Saturday Spotlight – True by Ann Everett

True

A Bluebird, Texas Romance

by Ann Everett

Ann is giving away five awesome prize packages. Please use the Rafflecopter below to enter. Remember you may enter every day for your chance to win one of the prize packages. You may find the tour locations here.

True teaserAbout True:

Sometimes it takes losing everything…

True Shanahan must be the unluckiest woman in the world. Either that or she’s cursed. After another failed relationship, True leaves Dallas with a broken heart and new attitude. It’s time to walk on the wild side. But when she makes a wrong turn and ends up in Bluebird, Texas, the only man she wants is anything but reckless.

…to find all you’ve ever wanted.

Ritter Malone is the town’s favorite son and has the local hero awards to prove it. Seems he’s always in the right place at the right time. But when he crosses paths with True, his life takes a turn he never sees coming. Her songwriting skills may be questionable, but her ability to turn him inside out is indisputable.

Welcome to Bluebird, Texas.

Where a chance meeting gives two people a chance at love.

Amazon Buy Link

True coverExcerpt:

When Ritter arrived at the gym, he spotted Cole jumping rope. He stopped and glanced at the wall clock. “You’re late. Roommate didn’t have you tied up, did she?”

“Very funny. We got a dog. Stayed up playing with him. I hit the snooze one time too many.”

Cole ran a towel over his face, then his lips curled. “That’s not good.”

“What? Getting a puppy?”

“Naw. The we in that sentence sounds like a contract extension.”

Ritter stretched. “I won’t lie. I’ve gone home to an empty house so long, thought having someone there would drive me nuts, but it hasn’t—for the most part.”

Cole stepped on the nearest treadmill, turned it on, and ran a steady pace. “I gotta hand it to you. You’ve managed to sleep with her and keep your hands to yourself. Or have you?”

Ritter climbed onto the machine next to Cole’s and matched his stride. No need to confess he hadn’t exactly resisted, but he’d not passed second base—by much. Had it not been for the phone call, he would have hit a home run. He’d had the wood for it. “No.”

“Come on. No way you haven’t hit that. Especially after what you told me about her coming on to you.”

“That’s why I can’t let her stay. My resistance is wearing thin.”

Ritter and Cole’s phones sounded a text at the same time. Ritter read his, then shot Cole a look. “Turns out, we’re off this afternoon.”

Cole dropped his cell back into the cupholder. “I’ve never been to New Jersey. You?”

“Nope but looks like the storm is calling us there.”

NAME THE TWINS CONTEST:twins name contest graphic

Submit your name choices via comment Ann’s blog post, http://www.anneverett.com/2018/06/15/contest-and-new-release/ or to her email ann.everett @rocketmail. com. (without spaces)

 

 

 

 

 

Ann Author photoAbout the Author:

     Award winning author, Ann Everett embraces her small town upbringing and thinks Texans are some of the funniest people on earth. When speaking to writing groups, businesses, book clubs, and non-profit organizations, she incorporates her special brand of wit, making her programs on marketing, self-publishing, and the benefits of laughter, informative and fun.

Social Links:

Website: anneverett.com

Facebook: facebook.com/AuthorAnnEverett

Twitter: twitter.com/talkintwang

Blog: anneverett.com/blog/

     

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Billionaire’s Club Blog Tour

TBC Banner 1

 

Featuring:  

The Billionaire Boyfriend 

by Jan Springer

Blurb:

Lily finds pleasure in the arms of two sexy billionaires.

When famous interior decorator Lily Tiffany receives a diamond-encrusted key with an invitation to a private island estate, she’s both nervous and excited that her sexy billionaire boyfriend Ryland Walton is surrendering her to his dark desire of sharing her with another man…

 

PIBB JSExcerpt:

Need for more rough sex pulsed through her and she reached out to him, but her hand fell upon empty air. She blinked open her eyes and disappointment rocked her. Ryland wasn’t there and from the heavy silence permeating her two-thousand-square-foot apartment, she knew he had left. But on his pillow, she spied a small white velvet box.

Her insides quivered. Holding her breath, she shivered with a curious eagerness. Her hands trembled with nervousness as she lifted the delicate velvet lid and gazed upon the large white inflatable butt plug lying inside a clear protective plastic case. The plug was big. No…huge. Bigger than any other plug she’d ever worn for Ryland or for the two men he’d shared her with.

Who is this man Ryland wants to share me with? A giant?

