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Excerpt & Promo: My Fair Princess (The Improper Princesses, Book 1) by Vanessa Kelly

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My Fair Princess
The Improper Princesses Book 1
by Vanessa Kelly
Releasing August 30, 2016
Zebra
352 Pages
 

First, Vanessa Kelly brought readers The Renegade Royals. Now, in a delightfully witty new series, she introduces The Improper Princesses—three young women descended from royalty, each bound for her own thrilling adventure . . .

Despite being the illegitimate daughter of a prince, Gillian Dryden is happily ignorant of all social graces. After growing up wild in Italy, Gillian has been ordered home to England to find a suitable husband. And Charles Valentine Penley, the excessively proper, distractingly handsome Duke of Leverton, has agreed to help transform her from a willful tomboy to a blushing debutante.

Powerful and sophisticated, Charles can make or break reputations with a well-placed word. But his new protégée, with her habit of hunting bandits and punching earls, is a walking scandal. The ton is aghast . . . but Charles is thoroughly intrigued. Tasked with taking the hoyden in hand, he longs to take her in his arms instead. Can such an outrageous attraction possibly lead to a fairy-tale ending?

 

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Excerpts

The bandit scum had killed Step-papa, his two bodyguards, and the young groom accompanying him on that fateful trip through the Gorges of Tiberio. It was fitting that Gillian would deliver justice in almost the same spot where those innocents had breathed out their last moments of existence.

Her brother cursed under his breath. “Gillian, this should not be your life.”

“Do I look like a proper young lady to you?”

He cast a sardonic glance at her attire—sheepskin coat, buckskin breeches, and riding boots. “You could be. You’re an attractive, respectable-looking girl when you’re not disguised as a bloodthirsty ruffian.”

“I thought you, of all people, would understand,” she said, exasperated.

“I do, but if you continue along this course, it will take its toll. Killing always does.”

She managed not to flinch. “I don’t have a choice.”

“There is always a choice, Gillian.”

She flicked her gaze back to Falcone, who was sitting on a rock as he smoked a pipe. He was also splendidly out in the open, but she had to get closer.

“There’s no point in discussing this. I’m doing it,” she said.

“No, I will—”

“It was my fault,” she hissed. “That’s why I have to do it. No one else.”

He frowned. “I don’t understand.”

She had to swallow before she could answer. “It’s my fault that my stepfather was murdered. I sent him straight into Falcone’s line of fire.”
“So . . . it’s guilt that motivates you. Killing Falcone will likely be nothing more than an empty victory, if such is the case.” Griffin squeezed her arm. “As long as you continue to blame yourself, you will never find peace.”

She hoped to God he was wrong. He had to be wrong. “You are the most irritating man I have ever met.”

“So my wife informs me on a regular basis.”

Below them, Falcone knocked the tobacco out of his pipe and then hauled his formidable bulk to his feet. Gillian mentally cursed as he began to stroll over to join his men under the trees.

She turned and signaled to Stefano and his grandson. The old man pulled his pistol from the brace on his saddle, ready to cover her back.

“Griffin, help me or not, but I’m doing this now.” Before he could answer, she slung her rifle across her back and slithered away from the edge. As quickly as she dared, she crawled down the narrow, rutted path that ran along the rim of the gorge. If she stood, it was unlikely the men below would notice her, but she was taking no chances. Falcone had evaded her too many times over the years.

Her brother followed her. She could practically feel him seething with frustration, but he made not a sound. She had to give him credit—he was awfully good.

A few feet short of her goal, Gillian held up a hand to halt her brother’s advance. She stole a quick glance over her shoulder. Just behind them Stefano crouched, his tanned, leathery features cast into shade by his broad-brimmed hat. Griffin’s expression registered shock at the sight of the old man so close, pistols at the ready. Stefano might be getting on in years, but he was still vital and strong. He could move like a ghost, silent and lethal, at her command.

