The second offer is for those who missed out on The Wedding Wager anthology.
Don’t worry, all the wonderful stories from this bestselling collection of unique and impossible matchmaking scenarios are being published separately.
Soon you’ll be able to buy A GAME OF HAZARD. Why not pre-order your copy now while it’s still at the early bird price of just $0.99? Here’s the link- https://www.bklnk.com/B0BSV7187D
Here’s the story-
Miss Alexandra Isaacs learned many things at finishing school but how to run a vast smuggling empire wasn’t one of them. She’s desperate to protect this perilous inheritance because so many lives depend on it. However, there’s a traitor in their midst, and Alex must risk exposure to unmask him. There’s external danger, too, in the shape of a clever—not to mention compelling—excise officer. It would be utter folly to allow the captain any closer, but that’s precisely what a blackmailing matchmaker forces Alex to do.
…and he means to claim it.
The reward for capturing the smugglers’ ringleader is hugely tempting to Captain Giles Harewood. His sisters are in dire need of dowries and the Bath Season is in full swing—the perfect opportunity to find husbands for them. But the implacable Lady Pandora Osbourne has other plans for this confirmed bachelor—plans that could destroy all his hopes.
Who will win and who will lose in this deadly game of Hazard?
Sit back and relax…
And listen to an audiobook. Well, one in particular, because my international bestseller, DISTRACTING THE DUKE, is out as an audio book today, read by Deborah Balm. Her voice is absolutely perfect for a Jane Austen-era sizzling romance! You can grab your copy HERE. This is the first time I have had a book out in audio, and I look forward to hearing listeners’ opinions!
If you already own the Kindle version, you can add audio to it for just $8.96 or you can listen to the book for free with an Audible membership.
Here’s a bit about the story-
Determined to avoid the strife-filled marriage of his parents, Marcus, the Duke of Ulvercombe, wants an amenable, biddable wife, and has set his cap for a certain pretty miss. Unfortunately, her vastly opinionated, frustrating, and lamentably beautiful guardian, Lady Clara Tinniswood, keeps distracting him, tempting him to consider a far more tempestuous—and passionate—union.
Recently widowed Lady Clara Tinniswood wants only to organize a quiet new life for herself, beyond the control of any man. But one shockingly unguarded moment while confronted by Marcus’s gloriously naked body catapults her headlong into a forbidden passion and threatens to undermine all her well-laid plans.
Even if Marcus abandons his sweet ideal and surrenders to his growing desire for Clara, there’s one unalterable issue which could destroy their hopes forever . . .
Why is a Regency lady dressed in men’s clothes helping herself to someone else’s brandy? Read on…
The extract below is from A GAME OF HAZARD, which features in the WEDDING WAGER anthology. You can pre-order the anthology HERE. Every author is a bestseller or award-winner. You can’t go wrong with this collection! And it’s only $0.99.
Miss Alexandra Isaacs had learned many things at finishing school, but how to run a vast smuggling empire in Regency England was not one of them. This was why she’d spent the best part of the night trying to discover—without being arrested—if one of her men had been watering down the Dorset Circle’s brandy. Such treachery would never have happened in Papa’s day—no one would have dared to cheat the infamous Isaac Abrahams.
Alex was currently attired in men’s clothes, these being better suited to nefarious nocturnal dealings. She’d scrambled over gates, scaled walls and pushed through hedges, and had been about to give up the entire enterprise when she discovered an unlocked French window.
Huzzah! This gave her direct access to the library in Lady Pandora Osbourne’s Bath residence—there was bound to be a decanter of contraband brandy in there! Yes, there it was, on a low side-table. She stole across the room, removed the stopper, and took an unladylike swig of the cognac.
“Merciful heavens! What the devil are you up to?”
Alex spun around, hurriedly gulping down the liquor. It burned her throat—but not as much as it should. A million curses on whoever had watered it down!
“Madam, please don’t be alarmed.” Her voice was rough from the brandy, hopefully concealing the fact that she was no man. “I’m from the Dorset Circle, come to make sure your cognac is of good quality.”
How daft that sounded—couldn’t she have come up with a better line? Standing with her legs apart, she prayed she looked like a man and locked gazes with the new arrival.
The black-clad female raised a quizzing glass and examined her, taking in everything from Alex’s battered boots and worn woolen jacket to the old-fashioned tricorn hat that concealed her russet curls.
Alex exhaled slowly, her fingers still clutched around the decanter. Thankfully, the woman hadn’t screamed upon finding a strange man in the house, but such scrutiny was dangerous. She stepped into the shadows. Hopefully, the lady would only see what she was supposed to—a tall, gangly youth, narrow-shouldered, and lacking in muscle.
“It would take more than this to alarm Pandora Osbourne. You don’t fool me for one moment.”
Alex’s jaw clenched—she’d been discovered by Lady Osbourne herself—what appalling luck! The crystal decanter trembled in her hand, so she set it down quickly and remembered to bow rather than curtsy.
“I swear I’m telling the truth, madam—the butler or the housekeeper normally deals with the Circle.” Was she managing to sound like a man at all? Maybe she should stop talking. Or wave her pistol around a bit to frighten the unwelcome intruder, then escape.
No. That was the last resort. “I’m no thief, I promise you. If I were, I’d have been out of that window in a heartbeat.”
“Move into the light.”
“I will not.”
“Pah! No need—it’s plain enough that you’re no man. Come now, explain yourself.”
This female was used to command. Alex was rapidly losing control of the situation.
“I’d best not linger, your ladyship. It will be full dark soon, and I can’t risk being caught by the watch.” Or by the soldiers. There were far too many redcoats in Bath at present.
“Nonsense.” Lady Osbourne strode across the room, snapped the shutters closed, then lit a lamp on the desk. It picked out silver glints in her elaborately curled hair, and Alex could see she’d once been strikingly beautiful. Unlike herself.
“You’re going nowhere, my girl.”
Why hadn’t she made a run for it when she had the chance? This was a foolish errand—she should never have come in person. Her mind returned to the pistol tucked in her belt and the knife sheathed in her boot. They were there as deterrents or for self-defense—but how did one defend oneself in a situation like this?
“I regret disturbing you. I’ll be on my way now.” She took hold of the shutter bar, hoping she sounded authoritative.
“I have but to make one movement or cry out, and my footman will have you by the heels.”
Alex turned slowly. Lady Osbourne was by the fireplace with the bellpull in her hand.
“A scream could summon the entire household but would be undignified.” She pointed to a chair. “Be seated—I wish to speak to you.”
Short of shooting her way out or assaulting one of the Circle’s best customers with a knife, there was little Alex could do. She must brazen it out.
