Blog Tour: Her Lustful Desires by JR Salisbury

BookCover_Her Lustful DesiresTitle: Her Lustful Desires

Author: J R Salisbury

Genre:   Historical Romance (Victorian)

Blurb:

A daring widow. A determined duke. A story too wicked for the eyes of the ton…

Lady Georgiana, dowager duchess of Ashwood, emerges from a year of official mourning with her next steps firmly in mind. She will retreat to her beloved country estate, play merry matchmaker to her dearest friends, and write daring romance novels under a male pseudonym. Far from the prying eyes of the ton—and her late husband’s odious cousin.

But when her publisher wants to meet “Geoff Parker” in person, she gratefully accepts the help of Jeremy Graystone, childhood friend and heir to a dukedom. A man whose bronze, muscular good looks could tempt her to forget to keep him at arm’s length.

Years ago, Jeremy had to watch Georgiana’s family marry her off to another. Now the timing is finally right. But with Georgiana determined to relish her newfound freedom, he will be patient and plan for the day he will have her in his bed, his hands tangled in her spun-gold hair, her lapis blue eyes only for him.

And do whatever is necessary to keep her late husband’s greedy cousin from destroying her happiness…

Amazon buy link: https://www.amazon.com/Her-Lustful-Desires-Merry-Widows-ebook/dp/B09TWQM82R/


What author helped influence me into writing historical romance?

The author who influenced me into writing historical romance – Georgette Heyer.  In 1935 Georgette Heyer wrote the first of her signature Regency-era novels, set around 1811–1820, when the Prince Regent ruled England in place of his ill father, George III. Heyer’s Regency novels were inspired by Jane Austin’s novels of the late 18th and early 19th century. Because Heyer’s writing was set in the midst of events that had occurred over 100 years previously, she included authentic period detail in order for her readers to understand. Where Heyer referred to historical events, it was as background detail to set the period, and did not usually play a key role in the narrative. Heyer’s characters often contained more modern-day sensibilities, and more conventional characters in the novels would point out the heroine’s eccentricities, such as wanting to marry for love. Her books are still available and are as popular today as they were when she first wrote them.

There are more modern authors who’ve influenced my journey but Ms. Heyer was the one who inspired me the most. Though I don’t write (at least right now) Regency-era novels – I still attempt to take the time and make them as authentic to the late Victorian period as possible.


Excerpt:

Martin pushed his way into the solicitor’s office, acting as though he were the most important man in all of England.

She’d never met him before, but he was everything Ashwood had described him to be. An unattractive short man who bordered on obesity, sweated profusely, and had a head of thinning dark blond hair and cutting brown eyes.

He barely acknowledged her as he sat in the chair beside hers.

“What’s she doing here?” he demanded.

“She is your cousin’s widow. This concerns her as well,” Pickford replied, looking him in the eyes.

“She’s just that—a widow. All she’ll need is some source of income until she can find another man to dupe and a place to live. There must be somewhere we can put her.”

Georgiana’s back bristled. Time to put this man in his place. “I’m sorry, my lord, but I’m sitting right here. I’m not a book on a shelf you take out to dust off from time to time. I’m a living, breathing human.”

“Yes, yes. Now, can we get on with this? My bags and such should arrive at the house, along with my valet, as we speak. There’s much to do.”

“And where would you have me stay, my lord?” She knew her misuse of his new title would irritate him, and that was what she intended, wanting to see him blow up like a puffer fish, insulted. Which was precisely what happened next.

“I’m sorry, but I’m now the duke and therefore referred to as Your Grace.”

“And I am the dowager duchess and am referred to as Your Grace as well,” she replied smugly.

“Your living arrangements are none of my concern. As I said, I’ll be happy to find a cottage or small house on one of the estates. Until one is found, I suggest you go to a hotel. There is no longer a place for you at Ashwood House.”

“You’d throw a dowager duchess out onto the street?” Georgiana said in mock horror. Martin was a miserable man, and she would be sure everyone among the ton knew it. All she had to do was say the word, and invitations would be few.

Pickford interrupted their bickering. “Can we begin, Your Graces?”

“Of course,” Georgiana said with a polite smile.

Martin nodded and grunted. “Oh, very well, though I strongly protest to this woman being present.”

“Duly noted, Your Grace.”

The next hour was painful. Martin challenged every point of Ashwood’s will where Georgiana was included, but Pickford persevered and finally finished. She rose, ready to take her leave.

“Would you be so kind as to send a copy of all this to my solicitor, please?” she asked. She and Pickford had already gone over it. Because of Martin’s attitude, she had decided long before meeting the new duke to have her affairs handled by the prestigious firm of Kingsley and Kingsley.

Pickford nodded as he rose. “I will make sure a copy is forwarded to Kingsley and Kingsley. I’m sorry to lose your business, Your Grace, but I understand. I look forward to perhaps doing business with you again in the future.”

Nothing had been lost on Martin, and though he didn’t utter a word, his eyes never left her.

“I assume the carriage you use belongs to me now,” he challenged. “Have it sent back to Ashwood House as soon as you’re finished. You’ll have to purchase your own or hire one.” He snorted, thinking himself funny. Such a vulgar sound.

“No, Your Grace, I purchased the carriage and four you saw. If there’s nothing else, I bid you both good day.”


About the Author:

I’ve always been a creative individual. Writing is just a facet of that creativity…

My careers in public relations in and around the entertainment industry, photography, editing, artist management, modeling and special event planning all elevated my passion for writing, not to mention gave me a treasure trove for story lines.

