HFVBT Presents: Dragon Lady + Giveaway

DRAGON LADY BY AUTUMN BARDOT

Genre: Historica Fiction 
Rating: 5 Stars
Publication Date: August 1, 2019
Flores Publishing

Prostitution required the violation of my body. Piracy required my soul. The first enslaved me. The second set me free.
A young girl is taken from her home and sold into slavery to a floating brothel. Xianggu begins as a servant, but soon her virginity is bought by the highest bidder. Ambitious and determined, she learns the business in hopes of earning her freedom from the madam. Her dreams are washed away when a midnight pirate raid changes her life.
Kidnapped by the notorious Red Flag boss, Xianggu embarks on a journey that demands beauty, brains, and brawn. But Xianggu must do more than learn to wield a sword, sail a ship, and swim across the bay, she must become indispensable to the pirate boss if she hopes to survive. The winds, however, never blow in the same direction, and Xianggu must make a decision that requires her to battle jealous men, ancient prejudices, and her own heart.
The triumph of the notorious Zheng Yi Sao is a sexy, fierce, and unflinchingly realistic story of how a prostitute became the most powerful and successful pirate in the world.
In 18th century China, when men made and enforced the rules, the Dragon Lady lived by her own.

                                AVAILABLE ON AMAZON


Please enjoy this excerpt  from...
Dragon Lady 


The moneylender’s announcement seemed to double the people, noises, and odors. In an instant the dock became my whole world. Anyone could buy me. The old man striking one coin against the other and holding it to his ears. The man and woman who pointed to our little group and shook their heads. The young husband in need of a kitchen slave. Anyone.
“Come.” The moneylender jerked the rope tethered at our ankles.
We shuffled behind him.
It was then that I noticed the difference between the straggly gray hair hanging from the moneylender’s chin and his too-thick queue black as a moonless night. Only the vainest of men wore a false queue.
The moneylender stopped, held a hand to his brow, and stared into the harbor.
I followed his gaze and my pulse quickened. So many boats! Small crude sampans, ornate long dragons, boats with one, two, and three masts—some so tall they touched the sky. Boats for fishing. Sampans for carrying cargo. Floating islands of boats, boats, boats.
We waited in the sun while the muttering moneylender tapped his foot. My body had just begun to sway with fatigue when a pale middle-aged woman approached and snapped me to attention.
She was rich; her skin powdered white, her lips dabbed with red, her arched eyebrows plucked thin. Atop a gauzy dress, she wore a red robe embroidered with peonies and birds. Behind her, a young girl held a purple tasseled umbrella over her head.
“What do you have for me, uncle?” The rich woman’s haughty tone sounded nothing like the humble quiet voices of Mama and the other women in my village.
“Healthy strong boys and girls.” The moneylender pointed to Mei. “This one has bound feet—poorly bound feet—but since she’ll spend most of her time on her back it won’t matter.” He let loose a throaty laugh, dislodged thick yellow phlegm, which he spit on the ground.
The woman’s pale hand grabbed Mei’s face, and her long, pointed nails dug into Mei’s cheeks. The woman clicked her tongue as she turned Mei’s head this way and that. “Open your mouth. Ugh, crooked teeth,” she said the moment Mei opened wide. “Ugly skin.” She patted Mei’s breast. “Plum-sized.” She pinched Mei’s ear. “Are you a virgin?”
Mei’s lips quivered. “I’m only fourteen years.” The woman smacked her cheek. “I didn’t ask your age.” She scowled at the moneylender. “Is she deaf or stupid?”
“I’m a virgin,” Mei whimpered, tears welling in her eyes.
The woman shifted her attention to me, her eyes moving downward. “Hideous feet!”
I shrunk back, curled my toes.
The woman gripped my chin, examined my face. “Open.” She nodded approvingly as she inspected my teeth. “This one is ugly. Good for nothing but a serving girl. No man will want such an ugly beast, but since her feet are big she’ll make a sure-footed slave. I’ll buy this one and the one with bound feet.”
The moneylender and the woman haggled over the price. Mei’s was double mine.
“Don’t be afraid,” I whispered to Mei as the moneylender untied the rope around our ankles.
The woman slapped my cheek. “That’s for your insolence. Slaves must be silent.” She next struck Mei with an open hand. “That’s for the bad fortune of having a talkative friend.” She pulled a red ribbon from her sleeve, wrapped it around our wrists, connecting us together like a double gift.
