A Prelude to a Kiss


As you likely know by now, I adore first kisses. One of my favorites to write was the first kiss shared by Lilith and Jasper in Taming Beauty.  It was an unexpected and unanticipated kiss that took Lilith by surprise and changed her fate forever.

And for a limited time you can enjoy that delicious moment, and many more besides, for free!

Taming Beauty Free on Amazon thru November 13


I hope you enjoy this prelude to a kiss…

Then he stalked her, prowling across the space separating them, slowly and purposefully.

Lilith lifted her chin and eyed him, enjoying the fluid grace of his movements, so rare in a man of his size, while she waited for him to commence with the lecture on propriety and children and dirty laundry strung about and flapping on the breeze for all to witness.

Malleville did not halt a proper distance from her, nor did he halt an improper distance from her, but kept coming until he was almost upon her.

Then he was upon her, his strong arms lashing out and winding around her, lifting her clear off the ground. In the next moment they were falling, tumbling into the tall grass. Malleville twisted to take the brunt of the fall, landing with Lilith splayed along all those hard muscles, her legs tangling with his, her breasts flattened to the hard wall of his chest, her fingers clutching his shoulders.

Before Lilith could offer up a single word in protestation or entreaty, he rolled, taking her with him and tucking her under him with his elbows resting beside her pinned arms and his legs clamped along the length of hers.

He was going to kiss her. Lilith knew the prelude to a kiss when it knocked her to ground, even if it was unfamiliar ground, soft and springy and faintly prickly.

It wasn’t until his lips touched hers that she realized she knew precious little about kissing.

Malleville’s lips were cool, blessedly cool and firm. And unbelievably soft.

He didn’t plunder but took his time, pressing tender kisses along her upper lip before exploring the lower with little nips and nudges that had her mouth falling open on a gasp of surprised delight.

His tongue swept from one corner of her lips to the other, as if he must discover every texture and taste before accepting the invitation she offered.

Cradling her head, he sifted his fingers through the wayward curls unleashed from the bun atop her head, exploring the tangled locks with the same gentle diligence and patience.

Lilith sighed, awed and undone by the tenderness she hadn’t anticipated, hadn’t realized had been missing from her life for years, for eons. Forever.

Taming Beauty Free thru November 13


Congratulations to my latest Corset Winner: Joanna Davis.

Sadly, in South Florida we skip right over autumn and go from eleven-and-a-half months of summer to two measly weeks of what passes for winter in the tropics. So anytime I can find a way to pay homage this neglected season and the myriad shades of yellow, orange and red that go with it, I happily do so. This lovely creation in a russet shade reminiscent of fall foliage seems an ideal way to celebrate autumn. 
To enter for a chance to win this corset simply post a Comment. Any comment will do, a bit of news, an idiom that’s always struck you as amusing, a historical ideal you’ve found ludicrous or a notion of any sort.
I’ll randomly choose one winner from all entrants . 
(U.S. Only)



  1. Bethany
    Nov 11, 2017

    Sadly, the colors of fall were rather dull in my part of the world and I missed the myriad of colors on the trees. Mostly everything became brown and then fell to the ground.

  2. Erin Bradshaw
    Nov 11, 2017

    Your post this time that included Clue of Affection and I think that sounds like a good read. Thank you for sending us some suggestions! It was 16 degrees in Pennsylvania today, so a nice warm read will do some good.

  3. Lesia Chambliss
    Nov 12, 2017

    I love living where there are 4 seasons, but I’d love to find that perfect location where all 4 of those seasons are mild! I don’t do well in upper 80’s and -10 below. Lol

  4. Darlene Holley
    Nov 12, 2017

    Thank you for the free book!! Hope you have a great weekend and thanks for the chance to win this cute corset!!

  5. Jazz Pandell
    Nov 12, 2017

    Needs must when The Devil drives!

    I’ve always loved that phrase.

