Wednesday, April 01, 2015

Newsletter for April, 2015



 We have daffodils springing up all over the place. I love daffodils. They shout the spring’s news. When I was in Texas last year I saw the last of the bluebonnets, and I guess they do much the same thing. They look a bit like our bluebells, drifts of heavenly lavender-blue like they’re reflecting the sky.
But now it’s very windy. Trees are toppling on to cars and roads are closed. Small potatoes to those of you who are fighting gales, but a bit scary all the same. Our cat has taken to hiding in people’s beds, so you have to be careful when you sit down! He hates the wind, it drives him wild.
I’ve not done much this month except prepare for my annual trip to the States and write. Lord, I’ve written a lot, but for once the words have flowed. I’ve just completed the next “Emperors of London” book, and I’m about to start Julius’s book. We had a few problems with the title, though, and I’m waiting to hear on that. Apparently “Born to the Purple” doesn’t scream historical, so we’ll see which of the alternatives they like better!
Danger Wears White is on presale. It comes out in July, and has a lovely cover. It’s about the younger of two brothers, whose family has a difficult history. His mother married for duty and produced the son, then when she was widowed, she married for love. Our hero, Antoninus, is the product of that marriage. Having left the army, he rushes off to do Julius a favour and finds more than he bargained for in the spirited daughter of an impoverished man. He’d given all his money to the Jacobite Cause, as so many in Lancashire did, and now she is stuck trying to keep what remains going. She lives in the fictional version of a house I fell in love with a long time ago, and still love it today, Little Moreton Hall.
The US Amazon presale link is here.
The other historical series is also going strong, and Samhain have been kind enough to contract another book from me. It’s Mars’ turn this time!
And oh, the build up to Waterloo! It’s very exciting. I’ve got two novellas coming out to commemorate the event, so more about those next month, since they’re both releasing in time for the commemoration on June 19th. Over here, the commemorations are getting under way. It’s one of the dates that schoolchildren know. 1066 and 1815. Apsley House has been gussied up, and there are special exhibitions and websites springing up all over the place!
And to this month’s release. Wow, that sounds as if I have a release every month, doesn’t it?
Rubies of Fire is a Department 57 re-release. It’s Andreas, a vampire. It seems an awful long time since I’ve written a vampire, and I miss them!
Rubies of Fire is a re-release, so if you have the Loose-Id version already, you’re probably best not picking this up unless you want a brand new copy with pretty new cover art!

Extract and New Release
Buy and read excerpt here:
Amazon
Kobo
Barnes and Noble
Note that these links may change over the next couple of days, because Amazon got the author wrong. But you can still get there with the Search function! I’ll update on my website as soon as they are available.
Vampire and full-time field agent for the CIA, Andreas’s only loyalty is his job with Department 57. Until he sets eyes on sexy Roz Templeton. He already hates his assignment to pose as the office wolf, but he hates it even more when he realizes Roz is also a vampire.
Roz is out to discover who killed two members of her family, and when she does, the culprit will die. Andreas is a distraction. And she can’t understand why she’s drawn to him, anyway–he’s a sleaze. But she can’t resist.
Drawn into a passion neither can fight, they set fire to the night, and then some. For a young vampire, Andreas is fully versed on how to keep a woman happy in bed, even one that is centuries older than he is, and as dominant and demanding as any man. From their first steamy kiss in the elevator on the way to work, to bed and beyond, Andreas and Roz can’t get enough of each other.
But that passion may be a deadly distraction when Roz’s life is on the line.

