Historical Cover Reveal–Tricia Schneider

Happy Friday, kids! For Book Blast Friday (I know, I haven’t done one in a while), I’m doing a cover reveal for fellow Wild Rose historical author Tricia Schneider. Check out her gorgeous new cover for her upcoming release, The Pirate’s Lady!

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Captain Marco Dante was captured and sentenced to hang two years ago, but he escaped before his punishment was carried out. Now he’s come back to the woman whose memory kept him alive those long months in prison. Arianne had been his grand passion, but he failed to see how much she meant to him until it was too late. Can he recapture her heart? Or has he lost her forever?

Arianne never imagined she’d see her notorious pirate lover again. Though her heart sings with joy at his return, she knows he hasn’t come back for her but for the treasure he left behind. She agrees to help him find it, but can her heart withstand one more adventure with him?

For more about Tricia’s books–and buy links–visit her website at http://www.triciaschneider.com/books/historical-romance/

 

Tricia Schneider author pic

About Tricia:

Tricia Schneider is a historical and paranormal romance author. Before the supernatural took possession of her pen, she worked for several years in a bookstore as Assistant Manager and bookseller. Now she writes full-time while raising her four young children and 3 rescued cats. She lives with her musician husband in the coal country of Pennsylvania.

http://www.triciaschneider.com

 

Author Interview: DeeDee Lane

So it’s been awhile since I’ve done an author interview, but I’m jumping back into the fray with a special Thursday edition of an interview with fellow Wild Rose author DeeDee Lane. DeeDee’s latest release, My Law Man, is a time travel novella set in the Old West. Welcome, DeeDee!

Hi Marin and All,

My name is DeeDee Lane and this month I’m releasing my third novella in the Slip in Time Series—MY LAW MAN, published by The Wild Rose Press.  I live in Seattle, WA and I’ve been writing romance since 2010…I give myself that start date because that’s about the time I joined Romance Writers of America and made the commitment to write, publish, practice my craft, and hobnob with other romance writers.  I was inspired to write this book by…well let’s just say one word…Phebe. This heroine was so clear to me from day one and I just loved putting her in odd situations to see how she’d get out of them and fall in love at the same time.  So for this book I was definitely more of a “write by the seat of my pants” then usual.  I did the basic plot because I want all of the Slip in Time books to have a similar format but then I just kind of let Phebe take over.  Right now I’m working on the 4th book in this series, MY TRAVELING MAN, which is back from beta readers and in the final editing stage.

What book are you reading now?  Well, I’m going to have to come clean and admit it’s NOT a romance novel!  I know, I know…but I was in the King County Library and they advertised a book club meeting for a title they categorized as YA (Young Adult).  The book is WHERE’D YOU GO, BERNADETTE by Maria Semple and it is a book I recommend without hesitation. I went to SeaTac airport recently and I swear to you I was looking around for Bernadette!  This character is written with such vibrancy I was not only looking for her but wanted to find her. And yes, the book does take place in Seattle so there was some possibility in my mad searching…except Bernadette is a fictional character… oh well.  Put it on your “must read” list…along with MY LAW MAN!

I love YA–I read it all the time in between romances. 🙂 If you had a superpower what would it be? I would be HEALING WOMAN, able to cure disease with a single touch. The Daily Planet would report me swooshing through the world to spread health and well-being.  I’d wear a peach/pink sparkly cape, definitely NOT tights, and my superhero emblem would be a hand holding a heart.  This is perhaps inspired by a dear friend I lost to ALS in September 2015, yes still grieving and no, still can’t believe she’s gone.

So sorry for your loss, DeeDee. I know many of us wish we could heal disease as well. What piece of advice would you give to an aspiring author? Give yourself goals and deadlines. If you do that now you’ll be prepared when publishers, agents, and contests give you deadlines. I’ve always done this somewhat but then I took romance writer, Cindy Kirk’s, workshop on “Writing Faster,” at the Emerald City Romance Writers Conference. I’ll probably never match her output but I was inspired to make my goals accomplishable and motivating. So right now my four day goal is to finish three blog entries for MY LAW MAN’s release and finish edits on MY TRAVELLING MAN.