Beside the plug lay a miniature version of the larger box. She ran her fingers over the lid, awed at the exquisite softness that pressed against her fingertips. Opening the box, she discovered a beautiful heart-shaped white skeleton key. It appeared to be made of white marble and its head was adorned with tiny white diamonds. The diamonds glistened beautifully in the early morning July sunshine that streamed through the glass panes of her bedroom window. From the box she picked up a lavender-scented note and smiled at Ryland’s bold, confident handwriting.

Sweetheart,

I had to go back to work. But you know what they say…too much work and no play makes for a very boring day. This key is an invitation to join me at a private island. My limo will pick you up in five days. You should be ready for the two of us by then. I love you, always.

Ry.

‘You should be ready for the two of us by then.’ That sentence jumped out at her and her breath hitched and quickened.

In five days she was going to be shared by the man she loved with all her heart. Her mouth went dry. He would share her with a stranger who was so obviously well-hung. Even bigger than Ryland and he was the biggest man she’d ever been with.

Oh boy. Oh boy. Oh boy.

About Jan Springer:

New York Times and USA Today Best-Selling Author Jan Springer lives in Minden Hills, Ontario, Canada on four acres of secluded wilderness.

She writes full-time and has written more than sixty erotic romances. All her books are available in ebook format. Some of her books are also available in print, audiobook and have been translated into Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, and French.

Jan enjoys gardening, hiking, kayaking, reading, and writing. She is a member of the Romance Writers of America and the Writers Union of Canada. Visit her at http://www.janspringer.com

Jan’s Social Links:

Twitter: twitter.com/janspringer

Facebook: facebook.com/janspringereroticromance

Linkedin: linkedin.com/profile/view?id=55860299

Google Plus: plus.google.com/101527334949931513035/posts

Website:JanSpringer.com

The Billionaire’s Club

A Limited-Edition Collection of Billionaire Romances

Including Stories from Nicole Morgan, Krista Ames, Jan Springer, Robin Michaela, Madison Michael, Lita Lawson, Nikky Kaye, Diana Bocco, Kris Jayne

The authors of this collection are giving away a Kindle Fire with Alexa. There will be a chance to enter every day so be sure to follow the tour to learn more about each book and enter for your chance to win this awesome prize! You may find those locations here.

box set coverAbout The Billionaire’s Club:

High stakes, risk takers, and power-wielding billionaires. This set will take you on a ride of romance, seduction, and games of wealth and fortune. Find out what happens when these powerful men meet their match.

Dex SFS NMDex: The Spencer Family Saga 1 by Nicole Morgan

When you’re a Spencer, sometimes the price can be higher than you’re willing to pay.

Website: nicolemorganauthor.com

 

Playing with His Heart by Krista AmesPWHH KA

Will playing with his heart break hers?

Website: kristaames.com

 

 

Stealing the Billionaire’s Heart by Robin MichaelaSTBH RM

A jilted bride’s best revenge is finding a better man.

Website: RobinMichaela.com

 

Desire & Dessert: A B&B Billionaire Romance by Madison MichaelD&D MM

Can they forge a business merger and a personal one too?

Website: MadisonMichael.net

 

Ice by Lita LawsonICE LL

Diamonds. Billionaires. Who knew working undercover would be so sexy.

Website: LitaLawson.com

 

The Billion Heir by Nikky KayeTBH NK

Welcome to the first meeting of the Billionaire Book Club—because even the wealthy need help to read between the lines.

Website: NikkyKaye.com

 

LUKE: a Forbidden Lust novella by Diana BoccoLuke ABL DB.jpg

Losing it all might just be worth it.

Website: DianaBoccoBooks.com

 

Snowbound Siren by Kris JayneSS KJ

A seduction. A secret. A steamy, snowbound adventure.

Website: KrisJayne.com

 

TBC all coversLinks:

Amazon | B&N | Kobo | Romance Collections

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Saturday Spotlight – Vengence is mine by Kat Henry Doran

VIM BannerVengeance Is Mine

a contemporary romantic trilogy

by Kat Henry Doran

Kat Henry Doran has put together an incredible list of prizes for this tour. They are just beautiful! Please use the RaffleCopter below to enter. Join us on an exciting tour of great blogs to read more about Vengeance Is Mine, interviews, and guest posts. Remember you may enter every day for a chance to win the prizes. You may find the list of tour location here and you will also find pictures of the prizes here too.

TL Teaser 1Blurb:

Ever think about going back to study hall to face down the school bully?

The mean girls?

The brainless jocks who made your life a pure misery?

For Dru Horvath, gypsy orphan turned Pulitzer Prize winning photo-journalist; Rafe Archangeli, Scourge of Summerville who now heads a multi-million dollar trust; and Fiona “Fat Aggie” Thorpe who recreated herself into an A-list model with her own A-list agency, the opportunity to exact revenge is too good to pass up.

