Saturday, September 29, 2018

A Laughing Matter of Pain


A Laughing Matter of Pain



Harry Rechthart always knew how to laugh, but laughter can hide a lot of pain that’s drowned by the bottle and good times. He grew up the joker in the early 1900s in Cleveland, Ohio, but as he enters adulthood, conflict splits him. His once close relationship with his brother, Erik, breaks as they come into their own and Erik goes off to college. No longer under Erik’s shadow, Harry feels he might finally shine and make others see him as someone to be proud of. Harry finds an unlikely comrade who understands how he feels–his younger sister, Hannah. Once free of high school, Harry and Hannah double date sister and brother, Kat and Will Jones, attending wild, extravagant parties during the years of Prohibition. Harry thinks he’s won at life–he’s found love in Kat, in a good time, and in the bottle. But all the light goes out fast when Harry’s alcoholism leads to disastrous consequences for him and Kat.

Harry thinks the joke’s on him now that he’s sunk lower than ever. He’s in jail. He’s pushed away his family. He’s a broken man, but in the darkest depths of a prison cell, there is hope. Can Harry rebuild his life and learn that true laughter comes from knowing true joy, or will he bury himself once and for all in this laughing matter of pain?


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Author Bio – Cynthia Hilston is a thirty-something-year-old stay at home mom of three young kids, happily married. Writing has always been like another child to her. After twenty years of waltzing in the world of fan fiction, she finally stepped away to do her debut dance with original works of fiction. Hannah's Rainbow: Every Color Beautiful is her first original novel. She's currently working on more books. Visit her website for more information.

In her spare time - what spare time? - she devours books, watches Doctor Who and Game of Thrones, pets her orange kitty, looks at the stars, and dreams of what other stories she wishes to tell.
Social Media Links – http://www.cynthiahilston.com
Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/authorcynthiahilston


Tour hosted by @rararesources

Friday, September 28, 2018

The Traitor Cover Reveal

Title: The Traitor (Book 2 in The Rebels and Redcoats Saga)
Author: T.J. London
Genre: Historical Fiction with Romantic Elements
Cover Designer: Steve Miller
Concept Editor: Kathe Robin
Copy Editor and Proofreader: Jo Michaels
Publication Date: October 26th, 2018
Hosted by: Lady Amber's PR


 Spy. Liar. Scoundrel. Redcoat.

Provocateur and spy for His Majesty, Captain John Carlisle returns to Fort Niagara with the secrets he stole in the arms of the beautiful Oneida innkeeper, Dellis McKesson. 

Determined to complete his mission and clear his name, he’ll see justice done—and damn the consequences. Now, he finds himself drawn into political intrigue as the British prepare to launch a three-pronged attack that will bring the Rebels and the Mohawk River Valley to its knees.

A dangerous revelation finds Dellis as whispers of intrigue insinuate her beloved is not all that he seems. Unwilling to wait for her lover’s return, she sets out in search of the truth as the Onieda begin negotiations with the Rebels, breaking the neutrality agreement with the crown. A bold move that will stoke a fire between the brother tribes and lead to a bloody inter-confederacy war—one Dellis predicted, and one John incited.

While war between the colonies and the King smolders, the punishing winter of 1777 allows the perfect opportunity for old enemies to settle scores, lying in wait, ready to exploit John’s one weakness—his heart. John is not an innocent man. The truth he’s long tried to hide from can no longer be ignored, the ghosts of the past seeking justice, and karma wanting payment for sins so dark they cannot be forgiven.


T.J. London is a rebel, liberal, lover, fighter, diehard punk, and Mohawk rockin pharmacist-turned-author who loves history. As an author her goal is to fill in the gaps, writing stories about missing history, those little places that are so interesting yet often forgotten. Her favorite time periods to write in are first and foremost the American Revolutionary War, the French Revolution, the French and Indian War, the Russian Revolution and the Victorian Era.  Her passions are traveling, writing, reading, barre, and sharing a glass of wine with her friends, while she collects experiences in this drama called life.  She is a native of Metropolitan Detroit (but secretly dreams of being a Londoner) and resides there with her husband Fred and her beloved cat Mickey.

Author Links: Amazon: https://amzn.to/2tmUqfL
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The Tory Amazon: https://amzn.to/2JQC8ia

Thursday, September 27, 2018

TARJEN Now LIVE!!!

