Archive | January 26, 2016

Unconventional by Avery Aster Release Blitz & Rafflecopter giveaway 1/26/16

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Book Title: Unconventional
Author: Avery Aster
Genre: Erotic Romance
Release Date: January 26, 2016
Hosted by: Book Enthusiast Promotions

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book blurb

Fans of Nicole Edwards, Shayla Black, Lexi Blake, and Lora Leigh will enjoy this stand-alone, cliffhanger free, m/m/f contemporary erotic romance novel that features an HEA for all three protagonists.

From New York Times Bestselling Author of The Manhattanites comes a ménage love story posing the question; can two men share the same woman forever?

They are the best of friends and the greatest of lovers. Two men and one woman, searching for fortune and fame, bound together by an eroticism their money and power can’t buy them. Luigi, the romantic alpha hunk. Rocco, the exotic bisexual. Jemma, the insatiable beauty who possesses them both.

From their first rendezvous in Milan, the three set out on a wicked course, jet-setting from the kinky underground sex clubs of Berlin, to the lavish palaces of Moscow, to New York’s high society in pursuit of pleasure. They have only each other to care for. That is…until a baby comes along and changes their destiny. But which of them is the father? And will they continue their poly relationship or give in to convention?

excerpt

In bed, Luigi was usually the verbal one. Rocco always had something in his mouth—either our lover’s cock was down his throat or he was sucking the cream from my clit—so he never seemed to say much. Luigi did all the talking for him.

Funny, right?

Especially considering outside of the bedroom Luigi was normally quiet, almost conservative in how he spoke. But in bed, he came alive.

Total freaky-deaky.

As I walked over to them, Rocco’s expressive, lust-filled eyes gazed up at me. Ravenous. Lips wide, going down, slowly tugging at the shaft as he came up, followed by a lick on the tip. He kept sucking our lover’s dick as I approached.

Luigi’s left arm was slung over Rocco’s head while his right hand massaged the back of his neck.

He always liked it when we put a concerted effort on his dick.

What man didn’t?

Those two could go at it for hours, milking each other. As if watching two unicorns playing in the wild, it was the most amazing thing to witness.

“Come here,” Luigi instructed.

I stepped closer. With a wicked grin, his face came into focus.

Already on his knees, Rocco squatted beside me and stroked my leg. His very touch sent a prickle of excitement up my thigh.

“Take off her panties, bello.”

Before Rocco could pull them down, I looped my thumb and pointer finger under the thin elastic waistband. Arching my back, I held on to his shoulder to balance myself and started to remove the flesh-toned fabric.

“No.” He snapped his fingers. “Rocco will undress you.”

“And what are you going to do?” I asked playfully.

“I’ll watch.”

Grinning back at him, I put my hands behind my back as Rocco’s palm continued to caress my legs.

Sorprendente. So amazing.” Slowly, Rocco pulled the panties to my ankles. He lifted one of my legs up over his shoulder then carefully, utterly focused and with intention, he butterfly-kissed the inner part of my thigh then licked at my pussy.

“Bello—”

“Let me do as I please,” he grunted between my legs, dragging his wet tongue over my hot flesh.

His kisses tickled me.

His licks excited me.

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meet the author

IMG_2827New York Times bestselling author Avery Aster pens The Manhattanites, a contemporary erotic romance series of full-length, stand-alone novels, and the naughty new adult prequel companion series The Undergrad Years.

As a resident of New York City and a graduate from New York University, Avery gives readers an inside look at the city’s glitzy nightlife, socialite sexcapades and tall tales of the über-rich and ultra-famous.

The Manhattanites is for fans who miss TV shows like Sex & The City or watch Girls (HBO), Revenge (ABC), and The Bold & the Beautiful (CBS). Avery’s characters are over the top. They have cray-cray fun, speak their minds and always get what they want.

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Love Garage by Liz Crowe Sales Blitz FREE 1/26/16

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Book Title: Love Garage
Author: Liz Crowe
Genre: Romance
Release Date: January 5, 2015
Hosted by: Book Enthusiast Promotions

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book blurb

Antony Love is the quintessential responsible oldest brother of a boisterous, Italian/Irish family, placed in charge at a young age by his parents who are busy running the family business. He manages his siblings with a fair but iron hand, until his life is shattered by personal tragedy leaving him the shell of the man he once was.

When outspoken matriarch Lindsay Halloran Love becomes ill, the youngest brother Aiden shows up at Antony’s garage, having dropped out of school (again), needing work and a place to crash. Antony provides both, with three caveats: “Don’t smoke in my truck, don’t be late for work, and don’t mess with my girlfriend.”

