Release day for Alexa Aston: JOURNEY TO HONOR, book 4 of Knights of Honor

35054042Title: Journey to Honor Knights of Honor, Book 4
Author: Alexa Aston
Genre: Historical Medieval Romance
Pages: 232
Published by: Dragonblade Publishing, Inc., 1 edition
Published Date: June 27, 2017
ASIN: B07118ZCNM

 

Knights of Honor Series:
Word of Honor
Marked by Honor
Code of Honor
Journey to Honor

 

Publisher’s Summary:

1366 A.D. – Kenric Fairfax is raised as the second son of the Earl of Shadowfaire. The day of his Knighting Ceremony, a tragedy takes place—and Kenric flees the north of England, putting his past behind him as he swears he will never marry. He becomes a trusted knight in service to Lord Michael Devereux, who asks Kenric to lead an escort party from London in order to bring his wife’s sister home to Sandbourne.

Avelyn Le Cler has spent a year as a lady-in-waiting to Queen Philippa and finds the treachery at the royal court not to her liking. She looks forward to a summer visit with her sister Elysande, who will soon give birth to her first child. While journeying from London, Avelyn discovers a secret about Sir Kenric Fairfax that could change his life—if he believes her.

But Avelyn is plagued with doubts since she has no proof to present Kenric. As the couple falls in love, Avelyn knows she must reveal to Kenric the truth she has learned about his birth—even if it costs her everything.

Join Kenric and Avelyn as the truth rips them apart—but their enduring love brings them together again.

My Thoughts:  I was eager to read this story, the fourth of the series.  I had read the other three previously and found them all worthwhile reads. I’ve got to say the cover on this read is simply over the top. So much is there, shadowing the depth of the story, itself.  This one is a thumbs up review.

For those readers who enjoy the antagonist of the female gender, this one will suit.

The story setting exposes the difficulty in giving birth during the Medieval times.  Many women died as did many newborns.  Husbands seeking only male heirs could be cruel, if they were of a bad nature without love to their spouse.

In this particular story, Walter Fairfax, Earl of Shadowfaire, had waited long for an heir.  Julianna, his wife had lost three babes in the four years they’d been married. The earl abused his wife to add insult to injury.  But finally, she bore a babe.  More than one, there were two.  Twins.  They weren’t identical.  One looked like their father, the other like their mother.

Gussalen, midwife, friend and servant to Julianna, assisted in the birth.  Since there were two, she decided to switch their births.  The one who looked like Julianna, she said was the first to leave the womb.  However, the other who looked like its father was actually first. Julianna didn’t know anything about the birthing switch.

Two boys grew up together.  Kendric, favored by his father, was given all the necessary skills to make him a great knight or possibly an earl, if his brother, who was sickly, died.

Roland, the second twin, sickly, almost dying several times, grew up to be cruel like his father.  Kendric, had an inborn justice temperament.  He often took the blame for his brother’s mischievousness.  He humbly accepted it.  He also knew his mother didn’t love him, and really had no love from his father, so he felt much alone.  This brings to mind, looks aren’t what makes a man, rather his character.

Kendric makes his way into the world, fosters with Lord Forwin, a baron, who also knights him.  But the day he receives his spurs, Lord Forwin’s daughter, Lady Jannet, a terribly spoiled woman who hasn’t heard the word ‘no’ in her life, demands Kendric marry her.  When he kindly tells her he wishes not to marry, rather focus on being a good knight, she does the absolutely unthinkable and changes Kendric’s life forever.

I won’t spoil this pivotal moment for you.  Suffice it to say, it is riveting and anguishing.  [learn to say no to your kids!]

Avelyn Le Cler is at court, coming from a country life.  She finds she really doesn’t like it much, but Queen Philippa has been good to her.  No friends to speak of, except Sela Runford.  Sela Runford is young like Avelyn, pursuing friendship with Avelyn when she comes to court.  Several people have urged Avelyn to avoid Sela, but she likes her.

Avelyn is on her way to visit her sister, countess of Sandbourne, while the queen is in summer progress.  She is accompanied by her cousin and Sela.  Kendric is tasked to accompany and protect Avelyn.  Kendric’s liege is Avenlyn’s brother -in-law, Lord Michael of Sandbourne.

So the scene has been set. Avelyn has spirit, doesn’t back down when confronting Kendric.  They both have to share the same horse on their way to her sister’s. Soon they see the good in each other.  Kendric keeps his family ties to himself, Avelyn is eager to learn more, but doesn’t pry. There is definitely an attraction developing.

Things get sticky when Sela wants Kendric for himself.  The understanding between Kendric and Avelyn is deep, until events change Kendric’s life.  The love this couple has is an on and off again roller coaster ride, hurtling them both into despair, pulling the reader with them.  I question, is too much truth not a good thing after all?

Most definitely, I’ve enjoyed the whole series with its memorable characters, along with its delicious and suspenseful moments.

Posted in Book Reviews, Medieval Romance, New Book Release | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

Release Day Blitz in celebration of book two, THE HIGHLAND COMMANDER by Amy Jarecki

HighlandCommander_LaunchDayBlitz[181]

Title: The Highland Commander Lords of the Highlands, Book 2
Author: Amy Jarecki
Published Date: June 27, 2017
Published by: Forever
Mass Market: $7.99 USD
eBook: $3.99 USD
Audio: $22.98 USD

 

Lords of the Highland[183]

The Lords of the Highlands Series
The Highland Duke, book 1
The Highland Commander, book 2
The Highland Guardian, book 3 releases December, 2017


Publisher’s Summary:

She cannot resist the man behind the mask…

As the illegitimate daughter of a Scottish earl, Lady Magdalen Keith is not one to partake in lavish balls or other frivolities. Yet at her father’s urging, she agrees to dance with the battle-weary officers at this year’s holiday masquerade. It’s practically her civic duty! But when one such officer—whose dashing good looks cannot be disguised by a mere mask—sweeps her off her feet and into his arms, the innocent lass can’t help herself. Her lips are his for the taking.

But will he betray his country for a kiss?

Navy lieutenant Aiden Murray has spent too many months at sea to be immune to the charms of this lovely beauty. Even after he returns to his ship, she lives in his dreams. But when he discovers Maddie’s true identity—and learns that her father is accused of treason—will the brawny Scot risk his life to follow his heart?

5-Star Review

Review: Author Amy Jarecki is a auto-buy author for me.  Her books are packed with emotion, suspense, sometimes based loosely on history, other times follows very closely the time and events.  Her books take you to a world where challenges seemingly are insurmountable, where you cheer for the success of the ‘good guys’ and ready to punch out the lights of the bad. Her stories also expose injustices, the brutality of man in the political arena and religious ones.  Something, even today, man hasn’t crawled out of this chasm of human frailty.  What you discover about her characters are easily identified in man to this day.

