Tag Archive | Romance

Book Review: Come Hell or High Water by Nancy M. Bell

Book Review: Come Hell or High Water by Nancy M. Bell

Come Hell or High Water is book 2 in the “Longview Romance Series” from author Nancy M. Bell. It’s published by Books We Love, out of Calgary, Alberta.

This is a super interesting story with lots of excitement and thrills and spills. The action scenes in the chuckwagon races alone make it worth reading. You get the feeling, reading this series, that Ms. Bell knows something about farms and horses and such. And you would be correct.

She started out in Ontario and not only rode and competed in horse competitions but also taught riding. She continued most of her horse related activities when she moved to Alberta many years ago and still has lots of critters around her on the little farm which she and her hubby occupy. These days, besides writing, she does animal rescue work with various groups in the greater Calgary area.

Come Hell or High Water continues the romance between Michelle Wilson and new-to-the-area vet, Cale Benjamin, whom she is now living with. Michelle rescued Storm the dog in the first book of the series and now has her and her pup. There’s lots of dissension in the air between her ex, her brother and his new girlfriend, and Michelle. She’s a bit ornery at times and hot headed. She’s also big on rodeos, and so if you are a fan, this is the book for you.

As I said at the beginning, the chuckwagon race scenes are riveting and incredibly well described. I was on the edge of my seat and it was just like being at the movies. Pretty exciting. And, just when you think the thrills are over, Ms. Bell throws in snowstorms, truck and trailer accidents and then a flood.

The only thing bothering me in the book was the misprints and slips. I think it needed one more read through by the editor.

Here’s the description from Amazon:

Michelle Wilson has the world by the tail. Cale loves her and she loves him. Storm is happy and healthy. To top it off, Michelle has qualified for the Calgary Stampede. She can’t wait to barrel race for a chance at $100,000 on Showdown Sunday. All her dreams are coming true; nothing could possibly spoil her happiness. Could it? Shelly, her brother’s new girlfriend seems a tad too interested in her old friend Cale Benjamin. And what’s with Michelle’s ex-fiancé Rob who keeps popping up in the most unexpected places. Why can’t his brand new wife Kayla keep a tighter rein on that cowboy?

Here’s an excerpt:

“Toad quivered under her, twitching at the huge pieces of flotsam that rushed past just a few feet away. Once the other horse was far enough ahead, Michelle gave Toad his head. Her stomach clenched and flipped as his hind end dropped out from under her. The bank they were standing on collapsed into the river. The buckskin threw himself forward and clawed back onto semi-solid ground. Between the pain in her head and with the use of only one hand, Michelle slid out of the saddle. The rain blurred her vision and her head spun. There was no way she was going to get back on the horse. Stacey was a quarter of the way up the coulee, obviously unaware Michelle was in danger. Another old cottonwood uprooted by the river bobbed by, its branches scraping along the ragged bank.

Toad nudged her with his nose, eyes showing white around the edges. He wouldn’t leave her until she gave him permission. She looped the dragging reins around the horn and swatted him on the ass. “Go on git!” Tears of frustration mingled with the rain on her face. “

Okay, I’m stopping there. Just go buy the book! You can get a physical copy at most Chapters stores in Canada. Or you can order it online from anywhere that sells books.

Here’s the amazon.ca link!

And the link to Nancy’s website. http://www.nancymbell.ca

Happy reading!
Lynne

 

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Book Review: Storm’s Refuge by Nancy M. Bell

Book Review: Storm’s Refuge by Nancy M. Bell

I’ve been a fan of Ms. Bell’s writing for quite awhile now; both her poetry and fiction work. She is one of the best writer’s in Canada. When she gets rolling, her descriptions of the land, sea or sky are incredible and just take you right into the scenery. Her dialogue is natural, full of humour and life. Her characters are real. Nothing seems forced. Her books are always easy to read and never tick me off as an editor. And believe me, that happens.

I decided to reread all her work, starting with the Longview Romance series. When I first read Storm’s Refuge, Nancy was still working with MuseItUp. I notice there are some new things in it since the rewrite, either that or my memory is pretty lousy. (That could be true, too.) I like the new version, though as an editor there are a few typos needing to be fixed. (Sorry, I’m super anal about those things.)

The story is based in Alberta and involves a young lady who’s had a rough breakup the year before. She is an animal lover, horses, dogs, probably anything else needing a home, and finds a stray, very pregnant and injured dog under her porch during a wild and crazy winter storm; hence the name of the dog and the title of the book.
Storm, the dog, becomes her new housemate and there are lots of concerns around her and the about-to-arrive puppies, some of which involve the need for a vet. So, in walks Cale, the new city-slicker vet, or at least that’s what our feisty, the last guy-done-me-wrong-so -I-don’t-trust-any-man heroine, Michelle, thinks he is, and her world turns upside down. His description would turn any girl’s life upside down. I remember my farm days. There were some really cute horse vets out there, and blacksmiths, and cowboys. Sigh. But I digress.

So various things happen and Cale and Michelle enter into a kind of war dance of courting. There’s some stress with the dog, who is sick and needs a leg amputated—don’t worry things work out. Nancy would never kill the dog off—and the rotten ex-fiancé arrives, and there’s a blonde chick who Michelle wants to thump out for looking at Cale, plus a brother who has been a jerk; everything is in there to keep you wanting to read and turn the pages, fast. Once again, I ripped through it in a weekend, unwilling to stop and get a decent sleep two nights in a row. It was like I’d never read it before, although I knew the basics. I’d read it again tomorrow if it wasn’t for the fact I have the second in the series sitting right over there waiting for me to crack it open. Yay!!!

Do I recommend it? Hell, yes! This is five stars all the way!

Here’s the back cover:
“All Michelle wants is peace of mind. The only thing bigger than the storm in her heart is the blizzard raging across the Alberta prairie outside her window. Finding an injured stray dog is the last thing she needs. Add to the mix the handsome new vet who is taking over her beloved Doc’s practice and peace of mind is not in the picture.
Cale Benjamin is too nice to be for real. Michelle is still smarting from being jilted by her highschool sweetheart fiancé and not in the mood to trust any man, let alone one as drop dead gorgeous as Dr. Cale Benjamin DVM. The injured stray, Storm, keeps putting Michelle in Cale’s path whether she likes it or not. She is distressed to find that the handsome young vet is sliding past her carefully erected defences and into her heart. A few well-placed nudges from Doc’s matchmaker wife, Mary, help the young doctor’s cause, but will it be enough to make the lady rancher allow him into her life?”

Now here’s some of those descriptions I was telling you about.

From Chapter Fifteen:
“The morning star paled against the brightening blue of the sky; the sun swung free, climbing the heavens on chains of gold. Long red-gold rays slanted over the undulating landscape, throwing the small depressions into bluish shadows and touching the rolling land with a blush of rose. A high whinny broke the stillness and shook her from the contemplation of the winter sunrise.”

Man, I’d kill to be able to write that. Takes you back to the days of waking up in the country, the sun barely up in the sky, frost and snow everywhere, then going out into the barn, greeting the critters and them greeting you back; horses kicking the stall doors wanting their breakfasts right then! And listening to the sound of munching and nickering as everyone chows down. This whole book really brought back the memories of my country days. I sure miss it. Not getting up with the dawn, no, but all the rest, for sure.

Storm’s Refuge is in hard copy and available at Chapters and also in ebook format, so you can pick it up wherever you like to buy your books from. Personally I like the hard copy. Even though I have a kindle— with more books on it that I could humanly ever read in several lifetimes—plus an I Pad chock full, I still like to hold a real book in my hand.

