Meantime In Glencoe…..

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Plenty slainte in Glencoe last few days.
Games of pool played- 4
Games of pool won – 4
Miles walked—- Many
Amount of walks – 4
Drink consumed–no telling
Weather– pretty Baltic
Amount of laughs–tons
Bands listened to -1

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When in Prague…… Meet the Golem

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Prague City Break, after managing to work the hotel lifts and how to cross the roads the Czech way, went something like….
Hotels stayed in- 1—The Jurys Inn. Can well recommend.
Roads nearly killed on ? None.
Quarters visited- 3–Old Town, New Town, Jewish.
Museums visited-3– Franz Kafka, the Anthropoid Church Museum, Zidovske Museum
Attractions visited- 9 – Old Town Square, Astronomical Clock, Wenceslas Square, Old Jewish Cemetery, the Anthropoid Church, Charles Bridge, Charles Square, St Nicholas Church, Spanish Synagogue,
Bars visited– Certainly more than one.
Drinks consumed– A shocking amount including Cocktails, Czech beers, wine, and Bailey’s Irish cream nightcaps.
River Cruises with live music – 1
Pairs of new shoes bought – 1
Miles walked -well over 13.
Trams taken – 1
Possibilities of returning? Count us in.

 

I’m talking about love…

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Lady Fury.  MeWhy would I do that?   What kind of a re-release day jaunt in this?

 

Lady Fury – I didn’t know she did. She doesn’t either.  As to why she writes them? Well, publishers are always looking for romances.

Lady Fury – Excuse me. Who was asked along here to do this post? On love? And answer questions about myself?

 

Lady Fury —Dudes, can we just please…..

 

She’s back. …in every way.

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Shey – Cos frankly I had to kick your butts into gear.

Shey- it is kind as you’re getting till you get back into line.

‘Had her mind really whispered Lady Margaret this morning? James Flint Blackmoore. Pig. Pig. Complete. Absolute. Pig. Bastard. Now, that’s what she should have thought.’

Her gorge rose even though she had something on him now. A shipload in fact. Rescind the rules? In her dreams. His too. The bastard could take what he got and welcome.

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Genoa 1820

Malmesbury would father the heir to the Beaumont dukedom. Count Vellagio wasn’t a contender. What she’d logged in her book about him this afternoon said it would be a huge mistake anyway. The same for the Duke of Southey—young, certainly, but a drunk with quiffed hair and filthy fingernails.

No, Malmesbury was the best. The only. Intelligent without being painful, fashionable yet not a dandy, and retaining enough of his looks at the age of fifty not to  be outright repulsive.

Of course, it would have helped if Thomas could have fathered the Beaumont heir himself. But as he lay dead in a box in the cellar, that wasn’t likely.

“Gentlemen, you know as well as I do, this is an unusual evening.” Shivers ran up and down Lady Fury Shelton’s spine as she stood in the center of her darkened antechamber.

With its festooned corners and gold-scrolled furniture, the carmine-walled room was the best place for such an assignation, although the tiled floor and the cool clang of evening bells snaking in through the parted shutters made it chillier than usual. The candlelight glinting on the pale oval of Messalina’s face on the hanging above the bed, too. Earlier, the air had been hotter than a boiled lobster. She’d had to change twice in the space of an hour because she was too.

“Hear, hear.” Southey raised his crystal glass.

Where else, but to his obviously parched lips. A toast to her? Already it was obviously beyond his capability to sit down facing her as the other men were, with their drinks untouched on the tiny tables beside them, the epitome of good manners.

“My interviews are complete. Shortly, I will make my choice. Then, having done so, I will invite the said gentleman to this bedroom, where he will perform his duty as often as necessary.”

“All in one night. I say, that’s a tall order for a man. Isn’t it, chaps?”

For Southey, yes, it would be. Given the state in which he’d arrived at her door this afternoon, and what he’d sunk of her amaretto and limoncello in the meantime, it was a miracle he could still stand there against the marble fireplace. Never mind anything else.

But she wasn’t about to debate the subject. Maybe she was fit to snap the spine of the tooled leather book she was clutching–a pity it wasn’t his throat—the Moon could not look serener.

“I say, Fury, how the blazes are you going to tell right away?” Southey hiccupped. “Don’t them things take weeks and weeks to find out?”

“The one chosen will be here for weeks. Those not chosen,”—him in other words–“will leave within the hour. I think we may be clear that at any time in the future, should any one of you breathe a word to anyone about this, I will find out. I have sufficient information in this book here to ruin each and every one of you. Make no mistake, I will use it.”

“By God, Fury, you don’t need to talk like that about any of us, I’m sure,” Malmesbury, who had so far watched the proceedings with an amused smile, muttered. “You want to get one over on Thomas; I, for one, don’t blame you. We all saw him sneaking about with that Porto Antican tart when you first arrived.”

“Yes.” Who hadn’t?

“And do you think we’re unaware what his illness has done to him? The rages? The drinking? The way he keeps you here like a pet poodle?”

That too. Thomas wasn’t who she was getting one over on, but she couldn’t very well say so here.

She held in her hands every dirty little secret concerning these men. All documented in the yellow, dog-eared pages of her book. The leaves also contained letters, bills, testimonies, transactions. She kept it all beneath lock and key. So they obeyed her.

In fact, she kept dirty secrets on every member of the aristocracy she came into contact with, so she was safe for another hour, another day. She was hardly about to lose that balance of control by admitting this wasn’t about Thomas.

No. She could have paid a Porto Antican organ grinder to father her child and walked away, no questions asked. The one at the end of the harbor was handsome enough. But Lady Margaret would smell an organ grinder’s bastard at a hundred paces. Hadn’t the woman scented Fury?

Malmesbury shifted in his chair. “Where is he, by the way?”

“Who? Thomas? Thomas is visiting his father.”

No lie. Had any of these men facing her in the flickering candlelight known whether Thomas’s father lived or died, she’d never have chosen them.

“Even if he wasn’t, Thomas wants you to know me well. That is why he’s gone.” She hesitated. Thomas would spare her this next lie, although there was more than one grain of truth in it now. “Sadly, it is more than he can do himself these days. Now, I must ask you all to return to your chambers and wait. My mind is almost made up. Susan, here, will call in due course for the chosen one to return. And we’ll begin.”

“Dash it, that’s good to know.” Southey thumped his glass down on the marble mantelpiece.

