In this enemies-to-lovers Regency romance by USA Today bestselling author
Charlie Lane, a lady who dares too much and a brute who dares too little
engage in a battle of wits.
Lady Sarah Hampton would rather sew up a wound than tend to her own heart.
Or matrimonial prospects. When the small hospital she’s been
volunteering at faces financial peril, she seeks to save them the best way
she knows how—one dare, one wager, and one foolish rake at a time. No
matter the risk to herself. If her friend’s irritatingly handsome and
brutish brother doesn’t stand in her way.
Xavier Evans, Viscount Flint may be known as the Dare King to his old
chums, but to Lady Sarah, he’s the King of Brutes. He’d take
offense if he weren’t so busy trying to be a better man, the type who
rises above insult, never gives it, and protects his family. But when his
sister’s happiness hinges on her friend’s safety, he’ll
have to figure out how to keep the sharp-tongued and beautiful Lady
Sarah—who hates him—safe, too.
Sarah is willing to risk it all, and Xavier will do what it takes to stop
her. As the game of dares draws them closer, it reveals a hidden threat, and
these enemies must work together or hurt those they love… including
The Debutante Dares Series
#1 Daring the Duke
#2 A Dare too Far
#3 Kiss or Dare
#4 Don’t You Dare, My Dear
#5 Only Rakes Would Dare
#6 Daring Done Right
About the Author
USA Today bestselling author Charlie Lane traded in academic databases and
scholarly journals for writing steamy Regency romcoms like the ones
she’s always loved to read. Her favorite authors are Jane Austen (who
else?), Toni Morrison, William Blake, Julia Quinn, and Maya Rodale.
Charlie writes unique stories with unconventional characters who push
against the rigid restrictions of their society. Officially, Charlie has a
Ph.D. in literature with a focus on the nineteenth-century novel and
children’s literature and answers to Professor. Unofficially,
she’s a high-flying circus-obsessed acrobat, with an emphasis on
two-tail silks and answers to Muscles Magee. She lives with her own Colonel
Brandon, two little dudes, and a furry fella in East Tennessee.
In this sweet enemies-to-lovers Regency romance by Jennifer Monroe, a strongheaded woman meets her match when an arrogant knight vows to take over the very theater she cherishes.
A Knight with a destiny. A secret that can unravel it.
Sir Aaron Kirkwood knows no woman can resist his good looks or charms. With
no time for romance, his focus is on the local theater, which he hopes to
turn into a gentlemen’s club. His first point of resistance, however,
comes from a wild and undisciplined beauty from the local school for young
women. Miss Dunston is flirty, and her pouty lips are tempting, but Aaron
knows what it will take to tame her.
Her beauty is her strength, and she’ll use it to guarantee the
arrogant knight’s failure.
A secret past has ensured that no man will ever be able to love Miss Louisa
Dunston, thus forever sealing her destiny. Living part of her life as a lie,
she uses her looks to hide the pain she carries inside. When a handsome yet
arrogant knight attempts to purchase the local theater, Louisa knows she
must do whatever it takes to stop him. Even if it means lowering herself to
his standards and playing a dangerous and flirtatious game.
Two secrets, one destiny.
Sir Aaron finds that with each talk of compromise, the passion and kisses
he shares with Louisa are becoming too much to resist. As his feelings
change, he fears she may learn the secret behind his newly bestowed title.
And for Louisa, what begins as a way to save the theater turns into
something far more pleasurable. In their quest for love, can they accept one
another’s pasts and change their destinies for-ever?
Sisterhood of Secrets Series
#1 Duke of Madness
#2 Baron of Rake Street
#3 Marquess of Magic
#4 Earl of Deception
#5 Knight of Destiny
#6 Captain of Second Chances
About the Author
Jennifer Monroe writes Regency romances you can’t resist. Her stories
are filled with first loves and second chances, dashing dukes, and strong
heroines. Each turn of the page promises an adventure in love and many late
nights of reading.
With over twenty books published, her nine-part series, The Secrets of
Scarlett Hall, which tells the stories of the Lambert Children, remain a
favorite with her readers.
In 1944, a German artillery shell destroyed Milt Greenlee’s future in
professional baseball. His hideously scarred face and useless arm require
him to relearn and recondition. But no amount of rehab will restore his
looks or his self-confidence. There’s no chance a
“cripple” like him could catch the eye of the stunning Nurse
Army Nurse, Annie McEwen dreams her voice will take her far away from her
hateful, overbearing father. She hopes Milt, a patient who fought in Sicily,
might be the one who can help her find closure with the death of her cousin.
