Thursday, April 20, 2017

A Raging Madness: New Regency Romance from Jude Knight (+Giveaway!)



A Raging Madness
By Jude Knight
Genre: Regency romance, historical romance, historical suspense, Regency noir, gothic  
Heat rating: PG-13  
ISBN: 9780473393670
Page count: 382 pages on Kindle
Publication date: 9 May 2017

Their marriage is a fiction. Their enemies are all too real.

Ella survived an abusive and philandering husband, in-laws who hate her, and public scorn. But she’s not sure she will survive love. It is too late to guard her heart from the man forced to pretend he has married such a disreputable widow, but at least she will not burden him with feelings he can never return.

Alex understands his supposed wife never wishes to remarry. And if she had chosen to wed, it would not have been to him. He should have wooed her when he was whole, when he could have had her love, not her pity. But it is too late now. She looks at him and sees a broken man. Perhaps she will learn to bear him.

In their masquerade of a marriage, Ella and Alex soon discover they are more well-matched than they expected. But then the couple’s blossoming trust is ripped apart by a malicious enemy. Two lost souls must together face the demons of their past to save their lives and give their love a future.


Except

It was a cool day in late autumn but fine and still. Alex was carried from the boat across the bridle path to the field where they had set up trestles on a borrowed door they had pressed into service to act as stretcher and operating table.

Barlow and Whitlock had returned to watch, and Mrs Manning had bullied them into washing so they could help hold Alex during the operation. Mrs Manning’s husband had also been an advocate of Alexander Gordon’s theories that contagion was minimised by cleanliness, something Ella’s father had taught her. She had seen the benefit many times when his patients and hers survived in greater numbers than those of other doctors.

With that in mind, she had boiled the lancets and probes Mrs Manning provided. The cloths they would use, too, had been freshly laundered in boiling water, and the door had been scoured with strong soap and then draped with a clean sheet.

They strapped Alex to the door to stop him moving, gave him a wooden block to bite on, washed his naked thigh, and draped cloths around it to catch the fluids that would spill.

“I will be as quick as I can, Alex,” Ella said, and Alex smiled and told her, “I trust you, Ella.”

She could not think of that: could not reflect that she was about to cut into her nemesis, her saviour, her dear friend; could not consider the consequences if she failed. She said a quick prayer, and then, as her father had taught her, she took a deep breath and let it go, releasing with it all consciousness of the small crowd of watchers, of the still smaller crowd of helpers, of Alex as a person.

Before her was a leg. A thing of meat and bone and blood, and within it the enemy, the death-bringer. Finding the abscess, releasing the poison, that was her entire focus. The muscle of the thigh was simply something to be damaged as little as possible as she sliced into it to reach the poison beneath.

She had chosen the sharpest and most slender of the lancets, and with it, she cut quickly and deeply. 

On another plane, someone gave a smothered, strangled scream, and the thigh twitched but not enough to deflect her blade from its path. There. Pus, a thick yellowy cream springing up the channel she had made, mixed with the blood that tried to drown her view.

Of a sudden, her detachment deserted her, and she braced herself against the table, tightening her suddenly weak knees so she didn’t fall. Rotting flesh had an odour all its own; once smelled, never forgotten. This was infection, but not rot. She was in time.

And time was of the essence. No indulging in vapours.

She held out a hand for the probe, a clever thing with a magnet at one end designed for capturing and withdrawing bullets. If it was iron or steel, this would collect it.

Her way was obscured. As fast as the careful competent hands of her helper wiped away the mess of fluids, they welled up again.

No matter. She felt her way down the path made by her scalpel and grinned in fierce triumph when the probe jerked as it attracted the lump of metal deep in the wound. It was larger than the path. Could she extract it without more cutting…? Yes! There it was, dropped into the teacup that Mrs Manning held ready. She probed again, but the wound seemed to be empty.

No. Something foreign. Not a bullet. “Tweezers, please.”

They came to her ready hand, and again she sent all of her awareness into her hand and the tweezers became an extension of her fingers. There. It came easily. A piece of fabric, perhaps from Alex’s uniform trousers or perhaps wrapped around the pieces of metal in the canister that formed the cannon shell.

