Friday, June 28, 2013

A Hawk Enslaved ~ Venetia Green

I'm delighted to showcase fellow West Australian and Historical Hearts author Venetia Green's debut romance, A Hawk Enslaved, from Ellora's Cave Blush line. Hot Vikings! What's not to love?

As well as dark and sensuous romances set amongst the fjords of Viking Age Scandinavia, Venetia also writes sizzling erotic romance set in the back alleys of medieval London. 

Title: A Hawk Enslaved
Author: Venetia Green
Publisher: Ellora’s Cave Publishing
Buy Links:


A beautiful hawk tamer enslaved by Vikings.
Ragnar Ulfsson must find his king a concubine. His solution is Isolde, captured while climbing the sea cliffs for falcons. Enslaved in his own way, Ragnar has few qualms about binding another to his lord for the greater good. After all, it is an honour to share the bed of a king.
Isolde does not view slavery so complacently. Like a hawk caged, she is frantic to escape. The king’s hall is a bubbling stew of political intrigue and Isolde is an essential ingredient in the mix. Her only hope is Ragnar, who captured her but also promises to free her—eventually. But there is something strange about this dark Viking, oddly withdrawn and controlled, and their growing bond will lead her into greater danger still.
For Ragnar doesn’t touch women. For good reason.

The king’s hand had not left her throughout. At times it stroked her hair, or as if tired, rested on her shoulder as she sat huddled at his feet. Strangely, she did not mind. It was not a roaming, invasive hand. Instead it felt vaguely reassuring. For a fleeting instant she was glad she belonged to this king rather than becoming an ordinary thrall. The image of the serving-woman’s face stayed with her, that expression of dull endurance as a drunkard mauled her breast for all to see. Was that all such a woman had to endure? Isolde moved her eyes carefully away from the trestle of warriors and their attendant women. Things were getting steadily less inhibited down there. She would like to think those girls were there of their own will.
She became aware of a disturbance toward the queen’s end of the dais.
“You doubt our lord’s manhood, Lars?”
An ox of a man had semi-risen from his seat and was leaning over the board to bellow at a warrior across the aisle. The second man waved his hands in a calming motion and said something inaudible.
“That is not good enough, by Thor! I wager he will prove his ability before us all tonight!” The ox thumped the table. “And then you will retract your limp assertions.”
“And I wager he will not, not of course because he cannot. I would never imply such a thing,” the second man said in dry but carrying tones.
Others were paying attention now. Isolde noticed heads turning, could practically see the ears pricking.
“What will you wager, Lars?” the oxlike one was demanding. “Your mouth is foul but your silver is fair enough. Here!” He wrenched an arm ring off one hairy arm, waving it about. “I wager Bothvar will give all true men a fine example of how to sow their crops tonight!”
The trestle around them broke into an uproar as warriors, bolstered no doubt by ale, added opinions and bets of their own. Isolde felt the king’s hand stiffen on her shoulder.
Ja, who throws doubt on our king’s capacities! One fine woman is not enough for his appetite, but he must have another!”
“The queen has not entered her lord’s bedchamber in months now.” Spoken in a low voice.
“How know you this? Besides, who’s to say he don’t give it to her someplace else!”
Guffaws and suggestions of alternative locations.
Even those at the far end of the hall were listening now. The atmosphere had turned curiously tense, and many shot considering glances from king to queen. Isolde could feel the tension invading her blood, seeming to freeze it to sluggish thickness in her veins. Surely nothing would come of this ridiculous wagering? It was just the pastime of men in their cups, something no dignified ruler would take seriously. Unable to stop herself, Isolde sought out Ragnar’s face, seeking some clue.
It was no comfort. He too listened to the ruckus of wagering warriors. His face had a strained look, eyes seeming darker and more fathomless than ever. But he did not move.
Growing more agitated, Isolde swung back to the warriors. More were standing now, and the volume had grown. Snatches of words caught at her ears.
“Wouldn’t be a man if he didn’t.”
“He’s only got one son, after all…”
“I’d do it myself if…”
“There! I wager my lance against the performance of the king’s!”
Amidst it all the queen sat serene in her thick white fur. She did not appear at all disturbed by the deluge of innuendo. Her face was calm and pale as ever, the hint of a smile playing over fine lips. As Isolde watched, Hvíta turned to look directly at Bothvar, wintery eyes boring into his over Isolde’s head. She could not see the king’s expression, but Isolde shrank back against his leg. Hvíta’s meaning was plain. She had thrown a challenge at Bothvar, one he was bound to answer.
“My lord, this is getting out of hand. Would you have me quieten their wagging tongues?”
Ragnar stood behind the king.
“What?” The king hesitated then shook his head. “No…no. It has gone too far.”
Ragnar looked down into Isolde’s upturned face. “You would do as they wish then, my lord?” His voice was quieter than ever.
“Do I have a choice? She is behind this. She will not back down, and so neither can I.”
“What? Before them all? What of…” Ragnar did not finish the sentence.
“No. Not here. In my quarters.”
“Please…” Isolde found her voice at last. They were talking in riddles but she was dreadfully afraid she was beginning to catch their meaning. She looked pleadingly up at Ragnar. Never mind the disgust she had felt for him earlier.
Both men observed her in silence.
“I-I do not want…” She could not make the words come out.
Bothvar squeezed her shoulder. “This is not what I had planned, my dear. But,” he straightened suddenly, seeming to shrug off his years, “I have a kingdom to rule. And men must respect their king.”