  6. Pam Potter
    Nov 12, 2017

    I enjoy reading Regency romance. Look forward to reading more of yours.

  7. Kimberly Hatten
    Nov 12, 2017

    The corset would be great for a pirate outfit!

  8. Jennifer H.
    Nov 13, 2017

    Thanks for giving away Taming Beauty! It has a gorgeous cover and I cannot wait to read it! I also liked learning people have been saying Kiss My Arse in some way, shape or form since the 1700’s from your newsletter.

  9. Jean Patton
    Nov 13, 2017

    Pretty color, very autumnal

  10. Joanna Moreno
    Nov 14, 2017

    I always wondered where we (people) started touching one another as a form of salutation. Thanks for the wonderful information!

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A Free Western Historical Romance

My Darling Gunslinger is Free October 26-30th.


Bounty hunter Tyler Morgan has nothing to his name but a horse named Pocahontas, a dog-eared dictionary and a pair of six-shooters he dreams of hanging up forever. When luck smiles upon him and he wins a ranch on a single hand of cards, he doesn’t gamble on finding a proper English lady, her son and a motley assortment of misfits living on his land.

Fall in love with this lonely, rough-around-the-edges, tough-as-nails, tender-hearted gunman today! 

My Darling Gunslinger Free on Amazon

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If Books Were Princes

Am I the only reader out there who thinks finding a truly great Historical Romance novel is rather like trying to find a good man on a dating website?

Before my husband and I finally decided to get married, we split up for almost a year. About half-way through this break up, I joined a few dating sites and spent hours looking at the pictures and biographies posted by hundreds of men with the potential to be just my type: funny, kind, intelligent blue-collar hunks of a certain age living within 30 miles of my little city by the sea. I sent a few of them a wink or nudge or whatever it was that led to flirting by way of instant messages and emails. Alas, I did not go out on a date with any of them.

It’s probably a good thing, as clearly I cannot judge a book by its cover, blurb or sample.

With the advent of digital ebooks, and the ease of self publishing, there are so many books to choose from now. So how is it possible that in recent months, I’ve picked the wrong ones more often than not? I read the blurbs and samples, perused both the positive and negative reviews and still somehow ended up with far too many books I simply could not finish. Even a few new releases by some of my favorite authors left me feeling unsatisfied after I’d loyally trudged my way to the last page.

I know I can be picky, even persnickety on occasion, but I swear I’m not impossible to please. I’ll happily ignore a few typos and misplaced commas, skip over a bit of repetitious inner angst and suspend disbelief a time or two if the writing is solid and the premise of the story is engaging. While I admit that I am always on the lookout for books featuring complicated characters who are true to themselves and unique plots that wander, skip or even dance a jig off the beaten path, I also enjoy tried-and-true scenarios and trite plot devices. I read and write Historical Romance, after all. But give me a twist to go with the timeworn, I beg you. Something fresh and fun out of left field. A tired tale revamped with a dash of the unexpected. A seemingly cookie-cutter hero or heroine who turns out to be a lopsided, three-tiered spice cake.

What’s a reader to do? Well, this reader became so disheartened, so afraid to risk wasting her time only to be disappointed yet again, that she spent hours, days, weeks, browsing covers, reading blurbs, samples and reviews until eventually they all blurred into the same story. All without one-clicking a single book. Rather like my time on the dating website circuit.

And then I went back to the truly tried-and-true. I scrolled through my library and re-read some of my all-time favorite romance novels, many of which I’d already read repeatedly. And I realized two very important things.

Firstly, my tastes have evolved and become a tad more refined. So maybe those new releases by favorite authors left me unsatisfied simply because they are no longer my cup of tea. And those books that went unfinished? Well, we all know we have to kiss a lot of frogs before we find a prince. And, yes, I do realize I’m playing fast and loose with the cliches and idioms in this blog post, but surely by now you know that’s how I roll.

