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Archive for 'historical'



Constance Walker: THANK YOU FOR YOUR SERVICE
Friday, November 10th, 2017

Tomorrow, November 11, is Veterans Day, and tomorrow I will fly the American flag in front of my house. Not because it’s a political statement but because it’s my way to say thank you to all the veterans who left their homes, their jobs, their families, and their comfortable lives to protect our country. Think about it – young men and women who believed so strongly in America that they were willing to give up a portion of their lives so that we can enjoy freedom.

Many years ago, when I was a small child, we used to have elderly veterans from World War 1 come to talk to us in our classrooms on that day. They would tell us stories about their experiences in the war – none really too frightening – and we children would sit listening, fascinated to be told what it was like to go to other countries, see other sights, and learn new languages. We were really too young to know the real implications of battle and these men and women were not about to frighten us — they were there to give us a sense of pride in our country and a reason to honor the day. They would tell us stories and then, in closing, would remind us that America was the greatest country in the world and we should never forget it

November 11 was originally celebrated as “Armistice Day” in memory of the end of “The Great War.”  That’s what they called it – “The Great War” – because their hope, these men who fought in the trenches in France and Germany and all over Europe in 1914-1918, could never conceive that there would ever be another such war. They were wrong, as we know, and so, in 1939, when another multinational conflict erupted, the “Great War” became World War I in order to remember and designate the next horror…World War II. Then, in 1954, the name “Armistice Day” was changed to “Veterans Day” to honor everyone – men and women–who served in all wars and almost every home in my neighborhood displayed the flag.

I was young, but I was old enough to remember, during the late 1940’s, another type of flag — the small cloth flags with a blue star that hung in the windows of the houses on my street indicating that a family member was serving in the Armed Forces:  Later, sadly, as the war progressed, some of those blue stars became gold when the family was notified that the service man had made the ultimate sacrifice for his country. Our country.

On the last day of that war, we kids were exuberant and wanted to celebrate and set off caps and fireworks but my mother hushed us and nodded her head to the house with the drawn curtains and the gold star flag in the window. “Remember them, Connie,” she said…”pay honor to the family.”  And that’s what Veterans Day is all about – honoring those who served America.

So, tomorrow I’ll hang the flag from the pole next to my door and I’ll remember the veterans — my husband, my brothers, my cousins, all my family members, their friends, and all those brave young men and women who went off to the wars – some to never return – and I’ll silently thank them for protecting our way of life … our country.

I hope you will, too.

About STORYTIME AT THE VILLA MARIA

The characters in my latest novel, STORYTIME AT THE VILLA MARIA, consist of senior citizens – some, World War II veterans, and they tell stories to their friends every Monday night at their senior citizen residential apartment house. They speak of patriotism and heroism and weddings and births and good times and bad and all the things relevant in their lives.  These characters remind me of my parents and my parents’ generation.  And that’s why I wrote the novel – it’s my love letter, my thanks — to the seniors of the world who went to war, to the wives and families who kept the home fires burning, and to the lives that they lived afterwards.

Meet…

Dominick, who married “the most beautiful woman in the world”…

Sophie, who is haunted by terrifying memories of the Holocaust…

Ella, who made “sweet apple pies” for her war veteran husband…

Tom, whose music lured women into his arms…

Artie, who is plagued by the ghosts of long-dead soldiers…

Frank, who can’t let go of his yesterdays, though a better tomorrow beckons…

Join them and others as they gather every Monday night in the library at the Villa Maria to share their memories, their fears, and their dreams.

STORYTIME AT THE VILLA MARIA—the unforgettable book about life lived and still to be lived, and about the mysterious threads of joy and heartache and love that are woven into every life—including your own!

“A charming novel of senior citizens, storytelling, nostalgia, and a world gone by but not forgotten.”

Get your copy here!

 About the Author

Constance Walker is the author of THE SHIMMERING STONES OF WINTER’S LIGHT, LOST ROSES OF GANYMEDE HOUSE, IN TIME, and WARM WINTER LOVE among other works of Gothic and contemporary fiction.