I write women’s fiction; contemporary romance (as Jamie Salisbury) and historical romance (as JR Salisbury) which is ever evolving. I am fortunate enough that writing (and marketing of said product(s)) is my full-time job, although I always have one or two other projects going at the same time.

Some of my other interests include photography, equestrianism, reading, and of course, travel.

I sincerely hope my writing will entertain, enlighten, and inspire others to pick up the pen and pursue their own dreams. I love to be contacted by readers, writers, and history buffs. You may contact me by email at: www.jamiesalisbury.com


Giveaway!

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Blog Tour: Under the Emerald Sky by Juliane Weber

UTES Front CoverTitle: Under the Emerald Sky

(The Irish Fortune Series, Book 1)

Author: Juliane Weber

Blurb:

Hes come to Ireland to escape his past. Shes trying to run from her future. 

It’s 1843 and the English nobleman Quinton Williams has come to Ireland to oversee the running of his fathers ailing estate and escape his painful past. Here he meets the alluring Alannah ONeill, whose Irish family is one of few to have retained ownership of their land, the rest having been supplanted by the English over the course of the country’s bloody history. Finding herself drawn to the handsome Englishman, Alannah offers to help Quin communicate with the estates Gaelic-speaking tenants, as much to assist him as to counter her own ennui. Aware of her controlling brothers hostility towards the English, she keeps her growing relationship with Quin a secret – a secret that cannot, however, be kept for long from those who dream of ridding Ireland of her English oppressors.

Among the stark contrasts that separate the rich few from the plentiful poor, Under the Emerald Sky is a tale of love and betrayal in a land teetering on the brink of disaster – the Great Famine that would forever change the course of Ireland’s history.

Trigger Warnings:

Violence, sexual content. 


Review:
fivestars
A beautifully written example of historical fiction, the novel pulled me in from the start. I highly admired the lead female character and found her compelling. Certainly one for historical fiction fans to devour! Also, I have to say, the cover is gorgeous!


Buy Links:

This novel is available to read for free with #KindleUnlimited subscription. 

Universal Book Link: https://books2read.com/u/4DxvLA

Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B08LSC6HN3 

Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08LSC6HN3 

Amazon CA: https://www.amazon.ca/dp/B08LSC6HN3 

Amazon AU: https://www.amazon.com.au/dp/B08LSC6HN3


JulianeWeber_BiographyImageAbout the Author:

Juliane is actually a scientist. She holds degrees in physiology and zoology, including a PhD in physiology. During her studies she realised, however, that her passion lay not in conducting scientific research herself, but in writing about it. Thus began her career as a medical writer, where she took on all manner of writing and editing tasks, in the process honing her writing skills, until she finally plucked up the courage to write her first historical novel, Under the Emerald Sky. The book is the first in The Irish Fortune Series, which is set in 19th century Ireland around the time of the Great Famine.

Juliane lives with her husband and two sons in Hamelin, Germany, the town made famous by the story of the Pied Piper.


Social Media Links:

Website: https://www.julianeweber.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Writer_JW 

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/JulianeWeberAuthor 

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/julianeweber/ 

Instagram: https://www.linkedin.com/in/julianeweber/ 

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.de/Juliane_Weber 

Book Bub: https://www.bookbub.com/profile/juliane-weber 

Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Juliane-Weber/e/B08M3DYY22

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/21207265.Juliane_Weber


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Book Blast: The Most Eligible Bride in London by Ella Quinn



This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. The author will be giving away a $20 Amazon/BN Card to a randomly drawn winner. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Love conquers even the most unlikely lord in USA Today bestselling author Ella Quinn’s delightful Lords of London series, as a reformed rogue endeavors to prove himself worthy of his chosen bride . . .

Mistakes happen, to be sure. Rarely are those mistakes as unfortunate as the one made by Nathanael, Viscount Fotherby, when he abducted the now Lady Merton to save his friend from marriage. Nate has been trying to make amends ever since, leaving behind his self-centered ways to fulfill his duties—and that includes finding a wife of his own. One woman sparks his interest above all others—a lady he helped when she was rescuing a child. Alas, there is a devilish complication . . .

Miss Henrietta Stern, Lady Merton’s younger sister, is intrigued by the stranger who comes to her aid—until she learns his identity. Nate’s stunt could have ruined her sister’s reputation, and her family may never forgive him. With beauty, connections, and a sizeable dowry, Henrietta has plenty of admirers. Yet no other suitor quickens her pulse quite like Nate does. Her heart insists that the gentleman has changed for the better. But can a renowned scoundrel possibly prove himself to be the perfect husband?


Read an Excerpt

“Miss, what should we do?” the messenger, a young boy named Toby they had hired for messages and odd jobs, asked Miss Henrietta Stern.

“Where is Mrs. Perriman?” She and her sister, Dotty, Marchioness of Merton, had assisted in the rescue of many children and infants during the time Henrietta had been in Town for her first Season. However, due to her sister’s pregnancy, they had asked Mrs. Perriman, the widow and daughter of army officers, who ran their charity, the Phoenix House, to perform the rescues. Normally Henrietta would not have hesitated, but she had never gone alone before.

“She’s out on another call, and I don’t know when she’ll be back.” The lad bounced from one foot to the other, clearly distraught. “The boy who brought the message said the baby’s mam died and the babe was poorly.”

