An Epic 17th Century Brawl

My story Belinda’s Revenge is a kind of sequel to the classic poem “The Rape of the Lock,” in which a gentleman steals a lady’s lock of hair, causing an epic/comedic chain of events.

One of my favorite parts of “The Rape of the Lock” was Belinda’s all-out brawl with her enemy and love interest, the baron. First of all, knowing that women were considered the weaker sex in those times, I was thrilled and surprised that a proper 17th century lady should resort to physical violence. rape of the lock 1

This was not something you usually encounter in classic literature!

Also, I’m sure you will agree there is nothing more hilarious than a bunch of perfectly coiffed 17th century courtiers dressed in corsets and hoop skirts fighting each other in a huge melee. This is how Alexander Pope describes it:

To Arms, to Arms! the fierce Virago cries,
And swift as Lightning to the Combate flies.
All side in Parties, and begin th’ Attack;
Fans clap, Silks russle, and tough Whalebones crack…
No common Weapons in their Hands are found,
Like Gods they fight, nor dread a mortal Wound.

greek gods fighting

I just love Alexander Pope’s sense of humor as he compares the ‘battle’ of the dressed up courtiers to Homer’s epic story of ancient Greek gods.

On top of mocking the customs of his time, Pope also intended the poem to be a parody of ancient Greek epics like the Odyssey and the Iliad. At one point, when Belinda demands her lock of hair back, her monologue refelcts Achilles’ speech over the body of his slain friend Patroclus.

In my story “Belinda’s Revenge” I definitely wanted to bring out the comedic side of the ‘battle’, but also to accentuate the sexual tension between Belinda and the baron, as in this excerpt:

Suddenly everyone was joining in the fray, some gentlemen and ladies siding with me, some with the baron. Fashionable mottled canes were used to snare and trip opponents. Snuff erupted into the air like volcanic ash. Biscuits flew. Coffee splashed. Some lady slapped me with her fan, disarranging my hair, but I pushed her out of the way with the full force of my fury. I made my way to the baron through the sea of satin and lace.

A new idea came to mind: I took out my snuffbox and blew the powder in the baron’s face. Victory! He sneezed uncontrollably, rendered vulnerable for a moment. I launched myself at him like a wild tigress, trying to wrest the lock from his hand. He fell to the ground, unprepared for such an assault, but he laughed, enjoying our tussle. To be honest, I found myself enjoying it too. I had never been so close to him, and when we were rolling on the ground in each other’s embrace in such fierce contention, it felt somehow pleasurable. The heat of the battle excited me, bringing a flush of colour back into my cheeks, and another sort of excitement which I had never felt before welled up in my bosom.

Did this 17th century brawl pique your interest? Please click here to check out “Belinda’s Revenge” on Amazon.com.

It’s also available…

On Smashwords.

Nook Books,

iTunes

Belinda’s Revenge New Cover

belinda's revenge.jpgBelinda’s Revenge was the first romance/erotic story I ever wrote and possibly the most kinky one!

While some authors prefer to focus only on one type of erotic trope, I like to mix it up. So while In the Vampire’s Lair was about a Male Dominant, Belinda’s Revenge is all about a Female Dominant personality.

Belinda is one of my naughtiest heroines. She kidnaps a gentleman so she can take revenge, and you won’t believe the things she does to him. But despite all of that, maybe they can find love in the end…

This is another re-release of a story that was previously published by New Concepts Publishing. I designed the new cover myself using Canva.com.

To buy Belinda’s Revenge…

On Amazon US, click here.

On Amazon Canada, click here.

On Amazon UK, click here.

On Smashwords, click here.

On Nook Books click here.

On iTunes click here.

Splendor by Shehanne Moore (and Carolee narrowly avoids a duel and a marriage)

I have a very special post today in collaboration with Shehanne Moore about her latest novel, Splendour. It includes a review and an interview with Ms. Moore and her hamster friends and even the Earl of Stillmore himself.

First, the review:

splendor-byshehannemoore-5opct-1.jpgI just love Ms. Moore’s cheeky heroines, and Splenour is no exception. How can you not like a woman whose name is Dora and she therefore decides to name herself Lady Splendora? She’s an honorary member in the London jewel thieves’ guild known as the Starkadder Sisterhood, but not a thief herself. In fact, she wants to help the poor, marry her sweetheart Gabriel and buy him a ministry.

