Tink...tink...tink...anyone out there? Hi! I'm Barbara Donlon Bradley - Author - editor and slightly crazy - ask anyone in my family. I hope to use this blog to talk about writing, editing and whatever pops in my head. Hope you enjoy.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Meet My Latest Guest Beverly Bateman

I want to welcome Beverley Bateman. First I’d love you to introduce yourself.

I’m Canadian. I live in the Okanagan Valley in beautiful British Columbia with my husband and two Shiba Inu dogs. It’s beautiful country here. There are mountains, lakes, beautiful beaches, apple, pear, apricot and peach orchards, plus raspberries, blueberries, strawberries and lots of other fresh produce. You can shop at little stalls on farms and orchards. It’s also wine country where we produce world class wines, which I feel is my obligation to sip while I write my Romantic Suspense and Medical Thrillers. My latest books include the Hawkins’ Family series – Hunted and Missing. My Assistant PI Holly Devine series set in Florida: A Cruise to Remember and A Murder to Forget. And my chat room murders, where my reference was a sheriff in Reno who worked the chat rooms - Don’t Go.

Tell us about your latest release.

My latest release is A Cruise to Remember.
It’s the first in my Holly Devine, Assistant PI series. My husband and I were on a cruise and I thought it would be cool to write a story set on a cruise ship. There are also so many jewel stores in the Caribbean for the tourists I thought jewel theft should be part of it.  The rest of it just kind of came together, you know, those voices in my head. 

Now I have a few questions for you – I have found readers do like to know fun things about us writers.
1.) Who is your favorite villain – it can be from a book (even one of yours), movie or TV show. And why?

I’m not really a fan of villains, so I’m going to pick one that makes me laugh – Wile E. (Ethelbert) Coyote. He tries so hard to kill the roadrunner and is so incompetent. Everything backfires on him. And there’s no conversation. It’s all visual. I love it.

2.) Who is your favorite character out of your books? Why?

I think I’m going to say Lillian, from A Cruise to Remember. She’s a secondary character. She’s been widowed for three years and has early Alzheimer’s. She’s wealthy, warm, friendly, a kleptomaniac and she enjoys manipulating the lives of others, but in a good way.  

3.) What do genre do you write? What made you pick that one?

I write mostly romantic suspense. I love romance and HEA endings, but I also love murder, mayhem and dead bodies. This way I can write both.

4.) What are you working on now?

I’m working on a serial killer who haunts teen chatrooms. The heroine is a Washoe County detective, who works chatrooms to catch and convict those trying to meet teens. My resource was an actual detective who worked the chatrooms. The hero is a Reno police officer who doesn’t want to work this case. They start out like oil and water, but have to work together to save a girl’s life and find a serial killer. Together they help the other grow while tracking down the killer.

5.) What got you to start writing?

Like so many authors, I’ve been writing most of my life. I can’t remember when I wasn’t making up stories, even in my head. I used to make up stories with my dolls. Then I’d write short stories and ghost stories. I wrote locked room mysteries when they were popular. I have books filled with ideas and plots. It’s kind of an addiction.

6.) Where do you get your ideas from?

I honestly don’t know. It might be something I see, or I belong to a Kiss of Death writing chapter and I do a tour once a year – often police, homeland security, fire departments, ATF, FBI and lots of other interesting places. I get lots of ideas from there. It might be something I read in the paper or even a thought that hits me. What if…?

7.) What would people who read your work be surprised to find out about you?

Hmm, that’s an interesting question. Maybe that I’m a Canadian since my stories are all set in the US.

8.) Do you have any special talents?

No. I do watercolor painting, Tai chi and ran a half marathon but I don’t consider any of that a talent. It’s just stuff I do.

9.) What was the one piece of advice you received when you were an aspiring author that has stuck with you? Why?

I got a lot of good advice from other writers and editors. I think the one that sticks with me is write every day. I had a spell where I wasn’t writing. I had too many things to do that all came before my writing, but I wanted to write. I took a class to see if I could break through my block. We were assigned partners and had to be accountable to them to write every day. I used my usual excuses and she said to me – ‘take 10 minutes before you go to bed and write. You don’t have to have a chunk of time to write, like two or three hours. Just write – even ten minutes.’ It worked, and I still use it when I start procrastinating.

10.) If you could talk to any famous figure (present, past or fictional) who would it be and what would you talk about?

I think I’d say Kathryn Hepburn. I loved her as an actress, but I respected her life. She was a fascinating person. She was independent back in the 30’s and did her own thing as a young woman. Long before many of us were fighting for equality. She never married and she continued to act into her eighties. I would ask her about her life, what she felt was important for women to do to live successfully and maybe why she never married.

11.) What song would you say describes your life?

Pick Yourself Up - Pick yourself up - Take a deep breath, / Dust yourself off. / And start all over again.
Rejections, mistakes, whatever doesn’t work out I just learn from it and move on.

12.) If you could come back as any animal – what would it be?

That’s hard. My two favorite animals are pandas and wolves, but I’m not sure I’d want to be one. I write dogs into most of my books, so maybe I’ll stick with that. I’ll be a Shiba Inu.



Blurb:
Amnesia, a cruise ship, a jewel theft ring and attempted murder combine to make it a cruise to remember. Hallie Donald has been in an accident and has amnesia. She’s traveling on the cruise as a companion. And someone is trying to kill her.
She doesn’t remember anything but someone, Interpol agent Eric Norby searches for jewel thieves on a Caribbean cruise, but his main suspect is the woman he loves.