Secondly, there is a reason some Historical Romance novels become classics. They are beautifully written, the plots intricately woven, the characters so vibrant they leap off the pages, the emotions evoked so real and true and pure that the stores themselves are timeless. My tastes may change, broaden and expand in unanticipated directions, but I cannot imagine I will ever be disappointed when I curl up on the couch to read them from the first page to the last.

So, if you find yourself wallowing in the Historical Romance doldrums, here are a few books I suggest to put some wind in your sails:

Loretta Chase’s Lord of Scoundrels

Judith Ivory’s Untie My Heart

Meredith Duran’s Duke of Shadows

Lisa Kleypas’s The Devil in Winter


When I’m not frantically searching for a fabulous book to read, or getting lost in a classic that will never go out of style, I am feverishly working on book 4 in the Idyllwild Series. If you haven’t reads the first three books in the series, now would be a good time to find out why readers are devouring them and craving more.


Congratulations April’s Corset Winner: Charlene Whitehouse.

Do any of you remember seeing this picture of my very first corset? I named him George, and I hugged him and petted him and squeezed him. Or vise versa.
In keeping with this nostalgic mood I’m in just now, June’s  Corset is almost identical to the first corset that began the collection that now decorates my office, otherwise known as Lynne’s Lovely Lair.   
To enter simply post a Comment. Any comment will do, a bit of news, an idiom that’s always struck you as amusing, a historical ideal you’ve found ludicrous or a notion of any sort.
I’ll randomly choose one winner from all entrants on July 1st
(U.S. Only)




  1. Dean Young
    Jun 3, 2017

    I love books about the old west and enjoy reading your books

  2. Linda Szymoniak
    Jun 3, 2017

    One of my daughters has a small waist and looks amazing in a corset. I’d love to win this for her.

  3. Kimberly Hatten
    Jun 3, 2017

    Gorgeous corset!

  4. cyorgason
    Jun 3, 2017

    Even a man can enjoy your stories

  5. Karen Hawk
    Jun 3, 2017

    I’ve never worn a corset-I’d love to try it!

  6. JeanMP
    Jun 3, 2017

    Such a pretty color, so delicate.

  7. Linda Herold
    Jun 3, 2017

    You have such lovely corsets!
    I do like idioms and taught them in my special ed. class!

  8. Sandra Spilecki
    Jun 3, 2017

    Toad-in-a-Hole sounds yummy.

  9. Pam Potter
    Jun 4, 2017

    They don’t make men like the ones we read about in your books anymore. What a shame.

  10. Yaritza Santana
    Jun 4, 2017

    Gorgeous corset. Thanks for chance.

  11. Lisa Bromley
    Jun 4, 2017

    My daughter wears corsets but I’ve never had one’

  12. Teri Donaldson
    Jun 4, 2017

    I can’t wait for the 4th book to come out in your series. Your covers are always beautiful. They are simple, clean and always elegant.

  13. Kathy Davis
    Jun 4, 2017

    Your cover for Pretty Poison is my new favorite. I love it! I wish my hair was that color of red. 🙂

  14. Darlene Holley
    Jun 4, 2017

    I don’t know about those dating sites, I think I would get a frog for sure lol Thanks for the chance to win this beautiful corset

  15. Janie McGaugh
    Jun 4, 2017

    Beautiful corset!

  16. Joanna Davis
    Jun 4, 2017

    I just love the information you give on historical things.

  17. Tina Hairston
    Jun 4, 2017

    I’m going to be a great-aunt again. My eldest nephew is having his 2nd child and it will be a boy and the first great-grandson. I already have 3 great-nieces, one is his and the other two are my other nephew’s. Girls still outnumber the boys in this family..as it should, lol. I’m in crochet mode and making a new baby set. Blanket first so I can take my time and not have to re-start like I did for the one I made for my neighbor. It’s due in October so I’ve got plenty of time to take my time…SQUEEEEE!!!