After crooking a finger to signal Griffin to follow, Gillian wriggled up to the edge of the cliff. She cautiously peered over the rocks and saw the bandits under a stand of beech trees, their attention on their flasks of wine as they waited for the rabbits to cook over the open flame. Unfortunately, Falcone was half obscured by one of his men and was partly in shade. She would have to stand up if she wanted a clear shot.

She came up in a crouch and pulled the rifle from her back. She’d already checked it three times, but did so once more. The Baker was a fine weapon. It had belonged to a Hussar, and had a light, short carbine, which made it easier to handle. But it was less accurate than rifles used by sharpshooters. Although she could reload quickly if she missed her shot, she’d make an inviting target while she did.

So get it right the first time.

Griffin came up beside her. He gave her a terse nod as he brought his rifle to bear on the men below. But he then sucked in a harsh breath when Gillian rose swiftly to her feet, taking aim at Falcone.

As bad luck would have it, an eagle soared right overhead, screeching out a cry. The men below automatically glanced up, directly at her and Griffin.
Gillian fired. The shot echoed through the gorge in a deafening report. Another boom followed as Griffin fired a second later. Falcone stumbled against a low rock, roaring as he clutched his shoulder. Another bandit went down like a sack of grain tossed from a cart.

The other bandits scrambled for their weapons.

“Get down, you daft woman,” Griffin barked, reaching to pull her away from the edge.

Gillian evaded his grasp, sliding on the rocky scree and almost losing her footing. Still, she managed to recover and reload. Griffin did the same as he let loose a string of hair-raising curses. She yanked up her rifle, took aim, and fired again.

A moment later, a bullet slammed into her shoulder, throwing her to the ground. The back of her head connected with rock, and pain exploded through her skull. Gillian lay there stunned, staring up at a sky that shimmered with a milky haze. Her ears rang with the sound of a thousand church bells.

Move, you idiot.

She couldn’t—not even one blessed finger.

 

 
 
Vanessa
 
 

About Vanessa Kelly

 

Vanessa Kelly is an award-winning author who was named by Booklist, the review journal of the American Library Association, as one of the “New Stars of Historical Romance.” Her Regency-set historical romances have been nominated for awards in a number of contests, and her second book, Sex and The Single Earl, won the prestigious Maggie Medallion for Best Historical Romance. Her current series, The Renegade Royals is a national bestseller. Vanessa also writes USA Today bestselling contemporary romance with her husband, under the pen name of VK Sykes.

 

 
 
 

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(Grand Prize winner will get a $25 Amazon gift card; and four runners up will receive a copy of CONFESSIONS OF A ROYAL BRIDEGROOM and HOW TO MARRY A ROYAL HIGHLANDER.)

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Giveaway & Tour- A Moment to Cherish: A Whistle Stop Romance, book 4 by Jennifer Faye

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A Moment to Cherish
(A Whistle Stop Romance, book 1)
by Jennifer Faye
Release Date: August 1, 2016
Genre: Contemporary Romance
 
 
Whistle Stop is abuzz…the mayoral election is just weeks away.Candidate Mason Noble has a vested interest in fast-tracking the town’s revitalization project. But the votes he’d counted on are drying up because his engagement to Bella Nez ended abruptly. The local grapevine is humming with rumors, but only he and Bella know the truth. And they aren’t talking!

When an emergency puts Bella in the proverbial tough spot, she needs money and fast. There’s only one person who can help–Mason. He agrees to a loan, but he has a condition. He needs Bella by his side again. A reconciliation would win over the townspeople–and it would give him a chance to win back the only woman he’s ever loved.

Bella hesitates to accept Mason’s terms. Until she’s blindsided by unexpected news that has her rethinking everything. Bella is expecting a baby, and there’s a heart-wrenching choice to be made…

 
 

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EXCERPT

Bella started walking, and Mason fell in step beside her. For a while neither spoke, and then they both spoke at once. They stopped and turned to each other.