Excellent advice! Anything else you’d like to share? Three things I love about living in Seattle: Rhododendrons in the spring, recycling and composting are required, dress code is casual except for top executives and going to the opera.  Three things I don’t love about living in Seattle: Traffic on I-5 and pretty much all roads and highways, being far away from family in Wisconsin, North Carolina, and Texas. I’m a Seahawks fan until they play the Green Bay Packers–then it’s the Pack all the way.

Thanks, DeeDee! Best of luck with the new release!

My Law Man, by DeeDee Lane

perf5.000x8.000.inddPhebe Brooks is single, cynical—okay bitter—and fighting to stay out of jail by doing community service at the Cowboy and Western Museum. While cleaning a jail cell in the “Lawmen of the West” exhibit, Phebe slips back in time and into the arms of a man who resembles her first love, Rafe Morrow.

Newly hired as Eagle Rock’s sheriff, Rafe, a former sharpshooter in the Union Army, came west to start anew.  This seems possible until his town is overtaken by a sassy female constantly complaining about wearing a dress and then a band of outlaws set on robbing the gold from an incoming stagecoach.

Can Phebe and Rafe cooperate long enough to save the town? For Phebe, it’s worth the risk. She’s determined to let go of past mistakes, get herself on the right side of the law, and have a future filled with love and passion.

Buy MY LAW MAN at The Wild Rose Press

Find DeeDee on line at  http://www.deedeelane.com. You can also catch another interview on Lynda Coker’s Blog –
http://betweenthelinesandmore.blogspot.com/2016/07/catching-light-bulb-moment-with-author.html.

Happy Father’s Day!

Wishing all the fathers out there the happiest of Father’s Days. And because I am far too lazy today to write two blog posts, I will direct you to my post about Victorian fathers at Heart-Shaped Glasses.  I hope you’ll take a moment to stop by.

Victorian Fashion

I am not a fashion maven. I am a jeans and t-shirt kind of girl, unless I’m wearing Chico’s Travelers Collection, which look stylish but feel like pajamas. (Need I say more?) I have one favorite pair of shoes for each season and I wear them until they fall apart, at which time I spend hours online looking for the exact same pair. I almost never wear shorts because of my pasty white Cleveland legs, but the pair I don’t mind being seen in I bought in 1998. Seriously.

Despite my embarrassing anti-fashion proclivities, I am a writer of historical romance, and in the Victorian era, women of a certain class were very concerned with fashion. And if I am to write about them, I need to care about what they wore. Or at least how to get it off them. 😉

To that end, I spent Saturday taking a field trip with my NEORWA chapter mates to the Kent State University Museum of Fashion. The most interesting exhibit, at least for me, was one called Inside Out, which featured clothing literally inside out so you could see how it was constructed. And they had Darcy’s puffy shirt! Colin Firth wasn’t even it–more’s the pity–and we were all still drooling. You can find pictures at https://insideoutksum.wordpress.com/–I can’t get WordPress to cooperate with the photos I took. 

The Victorian era lasted from 1837 to 1901, and fashions changed drastically during that timeframe.  And don’t even get me started on men’s facial hair–that is deserving of its own post.

In the 1830s, as at right, the ideal form was a long torso with a slim silhouette, so corsets were tight and movement was restricted. (Isn’t that an odd picture? The upper half seems oddly disconnected from the bottom, but I sometimes wonder if that’s how women felt…)

 

Starting in the 1840s, skirts became wider–the fuller the skirt, the more petticoats underneath, which was a sign of wealth. I love this relaxed portrait of Queen Victoria and her prince from 1841.

Illustration of cage crinoline from Punch, 1856

 

The 1850s saw the invention of bloomers, as well as the cage crinoline–a miraculous contraption that held the skirts out in lieu of a dozen petticoats, returning women to a comparative freedom of movement.

 

There is an adorable scene from Mrs. Gaskell’s Cranford in which a fancy cage from Paris is ordered for Miss Pole’s bird. Unfortunately, it’s the wrong type of cage. It’s just the first minute and again at about 3:45, but if you like BBC period programs, you have to watch the whole series–it’s delightful.

The 1860s saw skirts at their widest and waists at their narrowest–remember this scene from Gone With the Wind?

 

In the 1870s, skirts deflated quite a bit, hoops replaced by a flatter front and layers in the back, as in this painting by Pierre Auguste Renoir from 1874.