Tarjen 

by Susan Hayes 

Genre: Science Fiction Romance 

Publisher: Black Scroll Publications Ltd


Blurb

What do you do when your planet runs out of women? Send for takeout, of course. Tarjen never expected to go to Earth again. The first time, he was there to protect Crown Prince Joran as he claimed his mate and returned her to Pyros. This time, Tarjen is on his way to claim a mate of his own. He’s studied human courtship behaviour, memorized his match’s file from the Star-Crossed Dating database, and prepared himself for the moment he’ll meet his mate. He’s planned everything perfectly so that nothing can go wrong. Not like the last time they were here... This book contains a single mother who doesn’t believe in happy endings, and a royal bodyguard who does everything by the book – until the universe blows up the book, his plans, and part of a city block.

Buy Links

Excerpt

Still winded by her fall, her senses scrambled, Aria forced herself back to her feet. Fear tried to take hold, but she pushed it back and made herself focus on the only thing that mattered. Melody. Her baby was a warm, comforting weight against her chest. “You okay, little one?” She ran her hands over every inch of her child, soothing her as she checked for injuries. By the time she was done, Melody was quieter, and Aria breathed a sigh of relief. “No owies or booboos. Thank heavens.” She reached out one hand and started shuffling in a cautious circle, searching for a wall to use as a guide. She wandered for what felt like an eternity in the darkness, her nerves screaming, but finally her hand brushed against something solid. “Thank god.” She leaned her back against the wall and gave herself a moment. She was running on instinct and adrenaline. She needed to calm down and start thinking clearly. She took a few cleansing breaths, counting out the seconds of each exhalation. Just as she started feeling more centered, she heard something in the darkness, and fear turned her blood to ice water in a heartbeat. Who was out there? What was out there in the dark? “Hello?” “Aria? Are you unhurt?” A stranger’s voice called out. “Who are you? Where are you? I can’t see anything.” A hand touched her shoulder and a brilliant blue spark arced through the air, chasing away the dark for a moment. Once she saw the spark, she knew exactly who was with her. Her Pyrosian match had tracked her down somehow, and now both of them would have to face the consequences. I shouldn’t have come today. He’s going to be so disappointed.

Author Bio

Susan lives out on the Canadian west coast surrounded by open water, dear family, and good friends. She’s jumped out of perfectly good airplanes on purpose and accidentally swum with sharks on the Great Barrier Reef. She’s worked for local law enforcement, been a freelance wordsmith and bakes what she claims are the world’s best double-chocolate & caramel brownies. She’s passionately in love with the written word (and a few of her more hunky creations.) Writing is her joy, her escape from reality and the only way she knows of to quiet the nagging harridan of a muse the universe assigned to her. Author website and social media links Website: https://susanhayes.ca/ Twitter: https://twitter.com/SHayesRomance Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SusanHayesAuthor Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/susan-hayes-5cda6a57-a21e-40bc- 9ed1-237f1b14ca3c

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Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Falling In Love Clean Romance


  My 90's Boy Band Boyfriend by Jennifer Griffith
 Teenage singer Oakley Marsden is having a rough week. Pop-star Hudson’s rough week is twenty-three years long.  Sixteen-year-old Oakley just wants to win a spot on TV’s The Next Radio Star.  But when her bad audition goes viral, going back to school is a nightmare. Even more humiliating, she discovers her own mother was a boy band groupie. Cringe. And Mom still has a thing for a nineties boy band killed in the tragic plane crash twenty years ago.
 When things can’t get worse, a strange beggar guy ends up carrying Oakley home—and Oakley’s mom loses her mind. She’s convinced he’s the long-dead popstar Hudson Oaks, frontman for Girl Crazy and Mom’s long-lost love. And the guy isn’t denying it. Curse him.
 Oakley has to save her mom from this impostor before Mom does something insane—and before Oakley starts falling for his charm too.  

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Read for FREE with Kindle Unlimited
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 Mom’s voice got that suppressed squealing quality again. “Don’t you know who that is?” “Who who is?” Oakley refused to believe her mom knew the seventeen/forty-year-old currently in her master bathroom shower. “That guy? He’s probably a drug addict, Mom. Believe me, I see a lot more of them at high school than you see in kindergarten. They’re actually pretty easy to spot: lack of self-care, bad personal hygiene, general disorientation, smell of smoke.” “Sweetheart.” Mom looked more serious than she had in days, and she grabbed both of Oakley’s hands again for emphasis. “That guy who is now showering in our house is Hudson Oaks.” The housing development guy from the boy band two decades ago? “Mom.” Oakley wondered how many times she was going to have to call her mom out today for making wildly ridiculous statements. It was climbing into the dozens category now. “I think you and I both know that’s impossible.” “He sounds like him, walks like him, says his name is Hudson Oaks. All the reasons. Trust me, I’m probably the greatest living expert on Hudson Oaks besides the man himself.” That guy in her shower couldn’t be more than seventeen, and therefore not, legally, a man. Her mom should stay right away from that jailbait. Weren’t school teachers specifically trained on stuff like this? Apparently Mom had shelved all that based on seeing a … what? Oakley’s world shifted on sands she hadn’t even known she’d been standing on. This new version of her life contained a mom who might just run off with a minor. “Did you look at him, Mom? He’s, like, a seventeen-year-old kid. This whole incident happened over two decades ago. Don’t tell me you can explain that.” “Of course I can.” Of course she could. Oakley swallowed all the acid-tinged words and asked, “How?” “Obvious. Time travel.” A tiny explosion detonated in Oakley’s brain, but before she could react, a soft knock came at Oakley’s door. Mom hadn’t heard it, too enthralled in her moment of brilliant discovery. But Oakley had. She looked over. There in the doorframe, lit from the hall light behind, stood a dripping wet, formerly dirty boy, clad in just a towel at his waist. His hair was combed, and he had a definite young Tom Cruise quality about him—dark hair, charming smile, and those shoulders. Great Gatsby, those shoulders! Oakley caught her breath and had to swallow hard. The way he held his mouth, like he expected every woman to want to kiss it, made a little muscle tremble at the back of Oakley’s stomach. She immediately tightened the muscle to put a halt to that nonsense.
 