But Aiden Love, budding novelist, gets one glimpse of Rosalee Norris, young widow of Antony’s lifelong best friend and all bets are off.

Set in horse country near Lexington, Kentucky, The Love Brothers Series is a saga of family devotion that runs as wide and deep as the Ohio River–except on Sundays when brothers Antony, Kieran, Dominic and Aiden work out their frustrations on the basketball court, Love brother style.

The Love Brothers: A family saga with humor, heat and heart—not to mention beer, bourbon and basketball.

excerpt

Love Garage opened bright and early the next morning, a Saturday, a day Aiden had hoped to spend recovering.

“I get so many oil changes and random small jobs on Saturdays, it doesn’t make sense to be closed and let the jackasses with the Quickilube at Walmart get the business,” Antony insisted when Aiden groaned with dismay upon being awakened after two hours of drunken sleep. It didn’t help that the awakening occurred at the business end of a thrown pillow. “Get up, Romeo. You owe me rent money.”

He did, slowly, queasily hitting a shower, sore all over, his skin mottled from bug bites. But nothing topped the glorious agony of a bourbon hangover like the one that had him firmly in its evil grasp.

He slouched out the door, cursing Antony, cursing Tricia, cursing her ex-husband for throwing her in his path last night. But mostly cursing his own weak-ass uselessness. He rested his head against the cool comfort of the truck window until Antony hit a bump or two, which sent extra pain jolting down his spine.

“Sorry,” his brother muttered, glancing over at him.

“No, you’re not.”

“Got me there. And you’d better warn me if you’re about to toss your cookies. I won’t have that in my vehicle, got me?”

Aiden rubbed his neck and nodded, swallowing the urge to throw up all over the pristine interior on principal. “Why d’you hate me so much? You used to like me.” He stared over at his brother, heart thumping, ears humming, throat closing up with nausea. He despised waking up still drunk.

“I don’t hate you.” Antony turned onto the main road headed into town.

“Could’ve fooled me. You’re a real asshole anymore. Worse than Dom.”

Antony merely shrugged, not rising to that tried-and-true bait. So they spent the rest of the ride to the garage in silence. Once there, Antony sat gripping the wheel. Aiden waited, hoping he’d get something out of him—something he would assure him that the man he thought he remembered as the protective, funny, and loving guy he’d grown up with still existed inside the guy walking around wearing Antony’s skin.

Finally, he let go of the wheel, exhaled, and squared his shoulders as if prepping for battle. Aiden made a mental note to talk to Kieran about how badly Antony had descended into his life of non-stop mourning and jerk-hood.

“So, Rosalee, not putting out for you or what? You need to get laid maybe? Knock the edge off?”

The glare Aiden got for saying those particular words did make him worry Antony might punch his aching head through the passenger-side window.

He clenched his jaw in the way Aiden remembered from their childhood. “That is so far outside the realm of your business as to be in another galaxy. Get to work and don’t say her name to me again.”

And with that, Aiden was left with the fleeting thought that mentioning Rosalee directly was probably not a good idea. He surely didn’t need Antony to guess that her name was on his lips, or front and center of his mind.

He shook his head—a Bad Plan because it summoned the pounding agony back with a vengeance. Groaning, he climbed out and shuffled over to the door.

A new day began at Love Garage.

 

meet the author

Amazon best-selling author, mom of three, Realtor, beer blogger, brewery marketing expert, and soccer fan, Liz Crowe is a Kentucky native and graduate of the University of Louisville currently living in Ann Arbor. She has decades of experience in sales and fund raising, plus an eight-year stint as a three-continent, ex-pat trailing spouse.

Her early forays into the publishing world led to a groundbreaking fiction subgenre, “Romance for Real Life,” which has gained thousands of fans and followers interested less in the “HEA” and more in the “WHA” (“What Happens After?”). More recently she is garnering even more fans across genres with her latest novels, which are more character-driven fiction, while remaining very much “real life.”

With stories set in the not-so-common worlds of breweries, on the soccer pitch, in successful real estate offices and at times in exotic locales like Istanbul, Turkey, her books are unique and told with a fresh voice. The Liz Crowe backlist has something for any reader seeking complex storylines with humor and complete casts of characters that will delight, frustrate and linger in the imagination long after the book is finished.

Don’t ever ask her for anything “like a Budweiser” or risk bodily injury.

