*UPDATE*

I have updated my review and giveaway policies page (now just titled Policies above). If you are entering a giveaway, please read and abide by the applicable policy.

Attention Authors! If you arrived here looking for information on the Two Sides to Every Story guest post series, see the tab at the top of the page for more info!


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Thursday, September 22, 2016

Book Review: Fall of Poppies by Heather Webb, Hazel Gaynor, Beatriz Williams, Jennifer Robson, Jessica Brockmole, Kate Kerrigan, Evangeline Holland, Lauren Willig, and Marci Jefferson

fall of poppies

Fall of Poppies: Stories of Love and the Great War
by Heather Webb, Hazel Gaynor, Beatriz Williams, Jennifer Robson, Jessica Brockmole, Kate Kerrigan, Evangeline Holland, Lauren Willig, and Marci Jefferson
ARC, e-book & paperback, 368 pages
William Morrow Paperback
March 1, 2016
★★★★☆

goodreads button

Genre: Historical Fiction, Short Stories, Anthology

Source: Received from the publisher for review via Edelweiss

November 11, 1918. After four long, dark years of fighting, the Great War ends at last, and the world is forever changed. For soldiers, loved ones, and survivors, the years ahead stretch with new promise, even as their hearts are marked by all those who have been lost.
As families come back together, lovers reunite, and strangers take solace in each other, everyone has a story to tell.

In this moving, unforgettable collection, nine top historical fiction authors share stories of love, strength, and renewal as hope takes root in a fall of poppies.

I have been loving the trend recently for historical fiction authors to come together in between their individual works and put together anthology collections. It’s excellent for the community and the themes that the projects have focused on have been different and compelling. So far, of these collections, I have read: Grand Central (revolving around a single day at Grand Central at the end of WWII), A Day of Fire (the day of the volcano eruption that destroyed Pompeii), and A Year of Ravens (they year of Boudica’s rebellion). This was my 4th foray into these anthologies and this one focused on different experiences in different places at the time of the end of WWI. I’m first going to comment a bit about the book itself and then break down each of the stories a little bit as you can buy the stories that interest you individually as well as part of the collection.

This collection is structured like a standard anthology that revolves around one point in time. The stories do not connect or relate to each other as A Day of Fire or A Year of Ravens do, rather each is a self-contained, stand-alone short story. One of the things that I loved about this collection is the breadth of experiences and locales that are featured. Of the settings we are treated to: Belgium, France, Germany, Ireland, England, and America. We see experiences of those who fought in the trenches, those who flew airplanes, those who stayed at home, and those who tended to the injured. I felt that the stories very well represented a little bit for each element of the war. For me, there did not appear to obviously be any strategy to the organization of the book as far as which stories appeared in which order, but with a collection that is set at a specific point in time I don’t know that this would matter much. I was well versed with the works of Marci Jefferson, Heather Webb, and Kate Kerrigan, having read two novels each and was interested in seeing how they would tackle short stories. I had heard of (and even met) several of the other authors in this collection, but had yet to have time to read their solo works – hopefully that will change after having read these stories.


The Daughter of Belgium by Marci Jefferson

This was the story that I loved the setting of the story the most as I have never read any WWI story set in Belgium. So that element was refreshing. The Germans are falling back as the war is drawing to a close and we hear about and see the devastation that is being wrought during this time: loss of property, attacks on people/women, etc. This was a story of the drama beyond the front lines, the revolutionaries and the stirring up of the homefront. The story of Mistress Cavell, a nurse who was executed for revolutionary activity, had to have drawn some interest from the author’s own life experiences as a nurse. This story brought danger and drama at every turn and contained action packed, fast-paced scenes. A great story to kick off the collection as it had a little bit of everything in it and this remained one of my favorite stories throughout the whole collection.


