Saturday Spotlight -Forsaking Hope by Beverley Oakley

FH Banner Forsaking Hope

Fair Cyprians of London

By Beverley Oakley

 Beverley is giving away a $10 Amazon Gift Certificate to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Please use the rafflecopter below to enter. Remember you may increase your chances of winning by visiting the other tour stops. You may find those locations here.

About the Book:

Two years ago, she missed their secret assignation and disappeared without a trace. Now the divine “Miss Hope” is in Felix Durham’s bed – a ‘surprise cheering-up gift’ sourced by his friends from London’s most exclusive brothel. Felix is in heaven – and he wants to stay there.

So does Hope, but she can’t.

Hope Merriweather lives by a code of honour – even if she’s a prostitute.

Having sold her soul, she’s prepared to sacrifice everything else to protect what she believes in.

Even if honour – in her eyes – comes at the cost of thieving and breaking hearts. Including her own.

Available for preorder here:

Amazon US | Amazon UK | iBooks | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Google Play

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Forsaking-Hope-Generic

Excerpt:

Chapter One

Wilfred Hunt.

If there was a name to tip Hope into the abyss of despair she was hearing it spill from Madame Chambon’s lips now as the older woman directed Hope to take a seat in the reception room, presumably so Madame could loom oppressively over her.

With her hands on her ample, expensively padded hips, Hope’s benefactress—procuress, employer, and gaoler were other monikers—sent Hope a beetling look that needed no interpreting: Regardless of Hope’s true feelings, Hope must project the required show of warmth and delight at being the chosen one.

Madame patted the side of her faux curls. Years of hot irons had reduced her hair to the texture of wool but her crowning glory these days was supplemented by the lustrous locks of those girls who dared cross her – before they were thrown back into the street from where most had come.

Nevertheless, Hope had to make her resistance clear. Surely Madame who knew her history would understand her loathing for this man, above all others. “I shan’t do it,” she whispered. There was little evidence of the willful child and wild adolescent who’d been the despair of her family. “I won’t—”

Outside, the noise of the traffic rumbling over the cobbles and the shrill calls of competing vendors settled upon the tense silence. Madame Chambon’s other girls ranged around the sumptuously appointed room on red velvet upholstered banquettes, watched the exchange with prurient fascination. Hope knew it had been a calculated ploy of Madame’s to conduct her interview in public so that Hope would serve as an example to them.

No one crossed Madame Chambon.

The shrill cry of a fishmonger caused Madame to look pointedly out of the window. With something between a smile and a sneer, she smoothed a Marcel wave. “Is that where you plan to return, Hope? The gutter?” Her nose twitched and in the sunlight that filtered into the room, the grooves chiseled between mouth and chin were thrown into harsh relief, highlighted rather than hidden by the thick powder she used to conceal her age.

Madame Chambon’s comfort, now and into retirement, depended on obedient girls. Hope knew that as well as anyone. She’d had to bury her rebellious streak just to ensure food in her belly.

The Frenchwoman raised a chiseled brow and began to pace slowly in front of her girls. A painter with an eye for beauty would have been ecstatic at capturing such a spectacle on canvas. The discerning young man about town who visited 56 Albemarle Street was frequently rendered ecstatic by the range of delights Madame Chambon’s girls offered in addition to the visual.

“You forget yourself, Hope. I put a roof over your head and deck you out as handsomely as Mr. Charles Worth ever did for his most discerning customer.” There was acid in Madame Chambon’s tone. “But for me, you’d be starving and glad of the pennies you could trade for a grubby stand-up encounter in a dark alley.” Madame Chambon thrust out her bosom and breathed through her nose, her response a calculated warning to the other girls arranged in various languid poses about the ornately decorated reception room that intransigence would not be tolerated.

“Mr. Hunt has requested you.” She paused and when Hope remained silent, though her stance and expression left no one in any doubt as to her horror regarding this enforced assignation, went on. “Remember what I told you—what I tell all my girls when they first come here? The past must be forgotten the moment you step over my threshold. You are reborn, remodeled, refashioned into the most exquisite delectation of womanhood. A marquess, a prince, is well recompensed for the tidy sum he hands over in order to enjoy your sparkling wit, to converse with you in French, or if he chooses, on philosophy…to enjoy your charms…and,” she added significantly, “your gracious hospitality and tender ministrations to his needs. That is our agreement and you are no different. If Mr. Hunt wishes you, Hope, to attend him at his residence then you will go.”