As their attraction grows, how can their relationship survive Annie’s fears
and Milt’s secret?
About the Author
Barbara Whitaker was born in the wrong decade. She loves everything about
the 1940’s and WWII, so she decided to write about it. Her historical
romances embody that fascinating era in history. Visit Barbara’s website http://www.barbarawhitaker.com
Young actress Nina Landau is living in New York City, trying to make it on
Broadway in the early ‘70s. Travel back in time with The
Understudy—a book actor Stacy Keach calls a “…must read
for all lovers of theater…” Follow Nina as she braves auditions and
eventually succeeds on the Broadway stage. Discover the backstage drama, how
Broadway actors brave the occasional mistakes and celebrate opening night at
Sardi’s! Although Nina’s adventure is from another era, her love story
About the Author
Ellen Tovatt Leary is an actor and writer born in New York City. She
performed in theaters across the country, including Broadway, off-Broadway,
and many regional theaters. She worked with Hal Prince, Maureen Stapleton,
James Hammerstein, and many others. After a life-long career in the theater,
Ellen started writing. For fourteen years, she was on the writing staff of
the Carnegie Hill News in New York. She has published short stories, poems,
and two widely acclaimed books: her memoir “Mother, Once
Removed” (2015) and her novel “The Understudy”
Sometimes the path to true love is a walk on the wicked side.
Dr. Henry Jekyll has—almost—always lived by the rules. Hoping
to improve society by separating a person’s good and evil halves, Hal
tests an experimental potion on himself. When the drug lowers his usual
inhibitions, Hal crashes a high-class party, downs a strong drink, and
propositions a sophisticated courtesan. All in the name of science, of
Calliope Finch needs only six more months as a glamorous mistress to earn
enough to open the library of her dreams. So when Callie meets the awkward,
bookish party crasher calling himself Mr. Hyde, she knows nothing can come
of it. Not when his curious charm and unfailing honesty come at the expense
of his bank account. All she can spare him is a kiss—and maybe one
Spurred on by their unwavering attraction, Hal and Callie soon become
friends and scientific collaborators. But Callie’s list of potential
protectors is dwindling, Hal’s potion might not be the solution he
hopes, and a mysterious enemy is making mischief at every turn. With their
goals slipping ever further from reach, Hal and Callie must put their minds
and hearts to the test. Even if it means freeing sides of themselves
they’ve long kept hidden.
She needed to get back to work. Nothing could come of wasting her time
flirting with this mysterious party-crasher. No matter how intriguing he
“It is quite the extravagant affair,” the man said. His gaze
fixed on Callie, sweeping up and down her body. “I’m glad I
came. Mr. Ackner’s stoves may be second-rate, but his guests certainly
are not.” Again, his face twitched a bit. Callie had the impression he
wasn’t accustomed to speaking so boldly. Perhaps the alcohol had
loosened his tongue.
She tried to quash her curiosity. It was time to move on. She glanced
around, seeking potential wealthy lovers. That bastard Hinsberg caught her
eye and gave her a wink. Callie quickly turned her gaze away. She could
overlook the fact that he was twice her age, but he was cold and cruel, and
that was entirely unacceptable.
She took hold of the party-crasher’s arm and steered him toward the
exit, telling Hinsberg without words she was otherwise occupied. The young
man flinched at her touch but didn’t try to pull away, allowing her to
lead him out into the hall.
“Are we headed to a private chamber for amorous purposes?” he
asked, a hopeful note in his voice. He thrust a hand into a pocket. “I
brought coins. How much do your services cost?”
Callie shook her head, trying not to laugh at his bizarre naivety.
“More than you have.”
“Oh.” His shoulders slumped.
Callie tossed back the remainder of her champagne and set the empty glass
on a decorative table in the middle of the corridor. Ackner could pay for
new furniture if it left rings. Her companion looked down at his own
half-finished drink, then shrugged and discarded it.
“Perhaps a small subset of your services?” he offered. “I
have…” He made a quick check. “Two dollars and
About the Author
Award-winning author Catherine Stein believes that everyone deserves love
and that Happily Ever After has the power to help, to heal, and to comfort.
She writes sassy, sexy romance set during the Victorian and Edwardian eras.
Her books are full of action, adventure, magic, and fantastic
Catherine lives in Michigan with her husband and three rambunctious kids.
She loves steampunk and Oxford commas, and can often be found dressed in
Renaissance Festival clothing, drinking copious amounts of tea.
