Banks Brothers' Brides Series, Books, Cover Reveal, Covers, His Penniless Bride, His Yankee Bride, Updates

I have a cover…so now it’s official!

A few days ago, I mentioned that I was planning to write Marjorie and Gabriel’s story. (These are secondary characters from His Yankee Bride.)

Well…now I have NO CHOICE but to write it because I have a a beautiful cover! And it MUST be used, right?

I present to you the cover for His Penniless Bride–Banks Brothers’ Brides, Book 2.5

Red Beauty

 

The plotting has begun and so has the writing. More details coming soon!

Covers, Updates, Writing

New Story on the Horizon!

I know,  I’ve been terrible about blogging for the past year. It’s been very stressful and in a nutshell I haven’t had an easy time of it. I do apologize.

But…on the plus side, I do have a new story (novella) that will be released before the end of the month. My hope is no later than March 24th, and possibly earlier. The book is written and edited and is now in the proofreading stage so it shouldn’t be much longer.

Enough of my blabbing, here’s a little about the book!

Lady Worthe Cover

The last thing Jane Cavanaugh would ever expect is to be married—she is an invalid, after all—but that doesn’t mean she can’t help with her sister’s husband hunt! (Even if it is with a wee bit of reluctance.)

The last thing Gareth, Lord Worthe would ever want to do is to fall in love with his closest friend’s younger sister.

But fate just might have something else in store for these two…

Please note, this novella is approximately 23,500 words.

 

~*~A little note on Passions of a Gentleman I am still working on it, very slowly. I’ve made a tangle of gargantuan proportions with the timeline and sorting it out has been a trick. But I AM still working on it and that should be my next book released. ~*~

Covers, Her Sudden Groom, Story Sample

Sample Sunday ~ Her Sudden Groom

This week’s book is my USA Today Bestseller: Her Sudden Groom.

Sudden_1600x2400 USA copy

I’m using the prologue on this one because I think it sets everything up so well for what to expect of Alex and his father, and just why an unusual sort such as Arid Alex is suddenly in want of a wife.

Watson Estate

April 1814

 

Alex Banks sat paralyzed as the cold fingers of death closed around his neck, choking the life right out of him. Gasping for breath, he reached one tanned hand up and slipped two fingers under the cravat-turned-noose that hung around his neck, then jerked, loosening its suffocating hold. Who knew that little scrap of fabric he normally wore only to appease the females in his life could transform into such a deadly weapon?

Well, it hadn’t really, but it might as well have become a hangman’s noose for all it mattered to Alex. He’d just been given a death sentence, as far as he was concerned.

Are you certain?” he rasped when he’d loosened the garment enough to catch his breath.

Quite certain,” his father told him apologetically.

Alex took his spectacles off and rubbed his eyes, pressing them so hard bright shapes burst in front of him.

Edward Banks, Baron Watson, put his glass of water on the nightstand beside him. Readjusting himself in his bed, he blinked then reached for the stack of papers on the bed next to him. “Here.” He handed the papers to Alex.

Alex jerked the papers from his father’s limp grasp with far more effort than necessary. “Sorry,” he murmured as he thumbed through the life-altering—nay, life-shattering—documents.

Leafing through the papers, his panic didn’t ease like he’d hoped; instead it escalated with each page he scanned. There had to be a way out of this mess. He exhaled a deep, shaky breath and patted the ends of the papers against the tabletop to straighten them back into a neat, even stack.

Placing the papers on his father’s bedside table, he slouched in his chair and ran a hand through his unkempt hair, giving it a hard, painful tug to make sure he wasn’t in a nightmare. No such luck. The nightmare was a reality, and he was only at the start of it. He glanced to his father, who was having yet another nasty sounding coughing fit.

There might be a loophole,” Father said when he was done hacking. His voice was weak and uneven.

Alex’s ears perked up, and he impaled his father with his eyes, waiting for him to divulge anything that would allow him to escape the equivalent of an innocent’s lifetime sentence in the Tower of London.

Father patted his aching chest and tried his best to swallow a gulp of water before looking at Alex. “You could marry another.”

Alex looked at his father, dumbfounded. He could have sworn he’d just read a betrothal agreement that linked his name to Lady Olivia Sinclair. How could he possibly marry another without: one, creating a scandal; two, being termed a cad; or three, being called out by her brother?

Father coughed again. “You only scanned the agreement. You missed the contingency part.”

Thank goodness,” Alex muttered. “What page is that on?” He thumbed back through the papers.

It’s on the final page,” Father said with a harsh cough. “This whole fiasco is all contingent on your being single on the date of your thirtieth birthday.”

Alex frowned. “Why?” He moved his eyes slowly over each word on the last page, making sure not to miss a single word.

