Robinson, Lauri, Unwrapping the Rancher’s Secret

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Robinson, Lauri, Unwrapping the Rancher’s Secret,  (Richmond, Surrey:  Harlequin (UK) Limited, 2016).

Title:  Unwrapping the Rancher’s Secret

Author:  Lauri Robinson

Imprint:  Historical

Issues:  Gendered Expectations (Women); Revenge

Blurb:

A ghost of Christmas past…

Heiress Sara Johnson is shocked when the stepbrother she believed was dead returns to Colorado to claim his inheritance! It might be the season of goodwill, but Crofton Parks seems determined to destroy his late father’s empire.

Sparks fly as Crofton and Sara are forced to work together, and soon she begins to uncover the secrets behind his disappearance and need for revenge. But a far more unsettling discovery is the desire he awakens in Sara. This roguish rancher might just claim her heart by Christmas!

Author Note,

Ideas for stories come to me in many ways.  I dedicated this book to one of my granddaughters because she was the inspiration for Unwrapping the Rancher’s Secret.  While she was at our house one day, we watched a cute cartoon about a little girl whose mother married a king, turning the little girl from a commoner to a princess overnight.  I found that concept intriguing, and that gave birth to Sara Johnson Parks, a girl who was born in a dirt dugout in Kansas and didn’t own a pair of shoes until she was five, when her mother married a lumber baron.  Upon the death of her stepfather, Sara becomes the richest woman in Royalton, Colorado, but that is also when Crofton Parks appears.  The stepbrother she believed had died as a child.

I hope you enjoy Sara and Crofton’s story!

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Temple, Lara, The Reluctant Viscount

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Temple, Lara, The Reluctant Viscount,  (Richmond, Surrey:  Harlequin (UK) Limited, 2016).

Title:  The Reluctant Viscount

Author:  Lara Temple

Imprint:  Historical

Issues:  Child Abuse; Self Esteem

Blurb:

The rake’s return

A decade ago, wallflower Alyssa Drake’s heart broke when Adam Alistair was banished from Mowbray. Now, he’s back–wealthy, titled and more cynical than before! And Alyssa’s determined not to fall under this notorious rake’s spell ever again…

Reluctant viscount Adam knows only betrayal. But Alyssa proves herself an unexpected ally when he finds his life endangered, and they are forced into a sham engagement. Their betrothal may be fake, but there’s no denying the very real passion that explodes between them!

Author Note,

I wanted to write a story about betrayal.  Not just the cost of romantic betrayal, but the long-lasting emotional impact of the betrayal children experience at the hands of selfish, self-serving or abusive parents.  How each subsequent betrayal in life just deepens the wound, driving us to thicken our armor, heighten our battlements, deepen our moats.

Our parents are our first models for learning about trust, self-esteem and unconditional love.  If those models are faulty we can still learn from other sources – siblings, other family members, friends and, later in life, lovers – but there will always be scar tissue:  a fundamental fault line of wariness and mistrust that any new relationship has to overcome.  Trust will have to be earned, built, tested, and only then accepted.  But couples who manage to overcome those barriers can often reach much richer emotional levels of intimacy than couples who come to love without question or challenge.

The Reluctant Viscount is just such a story about betrayal and redemption – how two scarred and wary individuals make a difficulty and uneasy voyage to overcome the impact of early betrayals, risking their hard-earned emotional safety in order to experience trust and love.

Lane, Elizabeth, The Ballad of Emma O’Toole

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Lane, Elizabeth, The Ballad of Emma O’Toole,  (Richmond, Surrey:  Harlequin (UK) Limited, 2013).

Title:  The Ballad of Emma O’Toole

Author:  Elizabeth Lane

Imprint:  Historical

Issues:  Gambling; Gendered Expectations (Women); Orphan; Parenthood; Revenge

Blurb:

High-stakes marriage..

After he shoots a man, the stakes for gambler Logan Devereaux have never been higher. On trial for his life, he’s offered a shocking alternative form of restitution…marriage to his victim’s pregnant sweetheart!