It’s 1947, and New York City is awaiting the construction of the new United Nations building, the FBI is actively pursuing Communists and Soviet spies as the Cold War begins to build, and homosexual men have even more reasons to hide who they are.
Uptight FBI Agent Arthur Mason is so deep in the closet he doesn’t even realize he’s in one. Clueless about his own sexuality, he’s surprised at his reaction to both Hans Schmidt and his twin sister, Ada. Under pressure from work, Mason investigates Hans and his boarders, including the highly suspicious Hank Mannix, a known member of the Communist Party. Though Mason can’t seem to locate Ada, he can’t stop thinking about Hans and keeps going back to visit.
Hans Schmidt is a cross-dressing German immigrant running a boarding house for “a certain type of man,” and he wants nothing to do with Agent Mason and his ill-fitting suits and bad haircut. Until he begins to see Mason more as a man and less as a government official.
Hans enjoys dressing as a woman from time to time, and once his feelings for Arthur begin to change, he realizes he needs to share his Ada persona if they are to have a future together.
Secrets on both sides must be revealed and cherished beliefs challenged if these two men are to find the love and happiness they deserve.
This story can be read on its own; however, characters from book one, Dublin Bay, play a prominent role as secondary characters, so it’s recommended to read that first.
Even after five years in America, Hans still startled every time the telephone rang—an abrupt, clanging sound insisting on attention. Why couldn’t a country capable of producing an atomic bomb be able to create a more discreet way of letting a person know about an incoming call? He vaguely remembered the phones in Ireland giving a soft chime first, before beginning to ring in earnest, but his time there had been short and chaotic, always one step ahead of capture, so he couldn’t be sure.
He didn’t remember the sound of telephones in Germany at all, even though he knew one hung on the wall in the university’s administration office. He pictured it there next to the corkboard but couldn’t reconstruct its sound.
He hoped the new dial telephone would have a more melodious tone. Assuming the phone company ever got around to swapping out his candlestick model for something more modern as they had been promising for months.
The telephone sat atop the counter in the small reception hallway. Hans swiveled his stool and picked up the entire device, bringing the mouthpiece forward and lifting the receiver close to his ear. He was surprised a call had even come through; most of the operators had gone out on strike.
“Schmidt’s Boarding House, Hans Schmidt speaking.”
“Hans, old boy! It’s Wally, up in Albany.”
“Oh, Wally, so good to hear from you. Is this business or pleasure?”
“Business, I’m afraid. I have a live one for you. And don’t forget I’m still on a party line here.”
That was code for anyone could be listening. Hans appreciated the reminder. The boarding house had its own private line, and he sometimes forgot most people outside the city still used party lines. As if to prove the point, Hans heard muffled soft breathing in the background.
He sighed and glanced at the wall clock, mentally rearranging his calendar for the afternoon. “Hold on.” He placed the transmitter back on the desk, switched the receiver to his left hand, and pulled a pad and pencil out of the drawer. He leaned closer to the mouthpiece so he could still be heard. “A day or two’s notice would make a nice change. But go on.”
“Sorry, there was no advance notice this time. He came right up to the counter and said, ‘One-way ticket to New York City, please, next available bus.’ You’ve got two more hours. I’m certain of this one, Hans. We served together.”
“Oh, were you…?”
“No. Nothing like that,” Wally responded. “But I knew, of course.”
“I understand. Greyhound?” Hans asked.
“Yes, arrives at three thirty.”
That was good news at least. The Greyhound terminal was next to Penn Station, which was only a half-hour walk if he hurried.
“Would you recommend Ada or Hans?”
“Oh, Ada for sure, dear boy. This one seems quite skittish. A direct approach won’t do. He needs to see what’s possible,” Wally replied. “He’s a good kid, Hans. Don’t let him get swallowed up by the Y.”
“Understood, and thanks for the tip. What will he be wearing?”
Wally laughed, and the connection broke up a bit. “Oh, not to worry. You can’t miss him.” Hans heard a click as someone hung up, or perhaps someone else picked up to check if the line was available.
“Will you be coming down yourself anytime soon?” Hans asked. “You absolutely must see David Brooks in Brigadoon. He’s in a kilt most of the time. We could make a weekend of it.”
“That sounds grand! Maybe next month.”
They exchanged a few additional pleasantries and ended the call.
Hans needed at least an hour to get Ada ready, and he was thankful he hadn’t yet put on cologne. He’d planned a shopping trip this afternoon to resupply a few staples—coffee, tea, and biscuits for the ladies’ reception parlor—but that could be rescheduled. But he couldn’t put it off for too long; the ladies did not like to run out of biscuits during their social hour.