MY LINKS:

WWW.CONSTANCEWALKER.COM

https://www.amazon.com/Storytime-Villa-Maria-Constance-Walker-ebook/dp/B072Q3VBP1/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1497301294&sr=8-1&keywords=STORYTIME+AT+VILLA+MARIA
https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/storytime-at-the-villa-maria-constance-walker/1126484514?ean=9780988430730
https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/storytime-at-the-villa-maria-constance-walker/1126484514?ean=2940154392010
https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/2090408.Constance_Walker
https://www.facebook.com/search/str/constance+walker+author/keywords_top

Have you read these? (Contest)
Saturday, October 21st, 2017

UPDATE: The winner is Peggy!

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I think I’ve mentioned this before… I love writing short stories. I began my career as an author writing novels. Then browsing some calls for submissions, I ran across calls for short stories. I wrote one. Then another. And then another. I quickly discovered I loved writing them. They gave me a chance to reach THE END very quickly, which was hugely satisfying. They gave the chance to try out different genres to see whether I enjoyed writing them. Plus, they gave me stress relief.

Very soon, I compiled quite a backlist of shorties, and I was tempted to try my hand at editing my own anthologies. I put together several projects for Cleis Press, but when the company sold, I decided to release my own personally-curated books. I find it highly enjoyable developing the theme and seeking authors to write stories.

These anthologies were never meant to be money-makers. Instead, I wanted a way to help authors, and me, expand our reader base by sharing our readers and encouraging them all to pick up every one of these books, so I offer them for a very low price to recoup expenses then offer them for free. There’s little risk that way. If you love only one story in 15, it’s still worth the asking price, but I’m betting you’ll discover authors you want to follow.

So, below is what I have so far of my self-pubbed anthologies. You can check out my full list at my Collections website. Coming in January (I hope), will be the next volume, Pirates: A Boys Behaving Badly Anthology.

*****

Conquests: An Anthology of Smoldering Viking Romance

Conquests

 

Just $0.99!

Vikings. Fierce warriors who terrified all in their path as they raided and marauded, enslaved and murdered during Europe’s Dark Ages.

But these rough men from a rugged land were also sailors, explorers, craftsmen, and highly sought after mercenaries.

Conquests: An Anthology of Smoldering Viking Romance will transport you to the realm of fantasy where such fearsome and loyal men are relentless potent lovers. Whether the lady of the keep demands a few stolen hours of pleasure with a captured Viking warrior or the handsome Northman is the one seducing his captive, you will find plenty of lusty adventures in settings as far-flung as Ireland, Iceland, Norway, Byzantium, Moorish Spain and the New World.

Let your fantasies run wild to a time when men wearing bearskin shirts and shining iron helms could capture a fierce maiden’s heart!

Amazon | Nook | Kobo | IBooks | GooglePlay | Print

Rogues: A Boys Behaving Badly Anthology

Rogues

 

FREE!

Rogues! Even the word conjures a special sort of hero—a playful bad boy with a heart of gold—at least when it comes to his lady love. This volume is filled with the Jack Sparrows of old—pirates sailing the high seas, Regency-era highway men, modern-day jewel thieves, like Cary Grant in To Catch a Thief—men doing bad things, bending or breaking the law, but in a very sexy way. With thirteen stories sure to satisfy the reader who craves that ultimate bad boy, prepare to have your heart stolen!

Amazon | Nook | Kobo | Print

 

Blue Collar: A Boys Behaving Badly Anthology

Blue Collar

 

Just $.099!

When it comes to love…Blue Collar is better!

It’s time to set aside those sexy billionaires and enjoy stories about the everyday, even sexier bad boys you meet in real life. They may have dirty hands and wear tool belts and jeans instead of Rolex watches, but they’re earthy alpha males unafraid to get down and dirty when face to face with a woman in need–whatever her need may be!