Monday, June 24, 2013

Full Bloom ~ Bianca Sarble

I'm so happy to spotlight the lovely Bianca Sarble today to help celebrate her debut release Full Bloom! Congratulations, Bianca!

Today is the day!! First I’d like to say a big thank you to Christina for helping me celebrate the release of my first book – Full Bloom.

Step into the world of Freewill, Wyoming, the town at the center of Decadent Publishing’s Western Escape line. A place where the locals are friendly and the cowboys are hot!

I hope you enjoy Full Bloom and I’d love to hear from you!


Tash Hathaway has moved back to Freewill to open her own flower shop—Freewill Flower Garden. She is actively seeking a man to fill her Mr. Right vacancy and has even signed up to find him online. But when she finds duds instead of studs Cassi, Tash's best friend, convinces her to take a break and live a little, make some of her cowboy fantasies come true before settling down.

When his riding partner is injured, Nathan Davis goes home for a break from the PRCA circuit. He returns to find his life changing in ways he's not ready for. Nor does he expect the distraction of a beautiful small town girl who fulfills his wildest fantasies.

Tash and Nathan collide in a lust-filled bubble, but neither of them are prepared when things get serious. Can love come to full bloom between two people determined to have a temporary bit of fun?


“Tash Hathaway.” He clicked his fingers. “Now I remember. You were a couple of years behind me at high school. How’s things?”

Oh my God. He’d remembered her. “Um, things are great. I own the flower shop in town.”

“So, you own that pretty little pink thing?”

Pretty little pink thing? What?

“Oh, the van!” Tash glanced over her shoulder at the bubblegum pink delivery van. “I bought it secondhand from a mobile hairdresser and haven’t taken it to get painted yet. I’m kinda getting used to the pink. So, what brings you back to town?”

“My traveling partner came second to a bull and wound up with a broken leg. By the time I helped get him settled in Texas, I’d fallen behind in the points, so I thought I’d spend some time at home. Come see the family, help out a bit. Lucky I did because my mom fell in the barn yesterday and broke her wrist.”

“Oh, that’s terrible. I hope she’s okay.”

“Yeah, she is, thanks.”

His voice sounded so smooth, but with a bit more twang than she remembered from high school. He’d certainly changed from the shy rancher’s son into a hunk of smokin’ hot cowboy.

“My dad’s bringing her home today, but it’s going to be tough on her.” Nathan half snorted. “Not one of the best things to do in a barn.”

Tash couldn’t resist trying out her newly rediscovered flirting skills with a man that not only flipped her switch but lit up the whole damn box. She hit him with her sexiest smile. “And I bet you’re an expert in all the best things to do in a barn.”

Nathan rubbed his chin as he looked her up and down. “Looking for some lessons?”

Don’t shoot your hand in the sky and say, “Pick me! Sign Me Up!”