As he descended the stairs to Ada’s room on the garden level—a New York euphemism for below ground—he was reminded how much easier things were for men. He wore a simple gray suit with a narrow navy tie, appropriate for all seasons and conservatively bland. Why, a fellow could disappear into any crowd wearing such an outfit.
Ada, though—she had a much tougher go of it. It was spring, technically, but still quite chilly. She’d need something…delightful. Yes, Hans thought, that was the right word. Not too frivolous, but sufficiently feminine to show the world there was still joy in beauty. But she’d also need to wear an outercoat and sensible enough shoes for a bit of a walk. She wouldn’t want to invite scrutiny, but she’d want people to see her and appreciate the effort she’d made.
Hans stepped into Ada’s room and opened the closet. He considered his options. He’d have to use last spring’s coat; he hadn’t had the time or funds to completely reoutfit this season. But it would do the job. It was robin’s-egg blue with a fitted waist rather than a belt. Five oversized white buttons ran down its length. Sadly, American fashion houses continued to insist on outrageously padded shoulders even now, nearly two years after the war’s end.
A thrill ran through Hans as he stood in front of Ada’s closet. It always did, right before the transformation.
He eyed the spring dress he’d bought two weeks ago and knew it would be perfect. He took it out of the closet and laid it flat on the bed. It was a creamy off-white cotton, with a hint of pink. It dropped to midcalf and had a layer of tulle underneath the skirt—an extravagant use of material that would have been unthinkable only a year ago, when rationing and scarcity were just starting to give way. Large red cherries created a pattern, and a back zipper allowed for a smooth, uninterrupted front.
Hans removed his suit and his baggy, shapeless boxers, making a mental note to remember to take the clothes back to his own room, behind the kitchen. He spent the next half hour on underclothing and shapewear, then makeup, and finally a softly curling blonde wig that matched his natural hair color.
Hans was more comfortable dressed as a woman than he was dressed as a man. He always had been; it’s what got him in trouble back in Germany.
Dressed as a woman, Hans absolutely sparkled. His slight frame and delicate features fit Ada better than they fit Hans, and more than once he wondered what it would have been like to have been born as Ada. He’d met men who claimed to actually be women, deep inside, but he didn’t fully grasp that. At the heart of it, Hans liked being a man and being attracted to other men. He just liked dressing and acting like a woman sometimes.
It was enough for him.
The dress itself—the item everyone saw—was the easiest part but for the back zipper, which he managed eventually.
He slipped on square-heeled navy shoes, tied a gauzy pink scarf around his hair as protection against the breeze, and then headed out the door.
Author John Patrick is a Lambda Literary Award finalist living in the Berkshire Hills of Massachusetts, where he is supported in his writing by his husband and their terrier, who is convinced he could do battle with the bears that come through the woods on occasion (the terrier, that is, not the husband). An introvert, John can often be found doing introverted things like reading or writing, cooking, and thinking deep, contemplative thoughts (his husband might call this napping). He loves to spend time in nature—“forest bathing” is the Japanese term for it—feeling connected with the universe. But he also loathes heat and humidity, bugs of any sort, and unsteady footing in the form of rocks, mud, tree roots, snow, or ice. So his love of nature is tempered—he’s complicated that way.
John and his husband enjoy traveling and have visited over a dozen countries, meeting new people, exploring new cultures, and—most importantly—discovering new foods.
The death of her cruel husband means freedom at last for Lucretia Tifton—until she learns that the guardian he chose for her longed-for baby is the latest in a line of earls known for separating their children from unfaithful wives. The elusive new earl is certain to hear the gossip about Lucretia. Will he believe it and prove to be as heartless as his ancestors?
Giles, the Earl of Netherbroke, wants nothing more than to work in his London shop, building furniture with beautiful marquetry finishes. If unexpectedly inheriting the earldom isn’t bad enough, now he’s saddled with an unwanted guardianship. What’s worse, the baby’s mother is the loveliest woman he’s ever seen.
Giles is almost certain Lucretia is an adulteress—and the more he learns about her, the more he understands why she might have betrayed her husband. Nevertheless, he is determined not to succumb, like his ancestors, to the Infidelity Curse.
But then Lucretia is suddenly in danger, and the only way to protect her is to make her his.
Setup: At the reading of Sir Matthew Tifton’s will, all is going well, except for the unpleasant presence of Sir Matthew’s nephew, Mr. Welton, who has already disrupted the proceedings twice. And then…
“There remains the question of guardianship, which is somewhat unusual,” Mr. Briggs, the solicitor, said.