Faith, one of the kinder girls, patted Hope’s arm in silent solidarity. Hope didn’t expect any of them to speak up in her defense. Not when they all relied on Madame Chambon as much as she did to provide them with the necessities of life. Anything more than that was part of a strict contract that indentured a girl for life unless she was able to secure a generous benefactor to settle Madame’s severance bill. The fine clothes were part of the charade, necessary to entice a more elite clientele. Hope’s exquisite wardrobe did not belong to her though she’d have forsaken all the dupion silk and Spitalfields lace for the freedom of the gutter and to be mistress of her own destiny – and her body – if she could only be sure of a plate of gravy and potatoes every second day.

Closing her eyes, she hung her head, the carefully coiffed curls that fell forwards brushing against her tear-streaked cheeks. It was as well that they not be in evidence. Tears, weakness, vulnerability were like a red rag to a bull where Madame Chambon was concerned.

“How long…do I have to prepare myself?” She was not so stupid she couldn’t admit defeat when there was no alternative. Obduracy was beaten out of one, but tears ensured a girl got the very worst next assignment. Their clients weren’t all marquesses and princes, though they did require a very fat pocket book.

“Tomorrow.”

“Tomorrow.” Hope repeated it in a leaden tone, and stared at her hands, clasped in her lap; white-knuckled. As white as the rabbit-fur that edged her fashionable black-and-white striped satin cuirass. Hope had the tall, slim figure suited to the scandalously tight tie-back skirts that were all the rage, the back flowing into a train adorned with elaborate swags and trimmed with bows. She’d turned heads the length of Oxford Street as she’d promenaded along the pavement following a walk through Hyde Park earlier that afternoon. In fact, for the first time in two years, she’d almost felt happy as she’d pretended a sense of freedom in the afternoon sun, blocking her mind to the prison to which she was returning.

She drew in her breath and forced herself to be brave, knowing the punishment she’d invite for daring to speak her mind. “Please tell Mr. Hunt I will see him again under sufferance.”

Madame Chambon’s voice was surprisingly caramel. “Well then, now that you have made your objection clear, Hope, you will be pleased to hear that Mr. Hunt’s desires are not only motivated by fond memories of your no-doubt mutually satisfying congress. I believe he wishes to acquaint you with news of your family.”

Hope hid her shock. “I have no family.” With care, she modified her tone so it was as leaden as before though emotion roiled close to the surface.

“Not even a sister?”

Hope raised her chin. Here was the chink and Madame knew it. The woman did her research.

Aware that the other girls who surrounded her were tense with anticipation, Hope struggled not to respond. Camaraderie existed at surface level but one never knew when it might profit one to have the dirt on a fellow prostitute. It was, clearly, another reason Madame Chambon had chosen to make this conversation public.

“Mr. Hunt will see you at nine tomorrow evening,” said the so-called Frenchwoman who, it was whispered, was from the gutters of Lambeth, not Paris. “At his apartments in Duke Street. Now go and prepare yourself for Lord Farrow. Married to a monolith like the venerable Lady Farrow, he likes his girls vivacious and free-spirited. There’ll be less coin in your pocket if you sully the transaction with that long face, Hope.”

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beverley-eikli-author-pic-copyAuthor Info:

 Beverley Oakley was seventeen when she bundled up her first her 500+ page romance and sent it to a publisher. Unfortunately drowning her heroine on the last page was apparently not in line with the expectations of romance readers so Beverley became a journalist.

Twenty-six years later Beverley was delighted to receive her first publishing contract from Robert Hale (UK) for a romance in which she ensured her heroine was saved from drowning in the icy North Sea.

Since 2009 Beverley has written more than thirteen historical romances, mostly set in England during the early nineteenth century. Mystery, intrigue and adventure spill from their pages and if she can pull off a thrilling race to save someone’s honour – or a worthy damsel from the noose – it’s time to celebrate with a good single malt Scotch.

Beverley lives with her husband, two daughters and a Rhodesian Ridgeback puppy the size of a pony opposite a picturesque nineteenth-century lunatic asylum. She also writes Africa-set adventure-filled romances tarring handsome bush pilot heroes, and historical romances with less steam and more sexual tension, as Beverley Eikli.

