"Deeply In You" An Erotic Foray Into the Realm of Historical Fiction

Deeply In You (The Wicked Dukes, #1)
 Title:  Deeply In You

(Book #1 Wicked Dukes Series)
Author:  Sharon Page
Format:  ERC
Length:  384 pages
Publisher:  Aphrodisia
Rating:  4.5 Stars

Anxious to save her brother from debtor's prison, Helena Winsome agrees to find proof that the Duke of Greybrooke is a traitor. Well aware of his wicked ways, she takes on the guise of a demure governess. But his smoldering sensuality overwhelms her—as does his vow to make her his lover, a scandalous promise that leaves her weak with desire. . .

Sexual Seduction

Darkly handsome and powerfully seductive, the Duke of Greybrooke is a man of deep passion. When the lovely Miss Helena Winsome turns down an offer to become his mistress, Grey takes on the challenge. He'll expose Helena to the erotic thrill of carnal pleasure and tease her senses until all she can do is beg for more. . .  -Goodreads

My Thoughts
The story of Helena and her roguishly handsome duke begins not with her side, but with his.
It seems that the Duke of Greybrooke has quite the reputation among the ladies of the ton.  There are also rumors that Duke Greybrooke's treachery is not limited to undercover affairs of the carnal sort.  
Helena is undertaking an undercover operation of her own. Charged with the task of confirming rumors that Greybrooke is a traitor to England, lest her brother go to prison.  
Acting as Helen Winsome, prim and proper governess to Duke Greybrooke's sister's children,
and possibly his newest target of conquest...Helena must walk the knife's edge between lies and the truth to get the answers she seeks before it's too late. 

Though it seems that Helena is caught between a rock and a hard place, with a mystery man hounding her for information and her brother facing the threat of prison.  She shows herself to be a strong and intelligent woman of action.  Even going so far as saving the dashing duke from the horrors of a flying chamber pot.
Being unafraid to face what comes is a trait that makes Helena a character to watch.  This trait is in fact a driving force behind the plot of the read.  
With Helena being such a strong character out of the bedroom, authoress Sharon Page is very careful to give Greybrooke an unquestioned supremacy behind closed doors.
As the story progresses, and things between Helena and Greybrooke heat up, the shift of power from her to him becomes evident in a most sensually decadent fashion.
The sex scenes found here are, in a word...HOT!  Ranging from sweet and tentative to spanking and bondage play, each foray into the physical between these two, both ups  the interest level for the reader and the emotional connection between the lovers.

The emotional ties that bind Helena and her lordly lover become increasingly important outside of their love nest, as the wolves at the door come to stake their claim.
As secrets are revealed on all sides, and battle lines are drawn.  Readers are finally able to see the daring Greybrooke come into his own as the man that Helena deserves.

The only weakness to be found in this tale, is the ambiguity of the blackmailer.  Because that aspect of the story is of such import to its basis, more attention should have been paid to his back story, and he should not be allowed to become the bothersome gnat that he is for such a large portion of the read.

Deeply In You is a wonderful blend of the Historical Romance and Erotica genres.  This book could serve as a great introduction for mainstream romance fans into the world of the erotic.

**This read is recommended for audiences 18+ due to sexual situations.

HFVBT Presents: The Lost Duchess

Please join author Jenny Barden as she tours the blogopsphere for The Lost Duchess from May 26-June 20.

The Lost DuchessPaperback Publication Date: June 5, 2014
Ebury Press
Paperback; 448p

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An epic Elizabethan adventure with a thriller pace and a high tension love story that moves from the palaces of England to the savage wilderness of the New World.

Emme Fifield has fallen about as far as a gentlewoman can.

Once a lady-in-waiting to Queen Elizabeth, her only hope of surviving the scandal that threatens to engulf her is to escape England for a fresh start in the new America where nobody has ever heard of the Duchess of Somerset.

Emme joins Kit Doonan's rag-tag band of idealists, desperados and misfits bound for Virginia. But such a voyage will be far from easy and Emme finds her attraction to the mysterious Doonan inconvenient to say the least.

As for Kit, the handsome mariner has spent years imprisoned by the Spanish, and living as an outlaw with a band of escaped slaves; he has his own inner demons to confront, and his own dark secrets to keep...

Ever since Sir Walter Raleigh's settlement in Virginia was abandoned in 1587 its fate has remained a mystery; 'The Lost Duchess' explores what might have happened to the ill-starred 'Lost Colony' of Roanoke.

Buy the Book

Amazon (AUS)
Amazon (UK)
Book Depository

About the Author

I've had a love of history and adventure ever since an encounter in infancy with a suit of armour at Tamworth Castle. Training as an artist, followed by a career as a city Jenny (Portrait 2)solicitor, did little to help displace my early dream of becoming a knight. A fascination with the Age of Discovery led to travels in South and Central America, and much of the inspiration for my debut came from retracing the footsteps of Francis Drake in Panama. The sequel centres on the first Elizabethan 'lost colony' of early Virginia. I am currently working on an epic adventure during the threat of invasion by the Spanish Armada.

My work has appeared in short story collections and anthologies and I've written for non-fiction publications including the Historical Novels Review. I am active in many organisations, having run the 'Get Writing' conferences for several years, and undertaken the co-ordination of the Historical Novel Society’s London Conference 2012. I am a member of that organisation as well as the Historical Writers' Association, the Romantic Nevelists' Association and the Society of Authors. I'll be co-ordinating the RNA's annual conference in 2014.

I have four children and now live on a farm in Dorset with my long suffering husband and an ever increasing assortment of animals.

I love travelling, art, reading and scrambling up hills and mountains (though I'm not so keen on coming down!).

Author Links

Jenny Barden's Blog
English Historical Fiction Authors Blog

Also by Jenny Barden

Mistress of the SeaPublication Date: June 20, 2013
Ebury Press
Formats: Paperback, Ebook

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Mistress Cooksley may be a wealthy merchant's daughter, but she blushes at my words and meets my eyes look for look. Yet I cannot hope to court her without fortune, and a dalliance with a pretty maid will not hinder me from my path.

Captain Drake's endeavour might bring me gold, but I, Will Doonan, will have my revenge.

The Spaniards captured my brother and have likely tortured and killed him. For God and St George, we'll strike at the dogs and see justice done.

I thought I'd left Mistress Cooksley behind to gamble everything and follow Drake, and here she is playing the boy at the ends of the world. She's a fool with a heart as brave as any man's. Yet her presence here could be the ruin of us all.

My Thoughts
Young Emme Fifield presents as quiet the young damsel in distress in the opening chapters of Jenny Barden's The Lost Duchess.
Having been ravaged and lied to by a nobleman at court, young Miss Fifield proves quite resourceful in remedying her situation...and the adventure begins.
There is so much to love about The Lost Duchess. that it is hard to know where to begin.

While the tale told here is romantic, that aspect often takes a backseat to the adventure, travel, and suspense masterfully woven through this epic tale.
Emme matures by leaps and bounds as the pages turn, showing herself to be well up to the tasks that the wilds of the New World present.

Kit is quite the leading man.  Young enough to be a good fit for Emme, but experienced and haunted enough to be an enigmatic figure to both the reader and Emme.

Lastly, there is the author's masterful handling of the Roanoke Colony story.  
With words that put the reader from and center for her journey into the land of 'what if'.  Readers will leave this story with a mind full of what is, The Lost Duchess.

