Monthly Archives: December 2015
Title: Heir to the Duke
Author: Jane Ashford
Series: the Duke’s Sons, #1
Pubdate: January 5th, 2016
Book 1 of The Duke’s Sons series
From bestselling author Jane Ashford comes a brand new series of sparkling Regency Romance
Life is predictable for a Duke’s first son
As eldest son of the Duke of Langford, Nathaniel Gresham sees his arranged marriage to Lady Violet Devere as just another obligation to fulfill—highly suitable, if unexciting. But as Violet sets out to transform herself from dowdy wallflower to dazzling young duchess-to-be, proper Nathaniel sets out to prove he’s a match for his new bride’s vivacity and daring.
Or so he once thought…
Oppressed by her family all her life, Lady Violet can’t wait to enjoy the freedom of being a married woman. But then Violet learns her family’s sordid secret, and she’s faced with an impossible choice—does she tell Nathaniel and risk losing him, or does she hide it and live a lie?
Jane Ashford discovered Georgette Heyer in junior high school and was captivated by the glittering world and witty language of Regency England. That delight led her to study English literature and travel widely in Britain and Europe. Her historical and contemporary romances have been published in Sweden, Italy, England, Denmark, France, Russia, Latvia, Slovenia, and Spain, as well as the U.S. Twenty-six of her new and backlist Regency romances are being published by Sourcebooks. Jane has been nominated for a Career Achievement Award by RT Book Reviews. She is currently rather nomadic.
Jane Ashford’s latest release, Heir to the Duke, comes out this January! To celebrate, we invite you to get to know James Gresham, one of the six sons of the Duke of Langford, and to check out an excerpt from the book!
Full Name: James
Occupation: Officer in the Royal Navy
Height: 6’ 0”
Hair Color: Auburn
Eye Color: Blue
How would you describe yourself? (100 words or less)
I’m always wondering what’s over the horizon, what I’ll find at the next landfall. I was born a rover.
If your brothers had to describe you, what would they say?
I think they might have difficulty doing that. I left home at sixteen and have been mostly at sea since then.
What is your favorite way to spend your time?
On the water – lake, river, or ocean.
What’s one piece of advice you would give the newlyweds (Nathaniel and Violet)?
Without hurting others, do as you please, not what people tell you to do.
If money was no object and you had no commitments for the next two weeks, what would you do?
Get hold of a fine yacht and sail down to Cornwall, around Land’s End, and back up again.
Nathaniel Gresham, Viscount Hightower, stirred in his sleep. His hands groped for bedclothes, found nothing. Sensing wrongness, his consciousness rose through layers of befuddlement and wisps of dreams. He opened his eyes to find a gaping maw of three-inch fangs inches from his throat.
Nathaniel threw up his arms to shield his face and twisted to the side. The convulsive movement brought him right to the edge of a large four-poster bed, and he scrambled to avoid falling three feet to the floor. He twisted in the opposite direction and struck out at the sharp, yellowed teeth. They did not snap shut on his forearm or lunge into his face once more. Indeed, they did not move at all, except sideways under his blow. There was no snarl or slaver, no spark of rage in the shiny eye behind the fangs. Nathaniel shoved them farther away and sat up.
He was stark naked, on a large bed stripped bare of linens, covered only by a moth-eaten gray wolf skin. The wretched thing’s head had been carefully placed on his chest, to ensure the rude awakening. His hips still rested under its hindquarters. Molting fur peppered the bed. The mere sight of the ancient pelt made his skin itch. Revolted, he pushed it all the way off and moved to the foot of the bed, struggling to get his bearings. This wasn’t his bedchamber. The blue-striped wallpaper was alien, the furnishings unfamiliar; the windows with their slant of early morning light were in the wrong place. Then he remembered. He was staying at the Earl of Moreley’s country house, because tomorrow—no, today—he was to marry the earl’s daughter at their local parish church.