You can get in contact with Beverley at:

 Website | Facebook | Pinterest | Twitter | Goodreads

 

 

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Sultry Nights Spotlight

 

SN Tour BannerSultry Nights

A Limited Edition Romance Collection

Containing Stories from:  Nicole Morgan, Jocelyn Dex, Alison Foster, Kate Richards, Linda O’Connor, Samantha Holt, Jerrie Alexander, Whitley Cox, Krista Ames, Ursula Sinclair, Measha Stone, Tuesday Embers, Siera London,  Rachel Shane, Bonnie Phelps, Misha Elliott, Alyson Reynolds, Jenna Bayley-Burke,  Madison Michael, Pepper Goodrich, Marcia James, Destiny Blaine

The authors are giving away lots of goodies with this tour. Please use the Rafflecopter below to enter. Don’t forget you may increase your chances of winning by visiting the other tour stops. You may find those locations here.

About Sultry Nights:

Love, passion, romance, and desire… No matter what your preference, this set of 22 hot and sexy reads has just what you need. From surprise love affairs to bad boys that we can’t help but fall for, and couples that were meant to be, this compilation from Romance Collections is sure to please your every single need.

Sultry Nights Buy Links:

Amazon

 Featuring:

Bedeviled by Madison MichaelBedeviled MM

 Can a love be built on lies?

Charlotte Roche is escaping a menacing threat in Boston when she moves to Chicago for a new job and a new man. Alex is smart, sexy and quickly getting under Charlotte’s skin. A shared love of running gives the sassy beauty an excuse to be near her heart’s desire, but can Charlotte run Alex from the track to the bedroom without divulging her past and risking everything?

Alex Gaines, wealthy banker and philanthropist, has held women at arm’s length all his life to protect long-held secrets of his own. Now he is torn between loving the alluring Charlotte and protecting his dual lives. Can Alex trust Charlotte with the truth or is risking his fortune and family to pursue her? Can the two fall in love when they are bedeviled by lies and half-truths?

When danger follows Charlotte to Chicago threatening her safety and their futures, Charlotte and Alex a forced to make a hard decision – choose the secrets of their past or a future together.

Bedeviled is the third novel in the Beguiling Bachelor series, a trio of steamy contemporary romances set amidst the luxury of Chicago’s elite society.

Couple in loveFlirting With Fate By Jerrie Alexander

 There is no such thing as accident; it is fate misnamed. –Napoleon Bonaparte

Elle Reagan isn’t about to stand by and let a con-artist get away with stealing her grandmother’s life savings. While the legal system moves at a snail’s pace, Elle promises to bring him to justice. She follows him to a ski resort in Colorado, where she hopes to get the evidence needed to put him away for good. But she didn’t count on her roommate being a distraction, because he wasn’t supposed to be her brother’s best friend.

Detective Logan Ford has denied his desire to take Elle into his arms since they were teenagers, but when his partner asks him to follow her to Castle Alainn to keep her out of trouble, Logan finds himself unable to refuse her. He agrees to help catch a thief instead of convincing her to pack her bags and go home. To make matters worse, he can’t seem to remember why he should keep his distance from the delectable, infuriating, independent Elle.

Elle and Logan surrender to their attraction, but as their passion ignites, her plot is discovered. A killer will do whatever it takes to silence her and destroy a love that was destined to last a lifetime.

http://www.jerriealexander.com

 All I Want By Misha Elliott

Excerpt:all I want cover

She wanted to know what would happen if she dared to kiss him. The boy who filled so many of her dreams and fantasies was here, right now with her. How hot would it be to feel his lips against her own?

Love Unleashed coverLove Unleashed By Marcia James

His best laid plans…

DJ “Rabid Ron” Hart has a grand scheme to win back the woman he loves. It involves an animal adoption fair, a goofy hairless dog named Charlie and an offer she can’t refuse.

Her hidden desires…

Cara Wilson has fantasies she’s never admitted, and her ex-boyfriend still features in her erotic dreams. If only he didn’t keep his bad-boy urges so tightly leashed.

Tonight they’ll learn that winning sometimes takes losing control.

Forbidden Distraction By Siera LondonFD Book Cover

Sex therapist, Dr. Vivianne Sloan is the consummate professional. Adhering to the highest ethical standards and doling out her vast clinical expertise, her clients are seeing a heat wave in the bedroom while Vivianne has to get hers from the Florida sun. Looking for some sexual healing, the one man she fantasizes about, a fellow colleague and her boss is strictly off-limits.

