nothing in return. 

With a predatory grace, Aric crossed the parlor. It was only a moment, but it gave warning to Damian what was about to happen. Ryder didn’t notice Aric’s approach. His attention was on Ravyn’s smiling face and the firelight dancing in her hair. The hard masculine tap on his shoulder made him jerk.

"Patience, my friend," Ryder said. "It will be your dance soon."

"All the dances are mine."

The icy fury in Aric’s words made Ryder’s head snap around. One look at Aric and he released Ravyn without an argument. Ravyn’s lips parted in a half smile directed toward Aric, but her smile vanished just as suddenly as it started to appear. She tripped as he whirled her away from Ryder and into his arms.

"Aric," she breathed, inhaling a deep breath, while her fingers dug into his arms as if to steady herself. "You surprised me."

Arid didn’t bother to politely pretend it had been his error in the cadence rather than Ravyn’s that had caused her to trip.

"I will do more than surprise you if you continue to seduce every man you see."


EXCERPT: A Marriage of Inconvenience

Aric Lakeland dodged foot-traffic along the boulevard in a crazy attempt to keep up with the bouncing erratic carriage he followed. The day was intolerably hot and his mood was no better. He resented this mission. He’d left a cool pub and a cold brew to sweat beneath the hot sun.

His idea of fun was not traipsing after a notorious gambler and womanizer. Nor did he want to baby sit a spoiled debutante.

Yet, he’d promised. A wave of guilt washed through him.

Sweat beaded on his forehead, dripping down his face. He swiped it with the back of his hand and sidestepped, nearly knocking packages from a lady just exiting a dressmaker’s shop. 

“You owe me, my friend. When this is done, I will collect,” he swore beneath his breath and began thinking of all the favors he might ask of his half brother.

The carriage he followed turned a corner and disappeared from sight. He plowed into a lamppost, swore again and raced through the crowds. Richy Richmond did not deserve this absurd protection. Richy could deal with his own affairs. The other part of his half brother’s request bothered Aric. He did not want anything to happen to the lady he followed. His half brother had reason to believe Richy might do something to compromise her. His gut instincts had never been wrong. Ravyn Grahm, cousin to his half brother’s wife, was in serious trouble.

Richy’s carriage came to an abrupt halt. Richy jumped from the vehicle. His cane in hand, he strode toward a dress shop Aric had reason to visit on occasion.

Aric watched, fascinated as the scene unfolded. He started forward but noticed Richy race to protect the women Aric followed.  

“You ruffians! Get your hands off me!”  The white-haried Duchess shrieked, her age-lined face mottled with rage, pushing at two little guttersnipes who seemed more intent on shoving the elderly woman around than stealing the packages she carried.

Ravyn swiped her parasol across a boy’s head and turned to the other, her eyes blazing, shooting violet blue sparks.

“Stop it!” she cried out, raising her parasol again and again. “Take that!  And that!” 

Amused, Aric leaned against a lamppost similar to the one he had run into earlier in his race to keep Richy’s carriage in view.

He crossed his arms over his chest, grinning as he watched Ravyn batter the boys who had had the audacity to try and harm the Duchess.

He chuckled, prepared to step in if needed but it appeared the two women had the situation under control. Ravyn, he mused, the regal, classy lady who seldom had a hair on her gorgeous head out of place was decidedly disheveled. Her cheeks were flushed, her hair flowed beautifully from its perfectly coiffed hairdo. Her jacket sleeve was torn and to his amazement, she grinned as if she were having the time of her life.

“Go on, get,” Richy stepped in, shooing the two boys away. He grabbed hold of one of the boy’s arms and shook him. “Patrol,” he yelled, looking around for help. The boy stomped on Richy’s foot. Surprised, Richy let go. “Bloody hell!  Come back here. Little brat,” he yelled as the boy ran off.

Aric cocked an eyebrow, watching and wondering what would happen next, knowing Richy had a card up his sleeve. He had not forgotten he was supposed to be watching Richy, nor had he forgotten the man had suffered innumerable losses at the gaming tables and the racetrack the last few days and he might do something to Ravyn.

Aric pushed away from the lamppost and strode toward the women and Richy. He watched Richy change demeanor. Suddenly instead of rescuer, he was attacker. Aric’s heart stopped for a moment then raced. 

Richy wrenched Ravyn against him, pulling her close, her arm behind her back, his mouth close to her ear as if he whispered something to Ravyn. 

“Let go,” Ravyn cried out, twisting and thrashing her arms. It seemed to be the opposite scenario as moments before. The crowds that had previously closed around the women had now dissipated. 

“Let go,” Ravyn cried again.  

“You’re mine, Ravyn,” Richy said in a low well-modulated voice. “You should have realized it months ago and I’d have won the wager. But instead, you ignored me. You taunted me and sometimes you pretended to care while other times you turned up your pert little nose when I walked by.”

“What do you think you are doing?  Let go of me!”  Ravyn cried out, hatred now in her stormy violet eyes.

To Aric, she sounded incredulous, perhaps confused. But strangely, not afraid.

“We--“he paused a moment--“are going to Gretna Green. We are getting married and I will inherit your estate. You will be mine.”