“I am Madam Xu,” she said as we followed her across the quay. “If you’re dutiful and not worthless your life will be agreeable enough. If you displease me or show a surly face, I’ll throw you into the sea where if you’re lucky you’ll be eaten by a big fish before you drown.”
Madam Xu stopped before a brightly painted sampan covered by a curved rattan canopy strung with red tassels. A girl holding an oar waited at the rear.
Madam Xu stepped into the sampan and sat on a carved chair with the air of an empress. “Get in. Be quick about it.”
The girl holding the umbrella pushed us forward. Despite the gentle rock and heave of the sampan, I boarded it without stumbling, my bare feet wide and steady. But Mei, with her tiny bound feet, lost her balance. She tumbled into me and, since we were tied together, I fell down with her.
“You must learn to walk on a boat. Clumsy girls make no money.” Madam Xu pointed to the floor. “Sit.” She uncoiled Mei’s braid and spread it over her shoulders. “Coarse like straw. My girls will show you how to make it feel like the finest silk.”
The umbrella-holding slave picked up an oar and together the two girls rowed us into the floating mass of red, green, blue, and orange. Each brightly painted boat was crowded with possessions. Some were little more than crude barges stacked with bamboo cages and old crates. Others had baskets hanging down the sides. Their rattan roofs went from end to end.
As we glided through the floating throng, we passed two women balanced on a ledge, their posture as natural as though standing on a street corner. On the other side, three naked brown-as-dung children leapt from their boat, splashing and playing. More life was squeezed into this bobbing water town than my village.
“Do you sing?” Madam Xu directed her question at Mei.
Mei nodded.
Madam Xu’s face puckered with skepticism. “Do you play an instrument?”
“The lute,” Mei said with more enthusiasm than I had ever heard.
Madam Xu smiled and nodded. “Did your mother teach you to dance?”
“Mother died when I was young.” Mei’s face clouded as she stared down at her hands. “My amah taught me only a few.”
“Feet too big to be silver lotus and not quite accomplished.” Madam Xu sighed. “Why did your father sell you?”
Mei’s face colored with shame. “To buy more opium.”
“It’s ruined many men.” Madam Xu picked up a wide fan, whacked it over my head, and then dropped it into my lap. “I’m hot.”
I fanned with a steady rhythm until our sampan veered into a narrow waterway. The smell! I cringed. I was used to the sweet perfume of blossoming oranges trees, not the stench of brine, fish, and sweat. My perfect fanning faltered. I would have pinched closed my nose, but I dare not risk offending Madam Xu.
Mei, however, clapped her hand over her nose.
Madam Xu swatted Mei’s hand away. “That’s the smell of money, stupid girl.”
Money!? It was the smell of Water People, wicked worthless sea gypsies forbidden to live with good people on the land. Mama said they had webbed toes and breathed underwater.
I stole a look at Madam Xu’s feet, but they were hidden beneath her dress. Madam Xu looked nothing like a Water Person. Nothing like the dark-skinned skinny men who wore only short wide pants. And nothing like the tired-faced women in their loose plain tops, not a stitch of embroidery or button to be found.
Madam Xu was definitely not a Water Person. Those bad people wore dŏulì on their heads. Or leaf hats. A few men had turbans. Everyone was barefoot. But I did not see a webbed foot among them. Amid the splashes and clatter, I caught snatches of their conversations, a coarse, vulgar dialect with many unfamiliar words.
Madam Xu pointed. “Your new home.”
Mei grabbed my hand and squeezed tight while my mouth hung open in disbelief.



My Thoughts

Autumn Bardot's Dragon Lady is a story which will captivate the imaginations, engage the minds, and enrapture the hearts of all who read it.
Leading lady, Xianggu, employs immense courage, cunning, and intelligence.  As she navigates the seemingly insurmountable obstacles which comprise her life.
Careful never to allow the gravity of circumstance divert her from her overall goal  of autonomy of mind, body, and spirit.
First, for herself.
Through her daring escape from the floating 'pleasure house'.  That sold her body to the highest bidder.
And later for all who served under her.  As she married Red Flag boss, Zheng Yi.
And rose through the ranks of piracy to become the most powerful person to sail the seas.