Excerpt:
She leaned back slightly, and Eric’s jacket slipped to the deck. Bending to pick it up she felt rather than heard a buzzing sound, something like a mosquito, around her left ear.
Strange.
As she sat back up she noticed a hole in the back of the deck chair.
Funny, I don’t remember it being there before I picked up the jacket.
She ran her finger over the hole and shrugged, turning her attention toward Eric as he approached.
“Here we go.” Eric carried a couple of tall, colorful drinks consisting of a mixture of red, orange, and yellow colors and topped off with parasols. “What were you doing?”
“I’m not really sure. There was a funny sound, like a mosquito, and I think this hole just appeared.”
“What the hell...?” Eric placed the drinks on a nearby table. He ran his finger over the hole. “It’s a bloody bullet hole.”
“A what? You’re kidding?”
“No, I’m not. Where were you when it happened?” Eric looked at the hole, squinting back in the direction it would have come from.
“I guess that’s when I bent down to pick up your jacket.”
“My God, you could have been killed.” Eric pulled Holly into his arms, squeezing her against his chest. “You’re sure you’re all right?”
“I think so. I mean, I wasn’t hit or anything. I just can’t figure out what’s happening. This has to be one of the worst nights of my life.” She relaxed against Eric’s strong, muscular chest, feeling secure and safe.
“I’ll report this to the Captain; make sure it gets to the right authorities.”
“Uh, uh, uh...” Holly couldn’t speak. Her eyes widened as she realized the implications. She shivered as ice water dripped slowly through her veins.
What if that was really a push earlier and now this--someone taking a shot at me? Why? What kind of person am I that someone wants me dead?
“Are you sure you’re going to be all right?”
Holly’s teeth chattered.
Eric tipped her chin up, brushing her hair gently off her face. He kissed her forehead. “It’s okay. I’m here. It’s okay.” He moved his hands gently over her shoulders, checking for any injuries.
“I-I don’t understand. Could it have been an accident?”
“I don’t think so.”
 Eric stroked her cheek gently, trying to calm her. “There aren’t a lot of gunshot accidents on the deck.”
“So someone deliberately tried to kill me, but why?”
“Maybe it has to do with your past?”
“But I don’t have a past. How could that have anything to do with it?”
“Maybe they’re afraid you’ll remember your past and want to make sure you don’t. Or maybe you made some enemies in your past. Who knows? We’ll probably have to wait until your memory returns to find out. Now sit down.” Eric kissed her cheek and gently pushed her into a chair away from the railing.
“It’s too much--first Jack, then a gunshot and I think someone tried to push me overboard. I even had a flashback in between.”
Eric took her hand. “Someone tried to push you overboard?”
“I think so. It could have been accidental, but after this, I’m not sure.”
“I’ll take you back to your cabin and report it. We need to check and see whose onboard that might be capable of this.”
“I guess.”
 “Come on, you need a good night’s sleep. So you’re beginning to remember?”

Buy Links for A Cruise to Remember:
Barnes & Noble http://bit.ly/1bfHaeQ
Where to find me:
Twitter @kelownawriter


Thanks so much for having me Barb. This was fun.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Writing Down the Bones: The 10 Commandments of Fiction Writing

I found another great handout to share with you. This one came from Writer’s Digest and was written by Raymond Obstfeld. Once again I’ll be putting it in my own words. I will also be breaking it up over five sessions.

1.) Take yourself seriously: What good advice. If you don’t take yourself seriously how can other people? As an author of erotic romance I get more flack about what I write. I’ve have people try to be funny and call it smut. That’s not funny to me. I write romance. I make a difference in people’s lives. My work is important to me, don’t make fun of it. It’s hard work that occupies a lot of my time. It is serious to me and my friends and family need to respect that.


2.) Act like a professional: Always. If you are speaking to an editor you are selling yourself. They won’t read your work until you send it in. Your readers expect to see a professional as well. Again, you’re selling yourself, especially if they’ve never read your work. It doesn’t matter what you write. You are an extension of your books.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Welcome My Latest Guest Linda McLaughlin!

I want to welcome Linda McLaughlin. First I’d love you to introduce yourself.

Thanks for having me today, Barbara. I’m a lifelong book junkie and history fanatic ever since I listened to my grandmother’s story about our family history when I was little. So when I started writing, it was natural that I would gravitate toward historical romance, though I’ve also written contemporary, fantasy and science fiction romance, with heat levels from sweet Regency to erotic male/male. The steamy stuff is written under my pseudonym, Lyndi Lamont.

Tell us about your latest release.

My latest release is a short holiday story, A Kiss and a Promise, in the Exquisite Quills A Holiday Anthology Volume 2 A Collection of Winter Holiday Tales. My story takes place at Yule and features a Victorian sleighing party to collect mistletoe. It’s a sweet story, with characters who fall into the “new adult” age range, but it’s also a prequel to my steamy Victorian short story, How To Woo… A Reluctant Bride. The anthology is free at Smashwords, http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/498109 Barnes and Noble http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/a-holiday-anthology-volume-2-a-collection-of-winter-holiday-tales-rose-anderson/1120864121 and Kobo http://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/a-holiday-anthology-volume-2-a-collection-of-winter-holiday-tales.

Now I have a few questions for you – I have found readers do like to know fun things about us writers.

1.) Who is your favorite villain – it can be from a book (even one of yours), movie or TV show. And why?

I love Killian Jones, aka Captain Hook, on Once Upon a Time. Why? Well, okay, aside from the fact that he’s gorgeous, he’s a charming villain with a core of decency, and it has been fun to watch the bad boy get it bad for good girl Emma. And a British accent never hurts either.

2.) Who is your favorite character out of your books? Why?

Oh, gosh, I don’t know if I can pick just one! My favorite hero is still Jacques Corbeau, my sexy French army officer from Rogue’s Hostage. Sexy Frenchman pretty much says it all.

3.) What do genre do you write? What made you pick that one?

As mentioned above, I’m a lifelong history nut, so historical romance is my default setting.

4.) What are you working on now?

I’m taking a little break from writing at the moment to deal with personal matters, but I have several projects in the works. One is a sequel to How To Woo… A Reluctant Bride, featuring the grown up characters from A Kiss and a Promise. Another is a contemporary paranormal novella involving a psychic and a cop.

5.) What got you to start writing?

I wanted to write when I was a kid, but my parents dissuaded me because there wasn’t any money in it. (They were mostly right about that part.) I became a librarian so I could work surrounded by books. At some point, I figured out that you could work a day job and write so I started doing that.

6.) Where do you get your ideas from?

There’s no good answer to that. Sometimes they come from a bit of history, a news bulletin, a dream. Sometimes a casual remark can spawn a story idea. Each story is different and has a different genesis.

7.) What would people who read your work be surprised to find out about you?

I don’t know. It seems to work the other way. People who know me are surprised when they read some of my writing. I’m a very quiet person, very much the librarian, but I have an earthy side that comes out in my writing.

8.) Do you have any special talents?

Not really. I used to play the piano, but I haven’t done that in years.

9.) If you could talk to any famous figure (present, past or fictional) who would it be and what would you talk about?

I’d love to talk to Jane Austen about her life and times.

10.) What song would you say describes your life?

I’m giving my age away with this one, but I’ve never been one to do things the standard or easy way, so I’d say I’ve Gotta Be Me pretty well sums it up.

11.) If you could come back as any animal – what would it be?

A lap dog. A life of luxury surrounded by people who love you sounds good right now.



Excerpt from A Kiss and a Promise by Lyndi Lamont

The younger Hammonds quickly donned their coats and mufflers, but Harry held Sophia’s coat for her. He rested a hand on her shoulder, before offering her his arm and leading her to the sleigh. The chill air stole her breath, though she felt oddly exhilarated.

“Pile in, everyone,” Harry ordered.

Gerald ushered Cora and Lydia into the back seat of the sleigh and squeezed in beside them. Little Phoebe climbed into his lap, leaving Sophia in the front between Harry and her brother. She leaned a little closer into Harry’s warmth, enjoying the closeness.

“Which way?” he asked.

Reggie gave directions to the best spot for gathering holly and mistletoe, and Harry steered the horses in that direction, bells attached to the harness jingling with each step. The weather had been beastly for the last month, but it had turned the estate into a winter fairyland. Silent snow-covered fields stretched as far as she could see, and each tree sported a layer of white, softening the stark look of the winter scene. The sky was overcast, and she suspected Harry was right to rush them along.

