Category Archives: Books

December Book Giveaway from N. N. Light’s Book Heaven

book giveaway

Once again, I’m taking part in N. N. Light’s Book Heaven book giveaway!

Want to find a new writer, learn what novels some of your favorite authors are reading, or find new book reviewer and blogger recommendations? Visit https://www.nnlightsbookheaven.com/literary-giveaway-portal  to enter this new multi-author giveaway. All genres are included whether it’s novels from debuting authors to award-winning/bestselling authors with multiple books and/or series. The best part — it’s all free for readers to enter, as authors are generously donating copies of their books as well as other prizes each month to help find new fans and build up their reading communities. I’m excited to participate in this month’s giveaway and can’t wait to share with you all that will be offered this month and moving forward. You never know which surprising authors might just show up on the list this year!

Here is a list of the books on offer this month:

e-copy of Tied Up With Strings by Madeline McEwan

e-copy of Three Lessons in Seduction by Sofie Darling

e-copy of Too Good to be True by Livia Quinn

e-copy of Debriefing the Dead (Book 1 of The Dead Series) by Kerry Blaisdell

e-copy of The Cauldron Stirred (Guardians of Erin Book 1) by Judith Sterling

e-copy of Arresting Mason by Amber Daulton

e-copy of The Queen of Paradise Valley by Cat Dubie

e-copy of The Mystery of Flight 2222 by Thomas Neviaser

e-copy of Once Broken by D. M. Hamblin

e-copy of A Debt to the Devil by D. M. Hamblin

e-copy of The Kitchen Imps by A. L. Butcher (Smashwords voucher)

e-copy of The Colony and The Last City by RM Gilmour

5 e-copy of Angelica by Clabe Polk

2 autographed print copy of Erin’s Gift plus swag generously donated by Nancy Fraser (US/Canada only)

e-copy of Life Sucks After You Die by Crystal-Rain Love

e-copy of Dickensen Academy by Christine Grabowski

audiobook copy of Rescue Love by Melissa Keir (US/Canada only)

e-copy of To Save a Lady by Patricia Preston (US only)

2 e-copy of Cinderella Busted by Petie McCarty

print copy of Sweet Seduction by Janet Lane Walters (US/Canada only)

autographed print copy of Seventeen Days by Linda Griffin

e-copy of It Happened on Dufferin Terrace by Melanie Robertson-King

e-copy of Dreamtime Sensuality by David Russell

e-copy of Romeo Vs. Juliet (Descendants of Time Book 1) by Laura Hogg (US only)

Enter the rafflecopter giveaway below for your chance to win!

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CURL UP WITH A BOOK GIVEAWAY!

CURL UP

As winter approaches in the Northern Hemisphere, my inner bookaholic rejoices because that means there’s more time to read. There’s nothing better than curling up with a good book. N. N. Light has gathered both new releases and backlist in this giveaway that’s sure to please any booklover. Free e-copy, print and audio books are just waiting for readers to indulge in. You can even enter one of mine. Enter below and good luck!

Literary Giveaway Portal:  https://www.nnlightsbookheaven.com/literary-giveaway-portal

Here is the list of titles up for grabs in the December giveaway…

e-copy of Tied Up With Strings by Madeline McEwan

e-copy of Three Lessons in Seduction by Sofie Darling

e-copy of Too Good to be True by Livia Quinn

e-copy of Debriefing the Dead (Book 1 of The Dead Series) by Kerry Blaisdell

e-copy of The Cauldron Stirred (Guardians of Erin Book 1) by Judith Sterling

e-copy of Arresting Mason by Amber Daulton

e-copy of The Queen of Paradise Valley by Cat Dubie

e-copy of The Mystery of Flight 2222 by Thomas Neviaser

e-copy of Once Broken by D. M. Hamblin

e-copy of A Debt to the Devil by D. M. Hamblin

e-copy of The Kitchen Imps by A. L. Butcher (Smashwords voucher)

e-copy of The Colony and The Last City by RM Gilmour

5 e-copy of Angelica by Clabe Polk

2 autographed print copy of Erin’s Gift plus swag generously donated by Nancy Fraser (US/Canada only)

e-copy of Life Sucks After You Die by Crystal-Rain Love

e-copy of Dickensen Academy by Christine Grabowski

audiobook copy of Rescue Love by Melissa Keir (US/Canada only)

e-copy of To Save a Lady by Patricia Preston (US only)

2 e-copy of Cinderella Busted by Petie McCarty

print copy of Sweet Seduction by Janet Lane Walters (US/Canada only)

autographed print copy of Seventeen Days by Linda Griffin

e-copy of It Happened on Dufferin Terrace by Melanie Robertson-King

e-copy of Dreamtime Sensuality by David Russell

e-copy of Romeo Vs. Juliet (Descendants of Time Book 1) by Laura Hogg (US only)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Trick or Treat! It’s binge-read giveaway time

trick or treat

Trick or Treat! It’s binge-read giveaway time.

