Friday, December 27, 2019

Guest post: Choosing Fate by Curtis A. Cooper

My guest today is Curtis Copper talking about his book Choosing Fate. Welcome to Curtis.







Tell us a little about yourself:

I’ve been writing since 2009, when I finally picked up a story I’d started twenty years earlier. I have affection for keeping the family name continuing and I thought a book would be a good way of leaving my mark. What I didn’t count on was the writer’s bug. I had only planned on writing the one story. It was a suspense that took me two years to write during lunch hours. Once I had finished, I had all that time on my hands. So, I developed a board game and wrote a fantasy based on it. My third book was a mystery with its own opinionated detective and a love scene. Half-way though my fourth novel, I learned the meaning of writer’s block. Then something TOTALLY out of character happened. I came up with an edgy love story that flooded my head with all kinds of possibilities, and I wrote a story in the one genre I never saw myself being equated with – Romance. Straight from the Heart became my breakout novel that put me in touch with Extasy Books. That was my beginning of becoming a romance novelist. I now have nine books with a tenth due out in the beginning of the New Year. I also have two short stories and my third, Choosing Fate, published and available on eXtasybooks today.

I am married, with 4 kids and 3 grandkids, all living in upstate New York

What do like the most and the least about writing?

What I like most, is being able to come up with a believable plot and slipping in quietly, parts that somehow come to light later on in the story. Straight from the Heart was filled with them.  I alluded to a secret she had, but few of my readers caught them. They became obvious when the secret was revealed.

What I hate is partially the English language at fault. If I go too fast in my typing, I can type a word that is real, sounds exactly like the word I want, but is a totally different meaning. For an easy example using the word pear when I mean pair.

Give us a peek into your latest published work?

My short story, Choosing Fate, which I always seem to go right up to the maximum number of words allowed for the short story, is a heart warmer for eXtasy Books’ New Year’s short story collection:

Samuel Misner is in a slow downward spiral and has been for the last four years since his wife and son died. Turned bitter, he catches a young orphaned boy stealing a couple doughnuts from his shop. His assistant of eight years leaves him at the beginning of the Christmas holiday, his busiest time. To try to win her back, he hires the same boy who stole the pastries. As they begin develop a bond, he realizes that he isn’t the only person with a bleak past and can’t go through with the charade. Will his assistant see through him, or will she return?

What’s next on the writing horizon for you?

Currently, I’m working on what appears to be my first novella for eXtasy’s special collection called Noted. My story is called On a Side Note. After I finish, I will return to my Heart series with book number four. As with the other three, I have new main characters but the same secondary characters

Is there anything you want to tell readers?

My Heart series centers around the town my parents grew up in. I used homes and other landmarks familiar to me. I took pictures and made videos of the sites in the stories. They’re on my web site.
Watch for my next story, The Reluctant Private Eye. It’s a mystery/suspense in first person centering on a housewife who wants to find out who killed her husband.

Excerpt: 

Carrie had just returned to the front of the shop in time to hear her boss, Sam Misner, grumble at the woman standing outside the front door

“We’re closed,” Sam said through the glass.

“Please? It’s my daughter’s birthday party, and I got stuck in traffic. I believe you have a cake ready for me.” The woman looked utterly panicked.

“I don’t make exceptions. If I make one for you, pretty soon I have everyone waiting ’til closing.” He turned around and walked into the back room.

Carrie stuck her forefinger up as soon as he was out of sight. She removed the only personalized decorated cake that hadn’t been picked up and opened the box to reveal Happy 12th Birthday Rebecca. She tilted the cake slightly so the woman could see.

The woman nodded.

She brought it to the door and turned the knob on the lock. Then she opened the door and handed the cake to the woman.

The woman paid in cash and murmured, “Thank you so much. Keep the change.”

“Thank you.” Carrie smiled as the woman walked away. She closed and locked the door, then turned to find her boss standing with hands on hips and a frown on his face.

“Didn’t you hear me tell her we were closed?”

“Oh, come on, Sam. You would rather toss the cake than sell it and keep the customer?”

“It’s the oldest trick in the book. A person orders a cake and comes late, pretending to be held up. 
Then he, or in this case, she…holds me up. And I’m out hundreds and a cake with someone’s name on it.”

“That didn’t happen.”

“This time.” He frowned, obviously unhappy with her.