As soon as the sleigh stopped, Reggie jumped out, made a snowball and threw it at Cora as she exited the sleigh. She yelped and chased Reggie, Phoebe on her heels squealing with excitement. Sophia watched them with amusement. Oh, to be a child again.

But she was long past that sort of behavior. She’d had a season in London, after all. She glanced at Harry and caught a gleam in his eye. “Do not even think of joining those hooligans.”



Connect with me online at:
Website: at http://lindalyndi.com
Twitter: @Lyndi Lamont https://twitter.com/LyndiLamont


Saturday, January 10, 2015

Meet My Latest Guest Kim McMahill!

I want to welcome Kim McMahill.
First I’d love you to introduce yourself.

I grew up in Wyoming, which is probably where I developed my sense of adventure and love of the outdoors. Since leaving Wyoming I’ve had many opportunities to see the world and I’ve lived in some amazing places. I started out writing non-fiction, but my passion for exotic world travel, outrageous adventures, stories of survival, and happily-ever-after endings soon drew me into a world of adventure fiction and romantic suspense. Along with writing novels I’ve also published over eighty travel and geographic articles, and contributed to a travel anthology and a cookbook.



Tell us about your latest release.

Shrouded In Secrets is an international thriller in which the reader is taken on an adrenaline-pumping adventure around the globe to locate a deadly group of terrorists striving to bring thirteen mythical relics together. As an international team led by the ruggedly handsome, but emotionally scarred CIA agent, Cash Luker, closes in on those responsible for the massacre of an unarmed South American village, destruction of one of the greatest manmade wonders of the world, and multiple museum thefts, he must conquer past personal demons in order to save the woman who has captured his heart, and prevent destruction of legendary proportions.

Now I have a few questions for you – I have found readers do like to know fun things about us writers.

1.) Who is your favorite villain – it can be from a book (even one of yours), movie or TV show. And why?

Zara from Shrouded In Secrets is my favorite villain. She is very good at her job, unfortunately that’s pretty deadly for anyone who gets in her way. But on a more personal side, she didn’t start out her career as a villain.  She grew up struggling with her identity, deciding where she belonged, battling conflicting loyalties between family and country, and feelings, somewhat misplaced, of betrayal.  

2.) Who is your favorite character out of your books? Why?

I always try to develop strong leading men, but I’d have to say that Jack from Marked In Mexico may be my favorite.  He’s not your typical hero. He’s not your big buff macho brash hero. Jack is somewhat reserved and reluctant to jump into the fray, but once he commits he won’t turn away. He has many hidden, and at times frightening, talents, and despite having the skills to survive against formidable odds, he also exhibits a sensitive side that can’t help but melt any woman’s heart.

3.) What genre do you write? What made you pick that one?

Adventure and Romantic Suspense.  I love reading novels that take me on adventures around the world. Though I’m not a true romance writer, relationships always add to a story, project a more personal element the reader can relate to, and gives the hero an extra incentive to do extraordinary things.  My novels vary in degree of romance, but always contain ample suspense and grand adventure.  My favorite authors are Clive Cussler, James Rollins, and Dan Brown, and even those authors generally incorporate a bit of romance.

4.) What are you working on now?

A Dose Of Danger is under contract and is currently undergoing initial edits. It’s scheduled for a spring 2015 release.  It’s a romantic suspense novel set in Wyoming on a remote rural ranch in the midst of one of the nastiest winters in decades. A researcher, a local deputy, and a group of paid assassins collide in a battle for survival over a pharmaceutical breakthrough with potential consequences of epic proportions.  

5.) What got you to start writing?

It wasn’t an immediate ah-ha moment. In high school I had a creative writing teacher who noted on one of my papers that with more character development I had a novel. I packed that paper around for years, and one day I decided to give it a try and the result was, The Lodge.  Shortly thereafter I found myself living in a remote cabin with no phone or TV. While my husband was gone for three weeks at a time fighting forest fires I started writing seriously out of necessity for my sanity, and have continued to hone my craft ever since.

6.) Where do you get your ideas from?

Occasionally from dreams as in, Deadly Exodus, but most of the time from travel (I’ve written several novels set amid Mayan Ruins – love those), or from exaggerated past experiences. I grew up riding horses and spending every weekend in the summer at rodeos, and we recreated as a family in the Big Horn Mountains in Wyoming a lot, which is the inspiration behind Big Horn Storm.

7.) What would people who read your work be surprised to find out about you?

I’m an easy-crier, which probably explains why I like to read, write, and watch adventure and suspense, to limit the shedding of tears. When I hear the term “feel good” book or movie, I usually avoid it, since it’ll probably make me cry and I’m not particularly fond of crying.

8.) Do you have any special talents?

I can grow tomatoes. I don’t know why, but no matter where I live or what variety I plant, I seem to grow enough to supply the neighborhood all summer and fill my freezer with plenty to last all winter.

9.) What was the one piece of advice you received when you were an aspiring author that has stuck with you? Why?

I know it’s a bit of a cliché, but everyone tells you to keep writing, and I’ve grown to see the necessity of that advice. I learn something new with each novel I write, and now when I look back at some of my earlier work that I thought was so great, I can see how much I’ve improved.

10.) If you could talk to any famous figure (present, past or fictional) who would it be and what would you talk about?

Author, Clive Cussler. I’ve read all of his novels in the Dirk Pitt series, but those are only a small portion of his body of work. I would love to hear about some of the actual experiences, if any, in his life that are woven into his stories, and how he’s been able to remain such a prolific writer for so many years.

11.) What song would you say describes your life?

I can’t think of a song off the top of my head that describes my life, but it has been a long-standing joke with my husband that when I handed him my Charlie cassette and asked him to play, It’s Inevitable, nearly thirty years ago, maybe he should have been nervous.  Charlie’s version aside, I believe there’s a lot in life that’s inevitable, and sometimes you just have to go with the flow.

12.) If you could come back as any animal – what would it be?


An eagle - the ability to soar high in the sky and watch everything unfold below would be remarkable. 