The Record Set Straight by Lauren Willig

This was a sweeping, epic, family drama story about dealing with love, war injuries, and family conflict. You get a lot from this story; it felt like what you should get in a full length novel which made the short length feel more robust. Surprisingly, it didn’t feel rushed at all. I spent much of the first portion of this story trying to put the pieces together of just who everyone was, which I found to be a little confusing. I thought this story was overall very well-written and had a great reveal at the end.


All for the Love of You by Jennifer Robson

This story tackles another element that you do not see reflected very often, that of dealing with war injuries, particularly those that disfigured the face. I loved learning about how these face masks were made and how they were the forefront of technology to deal with disfigurement. It was also a sweet romance story about the connections that can be made over life changing experiences. However, I did struggle to get into this story a little bit. The beginning did not grab my attention right from the start and I would have liked a better hook. I actually put this book down at this point for a couple months because I just couldn’t get into it. I thought the story picked up once we hit the flashbacks and I honestly could have done without the more contemporary of the parts of the story. I’m glad this wasn’t the kick-off story as it might have colored my opinion for the whole collection.


After You’ve Gone by Evangeline Holland

This was the second story in a row that I struggled to connect to. This one takes place in Paris with a woman who has been left behind after the loss of her cohort to various war reasons. She is simply struggling to get through day-to-day until she runs into a group of American tourists who appear interested in helping her out. I had difficulty getting into any of the characters as I didn’t feel like I had enough descriptors to draw a solid mental picture of who they were. I thought the revelation at the end should have been a little more shocking but again I didn’t understand the characters enough to feel the impact.


Something Worth Landing For by Jessica Brockmole

This was one of my favorites among this collection. This is one of two stories within this collection that focused on pilots and both of the experiences were very different. Brockmole’s story was a bit more lighthearted that what we would later see from Beatriz Williams. The relationship that transpires in this novel didn’t feel the slightest bit contrived because relationships happened differently during times of war. I loved that there is an element of the epistolary style of Brockmole’s earlier novels and I enjoyed the revelation of character that can come through in a letter.


Hour of the Bells by Heather Webb

This story was another that I enjoyed, it was evocative of what it might be like to live with the ghosts of loss – those voids that exist when someone isn’t there and what it is like to be a survivor and try to continue on. That is stressful in a normal world and even more so in a world at war. Webb’s writing brings you right into the world that she is writing about. The feelings of retribution that Beatrix feels were believable and full of pain, but I couldn’t quite place myself in her shoes.


An American Airman in Paris by Beatriz Williams

Another one of my favorites in this collection and very different than the other airman story previously seen in Something Worth Landing For. It was darker, grittier, and dirtier in not only subject, tone, language, and writing style. This story was also a bit different in that you are within the head of the main male narrator and told in retrospect. It’s a story of bravery in the face of things that go wrong and what that does to a person. Loved every minute of this and look forward to jumping into one of Williams’ full length novels soon.


The Photograph by Kate Kerrigan

This was the most different and unique story in this collection and wasn’t exactly what I expected – maybe in a good way. This story draws on Kerrigan’s tales of Irish identity and the scope of this story is set during the Irish Revolution which ran concurrently with the Great War. It carried a different tone because WWI is just a idea at the back of the storyline that is occurring elsewhere, while the Revolution is in the forefront. While I thought that it was really unique to include that element because it was occurring at the same time and involved those British soldiers who were not sent to the front which built out the whole world, I waver as to whether it felt appropriate to be included in this collection. I loved the story being told though, both the contemporary framework and the historical story: a forbidden love based on ethnicity, family perceptions, the animosity between Irish and British. My perception of the story is about the same as how I have felt about Kerrigan’s novels, story is well told, but maybe not my cup of tea.


Hush by Hazel Gaynor

As I loved the first story in this collection, just the same I loved the story that concluded it. I loved how this story juxtaposed the lack of air and quiet on the battlefield with the same experience in the birthing room. The manner in which it is written and how it moves seamlessly back and forth between the two settings brings the home front and the battlefield closer. It also addressed the experiences of being a postman during this time (which is not something I would have wanted to do at the time) as well as those who remained at home due to dissenting from the war. An excellent inclusion in the collection.