Extract

The lobby was just as nondescript. Indifferently cleaned, tiled in fake marble, it might have been noticeable in a smaller town, but it seemed to know it didn’t stand a chance in this city of architectural marvels. Roz liked it. It was like her, trying to get by without drawing too much attention to itself.
Unlike Andreas, who stood by the elevators, waiting for the car to arrive. She was surprised one hadn’t arrived by now, but perhaps he’d let a couple go without him. She felt targeted, and not without reason. His smile of greeting barely creased his lips, but the warm look in his eyes intensified. “You busy today?”
“Kinda.” Closer to him, Roz felt a prickle of awareness. She wished she’d stayed with Nancy, but she hated the idea of lurking around just because he was there, waiting to step into the elevator on his own. She had as much right to use the elevator as he did.
She shifted her briefcase to her other hand, the one closest to him. Keeping a distance.
A light ping heralded the elevator’s arrival, and she watched the steel doors slide open. With a sideways glance at Constant, she walked forward, and he followed. Nobody else did. That came of getting to work half an hour early. She’d hoped to catch up on some paperwork she’d been too tired to finish last night and to avoid the rush when the other employees arrived.
She wouldn’t make that mistake again. She’d wait for the rush or make sure she got in the elevator on her own.
The elevator wasn’t large, but there was room for them to stand with half an arm’s length between them. Not that Constant even tried. He reached across her on the pretext of pressing the button. Instead of leaning back, he looked down and smiled. It warmed his eyes. “We have to stop meeting like this,” he suggested, his light, musical voice tinged with amusement.
Roz didn’t smile back. “We do indeed.” Unlike him, she meant it.
He smelled too good, something citrusy and himself, a spicy, masculine odor she found herself drawn to. His crisp white shirt revealed a slight shadow underneath. Chest hair and the suggestion of a nipple. Hell, wasn’t she supposed to tempt him with her nipples? Not that there was a chance of that under her buttoned-up suit jacket and light knit top, not to mention the lacy but substantial bra underneath.
“Or perhaps not.” He lifted his long, strong hand and touched her chin, urging her to look up at him. “You’re single. I’m single. What’s the problem?”
“With what?”
“Getting better acquainted. Knox wants us to work together, so maybe we should try it.”
Somehow, she didn’t think her boss had this in mind when he asked Andreas to join the team.
She stared up into his eyes, hoping she wasn’t betraying her speeding pulse and heightened senses in any way. This wasn’t what she was looking for. Not at all.
“You’re suggesting a date?”
His slow smile spoke of sin and wickedness. He reached over and pressed a button. The elevator came to a sudden, jolting halt, urging her against him. He pressed a few more buttons, and she knew he’d keyed in the code that stopped the security alarms going off. She was trapped in an elevator with him. So why wasn’t she screaming the place down? She didn’t need to look too hard inside herself to guess the answer.
He took the invitation she hadn’t meant to give, curling the arm not braced above her head around her waist. “Now, don’t you think it would help if you learned to relax around me?”
She stayed perfectly still. “I’m as relaxed as I need to be.”
“Maybe, maybe not. Why do you think he wants to see us first thing?”
She shrugged, or tried to. “Because something new has turned up. Maybe he wants to take you off the assignment. Why would he want you on the case? Your security cover is really low. You’re a grunt, a clerk.”
If she’d hoped to deflate his ego, she failed. He only grinned and moved closer. “Because I’m the only person who’s met Cristos, been inside Department 57. You need me.”
“Not for long.”
He laughed. “We’ll see. Cristos is a slippery customer. He’s evaded the authorities for years. Do you think he’ll be easy to catch? This operation could go on for a while, baby.” He touched her chin, stroked his fingers down her throat, and paused at the base. She stayed where she was, kept his gaze, but seethed at that “baby.” She was nobody’s baby. “We’ve been dancing around each other for the past two months. Don’t you think I’ve been patient?”
His heat, his closeness, all seeped into her as though her body was just waiting to welcome him home. Yet he’d never even touched her before, just watched her, talked to her. Roz was no longer sure if she was excited, nervous, or panicked. No one had ever made her feel like that before. She needed time to think.
She didn’t get it. When he lowered his head and that sinful, sexy mouth grew closer, she rose up to accept him, almost without thought. Natural, like breathing.
His lips caressed hers, gently moving where she had expected fierce passion and rough treatment. His gentleness unnerved her, but her whole being lifted to him, begging him for more.
She didn’t even like him. Andreas Constant moved and behaved with a confidence that amounted to arrogance, especially considering his lowly status as a clerk in the Department of Internal Business. He probably made love the same way. The thought both attracted and repelled her, and she couldn’t be sure which was the stronger emotion.
Before she quite realized it, she’d opened for him and let him taste her. His tongue slid into her mouth, his control absolute, so it was a slow, gentle seduction instead of a fierce taking.
The kiss turned deeper, and wildness curled low in her belly. She should have called a halt, turned in his arms, and hit the button to start the elevator, but she didn’t. She wanted more.
She wanted him. Now. Personality, hell. The man had the body of a god.
As though he heard her, his hand slid smoothly around her body to her breast, pushed aside her jacket, and stroked through the thin knitted silk and bra.
At the same time she felt something insidious slip into her brain. She froze. That was a psychic link, small but obvious to one of her kind. With Andreas caressing her, she had trouble concentrating, but the small, sharp, highly skilled query had been evident for a brief moment before the probe had withdrawn. It couldn’t have been Nancy. Roz knew her signature, the feel of her. She wasn’t sure it was Andreas. The probe felt impersonal, and she couldn’t get a bearing on its origin.
Besides, Andreas was stroking her to a fever of want, the need rising inside her and starting to take over every sense she had.
When he slid the jacket off her shoulder, she gasped, and he pulled back just enough to speak.
“You want it, don’t you?” That sounded like a statement, not a real question. A statement of intent. And crude.
He’d given her her second wake-up call, and for a girl fond of the Snooze button, her last. A chill swept through her when she realized how close she’d come to screwing a colleague in an elevator. The reminder was like a bucket of water dumped over her head. That and the psychic invasion killed the mood and brought her back to reality. “We can’t do this.”