Virtual Tour & Book Blast Schedule

Monday, May 26
Book Blast at Reading the Ages
Book Blast at Literary Chanteuse
Book Blast at Bibliophilia, Please

Tuesday, May 27
Review at A Bibliotaph's Reviews
Book Blast at Flashlight Commentary
Book Blast at To Read or Not to Read

Wednesday, May 28
Review at Carole's Ramblings and Book Girl of Mur-y-Castell

Thursday, May 29
Book Blast at The Maiden's Court
Book Blast at Cheryl's Book Nook
Book Blast at Book Reviews & More by Kathy

Friday, May 30
Review at WTF Are You Reading?
Book Blast at The Mad Reviewer
Book Blast at Curling Up by the Fire

Saturday, May 31
Book Blast at From L.A. to LA
Book Blast at Gobs and Gobs of Books

Sunday, June 1
Book Blast at Lily Pond Reads
Book Blast at So Many Books, So Little Time

Monday, June 2
Review & Giveaway at The Tudor Enthusiast
Book Blast at The Bookworm
Book Blast at CelticLady's Reviews

Tuesday, June 3
Review at Oh, For the Hook of a Book
Book Blast at West Metro Mommy
Book Blast at bookworm2bookworm's Blog

Wednesday, June 4
Review at The Wormhole
Interview at Oh, For the Hook of a Book
Book Blast at Kelsey's Book Corner

Thursday, June 5
Book Blast at Books and Benches
Book Blast at Book Lovers Paradise

Friday, June 6
Interview at Dianne Ascroft Blog
Book Blast at Kincavel Korner
Book Blast at Caroline Wilson Writes

Saturday, June 7
Book Blast at Royal Reviews
Book Blast at History Undressed

Sunday, June 8
Book Blast at Book Nerd

Monday, June 9
Review at A Chick Who Reads
Book Blast at The Musings of a Book Junkie

Tuesday, June 10
Review at She Reads Novels
Book Blast at Just One More Chapter
Book Blast at History From a Woman's Perspective

Wednesday, June 11
Review at Historical Fiction Obsession
Book Blast at Books in the Burbs

Thursday, June 12
Book Blast at Big Book, Little Book
Book Blast at Historical Fiction Notebook

Friday, June 13
Review at Susan Heim on Writing
Review at Svetlana's Reads and Views

Saturday, June 14
Book Blast at Hardcover Feedback
Book Blast at One Book at a Time

Sunday, June 15
Book Blast at Passages to the Past

Monday, June 16
Review at Layered Pages
Review at Starting Fresh
Review at Ageless Pages Reviews

Tuesday, June 17
Review at The Lit Bitch
Book Blast at Griperang's Bookmarks

Wednesday, June 18
Review & Giveaway at Luxury Reading
Book Blast at Princess of Eboli

Thursday, June 19
Review at A Bookish Affair
Review at Little Reader Library
Book Blast at Girl Lost in a Book

Friday, June 20
Review at Broken Teepee
Review at Jorie Loves a Story
Review at The Musings of ALMYBNENR
Guest Post & Giveaway at A Bookish Affair

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"The Vacationers" Will Take You Nowhere Fast

The Vacationers Title:  The Vacationers
Author:  Emma Straub
Length:  304 pages
Format:  ERC
Publisher:  Riverhead Hardcover
Rating:  2.5 Stars

An irresistible, deftly observed novel about the secrets, joys, and jealousies that rise to the surface over the course of an American family’s two-week stay in Mallorca.

For the Posts, a two-week trip to the Balearic island of Mallorca with their extended family and friends is a celebration: Franny and Jim are observing their thirty-fifth wedding anniversary, and their daughter, Sylvia, has graduated from high school. The sunlit island, its mountains and beaches, its tapas and tennis courts, also promise an escape from the tensions simmering at home in Manhattan. But all does not go according to plan: over the course of the vacation, secrets come to light, old and new humiliations are experienced, childhood rivalries resurface, and ancient wounds are exacerbated.

This is a story of the sides of ourselves that we choose to show and those we try to conceal, of the ways we tear each other down and build each other up again, and the bonds that ultimately hold us together. With wry humor and tremendous heart, Emma Straub delivers a richly satisfying story of a family in the midst of a maelstrom of change, emerging irrevocably altered yet whole.

My Thoughts
The Vacationers is a well written story that takes a very long time to take 7 characters on a very predictable plot loop.
Sure, the Posts went on a vacation.  A sunny, all inclusive vacation, on a tropical island.
The problem?
They brought their PROBLEMS with them.

So readers are forced to sit through page after page of these people ignoring their individual "pink elephants" to each other; while sharing those suckers with we who read in full whine fests.
Leaving readers to ask...
What exactly these people plan to do about their:

Money Problems?
Family Issues?

Nothing for countless pages.
The wrong thing.

The characters are likeable enough...except for the pain in the...known as Franny.

While it is true that this book is an experience.  Like watching paint dry, it is not one  likely to be repeated.

HFVBT Presents: Puritan Witch: The Redemption of Rebecca Eames

Publication Date: September 17, 2013
Formats: Ebook, Hardcover, Paperback

On a cold night in 1692, two young girls are caught up in the divining games of a slave woman-and then begin to act very strangely when the game goes wrong. Suddenly, Salem Village is turned upside down as everyone fears that witches may be involved. Six months later, as news of the girls’ strange behavior becomes known, fear and suspicion overwhelm a nearby farming community, pitting neighbors against neighbors and turning friends into enemies. When Rebecca Eames makes one careless utterance during a verbal attack on her family, she is falsely accused of witchcraft. After her fate is decided by three magistrates, Rebecca must endure a prison sentence during which she and her fellow captives have no choice but to valiantly struggle to find humanity and camaraderie among dire conditions. In this novel based on a true story, a woman wrongly imprisoned during the seventeenth-century witchcraft trials comes full circle where she must determine if she can somehow resume her life, despite all she has endured.

Praise for Puritan Witch: The Redemption of Rebecca Eames

“Puritan Witch: The Redemption of Rebecca Eames is a story of the fear, suspicion, and accusations as they permeate the surrounding communities. The narration was exquisite, really painting a picture in my head and bringing to life the language of the Puritans much better than it usually is done. I loved that it was based on a true story and that the story really expands on a piece of the darkest of American history. Such a cool read!” – Katelyn Hensel, Readers’ Favorite

“Elegantly written, meticulously researched, and historically accurate, the author’s work rings true. … Renner’s vast talent as a writer is enhanced by the fact that she’s telling the story of her own family, completely captivating from beginning to end.” – Kelly Z. Conrad, award-winning author of Shaman

“In the colonial-era tale Puritan Witch, the plight of Rebecca Eames and her family plays out against the backdrop of one of the most intriguing periods in American history.” – Julie Castillo, writer and editor


Buy the Book

Amazon US
Barnes & Noble

My Thoughts
Puritan Witch:  The Redemption of Rebecca Eames is a beautifully rendered tale that while often hard to read, is equally as difficult to put down.
Authoress Peni Renner ushers readers into a Colonial America far removed from that which has been heralded as the bastion of burgeoning liberty.
Set in and around Salem, Massachusetts.  Puritan Witch tells the story of one woman's fight to save her life, dignity, and sanity, amid the chaos, lies, and hypocrisy of The Salem Witch Trials.

Goody Rebecca Eams is a lot of things.  She is a loving mother, grandmother, wife, and "a good Christian woman."  What Mrs. Eams is not however, is a pushover.
Fire, spirit, and an opinion are not welcome attributes in a woman of her ilk however, and a few choice ones, uttered in anger, will change her life forever.