There was only one thing to do. “I shall go.” Henrietta had read the short, barely literate note stating the sender had a baby they were willing to sell. “We’ll need to have a wet nurse brought here.”

“Miss Henrietta.” Parkin, her brother-in-law’s butler’s eyes rounded. “Neither her ladyship nor his lordship would approve.”

“It’s not as if I am going to St Giles or worse. It is still light and will be for the next hour. If we do not rescue this child now, it may die.” The butler’s stern countenance did not change. “I’ll take Cullen with me.” He was the largest of all Merton’s tall footmen. Henrietta suspected the man had been a soldier at one time, as many of the footmen were. “I shall be perfectly safe.” She would also take the Manton pistol that had been made for her.

“You will need a groom as well,” the butler said.

Henrietta stifled a sigh of relief. Parkin was not happy about this, but he would not stop her. “Yes, of course. Thank you.”

By the time she had changed into a sturdy, dark-blue wool serge gown she’d had made by the modiste at home, donned a plain bonnet, tucked her pistol in the pocket she’d had sewn into her mantle, and taken the coins needed from the strongbox kept for the purpose, the unmarked town coach was waiting in the street. “The address is just down from the Whitechapel workhouse. We must hurry. I do wish to be there and gone before it is dark.”

“Yes, miss.” The footman, now dressed in regular clothing, closed the coach door behind her, and the coach dipped as he climbed on the back.

The journey would take about a half hour, and the sun was already lower in the sky than she would have liked. Still, the chance to save another child was worth the risk, and she had three servants with her. Granted, two would remain with the coach. Still, Cullen would be enough to keep her safe.

A large traveling coach almost blocked the street, but they slid past the vehicle and pulled up on the other side of the road. It was still light enough, but the sun was sinking by the minute. The narrow street and tall buildings did not help.

The coachman opened the hatch in the roof. “The street we want is just ahead on the left.”

The footman opened the door and helped her out. “I’ll stay a bit behind you just in case they’re up to no good.”

About the Author:
USA Today bestselling author Ella Quinn’s studies and other jobs have always been on the serious side (political science professor and lawyer). Reading historical romances, especially Regencies, were her escape. Eventually her love of historical novels led her to start writing them.

She is married to her wonderful husband of almost fourty years. They have a son and two beautiful granddaughters, a Great Dane named Lilibet, and a cat named Winnie. After living in the South Pacific, Central America, North Africa, England and Europe, she and her husband decided to make their dreams come true lived on sailboat for three years. After cruising the Caribbean and North America, she completed a transatlantic crossing from St. Martin to Southern Europe. She’s currently living in Germany, happily writing while her husband is back at work, recovering from retirement. She expects to be back on the boat in 2022.

Ella loves when readers connect with her.

Author Contact and Social Media:

Website
Facebook
Twitter
Goodreads
BookBub
Amazon

Buy Links:

Amazon
iBooks
Kobo
Barnes and Noble
Google Play
Audible
BookBub

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Blurb Blitz: The Crossing by Ashby Jones

BookCover_The CrossingTitle: The Crossing

Author: Ashby Jones 

Genre: Historical fiction

Blurb:

The Crossing is a powerful and haunting love story of surprising discovery set in Manhattan’s Hell’s Kitchen during Prohibition. Its mission seeks to reconcile love and guilt, grief and promise. Set apart from other stories, it combines history, fact, surrealism, and reality into an ever-recycling boost of the human spirit.

Irish-born Johnny Flynn, a former British soldier, is banished from his homeland and sent to America on a ship so riddled with disease that he realizes the voyage was meant to murder him. When he survives the trip, the captain forces him to walk the plank into the Hudson River. Miraculously, Johnny is rescued by a rumrunning Irish gang, the Swamp Angels, and given a job running whisky in Hell’s Kitchen just as Prohibition makes liquor a hugely profitable, dangerous business.

Fighting for his life and livelihood amid the denizens of the Manhattan piers, Johnny is plagued by the memory of his lost lover, Nora, whose father, the famed Irish revolutionary, James Connolly, met his death through a firing squad that included a reluctant gunman named Johnny Flynn. Nora’s last words to him, when she learned of his betrayal and left him, “I love you, Johnny Flynn”, echo in his heart, leaving him pulsing with guilt, yearning, and the hope that she might yet forgive him.

Johnny drinks hard. One night, drunk on the floor of Hailey’s speakeasy, he encounters a seeming apparition on stage, the ghostly Esme, an Irish singer who suffered unspeakable horrors at the hands of the British Black and Tans. Johnny is dazzled by her. She is not only a singer but a healer, teaching poor and afflicted children to sing and gather hope at an old theater called The Woebegone. From Esme Johnny learns how to overcome the desire for revenge, only to discover that she, too, clings to her own dark dream of retribution.

Hell’s Kitchen, Johnny discovers, is thronged with people whose damaged hearts ache for revenge, repentance and love. As he grapples with taking responsibility to help others resolve this overwhelming dilemma, he learns that Nora is coming to New York to advocate for Irish independence. As he confronts her and soon thereafter receives a piercing love letter from Esme, the story comes to a turbulent climax.