In addition to his drinking, his casual mistreatment of the Murano goblet, while not worth an entry in her book, made him all the more unsuitable. What careless traits might a child inherit? Besides, his odor as he staggered past her made her stomach heave. It took every ounce of her self-control to remain where she was, inhaling the fragrance of the citrus-scented candle Susan had lit to disperse the gloom.

He paused and turned toward her. “All this cloak and dagger stuff is killing, you know.”

“Yes. Certainly for some.”

“What if you can’t … you know?”

“Oh, I’m sure I can.”

Malmesbury got to his feet. “I shall wait then, Fury.”

There was no doubt his palms itched to touch her, but she shrank from letting him. It didn’t bode well for later, but at least he didn’t smell. There wasn’t a single crease in his immaculate silver frock coat. And his shoe buckles not only shone, they sparkled. His valet must be remarkable, whoever he was.

Count Vellagio was silent as the crypt. Speaking limited English—and not much more Italian—he always was, unless it was absolutely necessary.

It was one mercy at least.

***

“Oh, I will fetch the chosen one, will I?” Susan folded her arms across her ample bosom, the instant the door closed.

Fury managed two steps and sank down at her dressing table. “Just cover the bruises, will you? I can’t have them on show. It might affect the conception-–or at least it might affect their ability to perform. They see that and God knows what they’ll think. I know I would.” She tossed the book into the open drawer. “So?”

“Madam—”

“If I have to take a stick to your back, I will.”

“A stick? That’s fine talk, when I think of all I’ve done for you.”

“I know you mean well,” Fury wheedled, dabbing a little perfume on her wrists. “But I believe it’s important for a woman to look her best, regardless of the situation. So don’t argue. I honestly can’t take arguing tonight. I don’t know if I can take anything more.”

“Look your best? For a bunch of drunken old faggots. Sadistic old faggots. Do you know what I heard about Vellagio today?”

Fury picked up her powder puff. When it came to looking her best, she might as well make a start, if Susan wasn’t going to help. “Whatever it was, you shouldn’t have been listening.”

“It was at the market. How could I help it?”

“By covering your ears. Anyway, I thought you didn’t speak Italian?”

“He uses boys. Young boys. Whether they want to or not. He whips them too.”

For a moment Fury stared at the marbled surface of the table. If she could draw strength from its veins to hers, that would be nice. If she could draw strength from anything, in fact. But she was past that now. All she could do was choose one of these old faggots.

“Really? Well, I heard it was young girls. But whichever it is, while I know you mean well, you’re not in my situation. In fact, it’s hard to think of anyone who is. But if anyone was, I’m sure they’d do what I’m doing.”

“You think.”

“We both know it’s this or nothing. I can’t … I won’t be cast off without a penny. Not again. It was bad enough the first time. And anyway, it’s no more than Lady Margaret deserves.” Wincing, she swept the dark fall of hair back from her neck. “Now, please, a little powder—”

“A little powder?” Susan folder her arms tighter. “It will take more than a little powder to cover that mess this time.”

“Just think like Lady Macbeth, will you? And stop arguing. You’ve done it before.” Fury raised her head as a gust of wind blew in through the open shutters. “Anyway, the men aren’t all old. Or faggots.”

“Fine. Have it your own way.” Fury almost ceased breathing as Susan secured the shutters, then bustled across the floor. “You know you always do. Though I’m not thinking of Lady Margaret. Or of what she deserves, either. I’m thinking of you.”

“Then don’t. You know I don’t require it.”

“I’m thinking you should just tell that old toad where to stuff her money. You could find a protector here in Genoa. A woman like you.”

“A woman like me?” Fury met her green-eyed reflection in the not-yet-paid-for glass. “And what would that be, exactly?” Long ago she’d stopped wondering, buffeted by fortune’s changing winds. Forced to snatch what she could to survive. Always knowing one false foot-fall would bring her down. “Anyway, why would I want a protector? Thomas was that, at the start. Now look at me, without a penny to my name again. No. I’ve had my fill of protectors. I want to guarantee my future. The future of … Well …” Her eyes dulled in the glass. “You know as well as I do the things that are dear.”

“But madam, if you didn’t have the money to pay certain bills, my sister wouldn’t—”

“That’s what you say, when we all know money is the most important thing on the planet.” She dabbed a little rouge on her cheeks. “You know the dire nature of my predicament, what I must guarantee and why. That damned old bag hated me from the first. Don’t tell me she doesn’t lie awake at nights just thinking of new ways to torture and humiliate me. But poisoning Thomas’s father against me? Cajoling him on his death bed into insisting Thomas must provide an heir before succeeding to the dukedom? What kind of new low was that? One I would never stoop to. In fact, now I think about it, I don’t know anyone else who would. Well, it’s one blessing at least that Lady Margaret lives in England and I’m here. Even if, in other ways, that’s a torture to me.”

Susan sprinkled a dusting of powder onto the dressing table as if she were measuring the ingredients for a cake, and then wiped her hands down her apron. “Indeed I do, madam, I just think, in fact I know—”

Despite herself, Fury touched what glittered around her neck. The single midnight-blue pendant Thomas had given her two Christmases ago. The copy of it, rather. Because that, like this, was also burning necessity. Her Hatton Garden jewel-maker had served her well, though. Thomas had never once suspected a thing of her need for that kind of money, and how it ran to far more than blackmail.

“Before you say another word on the subject, Susan–-as I know you’re going to and you should know I don’t want to hear–-even this jewel here wouldn’t pay for what I need to guarantee for Storm. It’s like me. Fake.”

“Undervalued is what I’d say. What about blackmail, then? That book—”

“Blackmail is messy, which is why I’m locking the book away again.”

“It’s not my business, but when I think of all the years you’ve bribed dressmakers and housemaids and coachmen to get what’s in it …”

“Out of necessity only. Knowing that at any time, this could all tumble down. No. This is the best way. Besides, think how good it will feel, finally outfoxing Lady Margaret. She insists on an heir. She gets one. Do you really think I’m going to care if the old bat coos over some child that’s not Thomas’s? When that’s going to be the very best feeling in the world? Well?”

“You might not say that in nine months time.”

“I can’t think of a reason why not.”

“So, who are you considering, madam? Southey? He’s certainly the youngest.”

“Well, now I can’t possibly lower myself to having Vellagio, I’m thinking Malmesbury, actually.”