She cocked her head as she ran her gaze over him, taking him in from the hair she wanted to run her fingers through, to his rather large buckle. She’d put him a little over six foot, which made him her idea of a perfect fit. Being a tall, lush woman, Tash liked the feel of her lover surrounding her as they made love, and knowing he wasn’t going to drop her when he had her pinned to the wall, banging her brains out.

“That depends. Are you skilled enough to be a teacher?”

An arched brow and curved corner of his delicious mouth hinted at his cautious curiosity. He came a step closer, their bodies separated only by inches. “Oh, I’ve got the skills. I’m a professional cowboy, which means I like to perfect every ride, every time.” Nathan leaned in close to her ear. “Which can take hours of practice.” He ran his fingertip up her arm as he slowly moved back and met her eyes. “And what kind of a cowboy would I be if I didn’t know my way around ropes? That’s a skill I’m very, very good at.”


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Friday, June 21, 2013

It Happened One Night ~ Phillips Ashley

Today I'm delighted to showcase It Happened One Night, the latest fabulous release by my good friend, Phillipa Ashley. Look at this gorgeous cover!

Phillipa Ashley
Published as an e book by Piatkus Entice on June 6th 2013

Sophie McBride has been in love with Adam Templar for as long as she can remember. Talented, brilliant and sexy, he shines like the sun over the tiny Lakeland village where she's grown up. Now, at eighteen, she has her own big ideas and what's more, Adam is home from university and has finally noticed her . . . really noticed her. When he asks her to a party, she dares to hope that all her dreams can come true, but what happens that night sets off a chain of events that bring heartbreak for Sophie - and lead to Adam leaving Langmere under the darkest of clouds.

Ten years later, no one is more shocked than Sophie to find him back in the village. Now an up-and-coming film director, he's returned to make a drama about a notorious local poet and brought his glamorous cast, crew - and girlfriend - with him. As the on-screen drama plays out, can Sophie and Adam lay the past to rest or will history repeat itself?

21 year old Adam Templar has finally made 18 year old Sophie McBride’s young life complete and asked her to spend the night with him at his younger sister’s birthday party – where he’s supposed to be in charge…

Adam emerged from the en suite, hurriedly buttoning up his Levis, “I have to go downstairs and make sure no one’s been killed in the past half-hour,” he said, shrugging on his T-shirt. “You stay here.”
“What, in bed?” asked Sophie, knowing exactly what he meant but wanting to hear him say it because it turned her on.
 “Yes, in bed. Where else? You don’t think I’m wasting the fruits of the Bell’s condom machine, do you?” He sat down on the bed next to her, tilting her chin up in the cradle of his fingers. “This is going to sound crazy but I want you to know something. I didn’t just get you up here for a shag. I mean, of course I got you up here for a shag but I also want you know that this has meant more to me than a one-night stand.” He smiled and she held her breath. “Or even a two-shag stand. The truth is I’d like to see you again over what’s left of the summer.”
And then what? She wanted him to carry on. What would happen after the summer? She wanted so much more than a one-night stand too, no matter how much she’d convinced herself that having sex with him would be enough. Over the past few hours, hopes and expectations had somehow stolen into the room, no matter how hard she’d tried to keep them out.
“I’d like to see you too,” she said, marveling at how calm she sounded, while wanting to explode with happiness.
“Good. That’s great but . . . the thing is that, in a few months, we’ll both have to go away and it’s going to be bloody miserable and I don’t know how to fix that.”
She waited for him to carry on, hoping that he’d suddenly come up with some way to “fix it” and say they could carry on seeing each other once they were at university. She hoped he would say that he would drive up to her uni from Oxford every Friday or that she could come down on the train to his college. That he’d like her to meet his friends and wander the ivy-clad quads with his arm around her and that afterwards they could make love in his rooms all night, but he stayed silent and pushed back her wayward hair from her face in a way that Sophie should have found tender but instead found disappointing. She realised that he probably wasn’t going to offer to do any of those things – not tonight anyway but maybe, she thought, he might at the end of summer when they knew each other better.
“Then don’t worry. Let’s empty the machine at the pub and have a good time,” Sophie said brightly, hoping it was what he wanted to hear.
As if to remind them both, there were loud shrieks from outside in the garden.
 “You’re right of course. We should just enjoy now, but we both know it’s not going to be that simple.”
He smiled. She wasn’t sure if he was relieved or not, but he seemed happier.
The music ramped up a notch and the floor of the room felt as if it was throbbing. The shrieks and screeches grew in volume. It sounded as if the whole of Langmere was out in the garden, which was probably almost true.
“Adam!” A girl’s voice screamed through the door.
‘For God’s sake. What now?’
There was hammering on the door. “Adam! Open the door!”
“Wait a minute!”
The door flew open and Tarnyah dashed into the room. Sophie dived under the sheets as Adam swore loudly. “Get out!”
Before Sophie had time to expect the girl to giggle or point or shriek in embarrassment at finding her and Adam half naked, Tarnyah started shouting. “They’re in the lake. They’re in the lake. Come quick.”


Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Romancing with the Banditas

Fun times ahead today as I party with the fabulous Anna Campbell and the Banditas!

Join me over at Romance Bandits where I talk about bad ass vampires and sizzling hot warriors. I also spill the secrets of my wonderful crit group, the Tiara Girls! *And* there's a copy of both Bloodlust Denied and Betrayed up for grabs!

Monday, June 17, 2013

The Border Laird's Bride ~ Allison Butler

I'm delighted to showcase fellow Historical Hearts author Allison Butler onto my blog today with her debut release from Destiny Romance, The Border Laird's Bride. I met Allison at the RWA conference at the Gold Coast last year and am looking forward to catching up with her again in August :-)

Allison writes gorgeous medieval romance about sword-wielding, swaggering men and the daring, determined women who capture their hearts.She is also married to her very own Scottish hero!!!


Publisher - Destiny Romance - Published February 2013
Blurb - To fulfil his father's dying wish, border laird Jamie Graham must marry and sire a legitimate heir. But his marriage will be one of convenience, for he has vowed never to open his heart for betrayal. While guarding his cattle from thieves, Jamie catches the spirited daughter of a neighbouring laird stealing his horse.

Despite viewing an arranged marriage as a death sentence, feisty Kenzie Irvine has no choice but to wed the domineering laird. But she has sworn an oath never to bring a child into an uncaring world ...

Excerpt - The air shifted and the fine hairs on her nape stood on end as Jamie moved close behind her. She resumed petting the long, brown nose under her fingertips, reminding herself she wasn’t here for the joy of visiting the horses alone. She was here to salve her guilty conscience for misjudging Jamie regarding Davina. She was here to discover more about the man she’d married.

His voice broke into her thoughts. ‘You’re fond of horses?’

Her fingers paused. ‘Aye,’ she said with a final stroke before reaching for the next. ‘They have the prettiest eyes, don’t you think?’ The pads of her fingers skimmed the short, coarse hair on the nose pushing into her hand.

Jamie replied by clearing his throat.

‘As long as they are fed and watered, they never complain, despite all the hard work they do.’ She made her way along the barrier, careful not to miss gliding her hand down every nose thrust over the enclosure. ‘They always welcome you as if they’ve missed you, and they never ignore you.’

Silence reigned for several heartbeats and Kenzie feared she’d said too much.

‘Ailsa said you liked to chatter.’

‘Did she?’ Turning, Kenzie looked up into his handsome face. ‘Ailsa has always been a special friend to me. Having her here is a great comfort.’ She peered into the darkness for a moment then looked back at him. ‘But I think you knew she would be. Thank you for bringing her.’

Light from the lantern he carried tinted his hair and cinnamon lashes gold.

‘So you know she wasn’t dragged here to force you to marry me?’

She’d just admitted as much hadn’t she? ‘Aye.’ She lowered her gaze to hide her annoyance at having to say it, but also to conceal her shame for assuming otherwise.

Warm fingers cupped her chin. A quick breath rushed in at his touch. He tilted her face up.

'Dare not think I wouldn't have used your friend to gain your consent, Kenzie.'

The shadows were too deep to see his eyes, but his firm yet careful grasp spoke loud and clear.

‘I do not believe you, Jamie Graham.’ Stepping away, she broke his gentle hold and pretended to concentrate on the remaining horses.

Teeming rain filled the thickening silence. Jamie crowded her against the stall wall, touching her with naught but his masculine heat. ‘You doubt my determination?’