Lord Aiden Murray is a second son of an earl who takes to the seas becoming his own man at a very young age.  He is posted as First Lieutenant  sailing aboard the Royal Mary.  At 22, he is ribbed by his fellow officers, has very good rapport with them.  He certainly is not a novice in the skills he’s acquired on sea, except for one small item.  He doesn’t have a woman in many ports, he doesn’t have a woman in any ports, and he just hasn’t had a woman at all.  Being a young man, this worries him.  He’s eager to find a woman of some skill to bring him fully into manhood.  ‘Tis verra’ embarrassing to him.

His thoughts:  But by the saints, he’d been aboard the Royal Mary for the past month without setting foot shore. Bloody oath, he intended to kick up his heels this eve–swill ale, swing the lassies in a reel–mayhap he’d even find a bonny lass he fancied.

Damn the cold.

Damn political posturing.

Damn the war.

And whilst I’m at it, damn the queen.

This was Hogmanay–a pagan Scottish holiday–and he would enjoy the piss out of it for once in his miserable highborn life.

I am amused and delighted with the innocence of Aiden.  While at the party, he meets a young woman, Lady Magdalen Keith, whom he’s immediately attracted to.  But seeing she, too, would be chartering new waters, virginal as he is, he only sneaks a kiss.  This kiss, however, stays with him and torments him with such internal conflict, he quickly becomes a hero close to the heart.

Lady Magdalen Keith, has had a difficult time growing up in Stonehaven.  She’s a bastard, rarely leaves her small town, but when her father gets involved in a political skirmish, finds himself in prison, she is determined to help him. Perhaps, she’ll finally mean something more to him. She happens upon Aiden in London trying to figure out how to get to her father.  She is so much a fish out of water, but her character does her a great service.

She is an amazing character with strengths and weaknesses, a woman of honor and a love for Aiden, you will identify with her, feeling her pain and wonder of new love.

This series is a must-read for those who love settings in the Highlands and London. Jarecki brings it all to life in four-dimensional living color! That is to say, what you see is not necessarily the complete picture, hidden multi-layered nuances enrich the story. Join Jarecki’s many fans who love her stories!

Animation of a transforming tesseract or 4-cube

 

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Amy Jarecki is a descendant of an ancient Lowland clan and adores Scotland. Though she now resides in southwest Utah, she received her MBA from Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh. Winning multiple writing awards, she found her niche in the genre of Scottish historical romance. Amy writes steamy edge-of-your-seat action adventures with rugged men and fascinating women who weave their paths through the brutal eras of centuries past.

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Posted in Book Blast New Book, Book Reviews, Highland Romance, Highland Stories, Historical Romance, New Book Release, Romantic Suspense | Tagged , , | 5 Comments

Interview & Giveaway: Jessica Lauryn, romantic suspense author.

 

Jessica Lauryn It is a pleasure having romantic suspense author Jessica Lauryn back on my blog.  I met her in 2014, have interviewed her and reviewed several of her books.

She has just released An Amorous Dance, book two in The Rabourn Theater Series.  Watch for my review in a couple of days.

Thank you, Jessica for joining Booktalk with Eileen.  I hope my questions help readers and fans get to know the mindset behind your talent.

Jessica, what is your preferred genre to write?  What sparks that interest?

I’ve often said, “I’m not a writer, I’m a romantic.”  The truth is that while I’ve got “writer,” written across my forehead and running through my veins I have been drawn to the romance genre since I was little, and that has never changed. 

For me personally, a story must contain a strong romantic element in order for a happily ever after to be achieved.  That isn’t to say that there isn’t a lot of wonderful fiction out there that doesn’t contain any romance at all—there is.  But romance is where my passion lies.  These stories full of eloquent wordage and beautiful imagery give me encouragement as I scour the world for my own true love, sometimes reminding me (in a world where love, too often, is not at the center of our lives) of what encountering the right person feels like, and how wonderful things can be when two people come together by a chance happening that changes everything as they know it. 

Love is our greatest expression and our greatest phenomenon.  The drama, mayhem and intrigue that often accompany it are elements I thrive on as a romantic suspense author—they are the excitement and the challenge that get me up in the morning and drive me forward on this crazy journey that we call life!  

Do you ever think of writing in another genre?

I enjoy reading romances of all sub-genres—historic, contemporary, paranormal, suspense—and I’ve sometimes considered what might come with tackling another piece of the pie.  But my imagination always takes me back to the present day, to the dangers of life in the modern world (aka the exciting, suspenseful parts) and the love that blossoms in its midst. 

Since I was 6 years old, watching Days of Our Lives with my mother and becoming engaged in a storyline the writers called “The Cruise of Deception,” romance, and suspense, have been at the forefront of my creative mind.  My love of suspense and danger has occasionally drawn me to mystery and suspense thrillers, like the works of the very talented James Patterson, for example.  But more often than not, if I select a title and quickly determine that romance plays no element, I’m disappointed.  I doubt my own writing would ever take me in a direction that didn’t involve any romance at all, but I never say never.  I’ve got many years ahead of me in this business, so we shall see!    

When you begin a story, the seed of the story if you will, does it grow from a character’s personality, certain outside forces or a time and place? 

No two stories are ever the same for me, though I would have to say, in spite of my meticulous plotting habits, that my initial inspiration, and ideas, have generally derived from the characters’ personalities, more specifically from the personalities of the couple I envision as the hero and heroine. 

I have to fall in love with a couple to want to tell their story and it is typically my love for their envisioned chemistry that drives the rest of the story for me, plot included.  I’ve heard fellow authors suggest that the best way to write a romance that makes the cut where conflict is concerned is to have your hero/heroine fall for the worst possible person that they can fall for.  If I do this, (though I do suppose it is safe to say that I do) I do it subconsciously.  I don’t think about it.  Romantic couples are my life.  They, and I, speak the same language.   

Are you methodical in your writing, certain hours of the day, certain rituals you may perform before you sit down? Or are you one of those writers who binge write when the mood is upon you?

It’s rare that the mood is not upon me when it comes to writing, so generally this is not a concern.  If for any reason I’m stuck on my manuscript, I’ll give myself a break and take the opportunity to outline a future story, which I also love to do.  Writing is so easy when I’m in the early stages and can simply let my imagination go, without worrying about editing and the strive for nearly-perfect prose. 

The time of day that I write changes with regard to my life’s current circumstance but now that I’m self-employed I find myself doing it in the afternoon, which I’ve found to be the time when I’m the most energized and focused.  As I consider the actual writing to be the most important aspect of my work, (versus, say, marketing) I want to do it during the best time of day, when I can be at my personal best.  Classical music to drown out any background noise, can be a great help too!

Are you comfortable weaving any of your personal experiences into a story? Is there one story you’ve written which is emotionally closer to your heart than others?