Will they find the vengeance they crave?

Or something more valuable?

 VIM KHD CoverExcerpt:

“Tough way to find out about the other woman.”

“Other woman, hell,” Dru groused. “The assistant was some young stud from Tommy’s gym with abs to die for.”

With that. she side-stepped him and reached for the knob on the bathroom door.

Fast on his feet, Rory’s counter move brought them nose to nose. “Play much poker, Horvath?”

“I don’t know what you mean.”

“Before you started trash talking the cheating ex-husband, your face lit up like the Fourth of July. That tells me you’ve got something stashed in the tote. Until you let me look inside, it stays out here.”

Clutching the canvas tote to her chest, she sneered, “The only thing in here is my outfit for tonight’s event. If you think I’d go naked, one of us is a couple fries short of a happy meal.”

His response came in the form of another gimme motion with those thick, blunt fingers. “How about I close my eyes if I encounter any lacy unmentionables?”

“As if.”

She knew the instant he found the back-up phone. The screw-you look morphed into a smirk. “It’s not smart to mess with Homeland Security, sweetie. Those guys eat small rodents for breakfast.”

Buy Links:

Amazon Print

Amazon Kindle

Amazon CA

Amazon UK

Amazon DE

Amazon ES

Amazon FR

Amazon IT

KHD Author PhotoAuthor Bio:

Legal nurse consultant, victim advocate, sexual assault nurse examiner Kat Henry Doran and her alter ego, Veronica Lynch, has been there and done that–many times over. She often travels to the wilds of Northern New York State, witnessing the wonders of mother nature at her best. From the shores of Lake Ontario and the Saint Lawrence River to the historic Adirondack and Catskill Mountains, she creates stories featuring strong women and the men who love them.

When not writing, she can be found lashed to one of her sewing machines–or chauffeuring the four brightest stars in her life: Meredith and Ashlin, Owen and Kieran.

For more information on Kat and Veronica, go to:

Email: WildWomenAuthors@gmail.com

Blog:WildWomenAuthorsx2.blogspot.com

Goodreads: Goodreads.com/author/show/2905614.Kat_Henry_Doran

     

  

Saturday Spotlight – Arresting Mason by Amber Daulton

AM AD BannerArresting Mason

Series: Arresting Onyx (book 1)

By Amber Daulton

Giveaway - Beaded Earrings and Topaz Necklace 2Enter for a chance to win this Topaz Gemstone Necklace, Beaded Earrings, and some swag. One winner will be randomly selected. Please use the rafflecopter below to enter.

a Rafflecopter giveaway http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/0a0982c523/

About Arresting Mason:

Their chance encounter resulted in a steamy affair, but will his former gang and a parole officer tear them apart?

Once you’re in a prison gang, you’re in it for life. That’s what Mason Harding thought until the boss accepted his resignation. After the State releases him on parole, a sexy divorcée behind the wheel of a car almost ends his life quicker than a shank. His chance encounter with Mia Eddison results in a night of passion, but her brother—his parole officer—catches them together and doesn’t approve.

Mia falls hard for the cocky ex-con, but not because of his chiseled body. She vows to break through his walls and discover his secrets but never expects those secrets to threaten her life. When members of an organized crime ring kidnap Mia to force Mason’s return to the gang, he goes up against an old friend to save the woman he loves. Will his sacrifice be enough or will everything fall apart in a blaze of gunfire?

Arresting Mason teaser 1 (cover)

Book Links:  

Amazon | B&N | iTunes   The Wild Rose Press store | Goodreads

youtube Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rc0q0dLLFPM

Publisher: The Wild Rose Press

Release Date: April 30th, 2018

ASIN: B07BHGMQRK

Print ISBN: 978-1-5092-2007-6

Digital ISBN: 978-1-5092-2008-3

Genre: Romantic Suspense

Length: 80k

Heat Rating: 5 Flames

Arresting MasonExcerpt:

“Which one is your car?” She glanced around the crowded parking lot. A few streetlights pushed back the darkness and shadows. The restaurant served customers until midnight on the weekends, but no one loitered in the lot, at least from what Mia could see.

“Don’t have one at the moment.” Mason hooked his thumbs in the belt loops of his jeans. “I took the bus. It stopped a few blocks from here.”

“Would you like a ride?” She pulled the car keys from her purse. “I feel a little ridiculous we met here tonight. I just wasn’t sure if you were some kind of freak.”