   Loved it! Fun and witty and had enough twists to keep me guessing. The hero was totally swoony and I really identified with the heroine. It had a perfect ending! ~Donna H
 Time for a blast from the past! I had a lot of fun reading this book. I loved all the references to 90s music and culture. I had some pretty good laughs every time I came across a reference from that time. ~Julie C
 Fun, fun read! Between a time-traveling rock star who looks like Tom Cruise, finding out about her mother’s teenaged craziness, learning to give her stepfather the credit he deserves, and coming to terms with her own insecurities and talent, Oakley has a lot on her plate! Let the fun and games begin! ~Traci A
 This brought back a lot of memories as I was a teen in the 80's. I loved this story. Sweet read & definitely good for teens & pre-teens or adults looking for a clean, fun story with a little romance, a little mystery & feel good ending! ~Rose D
 




Author Jennifer Griffith
 Jennifer Griffith writes light, sweet romances she calls Cotton Candy for the Soul. Her Legally in Love Collection stems from the fact she fell in love with a handsome law school student who now serves as a judge--as well as her muse. She also writes the Millionaire Makeover Romances, millionaires and makeovers being some things with which she has less experience. Jennifer loves old cars, landscape paintings, fresh bread with raspberry jam, and reading. She lived in Japan during college, where she once ate a cricket on a dare. She also traveled through Europe, where she slept a night in a castle on the Rhine. Jennifer worked summers in a cookie factory, and she spent a few years working for the U.S. Congress before becoming a wife, a mom and an author.  




 
 
 


 

A Highland Emerald Blog Tour





Title: A HIGHLAND EMERALD
Author: Brenda Taylor
Publisher: Bethabara Press
Pages: 268
Genre: Scottish Historical Romance

BOOK BLURB:
Aine MacLean is forced into an arranged marriage with Sir William, Chief of Clan Munro, yet her heart belongs to a handsome young warrior in her father’s guard. She must leave Durant Castle, the home of her birth on the Isle of Mull, and travel across Scotland in a perilous journey to her husband’s home on Cromarty Firth. William agrees to a year and day of handfasting, giving Aine an opportunity to accept him and his clan. He promises her the protection of Clan Munro, however, Aine experiences kidnapping, pirates, and almost loses her life in the River Moriston. She doubts the sincerity of William’s promises and decides to return to Durant Castle when the handfasting ends. William determines to win Aine’s heart. Will the brave knight triumph in his fight for the bonnie lass?

A Highland Emerald is the third book in the award-winning Highland Treasures series. The novel tells the story of Aine MacLean and William Munro and is the prequel to A Highland Pearl.

ORDER YOUR COPY:

Amazon | Barnes & Noble






Chapter One

Isle of Mull

Isle of Mull
Scotland, 1486 A.D.