I’m quite comfortable writing about personal experiences, as long as the mood has struck me.  As they say, “Write what you know.” I’ve taken that advice to heart! 

Dangerous Proposal (The Pinnacles of Power, #2)While writing Dangerous Proposal (the first story I ever wrote, but actually my second release), I was wearing many hats—I was a recent college graduate, working as a Pre-School Teacher at a busy day care center, just starting out in the initial stages of my writing career while all the while dreaming of meeting the love of my life. 

May I interject here, Jessica?  I happen to have read that book and did a review.  For those readers interested in learning more about why I enjoyed the book, you can link to my review here: http://wp.me/p40XtX-71

Please continue Jessica. 

[smiling] I drew on all of these experiences as I wrote Dangerous Proposal, particularly with regard to the events and happenings had by heroine, Lena Benson, who is on the run from the fiancé she’s recently discovered is a criminal and hides out in the mountainous town of North Conway, NH, a place I’ve spent a lot of time in with my family and which is very dear to my heart. 

I crafted hero Alec Westwood to be rather like the man I dreamed of meeting myself, and I greatly enjoyed working with him as I learned the finer points of creating a swoon-worthy hero you can’t help but turn the pages to read about.     

What is important to you when creating characters?  Is your story more plot driven or character driven?

My stories initially start as character-driven as I mentioned earlier, but they quickly become plot-driven once I begin to outline them.  My aim is, essentially, to create a strong mix with the two elements.  As I have a strong fascination with plots, I tend to develop them early-on in the drafting process and develop the actual ins and outs of my characters later, as I’m writing.  As a series author, I am fascinated by the way that stories can connect and an entire world is built, through the element of plot and character.  I don’t favor one over the other.  I cherish them both equally!

Thank you for sharing and answering these questions. 

You’re welcome.  It is a pleasure.

 

Jessica has written The Pinnacles of Power series, a five-book series.

 

Here are some links to connect with the author:

Website: www.jessicalauryn.com

Newsletter Sign-Up: eepurl.com/ck5-O9

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5081732.Jessica_Lauryn

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jessicalaurynauthor/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/JessicaLauryn_ A Passionate Play by Jessica Lauryn

Jessica, additionally, is kind enough to offer a giveaway of A Passionate Play,  in the digital format of your choice.  It’s book one in The Rabourn Theater series.  

All you need to do is say you would like a copy for a chance to win.

Giveaway will be open for 10 days.  Good luck and thanks for dropping by today!

 

 

Posted in Contemporary Romance, Interviewing authors, New Book Release, Romantic Suspense | Tagged , , , | 6 Comments

Recently Released: THE DEVIL IS FRENCH by Delilah Marvelle, book two of the series of the Whipping Society ~ not a book for the weak-hearted!

Memorable Quotes:

A woman had to start living lest she start dying.

Learn to be soft when it matters most, but never always. Always isn’t going to protect you. Spoken by Mr. Ridley

Who cares if you offend the world? The world doesn’t care if it offends you.” Spoken by Mr. Ridley

A cross didn’t stop people from spitting. They simply nudged it out of the way.

There was a reason Eve darted out of Eden. It got boring. Thought by Jemdanee

My duality is hero and demon. Your duality is Indian and white. Spoken by Mr. Ridley to Jemdanee Lillian Watkins

Unlike most men, I enjoy discourse as much as I do intercourse. Spoken by Mr. Ridley

 

34391458Title: The Devil is French The Whipping Society, Book 2
Author: Delilah Marvelle
Genre:  Historical Victorian Romance, Erotica
Pages: 278
Published by: Delilah Marvelle Productions
Published Date: May 28, 2017
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
ASIN:
B06XC4C7C2

 

HE’S ALL BONES AND SHE’S ALL SUNSHINE.
Meet Mr. Ridley.

LONDON, ENGLAND – 1830

Criminals fear the iron fist of justice he delivers. Scotland Yard will do anything to get their hands on his mind. Whilst women? They crawl in the hope of becoming his. But only one woman is about to hold his career and his body and his mind hostage.

Jemdanee (Kumar) Lillian Watkins is a botanical savant from India who ends up getting arrested for a crime she didn’t commit. Only one man believes her: Mr. Ridley. Drawn to him and the rope he knots in her presence, she quickly realizes this overly regimented, sexy dark hero hides nothing but his passion.

Themes include wit, humor, mystery, history and romance. Lots of it!

—————————————————————————————————-
PLEASE NOTE: Unlike most historical romances where the hero & heroine’s attraction and love for each other stops at a mere one book, this full length book is 1 of 3 (Full length book episodes!) following the highly charged saga of a couple through the rise and fall and storms of their relationship. Every book is tied up in own way.

BOOK 1, Mr. Ridley (Available now!)
BOOK 2, The Devil is French (Available now!)
BOOK 3, Reborn (Available 8/28/2017).

 

My Thoughts:  When reading book two, it is important to remember this story isn’t resolved until the completion of book three.  Which means, the characters haven’t completed their metamorphosis. That being said, I find both very stubborn and become frustrated with their perspectives, yet see the point of view each are coming from. Each have a huge chasm to seal to be a compatible couple, even though each know they love each other most strongly.

I have so many conflicting feelings as I am entangled with the turn of events.  And yes, much like the first book, it is riveting, now, with its morbid aspect exposing the darker side of Mr. Ridley, for he is even more macabre than in book one.  His close-to-death experience has harden him, strengthened him.  He’s had to become a different man to become the man who can fight his addiction and obtain what he desires — Jemdanee.

Mr. Ridley makes me nervous. One never knows how he’ll react to a situation. He’s a hard character to like, yet I see glimpses of the man he could become, if he is willing.  With all the love Jemdanee has for the man, she doesn’t trust him.  Yes, she loves him, but can’t trust him. She is determined to save him. from himself. At times, I’m through with the man.  Then, he will do something so tender, I cannot give up on him entirely.  He is terribly complex, willing to experience pain and heartache rather than have another do the same thing. And in this, he hurts Jemdanee over and over, as well as himself.

Now, three years later, he is stronger, crueller, more protective of Jemdanee.  Yet he puts Jemdanee on edge as she has trouble understanding the new Mr. Ridley.  He is a genius and with his work in London as inspector, people hold him in awe.  He would take an atrocity, find the criminals who committed the act and put them behind prison walls more easily than any other.

Mr. Ridley is caught up in the dark side of sexual experience.  He enjoys pain and wants to bring Jemdanee into his world.  She’s such an innocent, although she has a passionate nature. How can this chasm be bridged?

Jemdanee left Mr Ridley in the first book of this series.  She has spent three years in India, cooped up in a place with so many rules, she no longer feels freedom.  During this interim, Mr. Ridley, took himself in hand, kicked the laudamen addiction, living his life within strict confines.  He thought never to walk again, and on the verge of death, when Jemdanee left him.  Now he’s in India to reconnect with Jemdanee. The man is beyond strong, in mind and determination.

