An Anniversary, a Poem, and a GIVEAWAY

September is the month of my wedding anniversary. This month, my husband and I will have been married for three years though we have been together for almost 14 and a half.
Anyone who has read my earliest posts on this blog, may recall that my life as a writer began with sappy adolescent poetry (no, I will not subject you all to any of my attempts). As I gear up to celebrate my marriage to a man I love more and more every day, I have decided to revisit my writing roots. Poetry was what first made me fall in love with the written word and love poetry specifically has a way of capturing the depth and breadth of emotion possible in the human experience.
So…in the spirit of love and romance, I am posting one of my favorite love poems.
(Keep your eyes peeled after the poem for information on how to enter for a GIVEAWAY!)

UNENDING LOVE

I seem to have loved you in numberless forms, numberless times,
In life after life, in age after age forever.
My spell-bound heart has made and re-made the necklace of songs
That you take as a gift, wear round your neck in your many forms
In life after life, in age after age forever.
Whenever I hear old chronicles of love, its age-old pain,
Its ancient tale of being apart or together,
As Istare on and on into the past, in the end you emerge
Clad in the light of a pole-star piercing the darkness of time:
You become an image of what is remembered forever.
You and I have floated here on the stream that brings from the fount
At the heart of time love of one for another.
We have played alongside millions of lovers, shared in the same
Shy sweetness of meeting, the same distressful tears of farewell–
Old love, but in shapes that renew and renew forever.
Today it is heaped at your feet, it had found its end in you,
The love of a man’s days both past and forever:
Universal joy, universal sorrow, universal life,
The memories of all loves merging with this one love of ours–
And the songs of every poet past and forever.
BABINDRANATH TAGORE – Indian 1861-1941

Do you have a favorite love poem? 
Post a comment here for a chance to win a print copy of Reckless Viscount. Winner will be chosen September 17th via random.org.
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RECKLESS VISCOUNT

When this scoundrel abducts an innocent it’s his heart in danger of being stolen.

London society sees Leif Riley, Viscount Neville, as a reckless charmer of wealthy women. No one sees his silent desperation to restore his impoverished ancestral holdings to their once-formidable glory.

When he spies a fresh-faced Irish lass at court, something beyond her slim, feminine form and hefty dowry quickens his pulse. Which only makes the truth—that a love match will never be his—too much to bear.

Pursued across the Irish Sea by a secret that could shatter her dream of a loving husband and children to cherish, Abbigael Granger has no time for handsome rakes. Yet she can’t deny how Leif’s stolen kiss illuminates her innocent body.

Awakening from a despair-driven binge, Leif is horrified to find that his impulsive abduction of Abbigael was no drunken dream. Yet while Abbigael discovers there are certain pleasures to be found in a rake’s marriage bed, Leif wonders if he can ever leave his scandalous past far enough behind to be the man of her dreams. Or if he deserves the heart she offers.

Warning: Contains a sexy Viscount skilled in the twin arts of lovemaking and seduction, a fair Irish innocent desperate to break free from the misery of her past and rumors of madness. A hasty abduction involving silk stockings, a skull-splitting hangover, and a roadside inn interlude could steal your breath.

 

Don’t forget to comment for your chance to win!!

 

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A Sneaky Little Peek into REBEL MARQUESS

With less than a month to go until the release of REBEL MARQUESS on April 22nd, I thought I would give a little peek into the romance of Eliza and Rutherford. 


RebelMarquess72lgEliza Terribury was in the wrong room.

She had been sent on an errand to fetch her mother’s favorite fan and recalled the directions clearly. “Left at the top of the stairs, sixth door on the right.”

Eliza was certain she’d counted the correct number of doors along the third-floor hallway to
find her mother’s room. She may have been a bit distracted, but  she wasn’t a featherbrain.

So why did she see a set of men’s clothing laid out on the grand four-poster bed?

A scowl narrowed her gaze. She glanced around for the vanity, looking for her mother’s vast collection of scented water bottles she brought with her everywhere. There was no vanity. Though there was a valet’s station all set up with shaving implements.

A frisson of fierce trepidation coursed through her. Oh, pray let it be her father’s room.