Tuesday, March 03, 2015

New Release! Arrows of Desire is out no

New Release:

Arrows of Desire: Even Gods Fall In Love Book 3

When the God of Love falls for a nymph, all seven hells break loose
Finished with the tutoring that taught him how to be an immortal, Edmund, otherwise known as Eros, steps off the packet onto English shores, and stumbles head over heels in love.
There’s something different about Perdita Seaton and her secretive family, but for now a bigger dilemma looms. Revealing he’s the Duke of Kentmere could cut their courtship short. Yet abandoning his heritage means leaving his beloved sister at the mercy of the Titans.
Even as Edmund steals Perdita’s breath with the speed at which he sweeps her down the aisle, she feels safe in the irresistible tide of passion. Her father, head of a smuggling empire, is Oceanus—and she is a nymph.
Disaster strikes when Edmund races to London to rescue his sister, and doesn’t return. Desperate, Perdita follows him, only to find no light of recognition in his eyes.
Now she must choose. Admit defeat, or fight to break the enchantment keeping Edmund’s heart prisoner—and risk the wrath of a jealous goddess who’d be all too happy to snuff her out.


Extract:
“Miss Seaton.”
            The words, though softly spoken, nearly made Portia drop her candlestick. A hand came around her and steadied her arm, and the heat of a male body warmed her back.
            Belatedly recognising the voice, she spun around, facing him. Mr. Welles wore a robe over his shirt and breeches, but he’d removed the dazzling coat and waistcoat. His stock had gone, leaving a disturbing trace of male skin visible through the open collar of his shirt.
            So close, his presence stunned her. In the dim, flickering light, his face was almost otherworldly, his eyes glittering with untold promises.
            At least she hadn’t shrieked and roused the house. “Mr. Welles, this isn’t proper!” she hissed. Not that she cared very much about propriety, but she had to say it. Otherwise, what would he think of her? This was the most exciting thing that had happened to her in forever. She thrilled to have a male body so close to hers. Especially his.
            “I beg your pardon, ma’am, but my room is close to yours. When I heard someone moving about, I feared for you and your sisters.”
            Did she believe that? No. “You mean you heard someone and you thought you’d investigate?”
            Was he lurking? As if a man with his looks and wealth needed to do that!
            He met her eyes and her heart stopped. Then it started again. As if it knew something had just begun. Fanciful, yes, but she had reason, being an immortal in a world of mortals. That was normal for her. Meeting a handsome stranger was not. And if she handled this right, a kiss or two might be coming her way.
            Her mother would lecture her for hours if she discovered Portia’s transgression. The notion made the prospect even more enticing. If she got into trouble, a scream would bring everyone running. She could enjoy the deliciousness of a clandestine encounter, however brief, without the danger.
            Or just enough danger to add spice, at any rate.
            They gazed at each other for what seemed like forever. She wasn’t sure who reached for whom, or who put the candle down on the nearest window ledge, but she was in his arms and he was kissing her in an instant.
            His mouth opened over hers, and she followed suit, eager to learn this new way of kissing. She’d only shared guilty, closed-mouth kisses with men—boys—before this. He cradled her close, then cupped her face, guiding her to the position he wanted her.
            She’d have stayed there forever, but someone coughed and they broke apart. Her breath shortened and her heart, already beating harder than usual, threatened to burst out of her chest. Thank goodness, the cough came from within one of the bedrooms, and they were still alone.
            The sound reminded her of their lack of privacy. Standing in a corridor kissing a stranger—what was she thinking?
            Retrieving her candlestick, she took the two steps to the door of her room and glanced back at him. She kept her voice very low when she spoke. “Sir, I wish to speak with you, but you should know I won’t—”
            “I know.” He was with her in an instant, opening the door. Then he closed it before she could go in. “My room, I think. At least I have chairs.” Taking her hand, not offering his arm in the formal way, he led her to the next room along. Her wicked heart thrilling, she went with him. Already she trusted his word, although she should not.
            A fire flickered in the grate, welcome on this chilly night. The sheets on the bed were turned down, an intimate sight that made her shiver with possibilities. Those things could not happen, but that wouldn’t stop her dreaming.
            He led her to the low couch at the foot of the bed and with gentle hands drew her to sit next to him. “You are safe with me,” he murmured. “I swear it.”
            “I hope not,” she said before she could control her recalcitrant tongue.
            He stifled a laugh against her shoulder. His hot breath heated her neck, and then his tongue as he pressed a kiss there. “You are, madam, irresistible.”
            “Good.” So was he, though she’d keep that to herself for now.
            Gently, he turned her head, with two fingers under her chin. Then he kissed her again. This time they were sitting. Just as well because she might have fallen down had she been on her feet.
            Her legs tingled, at the top, where she sometimes explored herself furtively under the covers.
            When she leaned her head against his shoulder, he moaned against her lips. He moved away a little to murmur, “Open for me, sweetness.”
            Yes, oh, yes. She opened her mouth.
            Immediately he was back, tracing her lips with his tongue, before plunging inside. He licked deep, stroked her tongue with his. Nobody had ever dared go this far with her before. His hands held her steady, but didn’t venture further than her back, as she accustomed herself to the thrust of his tongue, a rhythm her body welcomed. When she moved closer to him, he made a sound low in his throat, like the purr of a big animal. She didn’t do it for him. Her breasts ached, and she needed pressure to ease the sensations she didn’t know what to do with.
            With a growl he pressed her closer, supported her with one hand spread across her back. She flung her arm around his neck, giving herself to him with wild abandon, but that was when he chose to draw back. He peppered little kisses on her lips and her nose.
            Gazing at her, he smiled. “I never expected so much bounty. I cannot go further, or I’ll lose control.”
Buy and read an extract from :
Publisher

