Past, Present, Future

O Night Divine

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My contribution to this anthology, Past, Present, Future, is about Major Lord Frederick Glinn, the younger brother of the hero of A Whisper Of Treason. Frederick is home from the wars, and he comes to Rhona MacKay, the housekeeper of a lonely castle on the West coast of Scotland. Lords don’t marry housekeepers, or so Rhona told him when she turned him down. Frederick gave her every chance to find someone to love, but when he was invalided out of the army, he came back to claim her. Now all he has to do is persuade her.

This is their last chance, he tells her. He’ll always love her, but he won’t wait forever. For the three days of Christmas, he gives her three things, symbols of their past, their present and their future. What they had, what they have now, and what they could have together.

Rhona has never stopped loving Frederick but she wouldn’t be the cause of his family’s unhappiness. However, now Frederick’s older brother has found happiness with a woman his social inferior, but superior in every other way, it’s time for Rhona to find her happiness, too.

This is probably the last we’ll see of The Daring Dersinghams, so I’ve added a purely self-indulgent scene at the end of the book, with them all together

Here’s the link: O Night Divine

And what about that pretty cover!

Thank you so much for sticking with me all this time! See you next time!

Welcome to November!

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I didn’t send out my usual newsletter at the beginning of the month, because there was no way I could have competed with the US Election!

Congratulations to the winner, and now let’s get on with our normal lives, shall we?

I’ve put a picture of my local park up there for you, because it’s so beautiful. That’s a Constable sky if ever I saw one. I stood there for ages just looking at it. We need to get back to that, appreciating what we have, to get through these difficult times.

This month I have two books that are new on the shelves, one that’s been out for a few weeks, and one that is out today!

Virginia and The Wolf is a road romance, and it was huge fun to write. I took my old map book of England and Wales, and let my characters hurry along it in their search for smugglers. Many of the inns I describe in the book are still there today, and one day I’ll visit them.

Since this is the newest release, I’ve put an excerpt below. You can read an excerpt on Amazon, the beginning of the book, so I’ve chosen one from a little later, but no spoilers, I promise!

I’ll be sorry to say goodbye to The Society For Single Ladies, but for now, the ladies are resting, although next year, who knows? But, sadly, the publisher, Kensington, doesn’t want any more. This is a hard time for everybody, so I’m not complaining about it, but I can’t deny I’m disappointed. Mind you, if it got to number one bestseller, I’d be a happy author!

I do have other irons in the fire, though, and I’m carrying on with new projects. A new publisher, and some new projects. I’ll be rereleasing a series soon, from L.C. Connolly, my alter ego for contemporary romance. More later! It probably won’t be this side of Christmas, because they aren’t Christmas books, but they’re ready to go!

New for November: Virginia And The Wolf

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Virginia, Lady Dulverton, feels safer keeping the world at a distance. One man sees through her reserve to the woman beneath: the infamously rakish Francis, Earl of Wolverley. Now a widow, Virginia is wrangling with the terms of her late husband’s will. When she realizes Francis is in danger because of his connection to her, she feels compelled to help, regardless of the hazard to her own heart.

Francis has worked hard to strengthen his inheritance. But he’s also found time to play. Despite his many dalliances, his affections have never been involved. Those belong entirely to a woman he could never have. When he’s attacked in the street and told to leave Virginia alone, he decides to do exactly the opposite . . .

With the help of the Society for Single Ladies, they set out to discover who is targeting Virginia, and why. It’s a race that will lead to the Devonshire coast, a smuggling ring, and a love that, however perilous, is worth waging countless battles . . .

You can order the book here:

Apple : Amazon : Google Play : Kobo : Nook

Extract from Virginia And The Wolf

A hush fell at the end of the room, as Virginia was talking to Miss McLennon, her back to the company. Alerted to the tension around her, Virginia turned around, taking her time. Until she saw who had entered the room.

At the far end of the white and gold room, with its feminine curlicues and twists stood two men. Two extremely masculine men. But they did not look as if they didn’t belong there. They looked as if they owned the place.