“You don’t trust anyone anymore, do you?”

“I can’t afford to.” He stomped off into the kitchen.

Carrie rolled her eyes and set about putting the pastries away.

* * * *

Samuel Misner drove home, still steamed from Carrie’s defiance. He shook his head as he unlocked the deadbolt and doorknob of the front door. After entering, he headed straight to his bedroom to change out of his bakery clothes.

Walking down the hallway, he passed the closed door of his son’s bedroom and the bathroom across from it. His wedding picture hung on the wall just left of the bathroom door—his wife in white with a younger Sam in a blue tuxedo, standing in front of an arch. On the other side of the bathroom was a school picture of his son in fourth grade. He paid them no mind and continued to the room at the end of the hall, focused on the task at hand.

As he changed, the phone on the nightstand rang. Recognizing the number, he hesitated, but went ahead and picked up before the answering machine started. “Hi, sis.”

“Hi, Sam. Are you coming to the party next weekend?”

“You cut right to the chase, don’t you?”

“Well… You’ve avoided answering your phone the last three times I’ve called. So, are you?”

“Why do you want me there?”

“What kind of question is that? You’re my big brother. Why wouldn’t I?”

“I don’t know. I can’t see it being much fun.”

“You need to get out and return to the living.”

He frowned. “What are you talking about?”

“Sam, you’ve been on your own for close to four years now. It’s time to move on with your life.”
“Easy for you to say, Sharon.”

“No, it’s not easy. You lost your wife and your son, but I lost my brother that same night.”

He ignored her insinuation. “Hardly the same.” He heard her sigh.

“I’ll take that as a no, but you’re welcome if you change your mind.”

He hung up the receiver as soon as he heard the click on the other end. The last thing I need is the memory of another Christmas gone by. He flashed back to that fateful Christmas Eve when he’d returned home from a busy day at the bakery to find his wife and son had gone out. The note she’d written lay on the dining room table, telling him they went to the store to get some eggnog. Then the phone call. His wife was in emergency surgery—no mention of his son.

He brushed off the memory and finished changing.

The next morning, six o’clock couldn’t arrive early enough. Sam’s inner clock always managed to wake him at five, but out of caution, he still set the alarm. He returned to the shop to begin his morning routine. First up, glazed doughnuts.



Buy Links:

My website has links to take you right to where you can purchase ebooks as well as paperbacks


Social media links:


Twitter : authorcurt1











Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Guest Post: A Winter Knight by Barbara Bettis

I'm please to have Barbara Bettis on my blog talking about her release: A Winter Knight





Tell us a little about yourself:

I’ve finally retired from teaching English and Journalism at a local four year college and, after early retirement there, taught a few more years at a nearby two-year college. Before that, I worked for small daily newspapers so my two sons could grow up in a small town, and was a stringer for the AP, the Kansas City Star, and the Little Rock Democrat-Gazette. While working toward my doctorate, I wrote feature articles for area magazines and edited a local weekly in summers because I believed journalism was (is) a subject one must keep up with in real time if one is to teach it. Although my doctorate was in higher education, my major was in journalism and my dissertation was in Journalism Ethics. I still have a fierce devotion to the ‘old style’ journalism traditions of accuracy, fairness, telling all prominent sides of a story, and avoiding fallacious reasoning. (That last, certainly, is not easy to do!) I six grandchildren and they are absolute delights.

What do like the most and the least about writing?

The most: creating stories and seeing characters come alive.

The least: promoting after the book is finished.

Give us a peek into your latest published work?

He’s running from his past; she’s running from her future. But on a snowy winter night, they find each other and the surprising gift of love.

Sir Nicholas has given up on marriage. These days he’s content to captain his friend’s troops and avoid entanglements—until one winter night when he rescues a half-frozen woman from a snowstorm. Her irrepressible spirit and kindness to others reminds him that all ladies aren’t like his former intended, who wed his brother while Nick was on crusade. But he can’t open his heart to Lady Clare. She’s bound to another, and Nick won’t forfeit his honor.

Even if she were free, he has nothing to offer but love, and this lady deserves everything.
Lady Clare’s dying grandfather has arranged her betrothal, but the arrival of the man she’s to wed sends her fleeing into a snowstorm. Injured when her horse stumbles, she’s rescued by a mysterious knight. She recovers at his run-down manor, safe at last—until her betrothed tracks her down two days before Christmas. Trapped at home with the wedding imminent, she longs for the winter knight she’s come to love.