The wound was running more or less clean. It was time to finish. With clean tweezers, she inserted a strip of silk deep into the wound to keep the outer surface from closing over before the abscess was healed. No stitches, then. A dressing smothered in honey and beeswax and bandages to hold it in place.

“I will bandage, Mrs Sedgewick,” her helper said. “You have done a magnificent job.”

Alex had let the wooden block drop from his mouth and was somehow managing to smile, though all the colour had leached from his skin, which was slick with sweat. She went to place a comforting hand on his shoulder then stilled her gory hands and instead bent to lay her lips against his forehead.

“It is done, Alex. We have the stuff out that shouldn’t have been there. You can heal now.” That was as much a hope as a promise. The wound appeared clean for the moment, but it could sicken again. She had assisted with, had even herself removed bullets from, men as strong as Alex who had turned their faces to the wall and died.

“Saved. The. Leg?” Alex dredged each word from deep inside.

“Yes,” Ella told him. For the moment. By the grace of God.

“Rest.”

“Yes, you should rest,” Ella agreed. Rest was healing.

“You,” Alex insisted. “Rest. You, Ella.”

Touched, she kissed him again.

Stop by Dirty, Sexy History today to read Jude's post on surgery during the 18th and 19th centuries! 

Jude Knight’s writing goal is to transport readers to another time, another place, where they can enjoy adventure and romance, thrill to trials and challenges, uncover secrets and solve mysteries, delight in a happy ending, and return from their virtual holiday refreshed and ready for anything.

She writes historical novels, novellas, and short stories, mostly set in the early 19th Century. She writes strong determined heroines, heroes who can appreciate a clever capable woman, villains you’ll love to loathe, and all with a leavening of humour.


Giveaways! 

Comment here for your chance to win an ebook copy of Farewell to Kindness, and enter the Rafflecopter below to win your own made-to-order story!

Saturday, April 15, 2017

New Release Giveaway: Resurrection of Artemis by Izzy Szyn

Welcome to the Resurrection of Artemis Blog Tour! Izzy Szyn will be awarding a $10 Amazon to one randomly drawn winner via Rafflecopter during the tour. Please use the Rafflecopter below to enter. Remember you may increase your chances of winning by visiting the other tour stops. You may find those locations here.



Once known as the infamous hacker Artemis, Amy Wilson now works in a coffee shop. With only months until the end of her probation from working in the technological industry that she loves, Amy is determined to keep Artemis dead and buried.

When incidents similar to the ones Amy did start occurring all fingers start pointing in Artemis’ direction, and three people that want Artemis to come out of retirement.

Quail City’s super heroes Dark Master and Calypso aka as multi-billionaire Noah Adams and his assistant Vanessa London know Amy’s secret, and also know that she is being set up. Having spent months in a flirtmance with Amy, they are tired of waiting and want both her and Artemis in their bed.

Hinderer wants to hold technology hostage, but in order to do that he needs Artemis’ assistance, and he will use any methods necessary to gain her cooperation.

Available on Kindle Unlimited

Excerpt

“People have been mentioning Artemis,” Calypso said. “You wouldn’t have heard anything?”

They knew, Amy thought. Somehow they knew. “No, Artemis isn’t here anymore. At least from what I heard.”

“Damn shame, too,” complained one of the customers in the shop. “Not the Artemis that is playing with the lights and stuff. But the Artemis who liked to help people with their problems.”

“Yeah, I think if someone is behind it, it’s someone pretending to be Artemis, or trying to shift the blame on her,” said another customer. “She may have done some things, but she’d never deliberately set out to get people hurt.”

Amy smiled at the person that made the comment. “I’ve been here all day. But it’s more than the traffic lights. Didn’t I hear that the other day the Financial District was shut down because the money showed at zero?”

“That is something that Artemis had fun with,” Dark Master commented. “Or had in the past.”

“I’m sure that whatever has been happening in Quail City has nothing to do with Artemis,” Amy replied.

“Hope for Artemis’ sake it’s true,” Calypso said. “Williams is ranting and raving in Commissioner James’ office asking for her to be arrested.”