Lady Osbourne steepled her fingers. “Don’t tell me again that you are not a girl. Speaking as if you have a throat full of gravel is not enough to hide your femininity, nor is your inelegant way of moving.”
Inelegant, was she? Well—she knew it. Her teachers had utterly despaired of training her in the skill of deportment. Alex had hoped this lack of female refinement would enhance her disguise. But, evidently, she was less convincing than she’d hoped. It was the kind of mistake that could get her killed if she wasn’t careful.
“I don’t wish to appear feminine.”
Men’s clothes, breeches, and stockings, or trousers, were far more convenient when going on rum runs, bestowing barrels in secret cellars, or leading donkeys along the narrow coastal paths of her home county of Dorset. She felt—she hoped—that dressing up like one of the men made the other smugglers respect her more.
“Nonsense. I daresay you have some hare-brained reason, but every girl likes to be beautiful. You would be mad not to want to.”
But who would she look beautiful for? That boat had sailed long ago, when she’d developed legs as long as a stork’s, cultivated a rash of freckles, and grown so tall that she overtopped every other female in the school, including the adults.
She pushed the chair back and stood but was prevented by an authoritative gesture.
“I’m not finished with you yet. No, don’t scowl at me. You know you can’t go until I let you. I’ve already seen that bulge beneath your jacket, but we both know you won’t use your weapon. You can’t escape through the house. And even if you get out through the French window, you’ll still have to scale the wall. You must be adept at climbing.”
“I suppose I must be.”
Lady Osbourne stared at her intently a moment, then nodded to herself. “Well, I’d prefer you to do less of that in future as no doubt would your mama. I presume you’re Mrs. Louisa Isaacs’s daughter—I read in the Chronicle that you’d lately arrived in Bath. You take after your father rather than your mother—I met him once. Isaac Abrahams. Could you not have changed your surname to something a little less obvious than his Christian name, if you wished for anonymity?”
Alex’s jaw dropped. How could her identity have been discovered so swiftly?
“I can see that you are, indeed, Miss Abrahams. I mean, Isaacs—your expression says it all. Never challenge anyone to a game of cards, child—you would betray your hand the instant it was dealt to you.”
There was no point in further denial. Alex straightened her shoulders and spoke normally. “Of course, I won’t shoot your ladyship, or attack you—it would be bad for business. Now—I sense you want something from me. Does it have something to do with contraband?” She hoped she sounded forceful and confident.
“Aha! So, it is as I surmised. Your late father did not abandon his wicked ways when he turned informant in exchange for a pardon. He must have known he was in his last illness when he did so, and that he had nothing to lose. He was just cocking a snoop at the authorities and when he died, his smuggling empire carried on without him. I wondered who’d inherited his empire—he had no son that I ever heard of. Your mama? Surely not—she is very much the fine lady. You?”
Lady Osbourne moved closer and raised her quizzing glass. Alex eyed the door beyond and wondered if it were true about the footman just outside. Was it worth the effort of escaping? Although she had come here with the best intentions, her plan was unraveling by the second—and this woman already knew too much.
Gliding over to the decanter, her ladyship poured two snifters of brandy, handed Alex a glass, then took a seat opposite.
Alex sipped her drink and grimaced.
“I must apologize for the cognac, your ladyship. It’s why I came, to find out what was amiss with that batch of liquor. There have been complaints—we’ve lost custom.”
“What made you suspect he was watering it down?”
“I know about that wall-eyed villain who sneaks our supplies in through the coal cellar. Be assured—I know everything that goes on beneath my roof, child, wherever that roof happens to be. The man has been watering down the spirits to make them stretch further and pocketing the extra money he makes. You, of course, objected to this and required proof before confronting him. Which means you are in charge. Interesting.”
So that was that. Alex might as well admit to it all. “Exactly. I have a purse here so I can reimburse—”
“I don’t want your money—I don’t need your apologies. But I may be able to find a purpose for you.”
Alex spluttered into her brandy. “What use could I be?”
“Never mind that now. For the moment, I’ll make myself useful to you—I’ll help you sort out your double-dealing miscreant, and if I can’t do it directly, I’ll find someone who can. I mean to present you with a potential husband.”
A husband? What was this woman playing at? What on earth did Alex want a husband for? That would risk everything she held dear.
She held Lady Osbourne’s gaze. “I have a business that requires my full attention, and the fewer people who know what that business is, the better. A husband would be a hindrance rather than a help.”
Her ladyship lifted her chin. “On the contrary. You need a husband to run what you must surely by now have discovered to be a man’s business. You won’t get the respect of your underworld associates by simply dressing as a man. But your husband, if he were the right sort of man, would command exactly the loyalty you need. And the person I have in mind for you is just such a one.”
She had someone in mind already? This Lady Osbourne was a shrewd woman who could wield more power with a word or a look than a general with an entire army at his back. But Alex mustn’t succumb, simply because her opponent was of superior birth. There was too much at stake.
“You’re asking a great deal of me.”
“And you’re risking a great deal. I’m sure you’d rather fall in with my plans than feel the noose tighten around your neck or be transported to the colonies. Make no mistake—you’d have a babe in your belly by the time you arrived onshore, and no idea which of the men who’d forced himself on you was the father. Trust me—my way is far more civilized. I don’t wish to expose you, but be in no doubt that I can cause you, your mama, and your customs-avoiding friends a good deal of harm.”
Alex swallowed. How could she counter this kind of threat? Perhaps her father’s second-in-command, George Prowse, was right—she should have let him take over. A woman was far more vulnerable than a man. Perhaps then he wouldn’t have felt obliged to line his pockets by short-changing the customers. If it was him…
She stalled for time. “So, how exactly do you plan to find me a husband? And what makes you think anyone would be interested in me? I’m not exactly the toast of the town, nor what you would call a diamond of the first water.”
Lady Osbourne’s eyes glittered at the word ‘diamond’.
“I can see that you are not, but I don’t need you to improve your appearance or behavior. The man I choose for you won’t care for any of those things.”
Gazing at her ladyship’s determined expression, Alex spared a moment’s sympathy for whoever the unlucky fellow might be. No doubt he had been—or was about to be—blackmailed in a similar fashion to herself. Maybe they could be fellow conspirators and escape both the leg shackles of marriage and the influence of the implacable Lady Osbourne.
“If I can’t beautify myself, how will I attract a beau? Unless you’ve inveigled some poor fellow in the same way you have me. I wonder that your conscience can allow you to importune people so.”
“Perhaps one day you’ll find out and understand my motives. But for now, be assured that I won’t force you to marry. Once you’ve been introduced to your suitor, I’ll leave you in peace and play no further part in the courtship. And if, by the time the Bath season starts in earnest in October, neither of you has seen the sense in your marrying, our arrangement will be at an end. You may both continue depressingly, joylessly single.”