Beautiful Emma O’Toole has sworn vengeance against him – and when a newspaper man puts her tragic story to song the whole nation waits to see what she’ll do. Their marriage is the riskiest gamble Logan’s ever taken, but he’ll put everything he’s got on the line for a chance at winning Emma’s heart.

Author Note,

This is a ‘Book of My Heart’.  In the years that passed between its beginning and its publication the story never left me, and I never gave up on it.  Seeing it in print at last, and being able to share it with you, is a very personal joy.

Park City, Utah, is an hour’s drive from where I live.  Cradled by the beautiful Wasatch Mountains, its history is as spectacular as its setting.  My own pioneer great-great-grandfather directed the first settlement of the high valley – then known as Parley’s Park.  Its progression from farming community to silver mining boom town, from crumbling backwater to world-class ski resort and home of the Sundance Film Festival, is a true American saga.

The Ballad of Emma O’Toole is set amid the silver boom of the 1980s that brought wealth-seekers from all over the world.  Young Emma O’Toole is determined to make a better life for herself, but her beauty is offset by every possible strike against her.  She’s orphaned, impoverished, and pregnant by a nineteen-year-old boy as poor as she is.  Fate and tragedy intervene to thrust her into the reluctant arms of gambler Logan Devereaux, a cynical man with a dangerous past.  Can such an unlikely pair find happiness together?  I hope you’ll be cheering them on, as I was, all the way to the end of their story.

I offer you this book with a piece of my heart.  Enjoy.

Landon, Juliet, Taming the Tempestuous Tudor

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Landon, Juliet, Taming the Tempestuous Tudor (At the Tudor Court, Book 2),  (Richmond, Surrey:  Harlequin (UK) Limited, 2016).

Title:  Taming the Tempestuous Tudor (At the Tudor Court, Book 2)

Author:  Juliet Landon

Imprint:  Historical

Issues:  Gendered Expectations (Women); Parenthood

Blurb:

Passion and peril in the court of Elizabeth I…

Henrietta Raemon, illegitimate daughter of Henry VIII, longs to go to court to be closer to her half sister, the queen. The last thing on fiercely independent Etta’s mind is marriage—until newly ennobled merchant Baron Somerville leaves her no choice!

But the attractions of court turn perilous when Etta’s resemblance to Elizabeth makes her some powerful enemies. Her husband is there to protect her, if only Etta can conquer her pride…and surrender.

Author Note,

Eighteen years on from Betrayed, Betrothed and Bedded, Sir Jon and Lady Raemon are now the middle-aged parents of Henrietta, the lovely stepdaughter whose natural father is King Henry VIII.

His mistresses are well-documented, so I have used some artistic license to invent Henrietta’s mother, though in fact several of his offspring resembled his daughter Elizabeth quite closely.  Lady Catherine Grey was one of those – a young woman who unfortunately did not share the characteristics of her brilliant older sister, Lady Jane Grey.  By including some factual characters in Taming the Tempestuous Tudor I hope to create enough reality to make the fiction sound plausible:  men like Lord Robert Dudley, Dr. John Dee and Lord Howard of Effingham, and Queen Elizabeth herself.

The miniaturist Levina Teerlinc actually did live at the Tudor court, working for both Queen Mary and Queen Elizabeth, and her father was indeed the artist Simon Benninck.  Whether she had a brother or not I have been unable to discover, so I have taken the liberty of inventing one for her.  She painted Elizabeth on several occasions, and Lady Catherine Grey too.  Dr John Dee did go to live in Mortlake, near the church, where he had a vast library of scientific books, and the site of Mortlake Manor, once lived in by Thomas Cromwell, was eventually demolished and built on by the brewery.

Landon, Juliet, The Rake’s Unconventional Mistress

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Landon, Juliet, The Rake’s Unconventional Mistress (Ladies of Paradise Roade, Book 3),  (Richmond, Surrey:  Harlequin (UK) Limited, 2009).