Oh, God. Lucretia hadn’t thought of that.
“Sir Matthew appointed the Earl of Netherbroke as guardian of his child.” He paused. “Also as trustee, jointly with myself.”
“What the devil? I am meant to be the guardian!” Mr. Welton sprang up. “And the sole trustee, damn you!”
“Mr. Welton, if you cannot restrain yourself,” Mr. Briggs said, “Lady Tifton will be obliged to ask her footman to remove you.”
“Pah! She wouldn’t dare,” Welton said, “not with what I know about her.” He jabbed an accusing finger at Lucretia.
She shrank away. What could he possibly know? She’d never done anything wrong, except . . .
Welton couldn’t know about Johnny Magee. He lived in London and was nowhere near Sussex when the baby was conceived.
“Who,” Noelle demanded, “is the Earl of Netherbroke?”
“He is an elderly peer who lives in Gloucestershire,” Lucretia said. “Sir Matthew and the Earl of Netherbroke were enthusiastic medal collectors. They met once at an auction and corresponded for a short while well over a year ago. Sir Matthew’s passion for marquetry was due to the Earl’s influence. I suppose my husband decided, judging by a brief acquaintance and some expensive furniture from the shop the Earl recommended, that the Earl would make a suitable guardian.” Fury swelled within her, but she strove to keep it from her voice. Surely a doddering earl was better than horrid Mr. Welton.
Mr. Briggs nodded. “Most likely due to his position in society.”
“Society be damned. My uncle feared for his life and the safety of his child.” Welton’s spittle flew. “He knew his precious wife had cuckolded him over and over, and then she tried to poison him with her noxious brews. What sort of mother would she be?”
Aghast, Lucretia clapped a hand to her breast. “No, no! I made him tisanes of healing herbs.” Her voice trembled. “He was ill. I tried to cure him!”
“Hah! You would claim that, wouldn’t you—but you don’t deny that you cuckolded him.”
Before Lucretia could gain control of her voice, he turned to Jellicoe, the valet. “You know all about this, don’t you? Sir Matthew valued you. He confided in you, didn’t he?”
“Yes, sir, he did,” Jellicoe said. “He believed Lady Tifton was trying to kill him. He feared the consequences to the child’s immortal soul if it was left to its mother’s care.”
Welton shook his fist at Lucretia. “You killed him because he was going to change his will. No. More likely he had already changed it, using the services of a more competent solicitor than this fellow. And then you burned it so no one would ever know.”
Lucretia quailed, shaking her head. “No, that’s not true.”
“You’re a whore and a murderess,” he shouted. “You may try to cozen the Earl of Whatshisname, but you won’t succeed. I’ll do whatever it takes to see that he takes the child away from you. You’ll be lucky if you don’t hang!”
A dark cloud swept over Lucretia. She opened her mouth to protest, but no words came, and she fainted dead away.
**Get the first book, The Smuggler’s Escape, FREE June 3rd-5th!!**
Barbara Monajem grew up in western Canada. She wrote her first story in third grade about apple tree gnomes. After dabbling in neighborhood musicals and teen melodrama, she published a middle-grade fantasy when her children were young. Now her kids are adults, and she writes historical and paranormal romance and mystery for grownups. She lives in Georgia, USA , with an ever-shifting population of relatives, friends, and mostly feline strays.
Lady Sophie Harrington is not one to abide by society’s strictures.
If there’s one thing she knows, it’s that she will not be
paraded on the London marriage market in hopes of finding a suitable
husband. When a handsome bachelor moves into the neighbouring country
estate, she thinks her wedding prospects are solved – all she must do is
make the man fall in love with her and convince her parents he would be a
Successful barrister Lord Bryce Langdon escapes London to begin a new legal
practice in the rugged county of Cornwall. However, being the object of
desire for two beautiful sisters disrupts his life and distracts him from
his true purpose for being there – infiltrating a local
Can Sophie win Bryce’s love? What will she do when she discovers
Bryce is not the honourable man he appears to be? Sometimes temptation
cannot be resisted…
Other books in The Ladies of Harrington House series:
Sophie slid off her mare, looped the reins over a convenient shrub and gave
the horse a quick pat on the nose. She turned and began the familiar trip
down the little path that meandered through the dunes to end up at the
gravel and shell beach just on the edge of her family’s estate. When
she neared the edge of the sea, she held out her arms and tilted her face to
the June sun before stripping off her bonnet. She tossed it in the air where
the breeze caught it and whirled it about, ribbons and all, before it landed
in a frivolous clump on the beach.