Just bet he is, thought Amy. “Is there anything else I can get you?” Amy asked them. She saw that it was almost six and the last bus going towards her apartment would be there any minute.

“You in our bed,” Calypso said in her ear. “Your blue hair will look glorious on our pillows.” Then out loud stated, “That’s all for now.” 
***

New York Times Bestselling Author Izzy Szyn was born in May of 2014 when a friend dared her to write. Born and raised in Detroit, Mi. Izzy now lives in Oklahoma City with her furchild Misty, the friendliest Chihuahua/Terrier you will ever meet. Currently works in a call center, where she writes in between phone calls. Izzy loves to keep in touch with her readers. Email her at izzyszyn@gmail.com.



Saturday, March 11, 2017

On Writing Diverse Characters (+Broken Things Cover Reveal)

Hey everybody!

It's been awhile since I have posted an update, but I wanted to wait until I had something exciting to share. I've been working 60+ hour weeks for the last four months (Where am I? What is time?) between my day job and doing freelance work, so progress on the series has been slow-going. But finally--finally!--I can announce that Broken Things, the next installment of The Southwark Saga, is complete and will be released on May 1st, 2017.

So why did this one take such a long time? Well, apart from everything else that has come up this year, I wanted to get it right. Broken Things is not like anything I have written before. Depending on what you like about my books, you might even like it better.

This book picks up with Meg's story a year after The Long Way Home ends. You don't have to read the whole series for it to make sense, but it would definitely be helpful for context given Meg's difficult relationship with Mark and Jane Virtue is a feature. This one is more of a traditional romance in the respect that the focus is firmly on the love story (and there's way more sex--you've been warned), and it's less traditional in a few other ways:

  • Meg is a thirty-five year old mother of three, and an ex-prostitute running an inn with her sisters (The Rose and Crown from the previous three books). She has a filthy mouth and enough emotional baggage for a trip around the world. She's constantly angry and with good reason. She's promiscuous, vain, and frequently unpleasant. She's tall and very curvaceous (some might say BBW), but her weight is not an issue and she doesn't have to lose it to be happy. She is the heaviest of my heroines and also the most beautiful and confident. I am in love with her. 
  • Jake Cohen is a thirty-eight year old retired boxer and he's Jewish. He's not wealthy, titled, or classically good-looking--he has a face with a lot of character, if that character had been beaten weekly for twelve years. He's educated, thoughtful, and tired of fighting to prove himself. He speaks five languages and I think he's the sexiest hero I have ever written. 
  • Meg and Jake are poor and they work constantly. That's not to say it's boring. This book has plenty of bar fights, smexy times, broken glass, and (literal) fire. It's violent, a little (or a lot) vulgar, and I really like the way it turned out. If you're offended by profanity, sex, violence, or don't like poor characters, you might not like this, FYI. 

There has been a lot of debate lately about diversity in romance. I think most people would agree that it should exist, but who gets to write it? In a genre still dominated by young, wealthy, heterosexual Christian characters, it still feels like authors have to explain themselves if they write characters who are anything else. I think the world is getting better that way, but let me go ahead and jump in front of that one and explain where I'm coming from. 

I write books about the working class in 17th century London. Sure, there are a few aristocrats here and there, but most of my characters are not well off. They are prostitutes, highwaymen, barmaids, carpenters, boxers, and soldiers. They are real people with real problems. I try to be as accurate as possible with regards to the history* and also representation: my characters are white, black, mixed race, Christian, Jewish, middle class, poor, straight, gay, bisexual, and trans. Historians have whitewashed these people out of the past, but I won't. Including the marginalized is my small way of putting them back. If you follow my history blog, Dirty, Sexy History, this won't surprise you at all. 

In my novella, Artemis, the hero Apollo is trans. It's not pushing an agenda to point out that there were trans people before the 20th century (just ask the Chevalier d'Eon and Dr. James Barry). In The Long Way Home, Achille Archambault is a black marquis, not unlike Thomas-Alexandre Dumas (and yes, he's getting his own book). In Broken Things, hero Jake Cohen is a Jewish boxer, a sort of 17th century Daniel Mendoza. Bettie is gay and trans, Bess is a lesbian, and Carys and Charlotte are bisexual. They are not stereotypes or there for brownie points--I have tried to write them as real people who happen to be black, Jewish, or LGBT, because they did exist and they were a crucial part of British history. 