Though the story told here begins as a story of one, its scope quickly broadens to encompass Rebecca's family, the people that she meets in prison, and the community as a whole.
The countless injustices brought to bear in the lives of Rebecca and countless others, make this a very emotionally taxing read.
Interlaced with the darkness, is the resiliency of the human spirit and love that trumps the evil done.

Rebecca proves to be the ultimate heroine by doing nothing more than simply living.
Is she afraid
Does she make mistakes?
Is she always right?
No, but she lives with dignity and grace...in a time when it is so easy to die.

Peni Renner has written a stellar work in Puritan Witch.  It is my sincerest hope that this is not the last of her creations.

About the Author

03_Peni Jo RennerPeni Renner is the author of “Puritan Witch: The Redemption of Rebecca Eames”, an award-winning historical novel based on the true-life account of Peni’s 9th great grandmother. The book is Renner’s first published work, and follows Eames’ life and struggles in 1692 Massachusetts during the Salem Witchcraft Trials.
Writing historical fiction has always been a lifelong dream of mine. I was discouraged for many years after receiving multiple rejection slips, and turned to other creative outlets like crocheting, quilting and cross-stitch for many years. Then I met a 3rd cousin of mine online who is also into geneology and history. She told me we shared a common ancestor who was involved in the Salem Witchcraft Hysteria of 1692, and her story had never been told. My love of writing was rekindled and I began to research this ancestor, Rebecca Blake Eames. In August of 2012 I had the privilege of visiting her grave in Boxford, Massachusetts.
After months and months of research, writing, rewriting and revising, Puritan Witch came into being, featuring a lovely sketch done by my sister-in-law, Jane Sisk.
I have several other story ideas I am working on at the moment, all pertaining to interesting ancestors my 3rd cousin has introduced me to.

For more information please visit the Puritan Witch Facebook Page. You can also follow Peni Jo Renner on Twitter.

Virtual Tour & Book Blast Schedule

Monday, April 28
Book Blast at Broken Teepee
Book Blast at Our Wolves Den
Tuesday, April 29
Book Blast at The Lit Bitch
Book Blast at A Book Geek
Book Blast at The Musings of ALMYBNENR
Book Blast at Literary Chanteuse
Wednesday, April 30
Review & Giveaway at Closed the Cover
Thursday, May 1
Book Blast at Historical Fiction Obsession
Friday, May 2
Book Blast at Caroline Wilson Writes
Saturday, May 3
Book Blast at Griperang’s Bookmarks
Sunday, May 4
Book Blast at I’d Rather Be Reading
Monday, May 5
Book Blast at Kincavel Korner
Tuesday, May 6
Review at Just One More Chapter
Wednesday, May 7
Review at Books in the Burbs
Book Blast at Kelsey’s Book Corner
Thursday, May 8
Book Blast at Curling Up with a Good Book
Friday, May 9
Spotlight & Giveaway at Passages to the Past
Book Blast at Carpe Librum
Monday, May 12
Interview at Flashlight Commentary
Book Blast at West Metro Mommy
Tuesday, May 13
Review & Interview at Oh, For the Hook of a Book
Book Blast at Let Them Read Books
Wednesday, May 14
Book Blast at Historical Tapestry
Thursday, May 15
Review at A Bibliotaph’s Reviews
Review at Impressions in Ink
Friday, May 16
Book Blast at Historical Fiction Connection
Monday, May 19
Review at Book Lovers Paradise
Tuesday, May 20
Review at 100 Pages a Day
Book Blast at The Maiden’s Court
Wednesday, May 21
Book Blast at So Many Books, So Little Time
Thursday, May 22
Guest Post at Bibliophilic Book Blog
Friday, May 23
Review at Svetlana’s Reads and Views
Book Blast at The Mad Reviewer
Book Blast at Reviews by Molly
Saturday, May 24
Book Blast at Book Nerd
Tuesday, May 27
Review at WTF Are You Reading?
Guest Post at Layered Pages
Wednesday, May 28
Book Blast at CelticLady’s Reviews
Friday, May 30
Review at History From a Woman’s Perspective
Review & Giveaway at The True Book Addict
Monday, June 2
Review & Giveaway at Peeking Between the Pages
Book Blast at To Read or Not to Read
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Be A Little Brazen With You TBR...Enjoy These HOT Off The Press Reads

If you like your heroes hot, the sex hotter, and a swoon-worthy romance to swoop in and save your happily ever after, Brazen has the story for you. Sinfully sexy soldiers. Alpha cops who demand control. Sweet guys with a naughty side in the bedroom. At Brazen, they've got the hero destined to melt your... heart. Visit the Entangled website, the Brazen Blog, follow them on Twitter, Like their Facebook page, and follow them on Pinterest.

Introducing Brazen's May 26th releases:

Work Hard, play harder...

Find out more!     

Special $0.99 Introductory Price!     
Let the game of seduction begin...

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Plus don't miss the Brazen Seduction Party

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BookSparks PR Presents: The One And Only

The One & Only Title:  The One And Only
Author:  Emily Giffin
Format:  Print
Length:  432 pages
Publisher:  Ballantine
Rating:  3.5 Stars

In her eagerly awaited new novel, beloved New York Times bestselling author Emily Giffin returns with an extraordinary story of love and loyalty—and an unconventional heroine struggling to reconcile both.

Thirty-three-year-old Shea Rigsby has spent her entire life in Walker, Texas—a small college town that lives and dies by football, a passion she unabashedly shares. Raised alongside her best friend, Lucy, the daughter of Walker’s legendary head coach, Clive Carr, Shea was too devoted to her hometown team to leave. Instead she stayed in Walker for college, even taking a job in the university athletic department after graduation, where she has remained for more than a decade.

But when an unexpected tragedy strikes the tight-knit Walker community, Shea’s comfortable world is upended, and she begins to wonder if the life she’s chosen is really enough for her. As she finally gives up her safety net to set out on an unexpected path, Shea discovers unsettling truths about the people and things she has always trusted most—and is forced to confront her deepest desires, fears, and secrets.

Thoughtful, funny, and brilliantly observed, The One & Only is a luminous novel about finding your passion, following your heart, and, most of all, believing in something bigger than yourself . . . the one and only thing that truly makes life worth living.  -Goodreads

My Thoughts
It has often been said that the game of football is a metaphor for the game of life.  If this is true; Emily  Giffin's The One and Only, a book about one woman's love of the game and the men who play it, is in itself a metaphor for the game.
The first half of the book is a bit slow.  The death of central female lead Shae Rigsby's best friend's mother, the opening play.  While this is good emotional bait for the reader, its effectiveness is quickly negated by Shea's nearly obsessive take on all things football.
This is the part where all non-footballer readers run screaming from the room, and all of us who have had to spend any time within the ranks of sport induced widowhood, grit our teeth stoically and pray for rain.
The rain, or in this case drama, does come in fits and starts in the form of a breakup between Shea and her Mr. Right Now, Miller, a new job and a new relationship with Mr. Too Good To Be True, Ryan James.  Not only is Mr. James an all-star professional quarterback, he and Shea know each other from both high school and college, he is looking for a regular girl, and he's monogamous!  Now Shea's got the ball and the "Don't Fuck It Up" play is in full swing. Things are looking up, readers are all in for Shea's attempt at the 'happily ever after' touchdown, but with over half the book to go...we are prepared for the fumble.
And quite the fumble it turns out to be...thanks to Coach Carr and a brutal assist from Mr. James late in the third.
To say that the chances of Shea garnering the love, happiness, and friendship trophies that she so doggedly seeks, are at this point 'dead in the water', would be a gross understatement.  Don't be so quick to count this game a loss however.  With a 'friendship Hail Mary' late in the fourth, BFF Lucy proves to be the MVP of this read, bringing home a hard won victory tied with the coveted 'happily ever after bow.'