Excerpt:            

Roughly a mile from the Statue of Liberty, Johnny Flynn stood trembling on the bridge of the ship called The Pestilence. His hands were rope-bound at the wrists and a rucksack filled with heavy stones was strapped to his back. His executioner, seaman Bile, named for the Celtic god of Hell by Johnny’s long-gone friend and fellow prisoner, Seamus, had tried in vain to kill Johnny every day on this voyage from Ireland, and now he would have his way. The vessel from which Bile would send Johnny to his death was the recently recovered, ancient famine ship found in the Bay of Kinsale. The ship still contained the skeletons of the three hundred dead who’d tried to escape the Great Famine by taking passage to America but whose journey had been ended by typhus, cholera and tuberculosis. In hopes of hiding their humiliation, the Irish had returned The Pestilence to its parting pier unannounced and mothballed it in what soon became a drying, wooded alcove south of Kinsale, leaving the three hundred bodies to rot in the hold. 

The ship was discovered by a group of young Irish campers shortly after the Treaty with the victorious Brits was signed, ending the War of Independence. Soon thereafter, in the fall of 1921, the Rebels filled the arid tributary with fresh water, freeing the ship and setting it on a crossing to America to test its sea-worthiness. The next step in purging their embarrassment for the deaths was to cleanse the ship’s hold of the bones and restore its ability to make money for the Emerald Isle.


Author ImageAbout the Author:

Ashby Jones has been writing historical novels for 50 years. With degrees in Literature and Clinical Psychology; Creative Writing at UCLA under the guidance of Leonardo Bercovici. Jones previously published: The Angel’s Lamp in 2017 which was well received and reviewed by the Irish Times. Jones’s passion is writing literary fiction that attempts to understand mankind’s never-ending battles with irony, tragedy, blatant contradiction, and the anomalies of love. Such is the focus of ‘The Crossing’, a stand-alone sequel to ‘The Angel’s Lamp’, his first novel. He studied under such notables as William Hoffman, a best-selling author, and years later at U.C.L.A. under Leonardo Bercovici, a highly regarded screenwriter.

Twitter: https://twitter.com/ashby_jones

Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Ashby-Jones/e/B01N2YR769/ref=dp_byline_cont_pop_ebooks_1

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/14394032.Ashby_Jones

Buy Link: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1592110894/ref=dbs_a_def_rwt_bibl_vppi_i1


Giveaway!

Ashby Jones will be awarding a $10 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

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Book Blast: Talk of Tokyo by Heather Hallman



This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Heather Hallman will be awarding a $25 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

CAREFUL WITH YOUR WORDS

1897 Tokyo is no different than anywhere else in the world: men are exploiting women. Specifically, Western men are exploiting Japanese women, and Suki Malveaux holds no punches in her condemnation of their behavior in her weekly column in the Tokyo Daily News.

Suki knows firsthand when Western men arrive at Tokyo Bay there’s only one outcome for Japanese women: a child and new mother left behind as nothing more than discarded shrapnel from the heartless war on love.

Griffith Spenser is her latest target. He’s been seen with Natsu Watanabe, one of Tokyo’s esteemed war widows. Under full anonymity of the moniker “The Tokyo Tattler,” Suki makes sure Griffith knows exactly why his behavior with Natsu won’t be tolerated.

Away from her Japanese mask as a columnist, Suki never intended to meet the cad. When he seeks her out to hire as a tutor for his niece and nephew, she’s faced with seeing him day in and day out without him ever knowing who she really is.

Caught in her struggle for anonymity so she can keep battling for women’s rights, Suki’s about to learn the full impact of her words on the people behind the story, especially on Griff.

Read an Excerpt

Tokyo 1897

Foreign Quarter of Tsukiji

“The door is over here,” a man called from the house.

Had Emperor Mutsuhito been standing on the front porch, Suki wouldn’t have been more surprised. The irate gentleman she’d been expecting was looking at her with an expression of mild amusement. Up to now, she’d only caught glimpses of the incorrigible rake in passing. Closer examination revealed an angular jawline that an aspiring journalist might wish to trace with her finger and cheekbones ordinarily found on statues of world-conquering kings. Pillow-like lips, one touch of which would make a woman’s insides melt, were already having that very effect on her.

Griffith Spenser was downright handsome. But not in a way that made Suki swoon into the azalea bushes. A crease lined the middle of his chin, and his nose could be described as a bit wide, his brow as a bit too high. The caramel-colored hair atop his head hadn’t been set with a pomade but permitted its thick waves, adding a few inches of unruly height to the already tall, lean gentleman.

Given his reputation, she should have been prepared for a strong dose of masculine appeal. But her head felt light and airy, and her breath had all but disappeared. In its place, a bubbling sensation portended a spell of the giggles. Gripping her satchel, she took in enough air to restore her powers of reason. Unless she got to work, Spenser was going to be the instrument of her undoing. Fortunately, she knew his weakness. Like most foreign men who arrived on Japan’s shores, Spenser was enamored with the nation’s beauties. And although her chignon had loosened to lopsidedness, and her kimono bore the marks of a full day’s teaching, and she was, in fact, only half-Japanese, she could muster enough charm to make Spenser reconsider his plans.

About the Author:
Heather Hallman writes witty, sensual, contest-winning romances set in Meiji-era Japan (1868-1912). She is the author of the Tokyo Whispers series that includes Scandals of Tokyo and Talk of Tokyo.

She is fluent in Japanese language, history, and culture, and earned a doctoral degree in cultural anthropology based on fieldwork research in Japan. She lives in Tokyo with her professor husband and two young daughters. In her free time, she can be found translating ancient Japanese poetry and observing the passing of seasons while sipping green tea. Just kidding, she has no free time. But she does watch something that makes her laugh while she does the dishes.