This isn't being cynical or "political," I just don't think good love stories should be limited to the young and the wealthy. Don't get me wrong, I like stories about the aristocracy as much as the next person, but I have trouble relating to them. I have more in common with the marginalized than with royalty. I get impatient with limitations of class, race, and religion because I personally find them ridiculous. It's difficult for me to write class issues with a straight face because I don't take them seriously. Of course people absolutely did and that is accurate, but I don't believe people are inherently different and I think I would struggle writing characters who do. Who could fall in love with a hero without empathy? 

So why write historicals? I love history--passionately, obsessively--I just don't think my genre needs more dukes. Someone has to write the other stories, don't they? That's what I'm doing. Not everyone likes that (and that's your right), but there it is. 

That's not to say I'm alone. There are more and more fantastic authors out there carrying the banner for the marginalized and non-traditional characters. If you like The Southwark Saga, you might also enjoy Erica Monroe's Rookery Rogues series. I can also whole-heartedly recommend Jude Knight, Caroline Warfield, Julie Anne Long, and Beverly Jenkins. Who are your favorites? Leave your recommendations in the comments below. 

That was longer than I had anticipated! I don't post often, but when I do, you get your money's worth, amirite? 

If any of you are still awake, here it is--the official cover reveal of Broken Things



Broken Things
The Southwark Saga, Book 4
Release date: May 1st, 2017

Rival. Sister. Barmaid. Whore.

Meg Henshawe has been a lot of things in her life, and few of them good. As proprietress of The Rose and Crown in Restoration Southwark, she has squandered her life catering to the comfort of workmen and thieves. Famous for her beauty as much as her reputation for rage, Meg has been coveted, abused, and discarded more than once. She is resigned to fighting alone until a passing boxer offers a helping hand.

Jake Cohen needs a job. When an injury forces him out of the ring for good, all he’s left with is a pair of smashed hands and a bad leg. Keeping the peace at The Rose is easy, especially with a boss as beautiful—and wickedly funny—as Meg Henshawe. In her way, she’s as much of an outcast as Jake, and she offers him three things he thought he’d never see again: a home, family, and love.

After Meg’s estranged cousin turns up and seizes the inn, Meg and Jake must work together to protect their jobs and keep The Rose running. The future is uncertain at best, and their pasts won’t stay buried. Faced with one setback after another, they must decide if what they have is worth the fight to keep it. Can broken things ever really be fixed?

Excerpt 

[Extra Credit: For the full experience of being inside my brain, listen to this song** while you're reading it.]

Four candles still flickered on the windowsill when Jake returned to his room. Curtains fluttered as though tickled by a ghostly hand, the smell of ice riding the rain through the crack in the glass. The room was cold as a larder and nearly as dark; when he caught his reflection in the mirror, he was little more than a shadow in the shape of a man. Perhaps that was the truth of it, after all. Twelve winters had come and gone since the Fire, each one freezing another piece of him until he no longer felt the snow.

His leg felt it, though. Hours on his feet had taken their toll on the frayed sinews and crooked break. He’d done a good job of hiding it, he knew. As much as it had pained him to do so, it would have pained him worse to see pity in their eyes.

Squaring his hips, he lowered himself to a seated position and rose again, the muscle stiffening in protest. He bit his lip and did it again. Sweat beading his forehead, he worked through his daily rigors slowly, deliberately strengthening his legs through the pain.
 
By the time he’d finished with his legs, a slow burn had spread beneath his skin and the draft was almost welcome. He tugged off his shirt and stretched out on his belly on the floor like a snake. Drawing his hands beneath his shoulders, he pushed himself away from the floor. After the struggle with his legs, this was such a relief that he moved through several dozen effortlessly and only stopped when a bead of sweat dripped off his nose and struck his hand. 