Gabriel, as it turns out, is no sweetheart at all. But then neither is the Earl of Stillmore, a man who calls his servant an “overstuffed seal”. He reserves even better names for Splendor. Mostly he calls her names in his head, but sometimes he does so to her face… usually when she’s being a brat, which is quite often.

While Gabe shows his cowardly and whiny nature, the earl drives Splendor up the wall by “training” her to win a chess tournament even though she is obviously better than him at the game. 

With shades of Shakesperean cross-dressing comedy and scenes that reminded me of Audrey Hepburn in My Fair Lady  and Confessions of a Shopaholic as Splendor by turns participates in a men’s chess tournament and then tries to pose as an aristocrat at high society balls, this novel had me laughing out loud throughout. It was also extremely touching when I realized how much these two have suffered for love (and their own stubbornness). 

I would highly recommend Splendor as a fast-paced, funny and romantic read!

Now I have some questions for Shehanne Moore (and hamsters):

How did you come up with the idea for this novel?

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Shey. Okay dudes can we stop this and leave Hamster Dickens out of this.

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Shey. What I meant to say. Now then Carolee, first of all let me thank you for asking me to your fabulous blog. I hope all your own writing is doing well. So looking forward to reading your next book. I have had the basic first scene of this novel a long time. Before I had anything published in fact.  I don’t play chess myself but in Regency times it was so popular there were clubs in most of the cities and matches between them too. Obviously the period was very constraining for women. So I had this idea of a woman cross dressing to enter a competition but running into trouble straight off and being challenged to a duel by the best shot in London. That was it. At that time I was trying to break into romance writing and sticking to the ‘sort of’ formula. The characters were pretty limp wristed. The heroine was a lady who had fallen on hard times. Her fiancé was a clergyman. The hero was a very decent sort really. No wonder the first chapter yawned on the shelf for years.

What is it about Georgian England that appeals to you?

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Shey. Right dudes, can we stop it. I suppose that it’s where a lot of books are set. I have to say thought there is nothing that appeals to me. It was a very different world from this one so I might say I set books there because I want to be bad to my heroines. Oh, ok, it is quite nice to set a book there and try and create characters who will flout convention in an acceptable way. I know that sounds sort of contrary but I mean I hope I make them tough enough to break the rules, to mould their world, as far as that is possible because of the kind of characters they are. 
Do you have an actor in mind to play Earl Stillmore or Lady Splendor?

Shey. We always have muses don’t we? I do anyway even for the smallest character. So yes. Aidan Turner for Stillmore. He has the right glowering impatience. And Drew Barrymore for Splendor.

aiden-turner

Good choice! He was great in Poldark.

The Starkadder Sisterhood series has many fine ladies in it, Ruby being one of my favorites just because I think of her as a very unlikely romance heroine. How many more novels are you planning in the series, and will Ruby get her own love story?

carolee-1Shey. You know she is so unlikely and so is Pearl who was her sidekick, I quite fancy having a go and giving each their own story. I have ideas for Diamond, Jade and Amber. So that’s definitely another three.  But I am playing with one for Pearl and it would be an awful shame to leave her out.  In fact, an idea I have been keeping for Emerald might well work better with Ruby. As you say she is so unlikely…..

And for the hamsters… who was your favourite character in Splendor?

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dude 10

 

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I also have some questions for the hero of this novel, the Earl of Stillmore:

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Your first wife broke your heart. Why couldn’t you just get over it?

Stillmore  :  

Splendor: Because he doesn’t like to lose. Not even a dud farthing.

Stillmore: I did get over it. I shot lots of people I challenged to duels. I drank. I went with women. What was that if not getting over it? Well?

Splendor : Being afraid of falling again, Your Grace.

Do you actually enjoy playing chess, or did you join the chess tournament just to foil your former mistress and her fiance?

Stillmore. Me? Do that? Me? That is the kind of thing someone else would do? It is the kind of thing you would never see me doing. If you were not a woman, I would call you out for that but I would never call out a woman.

Splendor: Dearest, aren’t you forgetting something?

Stillmore:  Well, what I mean is…  Oh very well, the answer is no. Obviously I am an excellent chess player. Indeed if Splendor had taken my advice, freely offered she would never have lost that ten thousand pounds. As for Babs Langley, had she not put me off my game, throwing that bracelet I bought her in my face before the chess tournament, I’d have won it. I can’t think what else she was expecting when I presented her with that trinket box.  