“Malmesbury?” Susan’s fingers didn’t falter, but Fury sensed her start of surprise. Not in admiration of her sense of judgment either.

“Oh, I do admit that Southey would probably be less trouble and far more malleable. But Malmesbury’s hardly one-legged and toothless. I’m sure he knows how to treat a woman properly. Besides, so long as he’s—not like Thomas—what does it matter?”

Truth to tell, if anyone could understand her predicament, Thomas would have. For her sake, he’d tried ensuring an heir. But these last six months, as what pressed on his brain swelled, well … she certainly didn’t want any man treating her like Thomas had.

“That would be hard, madam, given the things His Grace did to you.”

“Well, we must remember, he wasn’t always like that. No. I think I’ve decided, Malmesbury, and I … Well, I think I should just go along there and get it over with. The sooner the better, don’t you think?” She smoothed a smoky curl into place on her forehead. “Besides, my reckoning is, he positively expects it.”

“What? Malmesbury? That old–”

“Oh, yes.” She reached toward the open trinket chest. “Now, what do you think? Sapphire earrings or plain gold?”

“I don’t see either matters, since they’re not going to be on very long.”

“Just the same.” She fastened on the sapphire drops. “You obviously didn’t see the way he stared there just now. I very much doubt he can contain himself.”

“The old goat.”

“Well. Who knows? If he’s a randy one, it might even be rather fun.” She marveled at herself for laughing when shadows ringed her eyes. But there, so long as she got through this, what did it matter?

Susan’s hand rested on her shoulder. “Then I’ll get him for you, madam, if this is truly your choice.”

“No.” Fun or not—and she thought not—the notion of admitting him here, to the bed she’d shared with Thomas, didn’t seem quite right somehow, even if she did manage to conceive the Beaumont heir. “I—I’ll do it. I need to calm my nerves. What bedroom is he in again? I confess I’ve forgotten.”

“The Blue Chamber.”

“Well then, think of England, as they say. Wish me luck. And remember to lock the drawer. However I choose to use it, that book is still the world to me. We must see it doesn’t fall into the wrong hands.”

She rose, smoothed her dress—indigo silk, a perfect match for her hair and eyes– and took the candlestick.

If she did this, she forfeited forever her claim to be a respectable woman. Who was going to know though? Apart from herself, Susan and Malmesbury. That old coot would marry her in a second, if she gave the word. It was all the more reason to choose him. So why worry when the only thing that could possibly stand in her way was herself?

If she didn’t execute this task, then she faced being in the same position as she had been in seven years ago. It was fine at eighteen. But now, she needed to secure some things. Once she had, think of how free she’d be of men and all their machinations. For the first time ever. Women, too.

The Blue Chamber stood at the far end of the landing near the stairs, and she padded there noiselessly in the arc of the flickering candle, past the disapproving busts of the villa-owner Signor Santa-Rosa’s ancestors and the draped apertures, which she sometimes imagined hid more secrets than she did.

Malmesbury would be surprised to see her. Irresistibly dressed, jeweled, perfumed in a floating cloud of jasmine, and, hopefully, willing—as much as she could make herself, anyway. Who would know that beneath the rustling indigo silk, the heady, intoxicating jasmine she had bathed in earlier, she was like a skittish colt, ready to bolt? Was this how Marie Antoinette felt going to her execution? The queen’s deeds were certainly questionable. But her courage now? That was to be admired.

Besides, surprise could sometimes be the best method of attack. A man was, after all, a man. And, as she’d said to Susan, it might even be rather fun. If it wasn’t, well, in addition to swiftly retiring to her own bedroom, bolting the door and lying with cool lavender scented cloths on her forehead, there was her book, wasn’t there?

If he put a hand on her that was less than seemly, what she’d say to him on the subject of his murkier dealings would certainly ensure it would be fun the next time, if not before. Oh, this was going to be just fine.

Drawing a breath to quell her hammering heart, she raised her hand to tap on the door.

“Hello, sweetheart.” A low, American Southern voice drawled. Not from the other side of the door where she expected to hear something, but almost in her ear.

“Imagine seeing you here.”

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Genoa 1820

Rule One: There will be no kissing. Rule two: You will be fully clothed at all times…

Widowed Lady Fury Shelton hasn’t lost everything—yet. As long as she produces the heir to the Beaumont dukedom, she just might be able to keep her position. And her secrets. But when the callously irresistible Captain James “Flint” Blackmoore sails back into her life, Lady Fury panics. She must find a way to protect herself—and her future—from the man she’d rather see rotting in hell than sleeping in her bed. If she must bed him to keep her secrets, so be it. But she doesn’t have to like it. A set of firm rules for the bedroom will ensure that nothing goes awry. Because above all else, she must stop herself from wanting the one thing that Flint can never give her. His heart.

Ex-privateer Flint Blackmoore has never been good at following the rules. Now, once again embroiled in a situation with the aptly named Lady Fury, he has no idea why he doesn’t simply do the wise thing and walk away. He knows he’s playing with fire, and that getting involved with her again is more dangerous than anything on the high seas. But he can’t understand why she’s so determined to hate him. He isn’t sure if the secret she keeps will make things harder—or easier—for him, but as the battle in the bedroom heats up, he knows at least one thing. Those silly rules of hers will have to go…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gight Castle, the Gordons and Henderson Close.

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Gight Castle and the Lost Gold of Hagberry Pot BY CATHERINE CAVENDISH

 

CATHERINE CAVENDISH  —(Please insert pic 1)

 

 

 

Ghosts aplenty haunt the towns, cities and countryside of Scotland. Near the town of Fyvie in the Grampian region,

stands the ruin of Gight Castle – once the home of the Gordon family whose most famous son was the infamous ‘mad, bad and dangerous to know’ Lord Byron. Gight was his childhood home – he and his mother being the last of the Gordons to live there.

Throughout its history, it was the scene of hardship, financial disaster, murder and untimely deaths. Byron’s mother – Catherine Gordon – had to sell the castle to distant relation the third, Earl of Aberdeen in 1787 to pay off the considerable gambling debts run up by her husband.

Local 13th century poet and prophet, Thomas the Rhymer foretold, ‘At Gight three men by sudden death shall dee. And after that the land shall lie in lea’.

 

 

In 1791, George Gordon, Lord Haddo son of the Earl of Aberdeen, fell off his horse and died.