Title:  The Rake’s Unconventional Mistress (Ladies of Paradise Roade, Book 3)

Author:  Juliet Landon

Imprint:  Historical

Issues:  Class Differences; Gendered Expectations (Women)

Blurb:

Miss Letitia Boyce didn’t begrudge her sisters their fun with the pick of London’s available bachelors. She’d chosen her path and knew book-learning and marriage rarely mixed. Her proof was Lord Seton Rayne, who had made it abundantly clear that an unmarried schoolma’am was of no interest to him–no matter her good connections.

Wealthy and titled, one of the most notorious rakehells in town, Seton had every heiress hurling herself at him. So his sudden kissing of captivating, unconventional Letitia took them both by surprise…

Dear Reader,

If you take a peep at the first pages of any Mills & Boon book you’ll see (perhaps with a smile) that the address in England really is medieval palace stood beside the River Thames.  So I made this romantic address the setting for my Regency trilogy, of which this story is the third part, because I felt such an appropriate name ought to be celebrated for the 100th Anniversary.  There is, in fact, a previous story – One Night in Paradise – concerning the distant ancestors of my Regency characters, set in Elizabethan times when the palace was still in use.

What do my Mills & Boon editors think about my using their address for such a romantic purpose?  Well, I know that if I were to set a story around the royal manor of Shene (the original name for Richmond) in Anglo-Saxon times, they’d be as enthusiastic about the eleventh century as they have been about all the other periods.  They are, of course, as unashamedly romantic and imaginative as their writers and readers – just one of the reasons why working with them is such a joy.

Happy Anniversary, Mills & Boon!

Juliet

Kernan, Jenna, The Warrior’s Captive Bride

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Kernan, Jenna, The Warrior’s Captive Bride,  (Richmond, Surrey:  Harlequin (UK) Limited, 2016).

Title:  The Warrior’s Captive Bride

Author:  Jenna Kernan

Imprint:  Historical

Issues:  Illness; POC; WOC

Blurb:

His wife for two moons…?

Plagued by a mysterious sickness, Crow warrior Night Storm captures the witch he believes cursed him. But his anticipated revenge dissolves when he realizes that beautiful Skylark might be the only one who can provide a cure…

Skylark agrees to pose as Night Storm’s wife so she can find a way to heal him. But when an unexpected desire flares, Sky’s mission changes and she’ll do everything in her power to find a way to make their arrangement last a lifetime!

Author Note,

What a joy it has been to create two sequential historical romances that include Native American heroes and heroines from the Sioux and Crow people.  Thank you to all who reviewed my last story, Running Wolf, and who wrote to tell me how much you enjoyed hearing the story of my warrior woman.

This tale of a woman who wants to be a great healer, like her grandmother, and a man who wants only to regain what he has lost:  his ability to fight for his people.  For, as anyone who has ever suffered a life-altering injury or accident knows, it is sometimes impossible to return to the life one led before.  This is the story of a warrior’s struggle to become what he once was and the healer who believes he can be so much more.  As you’ve already suspected, the ride will be rough, the stakes high and the outcome uncertain.

In this story I have blended real medical conditions with the mysticism of the Plains Indian tribes in the 2800s.  I hope readers will indulge my blending of science and spirituality and enjoy the adventure of Night Storm and Skylark.

To help you keep time with the Crow people I have added a moon calendar at the back of the story.  Each tribe called the moons by different names.  This is my interpretation of appropriate names for the moons in each season.

Happy reading and, as always, enjoy the adventure!

Kaye, Marguerite, The Highlander’s Return

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Kaye, Marguerite, The Highlander’s Return (Highland Brides, Book 2),  (Richmond, Surrey:  Harlequin (UK) Limited, 2011).