Authoress Autumn Bardot's lyrical and nuanced writing style creates an unbroken continuity of plot, character interaction,  and story.  Which is seamlessly balanced and able to allow each element to come to the fore as the saga progresses.

In short...
This remarkable tale of trial, growth, loss, and triumph is one that will live in the heart and mind long after the turning of its final page.



About the Author

Autumn Bardot writes historical fiction and erotica about sassy women and daring passions!
Her erotic fiction includes Legends of Lust, Erotic Myths from around the World, published by Cleis Press. n of a Sheba Queen (erotica) will available Jan 2020.The Impaler’s Wife is her debut historical fiction, released in April 2019.
Autumn has a BA in English literature and a MaEd in curriculum and instruction. She’s been teaching literary analysis for fourteen years
When Autumn’s not writing or working, you’ll find her hanging out with her ever-growing family, spoiled husband, and pampered rescue pooch. Her favorite things include salty French fries, coffee, swimming, and a great book.

WEBSITE | FACEBOOK | TWITTER | INSTAGRAM | PINTEREST





Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, September 2
Review at Gwendalyn’s Books
Review at Books In Their Natural Habitat
Wednesday, September 4
Feature at I’m All About Books
Friday, September 6
Review at Coffee and Ink
Saturday, September 7
Review & Excerpt at Robin Loves Reading
Tuesday, September 10
Excerpt at Maiden of the Pages
Thursday, September 12
Review & Excerpt at The Book Junkie Reads
Friday, September 13
Review at A Chick Who Reads
Review at WTF Are You Reading?
Monday, September 16
Review at 100 Pages a Day
Wednesday, September 18
Review at Locks, Hooks and Books
Friday, September 20
Feature at Historical Fiction with Spirit
Monday, September 23
Review at Beth’s Book Nook Blog
Wednesday, September 25
Excerpt at BeadyJans Books
Friday, September 27
Feature at CelticLady’s Reviews
Monday, September 30
Review at Passages to the Past
Thursday, October 3
Review at Al-Alhambra
Friday, October 4
Guest Post at Passages to the Past
Saturday, October 5
Feature at Broken Teepee
Monday, October 7
Guest Post at Myths, Legends, Books & Coffee Pots


Giveaway

During the Blog Tour, we are giving away a paperback copy of Dragon Lady! To enter, please use the Gleam form below.
Giveaway Rules
– Giveaway ends at 11:59 pm EST on October 7th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Giveaway is open to the US only.
– Only one entry per household.
– All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspicion of fraud will be decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion.
– The winner has 48 hours to claim prize or a new winner is chosen.


Embed Code: Dragon Lady

Love Saves The Day In "Cowboy To The Rescue"

Title:  Cowboy To The Rescue
Author:  A.J. Pine
Format:  Kindle
Publisher:  Forever
Rating: 4.5 Stars


From "a fabulous storyteller" (Carolyn Brown, New York Times bestselling author) comes a western romance about a cowboy who isn't afraid to break the rules.

All designer Ivy Serrano wants is a fresh start. But instead, her Meadow Valley homecoming includes an electrical fire, a trashed custom dress, and a very handsome fireman who knows how to push all her buttons. Lieutenant Carter Bowen may set off sparks of his own, but the last thing Ivy needs now is town gossip . . . or to risk loving another firefighter.

New to small-town living, Carter is determined to prove himself, both at the station and at the fledgling dude ranch where he volunteers. That means no mistakes, no distractions, and definitely no Ivy. Yet there's something about the sassy shop owner that he just can't resist. As things heat up between them, Carter's more certain than ever that she's the one. But can he convince her they have a future worth fighting for?

Look for the first novel in the all-new Meadow Valley series, MY ONE AND ONLY COWBOY, on sale December 2019!