Nathaniel glared at the wolf skin, then rubbed his hands over his face. This was what it meant to have five brothers—five younger brothers—on one’s wedding day. Or rather, on one’s wedding eve, a night they’d insisted upon marking with bowls of rack punch. Had it been three? Or had he lost count? No wonder they’d kept filling his glass, if they had this prank planned. Where the devil had they found a wolf skin in a strange house? And hadn’t he told his father, when Robert was born in his sixth year, that four sons were quite enough? Even for a duke, six sons were excessive. At this particular moment, Nathaniel thought that his parents might have been content with just one.
He rose, stretching stiff limbs and marveling that he had only a mild headache. Revenge on his brothers would have to wait for another day. Today, he was getting married. He was doing his duty to his name and his line, pledging himself to a woman who would be an admirable duchess when their turn came—may it be far in the future. The match was eminently suitable. All society acknowledged its rightness. And despite Violet’s irascible grandmother, the occasional bane of his existence, he could have no complaints.
Indeed, why had the word even occurred to him? No one had rushed him into marriage. He had enjoyed a plenitude of seasons in London and a number of agreeable flirtations and liaisons with delightful females. Though they had never spoken of it, he was aware that his parents had given him every opportunity to fall in love. But the passion that had overtaken them in their young days had not befallen him. He wasn’t sure why, but once he’d passed thirty he concluded it never would. He’d had more than enough time to observe that such a bond was rare in the circles of the haut ton.
Nathaniel stretched again, his bare limbs a bit chilly. This marriage was certainly not a penance. He liked Violet very much. They’d been acquainted for years. He did not know whether she’d had other offers, but he supposed that she too had waited for love to find her. They had that in common. They were also well suited by background, had similar tastes, and enjoyed the same even temperament. When he’d decided that the time for marriage had come, he’d simply known that she was the proper candidate. He expected their union to be gracious, harmonious, and ideal for the significant position they would someday be called upon to fulfill. And now it was time to stop wool- gathering, put on his dressing gown, and begin this momentous day.
Nathaniel walked over to the oaken wardrobe on the far wall and opened it.
It was empty. All his clothes had disappeared.
He stared at the bare hooks. This part of the prank would be Sebastian’s doing, he imagined. It had his next younger brother’s touch. Nathaniel met his own gaze in the mirror set into the wardrobe door, and acknowledged the spark of amused annoyance in his eyes. His brothers had a fiendish facility for complicated jests.
The figure in the glass shook its head. All the sons of the Duke of Langford were tall, handsome, broad-shouldered men with auburn hair and blue eyes. Sebastian was the tallest. Robert the wittiest. Randolph was acknowledged as the handsomest, James the most adventurous, and Alan the smartest. But he was the eldest, and the heir.
For as long as he could remember, Nathaniel had felt the weight of his destiny. The others said it was a burden to have everything done ahead of them, but he’d felt the onus of being the pattern, setting up the expectations, being the son visitors scrutinized the most. He would be the next duke; he must show he was worthy. Thus, he kept a tight rein on his wilder impulses. Instead, he was the one who came to the rescue when one of his brothers went too far, kicking up a lark.
And so now, he did not slam the empty wardrobe shut, but simply closed it. He would leave it to his valet to straighten this out. He wanted hot water for washing, and then clothes, and then breakfast. He went to ring for Cates, and discovered that the bell rope had been removed. He could see the wire to which it had been connected, near the ceiling, twelve feet up. It must have taken two or three of his brothers to reach so high.
For a moment he just stood there, staring at it. This final touch would be Robert’s idea, no doubt. He’d always been the most ingenious, the brother who added the crowning climax to a prank. Robert would be the one to set the others guffawing—describing their elder brother slinking through the corridors of the Earl of Moreley’s house wrapped in a wolf skin, like some sort of demented ancient Celt. Even Nathaniel had to smile at the picture. How would Violet’s fierce stickler of a grandmother like that? And all the other near and distant relations visiting for the wedding? He’d barely met most of them. Perhaps he’d twine some ivy from outside the window in his hair and attempt a Gaelic war cry.
