Tag Archive | Historical romance

Throwback Thursday

Throwback Thursday

Todays throwback is to my very first interview.  Thanks again to Markie for being my guineapig!

Since this interview Markie has written another four books and a novella in The Undead Unit series; Souls of the Reaper, Blood Lust, Siren Song, Ashes to Ashes, and Undead Christmas: An Undead Unit Novella.

Markie has also released a historical romance set in ancient Egypt, The Pharaoh’s Destiny.

On top of that, she also has short stories in a number of anthologies and a couple of novellas.

• • •

Originally Published: September 14, 2015

An Interview with Markie Madden

Hi Markie, thank you for joining me and agreeing to take part in my first interview.Markie
Firstly can you tell us a little about yourself?

Hi there, I’m glad to be here. I was born in Midland, Texas, though I moved to the small town of Flushing, Michigan, when I was 10. I grew up and went to high school there. Then I married my husband 21 years ago, and we now have 2 daughters. We live in small farm town Fisk (population 326) in southeast Missouri with our three rescue dogs and my horse, Athena, who’s pictured on the front of my Amazon best-selling book Keeping a Backyard Horse.

When did you start writing for publication, what made you decide to put your work out there to be read by others?

My first novel, Once Upon a Western Way was actually written while I was still in high school, though it’s been reworked and edited many times since. But my classmates had a great time reading what I’d come up with the previous night (shh, the teachers aren’t supposed to know we passed these around in class!) and everyone mentioned how I should try to publish it. I solicited publishers on my own (back when some did still accept unsolicited manuscripts), and I even hired an agent for a year when publishers would no longer accept books other than from a literary agent. It wasn’t until 2012 that I became aware of the self-publishing trend, and after that, it’s all history!

Who or what has helped you become a better writer over time?

I have to give kudos to several people here, first to my beta readers (and authors) Claire Plaisted, Sharon K. Miller, and Gary Seaton. All three have offered wonderful advice and helped my writing to become as good as I can get. Also, to writer’s group Scribophile (www.scribophile.com) where you earn karma points by reading and critiquing the work of others until you get enough karma to post work of your own for critique. It’s a wonderful place that all writer’s should check in to. Membership is free, although if you pay for membership you get a few more perks.

How has writing and self-publishing changed the way you read?

It’s funny you should ask that. I don’t read as much as I used to (never seem to find the time, curse that social media that sucks in so much of my daily minutes…!) but when I do read, it seems that I look at the book formatting a lot more than I used to. Or, at least I notice it now. You know, that occasional ‘someone stuck an extra line space in here’ or whatever. I’ve been called Grammar Nazi numerous times and I guess that goes for formatting as well. I’m of the opinion that as indie authors, we can compete with big name authors only by putting out the most professional looking product

What is that one moment you have had as a writer that made you realize you were actually a real author?

I published Once Upon a Western Way on Smashwords in April of 2012. But it seemed as if I was only partly an author, since it wasn’t available in print. I think that moment came when I got my first print book in my hands. That was Keeping a Backyard Horse, just about one year ago now. I’ll never forget that moment of opening the box and seeing the books inside with my name on them.

Tell us about your favorite memory related to reading or writing?

It’s not necessarily related to writing specifically, but it was in English class. ;p In 8th grade we were having trouble remembering prepositional phrases. So Mrs. Sharp, the teacher, began to throw chalkboard erasers around the room. Not purposely at people but I think she came close to boinking one or two. Wherever those erasers landed, she would say it’s under her, or over his head, and so on. As long as I live, I’ll never forget a prepositional phrase!

When you consider your future, what would you like to make happen for you?

I have the first book of my new series out, and I think at the moment I have 6 more books outlined, and ideas for several more, so I think I have enough to keep me busy for a while. I’m disabled from cancer now, so I get to spend my time doing something that I love to do. Couldn’t ask more than that.

What are the hardest and easiest parts about being a writer?