Reviews of this book by other bloggers:

Buy the Book: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | RJ Julia

 

Copyright © 2016 by The Maiden’s Court

Monday, September 19, 2016

Winner of Rivals of the Republic

Good evening everyone!  Just a quick drop in tonight to share a winner of the giveaway for Rivals of the Republic. 

While I have you here, please bear with me over the next couple weeks.  We just bought a house and are in progress of packing, moving, unpacking and at the same time I’m trying to prep for my program final for my Masters degree – so it’s just a tiny bit crazy around here.  Trying to keep up some content though.  And my husband bought me a new little laptop for my birthday and I’m enjoying how much easier it is to post than my last computer. 

Ok, but you are all really here to find out if you won Rivals of the Republic, so without further ado, the winner is…

giveaway balloons

Anne F!!

Congratulations Anne and thank you to everyone who entered!  An email has been sent to the winner.  Have a great evening all!

 

Copyright © 2016 by The Maiden’s Court

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Cover Crush: The Echo of Twilight


We can all say that you should never judge a book by its cover, but I guarantee that we all have done so at least once! Cover Crush is designed to feature some of those covers that have caught the eye as a standout on the bookshelf.

I think this cover is just beautiful.  No headless woman, which is something we have seen too much of in recent years - and even though she is looking away from us you can still see her face in its contemplative pose.  I love how the background actually seems to mirror the twilight in the title and in more somber gray/brown tones hinting at something bad happening than happier colors.  And I love her dress and hair style!

What are your thoughts on this cover?

I wonder what covers my friends are crushing on today?  I will update some links later this evening.




Copyright © 2016 by The Maiden’s Court

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

New Book Alert: Discovery of Desire by Susanne Lord - Excerpt & Giveaway

Discovery of Desire by Susanne Lord
Book 2 of The London Explorers Series
Kindle & Mass Market Paperback, 384 pages
Sourcebooks Casablanca
Published: September 6th 2016
ISBN: 9781492623539
Genre: Historical Romance

 
Book Blurb:
The one man who’s not looking for a wife

Seth Mayhew is the ideal explorer: fearless, profitable, and unmarried. There is nothing and no one he can’t find—until his sister disappears en route to India. His search for her takes him to Bombay, where Seth meets the most unlikely of allies—a vulnerable woman who’s about to marry the wrong man.

Discovers a woman who changes his dreams forever

Teeming with the bounty of marriageable men employed by the East India Company, Bombay holds hope for security for Wilhelmina Adams. But when the man she’s traveled halfway around the world to marry doesn’t suit, Mina finds instead that she’s falling in love with a man who offers passion, adventure, intimacy—anything but security…
Buy the Book: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Chapters | iBooks | Indiebound | Kobo

 
About the Author:

Susanne Lord is a writer of Victorian-era romance and author of the London Explorer series published by Sourcebooks. Originally from Okinawa, off-base and on, she now makes her home in Chicago where she is an active member of Chicago North RWA. When not writing, attending theater or reading, she enjoys hiking the English countryside and visiting historic homes and gardens.

Find Susanne Lord: Website | Blog | Twitter | Facebook | Pinterest | Instagram

 
The second in Susanne Lord’s critically acclaimed London Explorers series, Discovery of Desire, is out this September. To give you a taste of her latest release, Susanne Lord has selected one of her favorite quotes from the book to share with us.


An Excerpt:

Author’s Note: Seth has disembarked from the steamship, onto the crowded, bustling port of Bombay. The other passengers, including the four dozen lady passengers who had sailed to wed East India Company men, are rushed by the bachelors and huddled together in the chaos…

“Ladies?”

A woman’s voice. Sweet and low and nearly swallowed in the fray.