My father sat on his usual chair in front of the crackling fire, staring at the flames with dim eyes, a fur robe wrapped around his broad shoulders, the deerhound curled at his feet.
“Where are you going, Aine?” he asked with his back turned toward the stone, spiral staircase where I stood. “Come, sit with me for awhile.”
I pushed the arisaid from my shoulders, letting it drop to the floor, then stepped over the wrap, making my way to the stool where my mother's embroidery frame stood. I took a seat and watched the flames.
Without turning his head, my father, Lachlan Og MacLean, eighth Chief of Clan MacLean and fourth Laird of Durant Castle, asked, “Where are you going?”
“How did you ken 'twas I?”
He never ceased to amaze me with his uncanny knowledge of events around him although his eyes, so dimmed by injury, saw very little.
“I heard the rustle of your skirts.” Da extended his hand for me, so I rose and hugged his neck. He smiled, embracing my arms. “And I ken your scent, lass. ’Tis so like your mither's. You use the same scented soap as she.”
“Aye, but from so far away and with the smell of burning wood and dog in your nostrils?”
“Your odor is a different pleasantry among the usual burning wood and dog. It stands out in my memory as does the pleasant odor of your mither.”
He smiled broadly, showing still straight, white teeth beneath a greying beard. I could almost feel his penetrating gaze upon me as in the days before a battle injury took his sight.
He asked, “Where are you going this dreary night?”
“Here, Da. To sit beside you and talk of the feast on the morrow.”
“Don't try to deceive me, lass. I heard the sound of your arisaid dropping to the floor. You are planning a tryst, I feel certain.”
His dimmed gaze pierced through to the depths of my soul.
“I could see the turn of your head toward him each time he spoke at the eve’s meal.” A line formed between my father’s brows and a shadow darkened his face. “You are to marry the Munro.”
“I dinna love William Munro.” My voice began to rise, and I struggled to control the cry climbing from the depths of my heart. “I wanna marry him, Da. You promised I could wed for love, not convenience.”
The cry emerged from my lips. I buried my head on his shoulder and sobbed.
Da rose, grabbed my hand and pulled me to face him, wrapping his powerful arms around my shoulders. He stroked my hair and planted a kiss atop my head. Disturbed, the great dog stood.
My heart ached to please Da, I loved him so. His tender embrace brought back memories of my childhood when he comforted me after a fall or some aggravation caused by my three older brothers. We stood for a long time.
He gently pushed me away, looking into my eyes and planting a kiss on my forehead. “I only want the best for you, sweetling. You’re my heart, you ken. I dinna wish to leave this world without you being in the care of a good mon. The Munro is a good mon.” He hesitated then added, “With wealth and title.”
I looked into his faded blue eyes that once shone with the brilliance of the azure sky on a sunny day. He could only see the outline of my face whilst standing close, now. “If you truly desire the best for me, you'll let me marry the love of my heart, not some bloat because of his title. Titles mean naught to me, Da.” Tears streamed from my eyes, wetting my cheeks. I pulled away from his grasp, swiping at the wetness with a sleeve.
“The Munro is a good mon and a fierce warrior. ’Tis nae better for a husband. He’ll be here on the morrow. We’ll have a feast to celebrate your marriage.”
“He’s old. I’m only eighteen summers. I shan’t attend.” Sometimes the stubbornness of my nature overtook good sense. I knew not to speak to my father in such a manner. He also possessed an immovable streak, and his word overruled my desires.
“He’s no’ old, Aine. A few years your senior, but no’ old by any means. When he’s my age, then he’ll be old.”
I continued to sniff, wetting the front of his léine.
“All right, Aine. If that’s the way this game is to be played. You'll be watched until after the celebration and you depart with the Munro.”
The words spewed from Da’s mouth. A sinister, dark shadow cloaked his face. Muscles twitched in his jaws and his hands clenched in tight fists. I stepped back. He abruptly turned, making his way up the stone steps to the upper story bed chambers, feeling the wall for security. When his foot struck the arisaid I’d dropped on the stair, he reached down, seized the garment, flung it with a vehemence I rarely witnessed from him, and continued up the staircase. The large dog followed at his heels. Not knowing what to do, I grabbed the arisaid, wrapped it closely around my shoulders, pulled the hood over my head, then ran toward the door of the great hall. Ellic waited in the garden. I wanted to be near him, feel his embrace, and listen to the sweet words he would whisper in my ear.
I pulled on the large oaken door, reinforced with bands of iron, and stepped into the damp, grey air of gloaming. The large figure of Da’s luchd-taighe, Sion MacLean, filled the portal when I tried to close the door. He put up a massive arm, keeping the door from closing. I stared at him, and he back at me.
“Did Da send you to watch me?” I asked the huge brute.
“Aye,” he answered, stepping out of the keep, but leaving the door open.
“I’m going to meet Ellic Garvie, in case you are wondering. He waits for me in the stables, so be sure to report my tryst to Da. He kens, anyway.”
Ellic Garvie, one of the warriors in Da’s slaugh and a member of his luchd-taighe, held an attraction for me and I for him. I turned on my heels.
Sion grabbed my arm, jerking me toward the door. “You're no’ going to the stables this eve.”
I tried to jerk my arm from his powerful grasp, but he held tightly whilst pulling me toward the door.
Pushing me inside, he said with a hiss, “Stay put, lass, or Laird MacLean will lock you in your room.”