Low, close, his warm breath tickled her ear. She closed her eyes until the tremor rippling through her had passed. ‘Nae, I simply question your methods.’ Pleased she sounded unaffected by his nearness, she stroked the last horse in line.

‘My methods?’ A hint of frustration fractured his deep voice.

Did she frustrate him? It was only fair considering how easily he muddled her thinking and her beliefs.

‘Aye,’ she said, strolling on to pause in front of a wide, empty stall. ‘Why are there no horses here?’

‘'Tis best to keep an empty stall between my mount and the others. De Brus can be surly at times.’

‘Like his master?’ Kenzie glanced at him over her shoulder and saw him frown at being compared to his mount. She quickly turned back before the smile she fought to hide broke free.

‘Never mind the horses. I believe we were discussing my methods.’

‘Oh, aye,’ she said, moving to the last enclosure. He followed close at her heels. ‘Your honour far outweighs your determination.'

Silence, then:-

'What in God's name are you talking about?' Frustration rang in his voice.

Knowing she could throw Jamie off balance with a few words restored her sense of control, something she sadly lacked in his presence. She owed him nothing, yet the need to explain had her turning into the light.

'Even if Ailsa were your last means of gaining my consent, you would never have harmed her. You would have found another way. I know that now.

Pity I hadn't known sooner.

She turned, reached for the latch and entered the stall.

'Two days and you think you know me so well?'

Light pushed the shadows back as he followed her inside. De Brus wandered toward her.

‘Nae. But I have watched and listened and learned much about you.’ She slowly lifted her hand to scratch De Brus’s nose. And about myself.

‘You called me a beast and now you think me a saint?’

Her lips twitched. ‘I would not go so far as to believe you a saint, but there is much kindness in you.’

'Kindness?' Exasperation coloured his tone. 'I threaten you with a noose about your neck and you think me kind?'

She'd been angry. Furious. But ... 'I did steal your horse.' She stroked his mount's neck, wondering why she offered reasons for his actions when she should be condemning him. 'And I know about Davina.'

Squeezing her eyes shut, she wished her words to perdition. She didn’t want to admit she’d been wrong, hated the shards of guilt swirling inside her, pricking her chest. Loathed knowing she'd turned his act of kindness into something sordid because she'd been - jealous?

‘Davina? What of her?’

She opened her eyes to find the shadows had moved in again. ‘I thought -’ Words stuck in her throat. She swallowed and started again. ‘She told me about your promise to dance with her the day you married.’


'I had no idea she was lame. I saw you dancing with a beautiful woman and thought - but then I learned you'd made a promise to a weeping young girl years past and kept it. Many would have forgotten. Oh, but not you.’ She shook her head. ‘It is truly annoying to discover you are not the man I expected you to be.’

Why hadn't he beaten her when she'd escaped, or bedded Davina, giving her reasons to despise him?

Large hands grasped her shoulders and turned her about.

‘You see me as kind?’

She frowned. ‘You speak as if being kind is an insult.’

‘There are many ways I want you to see me.’ He leaned closer. ‘Being kind isn’t at the top of my list.’

She fought to draw a full breath, settled for small gasps of air. Her heart raced. ‘Kindness is a worthy quality -’

'I brought you to the stable to seduce you.'

Her heart jumped about in her chest. Heat pooled in her belly. If he was trying to frighten her, it wasn’t working. He’d stated his intentions. She should push him away. Remind him she wanted no part in this marriage. Remind him she planned to have it annulled. She licked her dry lips and whispered, ‘Yet you have barely laid a hand on me.’

A shudder trembled through his hands into her. He released her shoulders and speared fingers into her hair, cupping her face. His head lowered. His breath brushed her lips. 

‘God flay me alive for being remiss.’

Thanks so much for having me, Christina:)

It's been my pleasure, Allison!

"If all novels in this genre could be written in such a way then I would definitely read more of them.  Full marks to the author for writing such a pleasing piece." - Sue's Reviewing Corner

"I absolutely loved it. I couldn’t put it down!" - Author Unpublished


Book/Buy Links


Thursday, June 13, 2013

Are Vampires Sexy? Is this a Trick Question?