Maybe it was because his explorer’s senses were honed to seek the rare, the anomalies in nature, but Seth trailed that voice to a venture girl twenty feet away. She wore a trim white jacket and green skirt with starry, white flowers all over it. Her sun helmet concealed all but a bit of brown hair.

“Ladies, as no one has told us yet what to do, if you are to be met by someone, would you move to this end?” She gestured and the ladies shuffled to do her bidding, obedient as soldiers.

Seth jerked to follow, then paused. He was to meet someone. Should he wait with them?

A small wave of her hand and the ladies leaned forward in attention. He did, too.

“And the others can wait here for Captain Travers,” she said. “He will accompany you to the customs house.” The women sorted themselves, fear in every pair of eyes clinging to their officer.

Seth dragged in a lungful of air that didn’t ease the tightness in his chest. Wasn’t any of his business. And wasn’t a thing he could do to help.

He turned to plunge into the crowd, but then the little officer spoke again.

“We are here, ladies,” she said gently. “And we are fine.”

The words were plain, but it was like she’d hushed the whole world. He didn’t want to, but he looked again. The venture girls stood in two close circles, their small valises and parasols clutched to their chests, and watched the chaos around them with wide eyes.

But they kept their chins up now.

For the first time in months, a real smile curved his lips. People needed someone to depend on. Like those ladies depended on that little officer.

And she was little, at least to him. She wouldn’t stand any taller than his chin and his hands could span her waist. But little or not, she wore that dainty, braided jacket like a captain of the Eleventh Hussars. There wasn’t a wrinkle on her skirts or wayward crease in its folds. And that straight spine was all the sight he had of her—she didn’t fidget and she didn’t turn.

Composed, capable, orderly-like. He’d drive a woman like that to Bedlam.

But he fell a little bit in love with her anyway.

He was bumped from behind. The mustache-man angling for a closer look. “Give the ladies their breathing room, mate,” Seth said. “They might like a bit of time to repair themselves.”

The man swung about. “You traveled with them, didn’t you?”

“I suppose.”

“Did you learn any names? Which are the prime articles?”

“The prime—? Hell, I don’t know.”

The man turned around to survey the girls. “Not that I expect them all to be handsome. They couldn’t find a husband back home, could they? But taking an ugly wife…” He grimaced, then squared his shoulders. “I mean to have one, just the same.”

Seth stared down at the man and muttered, “There you go, mate. Words to set a lady’s heart aflutter.”

Irritated, Seth waded against the stream of bachelors closing in on the ladies. Wasn’t any of his business.

The men holding signs had formed a line and were shuffling toward the ladies to be claimed. They obeyed the little officer, too. His translator might be among them, so he read his way through the crush. MISS EUNICE SIMMS…MISS LOUISE ALPERT—

Ah, here! CLAIMING WILLIAM REPTON AND—and?—MISS W. ADAMS.

The man holding the card eyed him suspiciously. So this was his translator. Brown hair, spectacles, younger than he’d expected. But he looked clever. He’d do.

“Tom Grant?” Seth asked.

“I am. You’re Will Repton?”

Seth grinned. “For your purposes, I am.” He shook his hand. “I’m Seth Mayhew. You’ll be working for me instead.”

“I—”

“This explains it.” Seth handed him Will’s letter. “Will couldn’t leave England on account of his being leg-shackled and expecting a little baby. But Georgie’s my sister after all, and the orphan in Tibet is who she was after, so I’m here and Will’s not. It’s all a bit Hamlet-without-the-prince, but there it is.”

Tom Grant blinked behind his spectacles. “Who are you?”

Maybe he just looked clever.

“Seth May—” He never was skilled at explaining. “Read the letter, mate.”

Tom Grant passed the sign to him, cracked open the letter, and began to frown. That frown wasn’t how Seth wanted to start their partnership, but the man had agreed to the job, and would be earning a hell of a salary for the effort.