“Sorry,” Mason said. “Go ahead and finish what you were saying.”

“Oh, okay. I was just going to ask what you plan to tell people about that, um, kiss.”

“What do you want me to tell them?”

She frowned at him. “That’s not fair. You turned the question around on me.”

“Fine. I probably won’t tell them anything. It’s none of their business.”

She nodded as though she approved of that approach. “But why did you do it?”

Mason shifted his weight from one foot to the other. “Would you believe me if I said I got caught up in the moment?”

She shrugged. “You know, it’ll probably be in the newspaper.”

“I don’t think it was that newsworthy.” He tried his best to downplay it, but deep inside embers still burned for her.

“I was referring to the election. Everything you do is news. If you drink coffee from Fill-It-Up Joe, it’s news. If you get your hair cut, it’s news.”

“Wow! I had no idea this town was that boring. If that’s what qualifies as news, I’ve got my work cut out for me as mayor to liven things up.” But that would come after he gave their economy an infusion of new life to pump it up.

“Mason, be serious.”

“What? I am. By the way, what did they say about my last haircut? Was it a little too short in the back?”

 
 

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A Moment to Love (Whistle Stop #1) 

 

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A Moment to Love
(A Whistle Stop Romance, Book 1)
by Jennifer Faye
 
The notorious cowboy meets his match…

Cord Lawson instantly distrusted the young woman in a smart suit who’d just arrived in Whistle Stop. She was very pretty and clearly a city girl—but with memories of his failed marriage still darkening his mind, he’s determined to steer clear! But she’s sniffing around his land—land that had been in his family for generations. There was no way he’d let it go—even if the bank was threatening to foreclose, and selling could give Whistle Stop a new lease on life.

Alexis Greer had one mission in mind—close the deal on the Granger estate; without it, her father’s land development company would go bankrupt. But the word around town is to keep clear of Cord and to stay away from his precious land. What in the world had happened to cause such a handsome cowboy to live such a solitary existence? However, determination was Lexi’s middle name, and she just had to keep on trying to breach Cord’s barriers, appeal somehow to his head and heart—even if it put her in danger of losing both of hers…to him.

 
 

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About Jennifer Faye

 
Award-winning author, Jennifer Faye pens fun, heartwarming romances. Step into the pages of exciting destinations with rugged cowboys, sexy tycoons & enchanting royalty. She is the author of the WHISTLE STOP ROMANCE series.

Jennifer is a two-time winner of the RT Book Reviews Reviewers’ Choice Award, has been named a TOP PICK author, and has been nominated for numerous awards.

Now living her dream, she resides with her patient husband, amazing daughter (the other remarkable daughter is off chasing her own dreams) and two spoiled cats.

 
 
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Cover Reveal: Knight Defender (Knight Chronicles) by Rue Allyn

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by Rue Allyn

The Knight Chronicles
(Scottish Medieval Romance, Historical Romance)
146 Pages
(*Can Be Read As A Standalone)

 

Sent alone to Scotland to wed a wild scot and serve the needs of her father and her king, Lady Jessamyn plots to escape the marriage and make the life she wants. In Scotland she finds not the wild boorish monster she imagined but a Knight Defender who would claim her heart, if she will only give up her dreams.

Baron Raeb MacKai is done allowing himself and everyone he loves to live in poverty and despair. His betrothal to a wealthy English heiress will solve a decade of problems. He will do everything necessary to defend his home and his country, but can he defend his heart?

 

Author Photo - Rue Allyn-kdAbout Rue Allyn

When not writing, loving her spouse, or attending Toastmasters meetings, Rue travels the world and surfs the internet in search of background material and inspiration for her next heart melting romance. She loves to hear from readers, and you may contact her at contact@RueAllyn.com.  She can’t wait to hear from you.