Want to find a new writer, learn what novels some of your favourite authors are reading, or find new book reviewer and blogger recommendations? Visit https://www.nnlightsbookheaven.com/literary-giveaway-portal  to enter this new multi-author giveaway. All genres are included whether it’s novels from debuting authors to award-winning/bestselling authors with multiple books and/or series. The best part — it’s all free for readers to enter, as authors are generously donating copies of their books as well as other prizes each month to help find new fans and build up their reading communities. I’m excited to participate in this month’s giveaway and can’t wait to share with you all that will be offered this month and moving forward. You never know which surprising authors might just show up on the list this year!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

#TellaFairyTaleDay

Today is…

#TellAFairyTaleDay!

Never heard of it before? Well, you can read more about it here. The stories can cover everything from Grimm to urban legends.

Scottish legends, myths, and mystery are found in A Shadow in the Past, so what better time to celebrate it?

Even the cover exudes fairytale mystery. Once upon a time…

#TellAFairyTaleDay
cover by Aidana WillowRaven

Nineteen-year-old Sarah Shand finds herself thrust back into the past. There she struggles to keep her real identity from a society that finds her comments and ideas strange and her speech and actions forward, unlike Victorian women. When Sarah verbally confronts confining social practices, including arranged marriages, powerful enemies commit her to a lunatic asylum. After falling in love with the handsome Laird of Weetshill, Robert Robertson, she must decide whether to find her way back to her own time or to remain in the past with him.

Available from the publisher 4RV Publishing or amazon

And then there’s the sequel … Shadows From Her Past

A cruel twist of fate returns Sarah Shand to her life in the year 2010 where she discovers she is a patient in Aberdeen Royal Infirmary and has been for months. Struggling to come to terms with the situation, she insists she belongs in the year 1886 at Weetshill mansion with her husband the Laird, Robert Robertson, and adopted daughter, Jenny. Her family and consultant physician try to convince her she was dreaming or hallucinating but Sarah refuses to believe them.

Robert, who has experienced strange things at the stone circle at Gordonsfield Farm, somehow breaks through the time-space continuum and visits Sarah in his future. He pleads with her to return to the past but his cryptic messages only confuse her.

Medical student, David Robb, himself a descendant of the Robertsons of Weetshill, befriends Sarah. Fascinated with her stories of the past, after her release from the hospital, he takes Sarah to meet his parents, the current owners of the mansion and surrounding land.

This year, the winter solstice and lunar eclipse occur on the same day. Will a trip to the stone circle during this combination of events create the magic Sarah needs to return to 1886 and her family there? Or will she remain in the present and make a life with David?

Available to buy from amazon.

Do you have a favourite fairy tale? I’d love to know what is is. Tell me in the comments.

Organization is essential when travelling…

… no matter where you’re going – business, pleasure – organization is the key. It’s taken us the better part of the summer to come up with the way to pack the car so that everything fits in for our assorted “goods and chattels” that we haul to and from outdoor events.

black beauty

If not Black Beauty (pictured above), it’s the older sibling “Big Red” a 2006 version of the same car – 2-door Chevy Cobalt – that we use to go to the markets.

Other vendors have told me, they can’t believe how much I can get in to such a small space. I say the vehicle is just like Mary Poppins’ magic carpet bag.

This past Sunday when we loaded up to come home from the Mallorytown Country Market, I documented each step in the process. And yes, we used Big Red. It’s home every day and can be kept partially loaded during the week as I use Black Beauty for my work commute. And, hubby is retired so he came up with a way that he can get all the assorted accoutrements to fit in the trunk (boot) of this one.

organization

 

First in, the two boxes of canopy weights. They look much better than bags of bricks, water bottles, and any other heavy object you can anchor yourself down with. (The bottle of windshield washer fluid is a permanent fixture.) Setting up and tearing down does create some mess… dried dirt from parking lots (car parks) and bits of dried grass and leaves from natural settings.

organization

First in is the folded six-foot table.

organization

Followed by the smaller four-foot one. I know you’re thinking, why not put it in with the handle where you can reach it. We’ve tried turning it the 90 degrees and the rest of the stuff just doesn’t fit.

Add the smaller totes of books…

organization

organization

Followed by the table clothes and two of the larger totes. Keep watching… it gets better.

organization

Add another tote of promotional material, containing postcards, business cards, bookmarks and my assorted easels and business card holders for price tags etc., (even some WD40 for when the canopy gets a bit stiff)… but we’re not done yet. My author banner is tucked in there nicely on one side and so is my illuminated Secret of Hillcrest House sign.

organization

Add the box of tools (screwdrivers, lock nut remover for the wheels, and other assorted goods and sundries, most importantly the cash box) and that’s the trunk packed. Pretty amazing, eh?