Obstetrician Gynecologist, Jared Pierce, has a flourishing medical practice. Outside of caring for his mother, there’s nothing he spends more time on, except thinking about Vivianne Sloan. She’s a distraction he can’t live with or without. He wants to teach her everything he knows about the art of lovemaking, but the woman plays by the rules.

When Vivianne decides to serve as a sexual surrogate, Jared is driven to give the shy beauty a dose of passion so potent she becomes addicted after one night in his arms. What happens when these two forbidden lovers decide to break the rules?

WC-Quick&Dirty book coverQuick & Dirty By Whitley Cox

The best way to get over a millionaire is to get under a billionaire.

 Humiliated and angry Parker Ryan is ready to erase every last trace of her ex from her mind, body, and soul. Of course she can be adventurous. Exciting. Sexy. No matter what he said. She needs an exorcism, and Tate McAllister and the island of Moorea in Tahiti are just the man and place to do it. Tate is perfect for the job: billionaire resort owner, scuba instructor, philanthropist and, let’s face it, sex god. So maybe the affair isn’t the wisest move when she has to write her damn feature piece and review the hotel, but if he’s ready and willing to wow her in and out of the bedroom for the next ten days, the fling will be worth it. Parker can get the job done and have Tate fulfill all her fantasies, and she won’t, repeat won’t fall in love with the man. Even if every part of her wants to.

ON THE RUN BY MEASHA STONE On_the_Run_modi_4

She thought she could run, but he’d never let her get away.

Sarah Bennet walked has finally found the break in her career. The sort of story to win her a byline in a serious newspaper. The only problem is, the people in the story don’t want it told. And they are willing to do anything to stop her.

Jeremy has watched Sarah from the sidelines as she’s progressed in career as a journalist waiting for the moment that he can finally retake what he lost years ago. He will protect her. He will save her from her recklessness. And by the time he’s done, he will own her.

Carried Away CoverCarried Away by Jenna Bayley-Burke

Lust brought them together. Will love tear them apart?

Any woman would willingly lock lips with sexy Mateo Torres.

But probably not on stage.

During a lap dance.

At her ex’s bachelor party.

Any man would easily get wrapped up in Carrie Nielson.

But probably not with a crowd cheering them on.

For his last performance.

As an exotic dancer.

Mateo has a past as dark as his eyes, but the best way to convince everyone she hasn’t lost her damn mind is to pretend they’re lovers.

Until they’re not pretending.

Frozen- The Martini Lounge by Ursula SinclairLAVERNEMARTINILOUNGEFROZENFINAL

Lani

Ever have that one perfect moment in time, when you know exactly what you’re supposed to do, who you’re supposed to be in life? Well, that had been me, and it certainly had lasted for more than a moment. I’d decided to pledge myself to God and help others in his name. Selfless, that was me and I was weeks away from taking my final vows. Then something happened, I met someone and suddenly I questioned everything.

Rom

I’ve always lived my life on my terms. Granted, I never thought I’d grow up to be a male stripper. But what the hell, I made good money and now, I had a shot at something more. And the women. Yeah, I loved women but they came and went. I preferred it that way. Didn’t matter which of us left first, as long as one of us did. I didn’t do attachments. Then something happened. I’m no saint, but I saved someone and wanted an attachment.

Only to find out I could never have her.

23584498_10156020489863678_714722810_nMore than Friends by Krista Ames

Lanie Matthews is the classic girl next door.  Jake Cooper is her best friend.  Will they ever be more than friends?  One lust-filled night may prove more than they both expected.

 

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Author Spotlight-Caris Roane

The September $.99 Flame Series TourCaris Roane’s September $.99 Flame Series

BLOOD FLAME and AMETHYST FLAME

The Flame Series, Books #1 and #2

Caris is giving away A Red Wire-Wrapped PNR Bracelet (International Winner Receives Gift Card) and A $25 Amazon Gift Card to randomly drawn winners via rafflecopter during the tour. Please use the RaffleCopter below to enter. Remember you may increase your chances of winning by visiting the other tour stops. You may find those locations here.

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The “Wow” Prize:Wow giveaway image

Just leave a comment for a chance to win!

