Thursday, June 30, 2016

Virtual Tour w/Giveaway: Once A Soldier by Mary Jo Putney


Don't miss the first in a Brand New Series....Rogues Redeemed!


ONCE A SOLDIER
Rogues Redeemed #1
Mary Jo Putney
Releasing June 28th, 2016
Zebra


ROGUES REDEEMED

As heir to a title and great wealth, Will Masterson should have stayed home and tended his responsibilities. Instead he went to war. Now, after perilous years fighting the French, he intends his current mission to be his last. But all his plans are forgotten when he arrives in the small mountain stronghold of San Gabriel and meets her.

Knowing herself to be too tall, strong, and unconventional to appeal to a man, Athena Markham has always gloried in her independence. But for the first time in her life, she finds a man who might be her match.

Two of a kind, too brave for their own good, Athena and Will vow to do whatever it takes to vanquish San Gabriel’s enemies. For neither will back down from death, and only together can they find happiness and a love deeper than any they'd dared imagine...

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In a burst of fury at the brutality of war, he hurled the empty bottle across the cellar. He meant to strike a section of plain stone wall, but instead the heavy bottle crunched into a rickety upright supporting one of the wall racks. The rack collapsed with a dusty crash as shelves of old crockery and unidentifiable objects pitched to the floor.
“Jesus, Masterson!” Chantry said indignantly as he dodged back, his head clipping the lantern so that it swung wildly. “Are you trying to kill us prematurely?”
The dust sent Will into a coughing fit before he managed to choke out, “Sorry. My aim was off.”
As he looked at the dust rising from the collapsed rack, the erratic light of the swinging lantern briefly illuminated straight lines gouged in one of the stones that had been concealed by the shelving. The lines were very faint, but the pattern looked familiar. Frowning, he levered himself up and lurched across the cellar. “Does anyone know who owns this house?”
Duval shrugged. “I heard that it belongs to British wine shippers who’ve operated in Gaia for a couple of generations, but I don’t know the name. Does it matter? The current owner and his household fled when the French confiscated the house.”
“It appears that a Freemason built the house.” Will reached the wall and traced the angular lines with his fingertip, confirming his guess. “Freemasonry evolved from medieval stonemasons’ guilds, so their symbols are based on the tools of a mason. This is a compass overlaying a square, a Masonic symbol.”
“So?” That was Hawkins’s gruff voice.
“Freemasons aren’t always popular. Some have been known to build escape routes from their homes in case rioters came after them. Maybe that’s what this one did.”
The dusty mortar around the block looked like all the other mortar in the foundation, but the side seams were a little wider. If Will’s guess was right . . . On a hunch, he looked at the collapsed rack. It made sense for the builders to have the necessary tools convenient if the escape route was needed.
Yes! One of the uprights had separated into two pieces, and both looked like hardened metal. He lifted a length that tapered to the shape of a narrow chisel. Perfect for gouging. He dug into the mortar on the right side of the stone, and it crumbled away like sugar icing.
“The devil you say!” someone exclaimed as the other men scrambled to their feet and gathered behind him. The tension was palpable.
Silently Hawkins picked up the other piece of the broken upright and started gouging on the left side of the block. Gordon bent over and began clearing away the wreckage of the collapsed rack so the area under the work space was open.
Duval asked, “Are you a Freemason to know so much about them?”
“I’m a part-time engineer,” Will explained. “The Royal Engineers corps never had enough men, so line officers like me are sometimes seconded to work with them if we have engineering experience. Very educational.”
“If there is an escape tunnel . . .” Hawkins’s voice broke for a moment. “Do you have any idea where it might lead? This house is full of French soldiers and there are guards all around.”
“My guess is the tunnel comes out among outbuildings where it won’t be obvious,” Will replied. “There’s no point in going to this much trouble just to be captured outside.”
With most of the mortar chipped away, Will said to Hawkins, “Step back.” Then he carefully shoved the wider end of his tool into the gap he’d made between the stones. The temptation was to use full force, but he didn’t want to damage his lever.
The stone shifted. Releasing the breath he didn’t realize he’d been holding, Will worked at the block until it was far enough out from its neighbors to get a grip on. He tugged and the stone moved toward him. Hawkins grasped the other end and they both pulled. Abruptly the stone jerked free and crashed heavily to the dirt floor of the cellar, narrowly missing Will’s left foot.
And behind it was a tunnel large enough for a man to crawl into. “Well, hallelujah!” Chantry breathed.