 

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The Legend of Lyon Redmond by Julie Anne Long Book Blast & Giveaway

The Leged of Lyon Redmond
by Julie Anne Long
Pennyroyal Green, Book 11
Releasing September 11, 2015
Avon Books

 

BLURB
Bound by centuries of bad blood, England’s two most powerful families maintain a veneer of civility…until the heir to the staggering Redmond fortune disappears, reviving rumors of an ancient curse: a Redmond and an Eversea are destined to fall disastrously in love once per generation.
An enduring legend
Rumor has it she broke Lyon Redmond’s heart. But while many a man has since wooed the dazzling Olivia Eversea, none has ever won her—which is why jaws drop when she suddenly accepts a viscount’s proposal. Now London waits with bated breath for the wedding of a decade…and wagers on the return of an heir.
An eternal love
It was instant and irresistible, forbidden…and unforgettable. And Lyon—now a driven, dangerous, infinitely devastating man—decides it’s time for a reckoning. As the day of her wedding races toward them, Lyon and Olivia will decide whether their love is a curse destined to tear their families part…or the stuff of which legends are made.
The first week of February …
She’s getting married on the second Saturday in May.
Nine words scrawled across a sheet of foolscap. He stared at them until they blurred into a single gray mass.
When he lifted his head, his ears were ringing and he was as dazed as if he’d literally been dragged backward through time.
For Lyon Redmond, there had always only ever been one “she.”
He was momentarily disoriented to find himself on the deck of a ship docked in Plymouth, not on the Sussex downs, waiting by the double elm tree. The one with the “O” carved into it.
A dozen pairs of eyes were on him, waiting patiently for the command that always came.
His crew was a carefully curated, casually lethal lot of men and one woman, the versatile Miss Delphinia Digby-Thorne, she of the many languages and surprisingly useful acting talents—she had once spilled ale all over his sister, Violet.
They had nothing in common apart from mysterious pedigrees, ambiguous morals, and unswerving loyalty. To him.
Unlike, alas, Olivia Eversea.
But then, every last one of them had prospered the moment they’d aligned their fortunes with him. He was cynical enough to know it was all of a piece, the loyalty and the prosperity. He didn’t care.
The bearer of this news, a man dressed in footman’s livery, took Lyon’s silence as dismissal and turned rather too optimistically to leave.
“Hold,” Lyon said sharply.
The swords of his men came up swiftly to bar the man’s way.
“I’m unarmed,” the footman said hurriedly, holding up his hands. “And alone. You have my word.”
Lyon smiled a smile that would have had many a man wetting his small clothes. It bore more resemblance to the curve of a cutlass. “While I’m certain your word is indeed priceless, you’ve naught to fear. I just cleaned my sword, so there will be no running through of anyone for at least another few hours.”
This elicited chuckles from his crew.
The footman gave a wobbly, uncertain smile.
Lyon knew a surge of impatience, which he recognized as shame. He was not in the habit of intimidating clearly unarmed and outnumbered men for the sport of it.
Then again, given how history often treated bearers of bad news, the man was probably fortunate he still drew breath.
“Your name, please.”
“Ramsey, sir.”
“You’re in no danger as long as I believe you are answering my questions truthfully, Ramsey.”
“Of course, sir.”
But judging from how the footman blanched, he didn’t miss the implicit threat.
“Who sent you, Ramsey?”
“Begging your pardon, but Lord Lavay said you would know when you read the message. I am in his employ. I’m a footman, sir.” He squared his shoulders and touched the silver braid on his coat, as if for luck. “And I won the coin toss.”
“I was a reward, then, was I, Ramsey?” Lyon drawled, to another scatter of chuckles. “Please describe Lord Lavay to me.”
Ramsey furrowed his brow. “Well … he’s a big gentleman. Perhaps as tall as you, sir. French. He often waves his hands when he talks, like so.” He began to demonstrate with a sweep of his own hands, then clearly thought better of it when all the swords aimed at him twitched a warning. “Took quite an injury in a fight not too long ago, but he’s fit now.”
Lyon studied the footman unblinkingly, searching for the faintest hint of perfidy in the flicker of an eyelash or the tensing of a muscle.
He knew all about that fight and that injury. Lyon and his crew had found Lavay bleeding to death on the Horsleydown Stairs in London.
Lyon was in fact the reason Lord Lavay still walked the earth.
Pennyroyal Green Series
About the Author
Julie Anne Long originally set out to be a rock star when she grew up, and she has the guitars and the questionable wardrobe stuffed in the back of her closet t prove it. When playing to indifferent crowds at midnight in dank clubs lost its, ahem, charm, she realized she could incorporate all of the best things about being in a band—namely, drama, passion and men with unruly hair—into novels, while at the same time indulging her love of history and research. So she made the move from guitar to keyboard (the computer variety) and embarked on a considerably more civilized, if not much more peaceful, career as a novelist.
Julie lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with a fat orange cat. (Little known fact: they issue you a cat the minute you become a romance novelist.)
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Scotsman of My Dreams by Karen Ranney, Giveaway, Spotlight & Excerpt