Excerpt from Shrouded In Secrets by Kim McMahill

Olivia wandered into the kitchen, rubbing the sleep out of her eyes. She watched from the doorway as Cash stood in front of the stove frying something. She had never been particularly susceptible to good-looking men, but he exuded a magnetism she couldn’t fight. His body bore too many scars to be considered classically handsome and the rough edges added to his allure.
He wore only a faded pair of blue jeans, resting low on his narrow hips, and the sight nearly made her sigh aloud. The damage marring his tanned, muscular back reminded her of the dangers associated with his job, and of how little she knew of his past. She cringed at the sight of all the fresh wounds, though those accounted for only a small proportion of his total scars. He didn’t turn around as she closed the distance between them, but she had no doubt he was aware of her presence.
“Where did all these come from?” she asked, tracing a disfigurement running diagonally from his left shoulder and disappearing beneath the waistband of his jeans.
She felt him tense the moment her fingers glided over his warm skin, but as she stroked his back, the tension drained away.
Cash clicked off the gas burner on the stove and turned toward Olivia, expecting her to retreat. She held her ground just inches in front of him as he placed his hands on her shoulders, enjoying the smooth silk of her short robe against his rough palms. Starring into her eyes, he recognized compassion and curiosity. He seldom talked about his past, and he never discussed the disastrous mission responsible for most of the scars, but for some reason, he wanted to tell Olivia.
“Here and there, but the majority are mementos from an assignment gone bad. A long-time trusted contact was supposed to meet my partner at a warehouse in Hong Kong, where she had arranged to sell him restricted documents, specifically a list of names and the locations of all our Middle East field agents. The buy was the proof I needed to expose her as a double-agent. Before the exchange could go down, an explosion rocked the warehouse. The entire structure collapsed. A metal beam crashed down across my back as I dove toward a blown-out window to escape the flames. The building, an abandoned fireworks factory, burned so thoroughly, the authorities found no bodies, not even the remains of the six agents I had staking out the place.”
“Zara?”
Cash nodded. “She’s ruthless and skilled¾the best I’d ever worked with. Together we were a force to reckon with, but when she turned, the smart ones got out of the way. I didn’t, and a lot of people died¾all the wrong ones. I’m still here, and apparently, so is she.”
Olivia could see the pain, guilt, and anger etched on Cash’s face. She placed a hand over his heart and felt the strong, rapid beat. His flesh was warm and his muscles hard beneath her touch. The power in this dangerous and reckless man radiated from his body, but at the moment, he seemed lost and distant. She loathed seeing a warrior’s spirit so beaten down.
Sliding her hands up his chest, lacing her fingers around his neck, she pulled his lips toward hers and kissed him gently, stealing his mind back to the present. Slowly she sensed him edge away from the pain of the past, his focus no longer scattered, as he returned her kiss, deepening the intimacy, gathering her closer in an embrace that made her knees weak.
“I’d better be sleepwalking and this is just a nightmare, or someone is going to regret getting out of bed this morning.”
Diane’s voice made Cash jump back like a kid caught with his hand in the cookie jar. He was impressed with how Olivia maintained her composure as she turned and smiled at her sister.
“Good morning, Diane. Did you sleep well?”


Wednesday, January 7, 2015

New Release: Fallen Angel: A Mafia Romance - Part # 3 (Roman Crime Family) by Alisa Anderson & Cameron Skye

Fallen Angel: A Mafia Romance – Part 3
 (Roman Crime Family)
Alisa Anderson & Cameron Skye

"Fallen Angel is a dark, tasty appetizer with echoes of "The Sopranos." It's like picking up a Lindt truffle on your way out of the store. There's just enough to wake up your taste buds, or in this case, other parts due south." - Margo's Red Light District
"Gritty, sexy and with a strong but vulnerable female lead. Fallen Angel is a surprisingly good read." - Ingrid Hall
"Is Jess going to get sucked into a world with Nick that will destroy her or will she bring Nick to the other side and they find happy ever after? I will be grabbing the next book soon. I need to know more about this story and what the future holds." - TBird, Crystals Many Reviews
"Fallen Angel is a quick and sexy read. I hope to get the chance to read the next installment. I want to know more about Nick and the dangerous games he's playing. - Angela, Crystals Many Reviews."
Join the Family!  Part 4 coming January 9th
#FamilyAboveEverything

Blurb: 

Jess loved Nick with every fiber of her being. But would love be enough to compete with the dark, sinister business he ran? Nick never lied to her about the life he led. In fact he never lied to her about anything. Now she realizes every bit of his words were true.

He was the sexiest, scariest, most dangerous man she had ever met.

And now, it seems…the danger was hers as well.

Passion, lust and emotion explode in part 3 of Fallen Angel, with a cliffhanger that leaves you shocked, stunned…and wanting more.

***Fallen Angel is a mafia romance serial novel released every 4 to 6 weeks, at approximately 8000 to 11000 words each. Due to sexual content, implied and actual scenes of abuse, violence, organized crime, language and frequent illegal drug use, we recommend this to mature audiences, ages 18 and over, who are comfortable with this subject matter.***

Excerpt: 

She and Nick watched in silence as the doors shut.
As soon as the SUV pulled out of sight he swept her into his arms, taking her mouth quickly. His lips soft, silky, demanding against hers. His kiss was probing, hot, searing with fire, tasting of wine and cigars.
Jess gasped at the furiousness of it all. It was so fast, intense. She wanted his cock inside of her now. He made her feel like no other man could, a raging inferno of sexual heat the moment he laid a single finger on her.
Her mouth closed on his, alternating between meeting his tongue and biting his lips. She furiously kissed him, her hands skimming down his chest to clutch the sides of his suit jacket. Reveled by his strength, she slid the jacket down his arms, allowing it to fall to the floor. Licking softly over his lower lip, she unknotted his silk necktie flinging it across the room.
Nick’s tore his mouth from hers, gripping her hair at the nape of her neck. Pulling her head back, he looked into eyes. Slowly backing her against the window. The coolness against her hot skin, mixed with the heat radiating from his body sent shivers through her.
“Carlo. Leave us. Now.”
Carlo quietly bid a hasty retreat from the room.
Nick turned back to Jess. “I fucking missed you, kid.”
“The feeling’s mutual.”
“You have no fucking idea how much I want you.” He whispered against her lips. “Just the thought of coming inside of you is making me hard.”


 Author's Bios:

Alisa Anderson
well...alisa did stuff and is still doing stuff. only now she has two boys crazy enuff to want her as their mommy. hey, at least she tried to warn them, so her job is done. she doesn’t like to capitalize, partially because she likes how lower case letters look visually, but mostly out of laziness. please don't judge. it could be you. and she would say, hey. you're alright, buddy. you're ok in my book. now c'mere for a hug. the hug might be pushing it. air kiss? you are strangers, after all, with only a mutual love of poor grammar.

​she lives for a world full of controllable anatomically correct, android men programmed to meet her specific feminine needs (wink, wink, nudge, nudge with a big waggle of the eyebrows). who look like the rock. and ian somerhalder. and idris elba. and that's it she promises. variety. gotta have variety, right?

​but alas...apparently that exists only in johanna lindsey's genius mind. so until then, she enjoys her incredibly warped sense of humor. she reads tons of erotica and romantic, drippy goo that makes her heart go pitter patter. then she thought, hey. what, she said to herself. (softly, of course, so no one finds out she is indeed, 2 nuts short of a fruitcake) maybe you should write this stuff too. maybe someone will like it and maybe buy it. so she said, huh, you think? then she said, well...yeah, i wouldn't have suggested it...(inserts sarcastic tone) and then she was like lose the attitude, ok? then she was all, would you just shut up and write, already? sheesh! and she did. :)

Cameron Skye
When Cameron is not in the lab working toward a Ph.D., in Neuropsychopharmacology, which in laymen's terms is basically finding the effects drugs have on mood and behavior, she is writing stories, crating vivid, intense characters you will never forget.