But Tom’s expression wasn’t growing any happier as he started page two.

Tom flipped the letter over and started reading from the beginning. Again.

With a sigh, Seth dropped his bag at his feet to wait—and remembered the sign: CLAIMING MISS W. ADAMS. Tom Grant was collecting one of the venture girls then.

W? The man couldn’t write her name in full?

Wasn’t any of his business.

Meaning to be helpful, Seth held the sign high and waited.

***

“Mina!” Emma clutched her arm. “I see him. I see your Thomas Grant.”

Mina’s stomach rolled. Thomas was here. Of course he was—of course he would be. If only the ground would steady. Her sister’s sudden grab had nearly toppled her. Ninety-nine days on a boat and she couldn’t seem to lock her knees.

Mina reached into her skirt pocket and squeezed the stone in her hand. Through her lace glove, the quartz was as cool as if it still held the weather of England within it…


Giveaway

As part of the tour for Discovery of Desire, we also have a tourwide giveaway for 10 copies of In Search of Scandal, an earlier novel by Susanne Lord. The giveaway will run from August 28, 2016 through September 18, 2016.  Please note, that as I am not the tour coordinator I cannot answer any questions about this giveaway, you should contact the coordinator.  Good luck to everyone!

 
 


Copyright © 2016 by The Maiden’s Court

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

New Book Alert: The Spice Box Letters by Eve Makis

The Spice Box Letters by Eve Makis
eBook & Hardcover, 272 pages
Thomas Dunne Books
Published: September 13th 2016
ISBN: 978-1250095800
Genre: Historical Fiction

 
Book Blurb:
Katerina inherits a scented, wooden spice box after her grandmother Mariam dies. It contains letters and a diary, written in Armenian. As she pieces together her family story, Katerina learns that Mariam's childhood was shattered by the Armenian tragedy of 1915.
Mariam was exiled from her home in Turkey and separated from her beloved brother, Gabriel, her life marred by grief and the loss of her first love. Dissatisfied and restless, Katerina tries to find resolution in her own life as she completes Mariam's story – on a journey that takes her across Cyprus and then half a world away to New York.
Miracles, it seems, can happen – for those trapped by the past, and for Katerina herself.

Buy the Book: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | RJ Julia


**The Spice Box Letters was long-listed for the Jerwood Fiction Uncovered Prize in 2015 based on it's UK release from Sandstone Press**

This might be a great selection for a book club or other reading group - here is the publisher's discussion guide.
 
Praise for The Spice Box Letters:

"The Spice Box Letters is a beautifully evocative novel that moves from past to present and affirms the enduring love of family and explores the tragic, unsettling wake of the Armenian genocide. Eve Makis has written a novel that should be read, contemplated, and read again."
—Peter Golden, author of Wherever There Is Light

"Heartwarming, funny, tragic, and uplifting...the story has a feel good factor to equal My Big Fat Greek Wedding."
—Narinder Dhami, author of Bend It Like Beckham

"Fans of Victoria Hislop's prose or Khaled Hosseini's storytelling will love The Spice Box Letters, for Eve Makis's latest novel is remarkable. It deserves to be an international bestseller and I have no doubt it will pick up an award or three. Beautifully written with inventive structure, compelling characters, historical horrors, and natural humor, it's a rich feast."
— Notts Lit (UK)

"I would advise buying a packet of tissues before you start reading this extraordinary novel which depicts the human cost of war. The novel is peppered with vividly evoked scenes of the physical, emotional, and mental trauma that many Armenian families went through during the massacre of their people in WWI."
—Pamreader
 
About the Author:

EVE MAKIS studied at Leicester University and worked as a journalist and radio presenter in the UK and Cyprus before becoming a novelist. She is the author ofThe Spice Box Letters. Eve is a part time tutor in creative writing at Nottingham University. She is married with two children and lives in the UK and Cyprus.  You can read more about her in an interview from Writing Magazine from April 2005.