Lady Osbourne came to stand before Alex’s chair, so she rose and unwillingly shook the hand that was extended to her.
“Do we have an agreement?” Her ladyship’s hand was as cold and hard as her nature.
“We have an agreement.” At least for now. “So, may I take my leave?”
Her ladyship’s mouth widened, and her eyes sparkled. “Which way do you intend to go, may I ask? Shall I have you escorted to the front door? Or will you scramble back over the wall? I must have some prickly bushes planted beneath it and ensure that this door is locked at all times.”
Alex knew how much servants talked, and dared not test her disguise out on the main street. “I’ll leave the same way I entered,” she said stiffly.
“Very well. You and your mama will receive an invitation from me to attend a ball at the Assembly Rooms at the end of the week. Be sure to come—I shall accept no excuses. You know what’s at stake.”
A cloud of dread descended on Alex as she raised the bar and pulled the shutters open. How could she possibly allow herself to be courted by a gentleman for a whole month? It didn’t matter that she’d be freed from her obligations thereafter—if any man spent time with her, he’d have to be a fool indeed not to discover the source of her income or the unconventional way in which she spent her time. Once unmasked, how was she to save her neck? She also had responsibility for the well-being of those who risked themselves and their families for the Dorset Circle. Low-life they might be, but there was a code of honor common to felons. Even more importantly, the well-being and security of her mother were at stake.
This was a game of hazard she could not afford to lose.
An exclusive sneak peek at a rip-roaring romance!
A GAME OF HAZARD, my story in the outstanding THE WEDDING WAGER anthology, is all polished and primed and I feel brave enough to share a couple of extracts with readers!
In the meantime, you can pre-order the whole collection at a discount price of $0.99 right HERE on AMAZON, NOOK, and iBooks. Authors include Collette Cameron, Chasity Bowlin, Emily Royal, Sydney J Baily, Rachel Ann Smith, Tabetha Waite, and Elizabeth Ellen Carter.
Let us begin with The Prologue (puts on Frankie Howerd voice here… and reveals ones age).
“I doubt there are many confirmed bachelors in Bath at this time of year.” Lady Octavia Sewell’s mouth thinned in a mirthless smile.
Her cousin, Lady Pandora Osbourne, turned away from the window. “Enough for me to make good my side of the wager, I can assure you.” In truth, she’d just spotted a determinedly-single gentleman she knew giving alms to a disabled beggar by Pulteney Bridge.
“But you have nowhere near the size of hunting ground you might have in London. Are you not nervous that you may fail to make good your boast of being the best matchmaker in the country? It’s September already, and the Bath season has yet to begin.”
“I’m not in the least bit nervous.” Pansy tucked a wayward silver curl beneath her lace-edged cap. “Who says I can’t make more than one match in a month? There’s plenty of time for me to win ownership of Grandmother’s diamond tiara. Why—I already have an idea for my next project.”
A rustle of silk and the heady scent of otto of roses proclaimed Octavia’s arrival at the window. “Your target is outside? Which one is he? He must be totally against wedlock, you understand, so if you’re thinking about marrying off that military officer talking to the veteran, you’re doomed from the start. He’s far too handsome to escape the parson’s mousetrap for long. You can’t choose him.”
Pansy smiled to herself. What her cousin did not know—because she was too lazy to do the research—was that the officer had not two pennies to rub together. He was therefore the perfect mark for her next scheme.
“That gentleman is Captain Giles Harewood. I happen to know that he can’t afford a wife because he’s supporting a brood of sisters. Despite his height, good looks, and measured charm, he can never marry well, so he has decided not to marry at all. Ask anyone who’s anyone in Bath—they’ll tell you.”
What the man needed to tempt him into wedlock was an heiress, but he had not a cat’s chance in hell of winning one. Unless she, the best matchmaker in England, stepped in to assist him…
“He has a kind heart, as well as his exceptional good looks, to recommend him.”
Lady Octavia snorted. “Neither of which will put food on the table, Pansy. I don’t know any mother prepared to let her daughter marry into poverty, no matter how unmarriageable the girl might be. If yon fellow really does have pockets to let, I fear he’s beyond even your skills.”
“Which makes the challenge of finding him a match even more enticing.”
Octavia abruptly turned away from the window and glared at Pansy, then broke into her tinkling laugh. “You’re serious, aren’t you, my dear? Well, I shall await developments with interest. But don’t forget the terms of our wager. Whoever you find to match with the good captain must be off the marriage market, on the shelf, a confirmed spinster—”
“Yes, yes. I haven’t forgotten the terms of our agreement. But I’ll need time to settle on a suitable young female now that I’ve picked my mark.”
“You must also hope that the captain will be staying in Bath. A military man might be called away at any moment.”
Pansy nodded solemnly, hoping the gleam in her eye was hidden from her cousin. Because she knew something Octavia did not, and that was that the impecunious Captain Giles Harewood planned to remain for some time in Bath in hopes of bringing in a prize that would make his fortune. He was after the leader of a massive smuggling network, believed to stretch from the Dorset coast up into Wiltshire, Hampshire, and even as far as Gloucestershire. The reward money had been increasing in direct relation to the annoyance of the customs officials, constantly deprived of their rightful revenue.
Sadly, the captain would find little assistance in Bath, since most of the wealthy residents bought their tea, fine lace, tobacco, and brandy as contraband. At least—their housekeepers and stewards did. The ton wouldn’t sully their hands by dealing directly with such low-life.
But if Pansy were to drop hints, she might encourage him to stay long enough to put her matchmaking plan into action. Lady Octavia needn’t know what methods she employed—she’d never agreed when they’d made the wager that she would play fair.
Pansy reached for the quizzing glass that hung around her neck and gazed at the two men across the street. “Remind me, cousin, of what you consider to be ineligible? In a young woman, I mean.”
“She must be too short or too tall, too fat or too thin, preferably poor as a church mouse, with a bad complexion, a lisp, a squint, bad breath, or red hair and freckles, for good measure.”
Pansy groaned inwardly at Lady Octavia’s shallow assessment of womanhood. “Not every man cares about a lady’s looks. Or the size of her purse.”
“Ha! I defy you to find any that don’t. I can’t imagine a single fellow at the Assembly Rooms next week who won’t be tempted by either beauty or a fortune. Unless he’s a fool.”
Pansy continued to stare out the window. The captain had been joined by another scarlet-clad officer, and both had moved away from the beggar, their heads close like fellow conspirators. She must engineer a meeting with Harewood very soon and take his measure so that she knew how to proceed.
There was a flurry of movement beyond the glass, and she pulled back from the window with a gasp.
“What is it?” Octavia hurried to her side.