Though most of this book is spent talking about Shea's interactions with other people, and of course, her love of football.  Her down home charm and 'girl next door' sensibilities  are a definite draw.  Readers have an almost immediate connection with her and want the best for her.  (Even if we have to sit through parts of her story that are as dry as the Sahara to see it.)
The way that things turn out between Shea and her mentor are pretty much a foregone conclusion.  The fun here being the discovery of how, exactly, they were going to get where everyone reading the book knew they were going.
Best friend, Lucy,  manages to go from supportive best friend to temperamental third grader when the rubber meets the road, and hunky Ryan James ends up being the diversionary red herring that keeps the plot moving
Story nuances aside, the only real detracting factor of this read wold have to be its length.  432 pages of life in a small southern town can prove a bit hard to fill, as a writer...and daunting to to get through, as a reader.
The One and Only, is at its quirky little heart a very bittersweet tale that like life and football, may make you question your sanity many times during the experience...but proves to be worth the ride in the end.
Emily Giffin
Emily Giffin is a graduate of Wake Forest University and the University of Virginia School of Law. After practicing litigation at a Manhattan firm for several years, she moved to London to write full time. The author of six New York Times bestselling novels, Something Borrowed, Something Blue, Baby Proof, Love The One You're With, Heart of the Matter, and Where We Belong, she lives in Atlanta with her husband and three young children. 
See Her Socially  

Don't let the fun end here!
Explore uncharted Summer reading destinations with
The BookSparks Summer Reading Challange 2014

HFVBT Presents: My Lady Viper

My Lady Viper 

Publication Date: May 2014
Knight Media, LLC
Formats: Ebook, Paperback

May, 1536. The Queen is dead. Long live the Queen.
When Anne Boleyn falls to the executioner’s axe on a cold spring morning, yet another Anne vows she will survive in the snakepit court of Henry VIII. But at what cost?
Lady Anne Seymour knows her family hangs by a thread. If her sister-in-law Jane Seymour cannot give the King a son, she will be executed or set aside, and her family with her. Anne throws herself into the deadly and intoxicating intrigue of the Tudor court, determined at any price to see the new queen’s marriage a success and the Seymour family elevated to supreme power. But Anne’s machinations will earn her a reputation as a viper, and she must decide if her family’s rise is worth the loss of her own soul…
Book Two, Prisoner of the Queen, will be released later in 2014.

Praise for My Lady Viper

“E. Knight breathes new life and new scandal into the Tudors. This is an engrossing historical fiction tale that readers will love!” ~ Meg Wessel, A Bookish Affair

“A brilliant illustration of a capricious monarch and the nest of serpents that surrounded him, My Lady Viper is an absolute must. Intricately detailed, cleverly constructed and utterly irresistible.” ~ Erin, Flashlight Commentary

“Author E. Knight proves that though there are a plethora of Tudor novels out there a writer can still create a fresh and unique view of one of history’s most treacherous courts, that of England’s King Henry VIII. Schemes and scandalous trysts abound in ‘My Lady Viper’, making for a very captivating read. Racy and deliciously sensual, once started I was hard pressed to put the book down. I eagerly await the next installment in E. Knight’s stand-out Tales of the Tudor Courts series!” ~ Amy Bruno, Passages to the Past


My Thoughts

Though much has been made of lives, wives, deaths, and courts held by the various Tudor Queens; the life and times of young Queen Jane (Seymour) has gone largely unsung.
Until now...
My Lady Viper gives readers that much yearned for glimpse inside the Seymour reign.
Told in the voice of Lady Anne Seymour, the story we find here is far from that of staid civility, and forthright purity, as reported by history.
While that might have been true for  the tragic Queen Jane, it was far from the case with those of her court.

Lady Anne, manages in a time where women were to be but bedded and wedded; to be spy, diplomat, courtesan, and historian. 
She is a woman who "walks softly and carries a large and very calculating mind."  As is true with every great man or woman, there are chinks in her amour.  (Her rape at the hands of a high ranking nobleman at court, a less than civil relationship with social climbing parents, and an illicit affair with Sir Anthony Brown.)  Lady Anne proves herself to be worth her weight in gold as an asset to her husband, and a true survivor in the game of thrones.

The story told here is done so in an intimate tone that calls the reader in, and begs to be read.  It is as though one becomes Lady Anne for a time, and is granted the joys, pain, failure, and triumph that is her experience.
While this is a story of the Tudor Court,  the king and his wife take a welcome second to the scheming title jockeys and all manner of ill doings which surround them for much of the tale.

Thankfully, authoress Knight does not fill her work with contless names and titles.  She instead focuses on only the characters essential to her plot.  All transitions and plot changes are smooth and easy to follow, even if the reader is called away from the story for a time.  The settings while descriptively vibrant, do not in any way overpower character interaction or dialogue.
In short...this book is made up of all the things that a good story make.

My Lady Viper is a sweeping tale of one woman's journey through the gauntlet that was the Tudor Court.

Buy the Book

Amazon US
Amazon UK
Amazon Canada
Amazon Australia
Barnes & Noble
Audio: Coming June 16, 2014 — Available for Pre-Order

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Tour Hashtags: #MyLadyViperBlogTour #EKnight #TudorHistFic

 About the Author

Eliza KnightE. Knight is a member of the Historical Novel Society, Romance Writers of America and several RWA affiliate writing chapters: Hearts Through History, Celtic Hearts, Maryland Romance Writers and Washington Romance Writers. Growing up playing in castle ruins and traipsing the halls of Versailles when visiting her grandparents during the summer, instilled in a love of history and royals at an early age. Feeding her love of history, she created the popular historical blog, History Undressed (www.historyundressed.com). Under the pseudonym Eliza Knight, she is a bestselling, award-winning, multi-published author of historical and erotic romance.

She is avid in social media and readers can find her at:


Virtual Book Tour Schedule

Monday, May 5
Review at Flashlight Commentary
Spotlight & Giveaway at The Tower of Babel
Spotlight & Giveaway at Passages to the Past
Tuesday, May 6
Spotlight & Giveaway at Let Them Read Books
Wednesday, May 7
Review & Giveaway at The Tudor Enthusiast
Monday, May 12
Review & Giveaway at The Tudor Book Blog
Tuesday, May 13
Review at Historical Fiction Obsession
Wednesday, May 14
Review at Griperang’s Bookmarks
Friday, May 16
Review & Giveaway at The True Book Addict
Monday, May 19
Review at A Bookish Affair
Review & Giveaway at Peeking Between the Pages
Giveaway at So Many Precious Books, So Little Time
Wednesday, May 21
Interview at Oh, for the Hook of a Book
Guest Post & Giveaway at Historical Fiction Connection
Thursday, May 22
Review at Bibliophilia, Please
Review at CelticLady’s Reviews
Review at Curling Up By the Fire
Review at History From a Woman’s Perspective
Friday, May 23
Review at WTF Are You Reading?
Review at The Musings of ALMYBNENR
Monday, June 2
Review, Interview, & Giveaway at Luxury Reading

Book Blast: Curses and Smoke

Curses and Smoke

Publication Date: May 27, 2014 Arthur A. Levine Books Formats: Hardcover, eBook
Genre: YA Historical
When your world blows apart, what will you hold onto?
TAG is a medical slave, doomed to spend his life healing his master's injured gladiators. But his warrior's heart yearns to fight in the gladiator ring himself and earn enough money to win his freedom.
LUCIA is the daughter of Tag's owner, doomed by her father's greed to marry a much older Roman man. But she loves studying the natural world around her home in Pompeii, and lately she's been noticing some odd occurrences in the landscape: small lakes disappearing; a sulfurous smell in the air...
When the two childhood friends reconnect, each with their own longings, they fall passionately in love. But as they plot their escape from the city, a patrician fighter reveals his own plans for them -- to Lucia's father, who imprisons Tag as punishment. Then an earthquake shakes Pompeii, in the first sign of the chaos to come. Will they be able to find each other again before the volcano destroys their whole world?