Mr. Ridley has a suspicious nature, one that Jemdanee feels exhausted dealing with.  If she were one minute late to a rendez-vous, he tells her.  If she doesn’t react and do as he wants her to do, he feels she doesn’t respect him, or love him enough, where he reminds her how much he has done for her, getting himself put together, so he could have her.  He is forever controlling.  He says he would never try to change her, but he says she doesn’t respect who he is. Could you live this with guy? Is he worth changing for? Is he completely sane?

Book two is full of angst, complications and outside forces which hero and heroine are dealing with, only creating a bigger divide between the two.

All this said, reader, I cannot put the series down. It’s a page-turner of pain.  It sometimes disgusts, sometimes frustrates, sometimes shines a glimmer of light and hope, but then once again dashed.  I MUST read book three!  

Posted in Book Reviews, Dark Romance, Historical Romance, Victorian Romance | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

Blog Tour for Liliana Hart with hot off the press story GONE TO DUST book 2 of the Gravediggers series.

Giveaway The Darkest Corner – first book of an exciting, funny and not to be missed read!  Just comment you want it and anything else you’d like to say for a chance to win! Compliments of the publisher.

 

Praise for The Darkest Corner, Book 1:

“A cool blend of entertaining antics and suspenseful moments, with a slightly morbid sense of humor thrown in for good measure. (Our heroine was a mortician, after all!) I had a blast getting to know this cast of characters and can’t wait to see what exciting things Liliana Hart has in store for us next.” —Harlequin Junkie


“Gritty, deadly, and peppered with unexpected humor, this supersexy, adrenaline-charged story will keep readers on edge and breathless until the last page.”—Library Journal

“Liliana Hart sets up a fascinating and intriguing premise of individual men forced into taking extreme steps. Her heroine’s reluctant immersion into this world allows readers to discover the treachery and danger looming all around…a thrilling series!”—RT

Book 2 review below.  I’m loving the series.  Plenty of romance, lots of suspense and totally snarky female characters.  There is nothing you won’t like!

32620316Title: Gone to Dust The Gravediggers Series Book 2
Author: Liliana Hart
Genre:  Contemporary Romance Suspense/Mystery
Published by: Pocket Books
Published Date: June 20, 2017
ISBN-13: 978-1501150050
$7.99
The Gravediggers Series ecopy purchase link at Amazon.com
The Darkest Corner
Gone to Dust
Say No More coming July 2017

 

 

Publisher’s Summary:

New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author Liliana Hart’s second book in her sexy, suspenseful Gravediggers series, GONE TO DUST, features an elite group of mysterious men who might be dead to the world, but are also tasked with saving it—and no one can ever know.

The Gravediggers aren’t exactly what they seem. They’re the most elite of the world’s fighting forces—and all they have in common is that they’ve been betrayed by the countries they’ve died for. Because they are dead. To their country, their military, and their families. Sometimes the dead do rise…

Miller Darling is one of the most popular romance novelists of her time. Not bad for a woman who doesn’t believe in romance. She’s as logical as they come, and she doesn’t believe in happily-ever-afters. What she does believe in is family, so when her brother disappears, she doesn’t think twice about packing her bag and her laptop and heading out to find him.

Elias Cole lived and breathed the live of a Navy SEAL. Now he’s “dead” and his hero’s honor tarnished. The only thing keeping him sane are the men who are like him—The Gravediggers—and the woman who makes his head spin. He’s never met anyone like Miller Darling. Her smart mouth and quick wit keep him on his toes, and damned if he doesn’t find that appealing.

When Miller receives a package from the brother who abandoned her asking for help, it’s clear she’s in over her head with the mess he’s gotten himself into. She needs a professional, and Elias is just the man for the job. Only her brother is a former SEAL—the man who left his team to die—and Elias is more interested in vengeance than saving his life.

5-Star Review

My Thoughts:  If you were dead, could you deal with it?  Okay, these super-trained men are not really dead, however they died in the eyes of the world, and there cross-over was brutal, that is, the leaving and returning to the living.  They are now employees at Last Stop Mortuary, a cover for what their purpose really is. They are men who are top, or were, in their chosen careers, now using some really super technology to oust the men bent on destroying the world.  The gravediggers operate as an elite team, working to fight terrorism. 

So how does Miller Darling, a romance novelist, always on deadline (sound familiar, you writers?) hook up with these characters?  The whole town is ogling the men who have been hired at the Last Stop Mortuary.  Even the name of the town, coupled with the word, mortuary, gets me laughing and I managed to laugh all the way through except when I was on pins and needles–plenty of action and suspense!

There are scenes full of deep mirth and some very outrageous dialogue.  One particular one has UPS ring Miller’s doorbell.  She’s got a sign on her front door ‘Do Not Disturb’.  Unfortunately, the deliverer needs a signature.  Miller has been writing non-stop for three days, looks and probably smells like hell. She is right in the middle of writing an exquisite love scene, in tune with the total experience. Her novel’s characters are King Solomon and Queen Sheba.  Here’s a small excerpt that just cracked me up!

She took his hand and kissed it softly, and then she joined him on the bed, sliding the sheet from his body and moving over him, so she was poised to take him into her. Their hands clasped and their gazes met, and he knew this would be a spiritual experience, that they would truly meld—mind, body, and soul—with their union.

His jaw clenched and sweat beaded on his skin as her heat enveloped him. And then her head fell back with a moan as she sank down on him. The world spun away as pleasure unlike he’d ever known surrounded him.

His vision dimmed and the incessant chime of a doorbell rang in his ears.

“A doorbell?” Miller Darling said, shaking herself out of the scene she’d been writing. “What the hell?”

She snarled and her head snapped up at the interruption. She was going to kill someone. No jury would convict her. The sign on the front door clearly said, “Do Not Disturb.”

Her ensuing temper lashed at the poor UPS man.  Hysterical reading—a bit more excerpt:

“I don’t care if you’re delivering gold bullion or the electric pencil sharpener I ordered three months ago and never received. The sign says ‘Do Not Disturb.’ Do you know how long it’s going to take me to get back in the mood?”

His eyebrows raised and his mouth opened and closed a couple of times. “No?” he said, phrasing it like a question. He was starting to look scared. Good.

“That’s right. You don’t know, she said. “Lovemaking like that can’t just be performed on a whim. It takes preparation and the right frame of mind. I had the candles lit and the music playing, and she was about to ride him like a stallion. You’ve set me back hours at least. How would you lie it is someone kept ringing the doorbell right before you were about to have an orgasm?”

Hysterical, right?  This type of book can either be offensive or just a riot to read, depending on the sensibilities of the reader. The whole town is a little bit off kilter, but charming and endearing.