For me, the hardest parts are definitely editing and marketing. I hate to edit so much that I even invented a new word for it: fediting (we used to make up curse words like this when our kids were small, so you get the idea behind that one!), and it seems like I always end up rewriting when I edit, though I’ve hopefully developed a routine with it now after 5 books published. And marketing is just tough for anyone, I think. I’m not much of a social butterfly anyway, and I’m certainly no salesperson! I hate it when I go to the auto parts store for X and they try to tell me that I need to buy Y to go along with it. You know, if I wanted Y I would have picked it up already (and yes, I worked in auto parts for almost 2 years and am guilty of doing this myself, but only when they made me!). But the other side of that coin is if you don’t market, you won’t see any sales.

What is the name of your latest book and what inspired it?

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Fang and Claw is available for Pre-Order at 50% off. Visit Metamorph Publishing for a full list of retailers and formats.

My newest book is called Fang and Claw, and it’s out in paperback now. The e-book is releasing October 4, 2015. The idea for this series came to me in that twilight moment between sleep and wakefulness, and I think it was after a marathon of Supernatural season DVDs! When the inspiration struck, I had the ideas for the first 3 books. Fang and Claw is a crime/paranormal story and the first book in The Undead Unit series. It’s a bit of a future world where Immortal beings (Vampires, Werewolves, Zombies, and more) are known and accepted (at least as much as any minority) by society. They live and work among humans, after taking an Oath not to harm any humans and to abide by all their laws. The Dallas police department has set up and elite new squad dedicated to solving crimes among these Immortals. Lieutenant Lacey Anderson is a Vampire whose entire family was massacred by a pack of Werewolves. Detective Colton Scarber, assigned as Lacey’s partner and second in command, is a descendant of that pack, but Lacey isn’t aware of this from the start. When she finds out the Colton was keeping this to himself, it threatens the fragile beginning of their partnership. And in the meantime, a mysterious suspect and strange physical evidence leads them to solve a case spanning decades, and leaves Lacey with no other choice than to rely on her enemy when her very life is in danger!

And for those of us who are thinking of reading your book, could you tell us what to expect?

One of my beta readers told me after reading Fang in full, “You’re going to be the next JD Robb.” Now, I don’t really care about fame or fortune, but if in being like JD Robb I can leave my readers with the same sense of satisfaction at the end of reading my books as I get at the end of reading hers, then I have to say “Mission accomplished.” That’s all I truly want, for my readers to enjoy the story. After all, I don’t write for myself, though I love to do it. I write for my readers!

Can you tell us anything about any of your current work(s)-in-progress?

Right now I’m about 15,000 words into Souls of the Reaper, which is book two in The Undead Unit series. It involves a rogue Reaper who is stealing the souls of people who are not yet due to pass on. His victims then run around town with no soul or inhibition (you can imagine the havoc this would cause!), and the Reaper himself finds it difficult to hold onto that much extra energy. So he grows more and more psychotic with each steal. It’s up to Lacey and Colton to find him, and stop him, before he graduates to something even worse than stealing souls: stealing lives!

What about your previous books, tell us a bit about them and how we can get our hands on them.

My three other books are Once Upon a Western Way, a dystopian romantic fantasy set in a time of handsome princes, beautiful princesses, an evil foe, and an epic quest. In the end, you’ll never guess who the bad guy really is! No spoilers though!
Kindle EditionPaperback or for other retailers or formats, visit Metamorph Publishing.

Keeping a Backyard Horse is a simple and fun horse care guide aimed for the average horse owner who knows nothing of how to care for these animals (maybe the parent whose daughter says daddy, I want a horse!). The guide is laid out with simple terms, with a glossary included defining horse terms that cannot be avoided. Best of all, it’s narrated by my horse, Athena, who is also featured on the cover!
Kindle EditionPaperback or for other retailers or formats, visit Metamorph Publishing.

And last of all, My Butterfly Cancer is my memoir. It’s an uncensored look at a year in the life of a cancer patient. This book is purposely short (after all, it was just a year) and purposely unedited to an extent; I wanted reader to be able to see and feel just how poorly my brain function was; this was not even a full year post-chemotherapy when I wrote it, and much of the information came from my family members, and there were large chunks of time during treatment that I’m still (blissfully?) unaware of. A portion of the proceeds from the sale of this book goes to cancer charities.
Kindle EditionPaperback or for other retailers or formats, visit Metamorph Publishing

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What do you like to see from your fans, followers, readers, and supporters on your social media sites?