A double treat today! It's all things vampire and creatures that loom out of the shadows. Join me over at the Dark Side Downunder where I reminisce on the old Hammer Horror movies and how Dracula and Wuthering Heights influenced my early years :-)

I'm also partying over with my good friend Michelle Diener at Magical Musings where I let loose with a few more vampire tales!

At both stops there's a chance to win a copy of Bloodlust Denied. See you there! 

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Sizzling Hot Books

Join me over at Sizzling Hot Books where I spill all sorts of dark and deadly secrets!

Monday, June 10, 2013

Sizzling Summer Reads & Hot Historical Hearts

The Romance Reviews is celebrating their Sizzling Summer Reads this month, with heaps of fabulous giveaways on offer, including a Grand Prize of a $100 gift card!

Today I'm over there today with my Q&A for the chance to win an e-copy of Bloodlust Denied. The question is super-easy and the answer can be found on my website by reading Chapter One of Bloodlust Denied :-) You need to be registered and logged in at TRR in order to join in the fun and games, and registration is free and easy.

I'm also on my group blog Historical Hearts today chatting about the Regency and vampires! A delicious combination :-) Hop on over and leave a comment to be in with a chance to win an e-copy of Alexius and Morana's story!

Sunday, June 09, 2013

Unusual Historicals ~ Hot Warriors Giveaway

There's some background info on my Roman/Druid series over on Unusual Historicals today. I discuss the historical events that sparked the idea for the book and there's the chance to win a copy of Betrayed :-)

Friday, June 07, 2013


Bloodlust Denied has a 4 Star Review from Vampire Romance Books!

"I was very happy when I read the blurb, as I am a fan of paranormal, erotica, and I love a good regency romance.  Phillips gave me all three, so how could I not be absolutely thrilled!
 Although this is more of a novella I felt like I was walking down the dark streets of London, and I was witnessing the way Alexius and Morana were totally consumed with each other.  Phillips gives the reader enough detail to connect with the characters, and when they are together they are combustible!"

So happy that today my dark vampire romance, BLOODLUST DENIED, is released upon the world!

I have a mini blog tour to celebrate and will be giving away some e-copies of the book. So do please join me in partying at the following hot spots!!

Today - I have a Featured Author Spotlight over at Vampire Romance Books and there's a giveaway on offer!

Today - I'm over at the Australian Romance Readers Association blog, with a giveaway of a copy of Bloodlust Denied (this contest is open to members of ARRA only)

10th June - It's my turn over at The Romance Reviews Sizzling Summer Reads. Just answer a question on Bloodlust Denied ( the answer can be found by reading the excerpt on my website) and you'll be in the draw to win a copy of the book!

10th June - Partying at the fabulous Historical Hearts, my group blog where you can find wonderful historical romances from fellow Down Under authors. Today I'm chatting about Regency vampires and Pride and Prejudice! Come join in the fun and be in the running to win a copy of the book :-)

12th June - In the hot seat with Sizzling Hot Books where you can discover all sorts of weird and wonderful stuff about me!!

13th June - Pop over and join in the fun at Magical Musings where there's some more vampire shenanigans! Plus a giveaway!

13th June - I'm over at the Dark Side DownUnder blog, confessing my secret fears of zombies, vampires and things that go bump in the night... share your fave scary memory and go in the draw to win an e-copy of Bloodlust Denied! 

19th June - And today I'm visiting The Romance Bandits with my good friend Anna Campbell. There will be mayhem and the sexy Sven, not to mention the Golden Rooster! Oh yes, and a copy of Bloodlust Denied will be up for grabs and as a bonus I will also be giving away a copy of Betrayed!

8th July - I'm over with the lovely ladies at I Smell Sheep

15th July - The lovely Cassandra Carr is hosting me on her blog

31st July - A Bite of... Bloodlust Denied... over at the Dark Siders

Thursday, June 06, 2013

Unusual Historicals ~ Excerpt

Not long until Bloodlust Denied hits the shelves! Here's a tiny teaser:

There's an excerpt from BETRAYED over at Unusual Historicals today, as a prelude to my interview which will go live on Sunday 9th June. If you enjoy historical novels set in more unusual locations and time periods then do check out this wonderful site!