Moving on to the back seat…

organization

There’s a folded tarp, and one of the white side panels for my “Wonderful White” canopy, my lovely squishy, anti-fatigue mats for venues on pavement, and two folding chairs.

organization

Fold up the canopy and shove it in on top of the chairs. Even my funky “bag holder” a piece of 4×4 with coat hooks on each side has a place…

organization

And finally, my purse and bag that has all my extra goodies in it (batteries and cables for my debit machine, wet wipes, safety pins, ledger that I keep track of my sales and mileage…)

This past Sunday, there was even room for a bag of corn on the cob and my track shoes (after Saturday’s rain, I wanted to be prepared for wet grass).

 

 

Today is Book Lovers Day!

Happy Book Lovers Day!

This unique holiday can also be celebrated on the first Saturday in November. So why not celebrate it both days?

book

bookHardcover, paperback, ebook. What’s your preference? Both have their advantages. Ebooks are usually less expensive than a paperback and definitely more so than a hardcover.

One hundred books on an e-reader weigh far less than the same number of physical books and take up a lot less space – better for travel.

For the person who likes mystery and suspense with romance…

book

When a contemporary teen is transported back in time to the Victorian era, she becomes A Shadow in the Past…

Nineteen year old Sarah Shand finds herself in Victorian Era Aberdeenshire, Scotland and has no idea how she got there. Her last memory is of being at the stone circle on the family farm in the year 2010.

Despite having difficulty coming to terms with her situation, Sarah quickly learns she must keep her true identity a secret. Still, she feels stifled by the Victorians’ confining social practices, including arranged marriages between wealthy and influential families, and confronts them head on then suffers the consequences.

When Sarah realizes she has fallen in love with the handsome Laird of Weetshill, she faces an agonizing decision. Does she try to find her way back to 2010 or remain in the past with the man she loves?

Buy links for A Shadow in the Past can be found here.

~~~~~~~~~~

For those who prefer short stories…

book

The Consequences Collection is an eclectic compilation of twelve stories ranging from non-fiction through creative non-fiction to pure fiction, in prose and poetry.

The story of a Scottish Home Child is based on fact and told from the child’s point of view; The Mystery Woman of Kinettles is a non-fiction article on the appearance and subsequent disappearance of a woman’s body near the Wellington County House of Industry (Poor House) in 1879 Southwestern Ontario.

Some of these stories are lighter than others, and some might even beg you to leave the lights on.

The Consequences Collection is available for the kindle on all amazon platforms and in epub format at lulu.com

~~~~~~~~~~

A middle grade Christmas novelette…

book

For Tim Frost, Christmas 2011 is a washout. No Santa. No presents. Nothing. His father lost his job when the mill closed and now the family is on the verge of losing their home.

A chance encounter with Nick Kringle, a modern-day Santa Claus teaches Tim that the greatest gift you receive is the gift of giving.