 

 

In the 1880s, the bustle was the dominant feature in women’s fashion (and the top hat for men) as seen in this 1883 painting by James Tissot.

 

 

 

The last decade of the 19th century brought big sleeves, sharply defined waists, and slimmer skirts, as in this fashion plate from 1893…

 

 

 

 

…and this John Singer Sargent painting from 1896.

 

 

The turn of the century brought us more masculine attire for women, the Gibson Girl–see the Sargent painting at right from 1903–outrageous hats, and the rise of haute couture.

Londoners in front of Harrods, 1909

There is far more to seventy years of fashion than I have the time, energy, or inclination to share here, but if you’re interested in learning more, click on the link for each decade above, and check out these sites for more information and lots more pictures:

http://www.victoriana.com/Victorian-Fashion/
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Victorian_fashion
http://www.victorianweb.org/victorian/art/costume/index.html
http://www.fashion-era.com/the_victorian_era.htm
https://www.buzzfeed.com/niaalavezos/proof-the-victorian-era-had-the-greatest-fashion
http://www.fashionlady.in/victorian-era-fashion/855
http://vintagefashionguild.org/fashion-timeline/

 

Historical Book Blast Friday: More from Beth Trissel

I am pleased to welcome fellow Wild Rose historical author, Beth Trissel, back to the blog today. Beth, you may recall, released Traitor’s Curse in November, and today she’d like to tell you about the other books in the series. If you like 18th century American romance, you really should check out them out!

Enemyoftheking_w2243_680Enemy of the King (Book 1 Traitor’s Legacy Series)

1780, South Carolina.

While Loyalist Meriwether Steele recovers from illness in the stately home of her beloved guardian, Jeremiah Jordan, she senses the haunting presence of his late wife. When she learns that Jeremiah is a Patriot spy and shoots Captain Vaughan, the British officer sent to arrest him, she is caught up on a wild ride into Carolina back country, pursued both by the impassioned captain and the vindictive ghost. Will she remain loyal to her king and Tory twin brother or risk a traitor’s death fighting for Jeremiah? If Captain Vaughan snatches her away, he won’t give her a choice.

Traitors LegacyTraitor’s Legacy (Book 2)

1781. On opposite sides of the War of Independence, British Captain Jacob Vaughan and Claire Monroe find themselves thrust together by chance and expediency.

Captain Vaughan comes to a stately North Carolina manor to catch a spy. Instead, he finds himself in bedlam: the head of the household is an old man ravaged by madness, the one sane male of the family is the very man he is hunting, and the household is overseen by his beguiling sister Claire.

Torn between duty, love, and allegiances, yearning desperately for peace, will Captain Vaughan and Claire Monroe forge a peace of their own against the vagaries of war and the betrayal of false friends?

MediaKit_BookCover_TraitorsCurse_w9629_med (1)Traitor’s Curse (Book 3)

Halifax, North Carolina, 1783.

Captain Stuart Monroe returns home from the Revolutionary War to find Thornton Hall threatened by a peacetime foe: debt. He knows the location of a treasure amassed to pay for the capture of Benedict Arnold that would restore his manor to its former glory. The catch, it’s hidden in the graveyard, and coveted by old enemies.

Hettie Fairfax inherited the Sight from her Cherokee ancestors, and her otherworldly visitors warn her, and Stuart, away from the buried treasure. Half-dead from fever, she delivers a message: the treasure is cursed. But will he believe a girl half out of her mind with illness? Even when a very real enemy attempts to poison her? Stuart soon wants to marry Hettie, but she fears her “odd ways” will blemish his reputation. The spirits have their own agenda, however, and the battle against darkness tests everything the couple holds dear, including their love for each other.

A bit about Beth:

Author Beth TrisselMarried to her high school sweetheart, Beth Trissel lives on a farm in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia surrounded by her children, grandbabies, and assorted animals. An avid gardener, her love of herbs and heirloom plants figures into her work. The rich history of Virginia, the Native Americans, and the people who journeyed here from far beyond her borders are at the heart of her inspiration. She’s especially drawn to colonial America and the drama of the American Revolution. In addition to historical romance, Beth also writes time travel, paranormal romance, YA fantasy, and nonfiction.