She believes while life can take you down every path but the right one, eventually everyone will find their happily ever after.

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Saturday, January 3, 2015

Meet My Newest Guest: Connie Crow!

 I want to welcome Connie Crow.  First I’d love you to introduce yourself.

I'm a transplanted Kansan, born and raised in Hutchinson. But I've lived in Bellevue NE, for 50 years. It's my second home. Married to a wonderful man all that time. No children, but a series of spoiled Brittanys. Millie is ruling the house now. She just turned five.

I've always been a writer; had my first piece published while in junior high-an editorial comment in my home town paper. Seeing my name in print at that early age was the spark that kept me writing, no matter what.

I starting seriously writing for publication in 1995. Signed a contract with an early e-book publisher and was e-published in 1996, before most people had ever heard of e-books. It's been an interesting 18 years.

Tell us about your latest release.

My latest book is All a Lady Wants.  It's a Regency Romance, set in London in 1816. It's the sequel to No Place for a Lady, which came out a few years ago. It's available from Mundania Press or Amazon, among other places. Mundania takes care of placement.  All my books are available in both print and e-book format.

Now I have a few questions for you – I have found readers do like to know fun things about us writers.

1.) Who is your favorite villain – it can be from a book (even one of yours), movie or TV show. And why?

Favorite Villain: Canaan Hargrave, saloon owner, claim jumper, murderer in Daughter of the Dragon. Hargrave is out to steal a claim, own a town, and marry the heroine, Sun Lee Chaikov, whether she wants to marry him or not. He's thoroughly evil and thinks he's totally justified in doing everything he does.

2.) Who is your favorite character out of your books? Why?

Favorite Female: Corinna McGinnis: Feisty redhead from Moonlight Fire. The book is set in 1819, in the early Nebraska Territory. Corinna fights to take care of herself and others as the army column makes its way to establish the first outpost in the lands discovered by Lewis and Clark. I love Nebraska history and I love strong heroines.

Favorite Male: Captain Noah Stewart: Tall, dark and handsome hero from Daughter of the Dragon. A rollicking historical set in the Idaho gold rush, in Florence, a booming mining town. Noah leaves San Francisco to find his sister and finds a heroine in need of saving, even though she doesn't think so. Noah embodies my hubby in many ways, who found Florence and the essence of this story for me.


3.) What  genre do you write? What made you pick that one?

I write historical and contemporary romance. I didn't pick the genre, I picked the stories. They fall wherever they fall.

4.) What are you working on now?

Something completely different. A contemporary disaster/thriller set in Kansas. Working title: 600 Feet to Hell.  I've written six straight romances, so I decided to try a different twist. This story's time has come.

5.) What got you to start writing?

Like I said, I've always written; stories, essays and poetry all through school (yes, I was good in English). No matter what job I held, I ended up being the "writer" in the office. I actually worked on a large company newspaper for several years for our local and regional telephone company.  I love writing; my scribbles and notes and ideas are all over the house.

6.) Where do you get your ideas from?

Ideas run after me. I have binders full of notes and ideas and treatments and plans for books. I read newspapers and magazine, looking for the tiny filler clips of ideas and interesting tidbits that may lead to stories.

7.) What would people who read your work be surprised to find out about you?

 I'm a serious doll collector and have written several non-fiction articles for various doll collecting magazines.

8.) Do you have any special talents?

I'm a good chorus singer. I've sung with Sweet Adelines for nearly 35 years.  I'm also a good seamstress. Used to make most of my clothes "back in the day". Nowadays I'm content to sew for my dolls. Much easier.

9.) What was the one piece of advice you received when you were an aspiring author that has stuck with you? Why?

My dad was a wonderful influence. He always said, "whatever you decide to do, commit to doing it the very best you can. Don't cut yourself any slack." That holds in writing and in life.

10.) If you could talk to any famous figure (present, past or fictional) who would it be and what would you talk about?

First Lady Dolly Madison-- She presided over the White House at such a critical time in our history. I'd love to hear her thoughts on the future of the country back then.

11.) What song would you say describes your life?

I Will Survive!  My health has not always been the best, but I'M STILL HERE! But my very favorite song would be Hello Dolly! Love the show, love the sentiment, love the song.

12.) If you could come back as any animal – what would it be?

Hmm. I think I'd be a tiger. They're such magnificent animals. But then maybe I'd be a meerkat. They look like they have such fun. who knows?





Blurb:


All a Lady Wants


by Connie Crow


 Lady Sarah Evanston wants to reclaim her life after losing both parents in quick succession. Mourning them has kept her from society.  Now she must find a suitable husband or risk being  a spinster and living the rest of her life alone. She has promised herself she will reopen her family home and live there on her own,  rather than marry someone she does not truly love.  She risks becoming a social outcast, finding neither husband nor happiness.

Lord Reginald Guilworth, the Marquis of Ellswarren is feeling family pressure to assume responsibility, marry and produce an heir to the Guilworth fortune and to eventually hold the ducal title he himself will inherit. He contemplates a marriage of convenience to shield himself from being hurt by love, again. He has a bevy from which to pick, but none that interest him. His secret dealings for the crown keep him away from home and aloof from society much of the time.

Sarah and Reggie have been close family friends since her childhood. Sarah has always adored him, yet he has never taken notice of her. She has resolved to move forward, giving up her childhood dream of becoming the next Duchess of Guilworth.

Reggie's cousins, members of the exiled French aristocracy, come to stay with the Guilworth family, embroiling them all in international intrigue involving the teetering French government and upheaval of the aristocratic class of France. Among the political chaos and the horrific year of natural disasters, Reggie and Sarah are drawn together and realize they do share an abiding love for one another.

But events conspire to tear them apart, with deadly consequences for all those involved, threatening to end their happiness almost before it begins.