“Only that the one-legged beggar by the bridge is a fake—a trickster of the worst kind. He has just unfolded his ‘missing’ leg, pocketed his capful of coins and dashed off toward Sydney Gardens. Our heroic warrior has wasted alms on the undeserving.”
“Ah. So, Giles Harewood has been made a fool of. I told you that the possession of a generous heart was a failing. You’ll have your work cut out for you, cousin. I’m going to celebrate the fact with a glass of sherry—if you have no objection.”
“Help yourself.” The sherry was good, her supplier reliable. Pansy wished she could say the same for the brandy—weak as a virgin’s water. She must tell her butler to have words with the wall-eyed ruffian who sold them the liquor. The man always delivered after dark, and she had no illusions about the source of her brandy. Nor did she believe that the correct duties had been paid. But since everyone got their luxuries this way, she felt no guilt.
Maybe Captain Giles Harewood would be less of a problem than she’d supposed. If he could be hoodwinked by a beggar, she would surely be able to manipulate him into marrying whomsoever she chose.
Grandmother’s tiara would be hers by Christmas.
I’ll be posting Chapter One shortly.
Another exclusive peek at the latest Tudor romp!
LORD OF MISTRUST comes out on December 30th, but if I were you, I’d buy it NOW at two thirds discount. Order your copy here for just $0.99.
Here’s a bit about the story. You can also scroll down for an exclusive extract from the book.
Sir Robert Mallory thinks the young woman he encounters, who is dressed as a boy, is a pickpocket and a prostitute. He soon discovers that the delectable Chloe is, in fact, the illegitimate daughter of a man to whom he owes a great deal of money. Things go from bad to worse when she’s kidnapped by traitors to the crown.
Robert is faced with an impossible choice. He’s desperate to save Chloe, but if he follows his heart, the security of the entire realm is at risk.
Here is a exclusive extract from the book.
“How shall we occupy the next hour?”
There was a glint in his eyes that belied his claim of exhaustion. A predatory glint.
She backed toward the door. “I hope you’re not having any lascivious thoughts, sir. I’ve told you time and time again that I’m not what you think.”
He followed her and as she reached for the latch, his hand came over hers. “Pray, don’t decamp just yet, Mistress. You have not yet explained your presence at Mistress Riviere’s, nor why you were dressed as a boy one moment and a charming woman the next. I beg you, indulge me. Fill my empty moments by telling me your story.”
Curse it! He was far too close, his blue eyes alight with mischief. And with promise. She gulped.
“Step back, sir. You’re trying to take advantage of me. If I saved your life tonight, you should be showing me your gratitude, not… not looming over me.” And not looking like he wanted to kiss her, threatening to reawaken all those wicked imaginings she’d had earlier.
“Was I looming? My apologies. So, are you going to tell me what you were doing in that house of ill repute?”
“Certainly not, as it’s none of your business.”
He tipped his head on one side. “If you are a whore, you’re the most reticent I’ve ever encountered.”
Why did his gaze keep sliding toward her mouth? It was most unsettling.
She pushed her shoulders back. “I’ve told you so many times that I am not. You should accept the word of a lady.”
“If you are a lady, then who are your people? Who are your family, and whither are you bound?”
He was looming even more. So close, she could feel his breath on her face. And there was no space for retreat. Placing a hand firmly on his chest, she gave him a push, but he was immovable. Instead, the rogue placed his palm over hers and came even closer.
Time for the knee again? She rather thought it was. But before she could move, he’d wrapped his arms tightly around her, pulling her against him.
“Nothing to say, Madam Mystery?” His lips teased her ear.
She tried to speak, but her voice lodged in her throat. A giddy sensation of excitement washed over her as she stood quivering in his arms, fascinated to discover what he’d do next. The strength and power that emanated from him both comforted and alarmed her. Protection, safety, danger. She wriggled, only to find his arms tightening around her.
He pulled his head back a little, and she was able to focus on his face. His gaze had darkened and a smile played about his lips.
“I find staring death in the face has a way of making one feel gloriously alive—as if one’s continued existence was a gift not to be squandered. As if there isn’t a single moment to lose. Tell me, didn’t besting that blackguard stir your blood, just a little?”
She shook her head. It had been terrifying. Particularly when he’d pointed his weapon back at her.
“But you were magnificent.” Even though Sir Robert was holding her less tightly now, her limbs had turned to water, and she couldn’t have escaped had she wanted to. Did she still want to escape?
He twined a curl of hair behind her ear and stroked her cheek. Suddenly, she remembered she was wearing only her thin summer nightgown. Far too little to shield her body from his. He must be able to feel her breasts pushing up against him—it would incite him, would it not?
What else had her mother taught her about evading the attentions of a lustful man? Frantically, she searched her memory, struggling to pull together her scattered thoughts. Sir Robert, meanwhile, was gazing at her mouth again, a hungry smile on his lips.
Go limp. That was it. Go limp and slide down, out of the grasp of your over-amorous suitor.
Well, it might work with the clientele at Mistress Riviere’s when they overstepped the mark, but they didn’t have the reflexes of Sir Robert Mallory. The instant she relaxed, he scooped her up and held her across his body.
“You’re not about to swoon on me, are you? Mayhap you’d better lie down.” He carried her to the bed and laid her atop the cover.
Nay! If she lay down, she’d be completely at his mercy. But when she struggled to sit up, he pressed her shoulders back against the mattress, then lowered his head and touched his lips to hers.
It was the briefest of touches, but it calmed her fears and, at the same time, ignited a curiosity within her. Her treacherous body demanded more.
“Sweet as sugared rose petals. I would taste you again.” His voice was as soft as the caress of his lips.
She should turn her head aside, or fight—or even scream. But she did none of these things. She merely gazed into his admiring eyes and wondered what was to follow.
“No complaint, Mistress?” He brushed her lips with the tip of his tongue, and they tingled in response.
Nothing to complain of as yet.
Don’t forget- if you buy the book now, it’ll only cost you $0.99! Here’s the link- http://mybook.to/mistrust
An exclusive peek at the latest Tudor romp!
LORD OF MISTRUST comes out on December 30th, but if I were you, I’d buy it NOW at two thirds discount. Order your copy here for just $0.99.
Here’s a bit about the story. You can also scroll down for an exclusive extract from the book.
Headstrong Chloe dresses as a boy and runs away to her birth mother to escape a horrendous marriage. She’s shocked to discover that her parent owns a bawdy house, and is in no position to help- nor will she reveal the identity of Chloe’s father. When a street accident throws Chloe into the lap of the tempting Robert Mallory, he offers distraction and adventure, but his stubborn refusal to trust her endangers them both.