His father at least had the good manners to look somewhat guilty. As guilty as one can possibly feign when one is on one’s sickbed, that is. “Well, you see, son.” He flickered a glance at the wall just past Alex’s left shoulder before meeting Alex’s eyes again. “Joseph, the former Lord Sinclair, and I were good friends. We went to Eton and Cambridge together and remained close ever since. We thought it would be ideal to have our children marry.”

Without their consent,” Alex muttered, irritation bubbling inside him.

His father frowned. “Marriages oftentimes are arranged. Mine was.”

I know.” Alex had always had sympathy for the plights of his mother and father. Neither of them had even had a chance to find a spouse of their choosing. Apparently, he was about to endure the same fate. How fortunate for them, his parents had received a much better bargain than he was destined to have.

Anyway,” Father said, breaking into Alex’s thoughts, “when Lady Olivia was born, I joined Sinclair at his house to celebrate, and in a drunken state, we marveled at the irony that she was born on the same day as you. Well, eight years later, of course.”

Of course.” Alex vaguely remembered the night of his eighth birthday. That was the night he’d snuck out to see his first mare and witnessed his father coming home foxed, singing the Hallelujah Chorus, and claiming to have some excellent news.

Hell’s afire. The “excellent news” Father was exclaiming about had been this confounded betrothal contract, binding him to Lady Olivia for life. Lady Olivia. Nobody could be a worse match for him than Lady Olivia. He swallowed hard, trying to return the bile rising in his throat back to his stomach.

Father coughed. “Sinclair and I thought it would be a brilliant arrangement. My son. His daughter. Our grandchildren. However, none of us knew just how shrewish Lady Olivia would grow up to become.”

A shudder wracked father and son simultaneously. “No one could have known,” Alex grumbled. Looks were one thing; personality was another. Alex considered himself mature enough to see past her always-tangled, fire-orange hair, rotund figure, horrid teeth, and absurd fashion choices. Her physical appearance, however, paled in comparison to her personality, which was enough to test the patience of a martyred saint. She was whiny, clingy, hateful, and suffered more ailments than he was aware even existed. Everything she did was completely self-serving in one manner or another. If anybody believed otherwise, they were a fool.

Clearing his throat, Father said, “That’s of no account now, son. Either you’ll have to marry her, or go ask her brother if he’ll honor the last page of the agreement.”

Alex’s eyes flew to his father. “Why wouldn’t he?” It was right here, combined with all those other suicide-inducing papers. There was no reason for him not to.

Because that was an addendum added some eight years later. It was the only page not originally part of the agreement, and it isn’t signed by a third party,” Father explained after a brutal coughing fit. “The originals—” he grabbed the stack of papers and pointed to the bottom of each page as he flipped through— “were all signed by Sinclair, me, and Richard Barnes. Barnes is a mutual friend who was there celebrating with us, and who happens to be a solicitor. As you can see, the last page has only my and Sinclair’s signatures on it.”

If he signed it, it’s legal,” Alex argued flippantly.

Not exactly,” his father rasped. “It could be contested, and it might not stand. Now that Joseph is dead and Marcus has taken his place, it would be my word, which won’t mean anything in a few weeks, I’d wager, versus a court.”

Alex gulped. He hated to think that in a matter of weeks, or even days, his father might be gone. Six months ago, Father had become ill, and since then his health had been declining rapidly. After several fruitless attempts to cure him, the physician concluded his condition was internal and medicine wasn’t going to help. Father took the news in stride and continued to read, talk about science, go down to dinner, and even ride his horse. It wasn’t until the past week he’d taken to spending most of the day in his bed, too frail and exhausted to do much more than read and go down for dinner. Watching Father’s illness progress in the past months had been terribly painful for Alex. “All right,” Alex said softly. “I’ll see what can be done for it now.”

Father pulled the covers up to his chin. “Son, I’m sorry I made that agreement. But if you can get Marcus to honor the contingency, you’re halfway there.”

Yes, then I just have to find a lady to agree to marry me in a month’s time.”

Considering that you’ll have to marry Lady Olivia if you don’t, I think you’ll find a way.” His father flashed him his best attempt at a smile.

That’s all the motivation one needs,” Alex said, twisting his lips. He removed his spectacles and rubbed his nose. “Why was I never told of this before?” His voice was flat and dry, almost disinterested, belying the nervous excitement coursing through him.

Father shrugged. “I always assumed you’d find a bride on your own, thus voiding the agreement per the conditions on the last page. With that assumption, I didn’t tell you when you were younger because I didn’t want to heap this upon your head then. As you both got older, I saw what kind of a girl Lady Olivia had become, and I assumed her father would let you out of the agreement altogether. However, since he passed away last year, I’m not sure you can count on that possibility. Her period of mourning ended less than two weeks ago and I received a letter from the solicitor yesterday. That makes me think the agreement has not been forgotten.”