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BOY (The Training House, Book 2) by Eden Bradley Release Blitz 1/26/15

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From New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Eden Bradley~the continuation of her tale of ultimate surrender found in Book One of The Training House Series, GIRL

Being broken has never been such beautiful torture…

I am Christopher. I am most specifically not called Boy in this exclusive slave training arena where every submissive male is known as ‘Boy’. They don’t let me retain my identity—they make me. They keep me in my head, in my body, no matter what they’re doing to me, because they know I require it. They call me brat. They call me rebel. These terms are far too bland to describe what I really am. I am anger in chains. I am seething sexual animal. I am the worst kind of f*ck-up.

The Master loves me. Maybe only because the level of my misbehavior challenges him to come up with new and terrible punishments. Do I sound proud? I am. I also love him, in my way. It’s a strange dynamic, one that has never been disrupted by anyone. Until I saw the new Girl.

Fresh-faced and indescribably lovely. Burning alchemical reaction that threatened to consume me the moment I saw her. I will call her Aimee. I refuse to play the Master’s games. Because for reasons I don’t understand, she is instantly more to me than any of the other Girls. What will she think of me? The ultimate anarchist. The keeper of secrets. The unbreakable one. Why do I even care? All I know is that I do. And that this Girl could ultimately be the one who finally breaks me.

WARNING: These books contain material that may be difficult to read about and/or cause triggers for some readers. Do NOT try this at home!

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AboutTheAuthorEden close up sable 620New York Times & USA Today Bestselling and award-winning author Eden Bradley aka Eve Berlin writes dark, edgy erotic fiction. Her work has been called ‘elegant, intelligent and sensual’. Her debut novel, THE DARK GARDEN, has been praised as ‘a masterpiece’, and was a Romantic Times Top Pick. Her novels and novellas have been translated into German, Romanian, French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Czech, Polish and Japanese.
As someone who has been involved in BDSM practice for much of her adult life, she relates in particular to her kink stories, infusing them with her own truth about kink practice from her life experiences. Eden speaks regularly on BDSM psychology and practice, as well as sex positive culture for women.

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Waging War by April White Release Blitz & Rafflecopter giveaway 1/26/16

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Waging War
by April White
Publication Date: January 26, 2015
Genres: Historical, Romance, Fantasy, Time Travel

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War is being waged against the Descendants and Saira Elian is desperate to stop the Mongers’ savage bid for power…

Saira’s search for kidnapped mixed-bloods draws her into the Mongers’ stronghold, revealing the horrible truth behind the irresistible Monger ring and the vile plan to cleanse Family bloodlines … permanently.

To prevent a brutal massacre, Saira and Ringo travel back to Bletchley Park during World War II where they team up with Archer from the past to crack a Nazi code and expose a Monger traitor intent on changing the course of history. They team with a female commando from the French resistance to hunt down an elite unit of Monger soldiers – Hitler’s Werewolves – before the terror squad can strike a fatal blow at the heart of the Allied war effort.

Their desperate manhunt drags Saira, Archer, and Ringo into the London underground on the eve of a Nazi bombing raid where they come face-to-face with the Monger assassin on a suicide mission to split Time. With the lives of all mixed-bloods in peril, Saira must make a sacrifice that even Time and love may never forgive.

About the Author

APRIL WHITE has been a film producer, private investigator, bouncer, teacher and screenwriter. She has climbed in the Himalayas, lived on a gold mine in the Yukon, and survived a shipwreck. She and her husband live in Southern California with their two sons, dog, various chickens, and a lifetime collection of books. April wrote her first novel, Marking Time because it’s what she wanted to read, and now needs to finish the five book series so she can find out what happens next.

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DARK ROOM: A Society X Novel by Heidi McLaughlin & L.P. Dover Release Blitz & Rafflecopter giveaway 1/26/16

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Dark Room: A Society X Novel
by Heidi McLaughlin & L.P. Dover
Publication Date: January 26, 2015

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The rules of Society X are simple . . . break them and you’re out.

Rule #1 – No names
It doesn’t matter if you want to know, it’s forbidden.

Rule #2 – No exchanging numbers
You can never call.

Rule #3 – Everything is to remain strictly anonymous
It doesn’t matter if you want to tell, it’s forbidden.

The Dark Room is the only place you can live out your fantasies and no one will ever know it’s you.

For Parker, what started out as a business transaction has turned into an addiction.

For Mia, it’s been a chance to discover who she truly is.

What happens in the dark will have you begging for more . . .