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Scotsman of My Dreams
Series:  MacIain #2
By:  Karen Ranney
Releasing August 25, 2015
Published by Avon



Blurb

In USA Today and New York Times bestselling author Karen Ranney’s second novel in her breathtaking series, an unconventional woman and a former scoundrel embark on a daring mission of desire.

Once the ton’s most notorious rake, Dalton MacIain has returned from his expedition to America during the Civil War-wounded and a changed man. Instead of attending soirees, he now spends his time as a recluse. But Dalton’s peace is disturbed when Minerva Todd barges into his London townhouse, insisting he help search for her missing brother Neville. Though Dalton would love to spend more time with the bewitching beauty, he has no interest in finding Neville-for he blames him for his injury.

Minerva has never met a more infuriating man than the Earl of Rathsmere yet she is intrigued by the torrid rumors she has heard about him…and the fierce attraction pulling her toward him.

Dalton does not count on Minerva’s persistence-or the desire she awakens in him, compelling him to discover her brother’s fate. But when danger surrounds them, Dalton fears he will lose the tantalizing, thoroughly unpredictable woman he has come to love.

Scotsman of My Dreams
MacIan Seies
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“Are you afraid?” he asked.
 
 “Of course not. I just don’t want to kiss you.”
 
“Not at all?”
 
“Not one little bit. Not an iota.”
 
“No curiosity about what it might be like to kiss the man Queen Victoria said was most certainly the worst rake in all of London?”
 
“No.”
 
“You’re fibbing, Minerva.”
 
“I’m not.”
 
He lowered his head, brushed his lips over her heated cheek. To his surprise, she didn’t move away. Slowly, he traced a path to her lips, breathing against them before placing his mouth on hers.
 
A kiss should be an appetizer. A kiss was a prelude, strings being tuned in an orchestra pit, dawn on an important day.
 
A kiss was not a feast. A kiss was not an explosion of the senses. But this one was.
 
He could smell her, that hint of earthiness mixed with her new perfume. Her skin was warm against his fingertips, her cheek heating as he inclined his head slightly to deepen the kiss.
 
Her mouth opened slightly on a gasp.
 
He wanted to banish her sorrow, the pain Neville had caused her. He wanted to change the tenor of her thoughts, give her something to replace her dread.
 
He could give Minerva passion. That’s the gift he could give her.
 
About Author Karen Ranney
 
Karen began writing when she was five. Her first published work was The Maple Leaf, read over the school intercom when she was in the first grade. In addition to wanting to be a violinist (her parents had a special violin crafted for her when she was seven), she wanted to be a lawyer, a teacher, and, most of all, a writer. Though the violin was discarded early, she still admits to a fascination with the law, and she volunteers as a teacher whenever needed. Writing, however, has remained the overwhelming love of her life.
 
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