I didn’t answer, only returned his gaze. The big oaf. The door closed in my face, and I heard him walk away. Giving the guard time to leave the keep’s vicinity and enter the outer bailey housing the stables, I carefully opened the large door to squeeze through so only a slit of light shone on the cobblestones, closed the door, then made my way to the garden enclosure beside the keep. Upon entering the garden, I glanced back to make certain no one followed, then took the rose-lined garden path to the very end. Ellic’s dark form emerged from the shadow of an apple tree beside the stone wall. I rushed into his strong, powerful arms. He pulled me close, and I buried my head on his chest. Tears fell from my eyes, wetting his jacket.
Ellic held me away, my eyes met his in the last light of gloaming. Their dark color grew darker and ominous as his lips brushed mine with a tender caress. I could not help but respond. The kiss grew harder, more passionate until he broke away, holding both my arms.
His ale-tainted breath fanned my face. “I love you, Aine. You must come with me to Oban. My aunt works at Dunollie Castle as the lady’s maid. We’ll be married there and I can join the slaugh of MacDougall and perhaps become part of his luchd-taighe. The Laird of Lorne provides well for his people.”
My voice hitched remembering Da’s words. “I canna. Da is having me watched now. The Munro is arriving on the morrow for our marriage ceremony.”
He looked around. “Where is your guard?”
“I sent him to the stables looking for you, but I feel certain he will come here soon.” His lips hushed my words, taking my breath away. I turned my head from his and snuggled into his broad chest, feeling the prickly wool of the great plaide draped over his shoulder on my cheek. “I love you so,” I whispered.
He took my chin, raising my face to his. “Then come with me tonight.”
Suddenly, a vision of my life wed to William Munro flashed through my mind. He was an older man and lived a long distance from Durant Castle, my home. I wanted a young, powerful warrior like Ellic. Da may disinherit me and no longer call me his daughter, but my heart could do naught else.
“Aye. I will come with you. Tell me the way.”
“Who is your guard?” He stepped back, rubbing his chin in deep thought.
“The brute, Sion. He will ne’er let me slip by him to meet you.”
Ellic grew silent, then backed to the stone wall, pulling me with him and gathering me into his arms. We kissed as a full moon rose in the east, casting white, silvery light into the garden. His brown hair glisten in the moonbeams. Ellic was the most handsome of Da’s guards. The thought of leaving him to marry another twisted the inner most part of me into a tight knot. I knew at that moment, I could never marry the Munro.
“Sion will drink and make merry along with the others at the feast. He’ll sleep instead of watch at your door, then you can slip out and meet me by the postern gate.”
“What of the guards at the postern gate? Da will have extra posted during the festivities with so many warriors inside getting drunk.”
“Fret no’, my men and I will take care of the guards. A birlinn is ready to take us across the Straight of Mull to Dunollie.”
The thought of leaving with Ellic made my heart thump until I felt certain he could hear its beating.
“Now go. Sion will find us soon, and you shouldn’t be seen with me.”
He gave me one last lingering kiss, then pushed me toward the garden gate. I hastened down the path, glancing back for one last look at my love, but he was gone. The bright moon lit the pathway out of the garden. I emerged, but did not see Sion in the bailey. Suddenly, a large hand grasped my arm, pulling me along toward the keep. I tried to jerk free, but could not escape the clutches of the powerful guard.
“So you sent me on a wild goose chase to the stables whilst you kept the tryst in the garden. Laird MacLean will be anxious to hear all about it.” He pulled harder.
“Stop you big oaf! I’m no’ a sack of barley to be dragged about.” I wrestled, yanking at his grasp once more and tried not to budge from the spot, but he kept pulling until I stumbled.
We reached the keep’s entrance. He pinned me in front of him, using both hands to open the heavy door, then pushed me through the portal. I tripped on the threshold and fell to the stone floor, bruising my hands and knees. Sion grabbed my arm, helped me up, and pulled me to the spiral staircase. Several of the luchd-taighe milled around the great hall. Some glanced our way, but said nothing. They never interfered with another’s orders. I saw none of my family. Sion followed me up the stairs then to my bed chamber. Opening the door, he pushed me through.
“I’ll send for Breda to care for you, for you'll no’ be coming out until the feast on the morrow.” He stood, eyes stormy. “I’m sorry you fell. I dinna mean to push so hard, but what I do and tell you is for your own good. The laird is determined to keep you away from Garvie or whomever you're meeting.” We continued to stare at each other. Determination rose like bile in my throat. “Do you understand, m’lady?”
“Where are my brothers? They’ll no’ let this unfair treatment continue. I wish to speak to Gillian.”
“Sir Gillian is telling Garvie of the laird’s wishes. Since the mon is a member of the MacLean’s guards, he’ll be allowed to stay and enjoy your marriage feast. Make nae mistake, m’lady, he will be watched.”
The door slammed closed, and my face burned with rage. Where are my brothers and my mother? They would never allow such rough treatment inflicted on my person. Surely, they would come to my rescue if they knew. Surely. I flung myself onto the bed, sobbing. My tears wet the coverlet, so I sat up on the side of the feather mattress, reached for a hand kertch on the small table, and blew my nose. Removing the arisaid and flinging it to the floor, I examined my bruised hands, then pulled up my heavy skirt to look at my knees. A small cut bled on one knee, but they were mostly scrapped and blue. I dabbed at the cut with the hand kertch.
A knock sounded. “Who is it?” I rose and rushed to bar the door if necessary. Sion was not coming back into my room.