She looked again to the clothing on the bed. From the short distance, she could see the fawn-colored trousers             were of soft cotton as was the fine-stitched white shirt. Her father preferred linen for his shirts. The coat was  expertly tailored and far too broad of shoulder for her father’s modest frame.

As she stood in the center of the room, finally coming to terms with the fact she must have somehow gotten her mother’s directions wrong, a small door tucked unobtrusively into the corner of the room opened.

“Back so soon, Simmons?” a strong male voice inquired.

Panic flashed through Eliza in a hot arc and froze her in place on the plush carpet. Before she could gather her wits to command her body to move, a man strode through the inner door into the room.

But not just any man.

It was the Marquess of Rutherford, the most sought after and elusive bachelor in England. The prize feather that has so long eluded her mother’s match-making cap.

And he was completely naked.

The swift acknowledgment that her mother had really gone too far this time was overtaken by the shocking details of the sight before her. Heat flushed though her body in a wave. In all of her nineteen years, Eliza had not had a single opportunity to catch a glimpse of unclothed male anatomy.

And Lord Rutherford was an amazingly well-formed man.

Solid muscle defined the length of his arms and legs, which were liberally sprinkled with dark hair. Broad shoulders put to rest the rumor that he padded his coats. And his chest and narrow abdomen were cut with more ripples of muscle. A modest patch of damp curling hair covered his chest and a thin dark line extended from his navel downward.

Her curiosity was cut short by the towel he brought in front of his most masculine body part.

To Eliza, he looked more like a medieval warrior than the pampered lord of London he was. For a man who had reached his mid-thirties, an age when most gentlemen began to show evidence of their indulgent lifestyle, he was incredibly fit. Not what she would have expected by far.

“You are not my valet.”

His voice was low and curious, telling Eliza he did not yet realize who she was. Once he did, his manner would not be so relaxed or amiable.

She needed to get out of there. In fact, she wasn’t sure why she hadn’t turned tail and run already. Aside from the obvious reason that she couldn’t seem to keep her gaze from running rampant over the details of his body.

Shaking her head to unlock her gaze, Eliza managed to lift her focus to Rutherford’s face.

A bit of a mistake there.

She had only ever seen him once at a distance in Hyde Park two years ago. Her mother had been pointing him out to her sisters who were then at the start of their London season.RebelMarquess72lg

Impressive at a distance, the marquess was nearly devastating up close.

His was not a face one could call classically handsome. His forehead was a touch too wide, his nose had an obvious crook in it and his chin held a dimple in its center. Not to mention the fact that the imperious arch of his brows and the arrogant glint in his brown eyes made him appear unapproachable. Still, there was something about him that had Eliza casting him as one of her romantic protagonists without conscious effort. Maybe it was the overwhelming confidence he exuded in spite of his bared state.

“Can I help you?” he asked as he took another few steps into the room.

Did her imagination conjure up the smooth and suggestive note in his voice? She suddenly felt overwhelmed by the pure masculinity of his presence. Hot embarrassment and acute awareness spread through Eliza’s limbs, making her mouth go dry and her palms sweat. A previously dormant instinct for self-preservation released her frozen feet and she took a couple of steps back in response.

“I, ah…I am,” she stammered.

The marquess raised his brows as he wrapped the towel around his lean hips.

Eliza had to make a very concentrated effort to keep her gaze above his chin. She never would have foreseen she had such voyeuristic tendencies.

“You are standing in the middle of my bedroom,” he stated dryly. “Either you were looking for me, in which case I’d expect you to have a reason for doing so. Or as I’m starting to suspect, you have somehow found yourself in the wrong room.”

“Wrong room,” Eliza admitted with a decisive nod of her head.

Why on earth couldn’t she find the proper connection between her brain and her tongue? She was starting to give the impression of being short on intelligence.

“A pity.” His sigh was barely audible as his dark gaze swept over her body in a swift and proficient assessment. The way his brow furrowed had Eliza wondering what bothered him more—her intrusion or the fact that she had not been seeking him out. “I will show you out then.”

He headed to the door without bothering to see if she’d followed. When he opened it, voices could be heard coming down the hall.

“Bloody hell. That woman seems to be everywhere at once,” he muttered under his breath as he pushed the door closed again. “You will have to wait a moment until Lady Terribury and her entourage pass by.”