Just a few of the titillating stories inside…

In “Elevation” by Megan Mitcham, an always-in-control policewoman trapped in an elevator shaft gets a sexy rescue from the handsome repairman. A lonely woman drives a thousand miles to meet an oil field roughneck ready for a long night of laying pipe in Mia Hopkins’ “We Drill Deep While Others Sleep”. Jennifer Kacey shows the lengths to which an enterprising gal will go to get the owner of an oil change shop to check her fluids in “The Boss”. And those are just a few of the sexy stories inside this collection about the everyday hero next door.

These are men who’ve built their powerful muscles from hard work rather than inside any gym, and they sure know how to use their hard-earned skills to pleasure a woman…

Amazon | Amazon UK | Nook | Kobo | IBooks | GooglePlay | Print

*****

Contest

For a chance to win your choice of one of my self-published backlist stories or one of these anthologies, answer me this:

  1. Are you looking forward to an anthology filled with pirate stories (historical, sci-fi, steampunk, etc.)?
  2. What other kinds of bad-boy themed anthologies would you like to read?

 

Dena Garson: London Calling
Sunday, October 8th, 2017

Thanks for having me here today, Delilah!

I have two new releases out this month. One is a follow-up to my sci-fi romance, Rege’s Rescue, and will be included in the Cosmic Cabaret set. The other is a steampunk romance.

What excites me so much about the steampunk is that I finally go to live in Victorian England for a short time while writing the story. I have always loved the Victorian Era. Don’t know why. It wouldn’t surprise me if one of my former lives was spent in that time period. I was so fascinated by Queen Victoria and her influence on the world that I wrote my senior paper on it.

But something struck me while writing Her Clockwork Heart like a slap upside the head. When I visualized myself in the heroine’s life and began to add details to the story to fit that time period, I discovered that I wouldn’t want to live there for long.

For starters, while I love steampunk clothing and costumes, have you ever worn a corset? As lovely as they are, and no matter how flattering they CAN be, they are not terribly comfortable. Corsets do wonders to support my back but they sure limit movement. Not to mention how much they get in the way when you need to use the bathroom.

Speaking of bathroom—that would be the number one reason I would never want to live in historic ANYTHING. We really do take for granted how good we have it with modern-day plumbing and waste disposal. Seriously. I heard horror stories while touring Edinburgh of how waste (yeah, human waste) used to be tossed out windows onto the city streets. Eeeww! And with most of the transportation being dependent on horses, imagine all of the horse droppings on the street. How did anyone or anything stay clean??? The answer: they didn’t. I’m betting it was a fragrant nightmare to go anywhere in a crowded city.

And don’t get me started on what women could or couldn’t do back then.

So… yeah. I’ll happily sit here, in my climate controlled home, wearing my soft and stretchy clothes, and simply read or write about the romantic side of times gone by. We’ll just ignore those ugly details of how things used to be.

London Calling

Three Scintillating Victorian Steampunk Tales
By Sorcha Mowbray, TL Reeve & Michelle Ryan, and Dena Garson
Release Date: October 17, 2017

Take a journey to Victorian London where an assassin meets her match, zombies invade, and top scientists go missing.

Four talented authors come together to bring you three BRAND NEW, full length Victorian steampunk novels of seduction, adventure, and mystery.

A look inside…

Seducing the Assassin (The Ladies League) by Sorcha Mowbray
Josephine Stanton, Madame and assassin, has another assignment to eliminate an enemy of the Queen. Too bad John Griffin, The Earl of Melton, has no intention of dying. Neither of the pair expects the heat that steams them up between the sheets and ultimately sets New Victorian London on its ear.

Darkness Rises by TL Reeve and Michele Ryan
A zombie horde has invaded London, England. Jonah McRae and his band of ghoulish Dreadfuls are London’s only hope. However, when Annabelle Craig threatens his mission he doesn’t know whether to kill her or claim her as his. Can the hunter and the huntee team together to take down the horde? Or will London be lost forever?