Wednesday, June 05, 2013

5 Star Reviews for BETRAYED!

I'm delighted to share two wonderful reviews for Betrayed :-)

“I hungered desperately for them to come to an understanding, to bridge the divide between their cultures but I must admit for a few moments I wasn’t even sure if it was going to happen, leaving me biting my nails for quite a few pages!

If you enjoy historical romances with some steam, you are sure to to enjoy this and I would expect most romance readers to enjoy it. Although the setting is gripping and enthralling, Ms. Phillips manages not to dictate a history lesson to the reader but simply draws you in, allowing the focus to stay on the two most important people.

Definitely recommended for lovers of great writing, well fleshed out characters and hot, beautiful romance.” 5 Stars Love Lust and Lipstick Stains

“What an adventurous story!  Not only was there action, but also secrets and drama, hot steamy sex, forbidden love, history, mythology.  Wow!

There’s a lot more to this story than just two lovers and that makes it a powerful read.  The secrets they share along the way show the depth of character in both Nimue and Tacitus, as well as the commander.  Not everything is what it seems, but the reader isn’t kept from knowing the truth…

Ms. Phillips’ writing is wonderful.  She keeps the reader on the edge of their seat and continually brings balance between honor and love.  The sex scenes are beautiful and HOT.  I look forward to reading more from Ms. Phillips!  I think she has a hit here and this should be a best seller.” 5 Stars Become Lost in Words

Amazon UK   Nook   ARe   Kobo

Monday, June 03, 2013

The Folly at Falconbridge Hall ~ Maggi Andersen

I'm delighted to showcase fellow Historical Hearts author, the lovely Maggi Andersen on my blog today with her Victorian mystery, The Folly at Falconbridge Hall.



Review: The author deserves high praise for her ability to capture the reader's attention and engage one in both the mystery and the romance of this delightful story!
Margaret Faria
InD’Tale Magazine