The castle was no longer lived in after that but at its Home Farm a couple of years later, one of the servants met a similar fate to that of the unfortunate Lord Haddo. Then a farmworker, who was working on demolishing one of the farmhouses, remarked that at least Thomas the Rhymer’s prophecy hadn’t been fulfilled, as only two people had died. The words were barely out his mouth before a wall fell on him, crushing him to death. The land was turned into lea. Now the prophecy was fulfilled.

The famous Ghost of Gight is said to be a piper who was working underneath the castle and was sent to investigate an underground passageway and never returned. The sound of his pipes can be heard among the ruins.

But there’s more. Indeed, there may be gold nearby. Legend has it that the seventh laird of Gight hid his treasure in the near bottomless pit that is Hagberry Pot, a short distance away on the River Ythan. He secreted it there during the Covenanters’ Riots in in 1644. After the rebellion ended, the laird tried to retrieve his treasure and sent a diver down to its murky depths to locate it and bring it up. The diver resurfaced, scared out of his wits. The Devil himself was guarding it, he said.

The laird was having none of it and forced the poor man to go down again. A few minutes ticked by and then the lifeless body of the diver floated up to the surface. The body was not intact. Something – or someone – had severed it into four parts.

 

It is said the laird’s gold and jewels remain down there – if you have the courage to go diving for it.

Legend also has it that some of the Gordons dabbled in sorcery and black magic and that the devil himself still visits the castle ruins.

For evil of a different kind, here’s what to expect from The Haunting of Henderson Close:

Ghosts have always walked there. Now they’re not alone…

In the depths of Edinburgh, an evil presence is released. Hannah and her colleagues are tour guides who lead their visitors along the spooky, derelict Henderson Close, thrilling them with tales of spectres and murder. For Hannah it is her dream job, but not for long. Who is the mysterious figure that disappears around a corner? What is happening in the old print shop? And who is the little girl with no face? The legends of Henderson Close are becoming all too real.

The Auld De’il is out – and even the spirits are afraid.

The Haunting of Henderson Close is available from:

Amazon

Barnes and Noble

Flame Tree Press

About the author:

 Following a varied career in sales, advertising and career guidance, Catherine Cavendish is now the full-time author of a number of paranormal, ghostly and Gothic horror novels, novellas and short stories. In addition to The Haunting of Henderson Close, Cat’s novels include the Nemesis of the Gods trilogy – Wrath of the Ancients, Waking the Ancients and Damned by the Ancients, plus The Devil’s Serenade, The Pendle Curse and Saving Grace Devine.

Her novellas include Linden Manor, Cold Revenge, Miss Abigail’s Room, The Demons of Cambian Street, Dark Avenging Angel, The Devil Inside Her, and The Second Wife

She lives with her long-suffering husband, and a black cat who has never forgotten that her species used to be worshipped in ancient Egypt. She sees no reason why that practice should not continue. Cat and her family divide their time between Liverpool and a 260-year-old haunted apartment in North Wales.

 

You can connect with Cat here:

 

 Catherine Cavendish

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Meet the Mr and Mrs.-reblog

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Meet the Mr. and the Mrs. –an interview with Pam Lazos, lawyer, author and environmentalist.

 

 

https://greenlifebluewater.wordpress.com/2019/01/14/meet-the-mr-and-the-mrs/

Meet the Mr. and the Mrs. –an interview with Pam Lazos, lawyer, author and environmentalist.

PAM – Unless you’re in Hollywood, it’s not often that you come across a husband and wife who both make their living in the arts.  My dear friend Shehanne Moore, a/k/a Lady Shey because of her work in writing historical romance, and her husband John Quigly, a/k/a the Mr., which is how the Lady refers to him, both have a passion for creating.  For years, Shey labored under a publisher, putting out title after title, only to be told that several of her books had shelf-lives and were soon going to be out of print.  So what did this Scottish-born lassie do?  Not acquiesce, I can tell you that. 

Rather than tow the antagonistic and inhospitable line, she did what any self-respecting woman would do?  (Well, maybe not any woman, but as you will note from her writing and her blog, Lady Shey is not just “any” woman.)  She pulled her books and started her own publishing company, Black Wolf Books.  If that sounds drastic and out-on-a-limb crazy, or even the stuff of fiction, well, it’s something all of Shey’s heroines have in common, a sharp mind, more than a bit of the sass and the ability to turn circumstances to their advantage at a moment’s notice.  

Then there’s the Mister, a playwright and director who producers several plays a year.  

I had a few questions for Shey and the Mr. which they were happy to answer.

First, Shehanne Moore — Lady Shey:

You’ve got control of your own line of books now that you’ve started your own publishing company.  Was that something you felt you had to do or did you just want a new challenge?   

It’s something I wanted to do for at least three years, but not only did we move house and that house required a lot of work, we gave a commitment to look after our very wee grandbaby two days a week after his mum got a hard-to-come-by position as a trainee lawyer, one it was vital she took, or she was looking at redoing the actual diploma bit of her degree to the tune of seven thousand pounds. So it went on hold until the moment I learned my books and those of all non-U.S authors had been pulled from our publishers without any warning. 

How is being a publisher different from being an author with a publisher standing behind you?  Are there fewer or more headaches associated with running your own business?

It is actually far less pressured. Okay it was a steep learning curve in terms of formatting the books for eBook and print, of finding cover images and graphic artists at a reasonable rate. But I did have experience at formatting a magazine.  The rest is far preferable to being hit with first round edits Christmas week, or final proofing the day before a book is going live. One of my books sat for over a year after I signed the contract on it before I saw an edit. Another never came out on the day it was meant to because I hadn’t seen an edit, while yet another publisher offered lousy royalty rates and wanted a book as part of a trilogy, every three months. Not that that’s a problem. I’ve done that. But being my own boss means I can work at my pace and release the books at my pace, too. I can also give –well, I hope this is what I am doing – other authors a chance because, yes, I’ve signed some, and I hope our working arrangements aren’t too shoddy either, having sat on both sides of this desk. 

You use your native homeland of Scotland as the backdrop in a lot of your stories and you’ve often said that Glencoe is one of your favorite places.  Tell us about it and how you use the natural beauty and inspiration of the Scottish Highlands to enhance your novels.  What other places have similarly inspired you?