You famously hate marriage,

Stillmore: Absolutely. It is a loathsome, hackneyed institution.  Suitable only for those whose picnic is several sandwiches short. I just didn’t know I was famous about it.

But maybe with the right partner it wouldn’t be so bad. Do you think you would like to marry Carolee Croft? 😉

Stillmore: Me?

Splendor : Dearest, do be polite.

Stillmore : Well, I might. Yes. I wouldn’t like you to think that is why my cravat has just got tight and I am sweating beneath it. But the thing is I haven’t married Splendor. I mean officially and I don’t know she’d be pleased. She might rip this blog up if I said, ‘But of course.’ So really, truly, although I could, whether I should is another matter. Because of her you understand. Nothing else.   

Thank you so much, Shey, for joining me with your hamsters and your characters, even if some of them refuse to get married (ahem).

Check out Splendor on Goodreads here.

Or you can purchase it here:

Etopia Press Bookstore

Amazon

Barnes and Noble

iBookstore

Google Play

Kobo

Also, check out Shehanne Moore’s blog if you haven’t already. It’s filled with addictive romance and hamster mayhem.

The Writer and the Rake by Shehanne Moore

He saw her coming. If he’d known her effect he’d have walked away.

When it comes to doing it all, hard coated ‘wild child’ writer, Brittany Carter ticks every box. Having it all is a different thing though, what with her need to thwart an ex fiancé, and herself transported from the present to Georgian times. But then, so long as she can find her way back to her world of fame, and promised fortune, what’s there to worry about?

Georgian bad boy Mitchell Killgower is at the center of an inheritance dispute and he needs Brittany as his obedient, country mouse wife. Or rather he needs her like a hole in the head. In and out of his bed he’s never known a woman like her. A woman who can disappear and reappear like her either.

And when his coolly contained anarchist, who is anything but, learns how to return to her world and stay there, will And when his coolly contained anarchist, who is anything but, learns how to return to her world and remain, will having it all be enough, or does she underestimate him, and herself?

TheWriterandTheRake2_400I’ve been a fan of Shehanne Moore’s work since The Viking and the Courtesan. Now she brings us the Writer and the Rake, which is even better! I absolutely loved the concept. For certain people who happen to be Time Mutants, a kiss can take them backwards or forwards in time to a completely different century. This is what happens to struggling romance writer Brittany Carter, who is frustratingly whisked away into the past just as she is about to make her ex-boyfriend’s life a living hell.

I think I mentioned before how I hate romance heroines who are the paragon of all virtues. Well, Brittany is definitely not. This heroine is a vindictive, manipulative, chain-smoking alcoholic, and I love her. If romance heroes can be rakes, why shouldn’t the heroine be a ‘rakette’?

Brittany meme 1

Brittany arrives in 1765 dressed in nothing but a bathrobe, landing in Mitchell Kilgower’s teenage son’s bed. Mitchell, a long-suffering, brooding gentleman thinks his son has finally stopped being such a milksop and become a man, or rather the kind of man his father wants him to be. Brittany is just confused. She thinks her ex-boyfriend has murdered her and she is now in some sort of strange afterlife. Mitchell thinks she’s insane.

wandr 565656Of course, one can’t blame him as for all he knows, a woman has appeared out of nowhere and keeps babbling on about him being good fodder for her next romance novel. Mitchell’s uncle and slightly incestuous aunt (or former sister-in-law) show up, and the only way Brittany’s presence can be explained is in a lie hastily concocted by Fleming, Mitchell’s son, that she is Mitchell’s new God-fearing wife.

Hilariously unsuited to the role, Brit goes along with is because she needs to figure out a way to get back to the 21st century.  She may be a romantic novelist, but unlike her naive heroines, she’s not going to swoon and fall into Mitchell’s arms just because he has a gorgeous body and amazing cheekbones. All the same, there is an attraction simmering beneath the surface of her pretense.

mitchell meme44As for Mitchell, he starts out wanting to get rid of her, but he is by turns enraged and captivated by a woman the likes of which he’d never seen. A modern heroine unleashed on an unsuspecting 18th century world is a force to be reckoned with.