Nancy is usually at the Surrey International Writer’s Conference every year in October, and I assume this year will be no different. So if you buy her book, you can get it autographed at the Saturday meet and greet the authors. She will also be out in British Columbia sometime in September, I believe, for a event involving a launch of the “Canadian Historical Bride’s” series with Books We Love. I will keep you posted. I’ll be writing a review on her book His Brother’s Bride which is so beautiful and made me cry several times. I look forward to rereading it.

Nancy M. Bell

Nancy M Bell is a proud Canadian and lives near Balzac, Alberta with her husband and various critters. She is a member of The Writers Union of Canada and the Writers Guild of Alberta. Nancy had numerous writing credits to her name and her work has been recognized and honoured with various awards. Nancy has presented at the Surrey International Writers Conference and the Writers Guild of Alberta Conference. Her publishing credits include poetry, fiction and non-fiction.

Product details
• Paperback: 276 pages
• Publisher: Books We Love and Ebound Canada (Sept. 1 2015)
• Language: English
• ISBN-10: 1771454407
• ISBN-13: 978-1771454407

o #8568 in Books > Romance > New Adult & College
o #88012 in Books > Romance > Contemporary
Five ***** stars all the way!

Book Review: Spellbound by Patricia Simpson

Book Review: Spellbound by Patricia Simpson

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This winter I’ve had one of the worst colds in years. I’ve spent almost ten days in bed now, and am barely starting to feel like a human being instead of a snot-filled zombie.
As most of you know, I’m a total book addict, but as an editor, I unfortunately seem to spend more time editing than reading for fun. So while I’ve been recuperating, I’ve also been reading some of the books stored on my kindle.

I couldn’t decide what to start with, so went to the bottom of the pile on my iPad and found this little number.

I’ve never read anything by Patricia Simpson before, but I must say I’ll certainly be checking out more of her work. I understand this is a self-published book. That always makes me nervous, especially in this day of indie publishing where everybody and his brother thinks they are a great writer and editing often means just checking for spelling and punctuation. But apparently, Ms. Simpson knows the meaning of the word and takes it seriously.

This was an extremely well-written piece. I caught only one typo near the end of the novel, and from what I can remember, only one misuse of a word. (It’s bollocks, not bullocks. That shows the American in the author.) It was darn near to perfection as far as the proofing was concerned.

The content was well done and the story-line was pretty plausible. Yes, there were a few vague moments of mystery and unexplained paranormal events, but the excitement level made up for it. And even though the ending seemed rushed—I’d have liked it dragged out and given a bit more explanation of what seemed like a pretty miraculous event to satisfy my inner Sherlock—it at least made the romantic aspect of the story come to a happy end.

I’m giving it a four-star rating **** just because as an editor I would have had Ms. Simpson fill in the paranormal blanks for those who need the facts sorted out. Like myself.

It’s five star ***** for excitement and very hot love scenes which had no porn in them—yay! I hate porn in the middle of a good love scene—but were written beautifully and made for a few fast page turns. There were the appropriate villains, more than one so we had to really think, and the hero was wonderful. I loved Tara the heroine’s thoughts and how she responded to the otherworldly events she was being drawn into. I probably would have reacted the same way.

There were only a couple of uncomfortable dialogue lines which seemed trite and not well thought out, but most of it was well done. I didn’t like the cover of the kindle edition. The fellow on the cover certainly held no resemblance to our hero, Hugh. I love the hard copy cover. That was great!

So, if you want a fast and interesting read with a lot of action, some romance and some otherworldly adventure, this is the one I’d choose.
Nice job.

Lynne

From Amazon.com:

“From award-winning author Patricia Simpson comes a haunting time-travel. A week before her wedding in Scotland, Tara Lewis stumbles upon a hidden tomb and accidentally awakens a spellbound knight. But Tara refuses to acknowledge the chivalrous shade. She doesn’t believe in the spirit world-or true love for that matter-until the touch of the handsome knight awakens her troubled heart. To gain his freedom, the knight must recover a valuable Psalter and deliver it to its rightful owner. But completing his quest proves difficult. Hugh finds himself hopelessly attracted to the woman who freed him and duty bound to protect her-from an ancient enemy, a modern threat, but most of all from a forbidden love that could ruin both their futures. As Tara’s wedding day dawns, she and Hugh must make a fateful choice. Will they keep their promises or follow their hearts? Or will the ancient spell that binds them destroy their one chance at happiness?”

Product Details
• Paperback: 264 pages
• Publisher: Patricia Simpson (February 14, 2009)
• Language: English
• ISBN-10: 0982344244
• ISBN-13: 978-0982344248

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Biography:
Patricia Simpson grew up in the wilderness of Western Montana, where it meant a 3-1/2 hour drive just to buy shoes. When she was young, the iPod hadn’t yet been invented, and there were no radio stations in the area, so on the many long drives for shoes, Patricia amused herself by reading novels or creating her own stories in her head. She was encouraged to write by her sister, who always asked to be read what she had written so far that day, her Egyptian-born English teacher in junior high, and then again by a creative writing professor at the University of Washington. Instead of seeking a writing degree, Patricia chose to pursue a BA in Art and has worked as a graphic artist/web developer at the University of Washington since 1982. Patricia still enjoys painting almost as much as she loves to write.

Ms Simpson has won numerous awards for her fiction, including Romantic Times Reviewer’s Choice Award, Career Achievement Award, and has been a finalist in the RITA awards and for Best Indie Paranormal of the Year.

Her Scottish husband encourages her to accompany him on his frequent business trips around the world, and whenever possible Patricia goes with him to scope out spooky historical places to use as the settings of her books.

Link to the book on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Spellbound-Patricia-Simpson/dp/0982344244

What’s Been Happening?

Hi Everyone!

Wow, I’ve been absent for a bit. I need to apologize to my readers. Had a little run-in with the big C and required surgery and various and sundry treatments.

So far—so good!

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In the meantime, I have been very lax in getting any blogging or writing done.

Some of my authors have been hard at work and so I’ve managed to get some stuff edited. That kept my brain working and filled my time.

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Donna Jean McDunn has completed the third book in her Nightmares Series. Premonitions will be coming out soon from MuseItUp Publishing. Also The Rose Stalker came out recently. Now there’s a super story! A slow paced little number that will keep you turning the pages as it gets scarier and scarier. Donna did a nice job on that one.

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Rosemary Morris and I just finished the edits on Monday’s Child, a sequel to her wonderful Regency Romance, Sunday’s Child. It is well done and the last few chapters were just great. It is set during the Napoleonic wars and her writing about those events, the soldiers involved in the fighting, the wounded, well, you feel like you’re right there.

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One thing about Rosemary, she is not one of those historical writers who set a 20th century character in the middle of another time. Her characters are genuine and part of the era. Her settings are well researched. The descriptions of the clothes, amazing. Just so well done!

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Have a new author I’m just finishing working with named William J. Dezell.

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We did It’s The Little Things You Miss. Oh, what a nice story. A mystery, but I loved the flavour of the book. A detective story with a fellow who should have been born in the Sam Spade era. Great lines. Super descriptions. Lots of wit. I’ll keep you updated on its progress. Bill’s other work:

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My author, J. Troy Seate, has moved on to another House. I just loved working with Troy and hope he does well wherever he goes.

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I have a couple of editing projects on my desk right now in the private field. One is a Historical Romance and the other is a Historical Word War Two Paranormal Action Adventure. Can’t wait to get my teeth into them! In the mean time, I have a couple of other projects to keep me busy.

 

I finished and published a book of Prayers which you can check out on my Exploring the Divine blog, www.exploringthedivine.wordpress.com  or my website, www.vlmurray.ca

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I have other things along those lines in the works right now. Plus my short story Huntin’,

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a paranormal thriller set in northern Canada, with a Medicine Wheel theme, was published in 2014. It’s a creepy little one. Lots of fun to write. Check out the book trailer on my website, and this site, as well.