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About the Authors

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NYT and USA Today Bestselling author, L.P. Dover, is a southern belle residing in North Carolina along with her husband and two beautiful girls. Before she even began her literary journey she worked in Periodontics enjoying the wonderment of dental surgeries. Not only does she love to write, but she loves to play tennis, go on mountain hikes, white water rafting, and you can’t forget the passion for singing. Her two number one fans expect a concert each and every night before bedtime and those songs usually consist of Christmas carols. Aside from being a wife and mother, L.P. Dover has written over nine novels including her Forever Fae series, the Second Chances series, and her standalone novel, Love, Lies, and Deception. Her favorite genre to read is romantic suspense and she also loves writing it. However, if she had to choose a setting to live in it would have to be with her faeries in the Land of the Fae.

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Heidi is a New York Times and USA Today Bestselling author.

Originally from Portland, Oregon and raised in the Pacific Northwest, she now lives in picturesque Vermont, with her husband and two daughters. Also renting space in their home is an over-hyper Beagle/Jack Russell, Buttercup, a Parakeet, Gonzo, and their newest addition of a Highland Westie/Mini Schnauzer, JiLL.

During the day Heidi is behind a desk talking about Land Use. At night, she’s writing one of the many stories planned for release or sitting court-side during either daughter’s basketball games.

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EVELYN’S PROMISE by BETTY BOLTÉ RELEASE DAY BLITZ & Rafflecopter giveaway 1/26/16

Evelyn’s Promise
by Betty Bolté
Series: A More Perfect Union, #4
Genre: Historical Romance
Release Date: January 26, 2015

Widow Evelyn Hamilton must overcome societal expectations as well as soaring post-war inflation in order to provide for herself and her infant son. Determined to rebuild the gutted manor as well as her life, she vows to create a safe home on her own rather than be subjected to the dictates and demands of another husband.

Militiaman Nathaniel Williams is driven by a thirst for adventure and longs to make his fortune on the frontier. When he visits Charlestown and his heart becomes ensnared by a smart, beautiful widow–who would never consider leaving her family behind–he must make the hardest decision of his life.

Can Nathaniel fulfill his dream even though it would mean living without Evelyn?