For more on Beth visit her blog, One Writer’s Way, connect with Beth on Facebook and Twitter, and visit her Amazon Author Page.

Historical Book Blast Friday: Laura Strickland’s back!

I am pleased to welcome fellow Wild Rose author Laura Strickland back to the blog, since her latest book, Forged by Love, releases today (I wish I was so prolific!). Thanks for stopping by, Laura!

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Forged by Love
by Laura Strickland

Newly returned home to Lobster Cove from the War Between the States, blacksmith Douglas Grier can’t forget the horrors he’s witnessed or the beautiful young woman he helped break free from her shackles one dark night after her master’s plantation burned. He wishes he had at least asked her name, even though she and her family disappeared into the darkness and Douglas has no expectation of seeing her again.

Josie Freeman can’t remember the last time she felt safe. Even though she and her family are freed, they’re being pursued by slave hunters hired by their former owner. When their ship is damaged on the way to Nova Scotia, Josie is thrown into contact with the one man she never expected…the very man she had wanted to see. But will her past catch up with her before Douglas can free her heart?

EXCERPT:

“Hello, folks. Sir, I don’t suppose you remember me.”

Josie stared at the man who spoke, afraid to believe her eyes. Tall and with bare shoulders that gleamed in the sun, he had a crop of wavy black hair and skin almost as dark as her own. Though he spoke to Daniel, his brown eyes sought hers and held them, his wonder evident to see.

Not remember him? From the instant he stepped on the wharf, Josie’s attention had been snagged—and not just because he was a good-looking man. No, for the pull she’d felt from the first they sighted this place heightened almost unbearably, every one of her inner instincts sitting up and howling.

Not remember him? Had there been a moment since that night he hadn’t been, somehow, with her?

Her lips parted, but she didn’t speak. Daniel’s deep voice sounded instead.

“Of course, of course we remember you, sir. How could we forget?”

“Good to see you again.” The man focused on Daniel at last and extended a hand to him without hesitation. “But what sort of happenstance has brought you here where we might cross paths again?”

“A long story, sir, and one with a full measure of sorrow.” Daniel shook the man’s hand with the innate courtesy that always marked him.

The fellow’s gaze stole back to Josie, and she promptly went breathless. “I’m very glad to see you safe. That night—well, I never did get your names.”

“Daniel Freeman, sir. This here is my son Michael, his wife Eunice, and their child Hetty. And my own girl, Josie.”

“Douglas Grier, and I’m glad to meet you properly.”

Michael leaned forward to shake Douglas Grier’s hand. “I’m happy, Mr. Grier, to have a chance to thank you. It was a fine thing you did for us that night.”

Douglas Grier smiled, and his somber face transformed as if lit from within. Josie’s heart fluttered like a wild bird before resuming a double-time beat.

Calm yourself, girl. He’s done no more than look at you.

Grier turned to her. “Josie Freeman,” he repeated as if he memorized it, and took Josie’s hand.

She promptly went dizzy as sudden images pressed upon her, blotting out the present. His hands coming at her, so strong and yet gentle, out of the darkness that night. The way he’d touched her, with such care and respect, and the way he’d looked at her as if he could see right down to the bottom of her soul.

He smiled again and Josie’s poor heart pounded in response. “What a marvel this is. I’ve wondered a hundred times what happened to you after that night.”

Forged by Love can be found at these retailers:
Amazon
Amazon Canada
Amazon UK
The Wild Rose Press
Barnes and Noble
Good Reads
All Romance eBooks

Laura Strickland Publicity PhotoBorn and raised in Western New York, Laura Strickland has pursued lifelong interests in lore, legend, magic and music, all reflected in her writing. Though her imagination frequently takes her to far off places, she is usually happiest at home not far from Lake Ontario with her husband and her “fur” child, a rescue dog. Author of Scottish romances Devil Black and His Wicked Highland Ways as well as The Guardians of Sherwood Trilogy (consisting of Daughter of Sherwood, Champion of Sherwood, and Lord of Sherwood), she has also published two Steampunk romances, Dead Handsome: a Buffalo Steampunk Adventure, and Off Kilter: a Buffalo Steampunk Adventure, as well as two Christmas novellas: The Tenth Suitor and Mrs. Claus and the Viking Ship. Her Lobster Cove Historical Romance, The White Gull, is the prequel to her new release, Forged By Love, a Lobster Cove novella. Her next release will be a contemporary Candy Hearts Romance called Ask Me.