Her Clockwork Heart by Dena Garson
During her search for her missing brother, Trixie is reunited with Nathaniel, the man she never stopped loving. Sensing that Trixie might be in danger, Nathaniel lends his skills as an investigator to her efforts. Their love is rekindled as they race across the country looking for clues to more than one mystery.

Buy Links:
**Pre-Sale Special Pricing of $2.99**
Amazon – http://amzn.to/2gNEIYz
Barnes and Noble – https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/london-calling-sorcha-mowbray/1126979054
Kobo – https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/london-calling-38
iBooks – https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/london-calling/id1271410373?mt=11
Teaser Book Trailer Video:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fiU23CI5ZcM
Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/36311063-london-calling

About the Author

Dena Garson is an award-winning author of contemporary, paranormal, fantasy, and sci-fi romance. She holds a BBA and a MBA in Business and works in the wacky world of quality and process improvement. Making up her own reality on paper is what keeps her sane.

She is the mother of two rowdy boys, two rambunctious cats (AKA the fuzzy jerks), and a loving Labrador. When she isn’t writing you can find her at her at the sewing machine or stringing beads. She is also a devoted Whovian and Dallas Cowboys fan.

Website: http://www.denagarson.com/
Blog: http://www.denagarson.net/
Facebook Profile: https://www.facebook.com/dena.garson.7
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorDenaGarson
Twitter: https://twitter.com/DenaGarson
Pintrest: http://www.pinterest.com/denagarson7
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/dgarson
Newsletter: https://landing.mailerlite.com/webforms/landing/v7a2i6

Diana Cosby: Achieving Your Goals! (Contest)
Sunday, September 24th, 2017

UPDATE: The winner is Kathryn Green!

* * * * *

 Achieving Your Goals!

By Diana Cosby ©2017

Dreams are visions of what we can become.  But, dreams are also an invitation to doubt, to wonder if you’re good enough, or if you have what it takes.   When I retired from the Navy, I decided to pursue my dream of becoming a published author.  After 100 rejections, I quit counting as I figured I knew how to achieve a rejection.  Then, after 9 ½ years, I’m humbled to share I finally sold.  The journey taught me many things, which I’d like to share with you.

-Take yourself seriously:  Until you take yourself seriously, no one else will.

-Associate with people who inspire you, and encourage you to achieve your dreams.  Encourage and inspire others as you grow.

-Set a clear goal:  Once you know exactly what you want, break down steps to achieve it.  If you’re unsure how to start, read biographies of people who have achieved your dream.   What steps did they take?  Are there any similar avenues you can pursue?

-Each step forward is exactly that:  Success is a compilation of small steps toward one focused goal.

-Affiliate yourself with professional organizations:  Join groups where you can learn the craft you desire.  In addition to net-working, there may be opportunities to learn from on-line or local sources about your area of interest.

-Self affirmation:  Each morning reaffirm that you are good enough as well as clarify your goal of the day.  Then, move forward with positive, focused steps.

-Inspirational quotes:  I’m a huge fan of inspirational quotes that inspires me.

-Permission to fail:  Success is more than a moment, but a journey.  As we grow within our craft, there will come times when we fail at a certain steps.  Focus not on the failure, but on the lessons learned.  What worked, what didn’t?  Move forward and make wiser decisions with that knowledge.

-The way we act and talk about our goals reflects our commitment to them:  What are you telling yourself?  “I WILL do this!”  Or, are you assuring yourself that one day you’ll really try?

-A gift of example:  When you make the choice to follow your dream, you are doing more than commitment to self, but teaching your children an important life lesson — to dare to dream, and more, to dare to follow your dreams.  So, be bold, believe in yourself.

I hope you’ve found inspiration from my comments.  Remember, there is no right path, but the steps right for you.  Believe in yourself, YOU have what it takes!

Sincerely,

Diana Cosby, AGC(AW), USN Ret.
Romance edged with danger
www.dianacosby.com
International Best-Selling Author

Diana’s 13th novel, Forbidden Vow, book #3 of The Forbidden Series, will be released May 15th, 2018!  *Available for preorder.