Perennial obsessions include the weather forecast (she checks three different apps at least three times a day, as no single app can be trusted), Baltimore Ravens football (hometown obsession), and making smoothies that taste like candy bars.

Feel free to chat her up about any of her obsessions, or, even better, about historical Japan—any era is fine, she loves them all. She also enjoys exchanging book recommendations, discussions about the craft of romance writing, and stories about life in present-day Tokyo.

Website
Goodreads
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Buy links for Talk of Tokyo:

Boroughs Publishing Group
Amazon
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Blog Tour: Flower Girl by Merida Johns

BookCover_Flower Girl _ebook coverTitle: Flower Girl

Author: Merida Johns

Genre: Women’s Fiction, Family Life Fiction, Women’s Domestic Life Fiction, Psychological Fiction

Blurb:

Everyone wants to believe they can hold on to their anchor, the light of their North Star, and live their truth . . . Suzanna Jordan did too until she fell for a man with a movie-star presence and a dark alter ego. Losing hope of salvaging her life and gaining her freedom, an unlikely source serves up a platter of just desserts that even Suzanna’s treacherous abuser might not evade.


Excerpt:

WEDNESDAY, JUNE 13, 1984

It’s five o’clock in the morning. A waterfall of worries washes over me, but one remains, one I cannot ignore, one that means my life or death—do I have the courage to stop this nightmare?

I hear muffled voices and hasty footsteps fading away in the distance. My crisis, already old news to them, cataloged on a forgotten document. They have abandoned me and left me alone with my fear.

Rolling to my side, my legs dangle off the bed, and gravity pulls my five-foot-five, slender body toward the floor. My feet rebel. They scream and cramp in pain as they hit the cold cement. My insides shake, and my body wobbles. My eyes blur, and my hands reach out to find the bed. I steady myself and count under my breath, “One, two, three . . .” The agonizing muscle spasms in my feet start to unwind.

My world plays in slow motion. My eyes drift across the brackish-beige walls, swamp-green curtain, stainless steel instruments, and electronic gadgets—my stomach knots, my heart falls, my mouth goes dry. Helplessness hits me like an animal in a snare.

I spot my possessions, swathed in clear plastic, in the chair’s seat in the corner of the room. I hobble over and open the bag and poke through it—a Victoria’s Secret midnight-blue lace bra, an OSU red T-shirt, a pair of Gloria Vanderbilt denim pants, a Coach purse, and white Reeboks. I loosen the ties of the rumpled steel-gray gown; it slips off and falls to the floor. Dressing in fancy lingerie is absurd, so I toss it on the chair and throw on the shirt and jeans.

I look down at my sneakers and stop. In my mind, I see my husband’s squinting eyes and hear his haunting disapproval. Quit wiggling your feet over the counters of your damn shoes, Suzanna. You’ll ruin them! I shake my head, clench my jaw, and disobey.

I have no strength to bend over and tie the shoelaces. Jonathan would have a nasty comment about this, too. I ignore him. My eyes close in victory. “Cherish every step. Each is a grand slam toward deliverance.”

My fingers run through my disheveled hair, soaked with sweat—my muscles loosen, my brain fog lifts, and the ache behind my forehead fades.

I pull back the curtain circling the bed and grimace—the overhead lights jar me. I pump myself up—One, two, three, go. I take off.

I shuffle through the corridor between the beds bordering the room and reach the doorway to the waiting area. If people are here, I do not notice them. My eyes fix on the escape at the end of the room—the pulsating red exit sign. The floor-to-ceiling doors open, allowing my aching body to limp toward daybreak. The heavy morning breeze hits my face, and the sickening, sterile scent covering me blows away. I clutch my heart and silently sob, Thank God I’m alive.

But the joy vaporizes into the humid air. The war has only begun. Clutching for courage, I console myself. You’ve gotten this far. You can make it! You can live your truth.

I look up above the horizon, and I see it! There’s my North Star, its five points shimmering in the dawn and guiding me toward my purpose—But before I can help others be their best, I must help myself be my best.

Outside the sterile walls of a hospital emergency room, I hold my own. I put a stake in the ground. I swear that the fight to flee my abuser’s snare, save my life, and follow the guidance of my North Star is worth it.


mcm merida 9890-705-1053About the Author:

Merida Johns writes about the human experience—that often is messy—and how ordinary people tackle challenges, live through sorrow and betrayal, struggle with doubt, but despite this, gather the strength to act on their aspirations and achieve flourishing lives.

“My insight into the power of fiction came during a conference call in late 2017 with a group of fellow life coaches when I asked, ‘What would it be like to help people achieve a flourishing life through storytelling instead of another self-help book?’ 

After that phone call, I got started answering that question. Almost three years later, the result was my debut novel Blackhorse Road, a heartfelt story of womanhood and the power of choice, gratitude, and forgiveness that was published July 21, 2020, by Coffee Cup Press. Now, I’m thrilled about the upcoming release Flower Girl—a story of a woman who must make sweeping changes in her life to live her truth.

Before writing fiction, I was a professor and author of health informatics and leadership textbooks. Later, I put my experience to use as a leadership coach, focusing on helping women break the glass ceiling and fulfill their leadership and economic potential. 