Despite his elaborate silks and lace, the Duke of Colston Magna fooled nobody. He was no namby-pamby idiot. Inside that outrageous pink silk coat resided a powerful male with a fearsome reputation for never losing a duel, or a bout of fisticuffs. Those lily-white hands had pounded Col’s opponent into oblivion more than once in the boxing studio.

“One wonders why he is so angry. Beneath that pretty surface he is simmering,” Angela murmured.

The Earl of Wolverley wore scarlet and gold, the brilliants sewn into his waistcoat flashing as he moved. But not as much as his eyes. Those eyes held the promise of murder, and Virginia was afraid it was for her. Although they had parted in ostensibly amicable terms, he had not fooled her with his soft talk of pins and neighborly concern.

Virginia and Angela stood together, facing the incoming storm. The men fixed their eyes on them and did not look away as they made their way past all the other guests toward them.

The diamond dangling below Wolverley’s earlobe flashed as he turned his head when a woman laughed nervously. Then he returned his attention to Virginia. As the men walked up to them the women switched places, a swift rustling of skirts loud in the suddenly quiet room. The quartet accompanying the dancers had paused between sets. Conversation around them was muted. Or perhaps Virginia only imagined it that way.

The men made their bows, beautiful pattern-cards of obeisance.

Col asked for Virginia’s hand in the next set of country dances. Shooting a triumphant glare at Wolverley, she accepted, graciously placing her hand on Col’s chilly satin sleeve.

“Hasn’t the weather turned cold?” she inquired, as he led her on to the floor.

“It has, and after the wonderful sunshine we’ve been having lately!” he answered, full of bonhomie, but glancing past her to where Angela and Wolverley were standing, waiting for the dance to begin.

When she glanced at Angela, she caught a lovelorn gaze from Wolverley, there for all to see.

Virginia gritted her teeth. That one, fraught glance told Virginia what he was at. Retribution would not be long in coming. And well, she would have to learn to live with it. How dare he make his intentions so obvious? The whole of London would be talking about his approach tomorrow. His volte-face would be noted and gossiped about in every house in the country.

Before this night, their connection was known, but not remarked upon, since they behaved in a suitably neighborly way. But if he made his change of heart so obvious, that opinion would change in a flash.

Tonight, Wolverley gazed at her from afar, the wistful longing of a suitor. Or a lover. All the way through the dance he never let his attention stray, gazing at her as if she was all he could see, watching her dance with her other partners.

She wanted to slap that stupid expression off his face, and Virginia did not consider herself a violent woman.

Ladies gossiped behind their fans, and gentleman laughed softly as they watched. By the end of this evening they would believe that she and Wolverley were lovers.

Damn him to hell and back. She could curse all she liked in her mind, but outwardly she kept the polite smile on her face and her attention on her partner in the dance.

Unfortunately country dances meant changes of partner. They were social dances, until they ended with their original partner at the end of the piece. Short of stalking away from the dance floor, which would create a scandal all its own, she would have to face Wolverley and dance with him. Avoiding gossip was all but impossible.

The remaining company in London were avidly waiting for a scandal, something to enliven the gossip over the teacups. Virginia refused to provide it. Utterly refused.

When Wolverley faced her in the dance, he smiled in that way she’d seen when he flirted with women. No, not flirted, but indicated something deeper.

As they crossed in the dance, she hissed at him, “I am not your mistress and I will never be.”

“Did I ask you that?” His deep voice resonated through her, thrilling those parts of her she worked hard to keep dormant. “I would not suggest such a thing.” He paused, while they executed steps that separated them then brought them back together. “Unless I thought you wanted it.”

That last was delivered in such a sultry tone that her palms itched. That would have thrilled the spectators. Two more measures and she was done with him. “I would never wish for it. You know that, Wolverley.”

“I know no such thing. We have been dancing around each other for years, rather like we are doing now. Isn’t it time we faced what lies between us?”

For a moment, a fraction of a second, he gazed at her as if she was his world, as if he meant the nonsense he was parroting. Then it was gone, frustratingly covered by a flirtatious smile, as if she’d said something witty.