Only a miracle can bring Clare and Nick together. But at Christmas, anything is possible.

What’s next on the writing horizon for you?

I’m finishing a short story that will appear  in collection of short stories about Feisty Heroines. That’s currently on pre-order for 99 cents.

Excerpt:

The strange horse fidgeted in the bailey, tossing its mane and stomping the new white fall into mud. The stable lad grasped the reins and murmured to the nervous animal. After a few token twitches, it settled in to nose against the boy’s shoulder while Nicholas removed a bag from one side of the saddle. He pulled open the cord and peered inside. Tom had been right. A lady’s garments.

Nicholas swore under his breath. What feather-brained female would venture out in a storm with such few belongings? Any lady he’d ever known traveled with trunks of adornments.

No ignoring the evidence. Some lady or her attendant was likely trudging through the frigid December night after being tossed from this mount.

“Merde!” He sighed and ducked his head, then muttered another curse when kernels of icy snow melted down the back of his neck.

He had no choice. Couldn’t leave anyone to wander around in this weather. And a lady, at that. If God had any mercy, He’d see the lady’s party found her first. What would Nicholas do with her at the ramshackle manor he’d been tasked with putting to rights? You could do only two things with ladies—marry’em or mount’em. He’d sworn off the first and was too damned cold for the second.



Buy Links:

Visit me here:

Bookbub                                                                                                                            Facebook





Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Guest Post: Charm Me Again by Tena Stetler

My guest today is Tena Stetler talking about: Charm Me Again




Tell us a little about yourself. 

I have an overactive imagination that has always gotten me into trouble. LOL.  As a child the imagination turned into night frights which terrorized my parents. As soon as I learned to channel that imagination in the form of writing my stories on paper, the night frights subsided or at least were manageable. It’s been several years since I’ve had one, but they seem to raise their ugly head at the most inopportune times. Like during a camping trip with my husband. My terror screaming awoke him and the campground. I had some ‘splaning to do the next morning.  I’m a by-the-seat-of-my-pants writer so I never know where my characters are going to take me.  I avoid living in reality as often as possible.

What do like the most and the least about writing?
What I like about being a writer living in a fantasy world that I create. I love being able to whisk people away from their ordinary world into a romantic, fantasy adventure that they will never want to leave.  Everyone needs a little fantasy in their life. Don’t you think?
What I like least about being a writer is the promotion it takes away from my writing time. But it is a necessary component to becoming a successful author.

Give us a peek into your latest published work?

Breaking the curse is only the first step to forever. 

For several months a Scottish Highland Ghost has haunted Daylan, in his personal life, his professional life and at his forge. Yet, being a talented warlock, he is no closer to discovering what the ghost wants or why he chose Daylan. A trip to Colorado may have unforeseen consequences especially when family history leads him to a shocking discovery. 

As his attraction blooms for Josie, a yoga instructor in his sister’s studio, he realizes there may be more to Josie than he can imagine. When an ancient rogue Fae Warrior set on revenge kidnaps her in an attempt to claim her as his own, a devastating curse comes to light.

Daylan’s world spirals out of control as he searches for Josie. Can he break the age old curse to save her and their future, or will she be lost to him forever?

What’s next on the writing horizon for you?

I’m writing the third book in A Witch’s Journey. It was my nano project. I have only a couple more chapters to write, polish the manuscript and off to my editor. Then I’m considering  writing  a short story for One Scoop or Two the new series from The Wild Rose Press.  Crafting a short story for me is a challenge. I’ve done it twice, Charm Me and Mystic Maples. Both time’s it was rough to keep it to the word count required. Both books were quite popular.  

Also working on the sixth book in A Demon’s Witch Series and a brand new cozy mystery series.

Is there anything you want to tell readers?
I am so very thankful for my readers. I know they are going to love Charm Me Again. Catching up with Summer and Devlin from Charm Me and learning about Josie and Daylan will keep ‘em on the edges of their seats!

Excerpt:

Suddenly the wind increased and changed direction bringing a cold chill to the warm day. She tugged her sweater close around her as a thin maroon line formed along the flat bottom of a dark, boiling cloud spreading across the sky. Moments before there’d been only an occasional fluffy white cloud floating in the bright blue sky. Oh, no, not again.