Tim’s Magic Christmas is currently only available in paperback. To find out how to get your copy, contact me via email. Watch for it coming in kindle and epub formats.

~~~~~~~~~~

And a little bit of supernatural with spicy romance set in a wonderfully, spooky haunted house…

secret

Sometimes there’s more to a house than bricks and mortar.

Hillcrest House is one such place. Perched on a cliff in the picturesque town of Angel Falls, there is more to this Victorian mansion than meets the eye. When referring to the house, the locals use the word haunted on a regular basis. Strange visions appear in the windows, especially the second-floor ones over the side porch. Even stranger events take place within its four walls.
Rumour has it, the original owners, Asher and Maggie Hargrave, never left their beloved home. They claim the couple and their family are responsible for driving people away. Over the years, Hillcrest House has changed hands numerous times. No one stays long. Renovations begin then stop and the house is once more abandoned. The latest in this long line of owners is Jessica Maitland.
Will Jessica be the next one to succumb or will she unravel The Secret of Hillcrest House?

Melanie Robertson-King’s latest novel serves up a delightful blend of the supernatural and spicy romance, Lynn L. Clark, author of The Home Child, and Fire Whisperer & Circle of Souls: Two Novellas of the Supernatural, & The Accusers

Intrigue, dark buried secrets, hot romance and a neat twist in the tale make this riveting reading, Sheryl Browne, MA Creative Writing, Choc Lit Author

A fun read that keeps you guessing right up to the surprise ending, Dayna Leigh Cheser, Author of Janelle’s Time, Moria’s Time, Adelle’s Time, & Logan’s Time

 

Praise for The Secret of Hillcrest House

the secret of hillcrest house 3d

5 stars

A fresh start … a blossoming relationship … a haunted house. Melanie Robertson-King’s latest novel has all the earmarks of suspense and steamy romance. It starts with a bang and is filled with supernatural and scary events that create tension in the novel and lead to the final unraveling of the secret of Hillcrest House.

This novel will appeal to lovers of supernatural thrillers, mysteries, and romance! Lynn L. Clark, author of The Home Child, and Fire Whisperer & Circle of Souls: Two Novellas of the Supernatural, & The Accusers

**********

4 starsThe Secret of Hillcrest House is the first book from Melanie Robertson-King I have read. When I read the blurb for the book I was very excited as I love a good haunted house mystery! From the outset, the action starts when we are introduced to Jessica who has just bought Hillcrest House. The sale of the house is slightly unusual in that Jessica buys it from the internet without ever having viewed the house before. This is a decision she soon regrets and her planned move into the house is not going according to plan. There’s just too much to fix! Her first visit to the house sees her get the fright of her life when she sees a face at the window. However, hunky cop Alain is on hand to help a damsel in distress. Jessica, not long out of an unhappy and grief stricken marriage is instantly attracted to Alain who himself has suffered grief at the loss of his wife.

The story moves on at quite a rapid pace and I was able to read the book, which is only about 168 pages, in one sitting. It was perfect for a rainy and dismal Sunday. There was lots of mystery throughout and the ghosts of the past were ever present in Hillcrest House. Jessica is determined to find out what secrets Hillcrest holds and restore it to its former glory but she seems thwarted at every turn.

You can read the entire review at Brook Cottage Books.

**********

Jessica didn’t really know why she had decided to buy Hillcrest House in Eastern Canada, sight unseen, except for the fact it looked just like a house she had sketched many times over. However, on actually seeing inside her new purchase, the work that needed to be done was somewhat of a shock. The physical and financial shock would actually become less shocking in comparison with the number of ex-residents who still appeared to be still living in the house, years after their own deaths. There were secrets to be uncovered that would bring back some of her own most painful memories that preceded the ending of her last relationship. Even the garden wildlife was odd…one specific crow with a white feather really managed to get Jessica’s attention.

Jessica’s attention was also taken by a good looking, in fact very hot, police officer with his own complicated history. Their attraction was magnetic and together they worked to unravel the secrets that Hillcrest House was hiding.

The full review can be found at A Chance to Blog.

**********

While I’m not usually a reader of romantic suspense stories, I did find this a very easy read. Short and succint, I started and finished it within a few hours. The Secret of Hillcrest House had me thinking of Hallmark movies, I could quite easily see this story on screen.

The entire review can be found at Fiction Dreams.