I love it for fans and readers to engage with me after reading my books. One reader even messaged me while she was reading, to discuss questions she had as she made her way through the book. It pleased her as well, because she said she’d never had the opportunity to talk with an author about a story and have the chance to ask all the questions that come to her while she’s reading.

Where can we find you to tell you how amazing we think you are?

Among other places you can find me on FaceBook, Twitter, Goodreads and Pinterest.

And finally… If you were ever stranded on a deserted island what would you miss and which three books would you take along?

If I were stranded on an island I would miss a bathroom! LOL My dad always wants me to go camping. IN A TENT! I don’t mind sleeping on the ground in a tent, but please don’t take away an actual REAL bathroom with a functioning toilet! I don’t think I’d survive! Ha, ha!
My three books if stranded on a desert island? I can’t name three, just let me have my phone! Lol No, really, um…
1) The Black Stallion and Satan,
2) The Mammoth Hunters (Clan of the Cave Bear Series), and
3) Anything by Kay Hooper out of the Special Crimes Unit series!

Thanks again, Markie. I wish you the best of luck on your forthcoming release.!

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Valentine Countdown Blitz – Day 4

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Otto’s Offer by Zina Abbott

 

 
Ottos Offer- ZinaAbbott thumbIn 1868, Otto Atwell has a 160 acre homestead near Abilene, Kansas and a limp as a result of an arrow shot in his low back while with the 16th Kansas Cavalry on the Powder River Expedition in 1865. What he doesn’t have is a wife. Then again, what woman would want to marry a cripple?

Libby Jones comes to Junction City as a mail order bride. Not only does the man who sent for her reject her, he tries to sell her to the local brothel to recoup his fee. Otto offers to marry her, but she rejects him in favor of a job with his relatives.

Will Otto’s offer still stand when trouble from Libby’s past catches up with her?

 ~ Amazon ~ 

 
Snippet:

 

      Otto could tell he needed to come to his brother’s rescue. “Thank you, Henry. I appreciate what you did.” He faced to his father. “Try to not be too hard on him, Pa. I think he did use good judgment. He held his fire until it was clear that man intended to charge me and Libby with the knife and do bodily harm, but he didn’t wait so long he and I were upon each other and Henry couldn’t hit him without risking me.”

      Henry stood a little taller after Otto’s defense, but still he turned to his father for approval.

      Otto waited while his father, with a bemused expression, looked between his two sons. Otto knew part of the problem was that the words “Henry” and “good judgment” didn’t normally go together in the same sentence.

 

 
IMG_Zina Abbott 300x300 96dpiZINA ABBOTT is the pen name used by Robyn Echols for her adult Golden Oaks series which includes Family Secrets, the first book in the series, and her historical novels.

Except for the first year of her life, Robyn has lived in California. She started her young life in San Diego and has had gradually moved northward. She has been writing since she was in junior high school.

After working several jobs, including that of being a rural carrier and union steward for the California Rural Letter Carriers’ Association, she has spent years learning and teaching family history topics. She enjoys focusing on history from a genealogist’s perspective by seeking out the details of everyday life in the past. Several of her family history articles have been published in genealogy magazines.

She resides with her husband in California near the “Gateway to Yosemite.” When she is not piecing together novel plots and characters, she enjoys piecing together quilt blocks.

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Valentine Countdown Blitz – Day 2

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Courting the Countess by Donna Hatch

 

 

Courting the CountessWhen charming rake Tristan Barrett sweeps Lady Elizabeth off her feet, stealing both her heart and a kiss in a secluded garden, her brother challenges Tristan to a duel. The only way to save her brother and Tristan from harm—not to mention preserve her reputation—is to get married.

But her father, the Duke of Pemberton, refuses to allow his daughter to marry anyone but a titled lord. The duke demands that Elizabeth marry Tristan’s older brother, Richard, the Earl of Averston. Now Elizabeth must give up Tristan to marry a man who despises her, a man who loves another, a man she’ll never love.

