Keep Calm and Read This: A Wedding Code by Jacki Delecki

Keep Calm and Read This: A Wedding Code by Jacki Delecki

This week I’m honored to have best-selling romantic suspense author Jacki Delecki visit. She has a new release coming out next week on April 25th ~ book five in The Code Breakers Series. Not only can you pre-order now, but there’s a giveaway…


Title: A Wedding Code
Heat Level:  Medium
Genre: Regency Romance Suspense

 
 
 
 

As a renowned arbiter of fashion and design, Miss Amelia Bonnington’s upcoming nuptials to Lord Derrick Brinsley have become the most anticipated event of English society. Her plans to create the perfect wedding must be cast aside, however, when her best friend’s brother, a member of England’s top code breaking family, disappears.

When his fiancée meddles in dangerous spy activity, Derrick, an undercover agent for His Majesty, must intervene. Now, it’s up to Amelia and Derrick to safely locate the missing brother, prevent another abduction, and thwart an assassination. Can they outwit the French spies and still have Amelia’s fairy tale wedding?

Miss Amelia Bonnington dropped the tangle of wedding ribbons and rushed into the morning room to assist Lady Henrietta Rathbourne. Amelia winced in sympathy at Hen’s valiant but unsuccessful attempts to adjust her very large and very pregnant abdomen into a comfortable position on the settee.

Grabbing a pillow from a chair, Amelia tucked the cushion under Hen’s swollen feet. “Darling, does this help?”

Not wanting to burden her best friend’s sensitive feelings, Amelia tried hard not to stare at the massive round hump straining against Hen’s morning gown. Amelia wasn’t sure she wanted her body to ever grow and distort in such an uncomfortable manner. “Would another pillow behind your back help?”

“Nothing helps. I’m the size of a whale. It’s not surprising that I’m having a big baby, since Cord is such a large man.” Hen could barely wrap her arms around her middle.

Amelia didn’t want to think about the imposing size of her fiancé, Lord Brinsley, and how large Derrick’s babies would be. Although Amelia was inches taller than Henrietta, Derrick was a giant, the tallest and broadest man of her acquaintance.

Hen fanned her flushed face. “The entire family and staff are tiptoeing around me as if I might explode at any moment, like a Guy Fawkes firecracker.”

It was true. The usually calm and composed Hen would tear up at the most unpredictable moments, leaving everyone around her baffled as to how to respond.

Amelia squeezed her friend’s hand. “Everyone is concerned. And it’s obvious that you’re uncomfortable now that your time is near.”

Henrietta stroked her abdomen in a protective, soothing circular motion. “Cord is constantly monitoring my growth. Every time he looks at me, I see him estimating the size of the baby. My enormous expansion has cracked his impenetrable confidence. He doesn’t say anything, but I can see he is worried that the baby is too big for my small frame. And when my husband, the bravest and most fearless leader of our country, appears fearful, I feel a need to shelter him from what comes next.”

Amelia shook her head. “But my dearest, you know Cord likes to be in control of everything and everyone. I’m sure he is struggling with this birthing business.”

“My husband is used to bending all of England, even the king, to his will. His inability to control nature is driving him mad.” Hen shifted on the settee, looking miserable.

Amelia jumped back up from her chair and repositioned the pillow under Hen’s feet. “Does that help?”

Hen winced when Amelia moved her feet. “And Michael,” she continued. “You know my brother can’t hide a blasted feeling. It’s all there on his face—fear and worry.”

“It’s normal for the men to worry. Besides, what other part can they play in the pregnancy?”

Hen rolled her bright green eyes toward the ceiling. “Well, we know what part Cord played in the onset of my condition”

The childhood friends laughed together. And Amelia was relieved to see Hen able to muster some semblance of her usual wit.

“I still have days before the birth, according to Dr. Oglethorpe, which means I’ll be able to attend your wedding.”

Amelia didn’t want to think about her best friend missing her wedding, which was but two days away. Hen refused to follow convention, and planned to attend despite her pregnant state, and Amelia supported her decision. She and Hen always planned to play a part in each other’s weddings. They had shared their fantasies of romance, their future husbands, and dream weddings since they were eight years old.

“I’m so very weary of discussing the size of my abdomen and ankles. How are all the wedding details coming?”

“You don’t have to pretend interest. I know you couldn’t care less about colors, fabrics, or flowers.”

“True. I was prodigiously grateful when you did everything for my wedding. How is Derrick faring with your need for perfection?”

Amelia had orchestrated Hen’s, then Gwyneth’s, and, most recently, Gabby’s weddings. The brides were all dramatically in love and could scarcely be bothered with the kind of details that could turn a simple wedding into a glorious affair.