“’Tis Breda, Lady Aine. I’ve come to help you prepare for bed,” the maid called through the door.
“Come,” I answered with a sob.
The door opened slowly. Breda entered and observed my cut, bruised knees. She searched my eyes, hers filled with anxiety. “I’ll fetch the healer, Lady Aine. That cut should be cared for.”
“Nae, Breda. Washing with a clean cloth is all that’s needed.” I dabbed at the blood. “Rinse this in the basin, then wash the cut again. It’ll be much better with the cleansing.”
Breda poured water from the pitcher into the bowl, then rinsed the cloth. She brought it back and began to rub on the cut knee. The cold water felt good and stopped the bleeding. She rinsed the rag then washed the cut once more.
Handing me the cloth, she said, “I’ll empty this bowl and fetch more water. Are you certain you dinna wish for me to call the healer?”
“Nae. Bring my mither, and if you see my brothers, send them also.” I needed their broad, understanding shoulders to cry on. My brothers usually took my part in any squabble I had with Da and Mam. Da complained they spoiled me ’til rotten, which in truth they did. One major problem my siblings’ overprotectiveness afforded was their interference with beaus and suitors. No man was good enough for their young sister, and Da encouraged this attitude.
The large oak door opened with a bang. My brother, Young Lachlan, strode to the bedside and pushed Breda aside, examining my knee. He took both my hands, turned them over, then looked into my questioning eyes.
“I’ll speak to Da about Sion,” he said with shards of light glinting in his eyes.
“Nae. Please dinna make matters worse with my father. These are naught but scratches.” I didn’t want my brothers interfering in my relationship with Ellic. They probably knew about our courtship since they knew all the comings and goings in Durant Castle. My brothers were Da’s eyes and ears now.
“You ken the Munro is coming to finalize the marriage contract.” Lachie dropped my hands, lifting my chin to search my eyes. “What are your feelings on the matter, Aine?”
“I care no’ to meet the mon, much less marry him. He’ll take me away to that godforsaken place on the other side of Scotland he calls Ferindonald.” Tears brimmed my eyes. “Away from my family and home. Away from you, Lachie. I dinna care if he’s titled. I’ll no’ go with him.”
“I’ll speak to Da this eve, before the Munro arrives. You're a bonnie woman, Aine. Surely he can find a suitor closer to Durant.”
I buried my head in his wool plaide and wept, wetting the garment.
He stroked my hair for a long while, then pushed me away and planted a kiss on my forehead. “Take care of your wounds, now.”
Lachie turned on his heels with his sword clanking in the scabbard buckled around his waist. Breda began washing the cut on my knee again. She was a good caretaker and I planned to keep her with me wherever I may go, especially if the object of my journey happened to be Fàrdach Castle on the Cromarty Firth.
Mother pushed past Lachie in the doorway. He addressed her, then moved on. She rushed to me, taking the wet cloth from Breda and wiping the wound on my knee. She examined the cut, then turned to the maid and told her to fetch, Màdra, the healer. I tried to tell Mother I did not need the healer, but she would not listen.
“You may get blood on your night shift and bed linens. The cut needs a bandage and the scrapes need plantain salve.” She searched my eyes. “Perhaps willow bark tea for pain, also.”
“Mam,” I protested. “The wounds are small. I dinna need willow bark tea or anything else.”
Mother told Breda to fetch the healer anyway. The maid left, gently closing the door whilst Mam took a clean shift from the trunk at the foot of the bed and told me to stand. She assisted with the laces of my kirtle, then took the garment over my head. She did the same for the blouse, and hung both from a peg on the opposite wall. I grabbed the shift from the bed and put it on. Although a fire blazed in the fireplace, the air felt cold on my body. I moved closer to the fire. A knock sounded on the door. Mother answered, then Breda and Màdra entered the room. Breda held a mug.
I sat in a small upholstered chair beside the fire whilst mother took the other. Màdra quickly examined my hands, opened her leather healer’s bag and withdrew a small glass container of salve. She spread the cool balm over the scrapes and bruises on my hands with nimble fingers, then raised my shift and examined the cut on my knee. Shaking her head, she wiped the seeping blood away with a clean cloth, smeared plantain salve on the cut, then placed a linen square over the wound, tying it in place with another, larger strip of linen.
Màdra searched my eyes, then motioned for Breda to hand me the mug. “I can tell by your eyes, you’re in some pain, m’lady. Please drink the willow bark tea.”
I looked at Mother who nodded. I could not fight the three of them, so taking the mug from Breda, I drank the bitter tea. The nasty brew would help me sleep and get the rest required to resist the demands of my father. I rose and walked toward the bed. Breda placed the mug with the remainder of the tea on the bedside table, pulled back the bedcovers, tucked the coverlet under my chin, then pulled the fur blanket on top of me.
Mother stood beside the bed, brushed the hair from my face, and kissed my forehead. “Don’t hesitate to drink the remainder of the tea if you wake and feel pain.”
I hated being treated like a bairn. “Mither, I am fine. Please stop treating me like a bairn.”
“You'll always be my wee lassie, Aine. No matter how old you are.” She took Breda’s arm, and the three women left my room.
I lay in bed searching the plastered ceiling, thinking of Ellic, and waiting for the potion to take effect on my wakefulness. Mayhap I should do as he asked and slip away with him in the birlinn to Dunollie Castle then beyond. Someplace unknown to my family where we could live in peace the rest of our lives. 
Maybe I would do just that.