The line slowly drifted to vertical and spread open to reveal a sparkling interior. Four striking creatures, sharp-angled features with fierce expressions on their inhumanly handsome faces appeared. Gleaming swords hung at their sides as they slipped out of the cloud and stepped onto the ground not more than fifty feet from her and Daylan along the tree line of the property. Holy shit. This can’t be happening.

She rubbed her eyes but when she opened them the men were still there. Dressed in heavy boots, jeans, and formfitting leather vests, shimmering silver bands adorned their muscular upper arms. Two of them had thick shoulder length blond hair, the others had jet black hair hanging in waves past their shoulders.

She jumped up and opened her mouth to scream. But Daylan reacted faster clapping his hand over her mouth while still facing the advancing creatures. To her surprise, a soft giggle escaped from her lips. They look like a group of medieval bikers. Their apparent leader, his reddish sable hair hung well beyond his shoulders in waves, paused a few yards in front of them.





Short bio:

Tena Stetler is a best-selling author of award winning paranormal romance with an over-active imagination.  She is adventuring into the world of cozy mysteries next year. Her books tell tales of magical kick-ass women and mystical alpha males that dare to love them. Travel, adventure and a bit of mystery flourish in her books along with a few companion animals to round out the tales.

Social media links:











Thursday, December 5, 2019

Guest Post: Today, Tomorrow, Always by Peggy Jaeger

My Guest today I Peggy Jaeger talking about her new book: Today, Tomorrow, Always




Serendipity is an amazing…thing.

Last November my first book in my bridal series A MATCH MADE IN HEAVEN – DEARLY BELOVED – released. I’d been wanting to write a bridal series for a while and finally had enough time in my schedule to plot out and pen the three main books of the series, each one concerning a different sister who collectively run a bridal business. I knew nothing about wedding planners, wedding Officiants, or anything else wedding related since I got married 175 years ago and things have changed a bit in the industry since then.

Understatement.

I did a ton of research for the books and then went about writing them.

As I said, book 1 released in November 2018.
On Christmas Eve 2018, my lovely, only daughter got engaged.
See? Serendipity.

Armed now with all the current knowledge for planning a fabulous wedding, I offered my services and was told that my daughter, my lovely, smart and frugal daughter, was hiring a wedding planner.

Yeah. That was pretty much my response, too.

But you know what? It worked to my advantage because I was now so knowledgeable about the duties of a wedding planner (DEARLY  BELOVED is about a wedding planner!) I could offer advice to my daughter on pricing, duties, etc.

So, score one for Mom and serendipity!

Book 2, TODAY, TOMORROW, ALWAYS is about wedding officiant/lawyer sister Cathy and her road to her own HEA.

Blurb:

Lawyer Cathleen O'Dowd wants to break free from her boring image. Widowed young, she's toed the good-girl line but now wants a little fun and laughter in her days…and nights. Living in a small town, though, she can't do anything that would tarnish her professional reputation.

Mac Frayne's tragic past has turned him into a sullen loner. In town to write a book on the city's founder, his plan is to get it done, then head home to his solitary existence.

When circumstances force them to work together, their opposing personalities clash, but the sexual attraction between them is palpable.

Can a simple affair with an end date be just the thing to brighten up their lives?

Excerpt 

His expression changed from wide-eyed with excitement to something entirely different. Something deep and dark and—gulp—wild. 

He repeated my name, and before I could blink, a pair of strong arms wrapped around my waist and a torso I knew was as solid and defined as a redwood tree flattened against the front of me. 

He dipped his head, those dreamy eyes dark now with desire, and zeroed in on my own like a laser pointer. Hypnotized by the naked need facing me, I took a breath—a physical and a mental one—and pushed up on my unshod toes until my lips pressed against his. 

For a nanosecond, Frayne stilled. The notion that he didn’t want this blew across my mind. A beat later and the thought died as his arms tightened and he pulled me fully against his body. 

And then kissed me back. 




BIO
Peggy Jaeger is a contemporary romance writer who writes Romantic Comedies about strong women, the families who support them, and the men who can’t live without them. If she can make you cry on one page and bring you out of tears rolling with laughter the next, she’s done her job as a writer!