Buy the Book

About the Author

Vicky Alvear Shecter

Vicky Alvear Shecter is the author of the young adult novel, CLEOPATRA'S MOON (Arthur A. Levine Books/Scholastic, 2011), based on the life of Cleopatra's only daughter. She is also the author of two award-winning biographies for kids on Alexander the Great and Cleopatra. She is a docent at the Michael C. Carlos Museum of Antiquities at Emory University in Atlanta.

Author Links

Book Blast Schedule

Monday, May 12 Bibliophilia, Please bookworm2bookworm's Blog Tuesday, May 13 Broken Teepee Passages to the Past In the Hammock Blog Wednesday, May 14 CelticLady's Reviews The Most Happy Reader I'd So Rather Be Reading History From a Woman's Perspective Thursday, May 15 Kinx's Book Nook A Bibliotaph's Reviews Historical Fiction Obsession Friday, May 16 Booktalk & More The Mad Reviewer Book Lovers Paradise Saturday, May 17 SOS Aloha Reading the Ages Kelsey's Book Corner Sunday, May 18 Giant Squid Books WTF Are You Reading? Monday, May 19 Caroline Wilson Writes So Many Books, So Little Time Tuesday, May 20 West Metro Mommy The True Book Addict The Musings of ALMYBNENR Wednesday, May 21 Book Nerd Tower of Babel Hardcover Feedback Thursday, May 22 Paperback Princess Bittersweet Enchantment Friday, May 23 History Undressed Historical Fiction Connection Saturday, May 24 Literary Chanteuse Just One More Chapter Sunday, May 25 A Dream within a Dream The Little Reader Library Monday, May 26 Pages of Comfort Griperang's Bookmarks Raizza's Book Blogging Adventure Tuesday, May 27 Princess of Eboli Ageless Pages Reviews The Musings of a Book Junkie


To win a copy of Curses & Smoke or a $25 Amazon Gift Card please complete the Rafflecopter giveaway form below. Giveaway is open to US residents only. Giveaway ends at 11:59pm on May 27th. You must be 18 or older to enter. Winner will be chosen via Rafflecopter on May 28th and notified via email. Winner have 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen.

Sizzling PR and Entangled Publishing Present: His Billion Dollar Baby + Giveaway


Leave the ordinary behind and find romance with the powerful heroes and passionate romance of Indulgence. Every story features fantasy alpha males to romance and tempt you. The power. The wealth. The position. We have it all, and with new titles releasing every month, Indulgence is irresistible and will keep you turning the pages.

STALK US HERE:   Facebook     @IndulgenceBooks   


 Title: His Billion Dollar Baby
Author: Lea Nolan
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Length: 271 pages
Release Date: May 2014
ISBN: 978-1-62266-585-3
Imprint: Indulgence

Blurb: Can her love melt this CEO’s heart?
No-nonsense physical therapist Gwen Radley has scraped for everything she has, so she surprises even herself when she gives into the advances of a sexy ex-patient the night before he returns to Afghanistan. Then she learns she’s pregnant, just as the news arrives that her soldier has died.
Grieving over his brother’s death, billionaire Carter Anderson questions Gwen’s motives when he accidentally learns about her pregnancy. In his experience, women can’t be trusted, so he doubts Gwen’s insistence she has not interest in his family empire – especially after she moves in with his mother. When her therapy expertise has them collaborating on a lucrative business project, Carter sees her in a new light. But his suspicions persist, leading them both to wonder if he will ever embrace his brother’s baby – or the love that’s blooming between them.
Buy Links:  Amazon |  Barnes & Noble |  Kobo
Indulgence’s Links: Facebook Twitter: @IndulgenceBooks Steals and Deals

My Thoughts
This is a romance that readers can just fall into.  With a strong direction, well defined and marvelously written characters, and a story driven plot; His Billion Dollar Baby, is a read that gives romance lovers so much more than their money's worth.

Gwen Radley has been through a lot in her life, and with the tragic death of her unborn baby's father leading to her unceremonious introduction to his uber-wealthy family...let's just say that things are about to get a lot more interesting for our girl.

Gwen's heartfelt honesty and "can do" spirit are two of the driving forces that keep one reading.
She is not a person seeking to impose herself or her problems upon anyone.  If anything, she is the first to offer a helping hand in any case.

When the open heart and trusting soul that is Gwen, comes up against the calculating cynicism that is Carter Anderson, sparks will fly and readers will take sides.
Not to worry though, for all of those that are TEAM GWEN.  This is one fiery redhead who doesn't take things lying down.  She is out to show Anderson that not everything in life has a price tag.
The romance here is very sweet and because Gwen is an expectant mother, the love scene here is a little on the sedate side.
That does not mean that it is in any way less effective in conveying the passion that these two share for each other.
This is a book that is built on story however, so most of  the "must read drama" has nothing to do with bedrooms.
There is also a very interesting family dynamic that takes place between Gwen and Carter's parents.

This is a wonderful read that is full of surprises and feel good moments!

In the world of Contemporary Romance...His Billion Dollar Baby is simply priceless!

Excerpt from
His Billion Dollar Baby
by Lea Nolan Copyright © 2014 by Lea Nolan. All rights reserved, including the right to reproduce, distribute, or transmit in any form or by any means. For information regarding subsidiary rights, please contact the Publisher.