  18. Tammy Windsor
    Jun 5, 2017

    So many books these days follow a “formula”, it seems. I agree that finding one that is fresh and unique is indeed difficult — a bit like capturing the illusive unicorn of yore. 🙂

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Inspiration for Courting Chaos

Cover Lo Res

When I began Taming Beauty I had no intention of embarking upon an entirely new series. After all, I still have Gilroy’s tale to tell as book 4 of my Idyllwild Series, and books 2 and 3 of what will one day be a series featuring Veronica and Bernice from Pretty Poison.

Alas, in the course of writing Taming Beauty, I introduced Lilith’s sisters, Harry and Kate – honestly they were only meant to be minor secondary characters with no responsibilities beyond moving the plot forward – and they simply demanded more page time. More and more and more, until I had no choice but to give them their very own stories.

I knew little of Harry beyond the fact that she was another of Lord Dunaway’s illegitimate daughters, as well as the granddaughter of the Duke of Montclaire and the Scandalous Bathsheba Sinclair. She’d proven herself to be particularly prickly, surprisingly cynical and exceedingly clever. Her father, the debauched and dissolute Dunaway, described her as a woman destined to carve out her own fate. Harry proudly proclaimed herself determined to lay waste to all the Earl of Dunaway held dear. I suspected Harry needed a charming rake to smooth her jagged edges and introduce her to the softer, sweeter side of life with a liberal application of laughter and love.

But who was Miss Hesperia O’Connell? While creating teasers for Taming Beauty I came across this lovely painting that just captured my imagination…


Victorian Lady, Green Dress by John O’Brien

I recognized Harry in the woman standing alone before a window, quietly surveying her domain. But as Harry isn’t a country girl, her domain would hardly feature a pond with swans gliding over its placid surface. Nor would we find her in Mayfair, Fitzrovia or even Bloomsbury. No, Harry’s stubborn desire to control her own future would put her in the heart of London, where her curiously calculating mind and mercenary tendencies would allow her to bloom and thrive.

Thus, I transformed the luxurious parlor into a spacious flat that had previously housed a dance academy, and situated it atop a book shop in a working class neighborhood in the East End of London.                                             
Harry's flat above bookshop

In exploring various neighborhoods suitable to Harry’s needs, I discovered Wellclose Square. Dubbed one of the East End’s “Lost Squares” and possibly the site of one of London’s “Lost Rivers”, Wellclose Square was once part of the Precinct of Well Close and has a rich history dating back the dissolution of the monasteries. With its close proximity to the River Thames, Wellclose Square was inhabited by working and middle-class men and women whose businesses were local to the area or connected to the river or the sea.

         Wellclose Square  Corner of Stable Yard, Wellclose Square    

The neighborhood had a sordid side as well. At one time, the Neptune Street Gaol, the Court House and the Cock and Neptune pub were connected to the extent that the publican acted as gaoler. Philanthropist John Howard visited in 1777 and described the gaol (mostly utilized as a debtor’s prison) as a “resort of idle and dissolute persons, who came there to drink and play, and were encouraged to do so by the keepers in order to increase the profits of their office.”


Grace's Alley, Wellclose Square

Grace’s Alley, Wellclose Square


With the neighborhood possessing that sort of seamy reputation, is it any wonder that Phineas believes Harry to be running numbers and rigging boxing matches for Wellclose Square’s version of a crime lord?

Courting Chaos is available now at Amazon.

Read an Excerpt

Congratulations to our latest Corset Winner: Nancy Zahar. 
April’s Corset is a Spring Fling of Floral Fuschia, outrageous enough that Harry might have had gown run up from the same fabric (with an outlandish bonnet to match, of course). 

To enter simply post a Comment. Any comment will do, a bit of news, an idiom that’s always struck you as amusing, a historical ideal you’ve found ludicrous or a notion of any sort.
I’ll randomly choose one winner from all entrants on May 1st.
(U.S. Only)

Submit a Comment

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Dukes, Eligible and Otherwise

Have you read the one about the lady of little fortune and less-than-illustrious lineage who married the dashing  duke?