Ooh, lots of places. I squirrel places away. Firstly I do so love Glencoe.  I set His Judas Bride there, under a different name. As an area of savage grandeur, moody mountains you can have entirely to yourself, plenty of adventure and the Clachaig Inn to stay in, it’s an area of outstanding, wild beauty. It was also the scene of a massacre in 1692, when Campbell soldiers fell upon their Macdonald hosts on government orders. The glen was pretty much a fortress then, so to come under banners of friendship was the smart way in. I liked the remote, fortress idea and two clans being thorns in each other’s sides. So I used that as well as several areas in Glencoe. But other places have cropped up in my books, too.  When we visited the monk’s cell at Mount Grace Priory in Yorkshire, I was so fascinated by it I started thinking where I could use it in a story, and I later did in Loving Lady Lazuli.  One bit of His Judas Bride that has nothing to do with Glencoe is the Black Wolf’s cave. That was based on the Cave of the Berkiris which is, in fact, on the Greek island of Spetses.  

You’ve described your heroines as “Smexy” — a blend of smart and sexy.  Were you the first to coin the term?   If so, how did you come up with it?  Of all the heroines you’ve written about, who is the smexiest?

I came across it not long after I started out and I rather liked it. I felt it wasn’t outright in your face, this sex. After all sex has been around awhile. And I do like to think of my ladies as smart. Of course, sometimes they’re not so smart when they fall for their men. Yes they stick to certain guns, they’re not weak-kneed, but they can unravel a bit. So I’d say when it comes to the smexiest . . . sorry Fury . . . it’s a toss up between her, and the very unlikely in some ways, and for entirely different reasons, Malice.  Both have been at love’s mercy, shall we say, and boy, it’s not happening again. 

Why historical romance?  What is it about the genre that captivates you?

I  have a passion for the past. I have always gravitated towards it in my reading, my viewing and my writing. Let’s face it, there’s plenty of epic events to set stories against. I truly never expected or wanted to write romance though—in fact I had to go take a good look at how to do it. But it was a way in so obviously, I chose historical as my genre. 

I was on your blog the other day and I noticed that you’ve created YouTube trailers for your books.  First, kudos to you for doing that monumental task and second, how the heck did you do it?!  Along those lines, where do you find the models for the covers of your books?  Who takes the photos?  Is there some Romance Writers stock photo selection that you could go to if you don’t have the resources to create your own cover?

Some of the images in my trailers are my own photographs, otherwise I am looking at what I can find. But the book covers, since I’ve got my rights to my Etopia titles, I buy from a site. Period Images is good, Istock  is worth checking. They have many of the  same images on Adobe Stock  but a hell of a lot cheaper. There’s also Romance Novel Covers. For me, it’s far cheaper to buy the license and then find a graphic designer on Fiverr to mock up a book cover from the image you then download. If I thought the results weren’t okay, I wouldn’t. I’d look at book cover designers, but I did a lot of that initially.  When I look on stock image sites I am looking for an image that gives me the book at a glance. And that’s why my books have gone back out in the order they’ve gone back out in. 

Can you give us a brief history of The Dudes and how they became a prominent feature on your blog? Do they whisper in your ear when you’re trying to sleep? Have they ever threatened mutiny?

Ah, the dudes. Well, blame then author Antonia Van Zandt. I had written this blog one day about how some aspiring authors, instead of thinking of the story drivers, goal, motivation and conflict, or how character is king, would hit it with everything they can think of, the druids of Stonehenge, the French Revolution, and I was going to put the emancipation of women and I put hamsters for a giggle.  Antonia asked me were we going to be seeing hamsters asking to be freed from cages. I said you never know, thinking no way, but hey … the rest was history. And yes, they mutiny every blog post. They make  what happened on board the HMS Bounty look tame. 

How did you and the Mr. meet?  Does your own love story ever find its way into your work?

We met across a copy of a Midsummer Night’s Dream.  And no, this is one story that hasn’t found its way, YET. 

Do you have any words of wisdom for struggling novelists?

Never give up. Sometimes the hardest thing is to keep believing. But be realistic. By that I mean we all have dreams of finding this and that, the big advance, the fabulous agent, the Hollywood screen deal. Welcome to the back of a very long queue.  You will break before you break down any wall that way. Take advice when it’s given, rewrite, rinse, repeat, study the craft, rinse, repeat. Study the market, rinse repeat. I see a lot of self-published books out there that are not for the supposedly targeted market. And if you are submitting, study the requirements, rinse repeat. If you want to hit the mark, any mark in this business, you have to know what it is and have it in your sights. 

And now let’s hear from the Mr., John Quinn:

 

 

You have one book out, “The Eyes of Grace O’Malley,” which is part love story, part history lesson, set in 1972 in Scotland during the miners strike when the city of Edinburgh was plagued with riots and rolling blackouts. How much research went into that book?

Unbeknownst to me, I researched a lot of it many years ago when I was a student at the University of Edinburgh and lived in the city. I stored things away. But of course, while writing the book I went back many times to walk streets, visits bars, coffee shops, museums, the precincts of the University, etc. I wanted to get a feel for the city again and make it a character in the book almost. Some of the research was done in the National Library of Scotland which figures in the story and Edinburgh City Libraries across the road. I also checked a few minor legal points in terms of Scots Law with my daughter who is a lawyer.

One of the protagonists is Scottish, the other Irish which gives you a lot of leeway to talk about history, heritage and family secrets.  Did you draw on any of your own history for the book?

I did. I’m Scots but of (mainly) Irish descent. For example the real Farrell Golden was my great-great grandfather, an Irishman who came to Dundee in the wake of An Gorta Mor (The Famine or Great Hunger). The story is imbued with (albeit fictionalised) autobiographical elements. I was present as a student at a protest in Edinburgh about the shooting of Civil Rights’ marchers in Derry a few days earlier. And I was ‘smuggled’ into Craiglockhart Convent and Catholic Teachers’ Training College during the blackout by my then girlfriend. This was before I met Shehanne Moore of course!!

I knew there was be a story there, John!  You say in the foreword to your book that you may never write another book.  Most writers are planning their next book before they even finish the last one.  What gives?  Did you find the novel-writing process more constricting then writing plays?  

I was being slightly tongue-in-cheek! In fact I’ve got almost forty thousand words towards another novel set in the present day – like the 1970s turbulent times. It’s also a love story about a man’s former teenage sweetheart who was supposed to be dead, but who re-appears under another name having been very much alive for decades. This  time the backdrop is the anti-nuclear movement in Scotland.