His eyebrow lifted, and he closed the distance between them as a tiger would zero in on its mate. A sexy, masculine smile curled his lips. “Have you made up your mind yet?”

“I’ll let you know in the morning.” Desire trickled down her spine. Mia nodded toward the passenger side of the car for him to hop in.

He confiscated her keys instead to unlock and open the driver’s side door for her like a gentleman. Then he leaned closer and nuzzled her temple with his nose.

Not sure if he planned to seduce her in the parking lot or if he merely wanted to tease her, Mia pressed her hand to his chest and tried to think straight. “You’re the first guy I’ve gone on a date with since my divorce. I haven’t slept with anyone since Evan.”

He tunneled his fingers through her wavy, chestnut-brown hair. “I haven’t dated anyone in a long time either. We’ll take it slow or fast, whatever you want, but I promise you one thing. After I’m done with you, you won’t even remember that bastard’s name.”

Oh, God. She almost melted right then and there. “Fast. I want you, Mason.”

“Take me to your place and you can have me.”

NetGalley Opportunity:

Available for Review

Limited Time Only (promotion runs from May 1-15)

Find Arresting Mason on my publisher’s landing page – https://www.netgalley.com/catalog/publisher/82136

Amber DaultonAbout the Author:

Writing is the fruit of happiness.

Amber Daulton lives her life by that one belief even though she normally isn’t so Zen.

As a fan of contemporary, paranormal, and historical romance novels alike, she can’t get enough of feisty heroines and alpha heroes. Her mind is a wonderland of adventure, laughter, and awesome ways of kicking a guy when he’s down. She probably wouldn’t be too sane without her computer and notebooks. After all, what’s a girl to do when people are jabbering away in her head and it’s hard to shut them up? Write! Nothing else works.

Social Media Links:

Blogsite – http://amberdaultonauthor.blogspot.com/

Facebook Author Page – www.facebook.com/amber.daulton.author

Twitter – https://twitter.com/AmberDaulton1

Pinterest – http://pinterest.com/amberdaulton5/

Goodreads – www.goodreads.com/author/show/6624921.Amber_Daulton

Amazon Author Page – http://amzn.to/14JoZff

Smashwords – https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/amberdaulton

LinkedIn – www.linkedin.com/pub/amber-daulton/87/538/368

Google Plus – https://plus.google.com/u/0/+AmberDaulton

The Wild Rose Press – https://catalog.thewildrosepress.com/2362_amber-daulton

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AuThursday – Madeline Smid

FF MS BannerMS Author photoTell us a little about yourself and your background?

I am married and live with my husband in a small development on the South Saskatchewan River, in Saskatchewan, Canada, surrounded by ancient rolling hills. We have two grown children and three granddaughters. My husband is a retired pilot and Air Traffic Controller and has worked around the world. We have a wonderful life, flying, sailing, skiing, and adventuring together.

How do you make time to write?

I consider myself a full-time writer because I usually have three or more books in various stages of publication at all times. I write a book a month (well now I can do it in two weeks). I form the story in my head until it is ready, then sit down and write between 5,000 and 10,000 words a day. I put the completed story away for two weeks or more and then go back polish and submit. I do this about three times a year. In between, I am editing drafts or galleys on other submitted books, or editing an anthology for my writing group, or downloading one of my nonfiction books into my blog, chapter by chapter. I keep busy year round.

Do you believe in writer’s block?

No. I think that is just an acceptable name for being paralyzed by fear—that you’ll fail.

Tell us a bit about the genre you write and why you love it.

My last nine books have been romantic suspense, re-categorized to action suspense. I like this genre because it lends itself well to plot-driven books, which I prefer. I also believe in the power of love—agape, familial, narcissist, erotic, romantic as an influencing agent in all motivation and action. I love to explore how love becomes the cause and effect for my characters.

How are you publishing your recent book and why? (*e.g. Indie, traditional or both)

Fatal Flight is published by The Wild Rose Press and marketed worldwide as both digital and print books.

Are you an Introvert or Extravert? How does this affect your work?

I am able to act extroverted for short periods with a lot of people, but at heart, I’m an introvert. I get my energy from ideas and being alone in nature.

What is your favorite motivational phrase?

I did the best I could, with what I had, at the time.

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

Don’t think about writing, talk about writing, or take endless writing courses. If you want to be a writer – write.

Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?

www.madelonasmid.com

Do you have an excerpt you’d like to share with us?

FatalFlight_w12058_300[Sky] “You consider going to Max behind my back being upfront?”