Hot-headed Robert Mallory is battling to protect his sister, his livelihood, and his honor. He’s a spy who can’t follow the rules and distrusts everyone, particularly the delectable young woman from the bordello. Having endangered her, then rescued her from a nest of traitors, he learns that Chloe is the natural daughter of the one man he can’t afford to upset, Sir Mortimer Fowler. Offering marriage to save Chloe’s reputation is out of the question, as Fowler needs her for bait in a deadly trap.
Robert is faced with an impossible choice. He’s desperate to save Chloe, but if he follows his heart, the security of the entire realm is at risk.
Here is a exclusive extract from the book.
The hero, Sir Robert Mallory, has just offered to marry Mistress Chloe Emmerson in order to save her reputation. He doesn’t get quite the response he’d anticipated…
“He could tell from the glint in her eyes that she was becoming angrier by the minute. Mayhap he should excuse himself until she calmed down. Ye gods, if this was how she behaved when he offered to save her reputation, how would she react if she knew he’d drugged and searched her?
“If I swear not to mention your name to my father, will you tell me where he is?”
“I dare not.” He spread his hands in a gesture of helplessness.
“Will you not tell me the nature of your dealings with him, then?”
“I cannot.” Robert felt wretched. He’d just made the biggest mistake of his life and was about to reap the consequences.
“Then, get out of this chamber, sir.”
“I can’t go. Not until we’ve resolved this.”
“Go. I never want to set eyes on you again.”
“Chloe.” He straightened his spine. “You’re being unreasonable.”
There was a sudden flurry of movement, and before he could react, she’d taken one of the dags from his luggage and was pointing it at him with a trembling hand.
“Wrong. Now, I’m being unreasonable. Get you gone. Send someone else to collect your chest. Be sure not to follow me to London—or ever again repeat your insulting suggestion that we be wed.”
Was she holding the gun that was still primed, or the one that wasn’t? He dared not take the risk. Flinging up his hands, he bowed his head.
“As you wish. Though I have to say I wish things were otherwise.”
“Go.” She waved the gun.
He went. He could see no other choice.”
* A “dag” is a Tudor handheld gun, as featured in the first Trysts and Treachery book, LORD OF DECEPTION.
It’s time for another lavish Tudor romance!
The wait is over. LORD OF LOYALTY is out TODAY!
I know readers are going to love LORD OF LOYALTY. Here’s where you can get your copy- http://mybook.to/Loyalty. The book can also be read for FREE in Kindle Unlimited.
And here’s the story-
An embittered war-hero must protect a crazed beauty. But he’s being blackmailed, she’s being hunted, and falling in love could be a fatal mistake.
In honor of a deathbed promise, wounded veteran Sir William Cavendish rescues Isobel Marston from her grasping cousin. But this frenzied young woman proves a nightmare to handle. Soon Will is trying to save her from herself, as well as from those who want her dead.
When her detestable cousin moves in after her brother’s loss, unwitting heiress Isobel is heavily drugged. Just enough lucidity remains for her to beg Will for help. But Will is being threatened by an unofficial fiancée and her unscrupulous father. If he lets himself fall for the enticing Isobel, he’ll put his entire future at stake.
Entangled in a desperate game of cat-and-mouse, Will and Isobel stand to lose more than their hearts.
If you fancy a Gothic-style Tudor romance, this is definitely the tale for you. Grab your copy NOW! http://mybook.to/Loyalty
All stories in the Trysts and Treachery Series can be read as stand-alones.
Here’s a close up of the gorgeous cover. I can promise you, the story is just as delicious!
A taster of Lord of Loyalty, fresh out today! Here are the first three chapters!
You can get the book on Amazon now, or read it for FREE on Kindle Unlimited.
Holborn, London, July 1586
Isobel Marston rocked back and forth in agitation, desperate for release from her captivity. Not only was she stuck in this small, stifling room, she was also imprisoned by her mind, forever struggling to remember anything. Each time a memory was in her grasp, it drifted away like thistledown on the wind, and ofttimes, she forgot her own name.
Today was one of the days when she barely felt complete. Her remedy for this was ever the same—to look in her polished steel mirror. She could always find herself in that—gazing into the troubled green eyes that stared back at her from a pale, anxious face. Alas, the mirror gave her no sense of being, but at least it confirmed her existence. Which was better than nothing.
She comforted herself with the words of her cousin, Hubert Pike. “You’ve been ill, Isobel. We’re here to care for you while Edward’s fighting abroad. None can harm you while we’re here to keep you safe.”
Her flawed mind managed to picture Hubert—the hard intelligence in his eyes, the ostentatious high ruff around his neck, and his silken clothing. She remembered the face of his pot-bellied manservant, Flinders, too, and the slovenly housekeeper, Goodwife Avice Quill, who administered her bitter-tasting medicine. It wasn’t every day she could remember them all, for their faces often blurred, and became meaningless.
The mirror trembled in her hand. “I’m not sure they grant me the loving kindness a caring relation should,” she told her reflection. “Take your medicine like a good girl and don’t complain. Your brain sickness will soon pass if you do as you’re told.” She imitated Avice’s insidious whine. One day, when she felt strong enough, she’d dash that foul-tasting stuff in the woman’s face. Nay, she must not. A well-brought-up gentlewoman would never behave thus.
Next, as an exercise for her faulty memory, Isobel concentrated on Flinders. A thickset man who was a stranger to washing, and whose breath smelled like rotten meat, he was her “special protector”. But she was revolted by him and had repeatedly told Hubert she couldn’t stand having him near her. Her cousin always gave the same response—it was a symptom of her illness that she should develop delusions about people. She shouldn’t trust her feelings.
Her head snapped up, and she dropped the mirror on the bed. She could hear an uneven step on the cobbles below—someone was coming. She hurried to peer through the diamond-shaped panes, hoping for a visitor from beyond the walls, but expecting to see only a servant. It wouldn’t be one she recognized, however—they all seemed to be different from those her father had kept when her parents were alive. Mayhap Edward had employed some new ones to manage Marston House in his absence.
How long had her brother been gone, now? It seemed months since he’d last dwelled here. The house had changed in his absence—there were fewer items of quality furniture, not so many decorated jugs and inlaid boxes as there ought to be. Or so she imagined—this brain sickness of hers had attacked her memory and twisted everything, like yarn on a spindle.
Why was she looking out the window? Was it for something important, or was it just to see if it was fine enough to go outside and do some gardening? That was a task Hubert was happy for her to do, working in the walled garden—that, or reading quietly in the tiny chamber which had become her world. Not that she had any books other than her Greek mythology. She’d read it over and over, until the characters came to life in her head, steering her thoughts as the gods had steered Mankind in those ancient days.
There was a bubble of excitement in her chest—why? Ah, yes, she’d heard someone at the front of the house. But if it were a visitor, they wouldn’t be here for her. Hubert had explained he couldn’t allow anybody to disturb her in her fragile state of mind.