I like to try different types of writing. As well as the ‘possible’ second novel I’ve been writing lyrics for songs – I was actually asked to do this by a musician I know. We’re putting together an album of 12 songs which is a charity fund-raiser. And Shehanne Moore wrote the music for 2 of the songs!

Is there nothing you two can’t do?  You put on several plays a year and it seems you are intimately involved in all aspects of production.  Do you have backers?  Where do you get the ideas for so much content? How do you have time for it all?  Are you always working on the next play even while you are producing the first one? Have you always been a playwright or was there an occupation precedent? 

I’m a former teacher, but I’ve been involved in various types and aspects of theatre over many years. I don’t have backers – the group is informal and called Shoestring Theatre. It’s a bit like street theatre really. What I do have is a lot of brass neck (not sure of the equivalent expression over the pond). The play ‘O Halflins an Hecklers an Weavers an Weemin’ was based on research I’d done into the rich varied (and international) history of our home City Dundee and the Jute Industry which bestrode it for two centuries. Among the things the city is known for are the warmth, directness and mordant humour of the people, and the strength and character of its women. I find plenty of ideas around me in all of that.

How did you and the Lady meet?  Does your own love story ever find its way into your work?

I was playing Demetrius in ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ and the woman playing opposite me dropped out with three days to go.  In stepped this other woman.  We’ve now been together 38 years . . . .

Does your own love story ever find its way into your work?

John – I can’t speak for my wife but my own love story regularly finds its way into my writing.

Nice.  Do you have any words of wisdom for struggling playwrights?

I’d hate to be thought of as the fount of all knowledge on playwriting or anything else but it seems to me we learn to write by reading, watching and listening. And drama has to have conflict and pace and variety and passion and (where appropriate) humour.

For the Mr. and the Mrs.:  

You both work together on stage to create John’s plays.  Do you do the writing together, too?  

Shey:  No. We don’t write the same things. I think writing is a solitary occupation. And we’d probably kill each other if we had to work together.  He’s way too bossy. 

John:  Shey is the Director who has the vision and ideas about how scenes should be put across.

How is it working with a spouse?  Do you have creative differences that lead to a crisis or is one person in charge?  And when you do disagree, does that lead to a pervasive quiet at the dinner table or do you easily work through it?  

Shey:  I think we both agreed when I edited Grace O’Malley that it’s like teaching your spouse to drive. There were operatic moments, but I hope that any things pointed out as needing ‘fixed’ made for a stronger story and were things I had learned from working with publishers, editors and having done editing myself.  

John:  The Eyes of Grace O’ Malley was licked into shape by Shey as editor. Working with a spouse can, of course, lead to what is euphemistically known as free and frank exchanges of views and opinions. Coming from where we come from – Dundee – we’re both pretty direct and don’t really do ‘pervasive quiet’. That said, my novel would have been nothing without her fine tuning my ideas. However I have, not that I’m aware of, contributed to her story lines.

What other ways do you support each other in your work?  Are there any hard feelings when one says to the other “It still needs work.”?

Shey:  I think the best way we support each other is by giving each other space. I’m very much the night owl. Mr is the early bird. We each have all our own ideas for whatever we’re doing.  

John: We’ve known one another a long time and communicate easily. Having someone I know and trust to edit or direct my work or ask advice of is hugely reassuring to me.

 

The Eyes of Grace O’Malley by John Quinn

 

State…. Security… Secrets…

Scotland 1972. A turbulent place – miners’ strikes, blackouts, Clyde shipyard workers defying the British Government, oil discovered in the North Sea and the long and deadly arms of conflict in Ireland reaching across the Irish Sea.

Farrell Golden is a bright working class kid from Dundee with an Irish heritage. But he hasn’t always paid it much attention. Thanks to his family he’s made it to the University of Edinburgh against the odds. But does he want to stay there?

There’s beer and there’s women – in particular a beautiful ethereal English girl called Maggie. She’s out of the London stockbroker belt but she’s not all that she seems. Then there’s an Irish girl who is somehow familiar …

Roisin O’Malley’s not like any trainee teacher Farrell’s ever seen. What is she getting away from in Edinburgh? What are her family’s links to the Troubles? What of her ex-boyfriend?

At a Bloody Sunday protest march Farrell sees Roisin in trouble and goes to help. He’s knocked unconscious. When he wakens up he finds he’s stepped down a rabbit hole of Irish history, family ties and state security. Is there a way back? Should he have paid more attention to the family heritage? Who is Roisin O’Malley really

 

The Eyes of Grace O’Malley is available Print and eBook- amazon. 

Loving Lady Lazuli – (London Jewel Thieves )                  Shehanne Moore

A woman not even the ghost of Sapphire can haunt. A man who knows exactly who she is.

 

Only one man in England can identify her. Unfortunately he’s living next door.

 Ten years ago sixteen year old Sapphire, the greatest jewel thief England has ever known, ruined Lord Devorlane Hawley’s life by planting a stolen necklace on him. Now she’s dead and buried, all Cassidy Armstrong wants is the chance to prove she was never that girl.

 But her new neighbor is hell-bent on revenge and his word can bring her down. So when he asks her to be his mistress, or leave the county with a price on her head, Sapphire, who hates being owned, must decide…

 What’s left for a woman with nowhere else to go, but to stay exactly where she is?

 And hope, that when it comes to neighbors Devorlane Hawley won’t prove to be the one from hell.

 

SPLENDOR – London Jewel Thieves                                                              SHEHANNE MOORE

SPLENDOR BLURB   SHEHANNE MOORE

He hates to lose. Especially to a man who’s not.

One move to win ten thousand guineas in a chess competition. One move to marry her fiancé.  Another to face the most merciless man in London across a pair of duelling pistols.  For Splendor, former skivvy to the London’s premiere jewel thieves, it’s all in a day’s work. But when one wrong move leads to another, can she win and keep her heart intact against the one man in London with the potential to bring her down? Especially in a chess game where the new wager is ten thousand guineas against one night with her.

The Endgame to end all Endgames

One move to pay back his ex-mistress. One move to show the world he doesn’t give a damn he’s been beaten in every way. The ton’s most ruthless heartbreaker, bitter, divorcee, Kendall Winterborne, Earl of Stillmore’s, pet hates are kitchen maids, marriage and losing.  Knowing Splendor has entered a male chess competition under false pretences, he’s in the perfect position to extort her help, regardless of the fact she’s engaged to someone else.  He just doesn’t bank on having to face up to his pet hates.  Certainly not over the kind of skivvy who ruined his father and set him on this course.