Elias Cole, one of the men working for the mortuary is not only ogled by the town women, but he’s ogling Miller.  As outrageous as she is, she’s just the sort of woman he needs.  Elias has denied himself any permanent relationship, since his life is nothing he can offer a woman. The chemistry between the two of them is explosive.  Elias has the control of just walking away, driving the hot-tempered, spit-fire writer crazy!  She’s tempted to write him into a story and knock him off!

Justin, Miller’s brother, considerably older than she is has been out of her life for a long time.  She receives a couple of letters a year from him.  But things heat up when she receives his finger and ring in the package delivered by that UPS man.  Who better to talk this over with, is her friend Tess, who she tells everything.  In book one, Tess married one of the ‘dead’ men, so she has connections to aid Miller to find her brother, but Miller doesn’t know about Tess’s secret new life.

One thing Miller believes in, is family.  She’s ready to go find her brother, with or without help.

You’ll want to indulge in this series, the whole thing, because the plot is unique, the humor is snarky, Tess and Miller, friends since childhood, will entertain and warm your heart.  The men are brave with brawn and do what’s right, not necessarily what they’re told to do!

Book three, here I come!

Liliana HartAbout the author:
Liliana Hart is a New York Times, USA Today, and Publishers Weekly bestselling author of more than forty titles, including the Addison Holmes Whiskey and J.J. Graves Mystery series.

Since self-publishing in June 2011, Liliana has sold more than four million ebooks. She’s hit the #1 spot on lists all over the world, and all three of her series have appeared on the New York Times bestseller list.

Liliana is a sought-after speaker who’s given keynote speeches and self-publishing workshops to standing-room-only crowds from CA to NYC to London.

Visit LilianaHart.com, facebook.com/lilianahartauthor, twitter.com/Liliana_Hart.

 

Gravedigger Giveaway:

For the Gravedigger Giveaway, we are giving away one review copy of Book 1, The Darkest Corner! Be sure to check out all participating sites on the blog tour for more Gravedigger Giveaways. And note that RT will giveaway three bundles of Book 1 and Book 2, with the drawing to be held Monday, July 10th. Please note, you can only win one giveaway and must have a U.S. address.

 

Gone to Dust blog tour: 

June 20
Moohnshine’s Corner

RT Book Reviews – Gravedigger Giveaway Bundle (Book 1 and 2) drawing opens

For the Love of Books and Alcohol

Dirty and Thirty

The Reading Cafe

Red Carpet Crash

Celtic Lady’s Reviews

Booktalk with Eileen

 

June 21

Book Sniffers Anonymous

Abigail Books Addiction

Crossroads

Fandemonium Network

Little Black Book Review

Blonde Bookworm

Eye on Romance

 

June 22

Read Your Writes

Three Boys and an Old Lady

Rock Stars of Romance

A Midlife Wife

Tigris Eden

Under the Covers

Positively Book Crazy

 

June 23

Ramblings from a Chaotic Mind

Once Upon An Alpha

Reading Diaries

WTF Are You Reading

Thoughts in Progress

The Lovely Books

 

June 24

Romance Junkies

 

June 26

Reviews by Crystal

 

June 27

Pick of the Literate

The Reader’s Den

 

June 28

Dew on the Kudzu

Read for Your Future

Bookfan-Mary

 

June 29

Bea’s Book Nook

JoJo the Bookaholic

 

June 30

Readaholic

The Book Avenue

 

July 5

Caffeinated Book Reviewer

 

July 7

Romance Reviews Today

 

July 9

RT Book Reviews – Gravedigger Giveaway Bundle (Book 1 and 2) drawing date

 

September 25

Authors on the Air Global Radio Network – Gravediggers Series interview

 

Posted in Book Giveaway, Book Reviews, Contemporary Romance, Romantic Suspense | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

Author and Narrator Valerie Gilbert tells us about her ‘other life’ and so much more! Learn about her experience in a trance state, her mystical beliefs, her thoughts on reincarnation, karma and her life-changing experience at a séance.

I’ve known Valerie Gilbert now for about three years.  We met on Facebook and have kept regularly in touch.  I met her as a narrator and have come to respect and love her as person.  She narrates all kinds of books and with her flexible voice and dynamic personality her narrations sparkle! 

However, in this blog, I’d like to share who Valerie is, the person behind the voice, before you hear her exquisite narrating. The deeper part of who Valerie is and her personal journey in life comes through her healing and teaching skills. You will see the teaching skills shine in this interview.

I’ll have her on very soon to discuss books she’s narrated, give you some examples of her work.  Today, she’ll share her most recent production releases. 

Valerie, I’m so pleased to have you here.  I’m excited to share the person you are!

Thank you so much, Eileen! Thank you for the person that you are!  It is so very nice, so very important in life to feel appreciated, and to express appreciation and gratitude to others.

 

Let’s begin. Tell me a little about where you are in life.

I’m a mystic who never wanted to be an author, or narrator. I wanted to be an actress, and still am, but not in the way I envisioned.  Life had other plans for me.  I’m perfectly poised to do the work I’m now doing as a healer, intuitive and teacher because I’ve always been genuinely passionate about metaphysics. A first love, in a way.

Teaching comes easily to me as it utilizes my intelligence, playful personality and ability to communicate, in part, a result of my theatrical training and experience.  The same applies to my writing.  The plan is unfolding perfectly.

 

I’m so drawn to those who touch the realm of the unseen.  I know you have a connection.  Tell us about that.

I was raised a Theosophist, which is a mystical tradition started by a Russian noblewoman (and rebel) in the 1800s.  Theosophy is a Western philosophy based on Eastern religion.  Blavatsky got married at 16 to an old, titled guy, then ran off to travel the world without him, which she was able to do as a “Madame” vs. a “Mademoiselle”.  She went to Tibet, India, and god knows where else, studying with mystics.

Talk about a feminist and independent young woman! A clear medium and channel of spiritual information from high masters of wisdom, she produced massive tomes The Secret Doctrine and Isis Unveiled through what we would now call “channeling”.  These books are so dense with information that they are encyclopedic rather than easy reading.

 

Something I’ve thought about a lot – reincarnation.  Is it really something which exists?

Voltaire said, “It’s no more remarkable to be born twice than once; everything in nature is resurrection.” I have no doubt that it is real, and that it operates in a non-linear fashion.  We have past, parallel and future lives all happening simultaneously since time is an illusion.  Life is a big mind game.  It’s designed so that you can rig it in your favor. That’s what enlightenment is.  Figuring out the rules of the game and using them to work your magic.  As a Theosophist, I was raised to believe in reincarnation and karma and that all of life is conscious (including inanimate objects) and connected.  I still cleave to those ideas.

 

Can you explain to us lay people, what your definitions of reincarnation and karma are?