 

I sure wish I had more time to sit down and work on my own things, but I’m gradually getting back into the swing of things.

So for now, I hope all is well with you. Take care, and enjoy the Spring!

Cheers,

Lynne

 

 

Coming out February 21, 2014: The Captain and The Countess

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Today is the release day for a very special book by well known author Rosemary Morris. The Captain and The Countess was a fun book to work on. I thoroughly enjoyed the story and had to rip through it quickly in order to be able to concentrate on the edits. Such is the nature of the action/adventure romances which Rosemary produces. Super read! Loved the heroine and the hero! Great antagonists to hate with a vengeance. 5***** stars all the way!!!!!

The Captain and The Countess: His heart captured by the Countess, only Captain Howard sees pain behind her fashionable façade and is determined to help her.

The Captain and The Countess by Rosemary Morris

Available from MuseItUp Publishing:

http://tinyurl.com/m5r9e8n

Sales price: $4.76

Sales price without tax: $5.95

Discount: $-1.19

Available where all your favourite ebooks are sold.

Genre:  Historical Romance

Tags:  Naval captain, artist, bachelor, Countess, widow, Queen Anne Stuart, Duke of Marlborough, Sarah Churchill, Fleet Street, High Society, Marriage, 18th century culture,18th century society, fashion, wine, the spice trade, The Royal Exchange, Dr Moore’s Almanac, Historical Novel, Historical Romance, Mainstream Fiction.

Release:  February 21, 2014

Editor:  V.L. Murray

Line Editor:  Greta Gunselman

Cover Designer  Charlotte Volnek

ISBN  978-1-77127-492-0

Price  $5.95

Back Cover:

Why does heart-rending pain lurk in the back of the wealthy Countess of Sinclair’s eyes?

Captain Howard’s life changes forever from the moment he meets Kate, the intriguing Countess, and resolves to banish her pain.

Although the air sizzles when widowed Kate, victim of an abusive marriage, meets Edward Howard, a captain in Queen Anne’s navy, she has no intention of ever marrying again.

However, when Kate becomes better acquainted with the Captain she realises he is the only man who understands her grief and can help her to untangle her past.

Excerpt:

The Countess of Sinclair’s cool blue eyes were speculative.

Captain Edward Howard gazed without blinking at the acclaimed beauty, whose sobriquet was “The Fatal Widow”’.

Did she have the devil-may-care attitude gossips attributed to her? If she did, it explained why some respectable members of society shunned her.

The lady’s fair charms did not entirely explain what drew many gallants to her side.

He advanced toward her, conscious of the sound of his footsteps on the wooden floor, the muted noise of coaches and drays through the closed windows and, from the fireplace, the crackle of burning logs which relieved the chill of early spring.

Her ladyship scrutinised him. Did she approve of his appearance? A smile curved her heart-shaped mouth.

“How do you do, sir,” she said when he stood before her. “I think we have not met previously.” Her eyes assessed him dispassionately. “My name is Sinclair, Katherine Sinclair. I dislike formality. You may call me Kate.”

“Captain Howard at your service, Countess.” Shocked but amused by boldness more suited to a tavern wench than a great lady, Edward paid homage with a low bow before he spoke again. “Despite your permission, I am not presumptuous enough to call you Kate.”

“You seem gallant, sir, but you are young to have achieved so high a rank in Her Majesty’s navy.”

“An unexpected promotion earned in battle.”

“You are to be congratulated on what, I can only assume, were acts of bravery.”

“Thank you, Countess.”

The depths of her ladyship’s sapphire cross and earrings blazed, matching his sudden fierce desire.

Kate looked up at him.

He leaned forward. The customary greeting of a kiss on her lips lingered longer than etiquette dictated. Her eyes widened before she permitted him to lead her across the room to the sopha on which his godmother sat next to Mistress Martyn.

With a hint of amusement in her eyes, Kate regarded Mrs Radcliffe. “My apologies, madam, I suspect my visit is untimely.”

Her melodious voice sent shivers up and down his spine, nevertheless, Edward laughed. Had the countess guessed his godmother, who enjoyed match-making, wanted him to marry Mistress Martyn?

“You are most welcome, Lady Sinclair. Please take a seat and partake of a glass of cherry ratafia.” Frances said.

“Perhaps, milady prefers red viana,” Edward suggested.

“Captain, you read my mind. Sweet wine is not to my taste.”

In response to the lady’s provocative smile, heat seared his cheeks.

Kate smoothed the gleaming folds of her turquoise blue silk gown. The lady knew how to dress to make the utmost of her natural beauty. Her gown relied for effect on simple design and fine fabrics. Later, he would sketch her from memory.

Kate inclined her head to his godmother. “Will you not warn your godson I am unsound, wild, and a bad influence on the young?”

Edward gazed into Kate’s eyes. Before his demise, had her husband banished her to a manor deep in the country? If it were true, why had he done so?

Kate’s eyebrows slanted down at the inner corners. She stared back at him. He laughed, raised her hands to his lips, and kissed each in turn. “I look forward to furthering my acquaintance with you.”

“High-handed.” Kate gurgled with laughter. “Captain, please release me.”

What did he care if she were some ten years his elder? He wanted to get to know her better. Edward bowed. “Your slightest wish is my command.”

His godmother fluttered her fan. “Edward, Lady Sinclair, please be seated.”

When they sat side-by-side opposite Mrs Radcliffe, although Kate smiled at him, the expression in her large blue eyes remained cool. “Tomorrow, please join those who visit me daily at my morning levee.”

“I fear my voice would be lost among many, thus casting me into obscurity,” Edward replied, much amused.

“I don’t take you for one to be ignored. However, I respect your wishes. Besides those who seek my patronage, there are many gentlemen eager to wait on me. ’Tis more than my porter’s life is worth to deny them entry.” She looked at his godmother. “Mrs Radcliffe, do you not agree it is pleasant to lie abed in the morning while indulging in conversation with one’s admirers?”

Frances toyed with her fan. “It does help to pass the time.”

“Come, come, madam, confess you value their advice,” Kate teased.

“Sometimes.”

Kate turned her attention to Edward. “I have no doubt you would become a cherished member of the group of those who seek my favour.”

“Countess, life at sea teaches a man to be wary of enemies, not to compete with them. I am not a flirt who is given to haunting ladies’ bedchambers.”

“If I seclude myself with you tomorrow morning, may I have the pleasure of your company?”

“Alone with you in your bedchamber? How improper. Are you always so careless of your reputation?” he asked, with a hint of laughter in his voice.

Her eyes widened. “I have no reputation to guard, Captain.” She had spoken in a forward manner he was unaccustomed to in polite society.

“Have you not?” Edward needed a plunge in icy water.

A frozen glimpse of despair deep in her eyes unsettled him. Did he imagine it? He could not speak. Why should a lady like the countess despair?

He recovered his voice. “If it is your custom to take the air in The Mall, I shall be pleased to be your sole escort.”

Kate fidgeted with a diamond buckle. “Are the battle lines drawn?”

“Don’t confuse battle lines with a mere skirmish at sea.” His voice hinted at the chuckle he restrained.

“There are those who would welcome an invitation to a tête-à-tête with me.”

He preferred to take the lead in affairs of the heart. “Perhaps I am not one of them. Maybe I would like to be your friend.”

“My friend? Is that all you want of me?”

His eyes widened.

Kate laughed. “No, I thought not.”

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Rosemary Morris was born in Sidcup, Kent in 1940. As a child, when she was not making up stories, her head was always ‘in a book’.

While working in a travel agency she met her Indian husband. He encouraged her to continue her education at WestminsterCollege.

In 1961 Rosemary and her husband, now a barrister, moved to his birthplace, Kenya, where she lived from 1961 to 1982. After an attempted coup d’etat, she and four of her children lived in an ashram in France.