My husband and I reside in the beautiful Midwest countryside. This is where I find the serenity and space for bringing to life the stories about everyday people who face and overcome extraordinary challenges by finding and following their North Star.

https://www.MeridaJohnsAuthor.com 

Twitter:  @MLJohnsAuthor

FB:  https://facebook.com/MeridaJohnsAuthor

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/meridajohns


Giveaway!

Merida Johns will be awarding a $30 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

 

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Book Blast: Indecent by Darcy Burke



This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Darcy Burke will be awarding an ebook copy of book 1 of the Phoenix Club series, IMPROPER, to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

If Bennet St. James, the Viscount Glastonbury, doesn’t find a bride with a sizeable dowry, he’ll be in the poorhouse along with his interminable number of female relatives—all of whom he loves but are a drain on the negative fortune his father left when he died of a broken pocketbook. Desperate, he hatches a scheme to snare an heiress only to be foiled by a most vexing and alluring—and unfortunately equally destitute—paid companion.

Lady’s companion Prudence Lancaster is single-minded about finding her mother and filling in the missing pieces of her life. But a villainous viscount interrupts her plans, and his surprising charm and understanding tempts her in the most indecent ways. Soon, she’s dreaming of the future instead of wallowing in the past.

But when Bennet shares a dark secret, her hopes are dashed. For he won’t break the promise he made to his family, even if it means losing the greatest love he’s ever known.

Read an Excerpt

Prudence sank down beside him on his injured side. “Does it hurt?”

“Yes.”

“Did you lose consciousness?” she asked. “You didn’t move for a moment.”

His brow furrowed, then he winced. “I don’t think so, but I’m not sure. Everything happened so fast. All I could see was that branch coming straight down toward you. If anything had happened to you…” He closed his eyes and pressed his lips together until they whitened.

“Nothing happened, save my sudden need for a bath.”

He laughed and winced again.

“No more laughing,” she admonished.

“Then stop being witty and charming.” He opened one eye. “If you can, which I daresay you can’t.”

“Nonsense. I’ll be ruthless in my care of you.”

His other eye opened, and he regarded her with a heat that shocked and thrilled her. “Promise?”

About the Author:
Darcy Burke is the USA Today Bestselling Author of sexy, emotional historical and contemporary romance. Darcy wrote her first book at age 11, a happily ever after about a swan addicted to magic and the female swan who loved him, with exceedingly poor illustrations.

A native Oregonian, Darcy lives on the edge of wine country with her guitar-strumming husband, artist daughter, and imaginative son who will almost certainly out-write her one day (that may be tomorrow).

They’re a crazy cat family with two Bengal cats, a small, fame-seeking cat named after a fruit, an older rescue Maine Coon with attitude to spare, and a collection of neighbor cats who hang out on the deck and occasionally venture inside. You can find Darcy at a winery, in her comfy writing chair, or binge-watching TV with the family.

Her happy places are Disneyland, Labor Day weekend at the Gorge, Denmark, and anywhere in the UK—so long as her family is there too.

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Book Blast: Scandals by Tokyo by Heather Hallman



This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Heather Hallman will award a $25 Amaon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via Rafflecopter. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

ENJOY THIS PREQUEL TO THE TOKYO WHISPERS SERIES

In the Foreign Quarter of Tsukiji, Tokyo, Japan, Victorian England is alive and well. Manners and etiquette are as valuable as gossip and deceit. Men are more rakish than ever – so far from home, societal rules seem to be relaxed. But courting young women still requires a deft hand, a smart wit, and a man with something to offer.

INTERNATIONAL SCANDAL

Intent on being an international journalist of repute, Evelyn Prescott will do what it takes to make her mark.

It doesn’t hurt that her father has built a newspaper empire, but finding a scandal in Japan is no easy task.

As much as she hates to admit it, she is forced to meet with the owner of the Tokyo Daily News, Ned Taylor, also an Englishman.

Ned holds a deep-rooted dislike of Evelyn’s father’s approach to journalism, and Ned, a notorious rake, pushes her to see just how far Evelyn is prepared to go to get her story.

From Reedsy Discovery: “Written as a prequel novelette to her forthcoming Tokyo Whispers series, “Scandals of Tokyo” drops readers into the immigrant quarter of Meiji era Tokyo, with hints of all of the glitz, the temptation, and the salacious gossip one could wish. At just under 30 pages, Hallman has a lot of ground to cover, introducing characters and a world that will be expanded on in future novels, but if “Scandals” is just a taste of this series, then it’s going to be huge.

Lovingly researched and brilliantly detailed, Hallman knows the place and time she’s writing about and it shows! Turn of the century Tokyo is alive and well on her pages and in her characters, and it is certain to delight.”


Read an Excerpt

Tokyo 1896
Foreign Quarter of Tsukiji

Several matrons strolled towards the balustrade, their chatter enveloped in the rustling of silk skirts and clattering of heels against the terrace flagstones. Aunt Prissy warbled an evening greeting to some of them, which they returned in kind. Over the course of their residence at the Hotel Metropolis, she’d become friendly with most of the guests. As the women walked away, Aunt Prissy offered another large yawn from behind her fan.

“Really, you should retire. I’ll stay a bit longer on the terrace. I’m too fidgety to join you.” Evelyn’s gratitude for her aunt’s permissiveness as chaperone had never been greater, but she was determined to speak with a certain charming gentleman this evening, and the conversation would proceed more smoothly if Aunt Prissy wasn’t taking part.