Family and food play huge roles in Peggy’s stories because she believes there is nothing that holds a family structure together like sharing a meal…or two…or ten. Dotted with humor and characters that are as real as they are loving, she brings all topics of daily life into her stories: life, death, sibling rivalry, illness and the desire for everyone to find their own happily ever after. Growing up the only child of divorced parents she longed for sisters, brothers and a family that vowed to stick together no matter what came their way. Through her books, she’s created the families she wanted as that lonely child.

When she’s not writing Peggy is usually painting, crafting, scrapbooking or decoupaging old steamer trunks she finds at rummage stores and garage sales.

A lifelong and avid romance reader and writer, Peggy is a member of RWA and her local New Hampshire RWA Chapter.

As a lifelong diarist, she caught the blogging bug early on, and you can visit her at peggyjaeger.com where she blogs daily about life, writing, and stuff that makes her go "What??!"

Social Media links:



Monday, November 18, 2019

New Release and Free ebook - From Marie Tuhart

Today is the release of Her Desert Protector

This is the final book in the Desert Destiny Series



Blurb:

Journalist Zoey Lace is determined her exposé on the progressive country of Bashir will be her strongest travel piece yet. Upon her arrival, she finds not all is peaceful in this beautiful land. When Prince Khalid Al-Hakim insists her life is in danger and he must protect her, can she trust the prince’s reasons or is there some hidden agenda?

Khalid Al-Hakim is duty bound to protect his beloved country and his family, all now at risk, threatened by opium dealers. A beautiful American journalist photographs the wrong thing and it’s up to Khalid to save his homeland and keep Zoey safe. When she is kidnapped, all his plans disperse like arid desert sand in a storm. To save the woman he loves, he must now face his deepest fears.

Together, will they conquer obstacles to the country and themselves or be torn apart by the tides of evil?


Excerpt:

A shadow fell across her table. She looked up and her eyes widened. Khalid stood there.

“I see you didn’t stay in your room,” he said.

She sat straighter in her chair. “Are you following me?” She winced at her accusing tone. “Sorry, that was rude.”

“You can make it up to me by allowing me to join you.” He gestured to the empty chair.

Zoey nodded and he sat down. “And to answer your question, I saw you sitting here alone and thought you might like some company.”

Part of her was suspicious, but another part of her was glad for the company. Hell, her woman parts had gone all perky and hard the moment he spoke. What was it about this commanding man that attracted her so?

She popped the last bite into her mouth as Yasir came rushing over with another place setting and poured him a glass of juice. “It’s a honor to have you here--”

“Thank you, Yasir.”

Zoey stared at Khalid. He liked cutting people off. Why was that? What was he afraid they might say? She liked puzzles, though this particular one might be more interesting than most.

“What may I get for you, sir?” Yasir asked.

“I’ll have whatever Miss Lacey is having.” Yasir nodded and left. He turned his attention to her, and Zoey found herself drowning in his eyes.

“So, Khalid, what do you do when you’re not escorting women to their hotel rooms or checking out their credentials or following them to restaurants?”

He laughed and that husky chuckle flowed through her veins. “As I said earlier, I’m head of security.”

“Yes, but security of what? The city? The country?” Something flashed in his eyes and Zoey bit back a grin. So he was hiding something.


Her Desert Protector  is available at:






And for Free ebook:

Her Desert Prince is currently free for a limited time, so if you've been waiting, now is the time to start the series with the first book free:



Blurb:

Catherine Taylor, no stranger to life’s school of hard knocks, at 18 leaves her dysfunctional family behind, striking out on her own to embrace her passion for art. Years of hard work has given her a degree of acclaim. When offered the opportunity to work in the middle eastern country of Bashir to create the defining mural for the new children's critical care ward, Catherine embraces the chance to meld her love of children and her love of art. What she doesn’t think she is ready for is the blatant and instant passion she feels the moment she meets the successful country’s crown prince, Malik.

Malik al-Hakim has been raised with the sole purpose of someday becoming the king of Bashir. Years of careful preparation by his loving family has him ready to take the yoke from his father one day, but nothing could prepare him for the instant lust he feels the moment he sees Catherine. Never one to let an opportunity slip by, Malik pursues Catherine, convincing her to explore their desire. But when political intrigue places Catherine in danger, Malik soon realizes lust has evolved to love and he’ll do whatever it takes to keep the woman of his dreams safely by his side, no matter how hard she tries to fight their fate.