“Will this day never end?” Evelyn Hamilton cast a sidelong glance at the lean man standing beside her, hoping he hadn’t heard her childish grumbling.
No, he apparently hadn’t. Her pulse throbbed in her ears at Nathaniel Williams’ proximity, a sensation she’d only experienced when in fear of her late husband’s next actions. She held still, though actively attempting to calm the alarm inside her chest. She’d learned to mask her inner strength, what she possessed, by bowing her head, studying her hands or even her feet if necessary. In her experience, men could be cruel without a second thought, and she wouldn’t give them a reason to inflict said cruelty upon her person. She surveyed the happy gathering, the friendly mood of the group working its magic. She relaxed a bit, though having the tall, powerful man standing so close caused a fine tremor in her gut. He wouldn’t harm her, not in the present situation at a minimum. Nathaniel’s attention lingered on the three happy couples as they received congratulations from the guests snaking past the newly married. She was exhausted and longed for a quiet room, but remained amidst the jocular gathering.
“Looks like the entire town turned out for the triple wedding and the festivities afterward.” He glanced at her and then returned his gaze to the room at large.
“Yes, food tends to lure people out of their homes.” She kept a smile on her face as she observed the multitude of people milling about in the candlelit and lavishly decorated home.
“I understand you are to thank for the handsome decorations?” He lifted a brow and folded his arms across his chest, shifting his weight to rest on the hip closer to her.
“Thank you.” She’d enjoyed applying her talents to making the house reflect the importance of the day’s event. In truth, the triple wedding made Twelfth Night a livelier and more joyful occasion than in previous years, especially those under British rule, from what she’d been told. “I relished the honor of dressing the house for the happy occasion.”
Nathaniel regarded her with a gentle smile. “After all the horrors of war, the opportunity to enjoy such merriments is a delight to the senses.”
She nodded slowly, shifting the bundle in her arms. “Even during the war, life has a way of pushing through to keep hope alive.”
She looked down as her baby son squirmed in her embrace. A white cap, made with her own hands from fine linen, covered his wispy red-brown hair. His eyelashes fanned on his cheeks as the little mouth pursed in his sleep. The white dress he wore had been handed down from his cousin when he’d outgrown the garment. Even Walter, her deceased husband, had expressed pride in Jim. She’d promised herself that she’d do all in her power to ensure Master James Christopher Hamilton grew up to honor his name. No matter what she must do, she’d prepare Jim for whatever opportunities life brought his way.
She and Nathaniel, a stranger to her up until the rector performed the weddings a few minutes ago, had already paid their compliments to the three pairs of smiling husbands and wives. Her new friends and her sister stood together. Each bride shone with happiness, their smiles vying with the candles for lighting the room. The happy couples made a striking and impressive group.
Candles flickered throughout the newly redecorated house, illuminating bouquets of flowers tied with long curling ribbon secured to the banister and resting on tables. In the parlor, a string quartet played softly. The feeling in the home seemed magical and dreamy, like something out of a play. Even her old gown of silk and taffeta, with its embroidered stomacher and flowing cerulean skirts, appeared revitalized and beautiful. She’d been relieved when the dress fit upon her matronly figure after birthing the baby a mere two months previous.
Nathaniel caught her attention with a tilt of his head and wave of his hand. “Do you know all of these people?”
Evelyn shrugged. “On Twelfth Night, everyone is invited. I hope we don’t run out of the rum punch and egg nog.”
“Would you care for a cup of either, before such a tragic event occurs?” He winked at her, a smile lifting the corners of his mouth. “I’m happy to oblige, if so.”
“No, but thank you. My hands are already full.” She tucked the light blanket around her son’s sleeping face.
“I imagine they will remain so until your son is grown.” He stepped closer to her as guests pushed behind him on their way to the virtually groaning table of refreshments. “It appears the party is just beginning.”
“Yes, it should last for several days as long as the food and drink hold out.”
Nathaniel towered over her petite frame, a giant dressed in fine clothes. She lifted her chin, despite her unease, and studied the stranger’s scarred yet striking features. If not for the still red lines stretching across his right cheek, he’d appear to be of adolescent age. His luxurious chestnut brown hair, shot through with gold, tempted her touch, but she resisted the urge. His earlier brief conversation with Benjamin, her sister’s new husband, revealed he had fought in the state militia. He had come to town at Benjamin’s express invitation. What kind of business could he possibly have with the major? And, more urgent, why did he need to stand so close?
He smiled, a gentle expression. His steel gray eyes searched her face, his gaze flitting from mouth to nose and finally resting upon her eyes. “Unfortunately, I don’t expect to stay for the duration.”
“You’ll miss the celebration of the end of the holidays.” She drew a slow, unsteady breath as he continued to study her with the ghost of a smile. She lowered her eyes, smoothing the baby blanket as an excuse for looking away.
“I’ll miss more than that, I imagine.” He lifted the edge of Jim’s blanket, peered at the sleeping infant before he speared her with his black-rimmed eyes. “He has your nose.”
She giggled, then sobered, annoyed with her school girl reaction to the man. What was it about him that provoked such a reflex? She pressed her lips together but a smile forced its way through. “Perhaps he should give it back to me, do you suppose?”