Back in England, Rosemary wrote historical fiction. The Captain and The Countess is her fifth published novel.

She is a member of The Romantic Novelist’s Association, The Historical Novel Society and Watford Writers.

Rosemary enjoys classical Indian literature, reading, visiting places of historical interest, vegetarian cooking, growing organic fruit and vegetables and creative crafts.

Book Review: Mistletoe Magic by Melissa McClone

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Book Review: Mistletoe Magic by Melissa McClone ©2013

A Copper Mountain Christmas Novella/Short Story

Published by the Tule Publishing Group LLC   http://thetulegroup.com/

ISBN: 978-1-940296-19-7

File Size: 2583 KB

Print Length: 41 pages

Publisher: Tule Publishing Group; 1 edition (November 21, 2013)

Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.

Language: English

ASIN: B00GUZ195O

Text-to-Speech: Enabled 

X-Ray: Enabled 

Lending: Not Enabled

Publication Date: November 21, 2013

Amazon Link to purchase and read excerpt: http://tinyurl.com/mdh5wtu

My Review:

This is a fun novella about Caitlin Butler, a single young woman, who agrees to housesit for her friends in their beautiful home in Montana while they go to Idaho for Christmas with their family.

Caitlin is lonely and alone, missing her parents who have moved away and not having found Mr. Right, as of yet. However, she still maintains hope while teaching preschool in the local community.

We are next introduced to a young vet, Dr. Noah Sullivan, who has recently moved into town, starting a three-year commitment to a rural vet program in exchange for loan repayments. A win-win situation. He, too, has some issues with Christmas joy and the festivities of the season.

What transpires makes this a lovely heart-warming story for animal lovers and those who like Christmas romances.

It’s a quick read, with great descriptions, and a nice plot, It’s well written, though the odd missed typo was distracting to an OCD editor like myself.

I would have liked a few more chapters and so that’s why I am giving it four stars ****.  As an editor, I would have dragged a bit more out of Melissa and made this short story/novella into a longer work. But, that being said, what was written was done nicely. Great price at $0.97. I have purchased three more of her stories and will let you know what I think after I finish them.

Book Description:

Spending a quiet Christmas house sitting, and reading novels about hot cowboys, sounds perfect to Caitlin Butler, until a stray kitten brings her face-to-face with Noah, her crush from college. Watching the handsome vet in action melts Caitlin’s heart and brings back long forgotten emotions.

Veterinarian Noah Sullivan isn’t a Scrooge, but the Christmas Eve tradition of hanging mistletoe in the clinic’s waiting room annoys him. Kissing doesn’t belong at the Copper Mountain Animal Hospital. Noah rethinks his position when Caitlin arrives with the stray kitten she found freezing in the snow. All he wants now is to maneuver the pretty preschool teacher under the mistletoe. If he’s not careful, he’ll wind up on Santa’s naughty list. Mistletoe Magic is a short story companion to “The Copper Mountain Christmas Series”.

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About the Author

Melissa McClone graduated from Stanford University with a degree in mechanical engineering, but analyzing jet engine performance for a major airline couldn’t compete with her love of writing happily-ever-afters. She has published over twenty-five romance novels with Harlequin and been nominated for Romance Writers of America’s RITA award. She also writes for Tule Publishing Group. Melissa lives in the U.S. Pacific Northwest with her husband, three school-aged children, two spoiled Norwegian Elkhounds and cats who think they rule the house. They do! Author’s Blog link: http://www.melissamcclone.com/


Merry Christmas everyone!

Lynne

Interview with Author Rosemary Morris

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Natter and Review would like to welcome author Rosemary Morris today. Rosemary is a Historical Romance and Regency Romance novelist. She hales from Britain and lives in Hertfordshire.

Here is a brief biography of our guest.

Rosemary Morris was born in 1940 in Sidcup, Kent. As a child, when she was not making up stories, her head was ‘always in a book.’ While working in a travel agency, Rosemary met her Indian husband. He encouraged her to continue her education at Westminster College. In 1961 Rosemary and her husband, now a barrister, moved to his birthplace, Kenya, where she lived from 1961 until 1982.  After an attempted coup d’état, she and four of her children lived in an ashram in France.

Back in England, Rosemary wrote historical fiction. She is now a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association, Historical Novel Society, and Watford Writers. Her novel, Tangled Love, was short listed at the 2012 Festival of Romance for the best e-romance of the year.

Apart from writing, Rosemary enjoys classical Indian literature, reading, visiting places of historical interest, vegetarian cooking, growing organic fruit, herbs and vegetables and creative crafts.

Time spent with her five children and their families—most of whom live near her—is precious.

N&R: Hi Rosemary. Welcome to Natter and review. It’s great to have you here.

RM: Thank you for the invitation.

N&R: I have to ask because I see this event in your biography. What do you remember happening during the coup in Kenya? That sounds like it might have been a pretty frightening event.

RM: The first we knew of it was early in the morning when our twin sons came into our bedroom and told us they could hear guns firing. “Don’t be silly,” we said, “go back to bed, it’s too early to get up.”

All too soon, we found out there was an attempted coup d’etat and my imagination ran riot. Fortunately, the area I lived in was not affected. However, there were stories of looting and much worse. From then on, for my childrens’ safety and against my husband’s wishes I was determined to leave Kenya.

N&R: That sounds as if it must have been pretty scary. I think I would have headed for home as well.

Living in an ashram in France must have been very interesting. Is that where you developed a love of Indian Cooking?

RM: Yes, it was very interesting, and during my time in the ashram I developed a love of classical Indian literature such as The Bhagavad-gita As It Is, or Gita Govinda, the Song of God, by A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, The Mahabharat and The Ramayan amongst other famous translations.

I developed a taste for Indian Cooking while living with my in-laws in Nairobi. However, although I regularly make Indian dishes such as spinach and paneer (Indian cheese) curry, the recipe for which can be found in Far Beyond Rubies, I have an international collection of recipes. For example, my grandchildren will phone asking me to make risotto, lasagna made with spinach, ricotta cheese and pine nuts, apple or rhubarb pies and crumbles, as well as other food they particularly enjoy.

One of the reasons my family and friends enjoy the meals I cook is that I grow my own herbs, fruit and vegetables. Ingredients picked fresh from the garden taste superior to those bought from the shops. However, I am not 100% self-sufficient so I buy organic produce whenever possible.

N&R: Your dishes sound superb. I must admit I have a love of Indian cooking as well. I was pleased to see you had included a recipe at the end of Far Beyond Rubies. It was a great idea. And a nice dish as well.

Your books explore the era of the Napoleonic Wars and your male heroes and villains are often connected in some way to the military or the war of that period. You outline the atrocities very effectively and the various formalities of the era. When did this particular interest develop for you? And what kinds of things do you feel are important to note during this period of history.

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RM: The French Revolution and the aftermath destroyed the old order. Britain was determined to preserve the Rule of Law, including Habeas Corpus, which means no one can be held indefinitely without appearing before a judge.

When my hero and his best friend return to England, almost at the end of the long struggle in the Iberian Peninsula, it is a relief to be in a country not devastated by the depredations of brutal French soldiers. (Wellington did not tolerate looters, rapists etc. He had them hung.)

If the Duke of Wellington and Blucher had not defeated Napoleon at the Battle of Waterloo, the history of Europe would have been quite different.

N&R: I think I better read a little more about this period in history—especially if I want to continue as your editor. LOL. I find it really fascinating. Most of us study these kinds of things in school but we rarely pursue the topics later on in our lives.

I love the descriptions of the women’s clothing in all of your books. Some are absolutely breathtaking. Has women’s clothing been a favourite for you as a rule, or is it just this era that interests you the most?