But that didn’t mean she couldn’t look, did it?
Cautiously, she tried her door. Not locked! And the chair in the passageway, where Flinders usually sat, was empty. With a brief flash of insight, she realized he must be with the kitchen wench who’d taken his fancy. Nobody knew she noticed such things, but on a good day, she noticed a lot.
Tiptoeing to the gallery above the main entrance into the house, she bent and peered down.
A servant, his broad figure obstructing the doorway, was in a heated discussion with the visitor. The argument lasted but a moment—the new arrival thrust the servant aside and marched in, limping a little. Isobel gasped. She’d never seen anyone shoulder their way in before.
While the stranger stood and looked around him, the harried-looking servant raced to the parlor door and announced the visitor to those within. Sir William Cavendish. That was a grand-sounding title—was Hubert in trouble with the authorities? Isobel snorted. She wouldn’t mind if he were.
Cavendish removed his high-crowned hat and placed it on the carved chest in the entranceway, then—after a moment’s hesitation—unbuckled his sword.
She stared down at him, anticipation stealing her breath. Cavendish was a tall, broad-shouldered man, with a short cloak worn on one shoulder, and tightly-fitting doublet. His upper hose were paned and padded, and his stockings clung to well-muscled calves. Not as finely dressed as she might expect a knight of the realm to be, but perhaps he’d been traveling. Or mayhap she’d forgotten what a peer should look like.
Tawny gold hair framed the kind of face a classical sculptor would have adored, and there was an air of virile decisiveness in Cavendish’s movements. It made her breath catch.
“What a beautiful man—it must be Apollo. No, foolish girl—the gods don’t come to earth any more. It could be a demi-god—Orpheus perhaps. But then, where’s his lyre?”
He was out of view now, but by leaning her head as close to the handrail as possible, she could overhear every word spoken down below.
“Sir, permit me to introduce myself. I’m Sir William Cavendish, a friend of Edward Marston’s. We fought together overseas.”
“Hubert Pike, at your service. Any friend of Edward’s is a friend of mine. Have you journeyed long this day?” The stiffness in Hubert’s tone belied his words of welcome.
“I disembarked yesterday, at cockcrow, and rode directly here.”
“What reason had you for such haste?” Hubert’s voice held disapproval. Isobel pressed her forehead against the carved wooden banister and tried to recall where she’d heard the name “Edward Marston” before.
“I considered my news urgent. I would have arrived ere now but, alas, I had a wound that festered, then bad weather held back my sea crossing.”
She liked the sound of the man’s voice. It had a resonance to it that was strong, commanding. But then, if he was Orpheus, his songs could calm the hearts of savage beasts, so he was bound to have a good voice.
“Sir, I bring ill tidings, I fear.”
“Bad news? Not about poor Edward, I hope.” That name again. Why was her mind so muddled when she tried to remember anything? She knew Edward, surely?
“I regret to inform you of his death. I hope it will soften the blow of his loss to hear that he died nobly and bravely. I was with him to the very end, so I can vouch for everything. His family may be justly proud.”
“Oh, dear! Excuse me. I think, mayhap, a drop of sack to calm my nerves. Sir?” Hubert sounded horrified.
Isobel heard the clink of glass from below. “Oh, my poor darling Isobel. This could be the end of her.”
She froze at the sound of her name. Hubert rarely sounded so concerned about her.
Cavendish asked, “The end of her?”
There was a hard edge to his voice. Perchance he cared no more for Hubert than she did herself. Nay, she should not be so ungrateful. Her cousin was trying to make her better, and he kept away ignorant physicians who didn’t understand such maladies as brain fever.
“Edward and Isobel were very close, you understand. She is greatly changed since he went away, care-worn and worried. With good reason, it appears.”
“You weren’t close to him yourself, sir?”
“Alas, no. Our sires quarreled you see—one of those ridiculous feuds that can take hold in even the best of families. I have endeavored to make amends since their demise, of course. How fortunate that we did, or the girl would have had no one to care for her in her darkest hour. Are you certain Edward is dead? Where did it happen?”
There was a pause before Cavendish answered. “I watched him die—I cannot tell you where. I’ve barely slept the night through since.”
“Cannot, or will not tell me? Edward never did say where he went to make his name as a soldier.”
“My lips are sealed. You must appreciate that youngbloods seeking favor at court are wont to get themselves into mischief—I would not harm his memory by revealing his secrets. But if you don’t trust my veracity, I have here the seal ring he gave into my keeping. And a signed note—it’s in my baggage, and can be fetched if required.”
Had Orpheus been fighting? Perhaps in Greece, or at Troy? Isobel shook her head—this was very confusing
“Where is Isobel? I was charged to give her my news in person.”
She sat bolt upright. Was she going to be allowed into the parlor? That was where her harpsichord was—how she’d missed being allowed to play it!
“As I said—she has not been herself since Edward went away. I fear for her sanity. It is neither meet nor proper that she should come down and receive these tidings in her present state. I shall tell her when I deem ‘tis right.”
No! Hubert was going to deny her. Tears pooled in her eyes.
“You’re welcome to stay the night and recover from your journey. You’ll soon see we have nothing to hide.”
She dashed the tears away. Orpheus was staying the night? There was hope yet she might meet him face-to-face.
“Most hospitable of you, sir, but I must see Mistress Marston. ‘Twas a deathbed promise I made to her brother, and thus cannot be broken.”
Hubert made no answer—he hadn’t expected the stranger to be so persistent, had he? Isobel clenched her fists—it was as much as she could do not to fly down the stairs and tell the stranger how desperate she was for company.
“Mayhap I’ve not made myself clear enough,” Hubert said. “The young lady is barely in her right mind. Her wits have been addled for some time now, and the information you bring could unhinge her completely. I’m sure Edward would not have wished you to take such a risk, had he known.”
She heard a chair scrape back as someone got to their feet. “Perchance I’ve not made myself clear. I wish to see Isobel Marston in the flesh, forthwith.”
“Very well. On your head be it if she falls into a rage or a swoon, and all the goodness we’ve lavished on her these last few weeks is wasted.” Hubert was clearly irritated. “Be warned—you’ll not care for what you see. But be assured we know her mind well enough and will tell you if she’s likely to strike you.”
Yes! Hubert had given in. Isobel scuttled back to her room, closed the door and sat on the bed, heart pounding. Soon, the heavy tread of Flinders’ feet could be heard on the stairs—he’d be angered at being torn away from his kitchen wench. Hopefully, he’d not revenge himself on her.
Moments later, Isobel was ushered into the parlor, Flinders’ thick fingers gripped tightly around her elbow.