Hovering above them in half light, his hands looked like someone else’s. They had always been cumbersome, but hundreds of fights had rendered them monstrous. Gnarled with countless breaks and covered in a patchwork of ugly scar tissue, calluses, and fresh, bloody cuts, it looked as though they’d been torn apart and sewn back together again, over and over until there was not an inch of flesh he recognized as his own.

Ugly as they were, they were twice as useless. The precision he had honed through his trade was a thing of the past; these days he could barely sign his name. All they were good for was inflicting pain in a job he’d neither asked for nor wanted. Now that was gone, what use was he to anyone?
 
He lowered himself to the floor, his heart slowing. Beneath the bed, he could see the rolled up portrait of Meg Henshawe he’d taken from Larry’s office. It was too good to keep stashed away with his shoes, but he reasoned Meg might take exception to him putting it on his wall. 

The floor was cold beneath his cheek. A rustle from the next door drew his attention and he sat up. The crack in the wall glowed with an inviting warmth. Meg was in her room. He caught a glimpse of something white as she took off her dress. Not wanting to intrude on her privacy, he leaned against the bed and closed his eyes. 

It was quiet; she was alone. The floorboards creaked under her feet. As she sat down, the bed sighed as though it had been waiting for her return all day. A comb whispered through her hair, only interrupted by a muttered curse as she attacked a knot. He smiled to himself, imagining what her hair must look like when it was down. It was long, he knew. Would it touch the curve of her waist, the impossible flare of her hips? 

Distracting as the thoughts were, there was something comforting about hearing her so close. With his eyes closed, he could hear her so clearly she might have been in the same room. 

Had things gone as planned, he’d be long since married and listening to another woman comb her hair tonight. He chased her features in his memory, not as clear as they once were. Her chestnut-colored hair shone by the light of a long-extinguished fire, her cinnamon-colored eyes filled with regret after all these years. 

I’m sorry, Jakob.

He tried to remember the dress she had been wearing when she left him but this last remaining image of her in his mind fractured at the sound of a sneeze from next door. 

It was a funny little sound, Meg’s sneeze. She stifled it as if she was afraid of being heard, so it came out like a quack, caught in her throat. He smiled to himself. He might have said something, but he didn’t want her to know he’d been listening. He had been alone for so long he hadn’t realized he’d missed the company until he heard her through the wall. The idea of being alone again in the silence made him sadder than he could say. 

She had flirted with him shamelessly that night and he’d fallen for it like a fool. Just as he’d been about to pledge fealty to her, her words to that boy she’d chucked out rang in his head. 
Don’t mistake my boredom for favor.
He wouldn’t.
The sweat cooled on his skin and he shivered. 
***

Pre-order links coming soon. To stay up to date, sign up for my newsletter here. I only send them for sales and new releases, promise. ;) 

If you'd like to hear from me more often, stop by and see me at Dirty, Sexy History, where I post weekly. xx

Notes:

*My one exception to historical accuracy is language. While I try to avoid anything glaringly modern or American-sounding, I prioritize keeping the language clear. if I wrote in 100% accurate 17th century prose, it would take me five times as long and no one would be able to understand it. The language I use is a kind of compromise between authenticity and accessibility. When you take away major differences in language, it's easier to see how much we have in common with the people of the past. 
**This is Nick Cave's cover of Leonard Cohen's Avalanche. Nick Cave is my Elvis, and Leonard Cohen is my Leonard Cohen. However, hero Jake Cohen is not named after him. Cohen was the most common Jewish surname in Amsterdam in the 17th century. Jake is from Amsterdam, and that's why I chose it.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Selkie's Lure: Exciting New Romance From Rosanna Leo!


Selkie's Lure
By Rosanna Leo

Amy Woods, one of TV’s famed Beast Seekers, has come to Orkney, Scotland, to hunt sirens. One of them killed her sister and she has sworn revenge. Most people think she’s crazy for believing in monsters. She knows the truth. But while patrolling one of Orkney’s cold beaches, she runs into a naked selkie man rather than a siren, and he proves to be an alluring distraction.