RM: Thank you for the compliment. In my novels I try to recreate times past and part of that past is fashion, which even dictated how people moved. Can you imagine how restricted your movements would be when wearing whale-boned stays?   In each era in which my novels are set, I try to paint verbal pictures of my characters that include their appearance.

N&R: I think you have succeeded very well in that endeavor. And no, I cannot even dare to think how women could breathe, let alone move, in the kinds of things they were forced to wear in the past. I am very happy I live in this era.

How does one begin to research the kind of background knowledge required for creating a work such as Sunday’s Child?

RM: I have always been interested in history. Since childhood I have read voraciously, so there are many facts and anecdotes floating around in my mind. Over the years I have collected non-fiction about the Regency and other eras.

I have begun Monday’s Child, the sequel to Sunday’s Child, and decided the hero and his best friend will be hussar officers at the Battle of Waterloo. On Sunday I shall visit Apsley House, the residence of the Duke of Wellington, in search of more information. At the moment my bedside table is crammed with books about the Regency. As I read, I use post it notes on items of particular interest.

N&R: It must really help when you are writing these books to be able to go to the places where some of your stories have been set. That is wonderful. I live in British Columbia right now and it is a very young province whose history is certainly nothing like what you have available at your fingertips. You are very lucky.

MuseItUp Publishing has released four of your books now: Tangled Love, Sunday’s Child, False Pretences and Far Beyond Rubies, and we are just getting down to business with your latest, The Captain and The Countess. Can you tell our readers where the inspiration comes for these great stories? Let’s start with Tangled Love. Was it your first book? Where did the idea for the plot come from?

RM: As I stated above, I read historical non-fiction for pleasure. While seeking a period which is less often chosen to set historical fiction in, I read about James II. Although many of them did not like the man, his politics or his religion (Roman Catholic), the peers of the realm swore an oath of allegiance to him. Eventually, he was forced to flee to France. Subsequently, he was succeeded first by his daughter Mary and her husband William of Orange, and then by his daughter, Anne.

William and Mary

Some peers of the realm felt they could not swear oaths of allegiance to either Mary and William, or Anne while James lived, and followed James to France. What, I asked myself, would be the position of the children of such peers? A story formed in my mind so I wrote Tangled Love, a tale of riches to rags to riches set in Queen Anne Stuart’s reign, 1702 – 1714,

The theme of Sunday’s Child is that of two people, who, as the result of war, could—in today’s terms—have become dysfunctional.

False Pretences, set in the Regency era, is the story of a young woman still at boarding school whose only wish is to find out who her parents are. There are many twists and turns in the tale before the surprising truth is revealed with the help of a charismatic gentleman she meets when she runs away.

In Far Beyond Rubies, set in Queen Anne Stuart’s reign, my heroine must prove she is the rightful heiress to a great estate and that she and her sister are not bastards. It was an era of political and religious controversy and intolerance. The hero adds to the heroine’s confusion when she doubts his political and religious affiliations.

My new novel, The Captain and The Countess, to be published in February, 2014, explores the possible relationship between an outstandingly beautiful, wealthy widow and a captain in Queen Anne’s navy.  The captain, who is also an artist, is the only gentleman to realize profound sorrow is buried deep in the alluring countess nick-named Fatal Widow.

N&R: I have to add that when I first became your editor, I wasn’t particularly fond of romances, never have been, but you changed my mind on that one. Your romances are full of excitement, adventure, graphic description that makes the era come to life, and historical reference. You also keep the dialogue fairly lodged in the period and not more modern as many authors prefer. I have learned a lot of interesting words from the time.

As you were saying, you are working on sequels to Sunday’s Child. What are these books about and was there a specific catalyst for the original story?

RM: Yes, as I have stated above, I am now working on Monday’s Child, the second in a series of seven novels named for the days of the week. In each novel, I introduce a character who will be the hero or heroine of the next book.

The catalyst for the first tale was my speculation about the effects of war in an era in which there was no counseling for post-traumatic stress disorder. My hero is an honorable officer, who returns to England at the end of the war in the Iberian Peninsula, tortured from a tragic event. My heroine is an eighteen year old young lady, who once wanted to marry an army officer. However, after the deaths of her beloved father and brothers due to war, she no longer wants to marry a ‘military gentleman’ for fear he would be killed in battle. So, the reader will ask, how can the captain and the major’s daughter find peace and happiness?

N&R: Sunday’s Child was our first book together. It kept me intrigued right to the end. Our last one, Far Beyond Rubies is a beautiful story and has a bit of a paranormal theme running through it concerning reincarnation. I personally believe in the concept and so was quite happy to see a reference to it in what I consider more mainstream fiction. How important do you think it is to bring an author’s personal beliefs or interests into their work?

RM: I think an author can explore personal beliefs, such as reincarnation, in fiction, so long as they are in keeping with the characters. In other words, the reader should find them interesting, and the author should not attempt to foist her beliefs on the reader.

N&R: That sounds like a good rule of thumb.

Let’s share some blurbs and excerpts from your work.

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Here’s the blurb from Tangled Love followed by a brief excerpt.

The throne has been usurped by James II’s daughter and son-in-law, Mary and William of Orange.  In 1693, loyal to his oath of allegiance, ten year old Richelda’s father must follow James to France.

Before her father leaves, he gives her a ruby ring she will treasure and wear on a chain round her neck.  In return Richelda swears an oath to try to regain their ancestral home, Field House.

By the age of eighteen, Richelda’s beloved parents are dead.  She believes her privileged life is over.  At home in dilapidated Belmont House, her only companions are her mother’s old nurse and her devoted dog, Puck.  Clad in old clothes she dreams of elegant dresses and trusts her childhood friend Dudley, a poor parson’s son, who promised to marry her.

Richelda’s wealthy aunt takes her to London and arranges her marriage to Viscount Chesney, the new owner of Field House.  Richelda is torn between love for Dudley and her oath to regain Field House, where it is rumored there is treasure.  If she finds it, Richelda hopes to ease their lives.  But, while trying to find it, will her life be at risk or will she find true love?

Excerpt:

Prologue

1693

Nine year-old Richelda Shaw sat on the floor in her nursery. She pulled a quilt over her head to block out the thunder pealing outside the ancient manor house while an even fiercer storm raged deep within. Eyes closed, she remained as motionless as a marble statue.

Elsie, her mother’s personal maid, removed the quilt from her head. “Stand up child, there’s nothing to be frightened of. Come, your father’s waiting for you.”

Richelda trembled. Until now Father’s short visits from France meant gifts and laughter. This one made Mother cry while servants spoke in hushed tones.

Followed by Elsie, Richelda hurried down broad oak stairs. For a moment, she paused to admire lilies of the valley in a Delft bowl.  Only yesterday, she picked the

flowers to welcome Father home and then arranged them with tender care. Now, the bowl stood on a chest, which stood beneath a pair of crossed broadswords hanging on the wall.

Elsie opened the massive door of the great hall where Father stood to one side of an enormous hearth. Richelda hesitated. Her eyes searched for her mother before she walked across the floor, spread her skirts wide, and knelt before him.

Father placed his right hand on her bent head. “Bless you, daughter, may God keep you safe.” He smiled. “Stand up, child. Upon my word, sweetheart, your hair reminds me of a golden rose. How glad I am to see roses bloom in these troubled times.”

Richelda stood but dared not speak for she did not know him well.

Putting an arm round her waist, he drew her to him. “Come, do not be nervous of your father, child. Tell me if you know King James II holds court in France while his daughter, Mary, and William, his son-in-law, rule after seizing his throne?”

“Yes, Mother told me we are well rid of King James and his Papist wife,” she piped up, proud of her knowledge.