 Caris Roane here and I’m so glad you’re touring with me. As a bonus, I’m giving away a Reader Care Package to one lucky winner just for leaving a comment on any or all of the blogs on my tour. What’s in the Reader Care Package: Truffles, Ghiradelli Chocolate, print copy of GATES OF RAPTURE, scented lotion and soap, a journal and other goodies! Be sure to visit as many blogs on my tour as you can. The more blogs you comment on, the greater your chances of winning. The Reader Care Package is US only, but an international winner will receive a gift card. How I choose the winner: I will choose the winning blog then choose the winning comment sometime after midnight, October 5th, Arizona time. I will use Random dot org to make the selection. Good luck!

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About the Books:

Bella Media Management

BLOOD FLAME, Book #1 of the Flame Series:

 Vampire Officer Connor of the Crescent Border Patrol tries to suppress his desire for the powerful witch, Iris Meldeere. Because the woman possesses the ability to kill him with the tips of her fingers, how can he possibly fall in love with her? When a double homicide throws them together, he soon finds his deepest fantasies fulfilled as Iris succumbs to his seductions. But as they battle together to stay alive, and love begins to consume them both, will the witch be able to forgive the dark secrets of his past …

Amazon US / iBooks //B&N / Kobo/ Google Play / Amazon CA / Amazon UK / Amazon AU

http://www.amazon.com.au/Blood-Flame-Book-ebook/dp/B0147RGTJW/

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AMETHYST FLAME, Book #2 of the Flame SeriesBella Media Management

Hunky Nathan Vaughn, six-six, and one muscled vampire warrior, has had a lot of trouble in his life and needs a good woman to help even things out. Vaughn and Emma met once in the past, the night they rescued three teenage girls from a kidnapping ring. But a vampire and a witch can’t have a relationship in Five Bridges. So, they parted, determined never to see each other again. Emma was desolate, then the phone rang. Vaughn called and kept calling and she kept answering. But the rescue they shared turned out to piss off one very bad wizard who decided they both needed to die. Now they’re in it, fighting to stay alive and working oh-so-hard NOT to fall in love. Will they survive when so much is against them?

Amazon US / iBooks / B&N / Google Play / Kobo / Amazon CA / Amazon UK / Amazon AU

http://www.amazon.com.au/Amethyst-Flame-Book-2-ebook/dp/B014X7RNBY/

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Books in the Flame Series:

 Book 1: Blood Flame

Book 2: Amethyst Flame

Book 3: Dark Flame

Book 4: Amber Flame

Book 5: A Touch of Flame

Holiday Novella: Christmas Flame

http://www.carisroane.com/christmas-flame/

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Excerpt from BLOOD FLAME:

From Chapter One: While spying obsessively on a witch named Iris, Border Patrol Officer Connor gets a call to track a drug runner…

An owl swooped down on Iris suddenly, then took up his usual perch in the huge tree at the back of her yard.

Her melodious voice hit the air once more. “Hello, Sebastien.” He could hear Iris laughing and talking with the owl, her pet, or muse or whatever it was witches used to conjure shit.

When his com buzzed for the second time, he swiftly rose another thirty feet in the air then pressed the button. “Connor.”

“Talking pretty quiet. You on a stake-out?”

He recognized Lily’s voice and some of the tension eased out of him. Lily worked dispatch, manning the phones and passing out assignments. “Trying not to attract notice.”

“So, who is she?”

The question startled him. He didn’t think anybody knew what he did between calls. Shit.

Then he realized Lily was fishing. “A beautiful Honda Scrambler, 1973.” Half true. He’d started to collect Café Racers, the older, the better.

He heard Lily snort. “You men and your machines. Okay, listen up. This comes from the chief. We’ve got a runner out at Amado Bridge and he wants you on it.”

Connor frowned. He didn’t usually work the dead-talker end of vampire territory. “Isn’t that Jason’s section?”

“Jason’s MIA, has been for two nights now, and the chief is about ready to explode.”

Unusual for Jason to be missing, but he was a Border Patrol officer and sometimes the men needed to go on a bender just to survive. “He’ll turn up, but his head won’t feel too good.”

Lily laughed. “I totally agree and to answer your next question, yes, Easton was adamant you take this call.”

No point arguing about any decision the chief made. “I’m on it.”

