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.

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And don’t forget to always #ReadARegency!

WOW ~ Word of the Week ~ Victualling Office

WOW ~ Word of the Week ~ Victualling Office

The definition of what is considered ideal for body size changes from generation to generation, much like fashion. Historically, those with a little extra padding around their middle were usually considered wealthy, healthy, and blessed; those who could afford to, ate, and ate extravagantly.

Daniel Lambert; the Wonderful Great Pumpkin of Little Brittain published by R Ackermann 4 May 1806, Royal Collection Trust.

Daniel Lambert; the Wonderful Great Pumpkin of Little Brittain published by R Ackermann 4 May 1806, Royal Collection Trust.

This was certainly true during the era of the Georges, from the arrival of the First on England’s shores in August of 1714, to the death of the portly well favored Fourth in 1830.  A man’s (and some women’s) castle seemed to be found in his middle.

A Voluptuary Under the Horrors of Digestion (King George IV) by James Gillray, published by Hannah Humphrey 2 July 1792, National Portrait Gallery.

A Voluptuary Under the Horrors of Digestion (King George IV) by James Gillray, published by Hannah Humphrey 2 July 1792, National Portrait Gallery.

Victualling Office (noun)

The stomach.

A sound argument could be made that throughout the Georgian era, much sartorial emphasis was placed on the middle of a man’s torso. In point of fact, author Lucinda Brant has an entire Pinterest board devoted to precisely that: The 18th Century Power Paunch. A man’s victualling office was front and center in portrait after portrait, in elaborate waistcoats embellished with lace and myriad fobs. The quintessential “if you’ve got it, flaunt it” poster children.

So how did the well-healed become so paunchy? Glad you asked. Let’s consult the Supersizers as they Go Regency.

Keep Calm and Read This! Jane Leopold Quinn ~ The Long Road to You

Cowboy rides horse between two large boulders

Jane Leopold Quinn takes over today to talk about her newest release, The Long Road To You (The Brothers Agee Series).

Cowboys are my first love.  The Long Road To You is Nick’s story.  A few months before this story begins, Nick and his brother Jake had reunited in an odd way, endangering Jake’s love, Ivy.  Jake and Ivy, the first story in this series, features the characters in the title – Jake the drifter horse trader and Ivy the eastern girl who falls in love with the Flamenco.  Nick comes to visit his brother and meets Margee McPherson; well, he actually yanks her off a rearing horse.  Their story needed to be told.

cowboy_silhouette

Nick Gabriel, orphan, outlaw, reformed man, yearns for what his brother Jake has – land, a home, and best of all, a loving wife.  Nick pulls a woman off a rearing horse, slamming her sexy, lithe body against his, the impetuous action setting him to lose his heart.

Margee McPherson’s whole world revolves around running the ranch her father left her and handling the creepy ranch foreman she also inherited.  Years before, she’d made a mistake that ended tragically.  Now, she won’t allow the drifter cowboy, Nick Gabriel, to get anywhere near her no matter how tall, dark, and handsome he is, and how much she longs to be in his arms.

Both have secrets in their pasts.  Will Margee’s fear and guilt keep her from moving forward with her life?  Nick’s fallen in love with the beautiful rancher.  Can he prove to her his roaming days are over?  And will they survive their past secrets, finding the love they didn’t know they craved?

cowboy wanted

Joshua, California 1881

Agee Ranch

The day was warm for early spring in the mountains, the sky luminously blue and topped with a few high clouds mashed-looking as if with the tines of a fork. Unlike the heavy, hot, moist heat of the southern part of the state, the air was arid up here. Fir trees on the mountain slopes had a crisp, clean, triangle-like look.

Nick had known where Jake and Ivy had settled since they’d reunited several months ago.  He’d debated with himself if he should stay away or seek them out.  But at thirty-one, he was weary of the uncertainty and loneliness of tramping around the country. Reuniting with Joey, who now went by the more grown up sounding Jake, had been bittersweet. Thank God the kid had turned out all right and not like his jail bird older brother.