She sat down and removed her
riding boots and stockings and wriggled her toes with sheer delight. Then
she unpinned her hair and shook her head so the chestnut curls spilled over
her shoulders and down her back.
spiraled through her. “I have missed this so.” Feeling a little
foolish for talking to herself, she glanced around to be sure that she
hadn’t been heard. It would not do to have the locals gossip that Lord
Harrington’s eldest daughter was daft!
Sophie gathered up the skirts of her kerseymere riding habit and crunched
across the beach to the water’s edge, dabbling first one big toe then
the other in the chilly waves. The gravel pricked against the soles of her
feet, delightful in its intensity and for the first time in weeks she felt
alive, well and truly alive. Not that she hadn’t enjoyed her stay at
boarding school, particularly the time assisting in the school library, but
it had been restrictive, to say the least.
She mimicked the head mistress. “Sophie, you must pour this way,
Sophie, you must set a stitch that way, Sophie, mind that your voice is
never raised.” Mama would be scandalized if she saw Sophie now, poking
fun at Miss Smythe and standing bare foot in the sea.
“Your mama would be scandalized.” A masculine voice interrupted
her, echoing her thoughts perfectly.
She spun around, dropping her skirts into the water. Rueful, she glanced
down for it was sure to leave a stain. Then she raised her gaze to the
stranger before her. And raising her gaze it was for he stood at least a
head taller than her own five foot five inches. Her breath caught in her
He was handsome, to say the least – tall, dark and lean with a
rapacious air about him as if he would pounce on his prey at any moment.
Judging by his burnished cheeks, tousled black hair and the crop dangling
from one wrist, he had also been out riding.
Sophie realized she must look a fool standing there dumbfounded and ankle
deep in water. For once in her life she was completely nonplussed.
“You, you …”, she stammered, managing to wobble her way
back on to the beach without incurring further damage to her habit.
“Yes?” Amusement tinged the stranger’s voice.
Bravado was her best option so she squared her shoulders and jutted her
chin. “I meant to say you’re trespassing.”
“I think not.” He pointed to a marker just off to one side.
“I believe that is the edge of my property. Indeed, you are the one
who is trespassing, Miss…?” The question dangled between
them. When she didn’t answer, he swept forward in an elegant bow.
“Allow me to present myself. I am Lord Bryce Langdon. And you?”
Again he waited for a response and again she declined to answer.
Oh dear, she knew very well who
Lord Langdon was. He’d just acquired the adjacent land. In fact, they
were all to meet him this evening for the first time. However, if word
ever got out that she’d met him in this situation, her reputation
would be ruined. Anger at herself for the foolishness that had brought her
here unchaperoned made her tongue sharp.
“You, sir, are an ill-mannered boor.” She spat the words at
him. “Only an ill-mannered boor would compromise a young lady as you
have just done to me.”
“I must beg pardon then for I had not recognized you as such.”
He pointed to the ten toes peeping out from beneath the hem of her skirt.
“I dare say your behaviour is sadly lacking.”
“You, you scoundrel, how
dare you insult me so,” she fumed. “You, you -.” Her
mind went blank, sucked bare by the devastatingly handsome man before
“Wretch?” he suggested, the corners of his mouth
beginning to lift.
Sophie stared at him for a few seconds, watching the devilish grin threaten
to take over his entire face. Her lips twitched and she scowled in a vain
attempt to maintain her decorum. It didn’t work.
Giggles burbled up and burst free and she began to laugh. He joined her,
the sounds of their laughter mingling with the cries of the sea gulls
circling above. Bryce Langdon must be an astute judge of character for he
was entirely correct in his assessment of her. She detested the rules and
strictures of the upper class and it was that rebellious quality that had
landed her an extended stay in boarding school in the first place. There was
no point in denying it.
“No, you’re absolutely right. I’m not behaving like a
lady. That is,” she hastened to correct herself, squeezing out the
words between giggles, “in the sense I do not enjoy sewing and such.
Much to the dismay of my mother and sisters, I prefer to be
“And I am no drawing room fop so I see we shall get along
famously. You have yet to introduce yourself?”