Chapter One
Gwen Radley sat in the front seat of her Honda Civic clutching Ben’s obituary. She’d worried over it so much, the newsprint smudged her fingertips. Jenkins and Sons Funeral Home and Mortuary was just yards away, across the already full parking lot.
She could do this. All she had to do was open the door, force her legs to move toward the building, then slip in unnoticed. It should be easy enough. By now there had to be at least a hundred people inside, grieving the fallen soldier. She’d pay her respects, whisper her secret to Ben as she slipped the sonogram photo under his clasped hands, and sneak out, no one the wiser.
Seizing the door handle, she drew a deep breath as her heart thudded in her chest. This wasn’t the way she was supposed to see Ben again. In her head, she’d planned to meet up a few months from now when he was home on leave, healthy and whole and not her former patient. She’d accidentally-on-purpose bump into him, give him a glimpse of her swollen belly and let the conversation go from there. Of course, she’d make it clear she had no expectations. How could she? They were friends, nothing more, save for their crazy one-night encounter the evening before he returned to Afghanistan. It wasn’t as if they were in a relationship, or had planned to share their lives together. She’d expected to raise the baby on her own, but he deserved to know they’d created a life.
At least that’s how it was supposed to happen.
Gwen squelched the sob rising in her throat. She’d never speak to Ben again, hear his ringing laughter, or chuckle at one of his off-color jokes. They were never in love but he was a good man and could have been a good parent. But now, he was gone too soon, cruelly taken by an IED on a dusty road in Kandahar Province.
For a moment, she considered backing out of her parking spot and returning to work, where this whole mess began. But then her conscience took hold, yanking her back to reality. This was her only chance to give Ben a picture of the life they’d created. He’d never meet his child in person; the least she could do was send him to eternity with this one memento.
After pulling the keys from the ignition, she tossed them into her purse next to the ultrasound images and threw open the door. Out of the car, she smoothed the skirt of her navy blue dress then straightened and strode across the parking lot. There was nothing to be embarrassed about. Lots of women got pregnant by almost-strangers who were their former physical therapy patients. In fact, it probably happened every day.
Who was she kidding? Gwen shook her head as a tiny wail escaped her lips.
At the funeral home door, she passed two steroid-infused security guards in dark black suits and mirrored sunglasses. She’d expected to see people in military uniforms, but these guys looked like private security. Since when did an army captain warrant such a detail?
Inside, she waded through a sea of mourners too immersed in their own despair to notice her presence. A visitor’s book rested on a console in the main foyer. She thought about signing it, but then thought better of it, choosing instead to remain anonymous. On her way to the viewing room she spied the closed casket from the threshold. Damn. She wouldn’t be able to give him the picture herself. Expecting this might be the case, she turned around to locate the funeral director.
A serious looking man in a dour suit stood in the lobby, surveying the crowd. He had to be her man.
“Excuse me,” she said, lifting her loose purse strap on her shoulder. “Do you work here?”
He nodded. “Yes, ma’am. I’m Jack Jenkins, one of the funeral directors. May I help you?”
“Uh, yes, please.” Gwen motioned for him to follow her into the vestibule beside Ben’s viewing room, just out of earshot of another lurking security guard. “I have an important favor to ask,” she said, her voice low. “It’s probably the most crucial thing I’ve ever asked anyone and I know you might think it strange, but I’d really appreciate your help.”
His smile was reassuring. “You’d be surprised what people ask us to do. And you know what? It’s never that weird. Why don’t you try me?”
She lifted the flap on her purse and pulled out the strip of three grainy black and white images. Ripping the first picture from the rest she whispered, “I need you to put this in Ben Anderson’s casket, preferably in his hands.” Tears swelled at the possibility that, after the explosion, that might be impossible. “Or in his breast pocket over his heart.” She handed him the photo.
The funeral director’s eyes softened as he glanced at the tiny bean-shaped fetus. “I understand. It’s not a strange request. In fact, it’s very sweet.” He tucked the picture in his jacket. “It would be my honor to do this for you. And for Ben.”
Gwen exhaled a grateful sigh as she dropped the remaining photos back in her purse. “Thanks so much, I really appreciate it.”
“Of course, I’ll have to speak to the family about it first.” His expression was pained. “They’ve been very keen on keeping things as orderly as possible.” He nodded toward the mirror-eyed behemoth in the hall.
“I understand.” She nodded as she pried her lips into an innocent smile and tried to squelch her panic.
Another mourner caught Mr. Jenkins’s attention. It was Gwen’s cue to flee. She’d already scratched out her name on the photo so it would be untraceable, but she didn’t want anyone to see her talking to Mr. Jenkins.
Turning to leave, Gwen nearly collided with a brutally good-looking man in a charcoal gray suit. Light brown hair and blue eyed, his chiseled nose and strong jaw reminded her of the Greek gods she’d read about as a kid. His aftershave hinted of sandalwood and lime.
He extended his hand. “Thank you so much for coming, Ms…” He scanned her face, expecting her to fill in the blank.
“Gwen Radley.” Heart racing, she grasped his palm and was struck by his firm grip. Who was this man, and how long had he been standing behind her? Had he heard her conversation with the funeral director? “You’re welcome. I’m just glad I could come.” Fumbling for something else to say, she blurted out the only thing that came to mind. “I’m sorry for your loss.”
His face clouded with grief. “Yes, it’s been tough. Though, after three tours, we always feared this could happen.” He shook his head. “But how can you ever prepare for something like this?”
“I expect you can’t.” It seemed there were a lot of things you couldn’t prepare for. Like, for instance, a surprise baby.
“Where are my manners? I’m Carter, by the way.” He mustered a smile. “I don’t believe we’ve met.”
“No, I don’t think we have.” Of course they’d never crossed paths. She’d only known Ben a few weeks before he’d returned to duty.
“How did you know Ben?”
She decided to stick to the basics. He didn’t need to know the rest. “We met while he was here for his rehabilitation a few months ago. I work at Walter Reed.”
Carter nodded. “If only he’d been smart enough to stay home after that.” His eyes glossed over and he looked away, toward the room that held Ben’s polished wood casket. “He didn’t have to go back, you know.”
She couldn’t help but chuckle. Despite only knowing Ben Anderson a short while, there was one thing she knew with absolute certainty. He was committed to being a soldier. The army was his calling, a part of his soul, and he never shied away from a fight. “There was no talking him out of it. He wanted to go back.”
Carter laughed, easing his deep frown lines. “Yeah, he was a stubborn S.O.B. but he was a dedicated one.” Even amid Carter’s loss, his smile was beautiful.
Gwen’s eyes widened in surprise from his language.
“Oh, sorry. I…I’m not quite myself,” he said. “You know, even though I always knew it could happen, and told myself a thousand times to expect it, I never actually thought it would. I figured the soldier boy routine would eventually get old and I’d get my brother back.”
Wait. Did he say brother? She’d have never guessed. They looked nothing alike. Aside from having completely different features and coloring, their personalities seemed worlds apart. Ben was thick-necked and battle-worn, gruff but irrepressibly adorable, even with a stubby crew cut and coarse five-o’clock shadow. Carter, on the other hand was classically good looking, refined like tempered steel, and he resonated an air of dignified grace. And from the line of his tailored suit, an exceptionally fit and toned body lay beneath the exquisite wool fabric. There was no denying Carter reaped the lion’s share of the family’s gorgeous genes.
What was she thinking? Pregnant with a dead man’s baby, the last thing she should be doing is checking out his brother. He was her future child’s uncle, for goodness sake.
Swallowing hard, she forced the thoughts away. “I don’t think we can ever anticipate life’s twists and turns. It’s how we deal with them that matters.”
He choked out a laugh, but it was bitter, ironic. “You’ve got that right.” He turned his attention to an older woman who stepped out of the viewing room. Late-fifties with silver-streaked hair and dressed in a sharp, black Chanel suit, she seemed to be searching the crowd. “Over here, Mother,” he called. Gwen had seen her earlier near Ben’s casket beside an elderly man in a wheelchair who appeared to have suffered a stroke. When she approached, Carter made the introductions. “Mother, this is Gwen Radley.”
“Thank you for coming.” The woman extended a bejeweled hand. Besides the stunning sparkler on her left ring finger, her wrist dripped with diamond tennis bracelets.
“May I present the indomitable Judith Anderson.” Her perfume smelled like orchids and reminded Gwen of the exotic and ultra expensive counter at Lord and Taylor.
Judith sighed. “Oh, I don’t feel so indomitable today. Let’s just say I’m resilient. It’s a pleasure to meet you.” She forced a smile but the red tint in her eyes proclaimed her grief.
“Gwen knew Ben from his time at Walter Reed,” Carter added.
“Oh?” Judith asked. “It’s kind of you to show your respects. I suspect you’re quite accustomed to funerals. You’ve probably lost your fair share of patients.”
“Actually this is the first I’ve ever attended,” Gwen answered. With so many casualties who’d been forever damaged by the devastation of war, she’d learned early not to get too close to her patients. Professional distance protected her from the inevitable gut-wrenching loss. That was just one of the cruel lessons she’d learned as a former foster child. Far better to remain detached, treat her patients as best as she could, and then go home to the tiny basement apartment she rented from Mrs. Lemley. At least that’s what she’d done until that night with Ben.
Carter tilted his head. “Really? Your first funeral?”
“Ben must have been special, then,” Judith said.
“Special enough to ask the funeral director to put something in his casket.” Carter’s expression was open, inquisitive, and didn’t betray a hint of accusation. Still, he looked as if he’d like an explanation. Judith tilted her head. Evidently she wanted one, too.
Gwen’s pulse thundered. He’d overheard. Was he going to sic a security guard on her? A thousand words collided in her head. How could she possibly explain her relationship with Ben and what happened between them? Yes, he was special, but not in the way they might assume. And if she could find a way to describe their reckless, lust-filled, one-time encounter, what would they think of her? Or Ben?
She wouldn’t even try. A funeral was not the place to tell them about their impending grandchild and nephew. Instead, she should make up something plausible and beat it out of there. The truth could wait until after the baby was born, or maybe she’d avoid it altogether and keep it to herself. Nothing required that she tell them. But would that be fair?
The room seemed to spin and soar to a thousand degrees.
“Are you all right?” Carter leaned close and gently grasped her arm.
“Uh, yeah. I’m fine.” Disoriented, Gwen pressed a quaking hand to her forehead. Feeling woozy, she wobbled on her heels. Her purse strap slipped from her shoulder and crashed to the floor, spilling its contents. The ultrasound pictures fluttered out, face up.
Gwen, Carter, and Judith stared at them in silence.
Finally, Judith spoke. “I’m guessing you two were closer than I presumed.”