**********

5 starsI’m always interested to see how an author handles the haunted house theme. Ghost stories can sometimes be a bit formulaic in my mind and I was looking for something a little bit different. I’m super-pleased to say there’s much more to Hillcrest House than a wailing woman throwing herself from the turret. I have to admit I was hooked at the first ‘blip of a siren’. Give me a hunk in uniform and I’m sold, particularly if he’s all authority, seemingly abrasive on the outside, but with a tantalising soft centre and essential heroic qualities, as demonstrated when our heroine, Jessica, first glimpses a child’s face at one of the windows. The house is uninhabited. A thorough search by our hero cop, Alain, soon establishes there is no one on the inside. Who is the child? Is his appearance when Jessica arrives some kind of warning? A plea for help from the past? Sheryl Browne, MA Creative Writing, Choc Lit Author

You can read Sheryl’s review in its entirety at Goodreads.

**********

4-5 starsI jumped at the chance to read this, as I love a good ghost story. And this is a Ghost story with a difference, a spice of romance I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough…..I loved it.

In this story we meet Jessica Maitland new owner of Hillcrest house with strange visions appearing in the window of the second floor stranger things happen inside the walls! Non of the owners stay long but will Jessica be able to unravel the dark secret that lies within the house?

You canread the rest of this 4.5 star review at Chelle’s Book Reviews.

**********

5 stars

Jessica Maitland, looking to reboot her life after the death of her baby, and the end of her marriage, bought the old Hillcrest House in Angel Falls via the internet, discovering when she arrived to take possession that it wasn’t quite what the real estate website indicated.

As she set about making her new home livable, strange, and sometimes frightening things happened.

When the house was livable and presentable, more unusual and alarming happenings interrupted a housewarming party.

She started piecing the history of the house together, hoping to find some answers. She learned the Hargrave family had lived in the house in the 1880s. Many locals believed the Hargraves never left the house, and it was they who chased away numerous new owners over the years.

Undeterred, Jessica, who had fallen in love with the house, including those who resided there with her – and a local constable – stayed. Then, one day, she discovered the true Secret of Hillcrest House.

This book is really a fun read. It keeps you guessing about the big secret, right up to the last minute. I would definitely read this book again, and I’d recommend it to friends, and anyone else who enjoys a nice mystery/romance story. I give this book 5-stars. (I was provided with a free copy in exchange for an honest review.) A fun read that keeps you guessing right up to the surprise ending, Dayna Leigh Cheser, Author of Janelle’s Time, Moria’s Time, Adelle’s Time, & Logan’s Time.

**********

5 stars

I really enjoyed this book – part romance and part creepy chiller. The descriptions of the house are so real that I felt as if I was there – perhaps not ideal at 1a.m. when you can’t put the book down but know you won’t sleep! The main characters are lovely, so well depicted and the minor characters are also very real. This will keep you turning the pages and the ending was also unexpected yet finished the book perfectly. I think I went through the whole gamut of emotions as the book is poignant in parts, scary in others and simply romantic as well. A great read! Julie Ryan, Author of Jenna’s Journey, Sophia’s Secret, and Pandora’s Prophecy

**********

4 stars

Although I have to confess to being a romance girl I’m always keen to step out of my comfort zone on occasions and this was one of them. I was drawn into this book from the first page. Jessica Maitland has sunk her savings into Hillcrest House in the small town of Angel Falls. It was too much coincidence that she’d been doodling the exact same house on pads and paper for some time; she had to have it. Having made the purchase without actually looking over the place, she’s shocked to find it in a very dilapidated state. As soon as she steps through the doors things begin to happen. Fuses blow, doors that appear locked are suddenly open, there are apparitions and children’s laughter. And then there are the crows.

You can read the full review at Goodreads.

**********

5 starsI was offered this book to review and I nearly passed on it because I have so many already on my TBR (to be read) pile but the picture on the cover crawled under my skin and I have to say from the first paragraph I was lured in and totally captivated.

Jessica spots an ancient Victorian mansion for sale online and buys it unseen, the house spoke to her and she was of the opinion that she could renovate the dilapidated building and return it to it’s former glory.

However once she begins it becomes apparent there is way more to do than she ever imagined, this house could descend into a money pit just to get it habitable. Unfortunately for Jessica that isn’t her only problem. Weird events begin to occur, she sees apparitions, the atmosphere chills, unexplainable odours stench the building out and the crows arrive. I have to say the crow was one of the eeriest parts of the story for me and so well orchestrated.

Read more of this review at Ali the Dragon Slayer.

**********

5 stars

I really enjoyed this book with its strong heroine, Jessica and gorgeous law enforcer hero, Andre Alain.

When Jessica buys the rundown Victorian House she doesn’t expect to be dealing with anything more than a bit of renovation. Has she got the guts and determination to see this project through to the end, or will she decide that dealing with the secrets encased in this once beautiful home is too much of a challenge for her?