Sir William Cavendish spun around, his breath catching as he stared at the woman he’d waited so long to see. He’d been expecting a well-bred, proper young lady, not this wild sprite who looked as if she’d just stepped out of the madhouse. Tall and willowy, Isobel Marston moved with grace, keeping her elfin chin up. But her raven-black hair was unconfined by coif or hat and straggled about her face and shoulders. Disturbing green eyes stared at him intently beneath dark, lustrous lashes. Her flawless skin was pale, with shadows around the eyes and beneath the cheekbones, and she wore a worn skirt and bodice, haphazardly laced and with several of the waist tabs hanging off.
No wealthy young lady, this. More like a guttersnipe. Will could barely keep the astonishment from his face. Astonishment laced with anger.
“Had we expected you, Sir William, we would have made her more presentable. ‘Tis pointless bedecking her in finery on an ordinary day—as you see, she tends to ruin clothes.”
Fie on the fellow for discussing Edward’s sister as if she were less than a person! Will had learned a lot about her, and about his friend’s home, Marston House, during those grim days in the Lowlands. He’d been eager to meet the accomplished young woman whom Edward held in such high esteem.
He stood before her and proffered his hand. She stared at it as if it were some new kind of vegetable, then raised her bewitching green eyes to his.
Master Pike cleared his throat. “My apologies. Since her illness began, she has forgotten her manners. Shake hands with Sir William, Isobel.”
She cowered, then took Will’s hand. And failed to let go.
What thoughts passed behind those beautiful, unfathomable eyes? She had no polite smile for him, no maidenly blush. Mayhap, after all, he should not have insisted on seeing her when she was so clearly not in her right mind. He gently disengaged his hand.
“It’s Orpheus, returned from the underworld.” She sounded like some actor in a Greek tragedy, proclaiming their lines. “Don’t look behind you, or Eurydice will sink back into the depths, and you’ll never see her on the earth again.”
Baffled, Will looked at Pike.
He smiled sympathetically. “Be not alarmed. She rarely speaks two words of sense together. When she’s like this, I doubt she’ll understand the tidings you bring—though you may attempt it if you wish. Sit down, Isobel.” Pike raised his voice when he spoke to her, enunciating every syllable clearly. “Sir William has something to tell you.”
The young woman settled herself obediently onto the high-backed settle, and continued to stare silently at Will. Then she gazed around the room, a slight frown between her brows as if she were looking for something.
“Mistress Marston, let me make myself known to you.” He was determined not to lose face in front of Hubert Pike, nor to fail in his quest. Not when he’d come so far, and been through so much. “I am Sir William Cavendish. I served as a soldier with your brother.”
There was no response. She looked to have forgotten his existence. He approached the settle and crouched before her, ignoring the protest from his injured leg. “You remember your brother, Edward, Isobel? It must be around seven months since last you saw him.”
She focused on him again. Encouraged, he continued, “I regret—I bring you bad tidings. Your brother died during a raid. I got him to the surgeon, did what I could, but his injuries were too severe.”
He paused and swallowed hard. The scene of carnage after that raid at Venlo had never left him. The blood, the sickly color of Edward’s face, the sheer horror of it all. He’d been so shocked by his friend’s wounds that he’d not even noticed his own. Until the surgeon had pointed it out—after which point, he remembered but little.
He cleared his throat. “Before your brother died, he bade me take good care of you.”
A sharply indrawn breath from Pike distracted him. Of course, the man would not welcome any interference in his dealings with Isobel. But Will was bound by a deathbed promise, and too hardened by his recent experiences to give a farthing for Pike’s feelings.
Still no response from Isobel, who continued staring dazedly around her, as if she knew not where she was. Had she any idea of the significance of what he’d just said?
He turned to Pike. “I have Edward’s rapier outside, strapped to my horse. Mayhap that will push the message home. Shall I have my saddlebags brought in at the same time, if your offer of a bed for the night still stands?”
Not that he had any great desire to spend more time in the company of Master Pike and his insane patient, but weariness and pain were starting to take their toll.
The gigantic manservant fetched his belongings, but Will refused to entrust Edward’s sword to him. He’d had a box made to accommodate it, and carried it reverently into the parlor, like a sacred relic. He set the box down in front of Isobel.
She stared at him, avidly. “Sir—what, pray, have you done with my harpsichord?”
“I—” He caught Pike’s attention, but the man just shrugged. “I’ve done nothing. I didn’t come here to speak of musical instruments. Isobel—”
As he looked into her blank but delicate face, his gut twisted. Was he attempting the impossible in making her comprehend her brother’s death? Was he the only one left to mourn Edward’s passing? Pike’s sympathetic expression was unconvincing, and Isobel was trapped in a world of her own—unknowing, unseeing.
Seating himself on the settle beside her, he made a final effort. “Mistress Marston—Isobel—your brother, Edward, is dead. He charged me to give you this, in remembrance of him.”
When she reached for the box, optimism stirred. Until she smiled and exclaimed, “Pandora’s box! I have always wondered what Hope looked like.” She opened the lid.
A tragedy that a woman so clearly out of her wits—and with little in the way of genuine hope—should look to an ancient myth in search of that valuable thing.
Jaw set, Will looked at Pike. “Wherefore does she cite so many classical references?”
Pike shook his head. “There may be reason or connection in what she says, but I have yet to understand it.”
“No!” Will grasped Isobel’s wrist in time to stop her pulling the sharp blade from its scabbard. She seemed startled for a moment, then reached out slowly, and stroked the side of his cheek. He gazed, transfixed, as her face fell. Did she understand what had happened, at last?
“After the Maenads tore him limb from limb, his head floated singing down the river.”
Will recoiled and removed himself to a chair.
“Another classical reference, to Orpheus, I believe.”
“Yes, yes, Master Pike. I know that.” What he didn’t understand was why. Why was she talking in riddles? Why had this lovely woman been reduced to this state, and how? Edward had said nothing of any sickness of the mind. Indeed, he’d portrayed his sister as a handsome, lively, witty and accomplished young woman.
Will had seen too much illness during the Earl of Leicester’s disastrous campaigns in the Lowlands to fear it. He was fascinated by Isobel, while at the same time, consumed with pity. Did anything of the woman Edward had described remain behind those tortured green eyes?
Suddenly her head shot up, her face even whiter than before. “Oh, oh, help me, I beg you!” Her entire body shook with a sudden burst of tears.
He was by her in an instant—had his message about Edward’s death finally penetrated her clouded mind? The urge to take her in his arms was powerful, and deep compassion clutched at his heart. Only—he must remember he had an audience.
“Flinders, fetch Avice. It’s time for Isobel’s medicine. Apologies, Sir William—this is never pretty to witness. But needs must—hysteria will ensue if we fail to calm her this instant.”