There is much more to physical life than meets the eye.  When you perceive a person, you certainly don’t see the cones and rods in their eyes, or the white and red blood cells flowing through their veins.  From a scientific standpoint, people accept that.  What many don’t understand is that there is a vibrational, energetic component to the human being that we also don’t see, though we certainly do feel it.  It’s why you like or love someone. Chemistry.  There’s a vibrational match between you and that person.  We are drawn to people with similar wavelengths.

This energetic core, your soul, spirit, whatever you want to call it, is like play dough or silly putty.  It can fit into many different formats, and be used to create different structures.  If your soul decides to incarnate as an African male in 500 B.C. this will produce unique experience vs. being an Asian female, 600 A.D.   Think of it as being an actor, it’s like trying on different roles, and new costumes.  Life truly is a dream, an illusion, a virtual reality game of sorts.  If you contemplate it from that perspective, it can help you to step back and say, “This is just a test.  What am I supposed to be learning here?  What do I want to take away from this experience?  What do I want to create while I am in this role?”  It takes you away from the more mundane aspects of physical life to the bigger picture.  At the end of the day, at the end of your life, what will you be most proud of personally?  A big bank account, perfectly toned body and nice house is nothing to write home about when you’re facing the Masters of Light at your “graduation” or “homecoming” after physical life.  There are heart lessons to be learned.  Are you a good student?  You have to pay attention and look within.  The way will be made clear, no matter how hard the path.

Contemplate that you do have choice, that you are here by choice, on planet Earth, and that nothing is by accident.  Everything you experience is chosen on a deeper level by your Network Administrator, your Soul.  If you make strong choices, you learn, you evolve.  If you don’t, you simply come back until you start to make headway.  Sort of like being held back at school, except without the judgment.  In the face of eternity, you can’t get it wrong.  Everyone eventually returns to home base, the richer for the experience.  I recommend the comedy “Defending Your Life” starring Meryl Streep.  It represents some eternal truths regarding death, life and reincarnation with great humor and heart. 

Karma is a system of checks and balances.  It has nothing to do with punishment.  It is about equilibrium.  If you live a life full of negativity, where you act from anger and violence, there is an equal and opposite reaction from life toward your choices.  Like a boomerang, the energies you put out will carom back to you.  Life does not judge.  It simply says, if this is what you create, then you shall experience it also.  What better way to learn than to experience what you have foisted upon others with your short-sighted decisions?  The surest way to learn compassion is by being humbled by experiencing the after effects of your less inspired choices.

Reincarnation affords endless possibilities to come back over and over and experience different permutations of life with karma as your personal trainer.  The wise soul eventually takes the higher road and learns her or his deeper lessons.  The soul, “the unmoved mover” is ever watchful.  The deepest part of you never judges.  But it does learn and grow from your experiences here on earth, and elsewhere in the universe.  We here in the physical are the “ground forces” of the soul, in the trenches, doing the heavy lifting.  Human life provides ample learning opportunities, as well as room for joy and happiness.

It is not easy being here, as most of us know firsthand.  But the payoff is great if you work with nature, not against her, if you honor life, instead of fight what it offers you, and if you learn to love yourself, and then all others, understanding that we are all one.  Many mysteries are hidden so that we can experience life from the individual perspective.  If we remembered our past lives, our connection with all of life, we wouldn’t learn from the individual angle, the human experience.  This is what GOD wants: to expand, to learn, to grow, to evolve. Through us, her/his children. It is the way of nature, the way of life.  Eternal expansion, growth, and glory.   God is curious!  God is a creator!  God is brilliant and funny and ever-changing via Creation.  We are God on the forefront of Creation.  We are God EXPERIENCING an ever-expanding here and now. We come back from physical life with valuable lessons learned.  The only way to learn something is to DO IT.

 

Wow!  Powerful ideas indeed, and ones to contemplate.

While I believe in reincarnation and karma, I no longer call myself a Theosophist.  The three or four Theosophists that I know (the movement is not thriving) are staid and static, and that’s why they’re not thriving.  They live in the world of the mind.  And I live in my body, mind, emotions, soul, psyche and personality.  Life is in Technicolor.  I refuse to live in black and white. 

As a kid, a sincere student of Theosophy, I posed a personal question to the then head of the organization.  He replied “We don’t deal with the personal here.”  Well, the thing is, I’m a PERSON, and if a philosophy or organization can’t help the individual with the complexities of personal life, then to me, they’re useless. 

God is in the details of our lives.  Our egos, thoughts, emotions, and foibles.  If you don’t look at them, and endeavor to understand them and make change where needed, you can’t grow. 

If a philosophy doesn’t help with those specifics, or acknowledge the whole person, warts and all, then they are useless to me.  Which is why I write what I write, and teach in the fashion that I do:  it is INTENSELY personal. 

It is only through examining the individual that we can understand more fully the universal.  But frankly, understanding yourself is enough, right?  It takes most people a lifetime, many lifetimes, to do The Great Work of growing a soul into pure wisdom. 

Strangely, while Theosophy discussed all number of mystical things, including spirits, and spirit communication (Mme. Blavatsky herself was a channel) Theosophy warned of ANY such contact with psychics or mediums as being dangerous. It’s the ultimate hypocrisy.

I’m about DOING it, not just studying it. We all have these powers. Not to be a medium, per se, but to develop our psychic, intuitive abilities, and to connect with higher realms of information and wisdom.  The way “up” is “within”.

 

How did you grow to where you are today?  Were there trigger moments?

While I always believed in non-physical life, life after life, reincarnation, etc. I’d never directly experienced it.  Since my parents both died before I was 22, I was left feeling very, very alone in this world, as I loved them dearly.  Believing they were “somewhere else” didn’t help me very much.  In fact, not at all.  I felt utterly abandoned.  Their being alive, but incommunicado, was useless to me.  I was imprisoned by my own grief, and the belief that I was alone.

I have done intense personal work on myself over the years, at various retreats, reading prolifically, and taking myriad mystical and personal growth workshops which were all very helpful as I moved into greater happiness and understanding of myself and my capabilities.

 

Tell us about the first séance you ever went to.

One day, about ten years ago, an actress friend who was also into the occult, invited me to a séance around Halloween.  What could be more fun?  It was a large group of people (73) and a life changing experience for me.  I was desperately hoping to get messages from my parents.  When I arrived, the room was freezing.  I kept my coat, hat and gloves on throughout the two-hour event.  It turns out I chose to sit in an empty seat right next to the lead medium.  My friend arrived and said “There’s a lot of energy in the room.”  I had no idea what she was talking about.  I became profoundly tired on the spot. I felt like I weighed a ton and was 2000 leagues under the sea.  I was so tired I couldn’t hold my head up.  I told my parents silently, “hope you’re well, I’m pooped, no need to talk…” 

I remained conscious the entire time, ears alert as people were receiving individual messages.  My name was never called.  Phew! Then the medium turned it over to his associates, his mediumship students.  A woman to my right said, “You over there!  What’s your name?” Now, mind you, this room was pitch black save for one tiny tea light in the middle of the immense room. 