Contest

Comment for a chance to win this prize!

About the Author

A retired Navy Chief, Diana Cosby is an international bestselling author of Scottish medieval romantic suspense.  Books in her award-winning MacGruder Brothers series have been translated in five languages.  Diana has spoken at the Library of Congress, Lady Jane’s Salon in NYC, and appeared in Woman’s Day, on USA Today’s romance blog, “Happy Ever After,” MSN.com, Atlantic County Women Magazine, and Texoma Living Magazine.

After her career in the Navy, Diana dove into her passion – writing romance novels. With 34 moves behind her, she was anxious to create characters who reflected the amazing cultures and people she’s met throughout the world.  After the release of the bestselling MacGruder Brothers series, The Oath Trilogy, and books #1 & 2 of The Forbidden Series, she’s now working on book #3, Forbidden Vow which will be released in May 2018.

Diana looks forward to the years of writing ahead and meeting the amazing people who will share this journey.

www.dianacosby.com

Miguelina Perez: The Vicar’s Deadly Sin
Sunday, September 10th, 2017

I remember being in my early teens and hearing voices in my head. Good thing these voices were stories. Stories I told my little sister to put her to sleep. And they were stories of heroines in trouble and the heroes who came to their rescue with the much required happily ever after endings.

In my high school’s library, I discovered Victoria Holt and Phyllis Whitney. They were my introduction to romance and mystery and from there on I was hooked.

As I got older the voices quieted down. Then one day they started up again. All types of adventures. Still I ignored them for I did not know what they meant.

Then in my thirties I discovered Nora Roberts and Jane Austen. Love the regency period. Voices came back. After meeting with several authors, I realized the voices were stories waiting to be told.

I loved the retelling of Jane Austen’s stories so I decided to create my own, especially when I could hear Lady Jane Bartholomew and Miss Margaret Renard wanting their stories told. This brought about The Vicar’s Deadly Sin.

The Vicar’s Deadly Sin

A Touch of Romance…A Touch of Regency…A Touch of Murder…

Lady Jane Bartholomew and Miss Margaret Renard have been friends since the age of twelve. Together they share their dreams, hopes and a love for reading. However, it is their wild imagination and a penchant for solving mysteries that will test their abilities when the Vicar of Dover is found murdered.

The young ladies are joined by two gentlemen, also eager to find the murderers and prove to the ladies that detecting is a man’s job, though the gentlemen find their beauty, wit, and pride more troublesome than solving a murder.

Get your copy here!

About the Author

Ms. Miguelina Perez is a writer and jewelry artist. She earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in English from the University of the District of Columbia. As a jewelry artist one of her lariats was showcased in the San Antonio Express-News. She has won several awards including a critical Writing award for an essay on the gender roles of Mark Twain’s Huckleberry Finn and Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women.

It was during her high school years at the school’s library that she first encountered her first romance mystery writer – Ms. Victoria Holt and then Ms. Phyllis J. Whitney.  Her love of romance novels stems from those discoveries, especially the Romance mystery genre.

Several of her poems have been published in anthologies, and she was named “Poet of Year in 1995”. She finished her first book, The Vicar’s Deadly Sin – a Regency romance mystery, the first of a seven-part serial based on the Seven Deadly Sins.

Currently, she is in editing mode with “Angel’s Lust” from her Seven Deadly Sins series and working on “A Hero of Her Own” a contemporary romance thriller, about a serial killer terrorizing New York.

Ms. Perez is a member of the Romance Writers of America and two of its chapters:Washington Romance Writers and Maryland Romance Writers . As newsletter editor for WRW, she contributes articles about writing and author interviews.

Originally from Brooklyn, NY, Ms. Perez resides in Gaithersburg, Maryland and can be reached at: miguelinaperez@miguelinaperezauthor.com. You can also follow Ms. Perez via twitter at: @MPerezAuthor.

