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Friday, October 30, 2015

#NewRelease Fury of a Highland Dragon by @coreenecallahan

Growing up as the only girl on all-male hockey team, Coreene Callahan knows a thing or two about tough guys and loves to write characters inspired by them. Call it kismet. Call it payback after years of locker room talk and ice rink antics, but whatever you call it, the action better be heart stopping, the magic electric, and the story wicked, good fun.

After graduating with honors in psychology and working as an interior designer, she finally gave in and returned to her first love: writing. Her debut novel, Fury of Fire, was a finalist in the New Jersey Romance Writers Golden Leaf Contest in two categories: Best First Book and Best Paranormal. She combines her love of romance, adventure and writing with her passion for history in her novels. She lives in Canada with her family, a fun-loving golden retriever, and her wild imaginary world.

Trapped by a future she refuses to face…

Accused of cyber espionage by the United States government, ethical hacker Ivy Macpherson is now on the FBI’s most wanted list. Out of options, she runs, desperate for time to prove her innocence. When fate takes an unexpected turn, bringing her face-to-face with Tydrin, she must decide—trust a man more dangerous than the hunters on her trail to keep her safe. Or risk capture by a covert agency well known for ruthlessness.

Condemned by a past he doesn’t want to remember…
Cursed with a terrible temper, Scottish dragon-warrior Tydrin struggles to atone for a mistake that took innocent lives. Unable to forgive himself, he returns to the scene of his crime in hopes of finding absolution, but discovers a woman in need of his help instead. Intervening in the nick of time, he whisks Ivy to safety, only to realize the daughter of the family he wronged is the one destined to steal his heart.

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The climb over the high stone wall almost killed her. The half mile trek across the cemetery in the dark hadn’t helped much either. Not that Ivy Macpherson could afford to complain. Not after escaping with little more than the clothes on her back. She was alive and mobile, and no matter how screwed up the situation, she refused to take it for granted. Gratitude surfaced along with her relief. On her knees in the dirt, she bowed her head. A cold breeze flicked over the nape of her neck. She shivered and, closing her eyes, offered up a quick prayer. An inadequate way to say thank you maybe, but…

By God, she’d made it.

All right, so it hadn’t been smooth sailing. She’d been lucky. So damn fortunate to have gotten out of Washington D.C. in one piece. Quick wits had helped. A friend with questionable business contacts had done the rest, providing fake ID, some cash, and a one way trip to the UK. A rough ride by any standards. To be expected given the circumstances. The crew aboard the freightliner Mary Frances would never be called sweethearts. Or embody kindness.

She should know. After a week of hiding out on the open seas—of scrubbing pots, mopping floors, and dodging the cop-a-feel Captain—Ivy now understood the meaning of hard work. Manuel labor at its finest. Sexual harassment at its worst. Not a bit like her regular job. But then, the terrified and on the run couldn’t be choosy.

Neither could a hacker accused of espionage by the US government.

Coreene will be awarding a $10 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Wednesday Regency: Banking

There's a scene in Improper Match where Selina needs to take money from the bank. However, women weren't allowed to do so. Even though two separate banks were owned and very successfully run by women, the laws of the time forbade them from actually retrieving their own money (theirs or their husband's) themselves.

I know, I know. But this was 200+ years ago. And for those who love the Regency Era, we love how our women work around these rules!

I learned much of this from Michelle Styles's guest post, but then did my own research. It's so interesting, how these brilliant women worked around the laws of the time.

Sarah Villiers, Countess of Jersey and patronesses of Almack's also happened to inherit primary legatee of the bank Child & Co from her maternal grandfather, Robert Child.

Harriot Beauclerk, Duchess of St Albans, actress on Drury Lane was also the wife of banker Thomas Coutts and upon his death, inherited his entire fortune including controlling interest in Coutts Bank where the royal family continued to bank today.

Upon Harriot's death, "her property and fortune went to her step-granddaughter, carefully selected as heir after careful scrutiny of the possible recipients, who as a condition of the inheritance adapted her name to Angela Burdett-Coutts." (wiki page)

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

#NewRelease: Pretty When You Cry by @skye_warren

Skye Warren is the New York Times and USA Today Bestselling author of dark romance. Her books are raw, sexual and perversely romantic.

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I came from a place of dirt floors and holy scriptures. They told me the world outside is full of sin, and the first night I escape, I know it’s true. Ivan saves me, but he does more than that. He takes me. He makes me his own girl.

My conditioning runs too deep. Ivan sees what I am.

That’s the thing about showing a mouse to a cat. He wants to play. And it’s terrifying, even for me. Because the only thing darker than my past is his.
The bed is the largest one I’ve ever seen, but somehow too small for two people. Too small if one of the people is Ivan. He’s physically large and, more than that, terrifying. What will he do to me? I can’t fight him. God, I’m not sure I want to try. Home.

In the end I push back the heavy blankets, almost as thick as my sleeping pallet in Harmony Hills, and climb onto the bed. The pillow is perfectly soft, so clean, and I let myself drift away. I’m floating on a cloud, plush and high up.

I dream in those moments. I dream about color and light. I dream about the sky.

There is a deep voice from above and all around me, telling me to get on my knees. Commanding me to pray. This is the first time in my life I’ve ever skipped bedtime prayers. The first time I haven’t begged for salvation. I’m not going to beg, not ever again.

The hand on my face doesn’t feel angry. It isn’t a slap for my insolence. It strokes down my temple and cups my cheek. My eyes flutter open. Ivan.

His hand falls away.

“Candace,” he says in the same deep voice of my dream.

And there’s a look in his eyes, the same look Leader Allen gives Mama. The same look he started giving me. That look is the reason Mama sent me away.

“You’ll stay here,” he says softly. “I don’t want you to dance, but you can stay.”

The allure of it beats through me, a heart of its own, thumping away to a dream that isn’t mine. Safety. Home. I want those things, but I want freedom more. I want the flash of lights and of skin. I want the power those women had onstage.

Ivan wants to put me in a cage, but what I really want is to fly.

“Okay,” I lie, because one sin becomes many. Leader Allen taught me that, and he was right. I’ll convince Ivan, though. One day I’ll dance on that stage, and Ivan will watch me.

One day he’ll teach me everything there is to know.

“Good girl.”

The praise washes over me, undeserved and darkly pleasurable, a stroke along my spine. It feels good, but I know what it is. A trap. A chain around my ankle to keep me on the ground. In this moment, it locks me so tight that I’d accept anything he did to me. If he were to touch me the way the woman with the kind eyes meant. The way Leader Allen touches Mama during prayer.

Ivan leans down, and I hold my breath. Large hands take hold of the blanket, lift slightly. I feel everything between us—anticipation and denial, lust and fear corded together. We feel them together, breathe them in through the air, pulse them with each beat of our hearts. It’s a kind of knowledge, this feeling, connecting a thousand nerve points to the core of my body. This is what he meant by teaching me. This and so much more.

Then he pulls the blanket higher, tucking it around me. “Good night,” he says, eyes glittering in the dark.

He is silver and light, made even brighter by the shadows behind him. It’s strange, the disappointment I feel that he isn’t going to touch me. He isn’t going to teach me. Not tonight. “Good night,” I whisper back.

Then he’s gone, shutting the door against the dark, locking me in. And I slide away into sleep, without dreams, without color, with only the shameless black of contentedness, knowing I am safe for the night.

Skye will be awarding a $15 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.