Alarm sparked across Eliza’s nerves and turned her fingers ice cold. “Lady Terribury? Are you sure?”

“No mistake. The voice of that woman haunts my nightmares.”

He did not bother turning around to look at her as he spoke, not even considering his less than favorable comments about a fellow guest might be considered offensive.

Eliza was well aware of her mother’s faults and the unsavory history that existed between Lady Terribury and          the Marquess of Rutherford. His opinion of her mother was the very least of her concerns at that moment. Her        gaze darted about the room as she grasped her skirts with both hands in preparation for flight.

“You have to hide me.” Panic laced the edges of her words.

He turned to her then. Curiosity lit his features along with the obvious note of irritation at having his decision questioned, but he showed no real concern. Yet.

“Once she passes you can be on your way.”

Eliza met his gaze with intent directness, trying to impart the urgency of the situation into the tone of her voice.    “No. You do not understand. She is coming here. To this room. You have to hide me. Now.”

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REBEL MARQUESS is the third story in a series that started with ROGUE COUNTESS and continued with RECKLESS VISCOUNT. All three are available at the Samhain store, Amazon, Barnes & Noble and everywhere ebooks are sold!

An Introduction to Leif Riley: Deleted Scene from ROGUE COUNTESS

In celebration of the paperback release of ROGUE COUNTESS and the eBook release of RECKLESS VISCOUNT (both coming June 4th!) I am posting a deleted scene. What follows below was originally intended as the opening chapter to ROGUE COUNTESS.
Unfortunately, as I discovered when people started reading the manuscript, Leif, as he is wont to do, claimed far too much attention. I ended up cutting the scene completely, promising Leif a story of his own if he would be willing to step back so Anna and Jude could take center stage.
Since he has proven to be a favorite among readers, I thought I would give a glimpse into the moment when I first met the scoundrel who is finally the hero of his own book, RECKLESS VISCOUNT.
—————————————————————————————
ROGUE COUNTESS
Deleted Scene

The Right Honorable Lord Riley, sole heir to an ancient and impoverished title and devoted lover of wealthy women, needed a drink. He had started out from London on horseback late the night before after a two-day binge of drinking, gambling and debauchery. His intoxication and fervent devotion to his mission had sustained him for the first leg of his journey. But after a few hours of bouncing drunkenly in the saddle, he had begun to seriously question his mad-dash decision to ride out for Suffolk.

He cast a glare of reproach at the persistently rising sun. Most people would have been awed by the majestic blend of gold, pink and orange that stretched across the sky. But Leif was sobering up. If he had not been quite so foxed when he overheard the tid-bit of gossip that had sent him rushing from his club, he might have realized that this particular news could have waited a few hours, or a lifetime. If he had gone in search of his bed instead of a horse, he would at least have been able to deliver his message with a clear head and a more subtle approach.

He licked his dry lips, dug his heels into his tiring mount and made a heartfelt vow that he would soon reward himself with a strong Irish whiskey and the welcoming comfort of a featherbed.

With a rueful smile, Leif turned onto the private drive that led to Thornwood Abby.

Even knowing how necessary it was that he deliver the distasteful news, the further Leif progressed down the oak-lined drive, the more he wanted to turn his horse back toward London. To his credit, he resisted his cowardly tendencies and kept to his course. A moment later, the large Elizabethan home came into view. Rather than riding up to the front door, Leif turned down a side lane that curved into a surrounding copse of trees and emerged in the wide-open yard of the fully renovated and modernized stables.

The lady he sought would be found no where else but with her horses at this ungodly time of day.

At a distance, the young woman occupied with the task of brushing down a magnificent Thoroughbred could have passed for one of the stable lads. But even with his eyes still bleary from liquor and lack of sleep, Leif recognized the lovely curve of a lady’s arse quickly enough.

Anna turned at the sound of his approach. She tossed her thick black braid over her shoulder and lifted her hand encased in a glove of tough rawhide to swipe at her damp brow. Along with fitted breeches, she wore black Wellington boots coated with muck from the training yard, and a man’s white linen shirt, rolled up at the sleeves and unbuttoned at the throat. Warm brown eyes surrounded by a thick fringe of lashes widened in surprise as she noted his unexpected arrival.