Nathaniel’s smile widened to reveal his teeth. “Mayhap you can share it.”
Laughter bubbled out of her mouth and she quickly stopped it. “That would prove unsatisfactory.”
He chuckled, eyes twinkling. He glanced away and then back. “Looks like we’re about to have some company.”
Evelyn followed his gaze. Her sister Amy and Benjamin led the others to where Evelyn stood with Nathaniel by the cold fireplace, its firebox laid with kindling and tinder for later in the evening. With the press of so many bodies during the middle of the day, Evelyn had decreed no additional heat necessary. She’d been right, too. The doors and windows stood open to let in the cold January air, helping to mitigate the warmth created by the crush of guests.
The ladies had chosen beautiful gowns of their own for this special day. Cousin Emily’s pale yellow gown suited her to perfection, with white roses embroidered around the scooped neck of the bodice and then reaching out in rays down the skirts. She wore her blonde curls in an smooth bun beneath a matching pale yellow hat made from lace and decorated with real white roses. Amy wore a midnight blue dress overlaid with lavender netting. Her dark locks had been tamed into an intricate hairdo, a few curls left to hang beside her rosy cheeks. Samantha, her new friend and adopted sister, had boldly chosen an emerald velvet gown, with a deep plunge of the neck and scattering of rhinestones across the bodice, which suited her coloring and green eyes. Her ebony hair had been fashioned into an elegant braid for the occasion, with wisps of curls left to dance about her face. Gold bobs hung on her earlobes and a matching chain graced her neck. A lovely trio indeed.
“Evelyn, I cannot thank you enough for your efforts to make the house so beautiful and welcoming.” Emily drew her husband Frank Thomson closer to stand with her at Evelyn’s side. “Everyone is talking about the beautiful flowers and ribbons, oh, and the array of branched candlesticks.”
“You created a beautiful and romantic setting for our special day.” Amy lightly hugged Evelyn, careful to not wake the baby. “A simple thank you cannot convey the depth of my gratitude. Especially after the terrible losses you’ve endured over the past month or so.”
Amy’s comment raised the memory of the gun shots, the violence, and the violations Evelyn had experienced. Her late husband Walter had been a difficult man to please. When she had not produced an heir within a few months of their marriage, he’d turned violent. Fortunately, she conceived a baby and his tirades abated. Until the renegades and scouts took turns scavenging the property. He held his tongue while the invaders took all they wanted, but then he had unleashed his anger upon her. She sniffed and shook off the misery threatening to dampen her spirits. She wouldn’t permit anything to interfere with her happiness on her sister’s wedding day.
“One must look to the future and move on when adversity strikes.” Evelyn joggled Jim as he began to stir. Soon he’d be wide awake and hungry. He must be her focus, not the death of her abusive husband, nor the conflagration that consumed their manor house. Looking forward meant figuring out how she’d provide for her own household.
“I’m pleased you chose to accept our parents’ offer. Since I’m moving out soon, they would be lonely without having one of us with them.” Amy clasped her hands before her as she nodded. “It’s some form of a miracle our father’s finances are sound after all of the trials he’s been through over the course of the war.”
“Indeed. I’m fortunate they do not mind my return to their house.” But Evelyn minded, more than she’d shared with any one. Her first task was to find her own place to live and raise her son. But how could she afford a house? The money Walter had set aside would last a few months with the current rate of inflation and the devaluation of paper money. Then what?
“At least you have a roof over your head.” Nathaniel shifted his weight, closing the distance between them so his hip nearly touched hers. “I’ve just arrived in town and must find lodgings until I can locate a suitable domicile.”
“I’m certain someone will open their home to you.” His nearness sent shivers through Evelyn’s midriff. He exuded a force she sensed but couldn’t define, one tempting her to touch him. What was wrong with her? She barely knew him. She took a half step away, covering her movement with a peek at Jim.
“We’re a friendly city, now that the bloody Britons have departed.” Frank slipped his arm around Emily’s waist. “What do you think of having a guest?”
Emily glanced at Evelyn and then back to Frank. “If he’d like to stay with us, I’m sure we can make him comfortable.”
Nathaniel inclined his head in thanks. “Very kind of you. However, what about your honeymoon?”
Frank shook his head, his blond hair neatly held in a queue for the occasion. “We’ve decided to remain at home and enjoy our newly refurbished abode instead of traveling at this time of year. But in a little while, we will make a journey.”
“All the more reason for me to decline your generous offer.” Nathaniel shrugged as he glanced at Emily. “I wouldn’t wish to interfere with a newly married couple.”
Trent raised both brows and shook his head. “Do not worry. We’ll help you find lodgings. Perhaps Captain Sullivan will have a place, like he did for Benjamin.”
“Nonsense, my friend. What of southern hospitality? Mr. Williams, you are welcome to stay with us. Isn’t he, dear?” Benjamin, tall, dark haired, and handsome in an elaborately embroidered waistcoat peeking out from under a bright blue coat and trousers, peered at Amy, who slowly nodded. “See? We’d be pleased for you to share our house as long as you might need.”
A host of conflicting emotions flashed across Nathaniel’s face before he shook his head. “I appreciate the offer, but I simply cannot believe the newly married would wish a stranger in their midst. I’m sure if I were in your shoes I’d be reluctant to entertain guests.”