I had the strongest sensation that she was talking to me, though neither of us could see each other.  Turned out, she was.  I woke right up, even though I was still woozy, almost as if I were drugged.  “You have been morphing all night!  A past life wishes to speak with you.  You were a soldier in the 1800s.  He tells you to “Stay the course!”  Oh vey, was all I could think.  I was a depressed, single corporate secretary yearning for family and creative fulfillment.  Stay what course?  That one?  “And, for lack of a better word, a ‘future’ self comes to speak to you, a future version of you says that you are not from this planet.”

Great. Just great.

What do I do with that one?  So much for contact from my parents.  The only person who talked to me from Spirit was me!   I’m a Soldier from Outer Space.  This left me rather dazed, confused, and, frankly, somewhat irritated. 

After the séance, a man came up to me.  Interestingly, he was the spitting image of one of the co-founders of the Theosophical movement, William Quan Judge.  WQJ and this fellow both had piercing blue eyes and facial hair.  The man was a medium, and, using proper séance protocol asked first, “May I give you a message?”  You can’t just lay stuff on people unless they’re receptive.  “Of course, thank you.”  “There’s a man in your aura.  He’s got a beard and is quite rebellious.  He looks like an East Village hippie”.  I had recently gotten out of a bad relationship with just such a person. “Is he dead?” I asked hopefully.  “I can’t tell, but he’s very angry, a difficult person.”  I knew exactly who it was.  I replied, “He lived in the West Village, not East, but yes, I know who you mean.  Is there a message?”  “No, I just feel him in your energy field.”

I didn’t know what to make of this, but I did know it was the older man who had been a West Village hippie decades ago, in his hey day.  He was indeed angry, and rebellious.  I learned later when I was studying mediumship with master medium James Van Praagh that when someone is in your aura, it means that they are thinking of you.  The man in question was famous and very controlling. Another psychic months later told me there was an old man “living inside me”.  I was baffled, thinking it was a grandfather, but why would this be?

It took a friend who knew about my recent relationship with the cranky controlling senior to remind me of the angry old man I had just been involved with.  Seems he’d stuck his claws in me, energetically speaking.  I did a cord cutting ceremony that very night, creeped out that he was still siphoning off my energy.  People like these are called psychic vampires.  They are parasites.

The medium who looked like William Q. Judge said, “You should come again.  Phyllis and I are running the séance in 2 weeks.”  Phyllis was the one who told me I’m from off-planet.  I was hooked.  Are you kidding me?  The two people out of a huge room who had direct, specific messages for me were running the next séance?  I was there all right, two weeks later. I got a fascinating message from my mother pertaining to my future husband. From then, I continued to go to séances, or “message circles” as they are also called.  I was then moved to study psychic development and mediumship myself.

 

Wow, I’ve got goose bumps just thinking of this experience!

And it turns out I wasn’t just tired that night at the Halloween séance.  I was in a TRANCE.  A deep, hypnotic one.  An altered state.  This would not have occurred to me.  It took someone else to point that out, to educate me as to what I was experiencing, and it now makes perfect sense, although I didn’t know what it meant when Phyllis said “you’ve been morphing all night.” When I meditate, or when I’m in certain groups, I will experience various altered states, although not that deep exhaustion that I felt the first time, thank god.  Perhaps I’m a trance medium.   I don’t know.  I’m still working out the details of my abilities. 

 

How does a person study about this stuff—psychic development and mediumship?

The first step is to take responsibility for being sovereign, for being your own teacher, as well as a student.  Meditation is the surest form inward.  Hard for most westerners, yet the better you get, the more you expand into the fullness of your being.  Spend time alone.  Learn to love and live with yourself, don’t hide behind relationships, jobs, and activities.  It’s too easy to be distracted.  On the other hand, we need balance.  Most of us are not in monasteries, as perhaps we were in other lifetimes, cloistered away.  As you become more sovereign, understanding yourself, your feelings, thoughts and beliefs, loosening the stranglehold of the mind so that it can expand into the fullness of your multi-dimensional self, your psychic abilities will grow.  We are all psychic.  We have been trained away from knowing our full power by energies that have manipulated the populations on this planet for thousands of years.  Now is the time of awakening, the time for individual sovereignty.  Journal.  Ask questions.  Study yourself.  Grow yourself. The way will be made clear for sincere students of Self. We all have guides and teachers on the other side helping us now.  But we have to ask for the help.  They cannot interfere.  

 

Whew!  Is there anything else you would like to share?  You are blowing my mind!

I’ve “come out” recently as a healer.  I was called out at an event a year ago at the United Nations, led by channel and mystic Rae Chandran, who is from India but lives in Japan with his family.  He drew a visual symbol for my life (which impacted me deeply) and said, “You are a medium. You are psychic.  You are a channel.  You have healing energy in your hands and you are coming into a full opening now.  Nostradamus is with you.” 

You can’t make this stuff up.  There were 100 people in that room and no one got a message anything like that.  I started looking at myself differently, not as the one who was studying and constantly seeking out others’ expertise and power, but as the one who wields the wisdom and power herself.  It was, and is, a fascinating shift in perception.

If you look at my website, http://valeriegilbert.weebly.com, I identify myself as a healer first.  Where it used to be Author/Teacher/Narrator, it’s now Healer/Teacher/Author. 

I own who I am, who I am becoming.  It’s the biggest lesson for all of us.  To know who and what we are in the biggest way, and to let go of what we no longer need, that includes relationships, jobs, sicknesses, small mindsets and other limitations which no longer serve us. I encourage people to claim their power, and develop mastery over them selves.  That’s what personal power is.  Not power over anyone else.  Just yourself.  That’s what life’s all about. Mastery.

I teach people how to achieve empowerment, freedom, health and happiness in their own lives through dialogue and discussion, intuitive insights, energy healing, and guided meditation in groups and in private sessions. 

My books outline all the nooks and crannies of the personal pain and foibles I’ve encountered in my personal life.  By publicly examining my own thoughts and experiences, I show others how to do the same for themselves.  My fourth book, Brilliance Brewing, will be released in August 2017 by Black Opal Books.

 

Will you come back on Booktalk with Eileen and discuss Brilliance Brewing?

 Absolutely.  It would be my pleasure to discuss this book with you and your readers.

I’ve read several of your books, or should say listened to you narrate them.  You present lots of ideas, entertainingly expressed, but deep in perceptive.  I truly enjoyed every one of them.

I think we’ll talk about your narrating work in another blog.  I don’t want to dilute the power of your words. Valerie, this has been absolutely fascinating.  Readers, if you have questions, I’m sure, Valerie will be happy to discuss it.