Amazon
Barnes and Noble
All Romance eBooks
iBookstore
What a lot of links!

Sunday, March 01, 2015

News for March, 2015




Oh my goodness, another new release!
I’m writing like crazy, except we had a major disruption this month. Our scheduled window replacements arrived, so the whole house was turned inside out while the men came in and ripped the windows out, to replace them with nice new ones. Our house was built in the 1930’s, and it’s the last one in the street to get rid of its original wooden windows. They held out very well, but we had them repaired, and bits replaced because we wanted to keep them. There wasn’t much of the old windows left! We chose the new windows as near in appearance to the old ones. But it was a bit sad when they were being ripped out.
I’m a romantic, that’s my trouble.
But it does lead me to imagine different situations where people might find it hard to love. Sometimes I wake up thinking about new plots and new characters. Other times, I sit in front of my computer stumped, my mind not working at all, until—
And then I get it. It’s usually a character trait, something that the character doesn’t want and tries hard not to have. But they get it, all the same, and they need help to resolve it. Usually of the romantic kind!
This month’s release was no exception. I’d spent years looking at the Classical, Palladian houses built by the Georgians, and read about the revival of classicism, the new philosophical thought, and then read about the aristocracy. The one sentence that turned my mind to the big “what if…?” was in a history book, one of the kind without pictures. It was something like, “Members of the aristocratic oligarchy were as gods to lesser mortals, and they tried to appear that way.”
Aha! That light bulb moment is one of the most precious there is. I wrote the first story, and let it lie. It was too mad to interest anybody, surely.
But no. my editor at Samhain saw what I meant and went for it. It’s a way-out concept, but I’m continually astonished by the way it just works, and things slot smoothly into place. What if the ancient gods and goddesses were a set of attributes, born into different generations Dalai-lama style? When the old Dalai Lama dies, his priests take certain artefacts and hunt for a child who knows them and what to do with them. Then that child becomes the next Dalai Lama. The knowledge persists through the generations.
It makes sense. At least it does to the twisted mind of this romance writer. So the characters are at once Georgian ladies and gentlemen, but they also have extra powers. Sometimes they don’t know what to do with them, and they have to find people of a like mind, who can help. Sometimes they know from birth. Add in a hidden evil in the presence of the Titans, who want to regain their supremacy openly, and eliminate free will, and there you go.
This month, we have “Arrows of Desire.” This is Eros’s story. Eros is a grown man, so he dislikes being compared to the fat baby Cupid is often depicted as, but he has the power to make people fall in love, or lust, or attraction, whatever he pleases. He doesn’t do it often. He’s just returned home from abroad, where he has been tutored in his powers by a mysterious woman, and he meets a young lady, who—well, you can guess! But it gets more complicated than that!
I had a big inspiration for this book. I visited the Louvre recently and fell completely in love with Canova’s sculpture of Cupid and Psyche. He is holding her so tenderly, and the love they have for each other is depicted so beautifully. It was wonderful inspiration. I’ve always found that art, especially sculpture, seen in person is so much more powerful than seeing reproductions or pictures. Communing with the artist. That’s why Michelangelo’s David is such a great work. The power of the statue is overwhelming, every time. But I’m glad for pictures, because then I could remind myself of how lovely it is!