Chapter Two
Gwen sank to the floor and quickly swept up her belongings, shoving them into her purse without a care for their order.
“Holy shit,” Carter whispered as he rubbed his clean-shaven jaw.
Rising to her feet, she searched for the right words. “I…I can explain,” she stammered.
Carter stood frozen, a stunned statue of a Homeric god in an expensive business suit.
“Let’s discuss this later, dear,” Judith said, patting Gwen’s wrist and mercifully putting her out of her misery. “Follow the procession to the house after the funeral. We’ll talk there.” Her face was calm, maybe even happy, but Gwen couldn’t tell for sure. For all she knew, Judith was enraged and about to blow.
Nodding, Gwen shuffled through the hall, past a stone-faced guard into the viewing room and took a seat at the back. She hadn’t planned to stay and attend the funeral. It would’ve been easier if they’d thrown her out in shock and anger.
Even without looking, she felt the weight of Carter’s stare from across the room. It was as if he was boring a hole through her skull. Perhaps it was his relentless glare or her abject humiliation before the Andersons, but her stomach suddenly rumbled with queasy unease. Of course, it could also be the tiny baby flip-flopping in her womb.
Oh, God, please no. This wasn’t the time for a morning sickness attack. They’d begun a little later than for most women, when Gwen was ten weeks pregnant. Her period had always been unpredictable, and frankly, sexual encounters occurred so infrequently she didn’t notice she’d skipped a couple cycles. It wasn’t until her stomach started acting up six weeks ago that she went to the doctor and got the shocking diagnosis. Now, at Ben’s funeral, she was afraid she was on the verge of another epic bout. Breathing deep, in through her nose and out her mouth, Gwen willed away the sour sensation. Sneaking a small package of saltine crackers from her purse that she’d swiped earlier from the diner, she discretely nibbled on the corner. She had to settle her stomach. If it were remotely possible, she’d like to make less of a spectacle of herself.

After the funeral at Arlington National Cemetery, Gwen steered her forest green Civic behind the long line of cars headed to the Anderson house. Since it was mid-morning, the bulk of the normal Washington, D.C., traffic was light and the drive to Potomac, Maryland, was relatively quick.
They made a series of turns, then headed down a long, tree-lined and slat-fenced drive. Two miles later they crossed under an iron gate inscribed with the words River View, and approached what had to be the Andersons’ house. Holy mother of mansions, it looked more like a fancy English estate or hotel. Calling it a house was like saying Mount Everest was a hill. Had Ben really lived here? It didn’t seem possible. He was the type of guy who seemed more comfortable in a barracks than an estate.
The head car, a Bentley limousine, pulled up the circular driveway and stopped in front of the vast double doors. At first, Gwen had assumed it was the funeral director’s car, but now she suspected it was the Andersons’. Because, really, no one who lived in this house could ride in anything other than a Bentley.
Gwen nestled her comparatively tiny car into an empty spot and debated whether to go in. She watched as Judith stepped out first, followed by Carter, who helped lift his father into his wheelchair.
It wasn’t too late to drive away and never contact them again. But they knew her name and where she worked. Hell, their security force had probably run her license plate, too. There was no escape. She was going to be a mom. And these people were her baby’s relatives. She had to be strong and face this. Besides, it wasn’t like she wanted anything more than to give them the details about the baby. What they did with that information was up to them. If they didn’t want anything to do with Ben’s child, that was their decision. But at least she’d give them the choice. It was the right thing to do.
That realization calmed her. She was the one in the driver’s seat, not them. Actually, they should be the ones who were nervous. She didn’t have to let them see her child.
Her confidence restored, Gwen climbed out of the car. She fell in line behind the other mourners and strode across the gravel, then climbed the wide stone steps to the mansion’s double doors.
A housekeeper in a black and white uniform greeted them at the door. After directing the other guests to an adjacent great room, she spoke to Gwen. “Mrs. Anderson is waiting for you in the library.”
“Thanks,” Gwen answered, trying to contain her awe of the museum-quality tapestries that hung in the grand foyer. The largest flower arrangement she’d ever seen sat on a round table in the middle of the space, infusing the air with its sweet perfume.
The housekeeper led her through a series of elaborately decorated rooms and halls to a richly appointed library. Judith sat on a sofa, a white shih-tzu dog slung across her lap. Carter leaned against a desk, his arms crossed and expression tight.
“Please have a seat.” Judith’s voice was bright.
Gwen perched on the edge of the sofa opposite Judith. Clearing her throat she said, “Things didn’t go exactly as I planned earlier, and I’m sorry.”
“There’s no need to apologize, dear,” Judith said.
“I’d like to explain,” she began.
Something between a scoff and a grunt leapt from Carter’s throat. “This ought to be good.” He looked like a simmering pot whose lid was about to blow.
Judith cut in. “First things first. I am correct that the photos in your purse are of my fledgling grandchild?”
Gwen smiled, her hand reflexively stroking her tummy. “Yes.” She nodded. “It was taken about a month ago. I’m almost four months along now, into my second trimester. Statistically speaking, once you get this far, it’s a keeper.”
“Lucky for you,” Carter said. “You wouldn’t want to lose that golden ticket of yours, now would you?”
“What?” Gwen turned toward him. His expression was so cruel it was ugly.
“Carter, that’s enough.” Judith’s voice was firm.
“Wait, what do you mean? A golden ticket?” Gwen asked.
He uncrossed his arms and gestured to the grand library. “What do you think I mean? That kid—if it’s even Ben’s—is your ticket to the big time. An opportunity to grab a piece of his inheritance and trade in that little shitbox car of yours.”
She rose, her cheeks burning. “Who do you think you are? You don’t know a thing about me.”
He grunted. “I know it’s awfully convenient that you picked today of all days—the day we buried my brother—to drop this little bomb on my family.”
Setting her hands on her hips, Gwen shot back, “Frankly, it’s not at all convenient, but it’s a fact and one I’ve got to deal with.” Bile worked its way up her throat, making her want to spit.
Judith stood and the shih-tzu leapt to the floor. “Please, sit, we’ve got a lot to talk about. I was hoping you’d consider moving into River View.”
Her mind spinning, Gwen peeled her eyes from Carter to focus on Judith. Had the Anderson matriarch just suggested that Gwen live here? Among perfect strangers who’d only just learned of her existence a few hours ago? Why on earth would she do such a thing? Sure, River View was big enough to house an encamped army, and its inhabitants could probably go days without seeing each other, but Gwen already had a home. And a sweet, little old landlady who needed her company and depended on the paltry rent she paid.
Carter laughed. “Mother, don’t be ridiculous.”
“There’s nothing ridiculous about wishing to be close to my grandchild,” Judith snapped.
“There is, if that grandchild is encased in the womb of a con artist,” he retorted.
Carter’s words seared like a lash from a whip, causing Gwen to suck in a sharp breath of air. “I didn’t come looking for charity, and I certainly won’t be insulted. I came here because it was the honorable thing to do, to explain that Ben had fathered a child. But I can see now it was a giant mistake.” Head throbbing, she spun on her heels and stalked out of the room, trying not to trip on the Persian rug.