Find Eve Makis: Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads



Copyright © 2016 by The Maiden’s Court

Monday, September 12, 2016

TV Show Review: Home Fires (Season 1)


Home Fires - Season 1
ITV Studios
45 Minutes Episodes (6)
October 2015 (US)

There are so many shows and movies that are made about World War II that take place on the battlefield in some way or another, but not much centers on the life on the home front, the life at home. Home Fires brings the viewer into the lives of several women living in a rural village in England dealing with the effects of the war on them. While these women didn’t serve on the battlefield they served in a different way – they handled the privations brought to them by rationing and restrictions and also came up with some brilliant ideas of how to give even more to their men on the front.

I loved how the show covered not only the ways the war affected their lives, but also the everyday stuff that occurred at that time – affairs, marriages, jobs, and class issues. It was well balanced in the handling of these two different elements of the show.

There was an extensive cast and quite honestly I couldn’t remember any of their names while watching the show, however each character was a distinct individual and stood out in my mind for what they were going through. I thought there was some excellent acting here and they were all believable in their roles. The costume and setting were beautiful.

I binge watched this show in two sittings – absolutely inhaled it. It left me wanting more at the end of the series – ending in 1940, so there is more story to tell for sure. Glad I listened to all the recommendations from friends to watch the show!

Here is a trailer of this show for your enjoyment.


 
 


Copyright © 2016 by The Maiden’s Court

Thursday, September 8, 2016

New Book Alert: The Rebel Heir by Elizabeth Michels - Excerpt and Giveaway

The Rebel Heir by Elizabeth Michels
Book 2 of The Spare Heirs Series
Kindle & Mass Market Paperback, 416 pages
Sourcebooks Casablanca
Published: September 6th 2016
ISBN: 9781492621362
Genre: Historical Romance

 
Book Blurb:
The Spare Heirs Society Cordially Invites You to Meet Ash Claughbane: The Imposter

Lady Evangeline Green is living a lie. To please her family, she masquerades as the perfect debutante…until she meets the wickedly charming Lord Crosby. With him, there are no rules. She’s finally free to do as she desires—but freedom comes with a price, and Lord Crosby is not what he seems…

Ash is not Lord Crosby. He’s a con artist, a noble Spare Heir living off his silver tongue. When the Greens ruined his family, he swore he’d make them pay, and he never doubted his devotion to revenge…until he met Evangeline. Now, caught in a web of lies, torn between duty and desire, what’s a con to do but deceive all of London and steal the one lady who dared match wits with the devil himself?

Buy the Book: Amazon | Books-A-Million | Barnes & Noble | Chapters | iBooks | Indiebound | Kobo

 
About the Author:

Elizabeth Michels is the award-winning author of the Tricks of the Ton series.  This romance author lives in a lake-side town in North Carolina with her husband and son.  She’s a fan of shoes, coffee, mimosas, laughter, hugs, things that are sparkly, and tater tots. Oh, and she likes her readers a lot too. Dive into her latest series about the members of a secret club in London, The Spare Heirs Society, today!


Find Elizabeth Michels: Website | Twitter | Facebook


Two Truths and a Lie with Elizabeth Michels:

Hi, everyone! Let’s play a game! Since deception is a key ingredient in THE REBEL HEIR, the second book in my Spare Heirs series, I thought it would be fun to play two truths and a lie.  Can you guess which fact isn’t true about me?  Good Luck!

Fact 1.)  The Tragic Snow Angel Incident.

One winter I took a trip with my family to the mountains of North Carolina.  While we were there being cozy in front of the cabin’s stone fireplace on the top of a mountain, there was a snow storm and we woke up to 18 inches of snow.  For a southern girl, that’s pretty exciting.  So I was out the door that morning with a smile on my face.  Spying an area that was untouched by footsteps, I knew I wanted to make a snow angel!