He’d been hired by her father to find the runaway Ivy Westlake. It was a once in a lifetime chance that the baby brother he hadn’t seen for fifteen years was with her. He’d been jealous of the obvious love between Jake and Ivy, but he’d had a job to do. Then she was kidnapped by his own two henchmen. After rescuing her, he’d protected her all the way to Los Angeles, holding her when she’d vomited every morning. When he learned she was pregnant with Jake’s child, he’d promised to find Jake and send him to her in Mexico. But Jake had found her all by himself.

Now it seemed Nick had found them here together with a ranch of their own and a baby on the way. Family. Something he’d never really had. Something he was aching for now.

The ranch house, painted white and with a wide porch, looked inviting.  A wooden fence surrounded a large swath of grass across the front with bushes and flowers as a border.  He smiled as he rode closer.  It appeared Jake had the ideal home.  A woman leaned against the porch railing, one hand above her eyes to cut the sun so she could see better.  Ivy.  God, she looked wonderful even at a distance and heavy with child.

“Jake, come out here!”

Nick reined in at the bottom of the porch steps, his expression neutral. After all, he had no inkling if Jake would be happy to see him.

The Long Road To You is available here: Amazon – The Long Road To You

Jake and Ivy is available here: Amazon – Jake and Ivy

about-the-author

Sensual fantasies were locked in my mind for years until a friend said, “Why don’t you write them down?”

Why not, indeed.

One spiral notebook, a pen and the unleashing of my imagination later, and here I am with more than a dozen books published. The craft of writing erotic romance has become my passion and my niche in life. I love every part of the creative process — developing characters, designing the plot, even drawing the layout of physical spaces from my stories. My careers have been varied — third grade school teacher, bookkeeper, secretary — none of which gave me a bit of inspiration. But now I’m lucky enough to write romance full time — the best job in the universe!

 

Find Jane on the web:

Blog

Twitter

Amazon Author Page

 

Discover these other books by the author:

Ellora’s Cave

Lost and Found

The Real Deal

Indie

Valentine’s Day

His, Hers & His

The Keeper

Soldier, Come Home

Winning Violetta

A Promise at Dawn

Jake and Ivy

Wooing the Librarian

Home to Stay

The Long Road to You

Siren

Undercover Lover

Mercenary Desires

I’ll Be Your Last

Keep Calm and Read This! Heather Diane ~ The Viscount and the Vicar’s Daughter

The Viscount and the Vicar's Daughter ~ Heather Diane

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We met author Heather Diane on Monday when she featured her latest novel, Falling For Santa, free for two days on Amazon (read all about that here).  When I found out Heather’s first novel, a Regency-set historical romance entitled The Viscount and the Vicar’s Daughter, would be free today and tomorrow as well, I asked her to stop by again to tell us about this story and introduce us to her main character.

Horizontal swirls web color THE VISCOUNT Kit Wimberton’s unexpected return to his country estate sets the neighborhood ablaze with gossip. Nobody knows why such a wealthy and attractive marriage prize should bury himself in the country. Kit seems unwilling to pay attention to anything but his beloved horses, rebuffing the humble vicar who tries to call his attention to the poverty of the estate’s tenants. But despite Kit’s contempt for the church, he finds himself irresistibly drawn to the vicar’s lovely daughter.

THE VICAR’S DAUGHTER Impoverished Sophie Bantling sees nothing in her future but a spinsterhood spent taking care of her father’s ramshackle parish—until she is nearly run down by the viscount on one of his famous horses. Although his hostility toward the church disturbs her, she finds herself flattered by his attention and charmed by his conversation. When she discovers that a deeply wounded man grieves beneath the mask of wealth and privilege, she yearns to heal his heart. But disaster strikes the village because of Kit’s negligence, and Sophie must make the hardest decision of her life—abandon the people who desperately need her help or destroy her friendship with the man she has grown to love.

Horizontal swirls web colorWhat is your character’s name? Does he have a nickname?

Christopher Wimberton, Viscount Wimberton (it’s actually kind of a big deal to have a last name that’s the same as that of your estate because it indicates that your family has been part of the nobility for a verrrry long time). His nickname is Kit—only those on intimate terms with him are allowed to use it. Everyone else calls him Wimberton. Or, “My lord.”

Who are your character’s friends and family? Who does he surround himself with?