Edan Kirk is a selkie, one of an ancient race of seal shape shifters. When he hears of Amy’s intention to hunt sirens, tragic memories overwhelm him. He knows he must get rid of the pesky human. As much as he tries to convince her she’s on a fool’s errand, he can’t resist trying to protect her. After all, he has heard the enticing song of the sirens and he knows its deadly power.

As Amy and Edan engage in a battle of wits and wills, other emotions rush to the fore. Their connection is intense, the sort to come along only once in a lifetime. Edan recognizes her as his mate. However, another woman has set her sights on him as well, one whose powers of seduction are legendary. One whose voice has driven men to madness and devastation.

Can Amy accept Edan as her mate, making her home in the world of the supernatural? And can they save each other from a beast that cannot be destroyed?

Excerpt


After patrolling the shore for the better part of an hour, Edan began to feel the call of his bed. He might possess more stamina than a human man but it had been a long day. Resolved to catch a couple hours of sleep before morning, he swam toward the shore. Relinquishing his pelt, letting it slide from his body, he stood up straight.

A man appeared before him.

No. A woman.

Because she wore fatigues, he was momentarily confused, but there was no mistaking her buxom figure. She was certainly doing her best to look like an army man, right down to her combat boots.

The lass smiled and aimed a camera phone at him. “Hello, sailor. Did you fall off your boat?”

Fuck. What sort of woman walked on the beach at four in the morning? “Something like that.”

Despite the obvious threat posed by her camera, he couldn’t help noticing she was a beauty. Perhaps not in the Hollywood starlet sense, but her imperfections intrigued him. She’d pulled her chestnut hair back into a tight ponytail. There was an asymmetry to her face that gave an edge to delicate features. Her nose was slightly crooked near the tip and one eyebrow arched higher than the other. Her generous mouth was compressed but it looked capable of wide smiles.

And her scent. It hit him hard and made him see stars, like that time his younger brother Calan lobbed a dictionary at his head. She smelled like strawberries, juicy and ripe from the bush. Interesting, considering she was dressed like Rambo.

His gut turned, as if skewered on a rotisserie. As his innards roiled, he couldn’t help wondering what it would be like to wind her ponytail around his fingers, draw her close and...

“Well?” Her eyebrow quirked even higher.

How much had she seen?

He stepped toward her but when she snapped several photos in quick succession, he stopped moving. “It’s not polite to take photos of a man in his birthday suit.”

“Yes, but you’re not quite a man, are you?”

She’d seen everything, then. He’d simply have to persuade her not to trust her senses. He’d talked himself out of worse scrapes. Edan waved his hand in the direction of his crotch. “I’m all man, lass, as you can see.”

She indulged in a quick glance. Her eyes widened in clear wonder, as if she’d never seen anything quite like him before. “Something more, then.” She nodded toward his pelt. “I’ll take that, please.”

“I don’t think so.” He hedged his bets he could convince her to give up whatever mischief she’d planned.

How had he missed her on the beach? Too distracted by the thought of Breena, perhaps. “You’ve seen enough to understand I’m a selkie. If you know that, you know I need this pelt. If you’re looking for a lover, you need to be wily and steal the skin. I won’t just hand it over, unless of course you can prove to me you’d be worth a tussle.”

“I’m not looking for a lover and I don’t want to tussle with you.”

“I’d say that was a shame, you know, if you didn’t look as if you were out to blackmail me.”

Two men, also dressed in camouflage, emerged from behind a sand dune. One of them looked as if his sole hobby was frequenting the gym. Although the other man was smaller in stature, he presented more of a threat and it had everything to do with his professional-looking video camera.

“I’d give her the pelt if I were you,” the bigger man said.

“Who the hell are you people?” Edan demanded as he slowly handed the skin over to the woman.

She took it but didn’t lower her phone. “We’re the Beast Seekers. You’re our first selkie. Smile for the cameras.”


Rosanna Leo is a multi-published, erotic romance author. Several of her books about Greek gods, selkies and shape shifters have been named Top Picks at Night Owl Romance and The Romance Reviews.

From Toronto, Canada, Rosanna occupies a house in the suburbs with her long-suffering husband, their two hungry sons and a tabby cat named Sweetie. When not writing, she can be found haunting dusty library stacks or planning her next star-crossed love affair.