Nathaniel laughed. Truth to tell, it was a splendid prank, unfolding like a puzzle box upon its hapless victim. All that remained was for him to wiggle out of the trap so cunningly set.
He eyed the windows and considered pulling down some of his almost-mother-in-law’s elaborate draperies to wrap about himself. But one panel would trail behind him like a coronation robe. The picture was little better than the wolf skin. Perhaps he would just wait until Cates arrived on his own. It couldn’t be too much longer. In fact, judging by the sunlight, his valet ought to have appeared well before now. Where the devil was he?
As if in answer to this thought, there was a knock at the door.
The voice was the last he expected. “Violet?”
“Are you all right? James said you needed to speak to me most urgent—” The door opened, and Nathaniel’s promised bride looked around the panels. “Oh!” Her mouth dropped open.
Nathaniel—stark naked, next to a bed sporting only a rumpled wolf skin—braced for a shriek, a shocked retreat, babbled apologies. But Violet just looked at him. Indeed, it seemed as if she couldn’t tear her eyes away. He could almost feel her gaze traveling along his skin, as if it left trails of warmth. He saw something stir in those gray eyes, something he’d never observed before, and his body began to respond to the possibility of much more than he’d expected from his suitable marriage. Respond all too eagerly.
Nathaniel moved over behind the bed. “My brothers’ idea of a joke,” he said with a gesture toward the wolf skin.
Violet blinked. Color flooded her cheeks, and she looked away. “How did they…?” Her voice was rather choked.
“They are endlessly inventive. They stole my clothes as well. Would you have someone send Cates to me? I would ring but”—he pointed to the bell wire—“they were quite thorough.”
Violet glanced at the denuded wire, swallowed, and gave a quick nod. “Of course.” In the next instant, she was gone.
“Well, well,” murmured Nathaniel to the wolf. “That was interesting.”
His days of being capable of interest long past, the wolf made no reply.
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Paranormal erotic/romance author Laila Raimes is here today with a fantastic interview. She is here to discuss her newest release from her Shifter Fates Series entitled Elle’s Justice. Please help me make her feel welcome.
Laila will be giving away a full set of the first three books of the series. Book 1 Elle’s Claim, Book 2 Adolf’s Request, Book 3 Declan’s Descent and $5.00 Amazon GC. Be sure to Comment on blog post and tell your friends in order to enter into the random drawing. A winner will be drawn and announced on Dec.23rd @ 5pm est.
Before we get into your book, let us talk about you.
I grew up in the Bronx and moved to upstate NY for my last year of high school. I’m a single mom now living in upstate NY with my soon to be 12 year-old son. I’m mostly an indie author–except for the Alt World Series– I write about strong heroines who have lived through or experienced something horrible from abuse whether physical, sexual, or emotional, to depression, but fight, struggle and conquer it all, in a paranormal erotica/romance setting.
- Do you have a day job as well? Yes, I work as a customer service rep during the day.
- What is your favorite color? Green.
- Do you have any unique talents or hobbies? (besides writing) Knitting
- How do you spend your spare time? With my soon to be 12 year old son and writing/reading.
- Who is/are your biggest supporter(s)? My youngest sister and my brother who is older than me.
- If you weren’t an author what would you be? A single mom with more time on her hands J
- If you could live in any time period which would you choose and why?
- When did you first start writing and when did you finish your first book? Started writing about 15 years ago. First book finished 14 years ago.
- How did you choose the genre you write in? I read a lot of different genres, but always loved the paranormal because anything is possible. I can allow my imagination to run wild without limits.
- Is there a genre/subgenre that you haven’t written that you would like to try? New adult.
- Where do you get your ideas? The first book I wrote which is not published is a sci-fi book and it came to me in a dream. But the others have come from thoughts I’ve had in the past, or things I would like to read.
- What comes first, your characters story or the plot line for the book? The main characters background.
- Do you ever experience writer’s block? Yes.
- Do you work with an outline, or just write? I’m what I call a free-flow writer or a winger. I do not use an outline. I see where I want the story to go, I see the setting, and scenes. And I let the characters take me there.