Mary Jo Putney is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author who has written over 60 novels and novellas. A ten-time finalist for the Romance Writers of America RITA, she has won the honor twice and is on the RWA Honor Roll for bestselling authors. In 2013 she was awarded the RWA Nora Roberts Lifetime Achievement Award. Though most of her books have been historical romance, she has also published contemporary romances, historical fantasy, and young adult paranormal historicals. She lives in Maryland with her nearest and dearest, both two and four footed.


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Virtual Tour w/Giveaway: Chasing Lady Amelia by Maya Rodale


Enter to Win a print copy of LADY BRIDGET'S DIARY
(Keeping up with the Cavendishes Book One)


CHASING LADY AMELIA
Keeping Up with the Cavendishes #2
Maya Rodale
Releasing June 28th, 2016
Avon Books


In the second novel of Maya Rodale’s enchanting Keeping Up with the Cavendishes series, an American heiress finds her reputation—and heart—in danger when she travels to London and meets a wickedly tempting rake

Terribly Improper

Lady Amelia is fed up with being a proper lady and wishes to explore London, so one night she escapes . . . and finds herself in the company of one Alistair Finlay-Jones. He’s been ordered by his uncle to wed one of the American girls. How lucky, then, that one of them stumbles right into his arms!

Totally Scandalous

Alistair and Amelia have one perfect day to explore London, from Astley’s Amphitheater to Vauxhall Gardens. Inevitably they end up falling in love and making love. If anyone finds out, she will be ruined, but he will win everything he’s ever wanted.

Very Romantic

When Amelia finds out Alistair has been ordered to marry her, he must woo her and win back the angry American girl. But with the threat of scandals, plural, looming . . . will he ever catch up to the woman he loves?