An unpleasant scene then followed, in which Isobel’s arms were pinned behind her by Flinders while the woman, Avice, poured some dark, sticky-looking nostrum down her throat. Isobel coughed and choked, then fought with her captor before she was eventually subdued and carried from the room.
Will folded his arms across his chest and raised an eyebrow at Pike, but said nothing. How fortunate he’d agreed to stay the night. The loyalty he owed his friend now belonged to Isobel.
And it looked as if she was damned well going to need it.
Once upstairs, the noisome Flinders shoved Isobel into her room. Then Avice’s rough hands took over, tugging at her laces, wrenching off her shift, petticoat, and shoes. Shivering, miserable and confused, she was forced into her nightgown and made to lie down.
No sooner had Avice left the room, than Isobel threw off the covers and ran over to wrestle with the door. There was a reason she mustn’t be shut away, something she needed to tell someone. But whom? And why could she not remember what it was so imperative she say?
Relief came when the door opened, but it was Flinders who stood there, not Avice.
She quailed, and backed away. His blotchy face was twisted by an evil leer. He terrified her so, she should scream—but she’d tried that before, and no one ever came.
“I’ll brook no trouble from you tonight, girl.” His voice was a growl.
She couldn’t help herself. “But something terrible has happened. I must go… somewhere, do something.” The tears were back, but the fight within her was ebbing away.
“Get back into your bed, wench.” Flinders took an ominous step closer.
“Don’t you come any nearer. Don’t dare lay a finger on me.” She fought the drowsiness in her limbs and her head.
“Shut your noise.” Flinders dealt her an open-handed slap across the cheek. As she wilted, sobbing loudly now, he picked her up and threw her onto the mattress. Terrified, she readied herself for battle, but he didn’t touch her again, only tucked the covers so tightly around her that her arms were trapped by her sides.
Coffins. Her mind was filled with images of corpses bundled in their winding-sheets, trapped in coffins as she now was in her bed.
Fury lashed at her. She spat curses as Flinders left and locked the door behind him, wishing she could free her hands and throw something. But gradually—as it always did—the medicine took hold of her mind, soothed her pain and lulled her into peaceful oblivion.
Only—she wasn’t quite asleep. Or if she was, she had a wonderful dream.
Orpheus came. He brought a lamp and held it aloft, gazing at her. She wanted to tell him to go away, not to look at her when she was like this. Her tangled hair was spread across the pillow, as they hadn’t bothered to tie her coif over it. Her eyes stung from her tears and must be rimmed with red, and the pain in her cheek portended a bruise. He shouldn’t look at her so intently, so softly, when she was at such a disadvantage, but even though her lips moved to chastise him, no words emerged.
He leaned in close, the dream so real, she could feel his breath on her face. Was he going to kiss her? Had she somehow turned into Eurydice? Seldom did her soporific medicine give her so glorious a dream.
He eased away without touching her, and said, “I could almost believe myself bewitched. Or enchanted—I know not. I care not. I swear on my life, I will do what I can to ease your suffering.”
Her heart was full. This glimpse of happiness was no more than a cruel torment. She would awaken in the morning, and all would be as it was before—her room empty of all her things but her precious book of Greek and Roman myths, her blurry mirror, and her comb.
And her memory of the night Orpheus came to earth to visit her. If only there were some way to keep that memory alive. Because some oracular inner sense told her he was going to be incredibly important to her.
The WWII Romance you have to read!
Don’t miss out on this fantastic book. It’s called The Promise – A World War II Historical Romance.
By Kathleen Harryman and Lucy Marshall
How far would you go to keep a promise?
In the heat of battle, one man’s promise to another will be tested.
As Britain is gripped by the fear and uncertainty of war, Tom Armitage stands to gain the one thing that he never thought possible – his freedom.
Rosie Elliot sees her future crumbling to dust as Will Aarons leaves Whitby with Jimmy Chappell to fight in the war. As she begins work at The Turnstone Convalescent Home, Rosie finds something she thought she had lost. Friendship. But friendship soon turns to love. Can this new love replace Will?
This is not an ordinary love story.
It’s a story of love, loss, courage, and honour.
Of promises that must be kept or risk losing everything you’ve ever held dear.
Get your copy here on Amazon
Want to know how this incredible book came into being? Read on.
Kathleen Harryman, the historical aspect behind
The Promise ~ A World War II Historical Romance
The Promise has been written based on the telling of stories by the soldiers who fought in WWII. It is also based on the lives of those left behind who kept the country going and tended to the wounded as they returned home.
I wanted The Promise to have a deep personal meaning, something that the reader could connect with on an emotional level. The dates and occurrences, though some are tweaked, such in the case of Tom and the German bomber, happened. A German bomber was shot down over Whitby, only the circumstances have changed.
I didn’t want to bog the reader down with too many dates and events. To try and incorporate everything that happened during WWII would take more than one book, and so I centred the story around Whitby and the people.
Whitby is an intriguing place and has been mentioned by many authors over the years. It’s famous links with Dracula are well documented and portrayed. And there are many key links with Whitby and WWII.
The Turnstones is fictional; however the German soldiers being washed up on the Whitby shores did occur. These key facts are what made me choose Whitby for The Promise.
My grandfather Lance – Corporal James Chappell in his Seaforth Highlander 5th Battalion uniform
I have been challenged on some aspects of the book, in which it was said such things never happened. I wish that this was true. However, they did. And perhaps it is the magnitude of war itself which challenges our own beliefs on reality.
The notice of my grandfather’s death was hand delivered to his wife. The officer in question thought too highly of my grandfather and requested that he deliver it in person to Horner Street, York where my grandfather lived with his wife’s mother and sister.
Notice of Death given to my Nana Elizabeth Nutman informing her of her husband’s death
We may question why one man made such a huge impact that when a soldier sought him out, he broke down on seeing the black veil covering his photograph. Or perhaps some people touch us so deeply we cannot help but feel the immense loss.
I have read and researched many aspects of WWII. However facts of events printed in a book, or on screen will never replace the human element. And one thing I have learnt through the many stories told, is that our emotions are what gets us through life. Even in war soldiers keep their humour. They laugh and they cry, but they are always there for each other. It is the human emotion which I have tried so diligently to capture in The Promise.
About the author- Kathleen Harryman
Kathleen Harryman is a storyteller and poet in the historically rich city of York, North Yorkshire, England, with her husband, children and pet dog and cat.
Kathleen was first published in 2015, a romantic suspense entitled The Other Side of the Looking Glass. Since then, Kathleen has developed a unique writing style which readers have enjoyed, and she became a multi-genre author of suspense, psychological thrillers, poetry and historical romance.
Connect with Kathleen: Website • Facebook • Instagram • YouTube • Twitter • IAN
Don’t forget, you can get your copy of this heart-rending book from Amazon