Monday, November 11, 2019

New Release: Bound to Love You by Marie Tuhart

I'm so happy to have Bound to Love You released today - this is book 3 in my short story series about Club Crave.



Blurb: 

Rachel Nelson and Boyd Phillips have been married for short time, enjoying kink at home as well as at Club Crave. Bondage has always been a hard limit for the feisty sub, thought it's something she knows her sexy yet caring Dom wants to try. Can game night help her push past her fears and take their relationship to the next level?

Excerpt:

Rachel Nelson smiled as she walked into Club Crave with her husband, Boyd. They’d been married for six months now; the best six months of her life. She’d never been happier. She’d found a man who enjoyed kink as much as she did.

Game night was always fun, yet tonight, her nerves were stretched tight. The past few weeks at the club, Boyd had wanted to try bondage, and she had kept putting him off. Game night always pushed a subs boundaries a bit, and she could only hope he didn’t push too far.

The club wasn’t crowded yet. She glanced around but didn’t see any of her friends. Anna,
Paige, and Olivia had told her at lunch yesterday they would be there. Especially since game night was for select couples.

Excited for tonight?” Boyd asked, raising their joined hands so he could kiss the back of hers.

“Yes, Sir. Game night is always fun.” Anticipation warred with her taut nerves.

“Good.” With his free hand, he brushed a lock of her hair away from her face. “Your hair is falling down.”

She automatically raised her hand to her head. Dang it, the pins were already coming loose. “Yes, Sir. Excuse me while I go to the ladies’ room.”

“Let me. It’s my fault since I messed it up.” Boyd turned her around, and his hands slid into her hair. She shivered as he pulled the pins out, then gathered her hair and put the pins back in.

Buy Links:

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07ZMZ32FK

Barnes & Nobel: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/bound-to-love-you-marie-tuhart/1134408016?ean=2940160729800

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/bound-to-love-you

Universal Link: https://books2read.com/BoundToLoveYou


Friday, October 25, 2019

Guest Post: Night of the Owl by Judith Sterling

Today is my guest is Judith Sterling talking about her newest release: Night of the Owl



Tell us a little about yourself.

I was born and raised in Florida but HATED the heat and longed for four seasons.  As soon as possible, I got out and studied in England, Scotland, and Sweden, ending up with an MA in linguistics and a BA in history, with a minor in British Studies.  I also lived in Wisconsin, Virginia, and on the island of Nantucket.  Currently, I live in Salem, Massachusetts with my husband (who works at The House of the Seven Gables) and our 15-year-old twin boys.  When not writing, I work at The Witch House, the 17th-century home of witch trials judge Jonathan Corwin.

What do like the most and the least about writing?

I love creating detailed outlines for my books, allowing the story to reveal itself to me and then planting information and clues at just the right moments.  The actual writing is also fun, though, and I enjoy editing as I go along.  What I like least is all the promotion and marketing necessary.  It overwhelms me at times!

Give us a peek into your latest published work? 

PhD student Ardyth Nightshade has renounced men and pursues her twentieth-century career with single-minded focus. When fate whisks her to medieval England, she meets her match in a man whose passions mirror her own. Can she sacrifice ambition for a love she never sought?
Hugh, Lord Seacrest confounds all who know him. He refuses to marry without a meeting of minds and hearts, and no lady has even approached his ideal…until Ardyth. But she's an odd one, with unique skills, shocking habits, and total conviction she needs no man. She also harbors secrets, and in the midst of rumors, plots, and murder, trust is fragile.
A woman outside of her time. A man ahead of his. They must take a leap of faith to forge a bond that will shape history.

What’s next on the writing horizon for you?

I’m about to start edits on The Sword Unsheathed, the third book in my YA paranormal fantasy series, Guardians of Erin, and I’m also writing Return of the Raven, the fifth and final book in my medieval romance series, The Novels of Ravenwood.

Is there anything you want to tell readers?

Whether I’m writing medieval romance or young adult fantasy, all of my books have at least a hint of the paranormal.  The romances take place in northern England; the YAs, in Ireland, for I lost my heart to the British Isles long ago.  My favorite themes include true love, destiny, healing, redemption, time travel, and finding the mystical in the mundane.  My ultimate goal as an author is to make readers happy by whisking them far away from their troubles.