Evelyn avoided meeting Nathaniel’s eyes as he contemplated her with his last words. She hugged Jim close, her cheeks warming under his regard, and looked anywhere but in his direction. He seemed to hint at the underlying meaning of his words to her, provoking the tumult raging in her mind. She needed to remove herself from his presence, and soon.
“That is a valid point.” Benjamin grinned at Nathaniel. “It may be hard to sleep nights.”
Amy swatted Benjamin’s arm, blushing as his meaning spread through the group. “Mind your manners.”
“Where will you stay then? If you won’t stay with any of us, I mean.” Samantha clasped her husband Trent Cunningham’s arm as her gaze shifted from one to another of the group.
Evelyn liked Dr. Trent, and rejoiced that her dear friend had found the love of her life in the sandy haired handsome man. Like the others, Trent had donned his finest suit, the dark blue setting off his crystal blue eyes and a discreetly patterned waistcoat, both of which showed his strength and elegant carriage.
The rustle of taffeta and the thump of leather shoes on the wood floor drew Evelyn’s attention to the elderly couple approaching. Her parents, Richard and Lucille Abernathy, had aged gracefully, though her mother’s ramrod straight back had bowed a little more each year. Neither head boasted any gray, and their love revealed itself through the angling of their bodies toward each other as well as the looks they shared.
If Evelyn could one day find a man who would treat her with the same respect and concern as her father shared with her mother, she’d be content. But the pickings proved slim after so many men had lost their lives securing the independence of America from British tyranny. Societal expectations weighed on her mind. She should find another husband, one to provide for her two-month old son. If she only had herself to support, she’d manage with sewing or perhaps by being a governess. Jim, her mother had reminded her, needed a father to teach the boy how to be a man, and to ensure he received the requisite care and education to grow to his full maturity. Yet part of her wished to remain unmarried, independent of the needs and demands of a husband. But even knowing of the dearth of eligible bachelors, the next time she accepted a man’s attentions, she’d be very careful and certain of his personality. She’d promised herself no one would hurt her ever again.
“I couldn’t help but overhear. We have room for you and no recently wed occupants to worry about.” Richard Abernathy slapped Nathaniel on the back. “Interested?”
Nathaniel smiled, his attention flicking her way and then back to her father. Evelyn held her breath, squeezing Jim until his murmur of protest made her relax her grip. Would this man be staying under the same roof? She desired distance between them, and suddenly the absolute opposite results hovered in the air. Definitely time for her to find another place to reside.
Nathaniel studied her for two beats of her heart before turning and stretching out his hand to shake with her father. “I’d be honored to accept, as long as it does not inconvenience any one.”
“Not at all. If you’d like, you can ride in the carriage with us back to the house.” Richard grinned and rested his large hand at the small of Lucille’s back. “We intend to leave in a little while. We tire easily as the years go by, so we’re off to say our farewells and then we can depart.”
“Very good.” Nathaniel nodded to Richard as he led his wife away, then fixed his attention on Evelyn. “Do you mind that I accepted your father’s offer? I have no wish to make you uncomfortable in your own home.”
“Why would I mind?” Evelyn kept her eyes on the handsome yet dangerous man regarding her with a serious expression. Dangerous first with regard to the scars he’d suffered during the fighting, indicating he resorted to aggressive behavior when pressed. Dangerous in that he’d also been a party to the raid on her house, a violent invasion of her home by the American militia in search of sustenance for the soldiers. Finally, dangerous to her equilibrium by his mere presence. She straightened her back, stiffening her resolve at the same time. Handsome is as handsome does, after all. “As long as you keep to yourself, we shall get along.”
He nodded slowly but his charming smile slipped back into place. “I shall endeavor to honor your request.”
“See that you do.” A flicker of humor flashed in his eyes and she drew in a breath. “I’m in mourning, so your attentions would be, if not welcome, at best inappropriate.”
The sparkle in his eyes went out. “I see.”
Amy took Benjamin’s hand in hers as she addressed Evelyn. “My dear sister, you, of all people, know how fearful it is to be without a home to live in. Now that your worries are behind you, please don’t begrudge the young man shelter from the elements for a short stay while he makes other arrangements.”
Evelyn angled her head and frowned at her sister. “What do you mean, my worries are behind me?”
“Why, you have a home and the security of our father’s fortune to provide for you and your son.” Amy waved a hand in the space between them. “You need not trouble your head about where and how you’ll live. It’s been decided.”
Surprise swept through Evelyn. “No, it has not been decided.” She espied doubt on the faces of her friends. “I have no intention of living with my parents for long.”
Nathaniel nodded at her. “Looks like we have something in common.”
Evelyn opened her mouth to contradict his claim, but Amy cut into the conversation.
“Look, Benjamin, Mr. and Mrs. Walters are preparing to leave. We must go thank them for their wedding gifts.” Amy tugged on Benjamin’s arm, drawing him away from the cluster of friends.
“Will you excuse us?” Benjamin addressed the group at large as he allowed Amy to pull him along behind her.
“Be off with you.” Evelyn waved the three couples on their way. “We’ll catch up with you later.”
“Thanks again for all your help, Evelyn,” Samantha said as Trent proffered his arm.
“My pleasure.” Evelyn shooed them with a happy chuckle. “Go. See to your guests.”