The most ominous thing for me was the insidious crow and its determination that Jessica shouldn’t be moving into the house. I love a good ghost story and a romance and this book gave me both. I thoroughly enjoyed The Secret of Hillcrest House. Melanie Robertson-King keeps a good balance between the romance – loved Andre Alain, the eeriness and downright creepiness with a wonderfully constructed ending. I look forward to reading her next book! Georgina Troy, Author of A Jersey Kiss, A Jersey Affair, A Jersey Dreamboat and A Jersey Bombshell

BUY LINKS

amazon.ca

amazon.com

amazon.co.uk

Barnes and Noble

kobobooks

and

Books a Million

secret of hillcrest house 3d e-reader

 

New book, new clothes, new season…

The new show season has arrived!

new book

It’s been some time since I’ve done an event. A bit rusty getting the tartan throw centered on the table. That coupled with having 4 books to display added to the confusion.

The sign I had for A Shadow in the Past got damaged in transit last year so I have to create a new one. I’m looking at getting a banner made for it and getting the stand to put it in. I have an easel and that’s fine but it does take up a lot of space.

So, the new book – The Secret of Hillcrest House – is on the end at the right in the picture. It was quite bright in the hall, but the picture mounted on foam board behind the books has the windows in the attic cut out and battery-operated LED lights behind them.

The new clothes. I bought the long ‘suede’ vest (as well as a short fringed one) and the white sweater from simons.ca. Ever since being in their store on a trip to Quebec City, I fell in love with their clothing.

new book

new book

new book

The only drawback with the long vest is static cling. And when a body walked, the fringes wrapped around the legs. That’s just a minor detail. The tartan boots were brought out of retirement from last year.

While sales at the Friendly Circle Showcase on Saturday were slow, it was fun to see everyone again and make plans for other events later on in the year.

So a recap of the day. I only sold 2 copies of The Secret of Hillcrest House. When I went through my spiel, I described it as supernatural with ‘spicy’ romance. One of the women said my comment made her giggle.

Before Saturday’s show, I had sold 14 paperbacks of The Secret of Hillcrest House and 10 kindle copies.

If you want to find out more about any of my books, you can find them on my website’s books page.

 

THE DREAM CATCHER by Marie Laval ~ DANCING FOR THE DEVIL TRILOGY – Book 1 #Excerpt #Guestpost

Dream Catcher

The Dream Catcher

by

Marie Laval

DANCING FOR THE DEVIL TRILOGY – Book 1

Dream Catcher

Genre: Historical Romance (mid nineteenth century)

Release Date: 28th Dec 2015

Publisher:  Áccent Press

Can her love heal his haunted heart? – Cape Wrath, Scotland, November 1847.

Bruce McGunn is a man as brutal and unforgiving as his land. Discharged from the army, he is haunted by the spectres of his fallen comrades and convinced he is going mad. And he is running out of time to save his estate from the machinations of Cameron McRae, heir to the McGunn’s ancestral enemies. When the clipper carrying McRae’s new bride is caught in a violent storm and docks at Wrath harbour, Bruce decides to revert to the old ways and hold the clipper and the woman to ransom. However, far from the spoilt heiress he expected, Rose is genuine, funny and vulnerable – a ray of sunshine in the long, harsh winter that has become his life.

Rose is determined to escape Wrath and its proud master – the man she calls McGlum.

Will she be reunited with Cameron McRae, the dazzlingly handsome aristocrat she married after a whirlwind romance in Algiers, or will she risk her heart and her honour to help Bruce discover the truth about his past and solve the brutal murders committed on his land?

 

THE DREAM CATCHER (BOOK 1) Excerpt

A giant stepped in front of her. Dressed in black riding boots, black breeches and riding coat, he was so tall and his shoulders so broad the already dark horizon darkened further.

‘Silence.’

His voice was deep and calm, the voice of a man used to be obeyed. The crowd hushed at once.

He bent down in front of her.

‘Well, well, who do we have here?’

Even though she could hardly see his face, she felt his eyes bore into hers, and it was enough to make her mind go blank.

‘Rose…Rose Saintclair.’

‘Where are the others, your servants, your maids?’

‘I… I don’t have any.’

‘Really? That’s a surprise. All right then, come up.’ He held both his hands out.

She hesitated a moment before placing her hands in his. He pulled her up and she flew straight into his arms, landing with a bump against his broad, hard chest. He was so tall she had to tilt her face all the way back to look at him. Her heart skipped a beat, then started bumping fast and loud.

His eyes were grey and framed by dark eyelashes, his nose straight and strong, his cheekbones high and sharp. Thick black stubble covered his cheeks and chin, and his hair flew around his face, the colour of a raven’s wing. There was something dangerous about him, something reminiscent of a brutal warrior from days long gone by.

She wriggled to free herself but he didn’t let go and his mouth curved into a mocking smile.

‘Well, Fàilte, my sweetheart. ‘I’ll say this for McRae. If there’s one thing the rascal can do, it’s pick his fancy women.’

His hand slid from her waist and he patted her bottom.

Her reaction was instinctive. She swung her arm and lifted her hand to slap him. She didn’t have the chance. Without batting an eyelid he caught her wrist.

‘Steady on, sweetheart. You have a nasty little temper.’