Just in time for your weekend reading pleasure…. (Contest – 3 Winners)
Saturday, September 9th, 2017

UPDATE The winners are…Katrina Whittaker, Gail Siuba, and Jana Leah!

* * * * *

For those fans of the Night Fall series, here’s another tale—slightly removed from the timeline by a few centuries… You honestly don’t have to read any other story in the series to enjoy The First Knight. And isn’t that cover droolworthy?

The story is set back in Merry Old England, in a musty old castle. My heroine’s plucky and determined to trap her former betrothed in marriage, but he has brought back an “affliction”, which makes his lust a dangerous thing to tempt. And once the deed is done, another problem presents itself that only a naughty ménage can solve. Of course. Ahem. I do love my job. Enjoy! ~DD

The First Knight

While hiding her true identity, Maddie must seduce the mysterious Lord Garon to cement their marriage contract and ensure she won’t be returned into her lecherous stepfather’s care.

Fresh from Crusade in Palestine, Lord Garon has a secret he must hide, a hunger that must be fed, and a dark and uncertain future. Having shed himself of a fiancée he’d never met, he’s home to lick his wounds. The only thing he wants is a warm-blooded meal—but the new housekeeper is strangely insistent on giving him so much more.

Maddie’s seduction doesn’t progress without complications, but one secret from her own past might put an end to the love she nurtures for her dark, tempestuous lover.

Get your copy here!

Contest

To celebrate the release of The First Knight, I’m giving away copies of Night Fall stories, one each to three winners! All you have to do is answer two little questions!

Do you like ongoing series? How many sequels do you prefer? 

Sm(b)itten Truly, Madly ... Deadly Knight in Transition  Knight Edition

Night Fall On Dark Mountain Frannie and the Private Dick Sweet Succubus Truly, Madly...Werely (Night Fall Book 9) Bad to the Bone

And excerpt from The First Knight

Maddie shivered at the creaks and groans the portcullis made as it slowly rose. The rain-laden wind carried the noises and filled the silences in between with a howling that sounded like the hounds from hell had arrived at the castle gate.

Shouts outside the curtain wall had alerted them only minutes before of Lord Garon d’Albermarle’s arrival. With only a bliaut covering her sleeping shift, Maddie stood on the first step of the keep, holding a tray with a goblet of wine, ready to offer a proper greeting to her overlord.

“Are you sure this is the way you wish to go about this, M-Maddie?” Egbert asked, fidgeting at her side.

She swallowed against the sudden dryness in her mouth and nodded.

“It be on your head then,” he said, his always-mournful tone as dire as one of Father Ansel’s Sunday sermons. She sent thanks above that the cranky priest was away, or her deception wouldn’t last past the introductions.

The clatter of dozens of hooves on the cobbled bridge beyond the gate filled the castle yard with thunder. From the encroaching darkness, the sounds were as ominous as the dark shapes looming on the gatehouse walls. The torches she’d ordered lit sputtered and flared, distorting and elongating shapes, so the men riding through the entrance appeared as tall as giants.

Already tired and on edge because she hadn’t slept since a messenger had arrived, warning the castle of his lordship’s arrival days before, Maddie’s fevered imagination painted them darker and larger still.

“Be they devils?” Egbert asked, his narrow shoulders shaking. “No one travels on a night with nary a speck of light in the sky.”

“Hush!” The storm whipping at her clothing and the fatigue from months of worry over this very moment combined to make her hands shake and blackened an already foul mood.

The horsemen entered the bailey, and a large figure separated from the contingent who approached the keep. As he drew closer, her fears weren’t eased one whit. The warrior sat atop a huge black destrier, forcing her to raise her gaze quite high to seek his face.

He wore a helm that left only his square, stubbled jaw exposed. The darkness cast by the metal nose guard concealed his eyes. Only his mouth gave a hint of his mood—a thin, straight line with the corners crimped downward.

Under his stare, Maddie’s knees trembled, but her tray never rattled. She squared her shoulders and shot a glance about her at the castle folk. “Stephen!” she called to the stable master. “See to their horses.”