Released Feb. 2014 - Mundania Press

Available in e-book and print 



Excerpt:

****
            Reggie stepped out of the garden, the clattering of stones on the drive interrupting his morning walk. A frantic voice caught his attention. “My Lord! Excuse me! My Lord?”
            He turned to see the stable groom gasping for breath, evidently winded from a run up from the stables. ”Calm down, man. What is it?”
            “The ladies, my Lord. They have gone off by themselves, they have. They came down to the stable and asked for a gig. I didn’t like it one bit, sir, but they would not let me drive ‘em, sir. No, they would not. Had to go by themselves.”
            Reggie took a step back in amazement. “What? The Duchess is driving a gig?”
            “Oh no, sir, beggin’ your pardon. The young ladies. Lady Sarah and Lady Janette. They’re off to Sweet Briar. Without an escort! Not a good idea, sir, you’ll pardon me saying so.”
            Reggie shook his head. “What will they think of next? Saddle Midnight and bring him ‘round. T’is a fine day for a ride. I will be able to catch them.”
            The groom’s face brightened in relief. “Yes, m’lord, just so.” Recovered, he started back toward the stable. Reggie turned on his heel and headed to his suite. He needed riding clothes. He shouted over his shoulder. “Bring two horses. Mr. DeLong may want to go with me.”
            “I will, sir.”
            Back in his suite, Reggie yanked off his jacket and shirt, substituting garments of a rougher cloth, more suited for horseback. “Crumbly, find Mr. DeLong. Ask him to meet me in the drive, ready to ride. We must catch up with the ladies.”
            Crumbley’s eyebrows shot to his hairline. “Very good, sir. As you wish.”
In no time, Reggie’s transformation to riding master was complete. He stalked out of his suite, meeting Drew in the hall. Drew looked properly mystified. “Where are we going? Crumbley sounded concerned. Should Toddy come with us?”
            Reggie smiled. “No, I do not believe we will need that sort of back up today. Lady Janette and Lady Sarah have hied themselves off to Sweet Briar, alone. The groom mentioned it to me. He was concerned they had no escort.”
            Drew laughed. “They are a most independent pair. I do not know who is worse. What one does not think of, the other does.”
            “You are right about that. But, with conditions the way they are, brigands abound in the countryside. Two gentlewomen alone could be an easy target. We shall make sure they get to Sweet Briar and back.”
            “Without injuring their delicate feelings, Reggie. Janette seems to have little patience these days. Her independent nature is asserting itself more and more.”
            “That seems to happen once the ladies are safely married, Drew. I have seen it more than once. We must protect them, even though they think they are perfectly capable of taking care of themselves.”
            Drew nodded, laughing as he pulled on his riding gloves. By now they were in the drive, where the horses were waiting. Reggie swung onto Midnight and Drew followed suit. “Let us depart. They are not too far ahead of us.” The two thundered out of the stable yard, toward Sweet Briar.
            It didn’t take long for them to catch up to the ladies in the gig. Janette caught sight of them. “Oh, look, Sarah. We have company. How nice.”
            Sarah threw a glance over her shoulder. She struggled to dismiss her initial angry reaction. She did not need an escort or a baby sitter, even as handsome a sitter as Reggie. The delight on Janette’s face at seeing Drew silenced her complaint. The new wife thoroughly adored her handsome husband.
            “I suppose we should have invited them along.” Sarah pulled the reins, slowing the rig to a stop. The two riders cantered to a stop beside the gig. “Gentlemen, you have picked a lovely day for a ride.”
            Drew smiled. “I have never seen your home, Sarah. I thought it unfair only Janette should see it.”
            “Well, it is in no condition to receive visitors, really. Mrs. Harris has opened enough for me to take a look at what needs to be done to re-open the manor house.”
            Reggie could not help himself. “Well, shall we all take a look? Perhaps I can help you assess what needs to be done.”
            Sarah shot him a frigid look. “I am sure my staff will be able to do that quite well, my lord. But you are certainly welcome to join us for lunch. Shall we continue?”
Not waiting for an answer, Sarah snapped the reins again and the horse charged forward, rushing toward the big house on the hill in the distance.
            Drew gave Reggie a questioning glance. “She is certainly not pleased with you, Reggie. What happened?”
            Reggie shook his head. “She has given me that icy glare since your wedding. Nothing I say seems to suit her. However, I promised Mother I would look out for Sarah’s interests, since the countess is her only family. I mean to do just that. And part of that is convincing her she has taken leave of her senses to want to live at Sweet Briar with just her aunt and staff. “
            “Is that why she has come here today?”
            “I think so. She has mentioned it to mother. She is convinced she has the funds to restore and re-open the manor house.”
            “Does she?”
            “Well, yes, but that is not the point. She could be cut off totally from the social world and they could be in real danger out there with only servants in the house to protect them.”
“Good luck, old man. Sarah and Janette are both very determined when their minds are made up.” Drew spurred his mount to rejoin the gig, now disappearing over the hill. The two caught up with the ladies in the great drive at Sweet Briar. Stable hands were already holding the horse and helping the ladies from the small carriage.
Drew and Reggie slid down from their horses. A groom rushed to take their mounts. “I shall cool them out, gentlemen, then feed and water them. They will have a nice rest in our paddock until you are ready to leave.”
            Reggie nodded. “Good. You may want to put Midnight by himself. He gets a bit cranky with others.”
            The groom patted the jet-black beauty. “A great stallion he is, sir. We will be careful of him.”
            Reggie turned away and followed the others into the foyer of Sweet Briar. His gaze swept the space. He pressed his lips tightly together, determined not to comment on the run-down, neglected look of the place. It obviously not been dusted or swept in a long time. Nearly all the furniture was covered with linens and sheeting to keep out the worst of the dust. Spider webs inhabited the corners and draped from every piece of statuary in the hall.
His gaze stopped on Sarah’s face and his heart sank at the tears he could see welling up in her eyes. He could tell she had not expected it to be this bad. A sudden urge to take her in his arms and comfort her nearly overwhelmed him. She seemed extremely vulnerable and alone, standing in the middle of her family home, with no one to help her and an immense job ahead of her. The place was an absolute mess. What had her people been doing?
The feeling surprised him. Comforting others was not something he normally did. He left that to his mother. He forced his hands to remain at his sides, even though he ached to take her in his arms; try to comfort her. From her look earlier, she would not welcome his embrace. As he watched, the look on her face changed from sadness and despair, to stubborn will. He could almost hear her spine snap to attention.
Sarah’s tears disappeared, unshed. “Well, we certainly have a lot to do, right, Mrs. Harris?”
The housekeeper stepped forward. “Yes, my lady. If you are ready, we will see about rehiring a house staff and get this place in order. Mr. Anderson would not approve the expense until you were ready to use the manor house again.”
            Reggie held his tongue. Anderson, the accountant, was a miser, which was well known. That explained the wretched condition of the main house. Following that logic, the stables should be in excellent condition, since Evanston Stables was famous for well-bred horses. The jumper stock breeding program was still in full swing, even after Sarah’s father’s death.
            “Mr. Harris will take your things. Then if you’d come into the dining room, I have a light lunch laid on for you.”