As one move leads to another, one thing’s for certain though. His next move better be fast if he wants to keep the Cinderella he’s fallen for. But the clock is ticking. When it strikes twelve, which man will she choose?

 

Splendor is available Print and eBook- amazon. 

 

His Judas Bride  – Shehanne Moore  

 

Desiring her could be murder

TO LOVE HOINOR and BETRAY

To get back her son there is nothing she won’t do.

Dire circumstances have forced Kara McGurkie to forget she’s a woman. Dire circumstances force her to swear to love and honor, to help destroy a clan, when it means getting back her son. But when dire circumstances force her to seduce her fiancé’s brother on the eve of the wedding, will the dark secrets she holds and her greatest desire be enough to save her from his powerful allure?

 

To save his people, neither will he.

Since his wife’s murder, Callm McDunnagh, the Black Wolf of Lochalpin, ruthlessly guards heart and glen from dangerous intruders. But from the moment he first sees Kara he knows he must possess her, even though surrendering to his passion may prove the most dangerous risk of all.

Now only Kara can decide what passion can save or destroy, and who will finally learn the truth of the words… Till death us do part….

 

His Judas Bride is available print and eBook – amazon. 

Happy New Year from us and a brooding #Scottish Heir

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Ella Hayes

Dundee rocks! I got my first degree (history) at Manchester Uni in 1984, but 2017-2018 I did a Master’s degree in Writing Practice and Study at Dundee Uni! It was hard, but that’s because I did it in one year whilst running my photography business AND writing my debut romance for Mills & Boon – so it was a heavy load to carry. The course was great though – took me into reading and writing territory that was new and exciting. I particularly enjoyed the lyrical/creative essay form and poetry.

Ella Hayes – Okay, this is sort of tied up with question 3 – path to publication etc. I’d been writing for a while. I wrote a romantic suspense novel, then a coming of age story set in Scotland but getting an agent, getting published seemed so hard. I wanted feedback on my writing, so that’s why I applied to do the M.Litt at Dundee Uni.

At about the same time a friend of mine sent me the link to a Mills and Boon competition in Prima magazine, and to be honest, I wasn’t sure about it… but then I had a story idea, and thought, why not? So I wrote the first chapter and an outline (that was what the competition was asking for) and sent it in. I didn’t give it much thought until I got an email telling me I’d been shortlisted! I was really surprised. Of course, once you know you’re on the shortlist you can’t help wondering about how it would feel to win. Anyway, about three weeks later I got the call! I’d won! I nearly dropped the phone. So, the deal was that I then had to write the rest of the book, working with an editor from M&B. It was a real education, learning the ropes of the romance genre, but it was great. Because the degree was so demanding, I could only work on it during holiday time, so I’d hand in my end of term assignments, take a deep breath and switch into romance mode. I didn’t draw breath for a year.

Ella Hayes. Well… it’s about an artist called Milla O’Brien who’s been jilted by her fiancé – she flees to an off-grid artist’s residence in the wilds of Scotland to lick her wounds and focus on her work but on the way she gets a flat tyre and is helped at the roadside by enigmatic laird’s son, Cormac Buchanan. He’s a troubled hero, a Royal Engineer who’s lost his best friend in a traumatic skirmish in Afghanistan. He’s grief-stricken, weighed down with survivor guilt. He’s only come back to the family estate because his sister is getting married. Neither Milla nor Cormac is looking for love but fate has other ideas…

Ella Hayes.- Being a brand new author myself, I feel unqualified to advise other writers, but what I would say is that it’s important to network and find support in the writing community – writers understand other writers better than anyone. Oh, and I suppose after the experience I’ve had, I would encourage aspiring writers to enter competitions! You’ve got to be in it to win it!

Ella Hayes– I actually live in the countryside a couple of miles out of Kinross, but it’s a lovely little town –

we’ve got Loch Leven and the brilliant Heritage Trail that you can walk, run or cycle around.

There are some decent eating places, some quirky little shops and it’s right on the M90 so easy for getting anywhere. It’s a friendly place, with a good community spirit.

Ella Hayes- At the moment I’m writing another romance for Mills and Boon and there will be another book after that. I also want to push forward with my Scottish coming of age story. It’s a love story rather than a romance, and the writing style is very different. I’ve had really good feedback on the story and the initial part of the manuscript (I submitted that as my degree dissertation) so the plan is to keep revising and polishing the first draft, then I’ll be looking for an agent/publisher!!

Twitter: @EllaHayesAuthor

Facebook EllaHayesAuthor

Instagram @ellahayesauthor

A kiss under the Northern Lights…

Running from her broken engagement artist Milla O’Brien retreats to the Scottish Highlands. Only to arrive during a lavish wedding on the estate!

She finds the bride’s brother and brooding heir, Cormac Buchanan. Could they heal each other’s hearts?

Her Brooding Scottish Heir (Harlequin Mills & Boon) is published on 27th December and can be pre-ordered on Amazon:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=Her+Brooding+Scottish+Heir

You can also buy from from Mills and Boon:

https://www.millsandboon.co.uk/p57011/her-brooding-scottish-heir-her-brooding-scottish-heir—the-lawmans-convenient-family.htm

A dance with her wouldn’t exactly kill him. #Scottish Brides and murder

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Today…

Today His Judas Bride is out in paperback. FOR THE FIRST TIME.

So I thought, why not just get the dudes to help me blog this lovely blog I wrote way back about brides. Scottish brides in particular. There is surely nothing like rooting a piece of fiction in reality.  Of course I was going to get Bobby Bub to tell us all about his lovely bride Olga.

But there, as you can see he has forgotten.

I don’t think so. It might bore you so you fall asleep at your present making.

Okay sowhere were we…? Yes. Rooting fiction in reality. And why, having chosen Glencoe as a setting, I then thought, well what kind of book would I want to write.

Scotland has a proud reputation for brides. Yes.

kara6

Lucia de Lammermoor. Okay. Italian yeah I get it. An opera from the book, The Bride of Lammermoor by Walter Scott no less. Aka the Bride of Baldoon. No matter the version you accept of the story, the facts leading to the wedding day and its aftermath are always the same. She was a nobleman’s daughter in love with someone else, after the wedding feast Mr was found with a dagger in his heart.