You can read more about Laura and her books at www.laurastricklandbooks.com.

 

Zombies and Vampires, Victorian Style

So I came across this picture on Pinterest the other day:

The caption is, as with so many other things one can find on the Internet, utter bullshit, but it did make me curious. The picture itself is apparently real. In the first third of the 19th century, some graves were enclosed with an iron cage, called a ‘mortsafe,’ as a way to thwart graverobbers, who were far more prevalent in Victorian Britain than zombies and vampires.

Under the law prior to 1832, the only corpses which could be dissected were those of criminals who were hanged. Changes to laws in the 18th century widened the number of crimes deemed hanging offenses, arguably to increase the number of eligible corpses. Nevertheless, demand continued to increase with advances in medicine, and graverobbers, known as ‘Resurrectionists,’ helpfully stepped in to meet the demand. Prior to the 1830s, resurrectionists stole bodies from fresh graves and sold them to physicians. (Some more enterprising gentlemen went so far as to make their own fresh corpses. William Burke and William Hare allegedly murdered 16 people in Edinburgh from 1827-1828, selling the corpses to anatomist Robert Knox.)

The Anatomy Act of 1832 made the study of anatomy respectable (sort of), and allowed researchers to use the unclaimed bodies of those who died in workhouses, hospitals, and prisons. Public anatomy museums popped up everywhere, giving ordinary people an opportunity to stare at skeletons, wax models of naked bodies, and pieces of bodies floating in jars. Titillating! In addition, the museums served as another way for physicians, as well as non-physicians, to study anatomy and learn more about diseases, without going to all the fuss of actually dissecting a body themselves. This very interesting article suggests that the Obscene Publications Act of 1857, which ultimately resulted in the closure of most of these museums, was actually orchestrated by the medical profession, and was “a strategy for creating a medical monopoly of anatomy by categorizing it as knowledge from which laypeople could be excluded on moral grounds.”

An image from the 1864 edition of Gray’s text

Notable Victorian Henry Gray, who legally obtained his research corpses from prisons and mortuaries, published Anatomy Descriptive and Surgical, the text that would eventually become Gray’s Anatomy, in 1858.

So, no there were no zombies in Victorian Britain. According to the OED, the word ‘Zombie’ actually derives from a South American term for a deity, and wasn’t used in Britain in the context we now know and love until 1900.

Vampires are another story altogether. Vampires have appeared in English literature since the mid-18th century, and I have to tell you, I find vampires fascinating.  The Victorians loved them too. Bram Stoker’s 1897 Dracula, of course, is the most famous, but before him there was Varney the Vampire, or the Feast of Blood. Published initially in 1845 in a series of 109 episodes in penny dreadfuls, Varney was ultimately released as a full length novel (rather more than that, actually–it is over 2,000 pages long) in 1847. Varney made vampires sexy–he had beautiful teeth and a mellifluous voice–and introduced many of the vampire tropes still in use today: fangs, hynoptic powers, and superhuman strength, although Sir Francis Varney doesn’t seem to mind garlic, can eat regular food (although he chooses not to), can walk in sunlight without either disintegrating or sparkling, and if killed or wounded, can be revived by the light of the full moon. Varney is terribly written, but oddly gripping–I downloaded a slightly abbreviated version to my Kindle and am probably going to have to go read it now. Perhaps we’ll discuss werewolfs at another time…

 

Historical Book Blast Friday: Jana Richards

It’s Book Blast Friday! My guest today is fellow Wild Rose author Jana Richards. Her newest novella, Home Fires, is set during World War II. Welcome, Jana!

Home FiresHomeFires_6865_680
by Jana Richards

Anne Wakefield travels halfway around the world for love. But when she arrives in Canada from England at the end of World War Two, she discovers the handsome Canadian pilot she’d fallen in love with has married someone else. Heartbroken, she prepares to return to London, though she has nothing left there to return to. Her former fiancé’s mother makes a suggestion: marriage to her other son.