- Is there any particular author or book that influenced you in any way either growing up or as an adult? I love the Pip and Flinx series by Alan Dean Foster when I was younger. That was if not the first book, surely the most memorable book that I visualized and experienced as I read it.
- Can you tell us about your challenges in getting your first book published? Writing a salivating query. Those are so difficult for me.
- If you had to go back and do it all over, is there any aspect of your novel or getting it published that you would change? Honestly, if I realized self-publishing before having one of my series traditionally published, I would’ve gone that route for so many reasons.
- How do you market your work? What avenues have you found to work best for your genre? Marketing/promoting is definitely one of the toughest tasks in the business. I have a PA who is amazing, Nathalie Raven of Raven PA. But I also post promos to over a hundred FB groups in search of a wider audience. It is not only time consuming it is mind numbingly boring. But has to be done. I also join events and parties of other authors or blogs or just about anything that will have me. That I love doing because I can interact with readers and meet new people.
- Have you written a book you love that you have not been able to get published? With self-publishing being a new route there really isn’t a reason you can’t be published if you want to be. However, my sci-fi book that was the first that I wrote hasn’t been picked up when I tried to have it traditionally published years ago.
- Can you tell us about your upcoming book? I am finishing the fourth and final book for my self-published Shifter Fates series. This book will delve into the war and bring the readers into realms never before visited. It has twists that so far even I haven’t seen coming.
- Who has been your favorite character thus far? Sundry from Tiny Tragedies – The Sundry Files (An Alt World Book) she’s gone through so much in her short lifetime and she’ll experience so many highs and lows before she finally finds out who she really is. But in the end she’ll be so much stronger for it.
- Who has been the hardest character to write about? Declan from my Shifter Fates series. What character has given you the most trouble? Declan, because I’ve had to try and bring the readers into his world without him actually voicing his point of view, while at the same time allowing his actions and behavioral traits draw you in so that you come to care for him as well as the other main characters.
- What character, that you haven’t written/released yet, are you most looking forward to sharing with your readers? Cami, she’s going to be an interesting one to finish writing. Her difficulties will stem from someone close to home and she’ll lose the ones that love her at a very young age. Nothing in her life will be happy, or come easy, not until she’s freed and meets her Governed Mate. BTW, that is the name of my next series. Governed Mates. Each book will be a standalone, but most likely interconnected.
- If you could be any one of your characters who would you choose? Micah Everheart from Mate-Staken Identity Why? She’s an abomination according to most. Being a dual natured shifter is her first ‘mistake,’ but Micah also has many other ‘freaky’ powers, some that I would love to have, like telekinesis, telepathy, and more.
- What project are you working on now? The final book in the Shifter Fates main story entitled Elle’s Justice. Though this main story will be done, there are supporting characters that are yelling at me to give them their own books that will most likely be novellas.
- What has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author? One of the first reviews left on Goodreads.com was a reader who absolutely despised Shifter Fates – Elle’s Claim to the point that she boycotted all of my books and suggested that everyone else should too!
- What has been the best compliment? I had a friend/blogger tell me that my Mate-Staken Identity book renewed her love of paranormal books. She stated she’d stopped reading them after being disappointed with the ending of the Charlene Harris, Suki books.
- What is the last book you read? Last book I read was ‘Never love an outlaw by Nicole Snow.’ Are reading now? No, I’ve been threatened with a whip if I don’t finish up Elle’s Justice. Looking forward to reading? Yes, very much so. I have a long list of TBRs in my Kindle so it will be nice reading for a change.
- How do you decompress after typing The End on a book? Decompress? What’s that?
- What is the best way to celebrate are a book release? With friends and family, a good FB event and lots of games, interaction, and giveaways!
Tell me about your book/release, (title). Shifter Fates – Elle’s Justice
- Give us a 30-word or less tagline: In the final chapter of Elle and her three mates, not only is the war for the Earthly realm ongoing, but the full extent of Tiel’s treachery is revealed.