Brittany wreaks havoc everywhere she goes. She is a truly comedic heroine, though Ms. Moore deftly alerts the reader to how easily things could turn tragic if these characters don’t find love very soon.

Mitchell treats Brittany terribly, though she’s no picnic herself. However, she shows real resiliency and even keeps writing while in her 17th century imprisonment. One of the most beautiful lines of the book is, “A writer could write without paper, without ink, without hope.”

Time is working against them as Brittany can’t control her travels between centuries, but love might just bring them together in the end.

Click here to buy The Writer and the Rake on Amazon.

Here’s an excerpt from one of my favourite scenes:

She hesitated. If Mitchell Killgower walked in now it would solve this. She hadn’t really come in here to ruin Fleming though. She’d come in to find that portal and failed miserably too, meaning she’d now have to come back here. Unless . . .

“Actually Fleming, I could do with your help and not just out of this bath either.”

“My help?” His flush deepened. “No-one’s ever wanted my help.”

She grasped his hand. “Well, there’s a first time for everything. Even for me being nice like this. So here it is. I’m not really from here. And that’s what I need your help with. To get home to where I come from.”

“Leave here you mean?”

“In one, Fleming. In one.”

It was risky taking him into her confidence like this, but she’d be long gone by the time they incarcerated her in a lunatic asylum, paraded her as a witch. Relief pumped into her veins, revitalized her heartbeat. It took every ounce of restraint not to dance about the room.

“But Aunt Christian and Uncle Clarence think you’re . . . Well, Father will be furious if you disappear. I’m not going to willingly help you with that.”

He let go of her hand as if he wasn’t going to help her out the bath either.

“But you just said to me to scream blue murder and I didn’t. As for making him furious? I hope you think me being here like this was my idea?”

“Nothing would surprise me.”

“Look, help me out of the bath will you?”

“Not when I’ve already withstood everything Father has tried to make me do. The drink, the visits to the Swan, you—”

“Fine.” She grasped the copper rim of the tub. “I’ll get myself out then. I wouldn’t like to die of pneumonia.”

“The Hellfire Club.”

“What?”

“Yes.”

His voice rose. Did he see how far her jaw had dropped open?

“That’s how low he’s stooped, Miss Carter.”

“So you’re saying he took you there? How old are you?”

“I don’t see what where he took me—”

“So he didn’t?”

“Obviously he didn’t, but what’s it to you?”

Mustering her calm she tweaked a damp strand of hair behind her ear. She’d heard of the Hellfire Club. She wrote historical romance. Why wasn’t she surprised Mitchell Killgower went there? In the name of research she wouldn’t mind going herself. She hoped that wasn’t why she said,

“I can’t be wife to a man who goes to such places. My God, it’s imperative you help get me out of here. Just think when I go how it will clear the way for you. You can go to your aunt Christian and tell her—very well, not that you lied, but that she was right about your father. I just couldn’t live with him.” Although he was staring in the opposite direction from her and his brow was knitted, she fixed on her best look of honeyed desperation. Surely enough to seal this deal? “All I need is your help for five minutes.”

He frowned harder. “What have you done to my bed?”

“Oh that? Nothing.”

“It’s not nothing. Look at it.”

The bone-jarring thud as he strode towards it, said that was an understatement. Realization slapped her that she needed to make her move now, not stand with the hem of her dressing gown in a soapy bath, equally bone-jarring chills spreading up her legs, her teeth chattering, stomach churning. Where was the portal? In the wardrobe? Because that same realization drove her over the rim and across the floor, leaving wet footprints behind her.

She pulled the door open. The smell of mothballs was so overpowering, she could barely stick her head inside, but stick it in she did, despite being jabbed with an empty coat hanger dancing above her head. No joy. How could there be no joy?

“You’ve broken it. My bed.” Fleming’s voice was a thread of sound. Anyone would think she’d broken his heart, his arm, his neck. Was he really so frightened of his father?

“Yes, I know.” She strode towards him. The portal wasn’t just above the bed. It was high above it. “It’s because I was jumping on it.”

“Jumping?”

“Yes. Like this. Watch and learn.”

Bio

When not cuddling inn signs in her beloved Scottish mountains alongside Mr Shey, Shehanne Moore writes dark and smexy historical romance, featuring bad boys who need a bad girl to sort them out. She firmly believes everyone deserves a little love, forgiveness and a second chance in life.