In moments, boys scrambled to accept reins, and the creak of leather and the clank of iron filled the air.

The stable master himself approached the dark warhorse at the foot of the steps, but the mounted warrior’s gaze never left Maddie.

She licked dry lips with an even drier tongue. “Lord Garon?” she asked, although there could be no question who led this contingent. All gazes remained on his intimidating figure. “Please come inside, milord. Your people will see to the comfort of your men.”

His mouth twisted. “And who will see to mine?”

Maddie’s heart leapt to the back of her throat. “I will, milord.”

A long pause indicated he looked her up and down. “And who might you be, madam?” he asked, his voice a deep, hollow rumble.

Maddie remembered to curtsy, and then straightened, girding herself to speak the lie aloud. “Your housekeeper. I take care of things now.” The latter, at least, was the truth.

Lord Garon grunted. Without a glance at the stable master, he tossed down his reins and dismounted.

When he turned toward her, Maggie’s breath caught. Lord, he’s a tall man. I thought it was just the horse.

Maddie lifted the ornate chalice from the tray to deliver her much-rehearsed welcome.

Instead, his lordship’s lips pressed into a tighter line, and he brushed past her.

She was left gasping on the bottom step. “What a rude ogre!” she exclaimed, annoyed he hadn’t fallen in line with the first step of her plan.

“Watch your tongue, madam,” an accompanying knight said tersely as he followed the lord up the steps. “He has exceptional hearing.”

“M-Maddie?” Egbert said, nodding toward the door.

She shoved the tray at his belly and grasped her skirts high to rush up the steps.

The plan had seemed so simple. All she needed was to get him alone and addle his sight with a little wine or ale, so he’d not care she wasn’t the comeliest creature in the keep. Then she would seduce him.

And the sooner, the better. The longer she took losing her virginity, the greater the risk he would discover her identity. The truth was, she would rather copulate with the devil himself than be returned home.

However, this business of copulation, which had seemed a simple, messy, perhaps even enjoyable act—according to the cook—now promised to be a daunting trial.

The lord of the keep had turned out to be a giant and as dour as a priest at confession. The thought of being naked with him and accepting his manstaff into her body frankly petrified her.

She rushed through the massive doors, hoping her preparations would meet with his approval. Nothing else could be allowed to mar her well-thought-out plan.

His lordship stood in the center of the hall, his hands fisted on his hips. Unlike his men, he wore no chain mail, only a leather hauberk to protect his body. He’d removed his headgear, revealing hair as black as midnight and a face as hard as carved granite.

He was everything she’d remembered and more—more frightening, more imposing—and more beautiful because of the differences. Thanks be to God, he hadn’t recognized her.

His gaze narrowed on the hall, and she looked around to see what might already have displeased him.

Around him, servants scurried, delivering warm food to the men-at-arms as boys eagerly divested them of their armor. If she hadn’t been observing him so closely, she might not have detected the change in his posture. He scarce seemed to notice the din of activity. His mouth lost a little firmness, his hands unclenched on his hips, and his chest rose and fell deeply.

In that instant, Maddie lost a measure of her fear. Here was a man savoring his first night home after a long absence. He had a heart and cared for something at least. Perhaps he wouldn’t be a complete troll when making her his wife.

Heather Long: Should’ve Been a Cowboy (Contest)
Thursday, August 24th, 2017

Some days I feel old because I remember long before Internet, long before video on demand and MP3s, I listened to .45 records, watched black and white westerns on Saturdays and had showdowns in the apartment complex corral everyday as we battled it out for the roles of cowboys and Indians.

The Simple Joy of Being a Cowboy

Cowboys always seemed to have the freedom to live life on their own terms.  As an adult, I recognize that living on your own terms also means surviving against the odds.  Beyond the simple romance of riding the trails, there were the sore muscles, the threat of disease, the lack of medicine, the constant search for viable drinking water, dealing with wild animals, hostiles and again, the natural fury of Mother Nature whether it was a storm, the landscape or something else.