With a sigh, Father lifted her onto his knee. “Richelda, I must follow His Majesty for I swore an oath of allegiance to him. Tell me, child, while King James lives, how can I with honour swear allegiance to his disloyal daughter and her husband?”

Unable to think of a reply, she lowered her head, breathing in his spicy perfume.

Father held her closer. “Your mother pleads with me to declare myself for William and Mary. She begs me not to return to France, but I am obliged to serve King James. Do you understand?”

As she nodded her cheek brushed against his velvet coat. “Yes, I understand, my tutor told me why many gentlemen will not serve the new king and queen.”

“If you remain in England, you will be safe. Bellemont is part of your mother’s dowry so I doubt it will be confiscated.”

If she remained in England! Startled, she stared at him.

Smiling, he popped her onto her feet. “We shall ride. I have something to show you.”

****

Before long, they drew rein on the brow of a hill. Father pointed at a manor house in the valley.  “Look at our ancestral home, Field House. The Roundheads confiscated it soon after the first King Charles’ execution.  Richelda, I promised my father to do all in my power to regain the property.” Grey-faced, he pressed his hand to his chest. “Alas, I have failed to keep my oath,” He wheezed.

Richelda not only yearned to help him keep his promise to her grandfather, she also yearned to find the gold and jewels legend said her buccaneer ancestor, Sir Nicholas, hid.

She waited for her father to breathe easy before she spoke. “If we found the treasure trove you could buy Field House.”

“Ah, you believe Sir Nicholas did not give all his plunder to Good Queen Bess,” he teased.

“Elsie told me legend says he hid some of his booty in Field House.”  The thought of it excited her.  “In his old age, when Sir Nicholas retired from seafaring, is it true that he put his ship’s figurehead, Lady Luck, in the great hall?”

“Yes, for all I know she is still above a mighty fireplace carved with pomegranates, our family’s device.”

“I would like to see it.”

“One day, perhaps you will. Now, tell me if you know our family motto.”

“Fortune favours the brave.”

“Are you brave, my little lady? Will you swear on the Bible to do all in your power to regain Field House?”

To please him, and excited by the possibility of discovering treasure, she nodded.

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Here’s the blurb and excerpt from Sunday’s Child.

Georgianne Whitley’s happy life ends after the death of her beloved father and brothers.

In Sunday’s Child, Georgianne Whitley, must cope with her widowed mother in order to secure her happiness and that of her two younger sisters.

When Rupert, Major Tarrant returns to England from Spain in 1813, his family expect him to marry and father an heir, but although Tarrant wants to please his relations he has compelling reasons for not wanting to have a child.

A rich, elderly suitor desperate for a male heir seeks Georgianne’s hand in marriage.  Although the titled man’s offer would improve her situation she hesitates to accept his proposal.

Georgianne, who has known Tarrant since she was in the nursery, turns to him for help.  She knows he is quixotic and that he will never fail her.  Yet, even in order to help her sisters she is not sure as to whether or not she wants to accept his solution to her problems.

Tarrant admires dainty Georgianne and wants to protect her, but if he expects her to conform to Regency conventions and manners he will be surprised.  Sunday’s child is ‘fair of face’ but she is not a ‘bread and butter Miss’.

Neither Tarrant nor Georgianne can guess what the future holds.

Excerpt:

Tarrant stood in quiet contemplation by the drawing room window framed by faded velvet green curtains.

Adrian Langely stared at him.“What are you looking at?”

“The wind whipping the leaves from the trees. Oh, what does the weather matter? We have campaigned in worse conditions.”

His friend’s smile made him look younger than his twenty-seven years. It transformed the deep lines of his square soldier’s face and softened his dark eyes. “Am I correct in thinking you favour the beautiful Miss Whitley?”

Tarrant shrugged. “I have known Miss Whitley since her infancy, and admit to a certain fondness for her.”

Langley grinned. “Be careful, my friend, before you know it, you will become a tenant for life.”

Tarrant turned away from the window. “I have not considered marriage for a long time, however, my father wants me to tie the knot and, in biblical terms, beget an heir.” As he spoke, his mind crowded with memories of ladies suffering in the hands of French soldiers, compatriots of those who had cheered each time a head rolled during the French Revolution.

“Dolores?”

At Langley’s mention of the lady to whom Tarrant was previously betrothed, Tarrant’s face contorted.

“I beg your pardon. I should not have mentioned her.” Langley cleared his throat. “You never told me why you broke it off. If you still love her is there no hope of making her your wife?”

“We did not break if off.” His shoulders slumped. “At the time I could not bear to speak of the matter. She was repeatedly raped by French soldiers. She died in childbirth.”

“My God! I did not know, I never guessed!” Langley exclaimed, jerked out of his usual calm.

Every muscle in Tarrant’s body contracted. He was present at the time of Dolores’s death. Even now, her screams, as she struggled to give birth, rang in his ears. He shuddered at the memory of his horror as those piercing cries faded to faint groans when Dolores delivered a stillborn baby. Overcome by grief he had made an impulsive vow never to be responsible for such suffering. He sighed. Since his elder brother’s death, he needed to fulfill his duty to father an heir, yet…

Tarrant clenched his teeth. Despite his avowal of undying love and his assurance that he would marry her after the baby’s birth, he doubted Dolores had wanted to live. Most likely, she had welcomed death.

He crossed the room and stared out of the window into the night. “I must see to my horse,” he said, his voice husky.

On the way to the stable, he paused to look up. Dark, silver-edged clouds raced across the full, lemon-yellow moon. He bent to rub his right leg. Although it had healed, it ached sometimes.

I am feverish, he thought, when he imagined Georgianne and Dolores’s faces merging.  Usually, he tried not to think of gentle Dolores, in whose admiration he once basked. He sighed and entered the stable. Corunna, his grey, whickered a welcome. He stroked the horse’s neck, considering past events. After witnessing the consequences of the brutality of Boney’s officers and common soldiers toward the fair sex, like Langley, and many other gentlemen, he believed a nation’s civilisation should be judged by how it treated women. He despised men like Pennington, who thought their rank entitled them to grab anything they wanted without mercy.

Oh, he did not claim or wish to claim the virtues mouthed by men like Wilfred Stanton. Before his betrothal to Dolores, he had always enjoyed the petticoat company whom he treated with respect. At the same time, he had always taken care not to disgrace either his family or his regiment.

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Here’s the blurb and an excerpt from False Pretences.

Five-year-old Annabelle arrived at boarding school fluent in French and English. Separated from her nurse, a dismal shadow blights Annabelle’s life because she does not know who her parents are.

Although high-spirited, Annabelle is financially dependent on her unknown guardian. She refuses to marry a French baron more than twice her age.

Her life in danger, Annabelle is saved by a gentleman, who says he will help her to discover her identity. Yet, from then on nothing is as it seems, and she is forced to run away for the second time to protect her rescuer.

Even more determined to discover her parents’ identity, in spite of many false pretences, Annabelle must learn who to trust. Her attempts to unravel the mystery of her birth, lead to further danger, despair, unbearable heartache and even more false pretences until the only person who has ever wanted to cherish her, reveals the startling truth, and all’s well that ends well.

Excerpt:

The chaise came to a halt no more than two yards from Annabelle and Dan.

Annabelle swallowed the bitter bile, which rushed into her throat in response to her brush with near death from horse’s hooves and deadly wheels, and all her limbs trembled.

A groom alighted from the back of the chaise and opened the door nearest to her.

“Why the devil have we stopped?” a crisp male voice demanded.

The groom scrambled down from his seat next to the coachman, lowered the steps, and mumbled something before a tall gentleman descended.