A library employee by day, she is honored to be a member of the league of naughty librarians who also happen to write romance. Rosanna blogs at www.rosannaleoauthor.wordpress.com




Sunday, January 1, 2017

And Then Mine Enemy: Swashbuckling 17th Century Romance by Alison Stuart *GIVEAWAY!*

The latest swashbuckling 17th century historical romance from the pen of Alison Stuart!
AND THEN MINE ENEMY is the first book in a two book series (FEATHERS IN THE WIND) spanning the years of the English Civil War from 1642- 1645.


And Then Mine Enemy
Feathers in the Wind, Book 1
Alison Stuart

A family ripped apart in a country divided by war . . .

England 1642: Hardened mercenary, Adam Coulter returns to England sickened by violence, seeking only peace, but he finds England on the brink of civil war. He has seen first-hand what that will mean for every man, woman and child and wants no part of it.

King or Parliament? Neutrality is not an option and Adam can only be true to his conscience, not the dictates of his family.

Having escaped a loveless marriage, Perdita Gray has found much needed sanctuary and the love of a good man, but her fragile world begins to crumble as Adam Coulter bursts into her life. This stranger brings not only the reality of war to her doorstep but reignites an old family feud, threatening everything and everyone she holds dear.

As the war and  family tensions collide around them, Adam and Perdita are torn between old loyalties and a growing attraction that must be resisted.


Excerpt

As the first streaks of light illuminated the cold, grey, colourless morning, the wounded came. The echo of horses’ hooves and the creak of wagon wheels, sent Perdita hurrying downstairs. As she stepped outside, her breath frosted in the cold air and she shivered, thinking of the battle that had been fought the previous day and the wounded men who lay on the hard, frosted ground.

In the forecourt a troop of horse, or what was left of a troop of horse, sat their weary mounts as their commander, a tall man on a bay horse leaned down talking to Ludovic. Even in the grey light she could see from his build that it was not Simon and she slowed her steps.

As she approached him, the man raised his head, his fingers going to the brim of his heavy, iron helmet. She stopped, her breath catching. Adam Coulter.

She wanted to run to him, satisfy herself that he wasn’t hurt but even in the circumstances, any undue haste could be construed as unseemly. Instead she raised her chin and walked purposefully across to him.

‘Adam Coulter? What brings you here?'

The answer was obvious and his red-rimmed eyes narrowed. ‘I’ve wounded with me and I can take them no further.’

Perdita moved her gaze to the tired, dispirited faces behind him. Dreading what she might see she turned to the wagons, recoiling momentarily from the stench of blood and worse, and the piteous cries.

Adam swung himself down from his horse, wincing as he straightened his back.

Perdita caught the grimace of pain. ‘Are you hurt?’

He shook his head. Beneath the shadow of the helm’s brim, he looked exhausted, his face unshaven and grimy. ‘Thank you for your concern, Mistress Gray, but no I’m not hurt. Just stiff. My men . . .’

‘Take the wounded into the barn.’ Perdita addressed an older man with a greying beard who seemed to carry some authority. She turned to Ludovic. ‘See that there is food and drink for the men. I’ll see to the wounded.’

She supervised the unloading of the wagons, indicating the grey stone solidity of the barn, hurrying ahead as the able-bodied men carried their injured companions into the grey stone solidity of the barn. ‘We heard the sounds of the battle. Where was it?’ Perdita threw the question to Adam, as he helped one of the more lightly injured soldiers off his horse.

‘Kineton village. A place they call Edgehill.’

Amazon | Kobo | iBooks | Nook | Smashwords

About Alison Stuart

Award winning Australian author, Alison Stuart learned her passion for history from her father. She has been writing stories since her teenage years but it was not until 2007 that her first full length novel was published. Alison has now published seven full length historical romances and a collection of her short stories.  Her disposition for writing about soldier heroes may come from her varied career as a lawyer in the military and fire services. These days when she is not writing she is travelling and routinely drags her long suffering husband around battlefields and castles.

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To celebrate the release of And Then Mine Enemy, Alison is giving away a $20 Amazon Gift Card. Enter here:

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