He took off, heading north in the direction of Crescent Territory, wondering what the hell he would find this time. He touched the hilt of his half-sword and thumbed the holster of his Glock. He wore black leather wrist guards lined with steel, a black tank, leathers, and heavy boots. He was ready.

Amado Bridge. He scowled. One of the worst terrains for a runner to attempt to take drugs into the human world.

His instincts lit up. Jason was missing, a runner was out at Amado and Easton wanted him on the assignment.

A sick feeling started crawling around his gut. This call already stunk and it was only midnight. Great…

I hope you enjoyed this excerpt from BLOOD FLAME. Let the Flame Series become a new journey for you!

To Read More and for Buy Links…

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Caris-Roane-AuthorAbout Caris:

 Caris Roane is the NY Times Bestselling author of Paranormal Romance. She began her career with Kensington Publishing and for eighteen years wrote Regency Romance as Valerie King. In 2005, Romantic Times Magazine honored her with a career achievement award for her Regency Romance work. To-date, she has published eighty-nine books. Thirty-nine of those are paranormal romances. Most of her paranormal stories are self-published while several in the early days were penned for St. Martin’s Press.

Though her stories conjure up hunky PNR warriors, like vampires and wolf-shifters, the romance is everything, including a satisfying Happily Ever After. Her hope is that the reader will come away engrossed in the lives of her tortured heroes and her worthy women as they wage war, as they make love, and as they face the tough issues of life and relationships!

Caris lives in the Phoenix area, in a growing town called Buckeye. When not writing, she’s a real homebody. She loves gardening, sewing, and cooking. She also enjoys creating jewelry and offers her handcrafted, PNR bracelet giveaways to her newsletter and blog subscribers. Her motto? Live the fang!

If you want to know more about Caris, or want to get in touch, you can find her at the following places:

WEBSITE | BLOG | FACEBOOK | TWITTER | PINTEREST

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Author Spotlight – Touch of Flame Blog Tour with Caris Roane

ATOF Banner (1)A Touch of Flame

Flame Series 5

By Caris Roane

 0Bracelet1Caris is giving away A Purple PNR bracelet (International Winner Receives Gift Card), A $25 Amazon Gift Card, A $15 Amazon Gift Card  to randomly drawn winners via rafflecopter during the tour. Please use the RaffleCopter below to enter. Remember you may increase your chances of winning by visiting the other tour stops. You may find those locations here.

 

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WOW! Something extra from Caris Roane! Just leave a comment for a chance to win!

Caris Roane here and I’m so glad you’re touring with me. Be sure to visit as many blogs on my tour as you can and leave a comment at each one to be entered into this WOW giveaway! Don’t worry if you miss a couple of blogs, visiting every blog isn’t required, it just increases your chances of winning! I’ll be creating a second bracelet for the WOW giveaway (International winner receives gift card) similar to the bracelet in the Rafflecopter. I will choose the winning blog then choose the winning comment some time after midnight, September 5th, Arizona time. I will use Random dot org to make the selection. Let’s support our bloggers who give us so much! Hugs, Caris

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BLURB:

A powerful alpha wolf. A gifted witch. Each haunted by death. Can passion drive them to an everlasting love? Or will the enemy forge a hopeless chasm?

Braden should have died in the Graveyard, but the witch, Maeve, saved him. The call of his wolf is on him and he wants her. She can be his alpha-mate. But she has powers that can destroy him and a disrupted memory that holds the answers to his wife’s murder. Can he ever trust a woman who can kill with the power she streams from her bare hands?

Maeve has known only horror, death and destruction since her arrival in Five Bridges as a transformed alter witch. She goes to the Graveyard nightly to rescue those left for dead by the evil rampant in all five territories of her new world. She fears the power she possesses and the gaps in her memory frighten her more than anything else. But when she rescues Braden from an attack in the Graveyard and she realizes she’s drawn to the handsome wolf, the nightmare really begins.

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EXCERPT:2ATOFWithFlamesAndWolfHotGuyVersion800X1200X742017

Chapter One

The Graveyard was not the place Mark Braden thought he’d breathe his last. He was sure he’d die in the pine forest of Savage Territory, chasing a drug-runner and getting hit by a spray of bullets.

Instead, he’d been ambushed.