Shehanne caused general apoplexy when she penned her first story, The Hore House Mystery—aged seven. What didn’t she work at while pursuing her dream of becoming a published author?

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If you enjoyed this review and excerpt, check out The Writer and the Rake on Amazon.

Book Review: The Viking and the Courtesan

Malice Mallender, the heroine of The Viking and the Courtesan, is not nearly as malicious as her name suggests. She is just trying to survive in the harsh world of 19th century London by running a business that breaks up people’s marriages. She’s also trying to distract herself from her unhappy personal life by obsessing about shoes. But one day, a lady enters her establishment who asks Malice to break up her own marriage. Red-leather-shoes-American-end-of-19th-century-51.1997-MFAB

Now, this is what I like about Malice: she quickly comes up with a plan not only to avoid the breakup of her marriage, but also to cement it for the future. Just as she is about to seduce Cyril, her rakish husband, she is swept away to the Middle Ages, where she is abducted by the incredibly handsome viking Sin Gudrunsson.

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The heroine is faced with some grim historic realities, such as being the property of a Viking, but she also eventually finds out that her captor is not as ruthless as he appears. Could he actually turn out to be the first man ever to find her attractive?

I really enjoyed reading about Malice’s adventures because she’s so wonderfully awkward. But then again, who wouldn’t act awkwardly when thrust into the midst of an unfamiliar Viking world? Only an idealized heroine, which Malice is not. Don’t get me wrong, she’s tough, and not in that token way that romance heroines sometimes have where they can take out eight desperadoes armed with nothing but a can opener. Malice is tough because she has been forced to survive on her own in dire economic straits. She lives by her wits, whether in 19th century London or 8th century Norway.

Shehanne Moore portrays Malice’s personality so well that the reader unquestioningly accepts that the heroine will “swallow a crocodile” as she likes to say, if push comes to shove. Of course, she would rather use her guile and talk the crocodile into eating its Aunt Sally.

My overall impression of The Viking and the Courtesan is it’s like the Outlander on crack, and I mean that in a good way. While I enjoyed reading Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander, I sometimes found the pacing a little slow.

In contrast, Viking and Courtesan moves the plot forward at a dizzying speed, and it kept me compulsively turning the pages wondering what will befall the unfortunate Malice next, and unexpectedly for such a dramatic tale, enjoying many laughs along the way. It’s a must-read for all fans of historical fiction.

The Viking and the Courtesan is available on Amazon US and Amazon UK.

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On not being the hero, by Shehanne Moore

Today’s post is by Shehanne Moore, writer of astonishingly dark and sexy historical novels. I love her sense of humour! Enjoy:

Seriously I googled this in the hope of getting some fancy quote about how crestfallen these guys feel, these guys who don’t get to run into the building and save the heroine. But the best I could come up with is the fact they’re not alone. Look at some of the famous love triangles in books—Now, I am not talking ménage here.  What? On the lovely Carolee’s blog she’s been kind enough to ask me to today? I know it’s the last thing you’d expect.lau

Seriously she has a great post about what makes a hero right here,  https://caroleecroft.wordpress.com/2016/03/01/engaged-to-the-earl/

Trouble is there’s Heathcliff, Gatsby, Jacob Black and please, let’s not forget Scarlett O’Hara’s strange passion for Ashley Wilkes. Didn’t Rhett rescue her several times? Also wasn’t he better looking? In fact so were the others. Secretly guys we ladies were always rooting for them. But let them have the heroine and we have no story.

Anyway, I’ve noticed that in the two manuscripts I’ve just been lucky enough to have accepted I’ve gone and done it again.  There’s another guy and he’s not the hero. Why do I keep doing this? What advice can I give these poor guys?

Take Thomas, the heroine’s husband in my first book The Unravelling of Lady Fury.  (Yes do, take him far away, he’s a wife beater) how did he know Fury wasn’t really that in to him? Because at the start of the book she’s keeping him in a box in the cellar. Correction. It’s his corpse actually she’s keeping, after she pushed him down the stairs.

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I think it would be difficult to give Thomas tips on how to have won the heroine, but I’d say that generally being nicer, an all round good guy, might have avoided this end. What’s that? They say women like bad boys better? Well, maybe they do?   So maybe that approach wouldn’t have worked?

Next up, Lachlan from His Judas Bride.