- Who is your intended audience and why should they read your book? Lovers of Paranormal Erotica/Romance, those who love myths and fairy tales.
- How did you come up with the title of your book or series? I knew the series had something to do with someone messing with the ‘fate’ of shifters so it seemed pretty easy. The subtitles were also meant to reveal a small bit about what that book would entail.
- Tell us a little bit about your cover art. Who designed it? Why did you go with that particular image/artwork? Jackie Sheets designed the cover and while it is not yet out for this interview it will be spectacular.
- Tell me about your Hero and Heroine? Ealera, aka Elle is a hybrid supernatural, won’t tell you exactly what, because you only find that out in the end of the first book Elle’s Claim. But she is or thought she was the 2nd most powerful being in the Earthly realm. Turned out she was wrong. She has three mates all wolf shifters, one named Cole, the oldest, Jaxon the second sibling, and Declan the third and youngest by 3 minutes… Yes triplets that look nothing alike. More than that, is that Declan is not solely shifter. He’s actually part Daemon, or Daemon-god to be exact.
Tiel her uncle has started tearing the earthly realm apart and has opened up some of the others. But the question is, was the Earthly realm the goal he set out to enslave, or did he have his sights set on a loftier location?
- Who is your favorite character from your book and why? Elle of course. Why is because, she thought she was the strongest out there, yet there were outside forces that in a way caused her to humble herself. She never knew her parents, both died the day she was born. She was raised by her uncle Tiel, who was her mother Leara’s brother. In the beginning of the first book, she is the 2nd strongest being in the realm. And still she finds herself kidnapped, beaten and raped. She loses her memory and it take her three mates to help her remember who she is. She’s tough enough to decide not to let that experience stop her from being happy and living her life. In book two, she has another heartbreak in the form of losing a loved one. Again, she does her best to pick up the pieces. She goes through her daily life outwardly mourning while still taking care of her children and her massive pack. Book three she finds out just how far her uncle Tiel’s deception has gone in the revelation that not only does her mate Declan have daemon blood in him, but he’s The Daemon, the one and only Mercurial. You’ll have to read the 4th to see what this means and what happens.
- Give us an interesting fun fact or a few about your book or series: This is the ‘first generation’ series. Elle is pregnant with 5 pups that have an interesting set of DNA, so all I can say is there will be good, bad, and some downright ugly situations these kids get themselves into in the future.
- How can we contact you or find out more about your books? Aside from the links I’ve listed, I love meeting new friends and hearing from readers. So I’m always available to drop a quick email or to chat at Laila.Raimes@gmail.com
Facebook Author Page – https://www.facebook.com/LailaRaimesAuthor
Website – http://lailaraimes.weebly.com/
Goodreads page: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8645398.Laila_Raimes
Twitter – @raimes_laila
9. What can we expect from you in the future? The sequel to Tiny Tragedies has about 6% left before I send it to my editor. Then I have a sequel to Mate-Staken Identity (A Micah Everheart Novel) which will be a fun ride as it goes past the mating ritual and into their lives as agents of the SIA-supernatural intelligence agency-in the fight against the Shanks. I have a new series entitled Governed Mates in which each book will be a standalone novel, the first book will be subtitled Purrfect Hell.
10.What can readers who enjoy your book do to help make it successful? Leaving a review on amazon.com and goodreads.com goes a long way and it means so much to me and all authors. Also telling friends/family who have the same tastes in books is helpful.
11. Do you have any tips for readers or advice for other writers trying to get published? Persevere if you want to be traditionally published. Work harder if you’re going for self-publishing. The indie community is so supportive it’s amazing. But remember the readers who take a chance are comparing self-published to traditionally published and they expect the same quality. It was a learning experience for me, and I would do a lot of things differently if I could start over. In fact, I’m currently working on what I feel needs to be updated. Write a good story, get it edited, take the time to find a cover artist, join groups on FB, ask other authors/readers for advice. Don’t be afraid to get a bad review. I got a particularly nasty one for Elle’s Claim in which the reviewer not only boycotted any future books, but was rallying for others to do the same. I laugh at it now, but I it stung in the beginning. Know that not everyone is going to like your book, and that’s ok. It’s also ok if you never become a bestseller. I’m not but I still enjoy what I do. I love meeting new people and those that like my books. It’s those relationships that seem to make me feel like an author. And above all, keep striving to become better. Read between writing, must keep feeding your brain. I think that’s enough, lol.