He lay face down on the hard, rocky ground. Blood streamed from a deep gash in his skull and pooled in the debris beneath him. The rogue wolves kicked him, but he barely registered the blows anymore. One or two of his ribs had snapped and punctured his left lung. He had a deep stab wound in his abdomen. His heart felt like a bird fluttering wildly in his chest, nothing more.

The Graveyard was a cess-pit, a central place in Five Bridges used for dumping bodies at night. In the morning, Tribunal clean-up crews would arrive to cart off the dead, catalog them with unfailing carelessness, then send them to the crematory.

“He’s gone.” Ely Gammet, a powerful warlock, stood over him. The bastard had been one of six who’d drawn him to the Graveyard with the promise of information about his wife’s killers.

A few more kicks, and the crew started walking away. He had a dim view of their boots and heard the crunch through the loose rocks. Braden flared his nostrils to take in the warlock’s scent. He catalogued it in his shifter brain for future recall.

He almost laughed. What future?

His breaths were shallow now, small jolts of air he brought into lungs that barely worked anymore.

Maybe it was for the best…

 

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Author Info: Caris-Roane-Author

Hi, Everyone! Caris Roane here! I’m a NY Times Bestselling Author and I write super-sexy paranormal romance books. With every book I create, my goal is to take you away ~ far, far away ~ from the difficulties and frustrations of your life.

I began my career with Kensington Publishing and wrote Regency Romance as Valerie King. In 2005, Romantic Times Magazine honored me with a career achievement award for my Regency work. To-date, I’ve published eighty-nine books. Thirty-nine of those are paranormal romances, some self-published and some with St. Martin’s Press.

Though my stories conjure up hunky PNR warriors, like vampires and wolf-shifters, the romance is everything, including a satisfying Happily Ever After. My hope is that you’ll become engrossed in the lives of my tortured heroes and my worthy women as they wage war, as they make love, and as they face the tough issues of life and relationships!

I live in the Phoenix area, in the city of Buckeye. When not writing, I’m a real homebody. I love gardening, sewing, and cooking. (Um, cleaning, not so much!) I also enjoy creating jewelry and I frequently offer my handcrafted, PNR bracelet giveaways to my newsletter and blog subscribers. You can sign up for both on my Home Page.

My motto: Live the Fang!

Caris Roane

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Saturday Spotlight – The Duchess and the Highwayman by Beverly Oakley

Banner The Duchess and the HighwaymanThe Duchess and the Highwayman

By Beverley Oakley

 Beverley is giving away a $10 Amazon Gift Certificate and an eBook The Mysterious Governess.to randomly drawn winners via rafflecopter during the tour. Please use the RaffleCopter below to enter. Remember you may increase your chances of winning by visiting the other tour stops. You may find those locations here.

 BLURB:

 A duchess disguised as a lady’s maid; a gentleman parading as a highwayman.

She’s on the run from a murderer, he’s in pursuit of one…

In a remote Norfolk manor, Phoebe, Lady Cavanaugh is wrongfully accused by her servants of her brutal husband’s murder.

There’s little sympathy in the district for the duchess who’s taken a lover and made clear she despised her husband. The local magistrate has also vowed revenge since Lady Cavanaugh rebuffed his advances.

When Phoebe is discovered in the forest wearing only a chemise stained with the blood of her murdered husband, she persuades the noble ‘highwayman’ who rescues her that she is Lady Cavanaugh’s maidservant.

Hugh Redding has his own reasons for hunting down the man who would have Phoebe tried and hanged for murder. He plans to turn ‘the maidservant with aspirations above her station’ into the ‘lady’ who might testify against the very villain who would see Phoebe dead.

… Despite the fierce attraction between Phoebe and the ‘highwayman’, Phoebe is not in a position to admit she’s the ‘murderous duchess’ hunted across the land.

Seizing an opportunity to strike at the social and financial standing of the man who has profited by her distress, Phoebe is drawn into a dangerous intrigue.

… When disaster strikes, she fears Hugh will lack the sympathy or understanding of her unusual predicament to even want to save her a second time.

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The Duchess and the Highwayman imageExcerpt:

 She was astonished by the stab of feeling his amused and interested gaze unleashed within her. Her nipples hardened and she felt an instant heat in her lower belly that surely wasn’t just gratitude for the dress he’d paid for. Tempering her smile she looked away. It was a relief she was still capable of warm feelings for a man but she mustn’t allow herself to grow too fond of him. He was a means to an end.