Richard fears Elizabeth is as untrustworthy as his mother, who ran off with another man. However, to protect his brother from a duel and their family name from further scandal, he agrees to the wedding, certain his new bride will betray him. Yet when Elizabeth turns his house upside down and worms her way into his reluctant heart, Richard suspects he can’t live without his new countess. Will she stay with him or is it too little, too late?

Amazon

 

Snippet:

      Richard tried to quiet the fluttering in his stomach. “Your Grace, my brother acted impulsively and he shall be strongly reprimanded. He is prepared to do anything you ask; a public apology, or whatever you and the marquis see fit to remedy the situation.”

      The duke sat on a gold brocade settee facing him and crossed one leg over the other. “My daughter has been compromised and her reputation is sullied. An apology will not suffice.”

      Richard’s stomach dropped. Barely holding on to his composure, he raised a brow. “He merely kissed her, sir. Her virtue is still intact.” Providing she hadn’t already given it away to someone else, that is.

      Pemberton’s face darkened. “She was caught alone with an infamous libertine by some of the biggest gossips in London. And according to the marquis, your brother was touching her in a most intimate manner.”

      Richard winced. Stupid, stupid Tristan!

      Pemberton held out his hand. “Still, I do not wish for any harm to befall my son. And I respected your father, God rest his soul. For their sake, I am willing to negotiate an alternative.”

      Relief trickled through Richard. “Thank you, Your Grace.”

      “I will prevent the challenge from being issued. My price is marriage.”

      Richard nodded, unsurprised. “Of course. My brother’s follies are merely the foolishness of youth. He’ll rise to the responsibility and shall be a good husband to your daughter. He has a substantial allowance, and a number of profitable investments. She will lack for nothing.”

      Pemberton frowned. “You are mistaken. I refuse to allow any daughter of mine to wed a man with such unacceptably flawed character, and a mere second son at that. The only husband I will accept for her is you.”

 

 

authorDonna Hatch is the author of the best-selling “Rogue Hearts Series,” and a winner of writing awards such as The Golden Quill and the International Digital Award.

A hopeless romantic and adventurer at heart, she discovered her writing passion at the tender age of 8 and has been listening to those voices ever since. She has become a sought-after workshop presenter, and also juggles freelance editing, multiple volunteer positions, and most of all, her six children (seven, counting her husband).

A native of Arizona who recently transplanted to the Pacific Northwest, she and her husband of over twenty years are living proof that there really is a happily ever after.

 ~WebsiteFacebook ~ Twitter ~ Amazon ~ Goodreads ~

 

 

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Christmas Secrets by Donna Hatch

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ChristmasSecrets_LargeWebHolly’s two Christmas wishes this year are to finally win her mother’s approval by gaining the notice of a handsome earl, and discovering the identity of the stranger who gave her a heart-shattering kiss…even if that mystery kisser is the resident Christmas ghost.

Amazon ~

 

Cast of Characters:

  • Holly Grey
  • Her mother and father Mr. and Mrs. Grey
  • Her sister, Ivy Chestnut
  • Her brother-in-law, Joseph Chestnut and heir to the viscouncy
  • Grandfather, the viscount of de Bell, Lord de Bell
  • Will Berry, the parish vicar and school friend of Joseph Chestnut
  • Lord Bradbury, Joseph Chestnut’s friend
  • Phoebe Flitter, a girl Will is courting, her parents, Mr. and Mrs. Flitter, her younger brother, Rudolph
  • Joseph’s older brother and wife were unable to come until later due to road conditions and heavy snow. They bring unnamed children.
  • Mr. Appleby, village rector
  • The church, St. Nicholas

 

 
Author Bio:

Donna HatchDonna Hatch is the author of the best-selling “Rogue Hearts Series,” and a winner of writing awards such as The Golden Quill and the International Digital Award. A hopeless romantic and adventurer at heart, she discovered her writing passion at the tender age of 8 and has been listening to those voices ever since. She has become a sought-after workshop presenter, and also juggles freelance editing, multiple volunteer positions, and most of all, her six children (seven, counting her husband). A native of Arizona who recently transplanted to the Pacific Northwest, she and her husband of over twenty years are living proof that there really is a happily ever after.