- Think about your book. You realize that we all read books at different paces, with varying amounts of distractions. Is there a particular part of your book that you want to highlight– not because it is your favorite – but because you want to encourage your readers to read it carefully and get all the details?
- Is there anything else you’d like to say? I want to thank all my readers, my street team Laila’s Fierce Females, my PA Nathalie Raven, my PA supporters who while I don’t pay them, they support me and help promote me when they can. All my author friends who have encouraged me, friended me, supported me and even taken a chance on me. And all the blogs that have taken the time to read/review my books and interview me. Thank you all with all my heart. XO.
- And now, before you go, how about a snippet from your book that is meant to intrigue and tantalize us:
The last book Declan’s Descent ended with Elle here:
My thoughts seemed to be swimming in a pool of fog and oil. I couldn’t put a clear thought together except that I was shivering; freezing.
And then I wasn’t.
Warmth spread over me and into me until my temperature returned to normal. Little by little my head cleared. The first realization I had was that I was wrapped in someones arms. I felt so comfortable I leaned into them and released a soft sigh as I closed my eyes. Quickly however, I was trying to free myself of the arms as my second realization came to me and all the memories flooded back to me and I began struggling in earnest.
The arms released me and I stumbled to my feet and began running until I realized I had no idea where I was. I turned around and there He was. Calmly standing there, gaging my reaction with a slight gleam in his eye.
My hand moved to rest over my throat and as my legs gave out, I slid to the ground. Closing my eyes I recalled the story of the onetime Heaven and Hell joined forces. Were forced to join forces if they were to survive. Survive from Hellfire’s reign of terror in each and every realm, including Hell and Heaven. Survive from The Daemon-god born from Hellfire. The one that could tip the scale of power and unbalance the universe. The one that could have ended it all.
“Mercurial,” I whispered.
Then, he smiled.
As quickly as that twinge of fear came, it left, and was replaced by nothing short of utter rage. I didn’t bother getting to my feet. I Sifted. Remaining invisible I shoved the fiery body that was Mercurial/Declan, or who-the-fuck-ever and yelled, “Who the fuck do you think you are?” But it wasn’t my voice that came out of my mouth. At least, not a voice I’d ever heard before. Everything shook and rumbled. Even the air seemed to jitter. But Mercurial didn’t budge. His nine foot four flaming body remained stagnant. The strength I put behind the shove meant nothing to him. He just stood there. Looking at me.
Looking. At. Me.
He could still see me even though I was supposed to be invisible. A surge of rage thrummed through my body, my muscles tightened, my hands fisted, and I released a roar so primal that it startled even me. There was no distinct single animal in it. It wasn’t just wolf. It was as if every single beast that had previously lived expressed their anger through me.
There was no point in remaining visibly invisible so I showed myself. I was breathing heavy, every muscle taut, my claws digging into my palms in an effort to keep from losing my mind and unleashing the fury I felt within my blood on… I looked around. Where the fuck am I?
I heard the crackling of flames die down. When I faced my newest nemesis I was no longer looking at a flaming body, but a male. An oh-so-very-sexy, hot, desirable male.
A flutter tickled in my lower belly. Heat spread from my core outward. My breath caught. I took a few steps back. I did not want to have these feelings for this daemon-god. How long my mind would remain sensible was yet to be seen. I was pretty sure it wouldn’t be long. For each step I took back, he took one forward until he must’ve decided he had enough of this cat and mouse game and I hit a wall.
An invisible wall.
Then he caged me in. His massive hands on the wall on either side of my face, his enormous body acting like a door. It was clear. I wouldn’t be exiting this situation anytime soon.