She curtsied. “Lady Sophie Harrington. We are to meet this evening
for dinner at Harrington House.” A wry expression twisted her
face. “Please don’t mention to anyone that you saw me here
Bryce took her hand and raised it to his lips. “Rest assured, I shall
tell no one. Tonight when we meet, it will be as if for the first
time.” His dark eyes were admiring and warm with promise as he kissed
her hand again before dropping it. “I look forward to seeing you
again, Lady Sophie Harrington.” He said her name carefully, rolling
out the syllables as if he savored the cadence. He saluted her with his crop
then turned on his heel.
About the Author
A.M. Westerling, a best selling author for boutique Canadian publisher BWL
Publishing, has written ten books, including Barkerville Beginnings, Book 4
of the popular Canadian Historical Brides Collection issued in honour of
Canada’s 150th birthday. A former chemical engineer, Astrid traded in
her calculator, mechanical pencil and spreadsheets for a keyboard, history
books and membership in her local RWA chapter. From Vikings to Viscounts,
her adventure filled historical romances span the ages. Sophie’s
Choice , the first book in her Ladies of Harrington House Regency romance
series, was a finalist in Long and Short Reviews Book of the Month. She
enjoys walks through her neighborhood, spending time in her garden and
camping. This avid sports fan loves watching NFL (ballet on the grid iron!)
and NASCAR (hot cars, cute drivers!) and cheering on her hometown Calgary
Flames and Calgary Stampeders.
Gina Conkle’s newest stunning romance in her Scottish Treasures series features a fierce Scotswoman eager to break the rules and the man who vows to stop her.
A Gentleman of Virtue
Decent and ambitious, Alexander Sloane is finally a finger’s breadth from achieving the government post he’s worked towards for years. A minor task monitoring Bow Street funds for the Crown is his final hurdle. But he discovers more than he bargains for when his assignment leads him to the most captivating woman in London.
A Woman of Questionable Repute
Cecelia MacDonald has one mission: find and steal the sgian duhb, the ceremonial dagger taken from her clan by British soldiers during the Uprising of 1745. The coy and clever Scotswoman has never had any trouble using men to do her bidding and she’s enjoying the cat and mouse game she’s playing with the delectable Alexander. But when a mutual enemy proves deadly, she must rely on him for more than flirtation to gain the dagger.
An Explosive Partnership
As Alexander and Cecilia become unlikely allies, their desire for each other overwhelms them. When shocking secrets come to light, will Alexander realize loving the wrong woman is the right thing to do?
Gina’s fate was sealed when her mom read aloud the poem, The Highwayman—the perfect historical romance hook. But, Gina grew up in California where no dukes or Vikings live. She always did prefer stone castles over sand castles and books over beaches.
Years ago, she fell in love with her favorite hero, Brian, and they eloped to Vegas at midnight. Together, they raised two sons who like history almost as much as their mom.
Nowadays, Gina pens sparkling Georgian romance with a dash of Scots or Viking romance with heat and adventure. When she’s not writing, you can find her wandering a museum or with her nose in a book.
1459. A gifted woman artist. A ruthless Scottish privateer. And an audacious plan that throws them together—with dangerous consequences.
No one on the Greek island of Rhodes suspects Anica is responsible for her Venetian father’s exquisite portraits, least of all her wealthy fiancé. But her father’s vision is failing, and with every passing day it’s more difficult to conceal the truth.
When their secret is discovered by a powerful knight of the Order of St. John, Anica must act quickly to salvage her father’s honor and her own future. Desperate, she enlists the help of a fierce Scottish privateer named Drummond. Together, they craft a daring plan to restore her father’s sight.
There’s only one problem—she never imagined falling in love with her accomplice.
Before their plan can unfold, a shocking scandal involving the knights puts Anica’s entire family at risk. Her only hope is to turn to Drummond once again, defying her parents, her betrothed, even the Grand Master of the Knights himself. But can she survive the consequences?
With this captivating tale of passion, courage, and loyalty, Amy Maroney brings a lost, dazzling world to vivid life.
Sea of Shadows is Book 2 in a series of stand-alone historical novels packed with adventure and romance.
Aunt Rhea swiveled her gaze to Papa. “How much easier it will be for you, Paolo, once Anica’s settled into a new life with a husband, under another man’s roof. Then you can get Heleni married off, too, and your worries about these precious girls will be over.”
“Tell me something I don’t know,” Papa muttered.
Anica knew what he was thinking. Aunt Rhea had been blessed with sons. She would never have to amass dowries or protect the virtue of daughters.
“I know the funeral was costly,” Aunt Rhea added with a confidential air, drawing close to Papa. “You need gold, and quickly. I’ve a partnership with an Arab merchant from Alexandria whose family has been trading in spice for generations. For the last few years, I’ve helped him finance his shipping business, and he gives me a cut of his profits from pepper, cinnamon, ginger, and cloves.”