After the chattering friends had blended into the surrounding crowd, Evelyn turned back to Nathaniel. “So, Mr. Williams, will you be staying in town long?”
“I’m not sure. It depends on what Major Hanson has to say to-morrow when we meet.” He peered at her, and a gentle smile emerged on his lips. “And what a certain recent widow might have to say as well. She may wish for me to dawdle in procuring my own residence.”
Evelyn raised one brow at the provocative suggestion and then shook her head. She had absolutely no intention of beginning her husband hunt so soon after becoming widowed. “Do not depend on such an unlikely occurrence, Mr. Williams.”
“Please, my friends all call me Nat. And I shall call you Lyn.” He chuckled and folded his arms. “Since we’ll be living under the same roof for a time, we may as well be friends.”
Evelyn blinked at the man, astonished at the level of his audacity. Yes, he was definitely a dangerous man. Who did he think he was? No one had ever shortened her given name into such a ridiculous nickname. Time to straighten him out as to the proper form of address and thus erect a societal barrier to protect herself. One she desperately needed to erect. “You may call me Mrs. Hamilton, and I will call you Mr. Williams.”
He shook his head, as though sad to correct her. “I think not. Lyn suits you exquisitely better.”
Clearly, the daft man couldn’t be reasoned with, intent on having his way, much like Walter, who had cowed her into doing everything to please him. But no matter what she did or how she behaved, she had never really satisfied her husband. Except maybe in having a son. A son she’d do everything in her power to protect. Squaring her shoulders, she blinked at Nathaniel. She would not travel the path of subjugation ever again.
“I have never answered to a nickname, so if you intend to be friendly, you’ll respect my wishes.” She snugged Jim closer to her, preparing to walk away from the charged space suddenly stretching between them.
Nathaniel smiled at her, and made the beginning of a bow before straightening, glee in his eyes. “If you insist.”
“I do.” The mischievous smirk on his lips did not bode well. She’d seen his type before. She would make certain he behaved properly toward her.
Her young maid appeared out of the crowd. Dressed in her best frock, the black slave soon reached Evelyn’s side and reached out to take Jim into her arms. “Want me to carry him? Your arms must be tiring.”
“Yes, thank you, Jemma.” Evelyn gladly transferred the weight of her son to the girl. “He may need a clean napkin, as well.”
“I’ll take care of the young’un.” Jemma nodded and rearranged the blanket over the wide awake boy. “You enjoy yourself, you here?”
Evelyn huffed a laugh as she fingered her skirts. “I have been, but now it’s time we depart.”
“Yes, miss.” Jemma peered at the man beside Evelyn. “Is he coming with us?”
“It appears so. This is Nathaniel Williams.” Evelyn glanced between the maid and the man. “My father invited him to stay with us for as long as he’d enjoy visiting.”
“Pleased to meet you, Jemma.” Nathaniel offered his crooked arm to Evelyn, an invitation to his escort, but also to touch him. “Shall we join your parents?”
His mere propinquity set her heart racing. To lay her hand on his muscular arm would invite an undesired response. Well, actually a much longed for action which would yield most certainly a desired response. One she could not permit herself to experience. She must tread carefully, and see he did as well. “As long as you remember you are a guest in our house, I will treat you with respect and deference.” She had promises to keep, ones made to herself and to her son. Nothing would sway her from her mission. Not even tempting lips and an endearing smile. “I ask you to do the same.”
“You have nothing to fear from me.” He inclined his head and grinned at her when she gingerly rested the tips of her fingers on the heavy fabric of his coat sleeve.
The light yet electric touch of his arm, even through the sleeve, evoked a tiny gasp from deep inside her. Propriety kept her hand in place as they stepped off, making a path through the crowded rooms. They paused in an antechamber to don their warm cloaks and hats, avoiding further contact until he again crooked his arm. After pulling on her gloves, she reluctantly accepted.
As they approached her parents at the open front door, he glanced down at her. “I shall be on my very best behavior, Lyn.”
She gaped at him. The challenge in his expression made her snap her mouth closed as they passed through the door and out onto the street. Her parents climbed into the conveyance as Nathaniel escorted her toward the vehicle. She would refuse to speak to him if he continued to press her in such an improper manner. The corded muscles in his arm flexed beneath her fingers before he took her hand and helped her up into the waiting carriage.
She gathered her long skirts close as she sat on the cushioned bench seat, and then stifled a gasp when Nathaniel squeezed in beside her, Jemma and Jim on his other side. His leg rested against hers, hidden beneath the flap of his coat and her own voluminous skirts. With her parents sitting directly in front of her, she dared not draw attention to his impropriety. She pressed her lips together to keep from chastising him. Oh, she wished she’d been wrong, but she’d been so very right. He was indeed dangerous on all counts.

Book 1: Emily’s Vow

Book 2: Amy’s Choice

Book 3: Samantha’s Secret

Betty Bolté writes both historical and contemporary stories featuring strong, loving women and brave, compassionate men. No matter whether the stories are set in the past or the present, she loves to include a touch of the paranormal. In addition to her romantic fiction, she’s the author of several nonfiction books and earned a Master of Arts in English in 2008. She is a member of Romance Writers of America, the Historical Novel Society, the Women’s Fiction Writers Association, and the Authors Guild. Get to know her at http://www.bettybolte.com.