“Leif! What on earth are you doing here? I thought you were in London.”

“I am,” he replied with a forced grin, then shook his head. “Or I was. Actually,” he clarified, “I should be, and I shall be again once I accomplish what I came here to do.”

The smile of welcome faded from her full lips and the slashing arch of her black brows lowered over her eyes.

“You’re foxed,” Anna observed dryly.

Leif knew that he must look like a depraved and bedraggled fop with his eveningwear in complete disarray and the dark shadows that by now had likely formed under his bloodshot eyes. Out of habit, his smile widened shamelessly as he replied. “Not so much anymore, though I would dearly love a dram before I hit the pillow.”

Anna stepped forward and placed her hand on his mount’s forelock. She looked up at him with an expression that was both resigned and reproachful at the same time. It was a look that made him feel like an unruly younger brother, though he was actually two full months older than she was.

“Are you mad?” Her obvious concern softened her angry words. “Riding such a distance in your less than steady state was not only foolhardy, it was terribly dangerous. You could have passed out, fallen from the saddle, lost your way.” She planted a fist on the generous curve of her hip and cocked her head to the side. “What kind of trouble could you possibly have stirred up that sent you running from London in the middle of the night? Have you no sense a’tall?”

“That’s rich,” he finally retorted in a tone of affected offense. “I come to you on a mission of utmost importance, driven by my loyal devotion to our friendship, and all you can do is nag at me.”

He was stalling. He knew it and felt some shame for it. But now that he was here, he hadn’t figured out the best way to spit out the words that were lodged like a chicken bone in his throat.

Anna cast him a withering glance that clearly indicated what she thought of his attempt at making her feel guilty for taking him to task.

He should have known better than to try to manipulate the feelings of this particular female. Since he had been six years old and had first discovered that he could charm his father’s stingy cook into giving him an extra tart at dinner, Anna had been the only woman who had ever been immune to his skillful and practiced influence. She hadn’t been impressed by his sweet face when they had been small children traipsing about the countryside and certainly wasn’t swayed now, even though Leif had learned a few more tricks of persuasion since becoming a man that he had found to be quite effective. Tricks, which at twenty-four he had polished and perfected to a point that few ladies ever refused him anything.

The scowling young woman before him being the one persistent exception.

He dropped his reins and slid clumsily from the saddle. Not accustomed to long rides and still feeling the effects of the copious amounts of alcohol he had recently consumed, his legs buckled beneath him when his feet hit the ground. He grasped at the mare’s mane to steady himself and from the corner of his eye he saw Anna bite her lip.

Once he was steady on his feet, she led the mare to a stall and efficiently removed the saddle and bridle. Without turning from her task of brushing down the tired mare’s lathered coat, Anna asked with some impatience, “So, what is so vitally important that it couldn’t wait until I return to London next week?”

Leif hesitated. He wished that his next words could be spoken by a better friend than he, someone more compassionate and less wretchedly useless.

The damning words, when he spoke them, were muttered with fierce regret.

“He’s back, Anna.”

He could see by the stiffening of her slim back and the sudden stillness of the brush in her hand that she understood. There was only one person that would flash to her mind at his bluntly uttered statement.

She turned slowly and pinned Leif with a stare that glittered with banked fire. “Who is back, Leif?”

His heart ached then for the pain his next words were going to cause her.

“Your husband.”

I hope you enjoyed this little introduction. Get to know Leif a lot better in RECKLESS VISCOUNT, available June 4th wherever eBooks are sold! 

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They’ve Arrived!

My Advance copies of Rogue Countess are finally here!

 

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It is difficult to describe the feeling of holding your very first novel in your hands. In fact, I was planning on doing just that in this post, but I find myself still struggling to really explain what that moment felt like as I looked into that box and saw my novel, mine, with my name on it, staring up at me in all its rich vibrant color and heady sensuality.

Perhaps I am still processing the experience. And with the official release date still a few weeks away (June 4th, mark your calendars!), I expect more excitement ahead.

And I can’t forget… Reckless Viscount also releases in ebook from Samhain Publishing on June 4th. So much to look forward to!

Coming soon, I will be posting a deleted scene from Rogue Countess which was actually the first introduction of Leif Riley, the unlikely hero of Reckless Viscount!