I kept my eyes on his lower chest refusing to look into his extremely perfect face or eyes. If I did, I knew I would’ve crawled up his massive body, freed his equally massive cock and had my wicked, deliriously, pleasurable way with him.
But he wasn’t having any of that. A thick, long, very sexy hand cupped my chin and gently lifted my face until I met his eyes.
I whimpered. “No, no, no,” I whispered.
His face was chiseled perfection. Sharp cheekbones, a granite jawline, a cleft in his chin, plush, soft looking lips. And his eyes. Oh gods, his eyes. They were close to a clear amber with molten gold flecks that seemed to shimmer and throb brighter every so often. His hair was past shoulder length, wavy, thick and a dark maroon with gold streaks sporadically placed within. I wanted to touch it. I wanted to run my hands through it. Help me. I wanted to yank his head back as I was fiercely riding him and bite that perfect jaw.
His eyes pulsed. The amber darkened. The molten gold brightened. And I knew I was lost to him. Because this here was not just Mercurial but also Declan. I felt him in his touch. The soft way he cupped my chin. The soft look in his yearning eyes. My Declan was in there. I just had to find out how to bring him back to me.
“Please. Don’t,” I whimpered out as I tried to pry my face away from his hand. He shook his head—slowly—from side to side, giving me the only warning I would get. But of course me being me, I had to find out the hard way.
I yanked my head to the side while pushing him with my powers. That did the trick. He flew backwards but maneuvered himself so that his feet stopped his momentum and he slid to a halt. He threw his head back and released a disappointed breath. When he lifted his head, it was to look at me with a scorching hot smoldering gaze.
I knew that gaze. Fuck. I may have been wearing the same one. I leaned farther into the invisible wall and spread my arms to my sides, reaching for an opening for me to slip through. But there was none.
It was my turn to shake my head. But all he did was give me a disarming smile and say, “Mine.”
Then he was on me. Silencing any protests with such a searing kiss I almost came on the spot. When he pulled away—leaving me a hot, needy, panting mess—he said, “Mine,” in a tone that was an affirmation.
But I was in love and one seriously hot daemon-god wasn’t enough to make me forget my mates. “And Jaxon’s, and Cole’s too,” I said.
I ignored the smooth baritone voice of his and said, “I’m Declan’s, Cole’s, and Jaxon’s. You are a hitchhiker.” I crossed my arms.
He looked at my motion with confusion on his face and asked, “Why?”
“Because they’re mine.”
“I’m yours.” He nuzzled into the crook of my neck. I shivered.
“Declan is mine,” my voice was very breathy.
“I am Declan,” the huskiness of his voice was nearly my undoing.
“Are you?” I asked, ignoring the fact that my hands went to his hips. And trying to ignore the fact that his moan made my insides quiver.
“We are one.” His dipped his tongue out and tasted my skin.
“No you are both occupying the same space, but you are not yet one. Not quite,” it all came out as a whisper. He ran his nose and lips up my neck and I squeezed my thighs together trying to dull the ache. This is wrong. So wrong.
“Stop,” I whispered. “Please,” that one was a little louder, a little sturdier.
Mercurial pulled back slightly, his nose grazing mine and stared into my eyes.
It was weird. I saw Declan in there. I didn’t have to use my mind’s eye to look for him, he was there. And I needed him desperately.
“Declan, please,” I knew I didn’t have to say anything else. I wanted him, Mercurial, but it felt wrong. They weren’t fully one. The proof was that I could see Declan within Mercurial’s eyes. No matter how my soul and body told me he was meant to be mine, it felt…like I was cheating. So, no. I couldn’t go through with this. Not with him. Not with Mercurial.
Mercurial dipped his head and took my lips in an intense kiss that I was powerless to stop. Then he pulled back with an expression that was both pained and understanding. His eyes morphed into a dark amber with flecks of gold and I knew that he had slipped into the background allowing Declan to surface.