Kit wants to escape everybody he knows, which is why he’s finally taken up residence at his country estate. Unfortunately for him, his sister’s husband is abroad on a diplomatic mission, so she moves in. Julia is determined to redecorate the house—and reorganize Kit’s life.

Where does your character go when he’s angry?

For a hard ride. Preferably on a horse that’s got a temper as hot as his.

Look at your character’s feet. Describe what you see there.

Riding boots, whenever his sister and his valet will let him get away with it! They’re glossy enough to see your reflection, thanks to his valet’s highly secret recipe for boot blacking.

Your character is doing intense spring cleaning. What is easy for him to throw out? What is difficult for him to part with, and why?

The whole manor house could burn to the ground, and Kit wouldn’t care. That is, as long as the stables are safe! He has more horses than his grooms can keep exercised, but he can’t bear to part with any of them.

Has your character ever had a broken heart?

Yes, in fact that’s what’s driven him to hide in the country. But his heart isn’t broken for the usual reasons. To find out more than that, you’re going to have to read the book. 😉

Let’s do just that!

get-your-copy-now

 

 

 

 

Free only at Amazon and only on Friday and Saturday, December 26-27!

You can also catch up with Heather at her Website (and sign up for her newsletter to hear about new releases and other cool stuff), and follow her on Twitter.

#FallBackInTime with Historical Romance

Fall Back in Time with Historical Romance on November 1st

On the first Saturday in November, we here in the United States “fall back.”  We don’t literally fall back: we just make time go, well, backwards.  Every American (except those dogged rebels in Arizona and Hawaii) collectively sets their clocks back one hour to mourn observe the end of Daylight Savings Time and the return to Standard Time – or as I like to call it, “that time of year when daylight runs away too quickly, and it gets dark at 4:30pm, making me crazy-sleepy by 8:00pm.”

This year, however, the Historical Romance Network is livening up this sad task by asking fans of our genre to post selfies with a favorite historical romance novel.  Our selfies will let us “Fall Back in Time” to show how much we love our historicals!  And our genre is more diversified than ever: under the title Historical Romance you can find the subgenres of Viking, Medieval, Tudor, Elizabethan, Georgian, Regency, Victorian, Pirate, Colonial America, Civil War, Western, and Native American.  Those subgenres can be broken down even further into Paranormal, Erotic, Time Travel, Steampunk – well, you get the idea.

Historical Romance offers something (or several somethings) for every taste and interest.

Nerdy girls read love too!

So what’s my #FallBackInTime?

I’m falling back upon my introduction to the historical romance, which happened at the ripe old age of 15.  I was bored to tears one summer, stuck at my grandparents’ house with the classic “there’s nothing to do around here” complaint.  My sweet grandmother took me back to her room, to the back of her closet, and revealed her secret stash of romance novels.  They were stacked floor-to-ceiling.  They were amazing.

G.G.'s romance stash

G.G.’s closet romance stash – IKR?!

Alas, I was not allowed to dive willy-nilly into those books sporting colorful covers of bare-chested heroes and swooning heroines.  My grandmother, with her quiet southern drawl, gently instructed “Renée, you’re too young for the likes of Barbara Cartland and Kathleen Woodiwiss, but you can help yourself to the third shelf from the bottom.”  (My, how my G.G. would blush at my TBR shelf!)  Thus I chose my first historical romance.  It was nothing like what I read or write today, but it was enough to get me hooked.  Behold, Love Comes Softly, by Janette Oke.

#FallBackInTime - way back to 1991

#FallBackInTime – way back to the hardcover of Love Comes Softly that I first read in 1991

Now it’s time for you to get in on the fun!

Dig through your shelves of books and post a selfie showing your first or favorite historical romance.  Get creative and snap a shot of your face between the first and last historical romances you read.  Immortalize yourself with the book from your favorite subgenre (go Regency!).  Take a selfie with your desert island must-have.

Just hashtag your picture #FallBackInTime.  Tweet it to me @eenayray, post it in the comments below, or head over to the Fall Back In Time Facebook Page and share your selfie with other Historical Romance addicts.

Hit me with your best shot!

Who wouldn't love a flirty rake with a fan?