“Well, together we shall prevail, Phoebe.” They’d reached the window embrasure where he put his finger beneath her chin and tipped her head. “I was thinking long and hard about what you said the other day.” At her inquiringly look he added, “That the way to bring Wentworth down would be discover what he most wanted.”

“I already told you what he most wants. The estate he’s inherited through murder.”

“And you plan to return to Blinley Manor to spy on him, is that right?”

She shook her head, suddenly afraid. “I can’t possibly go into company where he might recognise me.”

Mr Redding frowned. “But the new dress. I thought that was your very intention. I thought you planned to pretend to be a lady -”

“A lady, yes, but not …” She trailed off, miserable and fearful.

“You are very loyal to your mistress, aren’t you, Phoebe?” His tone softened. “Yet, despite your boldness, you’re doubting your abilities, aren’t you?” He drew her unexpectedly against him and his hands contoured her curves, skimming up and over the fine muslin before cupping her face. “Don’t worry, Phoebe, I shall be your tutor?”

“My tutor?” She pulled away, not liking the change in him. “I am not as easy as you might suppose, Mr Redding,” she ground out, fighting the urge to cry. Just when she’d begun to like and trust him he’d reverted to type.

He put his hands on her shoulders. “I’m curious. You pretend you’re an innocent, but you clearly have experience of men. You speak and behave like a lady. Who are you really, Phoebe?”

She felt her mouth drop open and didn’t know how to answer. She wasn’t ready to confess her identity when she wasn’t sure enough of Mr Redding.

“Were you trading on past experience to be so beguiling when you desired a new dress? Were you a rich man’s mistress, perhaps?”

Phoebe hung her head. That’s exactly what she’d been and her body language and silence seemed to confirm it in Mr Redding’s mind.

“So once you had a rich protector but now you’re a lady’s maid?”

Unable to look him in the eye, she nodded, tears threatening.

“And now I am your protector and am funding a new wardrobe.”

She gasped and jerked her head up. “So this is when you ask me to sleep with you?”

He shook his head. “Not if the idea is so repugnant. No, I promised a fair trade: your information to bolster a case against Wentworth.” His voice dropped as his eyes travelled over her, lingering on her décolletage which, for the first time, was shown to best advantage thanks to the stays the dressmaker had procured in a hurry. “I still hold out hope I might persuade you of my inherent charm, though.”

“Well, you can hope in vain, Mr Redding. I may have lost my virtue but not my dignity.”

He put out his hand slowly, as if coaxing a small animal and Phoebe watched his seeking fingers gently skim the puffed roulade of her sleeve before advancing across her shoulder towards her bared skin. Anticipation rose and she sucked in a shallow breath as he slowly contoured the edge of her gown, skimming the top of her breasts.

“I know you’ve felt more than just a passing interest in me, from the moment we met, Phoebe,” he whispered. His hand dipped beneath the fabric of her bodice and she gasped, unsure whether to resist or succumb.

By God, but he was making this difficult. She’d wanted any encounter of a physical nature to be on her terms if only to prove she was not the weak creature she’d always been with Wentworth.

Swallowing, she suddenly pulled away, saying in as disinterested voice as she could manage, “What news of the murder at the manor? You were out on horseback in the village this morning, were you not?”

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Author Info:

 Beverley Oakley was seventeen when she bundled up her first her 500+ page romance and sent it to a publisher. Unfortunately drowning her heroine on the last page was apparently not in line with the expectations of romance readers so Beverley became a journalist.

Twenty-six years later Beverley was delighted to receive her first publishing contract from Robert Hale (UK) for a romance in which she ensured her heroine was saved from drowning in the icy North Sea.

Since 2009 Beverley has written more than thirteen historical romances, mostly set in England during the early nineteenth century. Mystery, intrigue and adventure spill from their pages and if she can pull off a thrilling race to save someone’s honour – or a worthy damsel from the noose – it’s time to celebrate with a good single malt Scotch.

Beverley lives with her husband, two daughters and a Rhodesian Ridgeback puppy the size of a pony opposite a picturesque nineteenth century lunatic asylum. She also writes Africa-set adventure-filled romances tarring handsome bush pilot heroes, and historical romances with less steam and more sexual tension, as Beverley Eikli.

You can get in contact with Beverley at:

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