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“Ah, Lady Nansen. Lord Nansen!” The duchess and her charges paused before a couple that looked just like all the others Amelia had been introduced to: they were of an indeterminate middle age, decked in an array of brightly colored silks and satins, and honestly, a bit jowly and gray.
“I haven’t yet introduced you to my nephew and nieces.”
“And we have been dying to make their acquaintance,” Lady Nansen said, fanning herself furiously. “The ton has spoken of nothing else.”
The duchess performed the introductions. Upon meeting James, the new duke, fawning ensued.
Everyone fawned over James these days—but then when his back was turned they whispered about how his father was a horse thief and that James had been raised in the stables and how tragic it was that Durham was now in his hands.
“And Lady Claire.”
Amelia watched as they took in Claire’s spectacles and her distracted, impatient demeanor. She had not mastered the slightly vacant look of a simpering miss and with a brain as sharp as hers, never would. Amelia watched as Lady Nansen decided that Claire would never be an “incomparable,” or whatever they called the popular girls of the ton, and flitted her attention to the next sister.
“Lady Bridget.”
Amelia watched as her middle sister glided into an elegant curtsy. The duchess beamed. Lady Nansen judged.
“Your practicing is paying off,” Amelia murmured. She’d caught Bridget curtsying in front of the mirror in the ballroom for an hour last Thursday.
“Do shut up, Amelia,” Bridget said through gritted teeth. Unlike the other Cavendish siblings,
Bridget actually cared about fitting in here. She was obsessed with learning and following the rules.
“And Lady Amelia.” She gave a smile somewhere between gargoyle and simpering miss, but perhaps more on the gargoyle side of the spectrum.
“You must have your hands full, Duchess, trying to make so many matches.”
“It does give one something to do all day,” the duchess replied, with a tight-lipped smile that
Amelia dubbed the One Where I Am Smiling Even Though I Hate What You Just Said. “But I do have every confidence that they will make splendid matches. In fact, I have someone special in mind for Lady Amelia this evening.”
The duchess beamed at her charges, as if they hadn’t been foiling her every effort to marry them off. Amelia began to dread meeting “someone special.”
“I say, Duke,” Lord Nonesuch or whatever began, “do you have an opinion on any of the horses running Ascot?”
The lords always asked James for his opinion on which horse would win a race, so they might win a wager. And then they turned around and made snide remarks about his experience raising and training horses—as if he were beneath them because of this knowledge. Even though he now outranked them.
“I do,” James said, smiling easily.
“Don’t suppose you’d tell a friend who you think will be the winner?” Lord Nansen or Nancy said jovially, with a wink and a nudge.
“I might,” James replied.
This was a conversation he’d had before and Amelia had begged him to do something nefarious, like deliberately suggest a losing horse. But James refused and just smiled like he knew the winner and never said a word.
“I suppose you’re going to build up Durham’s stables,” his lordship said.
“Nansen, he doesn’t have time for horses,” his wife said in that exasperated way of wives. “He must find a bride first.”
The duchess beamed, an I-told-you-so smile.
Then Lady Nansen turned and fixed her attentions on Amelia. Her fan was beating at a furious pace.
“And Lady Amelia, have you found any suitors you care for?”
“After having met nearly all of England’s finest young gentlemen, I can honestly say that no, I have not found any suitors that I could care for,” Amelia said. “But I do have a new appreciation for spinsterhood. In fact, I think it sounds like just the thing.”
Just the thing was a bit of slang she had picked up. Sticking forks in her eye was just the thing (but only with the good silver!). Flustering old matrons with an honest and direct statement was just the thing.
Lady Nansen stared at her a moment, blinking rapidly as she tried to process what Amelia had just said.
“Well your sister seems to have snared the attentions of Darcy’s younger brother,” she said, evidently disregarding Amelia and focusing on Bridget, the one who cared about fitting in and finding suitors.
“Are Lord Darcy and Mr. Wright here tonight?” Bridge asked eagerly. Too eagerly. “I haven’t seen them.”
“It’s not a party without Darcy,” Amelia quipped.
Darcy spent the majority of every social engagement standing against the wall, glowering at the company, refusing to dance, and begging the question of why he even bothered to attend.
But that was neither here nor there and no one deigned to reply to Amelia, so she sighed and lamented her choice in footwear quietly to herself. When Lord and Lady Nansen took their leave and sauntered off, the duchess turned and fixed her cool, blue eyes on Amelia.
“You might endeavor to be a touch more gracious, Lady Amelia.”
The Duchess always said everything in perfectly worded, excruciatingly polite phrases. Translation: Lord above, Amelia, stop acting like a brat.
“I’m just . . . bored.”
And homesick. And unhappy. And dreading the future you have planned for me. And a dozen other feelings one does not mention when one is at a ball.
“Bored?” The duchess arched her brows. “How on earth can you be bored by all this?” She waved her hand elegantly, to indicate everything surrounding them. “Is all the splendor, music, and the company of the best families in the best country not enough for you? I cannot imagine that you had such elegance and luxuries in the provinces.”
Everyone here still referred to her home country as the provinces, or the colonies, or as the remote American backwater plagued by heathens, when Amelia knew that it was a beautiful country full of forthright, spirited people. It was her true home.
They operated under the impression that there was no greater fun to be had than getting overdressed and gossiping with the same old people each night, in crowded ballrooms in a crowded city.
She missed summer nights back home on their farm in Maryland, when she would slip outside at night with a blanket, to look up at the vast, endless expanse of stars.
This, no matter what the duchess said, just did not compare.
Amelia shrugged.
“We already met half these people at the six other balls we have attended this week,” she said. “The other half are crashing bores.”
Crashing bores was a phrase Amelia had read in the gossip columns. The violence of it appealed to her.
“I suppose it would be too much to ask you to pretend to act like an interested and engaging young lady.” Then, turning to Lady Bridget, the duchess said, “I daresay she couldn’t.”
With that, the duchess turned away.
She turned away, leaving the words hanging in the air, floating to the ground, just waiting for
Amelia to pounce on them.
“Well that was a challenge,” Claire said.
“I’m not certain she could manage it.” Bridget sniffed.
Really? Really?
“Is that a dare?” Amelia asked, straightening up. Oh, she would pretend all right. She would pretend so well they’d all be shocked. It would give her something to do at least. “Because I will take that dare.”
“I’d like to see you try,” Bridget replied. Then, muttering under her breath she added, “For once.”
Amelia reddened. Admittedly she hadn’t been taking this whole sister-of-the-duke business seriously. But she would show them. So instead of sticking her tongue out and scowling at Bridget, Amelia stuck her nose right up in the air and turned away.