Their weddings were the talk of all London because of Amelia’s eye for design. After Beau Brummel, Amelia was considered the highest arbiter of women’s fashion. Although she hated the image of herself as another boring society woman whose only interest was fashion. She was an artist who saw color and shapes in everything around her.

Amelia grumbled. “I really don’t need to have everything perfect.”

Hen shifted on the settee and raised both eyebrows, accenting her round emerald eyes. “You changed the ribbon on my wedding dress at least five times to get the exact color of green moss. And the color of the hydrangeas and the candles… Should I go on?”

Amelia resisted pointing out that Hen looked magnificent on her wedding day because of Amelia’s meticulous attention to every aspect of the event.

Hen fingered the sleeve of her gown. “And your protégé is worse. He couldn’t be more persnickety.”

“Pierpont is a wonderful help. He knows a great deal about fabrics, flowers, and proper etiquette.” Amelia wanted to bite her tongue. She sounded like the snobbish society ladies she detested.

“I can’t like him. There is something very cagey about him,” Hen added.

“You’ve been listening to Derrick, haven’t you?”

Hen shook her head. “Derrick hasn’t said a word to me.”

Amelia raised her eyebrows. “Are you sure?”

“Derrick barely speaks to me. I think he’s intimidated by my size and my waddle.”

Amelia snickered. “You might be right. It is rather startling to think that the two bravest men in England are afraid of one pregnant woman.”

 

 

 

Jacki Delecki is a Best-Selling, Romantic Suspense writer. Delecki’s Grayce Walters Series, which chronicles the adventures of a Seattle animal acupuncturist, was an editor’s selection by USA Today. Delecki’s Romantic Regency The Code Breaker Series hit number one on Amazon. Both acclaimed series are available for purchase at JackiDelecki.com.

To learn more about Jacki and her books, and to be the first to hear about contests and giveaways, join her newsletter found on her website. You can also follow Jackie on Facebook and Twitter.

 

And now for the giveaway…

Bouquets are a wedding tradition that have been around for a long time, including in Regency weddings. What is your favorite type of wedding flower?

Drop your answer in the comments below to be entered for a chance to win an ebook copy of A Wedding Code and a $10 Amazon gift card!

 

And don’t forget to always #ReadARegency!

 

Keep Calm and Read This! ~The Matchmaking Game by Donna Hatch~

Keep Calm and Read This! ~The Matchmaking Game by Donna Hatch~

I’m honored to have best-selling author Donna Hatch visit today. She has a new novella debuting April 18th, but we get a sneak peek here … and it’s available for preorder!


Title: The Matchmaking Game
Heat level: Sweet (clean)
Genre: Regency Romance
Length: Novella ~ 126 pages

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

With a gesture at a basket tied to the saddle, she said, “I had Cook pack plenty of those seedcakes Nurse Murray likes so well, as well as lemon tarts for you.” She made a face. “I’ll be sure to grab one before you devour them all and leave me with nothing but crumbs.”

He laughed softly. “Would I do that?”

Her impish grin filled him with sunshine. “It was your habit.”

With a flippant shrug, he teased, “It was for your own good. I didn’t want you to get too fat.”

She made a gesture to her waistline. “Do I look like I need someone to monitor my eating habits?”

He made a perusal of her, letting his gaze travel from her face downward, slowly, but forgot he was supposed to be teasing her. Instead, he took a really good look. Fourteen-year-old Rowena had been as curvy as a blade of grass. Twenty-three-year old Rowena, with her figure accentuated by her fitted riding habit—so much more flattering than the normal, high-waisted gowns of the day’s fashions—had the graceful, generous curves of a Greek statue of Aphrodite. A new tightness formed inside his chest.

Rowena looked at him as if she’d never seen him before. Surprise, and something almost smug, deepened the gray of her eyes. She put a hand on a hip. “Like what you see, Captain?”

He tugged at a suddenly strangling cravat and cleared his throat. “Forgive me. You’ve changed.”

“How kind of you to notice,” she said dryly. “Give your major a leg up?”

With a smile at her reference to the honorary rank he’d given her, Evan dismounted. He laced his fingers together so she could mount her horse. A pert smile came his way before she placed her left foot in his cupped hands. She put one hand on his shoulder to steady herself as he boosted her up. Her soft body brushed his arm and chest. Her scent, something soft and feminine he could not name, tingled his senses. Mere inches away, her smooth cheek and moist lips taunted him. His chest squeezed, and his knees wobbled. Awareness of her, of the desirable woman she had become, rendered him immobile. She glanced at him, one brow raised, and a half smile curving those luscious lips. A burning energy formed in the middle of his stomach and shot outward like sunbursts.

She parted those lips and spoke. “Am I too heavy for a big, strong man like you?”

“Er, no. Of course not.” He cleared his throat again and boosted her up with a bit too much force.