“I perfectly understand, dear Evie. Better you fidget on the terrace. It’s quite windy tonight. Do beware of catching a chill. Shall I bring you a wrap?” Even at the end of August, summer’s heat held Tokyo in its grip. Night brought a modicum of relief, but the breezes off Tokyo Bay remained sultry.

Evelyn declined the offer and kissed Aunt Prissy good night. As the swish of her aunt’s skirts faded, Evelyn contemplated her target.

Ned Taylor was her last hope.

She hadn’t wanted to use the letter she carried, but she’d been in Tokyo for over a month and still didn’t have a scandalous story she could send to Papa. Most of her time had been spent convalescing from a summer malady she’d picked up a few days after arriving and chasing a baroness through the countryside for a scandal-worthy headline. She’d inquired around the foreign quarter as to the reputations of its prominent residents, but all her efforts had amounted to was unsubstantiated rumours and trivial innuendo.

Evelyn had no choice but to present Mr Taylor with a request from her papa he couldn’t ignore.

About the Author:
Heather Hallman writes witty, sensual, contest-winning romances set in Meiji-era Japan (1868-1912). She is the author of the Tokyo Whispers series that includes Scandals of Tokyo and Talk of Tokyo.

She is fluent in Japanese language, history, and culture, and earned a doctoral degree in cultural anthropology based on fieldwork research in Japan. She lives in Tokyo with her professor husband and two young daughters. In her free time, she can be found translating ancient Japanese poetry and observing the passing of seasons while sipping green tea. Just kidding, she has no free time. But she does watch something that makes her laugh while she does the dishes.

Perennial obsessions include the weather forecast (she checks three different apps at least three times a day, as no single app can be trusted), Baltimore Ravens football (hometown obsession), and making smoothies that taste like candy bars.

Feel free to chat her up about any of her obsessions, or, even better, about historical Japan—any era is fine, she loves them all. She also enjoys exchanging book recommendations, discussions about the craft of romance writing, and stories about life in present-day Tokyo.

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Blog Tour: Daughter of the King by Kerry Chaput

Daughter of the KindTitle: Daughter of the King

(Defying the Crown, Book 1)

Author: Kerry Chaput

Blurb:

La Rochelle France, 1661. Fierce Protestant Isabelle is desperate to escape persecution by the Catholic King. Isabelle is tortured and harassed, her people forced to convert to the religion that rules the land. She risks her life by helping her fellow Protestants, which is forbidden by the powers of France. She accepts her fate — until she meets a handsome Catholic soldier who makes her question everything.

She fights off an attack by a nobleman, and the only way to save herself is to flee to the colony of Canada as a Daughter of the King. She can have money, protection and a new life — if she adopts the religion she’s spent a lifetime fighting. She must leave her homeland and the promises of her past. In the wild land of Canada, Isabelle finds that her search for love and faith has just begun. 

Based on the incredible true story of the French orphans who settled Canada, Daughter of the King is a sweeping tale of one young woman’s fight for true freedom. Kerry Chaput brings the past to life, expertly weaving a gripping saga with vivid historical details. Jump back in time on a thrilling adventure with an unforgettable heroine.

Trigger Warnings:

Violence, sexual assault


Review:

fivestars

An immensely intense read of a time when people were persecuted for merely worshipping the wrong way, Daughter of the King follows courageous Isabelle from the streets of France during the reign of the Sun King, to the new territories of Canada where she seeks to find her own path. I thoroughly enjoyed this novel and I am eagerly awaiting the next installment to follow Isabelle’s journey as she takes back her sense of self. Well-worth the read for historical fiction fans!


Buy Links:

Read for free with #KindleUnlimited subscription.

Universal Buy Link: https://books2read.com/u/3nE9ze

Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B09CJNJX1K

Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B09CJNJX1K

Amazon CA: https://www.amazon.ca/dp/B09CJNJX1K

Amazon AU: https://www.amazon.com.au/dp/B09CJNJX1K


Kerry ChaputAbout the Author:

Born in California wine country, Kerry Chaput began writing shortly after earning her Doctorate degree. Her love of storytelling began with a food blog and developed over the years to writing historical fiction novels. Raised by a teacher of US history, she has always been fascinated by tales from our past and is forever intrigued by the untold stories of brave women. She lives in beautiful Bend, Oregon with her husband, two daughters, and two rescue pups. She can often be found on hiking trails or in coffee shops. 

Social Media Links:

Website: https://kerrywrites.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/chaputkerry

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/KerryChaputAuthor

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/kerrywrites

BookBub: https://www.bookbub.com/profile/kerry-chaput

Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Kerry-Chaput/e/B08123S61Z

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/19751692.Kerry_Chaput


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Blog Tour: Sisters of the Sweetwater Fury by Kinley Bryan

Sisters of the Sweetwater Fury CoverTitle: Sisters of the Sweetwater Fury 

Author: Kinley Bryan

Blurb:

Three sisters. Two Great Lakes. One furious storm.

Based on actual events…

It’s 1913 and Great Lakes galley cook Sunny Colvin has her hands full feeding a freighter crew seven days a week, nine months a year. She also has a dream—to open a restaurant back home—but knows she’d never convince her husband, the steward, to leave the seafaring life he loves.In Sunny’s Lake Huron hometown, her sister Agnes Inby mourns her husband, a U.S. Life-Saving Serviceman who died in an accident she believes she could have prevented. Burdened with regret and longing for more than her job at the dry goods store, she looks for comfort in a secret infatuation.