So she laughed. A little too high-pitched, but it would serve to persuade people that nothing was serious here. Move along, people, find the next show. “You’re angry with me, but this is unfair.”

“Is it? Nothing is unfair in war or love. Surely you know that.”

She turned the old saying back the right way. Love came first. “I know nothing of love or war.”

She had said too much. Virginia bit her lip, desperately finding something to cover her sentence. But she was too late.

As she made to move on in the dance, back to Colston Magna, Wolverley said, his voice soft and low, “Then I shall teach you.”

His breath grazed her ear, making her gasp.

Somebody else had said that to her once. Revulsion filled her, so sudden that she recoiled from it, and the duke had to catch her elbow to steady her. She pretended she’d stumbled, and thanked him, forcing another light laugh. “My mother always said I could trip on a speck of dust. Thank you, sir.”

“Think nothing of it,” he said somberly. “Madam, if the Wolf troubles you too much, I will stand your friend.”

The last thing she wanted to do was to draw any more attention to this atrocious business. “Wolverley? No, we have known each other for years.”

Damn the man.

New Reads for October!

 Hello!

Frankie says hello, too!

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I don’t know about you, but my favourite way of escaping from this crazy world is by reading a good book. Or by writing one!

And routine, although my routine is a bit on the crazy side. I’m a night owl, so I start work late and finish early. I’ve always been that way, but this year, it’s gone to extremes. I love dawn, and the quiet hours of the night. That’s when the characters really speak to me.

When I was little we had no money but lots of books, because books, bought by the crate from auction houses, were good insulation.

Because I spent a lot of my childhood ill in bed, I worked my way through them. From Charles Dickens to Enid Blyton to Mickey Spillane, they were all fodder for my curious mind. And when I went back to school I was way advanced in reading and literature, but absolutely awful at maths.

That hasn’t changed much.

Now I’m lucky enough to write all the time. The stories keep coming.

News for October

If you’re into historical romance, there’s lots of reading for you in this newsletter that I feature in.

Historical romance newsletter

And in November, I have a new release, the third (and for now, final) book in the Society for Single Ladies series. I’ve put a link below for you, and next month I’ll put an extract and a full description.

I’ve also written a Christmas story from The Daring Dersinghams world. You can’t go wrong with this anthology, and since I haven’t read the other stories yet, you bet I’m going to get it!

My story, Past, Present, Future, is about Frederick, the brother of the hero of A Whisper of Treason. He comes home, at last, to claim the woman he loves. For three nights he will give her three gifts, symbolising what they’ve shared, what they have, and what they could have in the future. A castle in Scotland for Christmas, what’s not to love!

Here’s the link: O Night Divine

And the pretty cover! 

Out In November: Virginia And The Wolf

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Virginia, Lady Dulverton, feels safer keeping the world at a distance. One man sees through her reserve to the woman beneath: the infamously rakish Francis, Earl of Wolverley. Now a widow, Virginia is wrangling with the terms of her late husband’s will. When she realizes Francis is in danger because of his connection to her, she feels compelled to help, regardless of the hazard to her own heart.

Francis has worked hard to strengthen his inheritance. But he’s also found time to play. Despite his many dalliances, his affections have never been involved. Those belong entirely to a woman he could never have. When he’s attacked in the street and told to leave Virginia alone, he decides to do exactly the opposite . . .

With the help of the Society for Single Ladies, they set out to discover who is targeting Virginia, and why. It’s a race that will lead to the Devonshire coast, a smuggling ring, and a love that, however perilous, is worth waging countless battles . . .

You can order the book here:

Apple : Amazon : Google Play : Kobo : Nook

Future Plans

Another series, for the new year. I’m planning an entry into The Lyon’s Den series, which will probably start a new series, but this time, Regency set.

And a project I really can’t say much about right now, but I am so excited about it! I want to tell people, but I can’t!

Autumn reads

Plenty of autum/fall reading in this newsletter, and all the books are discounted, including my “Lightning Unbound.”

See the whole newsletter here!