I closed my eyes and fell backward, ready to meet a cold pillow at my back.  Instead, the surface crunched as it swallowed me whole.  Minutes later I was still sprawled on the gravel drive, looking up from a person shaped hole in the snow much like when a cartoon character jumps out a window and only that section of glass breaks.  As it turns out, snow isn’t that soft.  And that’s how I broke my tailbone—in a tragic snow angel incident.

Fact 2.)  The Hair Debacle.

When my husband was in college, I had many different jobs.  He went to Clemson University, (Go Tigers!) which is in the small town of Clemson, South Carolina.  Needless to say jobs in my field of interior design weren’t plentiful.  I tried many different paths during that period of time from measuring people for a weight loss company, to managing a plumbing parts showroom, I tried it all.  But the worst of my jobs, in my opinion, was when I sold hair to bald men. 
I managed a local branch office of a toupee company.  Men would come into the salon and have their hair glued down every few weeks and leave with luxurious heads of hair.  I was in charge of an inventory of hundreds of toupees and the staff who administered the glue.  And the worst part of this?  I was fired for improper filing of hair pieces.  It was quite the hair debacle.

Fact 3.)  The Glitter Fiasco.

I’m a huge fan of sparkly things.  Years ago, I took my fondness for bedazzling to the next level with the help of an author friend when we started adding a bit of sparkle to the lives of our friends at writer conferences.  Some may refer to it as Glitter Bombing hotel room doors at 3 am, but I like to think of it as spreading cheer—lots of glittery cheer.  *grins*

At a conference last year, armed with glittery confetti and a roll of scotch tape, we slipped out the door.  Two doors into spreading cheer around the conference hotel, we paused at a long, narrow table opposite the hotel elevator doors.  We knew that our next friend was still awake and we needed to get in and get out as quickly as possible.  To get ready, we looped pieces of tape around our fingers and stuck them to confetti for the door.  There we were, each with ten pieces of sticky paper on our fingers and bags of glitter on the table in front of us when a member of the housekeeping staff walked around the corner carrying an armful of towels.  We froze.  She pressed a button on the elevator. 
Always a quick thinker, my friend picked up the only thing other than our bags of glitter and confetti on the table—the telephone receiver.

“Front desk.”

She pushed the button to hang up, but kept the phone to her ear, never saying a word.  We had no reason to be standing there at 3 am, shoulder to shoulder, staring at the blank wall opposite the elevators.  And the lady’s elevator simply refused to arrive. 
Had it been 3 minutes?  10?  Would the silence ever end?

Fighting back laughter, I turned to my friend.  “They’re not answering?”

My friend had been poised with the phone to her ear for longer than could be considered normal.  Still, silence.  Finally the elevator arrived, the doors opened, closed again, and we ran.  Anxious to get away from the scene of the crime, we tore into the bag of glitter faster than we’d intended, leaving a HUGE pile of glittery confetti on the floor outside our friend’s door.  And that was when hotel security arrived... 

We were escorted off the property, still in our pajamas and with glittery evidence covering our hands.  And that’s how I was arrested for being too sparkly, as well as banned for life from a major hotel chain.  It was a complete glitter fiasco.

I'm going to go with... The Hair Debacle??!?


An Excerpt from The Rebel Heir:

His heart beat beneath Evangeline’s hand.

“Ash, this is dangerous— whatever is happening here…”

“I know.” He grinned the wicked grin of a swindler about to steal the prize. “Say that you enjoy it as much as I do, Evie. Admit that you like breaking your rules with me.”

“They aren’t my rules,” she said.

“Then why follow them?”

She swallowed and looked up at him. “I make poor decisions on my own.”

“I disagree,” he said, still holding her close. He toyed with the hair that fell over her shoulder.

“I haven’t thrown you from my bedchamber. I’m certain that’s a poor decision.”

“That’s a matter of opinion,” he said with a grin. “What’s your opinion? What do you want, Evie?”