The instant I knew he was there I jumped up his taller body and hugged him fiercely. He reciprocated, his arms now comparable to the size of original Declan’s legs. Huge. But proportionate.
I whimpered my need to him and thankfully he didn’t judge me. I felt horrible as it was knowing he was in there, watching me look like a sex-starved hussy.
“Don’t,” he said. I knew he had read my mind and while I was thankful that he didn’t blame me, I still blamed me. I nuzzled into his neck inhaling his scent, now stronger than ever before. I needed him so much. I couldn’t lose him. I had to find a way to either merge the two—imagine that…merging—or get rid of Mercurial so my Declan can return, fully. But I knew in my entire being that the latter was impossible. I wouldn’t be able to, I couldn’t disconnect the two. I had to face the facts. I just wasn’t strong enough.
A sharp nip to my neck tore me from my thoughts. Declan’s eyes were still with me though his body was new. And I desired him like nothing before. More so than when I was in heat, more so than when we mated.
Then I had a thought. And with that I attacked.
Welcome to Stop 2 on Bronwen’s blog tour.
Sensual heat melts the ice in the new Disgraced Lords novel from USA Today bestselling author Bronwen Evans, as a marriage of convenience leads to delightful pleasure—and mortal danger.
Lady Marisa Hawkestone’s nightmare is just beginning when she wakes up naked, with no memory of the night before, lying next to Maitland Spencer, the Duke of Lyttleton—a man so aloof and rational he’s nicknamed “the Cold Duke.” A scandal ensues, in which Marisa’s beloved beau deserts her. As a compromised woman, Marisa agrees to marry Maitland. But on her wedding night, Marisa discovers the one place the duke shows emotion: in the bedroom, where the man positively scorches the sheets.
Taught from a young age to take duty seriously, Maitland cannot understand his new wife’s demands on his love and affection. Marisa’s hot-blooded spirit, however, does have its attractions—especially at night. In retrospect, it seems quite silly that he didn’t marry sooner. But being one of the Libertine Scholars requires constant vigilance, even more so when the enemy with a grudge against his closest friends targets Marisa. Now Maitland must save the woman who sets his heart aflame—or die trying.
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Author Bronwen Evans USA Today Bestselling author, Bronwen Evans (Bron), loves story-telling – gobbling up movies, reading books and attending the theater. Her head is always filled with characters and stories, particularly lovers in angst. Is it any wonder she’s a proud romance writer.
Bronwen attended Victoria University, Wellington, New Zealand earning a bachelor’s degree in Commerce and Administration, majoring in Marketing and Accounting. She was all set on building herself a business career (which she did along the way).
But life never turns out exactly as one thinks. After working for a few years in marketing roles within New Zealand financial institutions, she left for a 6 month overseas experience in London, England. She loved England. She spent several years living in London, using it as a base to be able to work and travel from. She visited all four corners of the world. Her most interesting trips were a camel safari in the Sahara, a trip through Russia, a safari through Africa with her mother, and three months in the Mediterranean.
It was while living and working in London she discovered the offices of Mills & Boon and the germ of an idea to embark on a romance writing career was born.
Almost eight years later, on her return to New Zealand, encouraged by a close friend battling a life-threatening illness, Bronwen finally started down the path to publication by joining RWA, The Beau Monde, RW Australia and RWNZ.
Bronwen’s first manuscript, INVITATION TO RUIN, was completed late 2009, and was sold to Kensington Publishing early 2010, in a two book deal. Her debut novel, INVITATION TO RUIN, received a 4.5 star rating from RT Book Reviews and was nominated in the RT Reviewer’s Choice Awards – Best First Historical. Invitation to Ruin was also won the RomCon Readers Crown Best Historical 2012.
Bron’s first contemporary, The Reluctant Wife, also won the RomCon Readers Crown, Best Short Contemporary 2013.
Her first book in her Disgraced Lords series hit the USA Today bestsellers list and she has hit it several times since.
She lives in New Zealand in sunny Hawkes Bay with her Cavoodle named Brandy.