            Sarah slipped out of her plisse and handed it to her manager. “Thank you for filling in on such short notice, Mr. Harris. We really will need a butler again.”
            “No trouble at all, my lady.”
            Reggie frowned. The last thing Sarah needed was for the hired help to encourage her to come to this house again.
            Sarah glanced around the group. “Are you all ready for something to eat?”  She led the way to the dining room. Another sheet-covered room greeted them. The table had been cleared and the chandelier above it polished, but the rest of the room was in dire need of cleaning. The chairs, having been uncovered, allowed sitting without danger of ruining clothing. A platter of sliced beef graced the table, along with hot bread and butter. A small selection of fruits sat in a big silver bowl. A lovely custard pie steamed on the sideboard, giving the room a delightful aroma. Nice, but not extravagant. Mrs. Harris twisted the corner of her apron. “You’ll forgive the scarcity, my lady. The local market does not get the fruit and vegetables as we once did. We started our own garden this spring, but the vegetables are not ripe yet. This weather has stunted everything.”
            “Do not give it another thought, Mrs. Harris. There is more than enough food here for the four of us. Thank you for such an effort. The food in London is in short supply as well. We are not going to stay long. I just wanted a look at the place so that I may plan to come home. I wanted Mr. and Mrs. DeLong to see my home, even in this sorry state of affairs.”
            “Yes ‘m. Please, eat, enjoy.”
            The four fell to eating, quickly polishing off the beef, fruit and bread. The pie disappeared as well. Janette patted a napkin to her lips. “I do believe I am going to need a bit of rest before we return. You must forgive me.”
            “Of course. Mrs. Harris, is the sun room open?”
            Mrs. Harris’ grey head appeared around the door frame. “I can have it open in a few moments, my lady, If you will wait right here?”
            In no time, she reappeared. “I have the fainting couch uncovered and the small table and chairs, Ma’am. If you would please follow me?”
            Drew took Janette’s arm and helped her to the sunroom. Sarah watched them go. “He does take good care of her. I did not realize this short trip would tire her so.”
Reggie laughed. “You couldn’t have kept her away. No matter how tired she gets. She loves to go with you, as you do her.”
Sarah smiled in spite of herself. “Yes. We did become fast friends last summer. But I do need to see what the house needs if I am going to re-open it this summer.”
            She took another deep breath and glanced around the dining room. It was in such a shambles compared to the way her mother had insisted it be kept. It was all she could do to keep the tears from cascading down her cheeks. How disappointed her mother would be, especially in her, for allowing this to happen to the family belongings. Cobwebs in the dining room? Disgraceful!
She tossed back her curls and took a firm hold on her emotions. She would set things right. She would make her parents proud of her, a little late perhaps, but better late than never.
 “I do want to re-open the house for the summer at least.” She waited for an explosion from Reggie, but none came.
Instead, he took a deep breath and began very calmly. “Do you really think that is wise? Mother said you mentioned living here, by yourself. Frankly, you should know that is nearly impossible for one of your station.”
A great sigh escaped Sarah’s lips. “I know. Both your mother and Aunt Hortense impressed upon me the impossibility of that idea. But I would not be alone. I would be properly chaperoned if Aunt would come and I hired a full staff. I know the aristocrats will still be scandalized. I have never cared that much for the haute ton so their being scandalized does not bother me as much as perhaps it should.”
Reggie hid a smile. He felt much the same way, but did not want to encourage Sarah’s idea any more than necessary. She continued.
“I do think though, to find me, I must reclaim my home and my birthright. You have several homes. You can pick and choose where you’d like to reside. Right now I have only one choice—with my aunt. I am ready to claim my other choice, this house.”
“But to live here in the countryside, Sarah? That just begs trouble.”
“Mr. Anderson tells me I can afford a full staff. That would put townspeople to work, people who need the money now. Refurbishing the house and grounds would also put the trades people back to work. They will be glad to see me back. This place certainly will need some repairs. I have neglected it shamefully.”
She gave the dining room drape a shake. Dust flew everywhere. “See? I should have paid more attention to Mr. Anderson’s money saving measures. This is unacceptable. Really.”
“You were quite young when your parents died, Sarah. You were not ready for all the responsibility for this house.”
“I suppose. Nineteen is young, but I have had five years to mature. I have been avoiding coming back. Shame on me.”
They walked into the main hall. Sarah looked up at Reggie. “I know you are not happy, but you offered to assess what needs to be done. Did you mean it?”
Reggie raised an eyebrow. “Of course, I meant it. I said it. If you like, we will take a walk about through the house while Janette rests. It should not take long to get a general idea of what should be checked.”
 “Thank you.” Sarah placed her hand gingerly on Reggie’s arm and they strode into the main parlor. She forced herself to breathe slowly, to not be overwhelmed by his nearness. No matter what she said, she did have strong feelings for this charming, but sometimes overbearing, man. It was vital to keep those feelings at bay. He could cajole her into most anything if he tried.
Reggie left her standing in the middle of the room. He went to one of the huge leaded glass windows facing the front drive. Pulling the drape out, he peered behind to the top of the window. “Just as I feared. Sarah, look here, please.”
Sarah stepped to his side and stared up to the top of the twelve-foot window. She could see an ugly brown stain on the wall next to the casing, and an even worse stain running down the wall. “Oh dear.”
“That is rain water damage.” Reggie dropped the drape and stepped back, shaking his head. “The caulking on the outside of the windows has disintegrated. I would guess every window in the place needs at least some work.”
Sarah placed a hand over her mouth, holding back her exclamation of dismay. Those three beautiful windows facing the drive had been her mother’s pride and joy.
“Oh, Reggie, I remember when the windows were installed. Mother thought the room was too dark, so Father had the one window taken out and these three gorgeous ones put in instead. He had the stained glass top pieces done especially for her.”
“Really?”
She continued. “The scenes are places from mother’s childhood. What if one of them slipped or fell in a windstorm, because they’re no longer properly secured? How horrible!”
She looked toward Reggie. He shook his head. “That would be too bad. They are irreplaceable.”
She nodded. “In my heart as well. That is a memory I never want to lose.”
Reggie moved on. “The caulking is not the only problem. If the windows are that bad, you will lose all the heat from the fireplaces. The spring rains will make it miserable. This place will be frigid come the winter if it is not resealed all the way ‘round. Resealing has to be done immediately to make this livable again.”
Sarah counted windows in her mind. “We have more than 50 windows.”
Reggie frowned, peering at the other windows in the room. “It is too bad Anderson did not at least pay for outside structural repairs. It would have been much easier to caulk the windows a few at a time, than completely redo them now.”
Sarah nodded, numb from the thoughts racing in her mind.
Reggie sensed her dismay, but felt obligated to continue. He hated causing her this distress. “Could we go upstairs? To a room that would show if there’s any roof damage?”
“Oh, yes. We might as well see it all.” Sarah led the way up the staircase.
 Reggie shook the banister on the way up. “At least the inside wood is solid. I do not see any termite damage.”
“Termites?”