You know I think it just was.

Then…Then there was the Cumming bride, whose lovely father agreed to her marrying into the Mackintoshes so his clan could enjoy a little banquet carve up over the hors d’oevres. When it came to exchanging rings this was somewhat difficult, since the bride’s hands had been hacked off as she clung to the castle battlements. The hand-fasting ribbons would have made wonderful bandages as you can see… had she not fallen to her death.  black pap

Or even…dare I mention it… ribbons for decorating Christmas pressies? Moving swiftly on as she did, how about the bride story that rocked Cromarty concerning a woman who appeared from nowhere, married the laird and disappeared…well she didn’t just quite disappear, she went off with a man in black.

Man as in the devil after he turned up at the feast looking for her. Neither he nor she were ever seen again and it was very clear she did not want to go with him either. What with all that inspiration, how could I not write a story about a bride?

As for the plum cake Ulla had probably labored all day to make, or maybe it was Ewen McDunnagh, it was in as many pieces as the plate it had sat on.

Talking was not a wise decision.

“Do you know I used to go about this glen, with a black wolf pelt on my shoulder?”

She didn’t. Firstly, the vision was surreal. But she didn’t want to say so, when this had gone so badly wrong and he was standing in the center of the carnage with his back to her so she couldn’t see his face.

“I got it from the devil.”

She edged a breath. Most people with any desire to go about Lochalpin dressed like that, would just have killed a wolf, maybe waited till they found a dead one to get the pelt. Him now?

“The self same day Morven died. It let me take care of quite a bit of business when I wore it.”

No wonder. If he was telling her all this, maybe she should say something? But when the things he’d said about protecting her were too unnerving, how could she? Unless they were part of the game? Bringing her here, when he was knew fine why she’d come. Part of it anyway. The other bit? All of it? She swallowed.

“Well anyway.” He straightened, strode to the door. A few muttered words were exchanged with Wee Murdie.

Kara moistened her lower lip. Had the time been spent where she should have said something?

He turned to her. “Maybe if I’d kept that pelt I’d have taken care of this business a little sooner and a bit better but I didn’t. And you’re really leaving me no choice.”

————————————————–

If he knew how to stop this he would

Desiring her could be murder.

To love, honor, and betray…

To get back her son, she will stop at nothing…

Dire circumstances have forced Kara McGurkie to forget she’s a woman. Dire circumstances force her to swear to love and honor, to help destroy a clan, when it means getting back her son. But when dire circumstances force her to seduce her fiancé’s brother on the eve of the wedding, will the dark secrets she holds and her greatest desire be enough to save her from his powerful allure?

To save his people, neither will he…

Since his wife’s murder, Callm McDunnagh, the Black Wolf of Lochalpin, ruthlessly guards heart and glen from dangerous intruders. But from the moment he first sees Kara he knows he must possess her, even though surrendering to his passion may prove the most dangerous risk of all.

 She has nothing left to fear except love itself…

Now only Kara can decide what passion can save or destroy, and who will finally learn the truth of the words… Till death do us part.

https://amzn.to/2rNOMTE

https://amzn.to/2EzHCKf

 

Dark, deep and devastating….

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“When it comes to being anything, do you seriously think I chose this life? We’re none of us armored, sweetheart. Not the way we arrive here anyway. We only wish.”

His Judas Bride-5*Review @ShehanneMoore

 

My Thoughts…

‘Dark, deep and devastating aptly describes this historical romance, set in the beautiful but often brutal highlands of Scotland. 

Kara and Callm are both damaged by life and forced on a path of avenge and revenge, even though it is often at odds with the people they once were before tragedy struck.  Their meeting is unconventional and neither want to surrender to their passions, it’s too dangerous.

Kara needs to keep to her plan to save her son, Callm has already lost too much, his people are everything, and he can never put his personal pleasure above their safety. Love becomes a weapon rather than a balm and the resultant passion reflects this with vivid imagery.

If you want to relive history with all the rough edges and raw emotion, this story with its complex, challenged characters will consume you.

I received an ARC of the second edition from the author in return for an honest review. 

Threatening to leave in the hope of bringing him to his senses was a bad idea, when he’d no senses to speak of, let alone ones she could blackmail him into.

My Thoughts…

Lady Splendor was once the lowest of the low, now she needs to find a way to keep her new lifestyle, and that means a chess competition that only men can enter. There is lots of fun in this story as Splendor risks all to achieve everything she desires. 

Kendall Winterborne is a dissolute rake, who dislikes being challenged or made a fool of. Splendor does both and with their history, their relationship is never going to be easy going. Passion escapes, but they are at war, and anything more than physical attraction seems both unwanted and unobtainable.

A thoroughly  entertaining, romantic tale, which is full of witty dialogue, sizzling scenes and unforgettable characters, perfect holiday reading,

I received an ARC of this book from the author.

Shehanne Moore -Splendor -London Jewel Thieves #2 – 5* Review @ShehanneMoore

He was not a man she could help, any more than she was a woman who ever did such things

My Thoughts…

Loving Lady Lazuli is a tense, character-driven historical romance which gives the reader a unique perspective on life and love in Regency England. The power of society and its harshness when crossed is implicit from the first chapter. Lord Devorlane Hawley returns to his ancestral ten years after he left in disgrace. Now the unexpected fifth Duke of Chessington he wants revenge for his ten years of exile where severe mistreatment changed him from a naive youth to a cynical man.
The prodigal is thrown into an unexpected homecoming party. Bored a young woman attracts him. Is she the girl who caused his disgrace a decade ago? Cassidy fears her secret is uncovered and leaves the party abruptly. With the threat of the noose for being a jewel thief hanging over her Cassidy (Sapphire) tries to find the documents that prove her claim to Barwych hall.
Their relationship is laced with misunderstanding, humour and poignancy. Both distrust, threaten and cheat each other. Devorlane demands she becomes his mistress for his silence and help. Cassidy (Sapphire) agrees until she discovers his life-threatening secret and reclaims the advantage. The historical attraction between Devorlane and Cassidy (Sapphire) rekindles and ignites despite his hateful behaviour and her scheming. When their passion overwhelms secrets emerge which affect them profoundly and make them face their emotional involvement.
Memorable characters give this unusual historical romance a realistic edge which makes Loving Lady Lazuli a passionate, enthralling read.

https://t.co/FoLB7SPT93