It’s a common theme in historical romance novels set in the Regency era, and one of my personal favorites. Alas, through no fault of her own, the average woman was more likely to be run over by a carriage while crossing Oxford Street than to marry a handsome, young duke.

I’m no mathematician, but by my calculations there were approximately thirty dukes in Great Britain at the turn of the nineteenth century. Subtract the royal princes who could not marry without The Mad King’s consent, along with those already married or still in the nursery, and London’s marriage-minded misses had this motley assortment to choose from:

The Duke of Dorset was out of the nursery, though only just barely, when he passed away unmarried at the age of 22 in 1815.

Sanders, George; George John Frederick Sackville (1793-1815), 4th Duke of Dorset, in Academic Robes; National Trust, Knole; http://www.artuk.org/artworks/george-john-frederick-sackville-17931815-4th-duke-of-dorset-in-academic-robes-219039

The Duke of Bedford was available for bringing up to scratch, but only during the narrow window of opportunity from 1801 to 1803 when he was between wives.

Duke of Bedford

The Duke of Devonshire  was known as the Bachelor Duke for good reason as he managed to avoid marriage entirely.

Shee 001

The Duke of Marlborough became eligible (depending upon one’s notion of eligible) when he was widowed at 68.

Reynolds, Joshua; George Spencer-Churchill (1739-1817), 4th Duke of Marlborough; Woodstock Town Council; http://www.artuk.org/artworks/george-spencer-churchill-17391817-4th-duke-of-marlborough-43545

The Duke of Buccleuch and Queensberry was ripe for the picking when he was widowed at 42.

Duke of Buccleuch and Queensberry

The Duke of Argyll is my favorite I think. He inherited the dukedom in 1806 when only 38, and was snatched off the market four years later.

Duke of Argyll

The Duke of Roxburghe was clearly some woman’s idea of the perfect husband, seeing as he was widowed at 71 and remarried at 72. 

Duke of Roxburghe

The Duke of Newcastle was available only until 1807 when he married at 22.

Duke of Newcastle 1


My newest release features the granddaughter of a duke, though you’d never guess it by the company she keeps or the neighborhood she calls home.  

Cover Lo Res

Courting Chaos is available for pre-order for only $0.99.

What happens when London’s longest-reigning rake decides to make mischief?

Born of scandal and raised in squalor, Miss Harry O’Connell turned her back on her feckless, frivolous father and carved out a life for herself in the working-class neighborhood of Wellclose Square. She’s a creature of habit, a stickler for schedules, a keeper of secrets, and a woman adamantly opposed to wasting so much a single minute – let alone a spare shilling – on useless endeavors, sentimental nonsense or impossible expectations.

Opposites attract…

With three men standing between Phineas Griffith and the nearest title, he was perfectly content to float through life on a wave of mistakes, mishaps, coincidences and luck. Two unfortunate accidents and an apoplectic fit later, the new Viscount Knighton finds himself saddled with a decimated estate, a mountain of debt and two sisters in need of launching into Society in tandem. There’s really nothing for it but to woo and wed an heiress post haste.

Orbits align…

An unwelcome visit from the Earl of Dunaway sets in motion a convoluted chain of events that put Harry on a collision course with the handsome fortune-hunter. And wreak havoc with her meticulously managed, precisely timed and exactingly organized life.

Worlds collide…

Phineas cannot afford the luxury of falling in love with a prickly, pragmatic and penniless woman. Harry hasn’t the time or inclination to dally with a charming rake when all her considerable talents are aimed at laying waste to all the Earl of Dunaway holds dear.

And chaos ensues.

Some forces are greater than gravity and some risks worth taking. Can these two star crossed lovers find the wherewithal to risk it all for a happily-ever-after that defies all odds?