Please enjoy this excerpt from
Cowboy To The Rescue


Ivy Serrano smelled smoke. Not the Ooh! Someone must be having a bonfire kind of smoke or the Mmm! Someone is grilling up burgers kind of smoke. She smelled the Shoot! Something’s burning kind of smoke right here, in her new shop, on the day of her grand opening. She glanced around the small boutique, brows knitted together. She’d been about to flip the CLOSED sign to OPEN for the very first time when it hit her. Something was burning. After two years of putting her life on hold due to a family tragedy from which she thought she’d never recover, here she was, back home, starting over. And of all things, she smelled smoke. It didn’t take long for the smell to be accompanied by sound, the high-pitched wail of a top-of-the-line smoke detector. Although, if anyone was keeping score, she’d noticed first. One point for the Ivy, zero for technology. Except then she remembered that each detector was wired to the next, which meant that in five, four, three, two, one…a chorus of digital, ear-splitting screams filled eight hundred square feet of space. Her senses were keen enough, though, that it only took a second to register that the first alarm came from the back office. Her design sketches! And samples! And Oh no! It was opening day! She sprinted through the door that separated the shop from her office and storage. The only appliance she had back there was a mini refrigerator, because every now and then a girl needed a cold beverage and maybe even a healthy snack and ohmygod this was not happening. She gasped when she saw the charred cord and the licking flames dancing up the wall from the outlet. Items on her desk were turning to kindling as the fire reached paper. She grabbed the extinguisher from its prominent space on the wall and, amid the incessant shrieking, snuffed out the fire in a matter of seconds. She yanked on the part of the cord that hadn’t been completely cooked and unplugged the appliance. Problem solved. Except the design drawing on her desk, the one she’d been working on for the past week, was partially burned and now covered in foam. No big deal. She’d simply start over—on the first piece she’d been brave enough to attempt that reminded her of Charlie. And now she had to muster that courage again after—of all things—a fire. Or it would be, once she remembered how to turn the alarms off. Did she rip the battery out of the first one and all the rest would follow? Or did she have to somehow reset each and every one? She spun in a circle, panic only https://mobile.twitter.com/AJ_Pine/now setting in, because she knew what happened once the first alarm triggered the rest. She ran back to the front of the shop and pushed through the door and out onto First Street. Sure enough, an emergency vehicle had already pulled out of the fire station’s lot, siren blazing. She dropped onto the public bench in front of her store and waited the fifteen seconds it took for the truck to roll down the street. “It would have been faster if you all had walked,”she mumbled. Four figures hopped out of the truck in full gear. One who she recognized as her best friend Casey’s younger sister, Jessie, started to unfurl the hose while another—yep, that was Wyatt O’Brien—went to open the nearby hydrant. The third was Wyatt’s younger brother Shane. Ivy stood and crossed her arms. “Fire’s out already.”The last one—the one she hadn’t recognized yet—strode toward her, his eyes narrowed as he took her in. “Sorry, miss. But we still need to go inside and assess the situation, figure out what type of fire it was, and if you’re still at any sort of risk.”She shrugged and cleared her throat, trying to force the tremble out of her voice. “It was an electrical fire. Probably caused by faulty wiring in a mini fridge cord because I had this place inspected a dozen times and know it was up to code. Used a class C extinguisher. I have smart detectors, though. Couldn’t get the fire out before you guys were automatically called. Sorry to waste your time.”The fire was out. That wasn’t the issue. Fire didn’t scare her after the fact, especially now that she was so prepared. It was—them. She didn’t want them here, didn’t need them here, and certainly didn’t require anyone’s assistance. Just seeing their uniforms made it hard for her to breathe, made it impossible not to think of how Charlie wearing the uniform had cost him his life.

My Thoughts
Ivy Serrano and Lieutenant Carter Bowen could have the romance of a lifetime.  And they both know it.
They have in fact, known it since the day that the dashing fire fighter tried to fight the fire that our "not so damsal in distress" had already conquered.
Her fire.
To be exact.
In her shop.
Started by the faulty wiring in her mini fridge.
A fire that she then put out with her fire extinguisher.

Only to have Carter show up with rugged good looks, flashing blue-grey eyes, a no-nonsense demeanor, and softly accented purr.  Igniting a blaze of a different sort. And unknowingly opening doors that Ivy has been trying very hard to keep closed.

Carter too is haunted by his past.  A transplant to both the Meadow Valley Fire Department, and the newly opened dude ranch on which he volunteers.  A man seeking home, roots, and a place to belong.