Title:  The Highlander’s Return (Highland Brides, Book 2)

Author:  Marguerite Kaye

Imprint:  Historical

Issues:  Class Differences; Parenthood

Blurb:

Return of the prodigal highlander!Banished for daring to court the laird’s daughter, Ailsa, it’s been six long years since Alasdhair Ross set foot on Munro land. Gone is the rebellious youth – years of hard work have shaped Alasdhair into a fiercely intense man, one set on returning to his homeland and claiming what’s rightfully his…Bitter experience has taught Ailsa Munro that her exuberant wilfulness gets her into trouble. But one glimpse of Alasdhair’s sinful eyes – and the once-experienced-never-forgotten pleasure they promise – and Ailsa knows a reckoning is irresistibly inevitable…

Author Note,

Highland Scots have a long and successful history of emigration to North America.  Jacobites on the run, impoverished lairs and dispossessed crofters alike sought fame and fortune in the New World in their droves during the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries in a bid to escape persecution or poverty.  Some failed, some returned home, but many, like Alasdhair my hero, carved out a very successful life for themselves.

At the same time entrepreneurial Glaswegian merchants were taking advantage of the favourable Trade Winds to cross the Atlantic quicker than their English counterparts.  Their clippers laden with consumer goods difficult to obtain in the New World, these canny Scots willingly granted the plantation owners credit with which to buy their goods – something their English counterparts were reluctant to do.  Returning with a cargo of tobacco (and, sadly, in many cases slaves), the Tobacco Lords, as they came to be known, became rich on the proceeds, and by the middle of the eighteenth century completely dominated the trade.  It was a logical step for plantation owners such as Alasdhair to enter into a business deal with these distributors, ensuring the best price for his own produce.  It was actually the research I did for an article about Glasgow’s Merchant City, home of the Tobacco Lords, which planted the seed for Alasdhair’s story.

As a historian and writer of historical romances, authenticity matters a lot to me.  As a Scot, evoking the true ambience of the Highlands is also something I’m passionate about.  Through Errin Mhor, where this story is set, doesn’t actually exist, I know exactly where it is:  on the west coast, near Oban.  All the surrounding places mentioned in Alasdhair and Ailsa’s story are real places in my native Argyll.  The Tigh an Truish, a drovers’ inn on the Isle of Seil, so called because it was where Highlanders going any further south swapped their plaids for trews, is still there today, as are many of the little ferry and drovers’ inns which would have provided my hero and heroine with shelter on their journey.  They visit Inverary at the time the present-day castle was being built.  In order to secure the view, the Duke of Argyll really did have the original fishing village ‘moved’ a few hundred yards along the banks of Loch Fyne, where the town, with its Palladian frontage, remains to this day.

If you visit Argyll you won’t find Errin Mhor, but I hope that you’ll discover for yourself the essence of it, which is far more beautiful than anything I could ever describe.

Justiss, Julia, Stolen Encounters with the Duchess

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Justiss, Julia, Stolen Encounters with the Duchess (Hadley’s Hellions, Book 2),  (Richmond, Surrey:  Harlequin (UK) Limited, 2016).

Title:  Stolen Encounters with the Duchess (Hadley’s Hellions, Book 2)

Author:  Julia Justiss

Imprint:  Historical

Issues:  Class Differences; Infidelity; Orphan

Blurb:

She would rather burn in his presence than pine in his absence

Faith Wellingford Evers, Duchess of Ashedon, is tired of society’s endless gossiping about her failings and her late husband’s infidelities. Seeking escape one night, she’s attacked by ruffians, but is saved by an unlikely figure from her past!

Having risen from penniless orphan to Member of Parliament, David Tanner Smith is no longer the quiet boy Faith once knew. With the first spine-tingling kiss, their old friendship is transformed. And in its place is an explosive mix of illicit encounters and forbidden desire…

Author Note,

For both readers and writers, sometimes secondary characters get stuck in our heads.  Intrigued by the  glimpses we’ve been given of them, we want to know their whole story.  Where did they come from and what will happen to them?

Such was the case with Davie in From Waif to Gentleman’s Wife.  An orphan taken in by an elderly widow, he comes involved in the lives of Sir Edward Greaves and Joanna Merrill, the penniless governess who ends up on Ned’s doorstep.  When Davie saves Joanna from danger, a grateful Ned takes him under his wing, impressed by the orphan’s courage, ingenuity and intelligence.