Lightning Unbound

Lightning Unbound

When Gerard Sterling, Earl of Ellesmere, races to Bedlam asylum to rescue a wrongly committed friend, he’s astonished to find Lady Faith Bradley. Fascinated and enchanted by her, and inspired by her dedication saving her brother from the horrors of the Incurables ward, he includes them in his rescue mission. But woo her he cannot—not with a fatal disease that saps more of his strength every day.

When Gerard discovers he is the god Jupiter, they face a deadly enemy—Kronos, whose plan to regain power includes Gerard’s death. To foil his plan, Gerard and Faith must defy Fate itself.

Each book in the Even Gods Fall in Love series is a standalone story that can be enjoyed out of order.

Buy the Book

Excerpt
Amazon : IBooks : Barnes and Noble : Kobo :

Books2Read Universal Links

Happy Spring!

Spring is here at last! This is a picture I took near my house, of the village green and the daffodils there. Don’t they make a lovely show?
We’ve had a lot of rain, I mean a lot, so the school playing fields are underwater. We have a new lake.
And at the end of the month, The Making of A Marquess is here! The second in the Society for Single Ladies series, where romance is mixed with a touch of danger and excitement!
Out now!

The Making Of A Marquess

 

The Society for Single Ladies is a crime-solving club founded by the wealthiest woman in London.
Yet even Miss Angela Childers’ charming detectives are not immune to the forces of love . . .
Dorothea Rowland attends a country house party to investigate a long-lost heir—not to find a husband. But when the dashing American claimant discovers her prowling for clues, she is startled—and then seduced—by his provocative kiss. It’s all Dorothea can do to remember her mission. Especially when a series of accidents adds up to something  far more dangerous . .
Benedict only meant to silence lovely Dorothea—not find himself enamored. What’s a gentleman to do but join forces—and propose to the clever beauty? Yet as Ben and Dorothea pursue the truth about his inheritance, their faux betrothal threatens to become the real thing.
Soon Ben’s plan to return to his life in America is upended—not only by his deepening bond with his bride, but by someone who wants his fortune badly enough to jeopardize his future—even end it. And Dorothea can’t let that happen. Not for the title, but for Ben .

Order The Book

Kensington Publishing – all outlets. 

Here’s an excerpt:
Dorothea opened her mouth and let him in. She could do nothing else. His power, so carefully harnessed, swept through her and put her in his thrall. If he’d forced her, she’d have broken away immediately, but he didn’t.
He persuaded, and that was worse. Offered her just enough to make her pursue him, to become an eager participant. Had a kiss ever proved so seductive, so irresistible? She had kissed men before, but not like this. She recalled hard lips on hers, or young, eager ones, clumsy and unpracticed. Nothing like this. Never had she known the power of a mere kiss before.
When he touched her lips with the tip of his tongue, she almost swooned from the intimacy. But she was no schoolroom miss. She was made of stronger stuff. Dorothea looped her arm around the back of his neck, the velvet of his hair-ribbon grazing her skin. The enticing fabric of his shirt barely concealed the powerful muscles beneath. If he had not bent to her, she wouldn’t have been able to reach his arm, such was the width of his shoulders and his height. That alone fascinated her, that he had to bend to her instead of reaching up.
He dipped his tongue into her mouth, and she clutched at him, grabbing his waistcoat and pulling the top few buttons undone. He groaned into her mouth. Eagerly she swallowed the sound and came back for more. Her fichu loosened, whether from her frantic need or his hands she didn’t know. Nor did she care. He could rip it off her if he liked.
Drawing away, he gasped, “I did not mean…” but she pulled him back, using her arm to haul him against her. So there were advantages in being tall, after all. A shorter woman wouldn’t have had the leverage. Triumph soared through her when he responded, dragging her even closer to press her breasts against the firm wall of his chest. It brought her some ease but not nearly enough. She needed more. She wanted skin.
Working her hand between them, she found his waistcoat buttons and tugged them through the buttonholes. He did not stop her, and emboldened, she carried on, until she could flatten her hand on his chest. Now only his shirt lay in the way of her and her desire. If she didn’t have him now, she’d never have the chance again. He was rough at the edges but still a gentleman, and he’d keep away from her. Voracious, unfulfilled, she pressed her lips to his, afraid that if he came to his senses and recalled who she was and what she looked like, he’d move away. If he did that, she would die. Or something inside her would. She’d never felt desire like this before, and she wanted more. Now.
He responded, pulling her close, and dragging her fichu up and away. Her breasts swelled up, threatening to burst out of her stays and shift. If only they would!
Tracing his finger across the top of her breasts, following the line of her stays brought tingling awareness to her skin, deliciously sensual.
A click behind them heralded the entrance of—someone, and the scandalized cry brought her back to earth. “Unhand her, sir!”
If ever a brother was de trop, this was the time. Ann’s shocked, high-pitched cry was broken off.
Ben spun around, pushing her behind him as if to shield her and standing tall. “Yes?”
If anyone doubted his aristocratic pedigree, they should hear and see him now.
His arrogance made her giggle, half-nervous, half-shocked. Bending, she retrieved her fichu and tossed the light square of white linen across her shoulders, shielding what should never have been exposed. Hastily she gathered the precious papers which she’d let fall, when she’d lost her senses to his kiss.
“May I ask what you are doing in my sister’s bedroom?” Laurence demanded, every inch the proper guardian.
“I must apologize, Lord Sandigate,” Ben said smoothly. “I had private business with Dorothea, and we got somewhat—carried away.”
She did not bother wondering how and why she could have done this; she knew perfectly well. The man had overwhelmed her senses from the moment she’d laid eyes on him. She would do it again. And resenting his protection of her, she emerged, smoothing her skirts and holding the papers with hands that barely trembled. “And really, Laurence, what business is it of yours?”