 

I’ll just mention briefly for your readers as there’s a free offer attached. 

Grounded: The Grounded Trilogy, Book 1 | G. P. ChingI’ve recently completed narrating “Grounded” by G.P. Ching, a supernatural tale featuring a young lady in future times,

“Fill The Sky” by Katherine Sherbrooke, about 3 women in their 40s who go to Ecuador to receive physical, emotional and spiritual healing via native shamans,Fill the Sky | Katherine A. Sherbrooke

“The Key to Savannah”, “The Road to Savannah” (both out) and “Justice in Savannah” (releasing within 1-2 weeks) by Hope Callaghan, a hilarious cozy mystery series that’s a cross between “Married to the Mob” and “Fried Green Tomatoes”. 

 

Key to Savannah: Made in Savannah Cozy Mysteries Series, Book 1 | Hope CallaghanRoad to Savannah: Made in Savannah Cozy Mysteries Series, Book 2 | Hope Callaghan

 

I’ve recorded over 110 titles viewable at Audible.  If anyone would like a free audio book (or two) in exchange for a review on Audible, contact me at my website, http://valeriegilbert.weebly.com.

If anyone would like to work privately with me via Zoom (an online service similar to Skype) contact me similarly, at http://valeriegilbert.weebly.com, where you can read about my healing work.  Sessions incorporate discussion, intuition, guided meditation, and energy healing work.  The work is dynamic and will spur you to unlock kinks and free up your own magic within.  Magic and mystery to everyone reading! 

 

Valerie, thank you so much for coming and giving some real insight to the world beyond what we see.  You have giving me, and I’m sure our readers, much to think about.

And now, dear readers, I will leave you with a five minute clip of  Raving Violet.  The full audio can be purchased here.

Raving Violet Audiobook

 

 

 

Posted in Audiobook, Guest Audiobook Narrator, Guest Authors, Memoir, Metaphysics, Raving Violet, Valerie gilbert | Tagged , , , | 9 Comments

Review: ECHO IN THE WIND by Regan Walker

 

34998565Title: Echo in the Wind Donet Trilogy, Book 2
Author: Regan Walker
Genre: Historical Romance
Story Setting: 1784, England, France
Pages: 352
Published by: Regan Walker
Published Date: May 24, 2017
ISBN-10: 0996849599
ISBN-13: 978-0996849593

Donet Trilogy ecopy purchase link Amazon.com
To Tame the Wind
Echo in the Wind
A Fierce Wind (coming in 2018)

Publisher’s Summary:
“Walker sweeps you away to a time and place you’ll NEVER want to leave!” ~ NY Times Bestselling author Danelle Harmon

England and France 1784
Cast out by his noble father for marrying the woman he loved, Jean Donet took to the sea, becoming a smuggler, delivering French brandy and tea to the south coast of England. When his young wife died, he nearly lost his sanity. In time, he became a pirate and then a privateer, vowing to never again risk his heart.

As Donet’s wealth grew, so grew his fame as a daring ship’s captain, the terror of the English Channel in the American War. When his father and older brother die in a carriage accident in France, Jean becomes the Comte de Saintonge, a title he never wanted. Lady Joanna West cares little for London Society, which considers her its darling. Marriage in the ton is either dull or disastrous. She wants no part of it.

To help the poor in Sussex, she joins in their smuggling. Now she is the master of the beach, risking her reputation and her life. One night off the coast of Bognor, Joanna encounters the menacing captain of a smuggling ship, never realizing he is the mysterious Comte de Saintonge. Can Donet resist the English vixen who entices him as no other woman? Will Lady Joanna risk all for an uncertain chance at love in the arms of the dashing Jean Donet?

My Thoughts:  Lady Joanna meets a handsome sea captain, who is well respected among the peerage, but who also lives a double life, like Joanna.  Unbeknownst to her, he is none other than the captain who owns the French brig who delivers the goods that Joanna’s small village smuggling crew receive.

Jean Donet, having been his own master for years, owning three ships and three homes, is drawn to help the downtrodden.  He’s had dreams, forced to give up.  His love of music and picking up the violin calms his spirit.  When life closes door, he pursues another.

The sea is Jean’s life, now.  He’s more comfortable on sea than land. He is a man of many facets, with a spirit of adventure and more handsome than anyone should be allowed to be. He is a comte and  smuggler. He also never wants to love again, for then he would be vulnerable.

Lady Joanna West, a charming and proper woman of English Society, sister to Earl of Torrington, is a woman with a conscious and a spirit which enjoys living on the edge.  The English Society is a bore to her as well as the men who have approached her for marriage.

“The Harrows is more than adequate for me. Besides, I consider marriage a dull affair punctuated by moments of misery. I would avoid it, perhaps forever.”

Not only does she see the poverty around her in Chichester, she, with her decided manner to help those less fortunate, helps the smugglers in her village so prices for tea and brandy can be purchased by the poor and less fortunate.  By smuggling tea and brandy, she is well-beloved by the village folk.  Her younger brother Freddie is included in her adventures.  The elder, Richard, would be outraged to hear what is going on right under his nose.

When did Jean start to have feelings for Joanna? He recognizes the ‘lad’ who leads the group of smugglers to be the charming sister of the earl.  He is intrigued with a woman who need not smuggle, but doing just that, puts her life in danger, for if she were caught, she would be punished by hanging.

He finds she has him feel feelings he thought never to have again.  He had loved his dead wife Ariane more than he thought possible.  There couldn’t be another. He could not love and lose again. Yet, he is drawn to Joanna.  He feels the need to protect her, yet fights his attraction to her.

All is well with the smuggling operations, until the coast guards spy the transfer of goods from the French ship, la Reine Noire.  And where is the fine lady?  She’s on the French ship which needs to make a hasty retreat so not to be caught.

In the heat of a sea battle where Joanna is on deck of la Reine Noire, the unthinkable happens.

He turned to be certain his passenger had gone below. To his horror, just short of the aft hatch, the bos’n stood looking down at Lady Joanna lying unconscious on the deck. Her hat had come off, leaving her beautiful auburn hair splayed out around her. Dark red blood seeped from her belly and flowed to the wooden planks.

“Seigneur Dieu!” he cried and rushed to her, crouching down to sweep her into his arms. He shouted to Emile, “The ship is yours. Make for Lorient!”

Jean’s strength makes Joanna feel safe, protected. Events put her in a compromised position.  She is drawn to him like a bee to pollen. Jean, with his French manner and suave bearing is more than she can resist.  But to what end?  Is that her end, a mistress to a Frenchman?

The author brings us closer to the captain, showing us by events what type of person he is.  I enjoyed the spattering of French throughout the book, Jean’s determination to not love, the ship cat Benjamin Franklin, Jean’s close friendship with the quartermaster, and above all the heroine who reaches beyond what society demands of her to find what she needs to be fulfilled.

 

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