Despite his aggressive boost, she placed her right leg over the leg rest of the sidesaddle and found her balance. She settled the long, heavy skirts of her riding habit around her, while he helped position her left foot in the stirrup.

With the reins in one hand and her riding crop in the other, she eyed him with an expectant lift to her brows. “Shall we?”

He shook his head, stopped staring, and mounted Otoño. It must be all Winnie’s talk about courting Rowena that had him so rattled. He couldn’t entertain such an idea. He’d made a vow to Joseph and all but promised himself to Cynthia. Besides, as an additional benefit, Cynthia’s dowry could restore the family fortune without having to sell off some of its most precious assets and break up generations of holdings. His path was already paved. Honor and duty dictated his next move.

Click Here to Pre-order on Amazon today!

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

Click HERE to receive the first novel in her Rogue Hearts series for free.

Click HERE to subscribe to Donna’s newsletter.

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And don’t forget to always #ReadARegency!

Keep Calm and Read This! Tara Randel ~ A Heartwarming Christmas

Keep Calm and Read This! Tara Randel ~ A Heartwarming Christmas

I know, I know – it’s not even Halloween yet and here I go with Christmas.

Obstinate Headstrong Girl author Renée Reynolds. Guest author today - Tara Randel!

But this is a 99¢ pre-Christmas goodie set from 15 romance authors. One of the contributors, Tara Randel, stopped by today to share a bit about it.

Obstinate Headstrong Girl author Renée Reynolds. Guest author today ~ Tara Randel!

We have a few more months until holiday mania arrives, but it’s never too early to get excited. Before you know it, it’ll be Thanksgiving. Food, football and Black Friday shopping! Just as quickly, it will be time to string colorful lights outside, decorate the tree and wrap presents for loved ones. I’m one not one of those who wishes to celebrate Christmas year round. I love the anticipation, the months of excitement leading up to those special days in December. Then on to New Year’s resolutions.

What are the things I look forward to during the holiday season? Making memories tops my list. I love spending time with family, relaxing and reminiscing. Add some good food to the mix and as far as I’m concerned, the holidays are a success.

When my daughters were young, I loved shopping for presents. I actually enjoyed braving the mall and toy stores. There is nothing like the magic of a child tearing into the wrapped gifts under the tree on Christmas morning. When my daughters got older, opening presents was fun, but nowhere near as entertaining as when they still believed in Santa. I’m looking forward to the time when I have grandchildren and the magic returns.

Some folks look forward to the cold weather and hope for a white Christmas. Not me. It doesn’t snow where I live, and I can honestly say I don’t miss the cold, white stuff one little bit. Beautiful winter landscape pictures are enough for me.

In Cooking Up Christmas, Gabi Fortier, general manager of the Blue Spruce Mountain Resort can’t wait to reopen the lodge just in time for Christmas. She has big plans to decorate from top to bottom. But not if Simon Tucker, new head chef, has anything to say about it. At least in the dining room, that is. Or on the menu. The kitchen is his domain, no matter how Gabi tries to convince him otherwise. 

“Look at this.” Henry chuckled as he withdrew a stack of what looked like large Christmas cards. Gabi scooted closer as he handed her the collection.

“They’re old menus,” she said as she sifted through the lot. “From holiday dinners. Going back to…the sixties.”

“Ash’s grandmother loved cooking for the holidays. Her husband indulged her and every year had a grand menu printed up for the guests.”

“This is incredible. What a cool piece of history.” Gabi placed the menus on her lap. Fingered the edge of the one laying on top. So much love had gone into Christmas preparations here. Gabi wouldn’t let it slip away. “I have an idea.”

Simon still didn’t look thrilled. “Why do I know I won’t like it?” 

She stood. “Why not go through the old menus? Pick out a few favorites dishes and add them to the Christmas Eve feast list.”

“I have the menu planned.”

Cringing at his stubborn expression, she said, “Which is probably as far from traditional as you can get.”

“What’s wrong with new?”

“Nothing. But people love to be nostalgic over the holidays.” She spread her hand out over the room. “Just like people love decorations, reminding them of happy years. The joy and wonder of waiting for Santa when you were a kid. Or Christmas as a new parent, seeing it through your kid’s eyes. Everyone remembers something special from a Christmas gone by. So we need to offer them a glimpse of Christmas past.” 

Simon’s scowl grew deeper.

“This isn’t about your cooking skills, Simon. It’s about giving our guests an experience they’ll never forget.”

I hope you enjoy Cooking Up Christmas, one of three stories in Holiday Heroes, part of A Heartwarming Holiday, 15 connected sweet holiday stories. Find out just how Gabi and Simon wage their battle of wills over Christmas tradition. Pre-order now to make sure you have a copy just in time for the holidays. I can see a warm fire and a cup of hot cocoa calling your name!