Two hundred miles away in Cleveland, youngest sister Cordelia Blythe has pinned her hopes for adventure on her marriage to a lake freighter captain. Finding herself alone and restless in her new town, she joins him on the season’s last trip up the lakes.On November 8, 1913, a deadly storm descends on the Great Lakes, bringing hurricane-force winds, whiteout blizzard conditions, and mountainous thirty-five-foot waves that last for days. Amidst the chaos, the women are offered a glimpse of the clarity they seek, if only they dare to perceive it.


Excerpt:

Lake Huron

That afternoon waves continued to rock the Titus Brown, though not calamitously so. By three o’clock the Old Man still hadn’t come aft for his meal. Normally Cleve might be the one to take something forward for the captain, but he was chopping vegetables for that evening’s shepherd’s pie. Sunny would take care of it. After putting a couple of sandwiches, some pudding, and fruit in a basket, she went to tell Herb where she was going.

He was in the mess room, a spartan space with two long tables surrounded by stools, all bolted to the deck. Several crew members gathered at one table. Herb sat with his back to the doorway, drinking coffee and recounting a youthful misadventure he’d had with his brothers. The man’s nostalgia for his childhood knew no bounds. There was no need to interrupt his trip down memory lane.

Carrying the basket of food, Sunny went out onto the spar deck. The sky had fully clouded over now, and appeared as if dusk, although it was barely three o’clock in the afternoon. The waves were as high as they’d been at Harbor Beach, maybe higher. The Titus Brown had about ten feet of freeboard, and with growing trepidation she watched the waves nearly spill over the starboard gunwales. She should have done this earlier. In any case, Captain Hanna needed to eat.

Despite the boat’s rolling, her balance was good. Her heartbeat quickened as she clipped herself to the starboard lifeline. If a wave washed her over the side, heaven forbid, she would dangle from the cable until somebody hoisted her on deck and though she’d be terrified out of her wits, she wouldn’t drown.

She squinted against the snow flurries and began to tread the long straight path toward the bow. She would have to cross more than a football field’s length of flat deck before she reached the forecastle. The winds were coming strong and loud out of the northeast. A gust of arctic wind struck her face, so cold and fierce that, for a panicked second, she couldn’t breathe.

With her right hand gripping the lifeline, she continued forward, shifting her weight as the boat rolled, watching the waves as they rose ever closer to deck level. She was halfway to the forecastle when a tremendous wave—twice the size of those nearly breaching the gunwales—reached up from the lake’s surface and smashed into the wheelhouse on the starboard side. She inhaled sharply and watched, awestruck. Moments later the force of the blow reverberated in the metal deck beneath her feet.

Sunny knew the strength of water. An icy fear spread through her limbs, rooting her to the deck. She ought to retreat. Even if she did make it forward the captain wouldn’t want to see her in the wheelhouse when he was dealing with rogue waves like that one. And he might not let her return aft if he deemed it too dangerous. Snowflakes whipped about her furiously. She shifted her weight to steady herself as the freighter rolled from starboard to port and back again. What had she been thinking, coming out in this?

“Mrs. Colvin! Get back here!”

The gravelly voice came from the boilerhouse behind her. It was the bosun.

“It’s too dangerous!” the bosun shouted. “Get back now!”

The worry in his voice scared her more than anything. If the typically unflappable bosun was fearful, then she was in real danger. Yes, she would go back. Without another thought Sunny turned and started for the boilerhouse, more quickly now, all the while adjusting her weight to match the rolling of the ship and readying herself for a tremendous wave to crash over the deck as it had the wheelhouse. With a singleness of focus she watched the deck in front of her meet her feet, her vision obscured by the thick snowflakes whipping past.

In her peripheral vision a big wave approached. An awed terror surged in her chest. Even if she ran as fast as she could, it was going to hit before she reached the boilerhouse. Sunny planted her feet on the deck, bent her knees, and clung to the steel cable, her heart racing. In mere seconds the wave closed in. It broke several feet over the starboard gunwales. Freezing spray stung her face and thick water pushed hard against her. She held herself firm against the force of the water, and when it had finally rushed past her, she was still standing, holding her breath. She exhaled shakily and hurried on. Seas on the Great Lakes were short—there would be little time before the next one.


Buy Links:

Universal Link: https://books2read.com/sweetwaterfury

Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B09HY4P5ZB

Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B09HY4P5ZB

Amazon CA: https://www.amazon.ca/gp/product/B09HY4P5ZB

Amazon AU: https://www.amazon.com.au/gp/product/B09HY4P5ZB

Barnes and Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/sisters-of-the-sweetwater-fury-kinley-bryan/1140325821

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/gb/en/ebook/sisters-of-the-sweetwater-fury

iBooks: https://books.apple.com/gb/book/sisters-of-the-sweetwater-fury/id1589941489


Kinley BryanAbout the Author:

Kinley Bryan is an Ohio native who counts numerous Great Lakes captains among her ancestors. Her great-grandfather Walter Stalker was captain of the four-masted schooner Golden Age, the largest sailing vessel in the world when it launched in 1883. Kinley’s love for the inland seas swelled during the years she spent in an old cottage on Lake Erie. She now lives with her husband and children on the Atlantic Coast, where she prefers not to lose sight of the shore. Sisters of the Sweetwater Fury is her first novel.


Social Media Links:

Website: kinleybryan.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/kinleybauthor

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/kinleybryanauthor/

Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Kinley-Bryan/e/B09J5GWDLX

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/59240907


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