Well, Lachlan was an all round nice guy but the heroine’s father didn’t think so, so he killed him off. I think I’d say here, if you wanted to get the heroine then maybe you shouldn’t have got her up the duff when her father wanted to marry her off to someone else.

lazjewelThat brings us around to Gil Gressingham, deeply in love with Sapphire, the heroine of Loving Lady Lazuli. Unfortunately for Gil, although this pair went back a long way and he happily looked out for her on more occasions than she could count, she just wasn’t into him. Of course it didn’t help that he dropped dead half way through the book. Had he visited a doctor now, or stayed out of drafty establishments, he might have well gone onto to battle for her.

In my last book, The Viking and the Courtesan, we have Cyril. He’s quite a dish, the proverbial bad boy, he’s her husband. There was a time she loved him, just as there’s times   she believes they can make a go of things. Why don’t they end up together?  Because Cyril cannot ever love her. And the reason for that is?

Something I’m not going to reveal here.

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Extract

                She glided closer. She had come to speak with him, wife to husband. And she had chosen here to do it because it was public. Those who thought the sun shone from the backend of his brown velvet breeches had a lot to learn. 

                 “My lord.”

                Of course, she might have known Cyril would be more interested in looking at her breasts than her face. Maybe she should have ventured in here topless?  Still, at least he was looking at her.   

                “Cyril. Husband.”

                Now that jerked his chin up. If ever there was a way to bring a dog to heel, this was surely it.

                “I knew I should find you here before me, my dearest. And involved in a wager too. My lords, you must excuse Cyril, especially when he does not possess the money to pay any debts. And, we are shortly to require every penny we own.”

                “Malice?” He peered at her closely. “Malice? Is that you?” 

                “Most certainly it’s not Aunt Carter’s silver teapot, my dearest husband.”

                She would keep with the endearments for the time being. It would not do for anyone here to think she was anything less than fond—the sole reason she clasped his arm. “I know you find every time you see me like a first time, but caution yourself. It is not seemly to behave in this manner here.”

                “Malice, what the hell are you doing here? Let go of my—”

                She lowered her voice to a whisper. “When I have come to talk divorce, I advise you to stop tugging. I will let go when I am good and ready to let go.”

                “Divorce?”

                One little word to guarantee complete obedience from the damned dog.

                He cleared his throat, elegant in the fall of lace. Then he stood up. “You want to talk divorce? Divorce with me, Malice?”

                “I am looking, but I don’t see any other man here I was married to. Do you?”

The Viking and the Courtesan

perf5.000x8.000.inddIn 898 AD she wasn’t just from another land.

Wrecking a marriage is generally no problem for the divorce obtaining, Lady Malice Mallender. But she faces a dilemma when she’s asked to ruin her own. Just how businesslike should she remain when the marriage was never consummated and kissing her husband leads to Sin–a handsome Viking who wants her for a bed slave in name only?

She came from another time.

Viking raider Sin Gudrunsson wants one thing. To marry his childhood sweetheart. Only she’s left him before, so he needs to keep her on her toes, and a bed slave, in name only, seems just the thing. Until he meets Malice.

One kiss is all it takes to flash between two worlds

But when one kiss is no longer enough, which will it be?  Regency London? Or Viking Norway? Will Malice learn what governs the flashes? Can Sin?

Where worlds collide can love melt the iciest heart

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I hope you enjoyed this guest post by Shehanne Moore! Check out all the S M links:

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Guest Author Spotlight: Jan Selbourne’s Behind the Clouds

In today’s guest spot we have Jan Selbourne, a fellow Black Velvet Seductions author from Melbourne, Australia, talking about her novel, Behind the Clouds. I hope you all enjoy the interview!

Behind the Clouds cover 2015.indd

Could you give us an outline of the plot for Behind the Clouds?