This holiday season, warm your heart with 15 connected sweet, clean & wholesome holiday romances set in Christmas Town from 15 Harlequin Heartwarming authors who are USA Today, national bestselling, and award-winning authors.

There are five connected books in A Heartwarming Holiday. That means each set of three novellas shares characters and storylines! This collection of PG-rated holiday romances are all set in Christmas Town, Maine, a location introduced in the 2014 Harlequin Heartwarming release Christmas, Actually.

Obstinate Headstrong Girl author Renée Reynolds. Guest author today ~ Tara Randel ~ with Cooking Up Christmas

Obstinate Headstrong Girl author Renée Reynolds. Guest author today ~ Tara Randel ~ with Cooking Up Christmas

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Grab your copy today!

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Obstinate Headstrong Girl author Renée Reynolds

 

 

Obstinate Headstrong Girl author Renée Reynolds

Obstinate Headstrong Girl author Renée Reynolds

 

 

 

 

Guest author Tara Randel visits Obstinate Headstrong Girl author Renée Reynolds

Tara Randel is an award-winning, USA TODAY bestselling author of twelve novels. Family values, a bit of mystery and, of course, love and romance, are her favorite themes, because she believes love is the greatest gift of all. She is currently working on new stories for Harlequin Heartwarming, The Business of Weddings series, as well as books in a new series, Amish Inn Mysteries. Visit Tara at www.tararandel.com. Like her on Facebook at Tara Randel Books.

 

Keep Calm and Read This! Susan Ann Wall ~ Suspicion Collection

Please welcome romance author Susan Ann Wall.  She writes writes racy, rule-breaking contemporary romance, women’s fiction, and romantic suspense.  She also has some special deals running on her novels.  So without further ado, let’s hear from Susan.

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Memories of a Spelling Bee Champion

Scaffolding. S C A F F O L D I N G. Scaffolding.

I remember it more clearly than I remember yesterday. It was March. I was in 8th grade. We were in the school gym. My friend Karen stood to my right and had spelled her word wrong. I was given scaffolding. I asked for a definition. The light came on and 11 letters later, I became a spelling bee champion. It was a dream FINALLY come true!

Then the call came.

Two days after I won, the vice principal called to inform my parents of the scheduling error. The regional bee had been held 9 days earlier. It was the last year I was eligible to compete. Just like that, my dream was crushed. Twenty-nine years later, I still hold the grudge.

Last week both of my boys competed in the school spelling bee. It was a super proud moment for me as a spelling bee champion, but having two of your kids compete is almost as bad as having both of your teams (Seahawks and Patriots) make it to the Super Bowl (I’m rooting for the Seahawks, by the way, and for the reasoning behind that, visit me at Ariele Sieling’s Blog.

Twenty-four kids competed, four each from grades 3 – 8. My boys are in 4th and 7th grades. It was the fifth round, several kids had gone out but many remained. Crazy Son (4th grader) got the word ‘domestic’. I held my breath through each letter until he added a K at the end. It was heart-breaking, but he’s more of a math and science kid, so the fact he made it to the spelling bee and lasted four rounds was a huge accomplishment. Several kids down the line and it was Charming Son’s turn. Again, I held my breath. I don’t remember the word he got, but when he spelled it correctly I cheered and clapped.

And everyone looked at me.

We had been instructed not to clap except for at the end of the round or when a contestant went out. I broke that rule loudly and proudly. (And then apologized for my obvious inability to control myself, but hey, I’m a spelling bee champion and BOTH my boys were competing).

A couple rounds later, Charming Son was given the word ‘novelist’. What are the chances? Thank goodness he spelled it correctly and I didn’t have to disown him. And the teacher reading the words looked for me in the crowd, because like I said, what are the chances?

Charming Son took 4th place. He went out on the word ‘celestial’. Again, so incredibly proud and that’s a tough word that we don’t throw around very often in our house, so he didn’t have any experience with it in conversation. I was actually quite proud of his misspelling because he tried to spell it as one would spell ‘solar’ and to me, that makes complete sense.

Though next year will be Charming Son’s last year to compete, Diva Daughter is only in 3rd grade now, so I have many years of potential spelling bee competitions to look forward to.

Do you have a proud achievement as a child that you remember vividly? Or one that your kids have been able to experience as well?

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You can find Susan at her Website, or on Facebook or Twitter.

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The Sound of Suspicion is free on Amazon January 30 – February 3.

 

 

 

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Relay for Love will be featured at a special sale price February 3 – 5 at Amazon and other ebook retailers.

 

 

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A Flame Burns Inside will be featured at a special sale price February 3 – 5 at Amazon and other ebook retailers.