Carter watched as the enchanting scammer stormed out, then paused at the end of the room, clearly not remembering the way to the front door. At the hall, she turned left, which he knew led to a butler’s pantry. A moment later she doubled back and passed the library threshold, this time headed the right way out.
Despite his anger, he almost chuckled. There was something undeniably endearing, though unmistakably womanly, about her. He’d thought that the moment he laid eyes on her outside the viewing room. When he should have been focused on the loss of his only brother, she’d caught his eye as she walked across the lobby. He’d been transfixed by her shiny auburn hair, bright green eyes, and the smattering of freckles that dotted her nose. They hinted at the feisty Irish ire that clearly bubbled just below the surface. And then there were the shapely curves that filled out her blue dress and the long, toned legs beneath. Not to mention her scent—an intoxicating mixture of peaches and sweet cream—that filled the air. She’d been the lone shaft of sunlight in the somber funeral home.
But then she’d gone and ruined it with her sordid announcement.
Well, he had news for her. She was out of her depth. Not only because she was obviously unaccustomed to navigating enormous mansions like River View, but because she must not have anticipated how difficult it would be to pull off her little scheme.
She was no Deandra. His ex-wife had a PhD in advanced gold digging. After her, little Ms. Gwen “Oops-I-Got-Knocked-Up” Radley looked like a kindergartener who still lugged around a binky. His five-year-long tussle with Deandra had prepared him for any battle and taught him lessons he wouldn’t soon forget. If Gwen thought he or his family would fall for a similar stunt again, she was sorely mistaken.
His mother crossed her arms. “I hope you’re pleased with yourself.”
Carter smiled. “Actually I am.” He loosened the knot on his tie. “If only because I stopped you from moving a charlatan into our home. You should be thanking me.”
Her nostrils flared slightly, a clear indication she was pissed. Nearly always unflappable, Judith Anderson rarely showed signs of strain, but now she looked about as angry as when he’d run off to marry Deandra without a pre-nup. “I most certainly will not. You may have cost me something far more valuable than any of the riches your father ever amassed.”
He groaned. “Oh, come on, Mother. You can’t be serious. Don’t tell me you fell for her act.” Never mind that he, too, had been drawn in by her, but only at the outset. “We haven’t even verified that she’s pregnant. For all we know she’s a grifter angling for the big score.”
She crossed her arms. “Do you think she’s faking her pregnancy?”
“Probably not. But who’s to say it’s Ben’s? He never mentioned having a stateside girlfriend while recovering from his knee injury.” Carter walked to the bar and poured himself a scotch. He wasn’t normally a drinker, but today of all days, he’d make an exception. “How do we know it isn’t someone else’s?”
She scoffed. “Your previous experience is clouding your judgment. Surely Gwen realizes we’ll insist on a paternity test.”
He shrugged. “Who knows? Maybe she’s not smart enough.” He swallowed a mouthful of scotch. The rich, oaky flavor burned his throat in the best way possible, easing the pain of admitting he was deluding himself. Who was he kidding? Gwen was no dope. Despite his distrust, he had to confess he’d sensed a deep brilliance behind her eyes. Those dazzling emerald eyes. He shook his head, forcing the image from his mind. “Or, maybe she thinks we’re dumb enough to simply take her at her word.”
“She doesn’t strike me as stupid. In fact I’m guessing she’s quite quick. She was certainly intelligent enough not to put up with your guff.” His mother had always been a good judge of character. Hence, her immediate and visceral hatred of Deandra. He despised how right she was.
“Having a backbone doesn’t make you smart.” Though, he had to admit her response was pleasantly surprising. Deandra would have proclaimed her innocence, then found a way to manipulate him into seeing her point of view.
“Perhaps not, but I’ll tell you one thing. You’d better get used to her, because one way or another, I intend on bringing her into our little fold.”
He clanked his glass on the bar. “You’ve got to be kidding.”
“I’ve just lost one son. I won’t shun my grandchild.”
“Mother, taking her in won’t bring Ben back.” Carter’s voice tightened as his grief swelled. “It’s cruel of her to dangle a baby in front of us, as if it could replace him. It can’t. Nothing ever could.” His brother’s face flashed in his mind. Ben—his sweet, crazy, warrior little brother. It was impossible to accept he was gone.
“Don’t you think I know that?” Judith  clutched her chest as if he’d just plunged a blade through her heart. “My son is in the ground.” Her lips quivered as she swallowed a sob. “We owe him this.”
Assuming it was his child. Exasperated, Carter tried to make her see logic. “But, Mother—”
She raised her hand to cut him off. “But nothing. Someone’s got to preserve this family. It’s not like you can be counted on to further it.”
Fury boiled in his gut. He gripped the crystal tumbler so tightly a hairline fissure cracked its etched, glassy surface.
His Billion Dollar Baby

Author Bio: Lea Nolan writes books for young adults featuring bright heroines, crazy-hot heroes, diabolical plot twists, plus a dose of magic, a draft of romance, and a sprinkle of history. She also pens smart, witty contemporary stories for adults filled with head-swooning, heart-throbbing, sweep-you-off your feet romance.
With a master’s degree in women’s studies and public policy, and an undergraduate degree in history, she spent twenty years as a health policy analyst and researcher, writing hundreds of fascinating reports and articles tens of people enjoyed. Today, she teaches graduate courses in health policy, law, and financing, and takes on the occasional consulting gig.
Born and raised on Long Island, New York, she loves the water far too much to live inland. With her heroically supportive husband and three clever children, she resides in Maryland where she scarfs down crab cakes whenever she gets the chance.

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