Excerpt:

Ardyth looked from one tunnel entrance to the next, and then the next.  The ledge in front of them was substantial.  It ran along the rock wall to the right, all the way to the mouth of the cave, winding around it to continue along the outer cliff.

Again, she pointed.  “Where does that lead?”

“Shouldn’t you be doffing your clothes?”

Her eyes narrowed.  “In other words, you don’t intend to answer my question.”

He grinned.  “Clever, aren’t you?”

She returned his smile.  “I like to think so.”

“If you’re stalling because you cannot swim—”

“Oh, I can swim.”  She could hardly wait to feel the cool water on her skin.

He folded his arms, and his intense, gray eyes held a dare.  “Then show me.”

“Hold this.”  She handed him the folded smock.  Get ready to eat crow, buddy!  Quickly, she removed her boots, hose, and tunics.  When only her thin, white chemise remained, she stole a peek at her skeptical host.  He stared at her bare feet.

She sighed.  “I know.  My feet are hardly attractive.  In fact, I’ve always thought my toes resemble…”

He raised his eyebrows.  “What?”

Astronauts.  But I can’t tell you that.  “Nothing.”

His eyebrows settled again, but the orbs beneath them seemed to glow with a new light.  “I beg to differ with your opinion.  Your feet are quite…lovely.”

She almost laughed, until heat flooded her cheeks.  I’m blushing?  “Thank you,” she muttered.  With an inward groan, she started toward the water.  For crying out loud!  He only complimented your feet.  Your pale, crazy, NASA-evoking feet.  Get a grip!

The ocean breeze caught the hem of her smock as she stepped into the surf.  Foamy water—colder than she would’ve liked—enveloped her feet.  Thank God for the heat of the sun!  But this was the closest she’d come to a bath in days, and she was determined to prove her skills to the man who underestimated her at every turn.  She waded forward, and the brisk, undulating water swallowed her calves, knees, thighs, and hips.

“Lady Ardyth!”

She turned.  Her dry smock in his hands, Hugh stood with feet well apart on the wet sand.

“You needn’t prove your courage further!” he called above the lapping, swishing voice of the sea.  “Come back before—”

“Courage isn’t the point!  Swimming is!”  The level of the surrounding water lowered to her thighs, signaling a coming wave.

She turned just as it crested and dove headfirst into it.  Completely submerged in the chill, rushing water, she headed left and allowed herself to rise to the surface.  She swam freestyle for several strokes, then flipped onto her back and floated with abandon.  After a minute or two, she flipped over, and swam in the opposite direction.  Then she stood with the water at her ribs, waited for the next wave, and indulged in bodysurfing, which carried her with a whoosh back toward shore.

Satisfied, she straightened, knee-deep in the water.  Her wet chemise clung to her frame, and she knew Lord Seacrest was getting a lordly eyeful.  Her nipples were rock-hard from the cold.

She rolled her eyes toward the bright, blue sky.  My kingdom for a bra!  And throw in a pair of underwear, too!  But both articles of clothing were back at Nihtscua and not likely to appear anytime soon.  For the first time since plunging into the surf, she regarded Hugh.

Eyes wide, her dry smock clutched in his hands, he stood as if frozen.  Only his gaze moved, traveling from her breasts to the apex of her thighs.

She pulled the smock away from her flesh as best she could and advanced toward him, stopping an arm’s length away.  “I told you I could swim.”

He blinked.  Then his full, sensual lips curled into a smile.  “Indeed, you did.”

“And?”

“And what?”

“You’ve doubted me twice already.  Perhaps you owe me an apology.”

His eyes widened, then relaxed.  “Perhaps I do.  Pray…forgive me.”

The words couldn’t have come easily, and the fact he’d said them made her grin.  “I forgive you.  This time.  But I ask respectfully that you not underestimate me again.”

For two seconds, he hesitated.  “ʼTis a reasonable request, and I shall endeavor to honor it.”  He gave her a quizzical look.  Then he shook his head and chuckled.  “Is there anything you cannot do?”

She thought for a moment.  “I’ve never ridden aside.  If I’m going to ride something, I spread my legs.”  The instant the words left her mouth, she cringed inside.  Good God.  That came out all wrong!

Humor curved his lips, but his eyes smoldered.  Did his thoughts mirror hers?  He took a step closer, and his masculine aura invaded her personal space.  “Tell me more.”