Adrian Bryce is ordered by the British Government to accompany his estranged wife Gabrielle to Belgium. Its imperative he confirm Gabrielle’s uncle is supporting the German Empire’s push for European domination. Gabrielle’s decided to end her cold empty marriage as soon as she returns to England. Adrian can’t wait to get back to his mistress. Europe is on edge, a treaty is broken, the First World War begins on Belgium’s doorstep and Adrian and Gabrielle’s world of wealth and privilege disappears into a nightmare of betrayal, lies and treachery. Not knowing who to trust they flee for their lives with the brutal German forces hot on their heels, determined not to let them escape. Forced to rely on each other for survival, they endure injury, hunger, gut wrenching fear and privation. They steal farmers’ clothing, food and a horse and buggy. They join the long lines of frightened Belgians fleeing the invasion. They witness shocking atrocities and they find inner strengths. When they reach safety they are two very different people who have found deep love. However, the treachery has spread its tentacles to England. Waiting for them are charges of treason, more lies and a woman who’ll stop at nothing to see Adrian dead. Adrian and Gabrielle face enormous hurdles before they can trust and love again.

What was the inspiration for the story?

The impact of World War One was enormous. Empires collapsed, countries were abolished, new countries formed. It’s been said almost every family was affected in some way. It was supposed to be over by Christmas 1914, when it finished in 1918, 17 million people had died and 20 million had been wounded. Belgium suffered badly. Two of my ancestors were in Belgium during WW1 and their letters home and later anecdotes gave me the first idea. An article on how people change when forced to fight for survival put my characters into Belgium. The story took shape after that.

Do you like all the characters in your book?

Nearly all of them. I like Adrian and Gabrielle, of course. Underneath Adrian’s insufferable attitude is a decent man waiting to be found. It takes a war and profound shock for the repressed Gabrielle to find her incredible guts and initiative. The only character who isn’t likeable is sleazy traitorous Henri de Meyvier. Unfortunately there are a lot of his type in our world. Maryanne was his pawn. And, Plough Boy, who wouldn’t love him?

Guest author Jan Selbourne
Guest author Jan Selbourne

Is there any character that you have particularly grown to love or hate?

Meyvier was always a despicable character.

Is there a certain message you want readers to take from reading your book?

Probably that women are capable of incredible inner strength and courage in the face adversity.

If you could tell your readers anything, what would it be?

We haven’t learnt one thing from world wars.

I’ve been enjoying some of the latest books by Australian authors such as Lianne Moriarty and Graeme Simsion. Do you have any favorite Australian authors?

Yes, Bryce Courtney and Judy Nunn and Neville Shute. My real favourite from childhood is A.B. (Banjo) Paterson.

Where do you stand on the whole Harry Potter phenomenon? Love it or hate it?

In awe. Love the Harry Potter phenomenon. It encouraged a whole generation of children to read. My family harboured a nest of Harry Potter devotees.

Where can we buy your book?

Amazon.com… and Amazon.com.au, although I believe only the kindle version is available from Amazon.com.au.

Thank you so much for your interest..

Thank you, Jan! It’s been a great interview!

Engaged to the Earl Now Available on Amazon

Just because she’s engaged doesn’t mean she can’t have a little fun…

Martha Darrington tries to resist the advances of her handsome servant, but their passion for each other is too strong:

“Oh, there are other ways to please you,” Tom said with a playful smile.
He still gazed at me in that hypnotizing way, and now his hands completed the magic spell, caressing my breasts so gently yet so tantalizingly as to put me in a trance. All I could do was utter faint moans of pleasure.
His mouth then joined in, consuming the tips of my nipples, sucking them with gentle attention to each one. His tongue quested up and down each breast, then down to my belly. I felt so desired and beautiful.
He proceeded even lower, licking and nibbling at my thighs. I laughed at the tickling sensation then gasped in shock and renewed pleasure as his tongue alighted on my clitoris. He licked this sweet spot of desire again and again, and my entire body responded with shivers of delight.
The way his lips grazed the inside of my thigh, such a light touch, so filled with latent passion, nearly drove me to distraction.
I wanted to moan out loud but feared being discovered. Suppressing my voice gave me no release of any kind and made the sensation even more intense. I squirmed as his tongue continued to play with me, sometimes questing inside me and filling me up in such a satisfying way, sometimes circling my clitoris, teasing me by avoiding that very pleasure-giving spot in its center.
I nearly screamed out loud when suddenly he placed his whole mouth against it, sucking intensely on my delicate little mound. I wanted to tell him to stop, that it was too much, but then I felt the beginning of some strange new sensation that made me forget everything else. I felt the blood rushing toward my sex as if Tom were a vampire sucking it all from my body. I closed my eyes, feeling the onslaught of a great cascade of pleasure.

To buy Engaged to the Earl… on Amazon click here

on Nook Books click here

on Smashwords click here.