 The desire to write historical fiction has long been a passion with Brenda B. Taylor. Since elementary school, she has written stories in her spare time. Brenda earned three degrees: a BSE from Henderson State University, Arkadelphia, Arkansas; a MEd from Sam Houston State University, Huntsville, Texas; and an EdD from Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas; then worked as a teacher and administrator in the Texas Public School system. Only after retirement could she fulfill the dream of publication.


Brenda and her husband make their home in beautiful East Texas where they enjoy spending time with family and friends, traveling, and working in Bethabara Faith Ministry, Inc. She crafts stories about the extraordinary lives of ordinary people in her favorite place overlooking bird feeders, bird houses, and a variety of blooming trees and flowers. She sincerely thanks all who purchase and read her books. Her desire is that the message in each book will touch the heart of the reader as it did hers in the writing.

Her latest book is the Scottish Historical Romance A Highland Emerald.

Author Contact Information:
Historical Heartbeats
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SHATTERED AT SEA

Shattered at Sea (A Webb's Glass Shop Mystery) by Cheryl Hollon


 
Cozy Mystery 5th in Series 
Kensington (August 28, 2018) 
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages 
ISBN-10: 1496711777 
ISBN-13: 978-1496711779 
Digital ASIN: B077WY2SRQ

A Mediterranean cruise gives glass shop owner Savannah Webb a chance to demonstrate her expertise—and fire up her skills when it comes to foul play .
. . When Savannah signs on to perform glassblowing on a ship, part of the appeal is that she’ll get a chance to reconnect with her boyfriend Edward’s family. An added bonus is that Edward’s cousin, Ian, will be joining them on board. But when Ian disappears at the beginning of the cruise, the ship’s authorities initially consider it suicide. Savannah tries to balance her growing suspicions with work on her shows, but her relationship with the other glass artists begins to crack. And she can’t let love color her judgment when Edward suddenly jumps to the top of the suspect list. His fate is in Savannah’s hands, and she’ll do everything she can—on land and sea—to clear his name . . .


A destination vacation becomes available along with an opportunity to work aboard a cruise ship.
Savannah had trained in glassblowing and dreamed of working onboard a ship before her life got sidetracked when she took over her father's glass business.
This opportunity also offers a chance to get to know her boyfriend, Edward's, family better. Together, they visit his family home, celebrate his cousin's graduation, and are planning on spending time with cousin Ian on the cruise, a gift from his parents.
They did not expect for the Rosenberg twins to be aboard ship or for a less savory element of Edward's past to be revealed. Ian is lost to them after the first night afloat. Could any of this have to do with a curse over breaking crockery?
The bad luck seems to affect not only shipboard life but also life back home.

Characters we've watched grow and build relationships in previous books pull together to protect loved ones and solve Ian's disappearance. Secrets abound!
I found the glass blowing descriptions fascinating. I need to spend more time in glass shops and museums near me.

The only part I did not feel satisfied with was my tension towards and anger over the onboard security members. I still think there are secrets there to be revealed.
However since Savannah and company were only cruising for a week, and next time will be back on dry land, I will let that go and look forward to the next book.