Q & A with Maya Rodale



Tell us about yourself.

I’m a New York City girl who loves to read and write romance novels (12 and counting!). I enjoy BeyoncĂ© dance parties, romantic comedies, and talking about why romance novels matter. The hardest part of my day is staying up past 9pm. I married a great guy who thinks all my books are about him and I have the most fabulous dog who knows everything is all about her (Peek at pictures here!). My website is www.mayarodale.com, check it out!

What three things about you might surprise your readers?

I once lived in London for a summer for graduate school and spent much of it researching in the British Library and trekking around to every museum and historical house (and gift shop). It has proven to be tremendously helpful when writing my Regency romances.

I’m very short—4 feet, eleven and three quarter inches, barefoot. Do not forget my three/quarters of an inch.

I keep a list of all the books I read, organized by year, color-coded by month. As one does.

Is there a genre(s) that you think “I might like to write one of those.”?
I have plenty of stories in my head and even some drafts under the bed that aren’t romance and I would love to write them (read: the muse insists I must write them). One is a Young Adult novel, the others are grown up lady fiction. But all of them will end happily 

Tell us about CHASING LADY AMELIALady Amelia Cavendish is sister to a duke and hates it. Alistair Finlay-Jones is heir to a baron who hates him. A series of events involving scandal, laudanum and lost shoes result in these two running away for a perfect day around London, taking in the sights and falling in love. When Amelia finds out Alistair had been ordered to marry her, he must woo her and win back the angry American girl. But with the threat of scandals, plural, looming…will he ever catch up to the woman he loves?

Where did the idea for the storyline come from?

The idea for Chasing Lady Amelia came from two distinct, but oddly compatible, stories. The first is Pride & Prejudice, which is the inspiration for book one in the Keeping Up With The Cavendishes, Lady Bridget’s Diary. In both those novels, there’s a runaway sister who definitely needs to have her story told (where did she go!? With whom!? What kind of sexy fun trouble did she get into?!) And then I noticed that the plot of my favorite movie of all time, Roman Holiday, starring Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck, would dovetail perfectly. While her story inspired by that film, Amelia quickly takes over and makes the story uniquely her own.

What do you think readers will like/love about Alistair and Amelia?

Things to love about Amelia: her irrepressible spirit and love for her family.
Things to love about Alistair: his kindness, determination to do the right thing and the way he pleases Amelia, if you know what I mean ;-)

What was your favorite scene from the book?
My favorite scene in Chasing Lady Amelia is a spoiler! (But don’t worry, no spoilers here). I’d been having trouble with the ending (I wrote it, oh, three different ways) and over dinner and drinks with my husband we schemed and plotted an alternate ending that is both funny, humorous, plays on the Alistair’s worst fears and gives Amelia a say in her own destiny. It was a riot to write and is hopefully a delight to read!