A Bunch of Mistletoe – out now! News and excerpt

 Out now!


A Bunch of Mistletoe

Part of the Stars Are Brightly Shining anthology. A Daring Dersinghams story
When Matilda, chaperone and aunt to the most scandalous family in London, takes a tumble from a tree, she’s rescued by the most unlikely saviour.

Toplofty stickler Harold, the Duke of Trensom, is more than annoyed to find Matilda on his property. Worse when he finds himself falling for her. 

From the bedecked halls of Regency England to the cold and crisp air of Medieval England, and everything in between, welcome to the magic of a holiday collection that will bring the joy of the season into your heart and into your home.

Ten New York Times, USA Today or Internationally bestselling authors bring you their twist on the holidays using some of your favorite characters in STARS ARE BRIGHTLY SHINING.“

Order The Book

Dragonblade: Kindle

Excerpt


Harry Caverton, more properly His Grace the Duke of Trensom and all the other titles that went with it, stepped out of his luxurious carriage into snow nearly a foot deep.

The tops of his boots barely cleared the snow, coming perilously close to spilling over the top. But even wet, cold feet was better than sitting in his carriage listening to the muffled curses of his coachman and the two footmen accompanying him while they crawled along at a snail’s pace.

The snowstorm had hit unexpectedly, following on the one a few days earlier which had prevented him from getting to his house in time.

After a tedious duty visit to relatives, he was keen to reach his home. A heavy snowfall two days ago had kept him immured at an inn, seething with frustration when he could not return in time to greet the guests arriving for his Christmas house party.

As soon as he could, Harry had set out, forcing his coachman to brave the weather, but more snow arrived.

Although snow had fallen for less than an hour, the countryside was left in chaos. Overturned coaches and teams of men trying to pull them clear of the ditches, broken wheels and the rest, left Harry glad they didn’t have far to go. Even then, they’d taken most of the day to travel less than ten miles. Dinnertime was approaching as they reached the gates of Caverton House.

But now the coach was stuck in the snow, unable to go any further.

A man stood behind the gates, scratching his head, his hat in his hand. When Harry appeared, he blinked rapidly, as if not believing what he was seeing. Then he bowed. Harry acknowledged his presence with a nod. “How’s the drive, Bowford?”