Annabelle glanced at the coat of arms on the chaise and assumed they must be those of her would-be-bridegroom, for who else would travel along this short-cut to The Beeches so early in the morning? Besides, her mind was too preoccupied with Dan to consider other alternatives. “Monsieur le Baron de Beauchamp, I presume. Your arrival is more than welcome, monsieur.” She pointed at Dan, who lay limp on the road. “We need help. A footpad held us up. You cannot imagine a dirtier, scruffier, more impertinent person…”

“Indeed,” the gentleman murmured, his eyebrows lowered.

She stared up at Monsieur le Baron. Some six feet tall, dressed in a beautifully cut dark green coat, cream-coloured unmentionables almost moulded to his powerful legs, a dark grey coat with as many as twelve capes and a snow white, intricately tied cravat at his throat, her artist’s eyes approved of him. Her eyes also approved of his short black hair which curled at the ends, a pair of large brown eyes with golden depths, and a well-shaped, clearly defined mouth that had deep, endearing dimples on either side of it, softening the effect of his square jaw and cleft chin.

The baron picked up her hat, dusted it with gloved fingers, and inclined his head. “I regret I have no comb in hand for you to tidy your curls.”

She sighed, well able to imagine the small, unruly curls that often escaped and clustered round her face, despite her best efforts to subdue them.

“You are trembling. Allow me to help you to stand and I shall return your hat to you,” he said, his eyes troubled and his expression thoughtful.

She stood without his help and he handed the hat to her. “Thank you.” Made ill-at-ease by his scrutiny, she tried to smooth those annoying little curls before she replaced her hat. “Monsieur, a footpad took my saddlebags, knocked Dan down, and stole my mare.”

“Good God! Did he harm you?” The gentleman stepped forward to clasp her hands.

His touch sent fire up her arms. She pulled herself free from him, and then tried to shake the dirt from her skirts. “I am uninjured but, as you see, poor Dan is unconscious.” She knelt next to the stable boy. “He is so pale.”

“So would you be if you had been knocked senseless. Do stand up again. Rest assured that I will not leave the lad here. My groom shall put him on the floor of the chaise. That will not leave much room for our feet but we shall contrive until we reach the next village.”

Annabelle hesitated. She was not ignorant of the ways of the world, and knew she should not travel in his chaise without a chaperone, but realised she had no choice. It would be folly to reject his offer and either wait for help or walk to the inn, prey to any other footpad lurking in the woods. She stood and pointed in the opposite direction to the one from which the chaise had approached. “Dan said there is an inn not far from here.”

The baron beckoned to his groom. “Put the lad in the chaise,” he ordered.

When the muscular groom picked Dan up without the slightest difficulty, Dan did not stir.

“Gently,” the baron ordered and watched his groom settle the young man inside the chaise. The baron nodded at his coachman. “Turn the chaise round.” He turned to Annabelle and offered her his arm. Without pause for prudent hesitation, she put her hand on his smooth broadcloth sleeve, surprised by the sudden tingling in her fingertips.

Annabelle permitted him to lead her far enough down the road to make way for the chaise to turn.

“Good, you have stopped trembling.” The baron smiled. His dimples deepened. Her heart lurched and continued to when the baron scrutinised her face as they waited to get into the chaise. “May I ask how you know my name, Miss—?”

She removed her hand from his arm and looked down at the tips of her dusty riding boots. “I am Miss Allan. We were expecting you. That is, Miss Chalfont told me, oh dear, this is so awkward, monsieur. I am sorry to disappoint you, but I must be honest. Nothing would persuade me to marry you, for although your eyes do not bulge like a frog’s and you are handsome, you are too old for me.” Nervous, she moistened her lips with the tip of her tongue.

“Thank you for your compliment, I am relieved to hear my looks do not displease you,” the gentleman said dryly.

“Don’t try to persuade me to change my mind.” Her cheeks burned. She should not have been outspoken and rude. Yet she ran away because she did not want to marry at her guardian’s command, and she still believed she had no other choice despite Monsieur le Baron’s handsome appearance and charm. She peered up at him before resuming her contemplation of the tips of her boots.

Le monsieur’s mouth twitched. His eyes laughed at her. “Please be good enough to tell me why you are here with an unconscious ragamuffin.”

“I like to ride early in the morning.”

“Ah.” His eyes still laughed at her, their golden flecks deepening. “As soon as we reach the inn, I will send someone to notify the authorities of the crime.”

“Do you think my mare will be recovered?” She looked up at the seemingly harmless man whom Fanny had described as one overly fond of women. Thank God he was not ogling her. Even Miss Chalfont could not have objected to his manners. She

looked away from his expressive eyes, fringed with sooty black lashes, long enough to make any young lady envious.

Oh, she understood his success with the fair sex. Not only did he possess an attractive personality but he had broad shoulders and a slim waist, and those muscular thighs beneath the tight fitting unmentionables she had already noticed.

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And finally, Far Beyond Rubies, the latest Rosemary Morris publication from MuseItUp Publishing.

Set in 1706 in England during Queen Anne Stuart’s reign, Far Beyond Rubies begins when William, Baron Kemp, Juliana’s half-brother, claims she and her young sister, Henrietta, are bastards. Spirited Juliana is determined to prove the allegation is false, and that she is the rightful heiress to Riverside, a great estate.

On his way to deliver a letter to William, Gervaise Seymour sees Juliana for the first time on the grounds of her family home. The sight of her draws him back to India. When “her form changed to one he knew intimately—but not in this lifetime,” Gervaise knows he would do everything in his power to protect her.

Although Juliana and Gervaise are attracted to each other, they have not been formally introduced and assume they will never meet again. However, when Juliana flees from home, and is on her way to London, she encounters quixotic Gervaise at an inn. Circumstances force Juliana to accept his kind help. After Juliana’s life becomes irrevocably tangled with his, she discovers all is not as it seems. Yet, she cannot believe ill of him for, despite his exotic background, he behaves with scrupulous propriety, while trying to help her find evidence to prove she and her sister are legitimate.

Excerpt

“Bastards, Juliana! You and your sister are bastards.”

Aghast, Juliana stared at William, her older half-brother, although, not for a moment did she believe his shocking allegation.

It hurt her to confront William without their father at her side. At the beginning of April, she and Father were as comfortable as ever in his London house. Now, a month later, upon her return to her childhood home, Riverside House, set amongst the rolling landscape of Hertfordshire, his body already lay entombed in the family crypt next to her mother’s remains. Would there ever be a day when she did not mourn him? A day when she did not weep over his loss?

A cold light burned in the depths of William’s pebble-hard eyes.

Juliana straightened her neck. She would not bow her head, thus giving him the satisfaction of revealing her inner turmoil.

William cleared his throat. His eyes gleamed. “Did you not know you and your sister were born on the wrong side of the blanket?”

Anger welled up in her. “You lie. How dare you make such a claim?”

Hands clasped on his plump knees, William ignored her protestation. “You now know the truth about your whore of a mother,” he gloated.

Well, she knew what William claimed, but did not believe him. “You are wicked to speak thus. My mother always treated you kindly.”

“As ever, you are a haughty piece.” William’s broad nostrils flared. Anger sparked in his eyes. “My dear sister, remember the adage: Pride goeth before a fall, however, do not look so worried. I shall not cast you out without the means to support yourself.”

William rang the silver handbell. When a lackey clad in blue and gold livery answered its summons, he ordered the man to pour a glass of wine.

Juliana watched William raise the crystal glass to his lips. What did he mean? How could she maintain herself and her sister? She had not been brought up to earn a living.

She looked away from her half-brother to glance around the closet, the small, elegantly furnished room in which she kept her valuables and conducted her private correspondence before her father’s death.

Now it seemed, William, the seventh Baron Kemp, and his wife, Sophia, had sought to obliterate every trace of her by refurbishing the closet. Where were her books and her embroidery frame? Where was Mother’s portrait? Rage burned in the pit of her stomach while she looked around her former domain. Juliana wanted to claw William’s fat cheeks. It would please her to hurt him as he was hurting her. No, that wish was both childish and unchristian. She must use her intelligence to defeat him.