You, her heart screamed, but her mouth refused to form the word. Her gaze dropped back from the depths of his eyes to his lips. He was so close, and yet he only touched her hair and held her hand to his chest. It would be so easy to rise to her toes and show him what she wanted. And yet it wasn’t easy at all.

“You think I haven’t noticed that you’ve been staring at my mouth since I arrived?”

“I have not…” She began to disagree, but it would have been a lie and he knew it.

“Say that you want me to kiss you, Evie.”

“I would never…” she began, but fell silent.

“Tell me you want me. Say the words and I’ll kiss you.”

Evangeline’s lips parted, but she said nothing.

“Say, ‘I want your lips on mine, Ash.’ That’s all you have to do. I could show you so many things, Evie. Do you want me to? Say the words.”

Her breathing came out harsh as her heart pounded in her chest. How was he making her so unsettled simply with words?

“I could bring you so much pleasure, Evie. Do you want me to touch you? To truly touch you? If you asked me, I would fit your breasts into the palms of my hands just like this.” His hand hung in the air over her breast, close enough that she could feel the heat of his skin through her night rail. “Then I would lower my mouth to take your nipple between my teeth, tugging at your polished exterior until the real Evie pulled me closer. I would take your breast into my mouth and with my tongue…” He sighed, dropping his hand away from her. “But you have to tell me you want it.”

“Ash,” she whispered, already missing the heat of him close to her skin.

“There’s a world out there that you could experience. All you have to do is stop hiding and tell me what you want.”

It wasn’t that simple, was it? She opened her mouth, unsure how to speak of her own desires. She never talked that way, not like Ash was able to do. But the truth was, she did want him to kiss her. She wanted everything about this man. That was also the trouble. She couldn’t be trusted to speak— not just now. “I…”

He grinned and brushed a strand of hair from her face, placing a kiss on the top of her head as he did. “You’re almost there. Just a few more words. Perhaps you need more encouragement.”

“No.” She took two steps backward until her heels bumped the wall. “I- I’m quite…”

“Evie, has anyone ever spoken to you this way?” He took slow steps to close the gap between them.

“No,” she breathed.

“Do you like it when I do?” He grinned down at her as if he could hear all the thoughts she was too afraid to voice aloud. “I think you do. Do you want me to continue?”

“Do I have to say that as well?” she asked.

“No. I’ve learned in my line of work that it’s sometimes necessary to give someone a taste of what they want before they’ll pay the price.”

“Is that what you’re doing to me? Is this a taste of what’s to come?” Heaven help her, she hoped it was.

“Only if you want it. That’s my price.” He shifted her hair from her shoulder as he spoke, letting it fall down her back.

“That seems…” Whispers of his touch brushed down the side of her neck as he moved her hair. She worked not to lean into his palm and feel the full force of his hand on her skin. “…reasonable.”

“I thought so as well.” He shifted even closer to her, leaning his arm on the wall above her head and surrounding her without the benefit of his embrace to steady her. “If you tell me you want me to kiss you, I’ll kiss you here.” He spoke the words against the sensitive skin beneath her ear before moving down her neck, not touching her, but close enough that she could feel the warmth of his lips.

She splayed her hands on the wall behind her to keep from tipping sideways. He wasn’t even touching her, and still she struggled to breathe.

“I would kiss my way down your neck to just here where I can see your pulse beating rather fast. Is it beating fast because you want me to kiss you, Evie?” he asked against her skin. “You know my terms. Say the words. This is only the beginning…”




Giveaway:

As part of the tour for The Rebel Heir, we also have a tourwide giveaway for 10 copies of The Infamous Heir, the first in the Spare Heir series. The giveaway will run from August 28, 2016 through September 19, 2016.  Please note, that as I am not the tour coordinator I cannot answer any questions about this giveaway, you should contact the coordinator.  Good luck to everyone!

 


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