Badly wounded and scarred during the war, Erik Gustafson thinks he’s a poor substitute for his brother. Although he loves Anne almost from the first time he sees her, he cannot believe she would ever be able to love him as he is – especially as he might be after another operation on his bad leg.  Anne sees the beauty of his heart. The cold prairie winter may test her courage, but can she prove to Erik that her love for him is real?

 Excerpt:

She whirled around to glare at him, her eyes blazing. “No! I’m not a child! I don’t have to be mollycoddled and babysat. I spent six years in a war zone, hiding in bomb shelters, never having enough to eat. I worked in a hospital treating blitz victims with wounds so horrendous grown men would gag to look at them. I faced those horrors every day. Sometimes things were so bad I thought I couldn’t go on. But I did. Because I had to. And I’ll face things here, too. So don’t tell me to give up, because I won’t!”

Erik pushed himself out of his chair to face her, awed by her spirit and courage. She lifted her chin as if defying him to contradict her, her hands clenched at her sides. Her dark hair curled in wild abandon as it dried, framing her pale oval face like a halo. Her beauty and ferocity were magnificent.

“I think you’re the strongest woman I know.”

Her eyes widened in surprise, her hands unclenching. He caught the quiver of her chin as she fought to hold back tears.

“I made such a mess of things,” she whispered. “I’m sorry for all the fuss I caused everyone.”

Erik took a step toward her. “It’s not your fault. I shouldn’t have let you go alone in the dark.”

“You didn’t know I would stupidly walk out onto thin ice.” She shook her head. “I wanted to help. I wanted to be useful. I can’t stand feeling so bloody useless.”

“You’re not useless. You’re an amazing woman. Anders is a fool for letting you go.”

She stared at him, her eyes filling with tears. “Thank you.”

He opened his arms and she stepped into them, wrapping her arms around his waist, clinging to him. He held her tightly, inhaling the sweet, clean scent of her, never wanting to let her go.

“Don’t cry. Everything’s all right now.”

“I know I’m being stupid. Tears don’t solve anything,” she said against his chest. “But I was so cold, and so scared. I thought I was going to die.”

He tightened his hold and kissed her hair. “Don’t think about it anymore. You’re safe now.”

He heard her sigh, felt her relax against him. “Yes. I’m safe.”

She lifted her head to look into his face, her dark eyes shiny with tears, her lips slightly parted, and Erik stared at her mouth, wanting desperately to kiss her, to capture her sweetness. He slowly lowered his mouth to hers. To his surprise, she didn’t run off or turn away in revulsion. He was so close her breath mingled with his, her breathing shallow and erratic. His heart slammed against his chest, his body thrumming with need. For the first time in over three years, he felt alive.

HOME FIRES (e-version) is on sale for .99 cents at all major e-retailers between December 4 and 17, 2015.

Buy Home Fires at these retailers: The Wild Rose Press | All Romance Ebooks | Amazon | B & N | Bookstrand |Google Play | Kobo | iBooks | BAM

Jana RichardsJana Richards has tried her hand at many writing projects over the years, from magazine articles and short stories to full-length paranormal suspense and romantic comedy. She loves to create characters with a sense of humor, but also a serious side.  She believes there’s nothing more interesting then peeling back the layers of a character to see what makes them tick.

When not writing up a storm, working at her day job as an Office Administrator, or dealing with ever present mountains of laundry, Jana can be found on the local golf course pursuing her newest hobby.

Jana lives in Western Canada with her husband Warren, and a highly spoiled Pug/Terrier cross named Lou.

You can find out more about Jana and her books at these sites:

Website:  http://www.janarichards.com
Blog:  http://janarichards.blogspot.com
Facebook:  http://www.facebook.com/JanaRichardsAuthor
Twitter:  http://www.twitter.com/JanaRichards_
Amazon Author Page:  http://www.amazon.com/author/janarichards
Newsletter Signup: http://www.eepurl.com/m3UnT
Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/2892274Jana_Richards
Google+ Profile:  https://plus.google.com/100820406211390323245

Book Blast Friday: Sheridan Jeane and Giveaway!

This week I am delighted to introduce you to friend and NEORWA chaptermate, Sheridan Jeane, who writes action-packed Victorian era romance. The third novel in her Secrets and Seduction Series, Once Upon a Spy, released this week. Welcome Sheridan!