His head gardener grunted. “We’ve cleared the area near the house, your grace, but we’ve still to do the rest. It shouldn’t take us more than a couple of hours, but the coach won’t get through it yet.”

“Leave the coach,” Harry told his driver and footmen. “It won’t come to any harm. Just bring the luggage and lead the horses to the stables.”

Harry buttoned his greatcoat up to his chin, crammed his hat down to his eyes, and set off.

The drive was easy to follow at first, but paths led off it and to the side; not that he could see them. If he didn’t know them so well, he’d have lost his way a thousand times.

He stopped at a crest where the drive bent and gazed down at the house in its sheltered hollow. His most favored house had its Jacobean origins fully on display. It hadn’t lost its stone exterior to stucco and had a Palladian front slapped on it. It was honest, as lovely as the day it was made. A central block, a story higher than the wings to either side, towered up, the huge stone-mullioned windows dominating the front. The wings had towers at the end, as high as the central block, with the family crest proudly engraved into the topmost stories. The honey-colored stone would contrast well with the lush park that surrounded it, if it wasn’t covered with a blanket of snow.

Smiling, glad to be home, he carried on down the gentle swoop of the drive.

A few more steps and he was walking by the side of a wood, the trees carefully thinned and pruned. Further on, the trees thickened. Something rustled ahead and a flash of green appeared on one of the branches, then was gone. A ladder was propped up against the trunk and a booted foot reached down, groping for purchase. The ladder teetered, then fell away onto the hard, snow-blanketed earth below.

A feminine shriek bounced off the wood, and the foot was swiftly withdrawn.

Who on earth had come out in this weather? What would bring anyone out here? Perhaps someone was planning something nefarious, or maybe a tryst was in the offing. Whatever it was, Harry wasn’t about to miss it. He strolled over to the great tree.

The woman was sitting in the branches of an oak tree, about ten feet up. Evidently, the tree had been here before the wood was planted, since they were not as gnarled or thick as this one. He lifted his gaze.

She was wearing plain, not to say threadbare, clothes, but respectable. A thick, brown cloak and a plain hat topped it. She was too high up for him to make out much of her face. “Good afternoon, ma’am.” In deference to the weather, he didn’t doff his hat.

“Oh, th-thank God! I thought I’d be here all night! Would you restore the ladder, please, sir?”

“Certainly not. What are you doing up there, ma’am?”

She waved a gloved hand to one side. The gleam of a sharp metal knife in her hand, rather a large one, caught the weak sunlight.

Harry went on alert. That was no penknife. “I believe I shall go to the house and send someone to help you.”

“And leave me here? Have you no heart?”


Many Happies from Lynne!

Well, here we are in winter. The tree comes down in a couple of days, and then we have months of ice and with any luck, snow. Because I love snow. Love it. It’s white and fluffy and a bit Frankie. That’s our daft cat, who is spoiled rotten.
His picture is above. He’s a ragdoll. We let him out once a day and he comes back drenched. His fur sucks up the wet like a sponge. It doesn’t stop him, though, it just means lots more work for us, drying and grooming him.  Not using the washing machine, I hasten to add!
I need to put more cats into my books.
I should have put one into my story for the anthology Stars Are Brightly Shining. The anthology contains some fantastic authors, and the stories should help you keep you warm, if you’re in the same hemisphere as I am!
I’ve taken up Pokemon Go, and now I have an array of cute creatures on my phone. I’m not a gym bunny, so I walk to get my exercise. The game makes it much more amusing. It’s more than trudging out steps.
Books – ah, yes, writing. Well, I’ve written the first in a new series, but I don’t know whether to send it to a publisher, or do the self-publishing thing. I have some backlist books to publish this year, but to be honest, I’m scared of going out there on my own. The rough and tumble of the self-publishing world is pretty daunting, and I don’t really want to do KU. And this new book is historical detective, not straight romance. This is the couple I always wanted to write, the couple that has been haunting me for years.
I still have one more book to write for the Dragonblade series, and that comes next. The sister who hi-tailed it to Rome!
So stay tuned, and thank you for all your support this far!