About the Author

CHERYL HOLLEN
  Cheryl Hollon now writes full-time after she left an engineering career of designing and building military flight simulators in amazing countries such as England, Wales, Australia, Singapore, Taiwan, and India.
Fulfilling the dream of a lifetime, she combines her love of writing with a passion for creating glass art. In the small glass studio behind her house in St. Petersburg, Florida, Cheryl and her husband design, create, and produce fused glass, stained glass, and painted glass artworks.

Visit her online at http://cherylhollon.com, on Facebook or on Twitter @CherylHollon.

  Purchase Links: Amazon B&N Kobo BookBub


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Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Falling In Love


  The Sheriff's Bride by Kimberly Krey
 Trent Lockheart might be the new sheriff in town, but he can’t stop Jessie Jean from stealing his heart. Sheriff Trent Lockheart knew he’d be in for a challenge when he moved from the big city and a large police force to the small Wyoming town of Cobble Creek. But at least he’d be able to stick to his bachelor ways without temptation. So he thought. Cobble Creek isn’t overflowing with young, single ladies, but Jessie Jean—the gorgeous brunette who runs the Country Quilt Inn—proves more tempting than any woman he’s known. Jessie doesn’t care much for the new sheriff in town. After an explosive first meeting that almost ends in Jessie’s arrest, she’s even more determined to plan on dinner for one for the rest of her life. Sure, the new sheriff is seriously attractive, and after a second, much less dangerous run-in, he might not be that bad, but Jessie has no plan to marry, date, or even let a man into her life. Still, as the days pass, Trent’s surprising charm works past Jessie’s determination, and she finds promise in their budding relationship. After opening up about the difficulties in her past, Jessie finds that Trent is guarding a dark tragedy of his own, one that might threaten their chance at a future together.
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 Of all the nerve! Who in their right mind would remove flyers for a fundraiser to help a single mother battling cancer? If Jessie came across this guy she’d let him have it. No doubt it was a guy; no woman had the heart to do such a thing. She took her frustration out on the stapler, pounding three staples into each corner of the page. “There,” she hissed. “Take this one down. I dare ya.” The deep sound of a man clearing his throat sounded behind her. “Who are you talking to, Miss?” She spun around, surprised to see an unfamiliar officer standing there. Wait, maybe he was familiar after all. Those sunglasses looked a whole lot like the ones she’d caught sight of a moment ago. She hadn’t noticed the uniform, as distracted by she’d been. In those tinted glasses, with that thick, dark hair and chiseled features, he looked more like a Hollywood heartthrob than a … The thought was lost as a shock of lime green caught her eye. Why were those papers in his hands? A gasp tore from her throat. “Are you the one ripping these down?” The man flicked the stack with the back of his hand. “As a matter of fact,” he mumbled around a toothpick between his lips, “that’s exactly who I am.” It was the perfect clash – the ugly admittance of what he’d done, and the attractive features of his face. Everything about him boasted manly perfection. His well-defined jaw showed hints of a five-o’clock shadow, the scruff also casing that perfectly sculpted mouth. The impressive span of his chest and shoulders said he was disciplined too; muscles like that didn’t happen overnight. Jessie forced her mind back to the less-attractive parts of him. Mainly, the part that was trying to sabotage her upcoming event. She reached out to snatch the stack from his grip, but he yanked it from her reach, a wry smile pulling at his lips. She gasped once more, visions of grade school coming to mind. Mean Milton playing keep away after swiping her backpack. “You’re a bully,” she accused. “No, ma’am, I’m just doing my duty.” The sunglasses made it hard to dissect just what was going through his head. In the reflection, Jessie saw a ticked-off version of herself, looking somewhat small from the lowered angle. A hand went to her hip. She leaned on one foot. “Did you take even one teeny tiny second to read what’s on those flyers? Huh? Because if you did, we wouldn’t be having this conversation.” “Ma’am, I don’t care if you’re having a yard sale or warning the town that a UFO landed in your backyard. What you’re doing is illegal.” Fire roared in her chest. “Who are you?” The officer slowly lifted a hand, took hold of the sunglasses he wore, and pulled them off his face. Their eyes locked as he moved the toothpick from one corner of his lips to the next. “I’m the new sheriff in town.”
   "One of the best books I've read... there were parts where I cried, laughed and cheered at the happily ever after." Ginny LaMere
 "...a sweet but rowdy romance with charming characters, a heartwarming story, and breathtaking moments too." Kindle Customer 3     Author Kimberly Krey
Kimberly has always been a fan of good, clean romance, so she decided to specialize in writing 'Romance That's Clean without Losing the Steam'. She's a fervent lover of God, family, and cheese platters, as well as the ultimate hater of laundry.