Website ~ FacebookTwitter ~ AmazonGoodreads ~

 

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Great Summer Reads Countdown Blitz 2017

Day 1:
The Matchmaking Game by Donna Hatch

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“From the publisher of the USA TODAY bestselling & #1 Amazon bestselling Timeless Romance Anthology series in Clean & Wholesome Romance, comes the Timeless Romance Singles line.

 

THE MATCHMAKING GAME

A brand new historical romance novella from bestselling author Donna Hatch.

The Matchmaking Game Ebook high res

 

 Rowena’s childhood friend, Evan, has returned home from war a handsome, but mysterious stranger. In an effort to bring happiness to her father, not to mention uncover the Evan she remembers from their youth, Rowena seeks to unite their parents. Who better to match a lonely widow and widower together than their adoring children? Her matchmaking game could help their parents find happiness and draw out her childhood friend buried beneath Evan’s new reserve … or it could break more than one heart.”

Amazon ~ Goodreads ~

 

 

 

 

 
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Snippet:

      Rowena nudged Evan with her elbow. “I have an idea.”
      Evan groaned under his breath. “The last time you had an idea, I nearly broke my neck.”
      “Oh, pish. You only fell a short distance, and it was worth it. Besides, I concocted several diverting ideas while you were gone, and no one fell to his death.” She leaned forward and peered into his face. Are you still there? she longed to ask.
      Without turning his head, he slid his gaze to her. His eyes remained that same intriguing mixture of brown and green, yet somehow different— wary, cautious. “That’s because no one else is foolish enough to go along with your madcap plots.”
      She grinned. “Only you, which is partly why I missed you so much. I need a courageous friend for this idea.”
      “Courageous or mad?”
      “Semantics.”

Download your copy of the complete Sweet Regency Romance novella, The Matchmaking Game, exclusively on Amazon

 
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FB profile picDonna Hatch, author of the best-selling “Rogue Hearts Series,” is a hopeless romantic and adventurer at heart, the force that drove her to write and publish seventeen historical romance titles, to date. She is a multi-award winner, a sought-after workshop presenter, and juggles multiple volunteer positions as well as her six children. Also a music lover, she sings and plays the harp, and she loves to ballroom dance. She and her family recently transplanted from her native Arizona to the Pacific Northwest where she and her husband of over twenty years are living proof that there really is a happily ever after.

Website ~ BlogFacebook ~ Twitter ~ Goodreads ~

 
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Picture1Loving the Book

The Offer & The Chase By Sara Portman

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Genre: Historical Romance

The Offer

Brides of Beadwell #2

Pub Date: 10/24/17

The award-winning author of The Reunion continues her dazzling new series with a novel of one woman’s fall from saint to sinner . . .
Lucy Betancourt’s future looks bleak. The daughter of an ailing vicar in a village with no eligible bachelors, her only hope is to find employment as a governess or companion. As she helps her childhood friend, the new Duchess of Worley, through her pregnancy, the ever-practical Lucy makes her plans. But life—in the way of the dashing Bex Brantwood—has something else in store for Lucy…
Upon meeting Bex, the duke’s cousin, Lucy offers herself up to him. But Bex is no family man looking for a governess. And Lucy is not exactly mistress material. Still, the misunderstanding ends in a kiss neither can forget . . .
Bex finds the proper vicar’s daughter and her most improper proposal endlessly amusing—and attractive. But, saddled with debt, he’s in no position to keep a woman, much less marry one, which is what a woman like Lucy deserves. Little does he know that even with her reputation at stake, Lucy will take the biggest gamble of her life by following her heart—straight into his arms . . .

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The Chase

Brides of Beadwell #3

Pub Date: 11/21/17

In this thrilling romance from award-winning author Sara Portman, the illegitimate son of a nobleman and a woman on the run chase their fate on the London Road . . .
According to his father’s terms, Michael Rosevear’s duty is to be ignored—until such time as he is useful. Now that the earldom is in need of funds, Michael is to be sold off in marriage to the daughter of a crass but wealthy merchant willing to pay for any connection to nobility—even one from the wrong side of the blanket . . .

En route to his fate in London, Michael does not plan to board an extra passenger. Yet there is something in the young miss’s desperate plea that tugs at his conscience—though he is certain her story is a fabrication . . .