“Yes. Without people around, the nasty little buggers sometimes get inside and wreck havoc with the woodwork.”
Sarah ran her hand along the banister. How many times had she slid down that banister, causing consternation among the help? “Reggie, did you ever slide down a banister at Guilworth Hall?
They stopped, midstairs. Reggie ran his hand along the polished wood, remembering his own childhood hi-jinks. “Yes, I did. Drove the servants bonkers as I recall. They were worried I would hurt myself.”
“Then you know what trouble I got into. I slid down this one every chance I got. Totally unlady-like, but such fun.”
Reggie enjoyed the look of absolute orneriness that popped up on Sarah’s face. It startled him as he realized there was another side to this quiet lady, one he had never been privileged to see. That made what he had to do even more onerous. She might be able to run this place; but it was utterly out of the question if she were to find the husband she needed. Even with her aunt as chaperone, being out here would completely cut her off from the society she had to be included in, if she hoped to make a match this season. He glanced away, not wanting to meet her gaze. She needed a husband just like he needed a wife. How he rued his thoughtless comment to her about a marriage of convenience. She would make a wonderful partner, of that he was certain.
Sarah ran her hand along the railing again. “Even my father’s scolding was not enough to get me to stop.”
“I cannot imagine your father scolding you. He adored you.”
Sarah laughed. “I know. He tried to scold, but he was not very good at it. I would just give him a kiss and promise to do better and he would be done.”
“Just as I thought.”
“Oh yes, I was an indulged child. This was such a happy home. My parents made sure plenty of children visited, so I had lots of playmates, even though I was an only child. The house was full of laughter and love.”
She stopped, staring into the upstairs. “Not quiet and empty, like today.”
The hurt registering in her face grabbed his heart. He took in a breath. He could not let her feelings stop him from doing what he knew needed to be done. “We really should continue.”
She nodded. “I know.”
She took another step up, smoothing the banister as she went. The long curving piece of wood lent itself to amazing rides. The thought of insects eating it away was just too awful to contemplate. Her gut tightened as she probed and scanned carefully to make sure none of the nasty critters escaped notice.
Sarah led him into the master bedroom. “This was my parent’s suite.”
Reggie turned ‘round the room, eyes fixed on the ceiling. He muttered, “There, and there.” He looked back to Sarah. “Do you see the damage?”
Sarah did her own turn ‘round. “Oh dear, in those two outside corners; the same dark stain. The roof is leaking, is it not?”
“I am afraid so. Let us look at a few more rooms up here; on the other side of the hall and the back of the house. We will see how widespread the leaking is.”
Sarah led the way down the main hall. They stopped to peer into several rooms, finding damage in almost every one. She stopped before one last set of double doors.
“This was my room.” She gave a gentle push and the doors swung in, to reveal sheet covered furniture, a carpet sprouting mushrooms and a pile of plaster in the middle of the floor, spilling over the sheet-covered rocking chair. Ragged lath boards slashed across the gaping hole in the ceiling, marking clearly the source of the chalky plaster all over the floor. The rocker had been her favorite spot for sharing secrets with her mother. What if they had been sitting there?
“Oh, no!” That was the last straw. Sarah burst into tears. Reggie took her in his arms, holding her gently, allowing her to cry. Sweet Briar meant much more to her than Guilworth Hall meant to him. That huge place had stood for centuries, much the same. This home was more like Meadow View was to his mother. His mother would feel much the same if she could not go there whenever she wished. Convincing Sarah not to move here would be much harder than he first thought. Sarah was very much like his mother, which was a good thing. He sensed her sobs lessening. He hated to hear her cry, see her so upset. She was such a special woman; one who deserved better. He gave her a gentle squeeze, then murmured, “Let us rejoin Janette and Drew. You can think about what you have seen and we will talk about it later.”
He offered her his handkerchief, which she took, dabbing her eyes. “Thank you. I had no idea it would be like this. I do not want to see any more. Please, let us go.”
“As you wish.” He wrapped her arm around his own and led her back downstairs. Practically, this trip had gone much better than he had anticipated. He had not needed to fuss at all with her. The house showed her its worst points, all by itself. She was overwhelmed with the mess. He hated that part. He hated to see her so upset; the last of her childhood memories ripped apart by the reality of today.
But it was still her property. It should be taken care of quickly, before the damage got any worse. Once it was repaired, perhaps he could convince her that allowing it to be rented would be a better idea.
They met Janette and Drew coming out of the sun room. Sarah brushed away one last tear. “Are you rested? Shall we go back to Guilworth Hall?”
Janette looked hard at Sarah’s face. “Are you quite all right, dear?”
Sarah sniffed back a tear. “Yes. Just upset at all the damage we have seen. I really do not want you to see any more right now. It is too awful.”
Janette wrapped her arms around Sarah in a quick hug. “I know what it is like to see your home in ruins. It hurts to the bottom of your heart. We will leave and come back when you are ready for us to see it.”
Sarah and Janette accepted their plisses from Mr. Harris. "Your gig is outside Miss, as are the gentlemen’s horses."
“Thank you, Mr. Harris.”
“We hope you return soon, my lady. The house is lost without you.”
Sarah looked away, unable to reply. They went out to the gig. Once the ladies were safely inside, Sarah drove off, making no comment.
Drew and Reggie rode along. Drew glanced to Reggie. “Sarah certainly is upset. What ever did she see?”
Reggie shrugged. “A pile of ceiling plaster in the middle of her old bedroom and mushrooms growing out of the carpet, among other things. I showed her every bit of damage I could find, never saying a word against her idea, just pointing out what had to be repaired.”
“It is that bad then?”
“It could be. It may need an entirely new roof. That will be expensive. At least the windows must be caulked and roofing needs to be checked and repaired. The one carpet is totally ruined, but the majority of the house is sound. Unfortunately there is a roof leak right over her old suite, but the plaster falling is new. This nasty weather this season has most likely uncovered a spot. If that is fixed immediately, it won’t be too big a problem."
Reggie leaned back in his saddle. “The good thing is, she thinks it is bad. That should keep her from entertaining this moving-out-here idea any time soon.”
“But, what about the house?”
“Anderson is being too tight with her money. He must keep up the house to ensure its value for her, even if she is not living in it.”
“But once Anderson gets it repaired, won’t she be even more ready to move?”
Reggie sent a sharp look Drew’s direction. “There is that possibility. I hope by that time we can change her mind.”
Drew shook his head. “I do not know, Reggie. If it were you, you would want to go back to Guilworth Hall, would you not? If something happened, you would want to return it to perfect condition.”
Reggie considered Drew’s comment. “I suppose I would. Mother is certainly attached to Meadow View, her childhood home and dowry. I simply had not given that much thought."
Drew nudged his horse into a walk. “I would say Sarah is very attached to Sweet Briar. Much as Aunt Beatrice is attached to Meadow View. I would wager your own mother would react in exactly the same way if something bad happened to Meadow View. You would do well not to minimize Sarah’s feeling, Reggie. Especially if you are trying to bring back that beautiful smile of hers.”
“Hmm.” Reggie’s frown covered his forehead. Did he really want to bring back that beautiful smile? Did he have more than a "family interest" in Sarah's happiness? He was beginning to think his interest in Sarah was much more personal in nature.