Who are some of your book boyfriends? What draws you to them?

Not Lord Darcy! I’m much more partial to Gilbert Blythe (If you don’t know who that is, I’m so sorry). But my book boyfriends tend to be the ones I’m writing currently about, so right now they are a hot, hunky Marquess (Lord Fox, of Lady Claire is All That) and a rebellious, American duke (the final book in the Cavendish series). I’m a lucky girl ;-)

If you had to pick a favorite cocktail of choice, what would it be? (It can be non-alcoholic too)Something sparkling! Whether it’s champagne (or Prosecco, I’m not picky) or sparkling water with extra limes please thank you very much. Cheers!



Maya Rodale began reading romance novels in college at her mother’s insistence and it wasn’t long before she was writing her own. Maya is now the author of multiple Regency historical romances. She lives in New York City with her darling dog and a rogue of her own.


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Release Week Blitz w/Giveaway: The Billionaire Bachelor by Jessica Lemmon




Title:  The Billionaire Bachelor
Author: Jessica Lemmon
Series: Billionaire Bad Boys
On Sale: June 28, 2016
Publisher: Forever
Formats: Mass Market & eBook
Price: $5.99 USD

Manwhore. That's what the board of directorsand the tabloidsthinks of billionaire bachelor Reese Crane. Ordinarily he couldn't care less, but his playboy past is preventing the board from naming him CEO of Crane Hotels. Nothingand no onewill keep him from his life's legacy. They want a settled man to lead the company? Then that's exactly what he'll give them.


Merina Van Heusen will do anything to get her parents' funky boutique hotel backeven marry cold-as-ice-but-sexy-as-hell Reese Crane. It's a simple business contractsix months of marriage, absolute secrecy, and the Van Heusen is all hers again. But when sparks fly between them, their passion quickly moves from the boardroom to the bedroom. And soon Merina is living her worst nightmare: falling in love with her husband…



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Top 5 List: Top 5 Billionaire Boyfriend Perks


I’m so excited to be here! Since my new series, the Billionaire Bad Boys starts with THE BILLIONAIRE BACHELOR, I’ve been tasked with giving you a TOP 5 list of the best Billionaire Boyfriend Perks. I think I can handle that…

Let’s begin.

#5 ~ Like fancy restaurants? Never pay for dinner again with your billionaire boyfriend. My billionaire hero Reese Crane takes Merina Van Heusen to the finest meals in town, including their first date an all-aphrodisiac restaurant. *Yum*

#4 ~ Need to get away? Your billionaire boyfriend owns a jet, a limo, and a hotel building, or in Reese Crane’s case, owns Crane Hotels, a hotel chain.

#3 ~ If you’re into gifts, you can expect some good ones. A diamond ring came standard in The Billionaire Bachelor since Reese proposed a marriage of convenience…

#2 ~ No need to worry about your living arrangements, since your new fiancé will move you into his mansion. Did I mention the house manager who prepares your meals and the house staff who cleans your room?

#1 ~ Late nights are something he’s accustomed to. You can count on your billionaire boyfriend to keep you up… and I don’t mean because he’s talking shop. ;)



THE FULL BILLIONAIRE BAD BOYS SERIES

The Billionaire Bachelor, #1
The Billionaire Next Door, #2
The Bastard Billionaire, #3


AUTHOR INFORMATION

A former job-hopper, Jessica Lemmon resides in Ohio with her husband and rescue dog. She holds a degree in graphic design currently gathering dust in an impressive frame. When she's not writing super-sexy heroes, she can be found cooking, drawing, drinking coffee (okay, wine), and eating potato chips. She firmly believes God gifts us with talents for a purpose, and with His help, you can create the life you want.



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