‘And you have no right to insult me in this way, you vile brute,’ she hissed. ‘I am not Lord McRae’s fancy woman, as you so elegantly put it, I’m his wife!’

She had expected at least a shocked response or a groveling apology but he merely smiled.

‘It’s all right, gràidheag, you don’t have to pretend.’

‘Pretend what?’

‘Pretend you’re married to the man. I don’t care if you’re McRae’s mistress or his laundry maid, if you scrub his back or his dirty shirts.’

‘I am telling the truth, you stubborn macaque,’ she shouted in frustration. ‘I married Lord McRae in Algiers four weeks ago.’

‘Please don’t scream quite so loud. I heard you the first time. I just don’t believe you.’

‘What?’

‘First you introduce yourself as Rose Saintclair, now you’re spinning me a tale about being married McRae. Make up your mind, sweetie.’

He glanced at her hand. ‘I don’t see any wedding band on your finger.’

‘That’s because Cameron wanted to keep the wedding a secret. Never mind, I don’t have to explain anything to you. Now let go of me.’

She wriggled to break free, but he was still holding her wrist, leaving her no choice but to kick him hard in the shin with the tip of her boot – the very pointy tip of the fashionable new boots she had made in Algiers.

‘Ouch. Steady on, sweetheart.’

‘Let go of me, you deranged baboon! And stop calling me sweetheart.’

She kicked him again, harder. He muttered something in a strange, guttural language she didn’t understand and let go of her so suddenly she staggered backward and fell on her bottom on the hard, wet cobbles.

Her breath caught in her throat, her heart beat hard, erratic. Tears blurred her vision as people sneered and clapped around her. She knew McRaes and McGunns were enemies, but she had nothing to do with their feud, so why did everybody here seem to hate her so much? And why was the big hairy brute intent on humiliating her and not believing a word she said?

He stepped closer and offered his hand.

‘Come on, now, sweetheart. Let’s start again. I think we got off on the wrong foot.’

He sounded contrite but she wasn’t ready to forgive to forgive him. Ignoring his hand, she scrambled to her feet, and straightened her back. Attack was the best defence, her brother often said, and Lucas knew what he was talking about. He was the best scout in the whole of the Barbary States – or Algeria as the French now called her country.

‘Take me to your master immediately,’ she started in a voice as cold and steady she could manage, ‘so I can ask him to have you whipped for your insolence.’

There was a collective gasp from the people around them. Not looking in the least impressed, the man crossed his arms on his broad chest and arched his eyebrows.

‘Really?’

She took another deep breath.

‘That’s what I do to disrespectful servants on my estate, and I can assure you they stop smirking after five lashes.’ That was an outrageous lie, of course, but no one here was to know.

‘If what you said earlier is true, then I see McRae chose his bride well.’ The man’s eyes were now hard as steel. ‘You and he are indeed a match made in heaven, or in hell. I’m sure you’ll be very happy together.’ He paused. ‘I’m sorry to disappoint you, sweetheart, but I don’t approve of whipping people, or beasts, for that matter.’

‘And I don’t care a fig if you approve or not. It is for your master to decide your punishment, and from what I’ve heard of Lord McGunn, he is neither a patient nor compassionate man.’

He arched his eyebrows. ‘I didn’t know I had such a bad reputation.’

Rose’s heart stopped. He wasn’t… he couldn’t be…

‘I realise I failed to introduce myself. I am Bruce McGunn.’ He bowed his head in a military salute.

‘You are?’ The words came out as a squeak.

His lips stretched into a tight smile that didn’t warm his eyes.

‘At your service, my lady. Now the introductions are over, shall we make our way to the Lodge?’

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FINDING TIME TO WRITE

by Marie Laval

How I fit writing in around family life and work.

I am by no mean the only writer who has to fit their writing around family and work, and I really don’t pretend that I know how to achieve the perfect balance – far from it! With three children (OK, two and one at university), and a full-time teaching job, it can be tricky, frustrating and stressful to find time to write. Some things have to go, like watching television or relaxing on the sofa with a cup of tea chatting about nothing in particular, or again going out with friends at the weekend. I know that most of my friends actually find my life incredibly boring, since the only travelling I do these days is on the internet or in my head!

And then there’s the guilt – the horrible mother’s guilt – because I don’t spend enough time with my children. Because I don’t always listen when they’re telling me about what happened at school or what’s going on in ‘The Next Step’ or ‘Wolf Blood’ – my daughter’s favourite programmes – or  I don’t take them on enough adventures. As a teacher, however, I know that I am incredibly lucky to have the school holidays to catch up with friends and plan days out with children.

So what do I do, or not, to fit my writing in my life?

I write, or to work on my novel every single day, even if it’s just for half an hour at 10pm and I fall asleep at the keyboard.

I hardly watch any television, and rarely for pure enjoyment (that’s how sad I am!). Having said that I recently watched the wonderful series about Prunella Scales’ and her husband Timothy West’ canal boat trips, and that was lovely!