Available for Pre-Order

Read an Excerpt

January’s Corset is a lovely cream paisley print, just the sort of surprisingly sweet bit of fluff Miss Harry O’Connell would hide beneath her outrageous gowns. 

January 2017

To enter simply post a Comment.
Any comment will do, a bit of news, an idiom that’s always struck you as amusing,a historical ideal you’ve found ludicrous or a notion of any sort.
I’ll randomly choose one winner from all entrants on October 1st.
(U.S. Only)

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Waxing Philosophical with Abigail

Just last night I said to Abigail, “I have too many characters floating around in my head and all of them want their stories told now.” It bears mentioning that it was past midnight, I was wandering through my house in the dark because I couldn’t be bothered to fumble around for light switches, and these words were only the last in a long, meandering monologue delivered to remind myself it’s better to have too many stories bobbing on the surface of my brain than none at all. Also, Abigail is my dog.

Neurotic little fur-ball that she is, Abigail is the keeper of all my secret frustrations, setbacks and snafus. Partly because she likes to hang out in my office with me while I write, but mostly because she listens so well, always understands where I’m coming from and sympathizes with every word I say.

Abigail knows I have six stories – and more than twice as many characters – swimming around in my mind just now. Six stories in various stages of completion. 

A few pages of notes scribbled on scraps of paper in the middle of the night for Lady Sylvia Grenville’s jaunt from London to Montana.

An outline of Lady Bernice’s seemingly never-ending fascination for Lord Jamison.

Two two rough chapters of Miss Kate Price’s trials and tribulations as one of Lord Dunaway’s six daughters.

An unfinished novella featuring Kiljoy, the disreputable Duke of Mountjoy who, oddly enough, captured the hearts and imaginations of readers in Unraveling the Earl.

A half-written story for Miss Veronica Ogilvie – the woman readers love to hate in Pretty Poison.

And, finally, a nearly complete novel for Miss Harry O’Connell, appropriately entitled Courting Chaos, as this book has caused all sorts of mischief and mayhem in my life of late.

Abbie 2Is it any wonder I’m a bit scatterbrained at present? That I engage in philosophical discussions with my dog in the wee hours of the night? If I could just get one story finished…

Oh, who am I kidding?

Certainly not Abigail.

One story finished will only lead to another just beginning, and three further along in the telling. Characters wading out of the water will only make room for more to dive right into the churning sea. 

In the words of Lilith Aberdeen, in Taming Beauty, upon her first sight of the ocean, “But this…it’s so…vast…endless…I feel dizzy…or something rather like it.”

This, my friends, is why I write, and why I’ll continue sharing all my troubles and triumphs with a little dog while fictional characters are carried on the current of my mind. Because writing six stories simultaneously makes me feel dizzy…or something rather like it. 

If you haven’t yet read Taming Beauty, now is the perfect time to remedy that lamentable situation. I have expanded the story-line a tad and spiced up the naughty bits a smidgen, transforming a lengthy novella into a full-length novel just this side of short. Also, you’ll be ahead of the tide when Courting Chaos, Book 2 in my new Dunaway’s Daughters series, comes out later this year.


Taming Beauty is available for Pre-Order now.

Be sure to enter The Taming Beauty Pre-Order Giveaway for a chance to win a swag bag of goodies including a signed copy of Pretty Poison and My Darling Gunslinger, 2 Wine Bottle Corsets and 2 Corset Bookmarks.

Learn more about Taming Beauty

Congratulations to Diana Ware-Page, winner of August’s Corset. September’s Corset is a pretty pink, perfectly matched to the lovely cover for Taming Beauty. 
Corset September 3
To enter simply post a Comment.
Any comment will do, a bit of news, an idiom that’s always struck you as amusing,a historical ideal you’ve found ludicrous or a notion of any sort.
I’ll randomly choose one winner from all entrants on October 1st.
(U.S. Only)

Submit a Comment

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