Yet, cowboys remain romantic.  They are the dusty knights of the Old West, with jingling spurs instead of suits of armor and six guns instead of swords.

Back in Time

When it came to writing Marshal of Hel Dorado, I imagined that I was diving into a novella, a short romp back in time to world that mingled the spaghetti westerns of Clint Eastwood with the sweeping epics of John Wayne and some good old-fashioned Saturday afternoon fun ala Big Valley and Bonanza (both series that heavily featured brothers), but an odd thing happened when I started to write.

I immersed myself, I found that by eliminating modern conveniences, a ten-mile ride on a horse could take half a day or more instead of twenty minutes in a car. These opportunities were tremendous for character interaction and development, but also challenging because the very elements that attracted me to writing the story were the same elements that stretched my novella into a full-length novel.

But the best part of Marshal of Hel Dorado was taking those risks, taking the time to ride for weeks, to take risks in an unfriendly environment.  I would find myself imagining the soreness after riding all day (fortunately, I rode horses for years so I knew what would hurt) as well as spending time trying to figure out what you can eat when you’re on a trail all day, what options you have for treating wounds and better yet, what kisses were like if they weren’t drugged kisses…

A Whole New Adventure

I think the Fevered Hearts series represents a personal challenge, but it’s also a chance to go back to those days when I played cowboys and Indians, when there was a distinct line between right and wrong, honor meant something and the world was doused in shades of gray.

Admittedly, it doesn’t hurt that the brothers are hot.  Some are bad boys, some are easy-going and more than a few have hidden mysteries.  If I’ve piqued your curiosity, you meet most of the boys in Marshal of Hel Dorado.

Won’t you come play cowboy with me?

Marshal of Hel Dorado Excerpt 

A welcoming whicker from Dawn jerked her eyes open and lightning split the sky wide open, backlighting the figure filling the cave entrance.

She couldn’t believe it.

Sam stalked inside the cave, water rolling off the brim off his hat and dripping down the sides of the horse he led inside. He dropped the reins and pounced her before she could go for the gun.

Water from his oil coat soaked through her britches and undershirt as he plucked the gun from the holster. She scrabbled, but he was already flipping her over, sitting on her abandoned rock. She landed on her stomach, across his knees. She turned her head, glaring up at him.

“You wouldn’t dare!”

“Oh wouldn’t I?”

She yelped as his hand landed on her backside with a stinging slap.

“That’s for running.”

The second slap wrung tears of surprise and outrage from her eyes.

“That’s for hitting me.”

The third set her lower lip trembling as a fire of tingles burned through the numbness of her backside.

“That’s for charming Micah into letting you keep going.”

By the fourth slap, Scarlett’s cheeks burned in humiliation and fury.

“That’s for taking my damn gun.”

He stood, dumping her onto the rock floor in front of him before retrieving his gun and going to his horse. Her ass stung worse than the time Wyatt had switched her for nearly burning down the outhouse.

With Wyatt in it.

Sam stripped off the horse’s gear, rubbed him dry and pulled out a pouch of feed from his saddlebags. She eased over onto her side, careful to not sit. Her bottom protested even that little movement. It took Sam minutes to feed both horses and then he was turning back to her, walking over, and reclaiming the rock to sit on.

Even in the half gray light of the cave she could read the thunderous look on his face, the tightness to his jaw, the outline of a bruise on his cheek and the red lump swelling just below his hairline. He opened a canteen, a twin for the one that Micah passed off to her, and held it out to her.

“Now, you were going to explain…”

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About Heather Long

You can keep up with Heather and her releases via her website at http://www.heatherlong.net Heather Long lives in Texas with her family and their menagerie of animals. As a child, Heather skipped picture books and enjoyed the Harlequin romance novels by Penny Jordan and Nora Roberts that her grandmother read to her. Heather believes that laughter is as important to life as breathing and that the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy and Santa Claus are very real. In the meanwhile, she is hard at work on her next novel.