Vanessa Ashley felt herself qualified for a position as governess, until offered the position at Falconbridge Hall. Left penniless after the deaths of her artist father and suffragette mother, Vanessa Ashley draws on her knowledge of art, politics, and history to gain employment as a governess. She discovers that Julian, Lord Falconbridge, requires a governess for his ten-year-old daughter Blyth at Falconbridge Hall, in the countryside outside London. Lord Falconbridge is a scientist and dedicated lepidopterist who is about to embark on an extended expedition to the Amazon. An enigmatic man, he takes a keen interest in his daughter's education. As she prepares her young charge, Vanessa finds the girl detached and aloof. As Vanessa learns more about Falconbridge Hall, more questions arise. Why doesn't Blythe feel safe in her own home? Why is the death of her mother, once famed society beauty Clara, never spoken of? And why did the former governess leave so suddenly without giving notice?
The room she entered was also gloomy. A gas lamp glowed where a man sat in shirtsleeves and braces, his dark head bent over a desk. She took two uncertain steps and paused in the middle of a crimson Persian rug. Vanessa clasped her hands together and inspected the room. Shelves of leather-bound books lined one wall. Heavy bronze velvet drapes, pulled halfway across the small-paned windows, framed a narrow but magnificent view of parkland where broad graveled walks trailed away through well-grown trees. She suffered a sudden urge to walk across, pull the curtains back and throw open a window.
Lord Falconbridge put down the butterfly under-glass he had been examining and pushed back his leather chair, rising to his feet. As she edged closer, he donned his coat and came to shake her hand. “Miss Ashley.”
“How do you do, my lord?”
He motioned her to sit then sat himself.
He would be in his mid-thirties, she guessed. His good looks made her feel even more untidy. His dark hair swept off a widow’s peak, and he had a deep cleft in his chin. He removed his glasses, and his eyes were a similar bright blue to the butterfly. Dark brows met in an absent-minded frown as if she was an unwelcome distraction. “Welcome to Falconbridge Hall. I hope you had a good journey?”
“Yes, thank you, my lord.”
“You’ve come quite a long way. You must be tired.”
“I broke my journey with an aunt in Taunton, my lord.” Her aunt was quite elderly, and Vanessa had slept on the sofa, but she didn’t feel at all tired. She expected fatigue would strike once the initial rush of excitement had faded.
 “My sympathies for your loss, Miss Ashley.”
“Thank you.”
“You have had no experience as a governess, I believe.”
“Do you like children?”
“Very much, my lord.”
“Then you have had some involvement with them.”
“Yes, I was very fond of my neighbors’ children. I minded them quite often as their parents were both in business.”
“You had no opportunity to marry in Cornwall?”
“I had one offer, my lord.” The widowed vicar, Harold Ponsonby, had offered, in an attempt to rescue her from the heathenish den of iniquity in which he found her.
He eyed her. “And you refused him?”
Might he think her imprudent? “Yes.”
“Do you have a particular skill, Miss Ashley, which you can impart to my daughter?”
“No, my lord.” She drew in a breath. She had not expected such a question. “Sadly, I did not inherit my father’s artistic talent, but I have my mother’s enquiring mind and her interest in history and politics.”
“Politics?” He stared at her rather long, and she wished again that she’d had time to tidy herself. “We shall see how you get on. The rest of the day is your own. We will discuss your duties in the library tomorrow at ten. Mrs. Royce, my housekeeper, will show you to your room.” With an abstracted glance at his desk, he rose and went to pull the bell.
The mahogany desktop was completely covered with pens and papers, a microscope, a probe of some kind, a set of long-handled tweezers, a large magnifying glass and a small hand-held one, tomes stacked one on top of the other in danger of toppling, and the butterfly in its glass prison, its beautiful wings pinned down, never to soar again. Caught by its beauty and premature death, Keats’s poem Ode to a Grecian Urn, rushed into her head. “Thou, silent form, dost tease us out of thought…As doth eternity.
The viscount swiveled, and his eyebrows shot up. “Pardon?”
Vanessa jumped to her feet as heat flooded her cheeks. She'd said the words aloud. She must have had too much sun. “Keats, my lord.”
“Are you a devotee of the Romantics?”                                    
“Not especially.” Annoyed with herself and, irrationally, with him for pursuing it, she said, “Forgive me, it was a random thought.”
He folded his arms and studied her. “You are given to spouting random philosophical thoughts?”
She tugged at her damp collar. “Not usually. I’m a little tired, and it’s been so hot.” Hastening to change the subject, she stepped over to the wall covered in framed butterflies of all sizes and colors. One particular specimen caught her eye. “Exquisite.”
She felt his presence disturbingly close behind her. “Which?”
She pointed. “This one, with patches of crimson and deep blue on its wings.”
“You have a good eye. That’s a Nymphalidae from Peru. Do you know much about butterflies?” She looked at him, finding his blue eyes had brightened.
“Very little, I’m afraid,” she said, aware her contribution to this discussion would prove disappointing. “We get many orange ones with black spots in Cornwall.”
“Dark green Fritillary.” The interested light in his eyes faded.
“That can’t be. They’re orange,” she said.
“That is their name, dark green Fritillary.”
“Why would they call it dark green when …?” Her voice died away at the impatience in his face.
“That species is common and of little interest.” He studied her. “Unless you took notice of some interesting aspect of their habitats?”
“No, not precisely, my lord … uh, they seemed to gather in trees and grasses ….” She nipped at her lip with her teeth, as he nodded and turned away. Would a governess be required to know much about butterflies or botany? Beyond Cornwall, her knowledge of flora and fauna was barely worthy of comment.
A woman entered the room, her neat figure garbed in black bombazine, with a lacy cap over her brown hair and a watch pinned to her breast. A large bunch of keys jangled at her waist. Vanessa thought her to be in her early-forties. She had a pointed nose and sharp eyes that looked like they would miss little.
“Ah. Mrs. Royce, this is the new governess, Miss Ashley. Please give her a tour of the day nursery and school room and introduce my daughter to her before you take her to her quarters.”
“Yes, milord.”
“Miss Ashley.” His lordship nodded. “I shall see you here again at ten o’clock tomorrow. We’ll discuss your plans for teaching my daughter. I’m extremely keen that she becomes proficient in mathematics, the French language, and botany.”
“Botany, my lord?” Vanessa’s fears were realized. Completely unprepared, she looked around wildly at the books lining his shelves. Might she have time to bone up on it?

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