By the time I’d finished Waif I knew he would grow up to be a Parliamentary leader, instrumental in moving England towards a ore egalitarian future with the great Reform Bill.  I also knew that he would fall in love with Faith, the youngest Wellingford daughter – sister of Sarah, heroine of The Wedding Gamble – a girl far above his station.  But how could they find a happy ending?

In Stolen Encounters with the Duchess, Davie has become that leader, and is still in love with the girl he met when he was just beginning his career.  When they meet by chance ten years later he is an influential force, while Faith is a new widow, estranged from her family and Society.  Although painfully aware that she is still far beyond his touch, David vows to reawaken in her the joy, optimism and self-confidence years of being a scorned, neglected wife have crushed.  But love is a force that resists being contained…

I hope you will enjoy Faith and Davie’s story.

James, Sophia, One Unashamed Night

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James, Sophia, One Unashamed Night (Wellinghams, Book 2),  (Richmond, Surrey:  Harlequin (UK) Limited, 2010).

Title:  One Unashamed Night (Wellinghams, Book 2)

Author:  Sophia James

Imprint:  Historical

Issues:  Class Differences; Domestic Violence; Murder; Visual Impairment

Blurb:

Living in a gray world of silhouette, Lord Taris Wellingham conceals his fading eyesight from society. He has long protected himself from any intimate relationships.  Plain twenty-eight-year-old Beatrice-Maude Bassingstoke does not expect to attract any man, especially not one as good-looking as her remote traveling companion.

Forced by a snowstorm to spend the night together, these two lonely people seek solace in each other’s arms. The passion they unleash surprises them both. Then a new day dawns…

Author Note,

One Unashamed Night is the second book in a family trilogy about the three Wellingham brothers, Asher, Taris and Cristo.  Asher, the Duke of Carisbrook, appeared in High Seas to High Society, and I received many letters from fans who were fascinated by his younger brother, Taris, and wanted to read his story.

Well, here he is!  Lord Taris Wellingham is an intensely private man, and one who keeps the world at bay in order to preserve his greatest secret.

Cristo’s book is yet to come.  He has had only a vague mention so far, but as a spy for England in France he has his own demons and distance.

I’d like to dedicate this book to three wonderful women in my life:  Pat Rendall, for her insight into the world of darkness; my mother, Jewell Kivell, for enthusiastically reading the first draft; and Linda Fildew, my fantastic editor, for her patience with and belief in all of my books.

James, Sophia, The Dissolute Duke

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James, Sophia, The Dissolute Duke (Wellinghams, Book 4),  (Richmond, Surrey:  Harlequin (UK) Limited, 2013).

Title:  The Dissolute Duke (Wellinghams, Book 4)

Author:  Sophia James

Imprint:  Historical

Issues:  Child Abuse; Gendered Expectations (Women)

Blurb:

The rumor is up and the banns are read….

The Dissolute Duke has finally wed! With a name synonymous with sin and debauchery so shocking it is spoken of only in whispers, Taylen Ellesmere, Duke of Alderworth, is more surprised than anyone when he finds himself forced to marry! Before the ink is dry on the register, he turns his back on this sham of a marriage and leaves.

Three years later, having barely survived the scandal, Lady Lucinda has placed one delicately shod foot back in the hallowed halls of the ton when her husband returns. He has an offer she can’t refuse. And in exchange? Their wedding night!

Author Note,

So many people have written to me and asked if I was going to write the story of Lucinda, the last sibling of the Wellinghams.

Well, here it is.  Lucinda has featured in Asher’s story, High Seas to High Society, Taris’s story, One Unashamed Night, and Cristo’s One Illicit Night.

Falder has been like a second home to me for so many years  -it is quite sad to have to say goodbye.  I hope you love the way Lucinda’s man is no pushover and, as the dissolute Duke who has seemingly ruined their sister, is causing mayhem for the Wellingham brothers.