“What are you proposing?” Papa asked.
“You can join me in the endeavor,” Aunt Rhea said. “Give me whatever you’ve saved for a dowry. I’ll invest it in the spice business and triple your earnings in a few months.”
“If your trader returns from Alexandria,” Papa said. “You just told me how dangerous these seas are.”
“There’s chance in everything,” she countered. “He’s returned faithfully since we began this venture. I’d rather put my money into spice than let it molder in the knights’ treasury or the Florentines’ bank, where it will benefit foreign men instead of me. We have to be inventive these days, spread out the risk.”
“Like your trade in illicit statues?” he asked, his voice sharp.
Mamá’s family possessed a collection of marble statues from ancient times, mostly depicting pagan gods and goddesses. Such things were officially the property of the Order, of course. They were meant to be turned over to the knights upon discovery. But the Georgillas clan—along with other Greek families—kept such treasures hidden all over the island, some in caves that were accessible only at low tide.
“Can I help it if the Italians are mad for such things?” Aunt Rhea asked. “When the price is right, I’d be a fool not to part with a statue or two. But I can’t always find a trustworthy ship captain for such delicate matters. So I’m having my Dimitri apprentice in the shipyard here with a master builder. Soon he’ll go to sea under the wing of a merchant friend of mine. One day he’ll captain his own ships. Then I’ll no longer have to put my trust in strangers.”
“You truly want Dimitri to take such risks?” Anica asked, shuddering at the thought of her cousin at the mercy of privateers and pirates.
Aunt Rhea shrugged. “He’s seen twenty winters and he’s a bright, strong lad. There will always be work for shipbuilders and sea captains from Rhodes, and I want to have a way out if there’s a siege. Besides, our sword master says he’s the most skilled fighter of all our boys. With God’s grace, he’ll always be able to defend himself on land or at sea.”
They had drawn close to the Cypriot merchant ship now. Sailors unloaded wooden casks of wine onto the quay. Aunt Rhea rapped on the side of an oak barrel.
“Where’s the captain?” she demanded of a passing sailor. “Tell him his most loyal and generous customer, Rhea Georgillas, awaits.”
The man nodded. “Right away, kyria.”
Anica contemplated the perspiring face of her aunt as she inspected the wine barrels arrayed in front of them. She understood now why Mamá had sent her back to the quays with Aunt Rhea and Papa. It was her mother’s way of including Anica in a discussion of her future, of matters that until now had been kept from her. Pride unfurled in her chest at the thought.
“Aunt Rhea,” she ventured. “Do you have a suitor in mind for me?”
“It is not a matter of finding a suitor, but of fending them off. You and your sister are rare flowers on this island.” Aunt Rhea gestured at the heavens and dropped her voice. “We won’t speak of beauty because the gods are listening.”
Anica’s Greek relatives had no problem combining their respect for the old gods with their adherence to the Orthodox Christian tradition, though they knew better than to exhibit this tendency in front of the knights. “But you’ve got Latin blood and Georgillas ancestry—it’s an irresistible combination for men seeking a good match. You’re a lucky girl.”
Anica turned to her father, thinking of all the responsibility she had taken on these past six months. With her changed role within the family, she felt certain Papa would give her some authority over her own future.
A lone gull circled overhead, screeching plaintively.
“Who are these men, Papa?” she asked. “Will I get to choose among them?”
His eyes were unreadable. “When the time is right, we shall select the suitor who is the best match for you and our family.”
She looked from her father to her aunt, wrestling with an urge to protest. The pride she’d felt a moment ago vanished, replaced by a rising sense of indignation. Since Beno’s death, it had seemed as if she were the head of the household—when in reality she was being discussed behind closed doors like a sack of grain or a basket of grapes to be sold off. “Surely, this doesn’t surprise you,” Aunt Rhea said. “I didn’t choose my husband, nor did your mother.” She leaned closer, raising her voice over the gull’s screams. “And neither
About the Author:
Amy Maroney studied English Literature at Boston University and worked for many years as a writer and editor of nonfiction. She lives in Oregon, U.S.A. with her family. When she’s not diving down research rabbit holes, she enjoys hiking, dancing, traveling, and reading. Amy is the author of The Miramonde Series, an award-winning historical fiction trilogy about a Renaissance-era female artist and the modern-day scholar on her trail. Her new historical suspense/romance series, Sea and Stone Chronicles, is set in medieval Rhodes and Cyprus.