A.J. Pine brings readers the perfect blend of small town romance meets second chance ever after.  In Cowboy To The Rescue.  The first offering of the Meadow Valley series.  And the first time that readers meet and fall in love with a couple that are doing all they can NOT to fall in love with each other.

Mostly due to the fact that Ivy has not yet healed from the death of her brother.  Veteran fireman, Charlie.  In a tragic building collapse.
A fate that Ivy fears will befall Carter.
A chance that she and her still devastated heart may not be ready to take.

This however is a case of "heart over head and body to follow."
And follow it does.
The sex here is steamy yet sweet.  Providing the perfect bridge between friendship and relationship in a very intimate way.

This is a very quick and enjoyable read.  Although somewhat predictable in places.  There is a slight issue with the transition from platonic to other.
It seems rather rushed.  But not to an extent that will detract too much from the overall quality of the story.

This is a wonderful story and this reviewer can't wait to read more.



About A. J.

A teen librarian by day and a romance writer by night, A.J. Pine can’t seem to escape the world of fiction, and she wouldn’t have it any other way. She’s the author of the If Only series (Entangled Embrace), the Only You series (Berkley/Intermix), the Kingston Ale House series (Entangled Select), and the Crossroads Ranch series (Forever Romance). When she finds that 25th hour in the day, she might indulge in a tiny bit of TV where she nourishes her undying love of vampires, superheroes, and a certain high-functioning sociopath detective. She hails from the far off galaxy of the Chicago suburbs.

See Her Socially:  GR / Web / Tweet Her / Instagram


Buy The Book Here...

Fall In Love With Forever In "How To Love A Duke In Ten Days"

Title:
HOW TO LOVE A DUKE IN TEN DAYS
Series Title:
The Devil You Know Series, Book #1
Length: 348 pages
Publisher: St. Martin's Paperback
Rating: 5 Stars


They call him The Terror of Torcliff
Piers Gedrick Atherton, the Duke of Redmayne, has one purpose. Revenge. To attain that, he must secure a legacy as old as the empire by claiming a wife.
Lady Alexandra Lane has a deadly secret. When the specter of her violent past threatens to expose her, Alexandra learns just how much she stands to lose.
If she sacrifices her body on the altar of marriage, the terrifying Duke vows to protect her, but she fears he’ll change his mind once he realizes what she’s hiding.
Ever suspicious, Redmayne knows his wife is concealing something, but he soon realizes that the truest terror is losing the woman who’s come to own him body, heart, and soul.


Links thus far:

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Books a Million:

IndieBound:




Please enjoy this excerpt from
How To Love A Duke In Ten Days



Exclusive Excerpt:

Redmayne turned to her, looming closer. Larger.

“Don’t,” he whispered. “Don’t what?” “Don’t try to make me a good man.”

“I wouldn’t dream of it, Your Grace.” When she should have retreated, she didn’t.

Instead, she finished her whisky, enjoying the warm languor spreading from her middle to her blood.

“Good.” He became very still, watching as she licked the last of the honeyed liquor from her lips. The cool of the night suddenly disappeared, the air turned heavy with salt, and moisture, and . . . something more illicit.

Possibly dangerous.

“Have you ever really been kissed, Alexandra Lane?”

She blinked. And froze. However, the usual paralyzing terror that would have cinched around her bones at such a predicament . . . didn’t. Fear was more of a faint shimmer through veins made sluggish with whisky. It was accompanied by another more curious emotion. Not excitement, but something adjacent to it. Why did he want to know? What did he hope her answer would be? Indeed, what should she say?

The truth, of course. A lie would not serve her here, and besides, she’d too many of those on her conscience to bother with a flippant fib in the dark.

“N-no.” She wished her voice were stronger. That she’d had a different, more worldly experience to share. But alas, she’d never allowed a man close enough to kiss her. As far as she was concerned, men had long ago ceased wanting to.

“I thought not,” he murmured, setting his glass next to hers on the banister.

Alexandra forced another swallow. “How—I mean— why thought you not?” And why was she suddenly speaking nonsense?