At least her family portrait—in which her late mother sat in front of Father, and she and William, dressed in their finest clothes, stood on either side of Mother—remained in place. One of her father’s hands rested on her pretty mother’s shoulder, the other on the back of the chair. A handsome man, she thought—while admiring his relaxed posture and frank expression, both of which depicted a man at his ease.

At the age of five, she already had resembled Mother when Godfrey Kneller painted her family in 1693. They both had large dark eyes and a riot of black curls, as well as fair complexions tinged with the colour of wild roses on their cheeks. She touched her narrow, finely sculpted nose. Judging by the portraits, she inherited her straight nose, oval face, and determined jaw from Father.

Her hands trembled. After Father died, she knew life would never be the same again. Yet nothing had prepared her for what would follow.

Today, when she first stepped into the spacious hall, it seemed as though she had also stepped over an invisible threshold. From being a beloved daughter of the house, she had become her half-brother’s pensioner. Knowing William and Sophia’s miserly natures, she doubted they would deal kindly with her. Yet she could not have anticipated William’s appalling accusation of illegitimacy, and his arrangement—whatever it might be—for her to earn her living.

The lackey served William with another glass of wine.

William jerked his head at the man. “Go.”

Her head still held high, Juliana looked at tall, fleshy William. She liked him no more than he liked her. Indeed, who would not dislike a man so parsimonious that he neither offered his half-sister the common courtesy of either a seat or a glass of wine? Infuriated by his gall, she clasped her hands tighter, trying to contain her anger and keep her face impassive.

She shivered. Today, when she alighted from the coach, rain soaked her clothes. On such a wet, grey day, why did no fire blaze in the hearth? Here, in the closet, it was scarcely warmer than outdoors. She clenched her hands to stop them trembling and imagined the heart of the house had died with Father.

“You shall put your fine education, which our father boasted of, to good use,” William gloated. “You shall be a teacher at a school in Bath.”

Fury flooded Juliana’s chilled body. “Shall I?”

“Yes. Our father saw fit for you to have an education far beyond your needs. You are more than qualified to teach young ladies.”

“Beyond my needs? Father admired Good Queen Bess and other learned ladies of her reign. He deplored Queen Anne’s lack of education. Our father decided no daughter of his would be as ignorant as Her Majesty and her late sister, Queen Mary.”

The purple-red colour of William’s cheeks deepened. “Enough! I despise over-educated women.”

She stared at him. Undoubtedly his mean-minded wife had influenced him. Sophia was jealous because her own schooling comprised of only simple figuring, reading, and writing learned at her mother’s knee, whereas Juliana benefited both from the tutors her tolerant father, the sixth baron, had engaged, and her father’s personal tuition.

William interrupted her thoughts. “You have no claim on me.”

N&R: That is an amazing collection of work. I have read and reread them all and still could do it again. I encourage all my readers to purchase copies through MuseItUp Publishing. These are very intricate stories with adventure for both sexes. Is there one of your books in particular which you like more than the others?

RM: I like all of my novels equally, but am particularly pleased that Far Beyond Rubies has been published because it gave me the opportunity to develop various themes, such as reincarnation, which I have mentioned.

N&R: Can you tell us a bit about the novel you are working on right now without giving away too much of the plot?

RM: Monday’s Child begins in Brussels shortly after Napoleon has escaped from Elba. The hero and heroine are characters introduced in Monday’s Child. They assumed they would marry, but unforeseen events will intervene.

Here are my author’s notes and my draft of the first, very short chapter.

 

Monday’s Child

Monday’s child is fair of face.

                                                                                                                                                                                             First line of Monday’s child poem

* * * *

Author’s Notes

After the collapse of Napoleonic France a new country, called The United Kingdom of the Netherlands was formed. It incorporated the former Austrian Netherlands (Belgium), and the Dutch provinces. The United Kingdom of the Netherlands formed a buffer state between France—the throne of which Louis XVIII, the Bourbon king, had ascended—and land-hungry Prussia. To strengthen the borders, British troops were stationed in the country which the Duke of Wellington visited on his way to Vienna for the peace conference.

The defeat of Napoleon and the restoration of the rule of the House of Orange resulted in debt ridden English people flocking to Brussels where they could reduce their expenses.

* * * *

Chapter One

March1815

Brussels

Helen Whitley frowned as she regarded her reflection in the full-length mirror of her luxurious bedchamber, in the house which her brother-in-law, Rupert, Major Tarrant, and her older sister, Georgianne, had rented on the Rue Royale.

“If you will permit me to say so, you look beautiful, Miss,” her middle-aged dresser said, smiling shyly while she bent to tweak one of the six frills at the hem of  the new, cream silk gown into place.

Helen sighed at the sight of the soft folds of the gown which flowed from beneath her breasts. “Thank you, Mabey,” she said, in a flat tone of voice.

She scrutinised the low-cut bodice, ornamented with tiny seed pearls, and her pearl necklace and earrings. Although, in her own opinion she was too tall for beauty, she was the epitome of a well-dressed young lady, about to attend a ball.

The expression in the green eyes gazing at her from the mirror softened. Soon Viscount Langley, Rupert’s comrade in arms, would arrive in Brussels and propose marriage to her. Afterward, she would insist they loved each other so dearly that there was no reason to delay their wedding, and then she would be free from Georgianne and Rupert’s charity.

Another long drawn out sigh escaped her as she coaxed a brown, pomaded curl into place on her forehead. She was an ungrateful wretch. Through marriage to Rupert, their cousin-in-law, Georgianne had saved her from a life of unhappiness.

Subsequently, Langley’s tender consideration and kind words had made it obvious that he loved her.

“Miss?” Mabey held out a pair of elbow-length white kid gloves.

Helen put them on, her head filled with thoughts of Langley, and then allowed Mabey to enfold her in a rose-pink velvet cloak which would keep her warm on her way to the ball with Georgianne and Cousin Rupert. Once, she had looked forward to making her debut in society. Now that she was part of it, her enjoyment was diminished by Langley’s absence. The evening would be perfect if he were at the ball. Oh, how she longed for the day when they would be man and wife. © 2013 Rosemary Morris

N&R: I’m looking forward to that one coming across my desk.

Is there anything you would like to share with up and coming historical fiction writers?

RM: It is embarrassing to admit I wrote for many years without securing an agent or a publisher. Fortunately, my late husband encouraged me to continue. He said that one day all my novels would be published. He was right, after much revision some of them have been. Along the path to publication I studied books on how to write, attended some workshops, and joined one to one and online critique groups. This helped me to polish my novels. However, from time to time I was advised to write something different—e.g. cosy crime, contemporary novels—because historical fiction is not as popular as it used to be. I did not agree with this well meant advice and continued to write historical fiction.

In my opinion, up and coming historical fiction writers should make sure they are not writing about 21st century characters plunked in the past. They should ensure that their characters are of their time and place, which means authors should not skimp on meticulous research.

N&R: Very good advice.

Well thank you for visiting and we wish you well in all your future literary endeavors.

RM: Thank you very much.

N&R: For our readers, the following links will connect you to Rosemary’s website, blogs and locations to purchase her work. Please support this very talented writer. I really look forward to working with her more in the future as an editor; it certainly offers me a great opportunity to be one of the first to read her genuinely well-crafted stories.

Links:

http://tinyurl.com/bzydpr8

http://www.amazon.com/Rosemary-Morris/e/B007MQI9Q2/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1371792933&sr=1-2-ent

http://www.kobobooks.com/search/search.html?q=%22Rosemary+Morris%22

http://www.rosemarymorris.co.uk/             http://www.rosemarymorris.blogspot.ca/