[Adam] “Max came to me. I was interested and after crunching the numbers, researching your top-notch standing on the circuit and talking with my father, thought this was a great PR opportunity for our corporation. I didn’t know you were against the idea. My experience is that as soon as someone knows what I’m worth, they want something from me.”

“And you assumed I was sticking my hand in the pot.” She stopped at the entrance to the big tent, where oceans of food were served all day. “Okay, I see where you were coming from. Pax.” She offered her hand.

She took quiet satisfaction in the fact he looked like she’d turned him on his head. Good, keep him off balance, and he couldn’t do the same to her. He took her hand, his long fingers warm and dry, just the lightest of squeezes. He’d never used his size and strength to intimidate, she realized. He was a true alpha male, for only the strongest, fastest and smartest protected the vulnerable. A weaker male took advantage of them.

“Thank you got this wonderful opportunity to share my joy in writing, and pleasure in this story with your readers.”~Madeline Smid

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Saturday Spotlight – Adriana Kraft

VG BannerVegas Gambler

Meghan’s Playhouse Series

By Adriana Kraft

Vegas Gambler will be on tour from March 5 through April 5, and we’re giving away one free download from the Publisher’s Website to each of two winners. Winners may select from books One through Four in our Meghan’s Playhouse Series. You can find all series books at this link: http://www.extasybooks.com/meghan-s-playhouse/. Remember you may increase your chances of winning by visiting the other tour stops. You may find those locations here.

He’s fifty-one, they’re in their twenties. Can Jack Hawthorne keep up with two women? How will he protect his heart?

Fresh with success from a recent stint in a musical on the Las Vegas Strip, Meghan Keenan takes some time off to play with her current flame, Jack Hawthorne, professional poker player. She’s delighted to add her petite masseuse Tia Minh to the mix and even more thrilled when she learns Tia’s relationship with her boyfriend Tony Sanders is on the skids. It’s the perfect challenge!

Tia has different ideas – she thinks Tony would be perfect for Meg, and she conspires to throw them together any way she can.

Ever the gambler, Jack catches on to her game quickly and keeps the ruse going behind Meg’s back. Who knew his heart was up for grabs?

This is a Contemporary Erotic Romance.

Buy Links:

Amazon | eXtasy Books

 

VegasGamblerExcerpt:

Jack cocked his head to the side. “You sure you won’t stay beyond the summer?”

Meg shook her head. They’d been over this ground before. “You know I need to get back to New York. I need to get on with my life.”

“Sorry I’m such a drag on you.” He gave her a wicked smile. “And you always say my age doesn’t matter.”

“Fifty-one doesn’t make you ancient.”

“I have my days,” Jack said, flipping over a card. “But I know what we have is transitory. Don’t worry about me getting carried away.” He smirked. “But you have been a breath of fresh air for me.”

“Cripes, the way you hang out around poker tables, anyone would provide a breath of fresh air.” Meg smiled and purposely softened her tone. “And you’ve been very good for me, too. I don’t know how I would’ve made it through the hectic pace of the last six months without your steady influence. You’ve always been there, and with few demands.”

“Perhaps,” Jack began wistfully, “I should’ve been more demanding.” He must’ve seen her nostrils flare, because he lifted a hand, forestalling her response. “You’ve renewed my faith in life.” He grinned devilishly. “Even in love.”

adrianakraft-black_300Winner of the 2014 Bisexual Book Award for erotic fiction, author Adriana Kraft is a married couple writing Sizzling Romantic Suspense and Erotic Romance for Two, Three, or More.

One man, one woman, danger and intrigue – always a happy ending, but oh, what a ride! Readers can count on our Romantic Suspense line for gutsy characters, hot sex, and breathtaking intimacy as our hero and heroine battle outer threats and inner demons to stay alive and fall in love.

A man, a woman (or two), or another man, threesomes, foursomes—what’s your fantasy? We write our Erotic Romance stories to entertain, of course, but most of all we write them because we believe in happy endings for all who fall in love, whatever their gender, sexual orientation or numerical combination. Here you’ll find multiple partners, three-way, four-way and more, swing lifestyle, lesbian, bisexual, ménage and polyamory, in both contemporary and paranormal settings.

Together we have published over thirty-five romance novels and novellas to outstanding reviews. We love hearing from readers at adrianakraft99@yahoo.com, and here is our website:

When It’s Time to Heat Things Up http://adrianakraft.com

Author Links:

Website | Blog | Facebook | Twitter | GoodReads  | Pinterest | Amazon Author Page | Newsletter | Google | BookBub

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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

~*~*~*~*~*~

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.”

~*~*~*~*~*~

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:

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