A faint hint of arrogance brushed at his lips. “Men like me can just tell.” Her heart kicked against her lungs, evoking shorter, shallower breaths.

“Men like you?”

“Hunters.” The vibration of the word spread down her spine and unfurled in the most alarming places. “Your lips, innocent as they are, beg to be kissed whenever I am near. Your tongue moistens them. Your teeth worry at them. And when I stare, as I am doing now, they soften and part, like an invitation . . .”

Stunned, Alexandra curled her lips around her teeth as if to hide them from him. Had he really gleaned all that from her mouth? Had her lips truly betrayed her so?

He paused, glancing up. “Your eyes are always afraid, though. I think it’s because you can sense I want to kiss you, too.”

“Y-you do?”

He nodded, his own lips melting into a soft smile at the abject astonishment in her question.

“Since the moment we met on the train platform, I’ve dreamt of kissing you in more than a dozen ways.”

 The sound she emitted was somewhere between a cough and a gasp. Were there more than a dozen ways to kiss? How many more?

“We . . . we shouldn’t be speaking of such things, Your Grace.” She turned away from him, suddenly trembling at the edge of an abyss, ready to leap into madness. He drew close, never once touching her. But the heat and strength of him stretched beyond his physical being, threading through the night toward her, endangering her composure.

Her resolve.

“It’s wrong, I know it,” he murmured, his voice containing an agony that tugged at her racing heart. “I’m to announce my engagement to your friend this very night, and all I can think of is what you’d taste like. I’m more of a monster than any scars or scandals I claim. But I’ve not kissed a woman since before the jaguar. I’ve not particularly wanted to until your lips drove me to distraction.”

Unable to hear any more, she whirled around.

“Would you marry me?” The idea had sparked like a fever, an idea that could fix everything. An idea that would release them all from the clutches of their sins. All it would cost was her soul



My Thoughts

There is one reason...
And one reason only, that this reviewer can and does drop everything when presented with the chance to read the latest book by Kerrigan Byrne.
In fact. It happens to be the same reason that said reviewer finds herself awake and penning this review at the ungodly hour of 4 a.m.
While still basking in the afterglow of Ms. Byrne's first offering of the Devil You Know series.
Entitled How To Love A Duke In Ten Days.
This book may be a Historical Romance at its core. But it is delightfully so much more.
Including:
1. A sisterhood built upon shared life altering childhood secrets.

2. Murder, mayhem, a marriage made by money.

3. One very, very, contrary bluestocking, Lady of a Doctor, Miss Alexandra Lane.
Determined to ply her mantra of head over heart against the ferociously tempting Duke of Redmane. One Piers Gedrick Atherton.
While doing her best to keep more than a few of the afore mentioned life altering secrets.
One of which could end up costing one or both of them their lives.
And one so horrid that its revelation could cost her the chance of a lifetime with a man that she never thought that she could bring herself to desire.

But wait...
It gets better.
Because it seems that the Piers has a few deadly secrets of his own.
Which threaten the already beleaguered couple just as doggedly as those of his leading lady.

Leading readers chomping at the bit to know.
Whose secrets will be the ones that toll the death knoll for both this couple and their future?
And...
Will one of both of them be brave enough to trust the other with the spectors that haunt their tortured souls?
And most importantly...
Who wants Alexandra and Piers dead so badly?
And why?

To unearth (pun intended) the answers to these, and many more questions. While enjoying a happily ever after custom tailored to highjack any beating heart.
Don't miss How To Love A Duke In Ten Days. Or as this reviewer likes to call it. How To Devour A Book In One Sitting.
I would like to thank Netgalley and St. Martin's Press for granting my the privilege of reviewing such a wonderful book. The opinions found within this review have in no way been influenced by the publisher, its author, or any agents thereof. 




About Kerrigan
If you're anything like me, the best night is one spent with a brawny highlander, a mysterious werewolf, a conflicted vampire, or a hot-headed Irishman. My stories span the spectrum of romantic fiction from historical, to paranormal, to romantic suspense. But I can always promise my readers one thing: memorable and sexy Celtic heroes who are guaranteed to heat your blood before they steal your heart. Lose yourself in the enchanted Celtic Isles, you never know who, or what, will find you...
See Her Socially:  Web Instagram Twitter / Facebook