Dream CatcherI take a notebook with me everywhere. It’s incredible how productive a few minutes sitting in the car waiting for the children to get out of school, or their gym, dance, football, rugby etc. training, can be.

I get up very, very early, at weekends and during the holidays, before the children are up and demand to be fed. It’s usually a great time to edit what I wrote the night before.

I have adopted a very relaxed approach to housework, one which I know my mother would totally disapprove of. I used to be obsessive with cleaning and tidying the house. It’s taken me several years and three children to admit defeat. Ironing? If I must, I only iron the front of the clothes. I do most of my shopping online too.

Dream CatcherI try and find some quiet time to think and dream. Since I do not have my own writing shed at the bottom of the garden – one of my dreams, but for that I will need a bigger garden! – I find that going for a walk on my own early in the morning works well. There is also listening to music when I have the house to myself, which is so rare it’s a lovely treat.

Everybody’s family and work commitments are different, so what works for me may not work at all for anybody else. And to be honest, it doesn’t really work all that well anyway. There are days when I am very, very, stressed and grumpy. Ask the man in my life!

ABOUT MARIE LAVAL

Dream Catcher

Originally from Lyon in France, Marie has lived in the beautiful Rossendale Valley, Lancashire, England, for the past few years and likes nothing more than dreaming up romance stories and handsome, brooding heroes. She writes historical and contemporary romance. Her contemporary romance A SPELL IN PROVENCE, as well as her historical romances, ANGEL HEART, together with the award-winning THE LION’S EMBRACE, and the DANCING FOR THE DEVIL Trilogy (which includes THE DREAM CATCHER, BLUE BONNETS and SWORD DANCE) are all published by Áccent Press.

GIVEAWAY

Book 1 in the series

a Rafflecopter giveaway

And the #CONTEST winner is!!!

And the Winner is…

 

#contest

Before I announce the winning title, I want to thank everyone who entered. In the end, I received over 100 submissions! WOW!!! Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would get such a fantastic response.

Here are the suggestions I received from the 26 contest entrants…

The Mystery of Hillcrest House

The Angel Falls Mystery

The Haunting of Hillcrest House

The Haunting Hargraves

Hand of The Hargraves

Caveat Emptor

Visions at the Hillcrest House

Haunted Hillcrest House

Haunted House— Hillcrest

Haunted Angel Falls– Mystery of Hillcrest House

A Walk with the dead

Shadows in the Hillcrest House

Gates of Hell

Screaming Souls

Screaming Souls at Hillcrest House

Midnight Mist

Fallen Angels

Silent Screams

Hargraves on the Hill

Haunted Souls Angel Falls

Mystery of Angel Falls

Angel Falls Haunting

Hillcrest Haunting

Hillcreast haunting

Scotland’s Eerie Hillcreast mansion

Hillcreast, help my kilt!

Echoes from the Past

Secrets of Hillcrest House

Beware of Hillcrest House

Devils at Angel Falls

Demons at Angel Falls

Secrets of Hillcrest House

Shadows at Hillcrest House

The Taming of Hillcrest House

Imprisoned at Hillcrest

The Souls of Hillcrest

The Lost Souls of Hillcrest

Lost Souls at Hillcrest

Unspoken Secrets of/at Hillcrest House

Unspoken Secrets

The Lingering’s

All that Remains or The Remains

The secret of Hillcrest House

Mystery in Angel Falls

Secrets of (from) the past

Whispers from the past

Lost in the future

Alone in the past

Victorian’s Secret

When Angels Fall

The Moon in Hillcrest House

The Deafening Silence of Angel Falls

Haunting Horrors of the House on the Hill

Hillcrest House of Horror

Portal to the Spirit World

Horror Halls

Look Over Your Shoulder

The Haunting Beauty of Hillcrest House

The House of Fear and Beauty

The Hillcrest House Haunting

The Haunting of Hillcrest House

The Haunted House of Angel Falls

Full Moon Gothic

A Rose for Jessica

What Lies Unknown

The Secret of Hillcrest House

The Mystery of Hillcrest House

The Haunting of Hillcrest House

Souls in Waiting

A Past Unearthed

A Past Reclaimed

Jessica’s Folly

The Hargrave Factor

The Haunting of Jessica Maitland

The Hargraves of Hillcrest House

Cliffside Manor

House of the Silver Moon

Jessica’s Dream/Nightmare House

Ghosts of Hillcrest Mansion

A Home Forever

Passage Way of Secrets

Unknown Messages

Hargrave Affair

Hargrave Encounter

Hillcrest Encounter

Fallen Angels Trapped on a Cliff

Fallen Angels in Hillcrest House

Maitland; The Reckoner

Cliff Dwelling Interlopers

Jessica’s Jaunt with Hillcrest

Unwilling Tenants of Hillcrest House

Unholy Occupation of Hillcrest

Unwilling Entrapment at Hillcrest

Hillcrest Manor

The Haunting of Hillcrest

Haunted Hillcrest

We Will Never Leave!

Beyond these Walls

The Ominous Fortress of Hillcrest House

The Ominous Fortress

An Ominous Dynasty

The Chronicles of Hillcrest Place

Unnerving Truth of Hillcrest House

The Unnerving Truth

Here Forever

Moonlight Seduction

Moonlight Desires

Haunted Desires of Hillcrest House

The Seduction of Hillcrest House

And now without any further delay … the grand prize winner (selected by titles received in chronological order) is Greta Krasteva with her title The Secret of Hillcrest House. Congratulations, Greta!

And the random winner among the remaining entrants is Jennifer Rogers!

I will contact you to find out your preferred e-book format (mobi for Kindle, epub for other ereaders, or .pdf).