Upon Upon a SpyOnce Upon a Spy Cover
by Sheridan Jeane

Robert, Earl of Wentworth, isn’t a spy, and he never wants to be one, but when his brother is injured and needs his help stealing an important book from the Russian embassy, he can’t refuse.

Antonia has lost everything. If she wants her life back, she needs that book. The problem is, Lord Wentworth just stole it from the Russian Ambassador.

The reluctant spy and the daring thief find themselves at cross-purposes. Who will win in this dangerous game of nations— especially when their hearts are at stake as well?

Excerpt:

London, January 6, 1854

The turning point in a man’s life isn’t always accompanied by a crash of thunder. Sometimes it’s marked by something much more subtle and easier to miss, like the flash of a silver gown, or the rich hue of a twist of chestnut hair.

Lord Wentworth managed to dismiss his turning point.

As he caught sight of the woman across the ballroom, her strong allure caught his attention, certainly. But he ignored it, believing his immediate visceral response to be nothing more than a reaction to her beauty.

For him, there could be no future with her. Nor with any woman.

She represented a precipice. Danger. One he needed to avoid.

He chose to turn his back on the silver-gowned woman and her pull of destiny. Instead, he stepped out onto the patio to let the chill January air envelop him. It drove away some of the oppressive heat of the ballroom. 

“Robert, come over here,” his brother called to him. “Lord Percival is telling the most preposterous story.”

He closed the embassy door. The glow of the flickering torches allowed him to identify Frederick sitting with a group of men at a stone table near the edge of the lawn. 

As he strode across the paved patio, Robert considered how fundamentally wrong it was for the Russian Ambassador’s winter solstice celebration to be held in a building so overheated the temperature drove the guests outdoors.

 His brother shifted his chair and made space for Robert to join the group. The low oil lamps on the table illuminated the listeners’ rapt faces as Lord Percival recounted his latest yarn.

Everyone greeted Robert with brief smiles and nods before they returned their attention to Percival. He appeared well-groomed, with his neatly trimmed, sable-colored beard, his white gloves, and his perfectly tailored evening coat all speaking to the excellence of his valet, but something seemed slightly off about him. As expected, an aroma of tobacco emanated from this particular group, but Percival’s whiskey-laden breath came as a surprise. The evening was still a fresh, young thing, with flawless skin and a lively demeanor. Wobbly-looking Percival must have been drinking all afternoon to be so inebriated the odor oozed from his pores.

 “You’ll love this,” Frederick murmured as he glanced at Robert. The corners of his eyes crinkled as he smiled.

Lord Percival took a puff on his cigar, pausing for effect, and said “…and I forcibly tossed him from the carriage. He landed directly in a steaming pile of manure!” He slapped his hand down on the marble table to emphasize his words, but he clipped one of the oil lamps.

The container flipped over. Oil flew out, splashing onto the table and the cigar Percival clutched. The cigar immediately burst into flame. He dropped it, letting out a sharp shriek of pain and fear. The cigar landed on the table in the spreading puddle of oil. The men jumped back, knocking the chairs to the ground. In less time than a the flutter of a hummingbird’s wings, fire swept down a large swath of the tabletop. 

Frederick jumped back too, but his thin evening gloves were already drenched in oil. With mounting horror, Robert watched as his brother froze for an instant. Flames erupted from his hands.

The sickening image chilled him. If Frederick had been a performer on stage, the audience would have burst into applause, but this was no trick. No sleight of hand. It was real, and Frederick’s hands were on fire. 

Find Once Upon a Spy and Sheridan’s other books on Amazon.

 

Once Upon a Spy RB Giveaway Graphic

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Sheridan JeaneAbout Sheridan:

Sheridan Jeane writes exciting and emotion-packed historical romances set in the Victorian Era that confront issues of trust and conformity.

With the advent of the industrial age, life was changing. Many people tried to hold on to the old ways of life while others embraced the new opportunities open to them. Join Sheridan as she explores the clash between the old and the new.

Sheridan has always loved books, history, and stories about amazing people who blaze new trails.

Despite naming their daughter Sheridan because they thought it might someday look great on the cover of a book, Sheridan’s parents urged her in a more practical direction for college. Sheridan earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Science with a minor in English.

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