Juliana Crawford has fled her father’s cruel home. Using a false name to evade pursuit, she must find a private traveler with whom to complete her escape. Chance matches her with a dark and wounded young lord who guards his own secrets just as carefully. The unlikely pair embark on a journey filled with revelations and unexpected adventure—one that may lead them to question whether to part at their destination—or change course entirely. . .

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About the Author:
SaraSara Portman is an award winning author of historical and contemporary romance. In addition to being named the 2015 winner in the Historical Category of the Romance Writers of America® Golden Heart® contest, Sara has been a finalist and winner in several other writing competitions. A daughter of the Midwest, Sara was born in Illinois, grew up in Michigan, and currently lives in Ohio. In addition to her writing endeavors, Sara is a wife and mother in a large, blended family.

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The Most Dangerous Duke in London by Madeline Hunter

duke banner

Title: The Most Dangerous Duke in London
Author: Madeline Hunter
Genre: Historical Romance

The Most Dangerous Duke in London_362x600NOTORIOUS NOBLEMAN SEEKS REVENGE

Name and title: Adam Penrose, Duke of Stratton.
Affiliation: London’s elite Society of Decadent Dukes.
Family history: Scandalous. Personality traits: Dark and brooding, with a thirst for revenge.
Ideal romantic partner: A woman of means, with beauty and brains, willing to live with reckless abandon.
Desire: Clara Cheswick, gorgeous daughter of his family’s sworn enemy.

FAINT OF HEART NEED NOT APPLY

Clara may be the woman Adam wants, but there’s one problem: she’s far more interested in publishing her women’s journal than getting married—especially to a man said to be dead-set on vengeance. Though, with her nose for a story, Clara wonders if his desire for justice is sincere—along with his incredibly unnerving intention to be her husband. If her weak-kneed response to his kiss is any indication, falling for Adam clearly comes with a cost. But who knew courting danger could be such exhilarating fun?

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Excerpt:


      With four bedchambers above and four more in the attic for servants, this household could never grow very large. The bedchambers were unlike what she had known at Gifford House. She had no apartment here. No sitting room and little private library. No huge dressing room and separate wardrobe. Here she used just one chamber and an attached dressing room, where she also stored her garments.
      This library was of good size, however, as was the dining room. There was no drawing room as such, but instead a nice sitting room that also served duty for breakfasts.
      Well, she was only one woman. How much space did she need? And the public rooms would do nicely for her other plans.
      Jocelyn finally approached the chair. With a heavy groan she pretended to try and lift her side, only to let it fall at once from her grasp. “I fear I used all my strength on the last one.”
      Clara was about to scold her when a knock sounded on the front door. “Go and see who that is, please, while you recover from your sudden weakness.”
      “Ladies’ maids do not answer the door, ma’am.”
      “Oh, for goodness sake.” Clara marched out of the library to tend to the door herself.
      She grasped the latch, expecting to find a neighbor or soliciting tradesman. Instead she opened the door on the Duke of Stratton.
      “Oh. You.” The lack of welcome slipped out before she could catch it. She blamed that on her surprise to find him on her doorstep. And on her dismay at the way a beam of joy shot through her unexpectedly. “How did you find me?”
      “Langford, his brother, and I called on your family, only to learn from your brother that you no longer resided there.” He gazed up the façade. “I have always thought Bedford Square attractively designed, with houses most fitting for its size and scale. It is a good distance from Mayfair, however.”
      “You explained how you learned I was not at Gifford House. You did not explain how you discovered I was here instead.”
      “If you invite me in instead of expecting me to converse across the threshold, I will tell you.”
      She held the door wide. “Of course. Please, come in.”
      He did so, proving at once that the more modest scale of houses on Bedford Square made men like Stratton appear all the bigger. He so dominated the small reception hall, and her, that she led the way to the library mostly to give herself more space. She found it empty. Jocelyn had taken the opportunity to disappear.
      He took in his surroundings, as if assessing whether they would do. For him or her, she could not tell. She did not sit because she did not want him to stay. She had things to do, and his arrival promised nothing but trouble. She almost never felt nervous, but increasingly this man caused a cautious jumpiness inside her. Unfortunate memories of allowing his embrace affected even the simplest conversation between them.
      “Are you going to explain now? How you found me?”
      “Many coachmen are not opposed to receiving gratuities in return for their helpfulness.”
      “In other words, you bribed my brother’s servant.”
      “I suspect your brother would have told me for free, but I did not want to create trouble between the two of you.” He once more surveyed the chamber. “It is a handsome library.”
      “Thank you. I like it. I have some changes to make and was attempting to do so when you arrived. Actually, you can help.”
      “I would be happy to do so.”
      She pointed to the second chair, then the new spot where she wanted it to go. “I need that moved to there. My maid and I managed the first one, but she rebelled at lifting the second.”
      “She showed more sense than you did. You should not be lifting furniture.” With two strides he faced the chair. He moved it right where she told him.
      She should thank him, and be more polite. Only he had accompanied his help with a scold, and she thought that negated her obligations. Only it didn’t. She wished she could pretend he did not fluster her. Only he did. Enough that she had some trouble maintaining her cool disdain and thinking clearly enough to find a way to get him out the door.
      “Thank you.”
      He acknowledged that with a bare nod before pacing the length of the library and gazing out the back French windows. “You bought this, I assume.”
      “Why do you think so?”
      “The furniture is too fine for a house that you let. No one would risk these drapes to the care of tenants. They are not utilitarian but speak of the taste of a woman denied the indulgence of her wardrobe for a while.”
      His interpretation of the drapes proved very accurate. She had relished the chance to choose the fabric and trim and consult on the style.
      “The furnishings also mean that you have owned it a while too, even if you only now have taken residence.”
      “I do not know why you are wasting your superb talents of perception on me and my humble abode, Duke.”
      “I am wondering why you bought this house if you did not intend to live in it. It is idle curiosity on my part, nothing more.”
      Not too idle, from the look he gave her.
      She really shouldn’t. Truly she ought not. But—“You have found me out. I needed a secret place to meet that my lover.”
      “Ah. Well, we cannot have that now.” He walked back through the room, his attention all on her. “I will have to post a guard at the door to discourage such visits. Should no lover arrive, I am left with the conclusion you spoke of the future, and of me.”
      He stood too close now, looking down in a way that did not bode well for her composure. She was determined, however, not to make a fool out of herself the way she had in the park. “That is a shocking thing for you to say. It is bad enough for you to make assumptions regarding a marriage. It is far worse to imply what you just did.”
      “If you would prefer marriage to a love affair, the offer still stands. However, if you are set against it, as you claim, I will accommodate your desire.”
      She never found herself speechless, but she did now because she could not conjure up a good response. How had she allowed him to trap her between two options that consisted of the same thing, only one was honorable and one not? It did not help that his eyes all but glowed when he added that accommodate your desire part. She could not ignore the double entendre, nor the way an unhelpful thrill streaked through her body.
      He appeared amused at her predicament. “This house will be convenient in either case.”
      “It would not be appropriate for you to call on me here with any frequency, if that is what you mean.” She stammered it out. She felt as though a cloud had entered her head.
      He reached out and softly stroked her lips. Only then did she realize they were trembling. She was being an idiot again but could not stop, especially since that feathery touch felt very nice and made her face and neck tingle.
      “I will be very discreet. There will be no scandal. However, I like the idea of visiting you here, where the dowager and your brother cannot interfere.”
      Interfere with what? She had no idea if she said it or thought it.
      “With this.” He bent until his lips met hers.

 

 

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About the Author:

Hunter Madeline - Credit Studio 8Madeline Hunter is a New York Times bestselling author with more than six million copies of her books in print. She has twenty-nine nationally bestselling historical romances in print, including most recently, The Wicked Duke, Tall, Dark, and Wicked, His Wicked Reputation, and The Accidental Duchess. A member of RWA’s Honor Roll, she has won the RITA Award twice and been a finalist seven times. Her books have appeared on the bestseller lists of the New York Times, USA Today, and Publishers Weekly, and have been translated into thirteen languages. She has a PhD in art history, which she has taught at the university level. Madeline also writes the Romance Unlaced column for USAToday.com’s Happy Ever After site.

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