Alex sighed. He couldn’t fault his father for not telling him this. The poor man must have been living in a delusion thinking Alex would somehow find a young lady who would actually want to marry him. When in reality, some would think marrying Lady Olivia was the only fathomable solution to marriage for a gentleman who had somehow acquired the nickname Arid Alex.

Smoothing the covers and rearranging the pillows, Alex did what he could to make his frail father comfortable before leaving his sickroom.

Dorset it was, then. He needed to go see Marcus post haste.

***

If you’ve already read this one and haven’t dashed off to go re-read it OR you haven’t read this one and haven’t yet dashed off yet to go get your copy, you might wish to go get a sneak peek at the new covers for my upcoming Regency Series: Gentlemen of Honor. The cover for the first book, Secrets of a Viscount, is being revealed today at Tifferz & Her Sisterz Book Reviewz.

Covers, Liberty for Paul, Scandalous Sisters Series

Fun Fact Friday~Liberty for Paul

  • It took  me exactly 14 days to write this 97,500 word masterpiece. The editing took about that many weeks.
  • I took seven years of music lessons and the only thing I can somewhat passably play on the piano is Yankee Doodle, hence its appearance in the book.
  • My husband calls me Mrs. Gordon when others are around. No kidding. There was this kid who joined our  youth group about a year ago who always called me Mrs. Gordon and when my husband talked to this guy’s 50 year-old dad, he’d refer to me as Mrs. Gordon. It wasn’t until a few months back when we were both put on the school board that the poor guy finally found out my first name. It wasn’t kept from him intentionally, but it was totally hilarious when he was like, “Who’s Rose?”
  • The scene where Paul tries to annoy Liberty by talking in the third person, “Paul’s hungry. Paul had a good day. Paul went to blah, blah.” was actually written as a way to deal with the craziness in my own life at the time. My eldest son could only say about six words or so by his third birthday He’s not autistic and has no other reason for a speech delay, he just has one. Anyway, a few months after he turned three, he started talking more, which was great, unfortunately, it was in the third person! Eddie hungry. Eddie not tired. Eddie green (when choosing a pawn for a game). I was so excited he was speaking that at first, I let it go and started using pronouns more and making sure he knew I was using them. But after a few weeks, it didn’t stop. The speech therapist said it was normal and wouldn’t last much longer. It lasted nine months! Yes, nine months, he talked in third person. We tried everything to get him to stop, but the speech therapist was right, he stopped when he was ready.
  • I started writing this book out with a pen and paper while on a camping trip. The same trip where my husband was reading Intentions by firelight (even more irony, it was the night of the lost page). I was right next to him in a camp chair with a pen and a pad of paper I swiped from a hotel scribbling out the bathtub scene.
  • I detest the name Paul (my apologies to anyone out there with the name, named their child that, are married to a man with the name, have a relation to a Paul, etc). My hatred stems from my middle-school years when I experienced not only verbal but physical bullying at the hands of two kids–one named Paul and the other (oddly enough) named Jon (no H). I used the name because when I introduced him in Intentions I wanted to give both Paul and John biblical names. Plus, for the purposes of the title, it fit, so I did learn to like the name well enough and now when I hear it, I think of this sweetheart hero and not one of my childhood tormentors. Most people use the names of those they hate as the villains and enjoy torturing them, I did the opposite. I tried to make a positive memory attached to the name and it worked.
  • My original plan for Liberty and Mr. Daltry didn’t stop where it actually stopped in the book. I thought she’d actually sleep with him, then be physically sick with regret and worry and in her attempt to rush out of bed and the a chamber pot to cast up her accounts she’d uncover Paul’s scar. But that wasn’t very true to her character. I think she already knew she loved her husband and don’t think she’d have “cheated” on her husband with her husband. I also thought if she did that, it’d only create more of a trust issue between the two.
  • Never in a million years did I imagine that Alex’s comments about hedgehogs would become so popular! I just put that in there as a comical diversion, but for some glorious reasons, hedgehogs (and love muskets, I’m afraid) will forever be remembered by my readers affectionately.
  • I may or may not have been caught by my husband doing a Google search for fun/unique names for a man’s…love musket while trying to think up a fun name. I’d almost decide on wedding tackle, but then came up with love musket.
  • Halfway through reading my first book, my mom emailed me to ask if my middle name was Liberty due to my willfulness at times. A chapter or two later, she texted to say that Liberty needed a spanking! Ironically, the last time I checked, she said this was her favorite book.
  • This book also recently had a new wrap around cover done:
    Liberty Wrap sample
Covers, Just for Fun, My own craziness

FLASH POLL: Is it time for a cover makeover?

As most of you know, I now have four different series out and three of the four have matching covers with text in the same places and a bar or something to “tie them together”. My original series does not.

I’m *thinking* (and fortunately I didn’t hurt myself too badly during such a strenuous process) that maybe I need to change the first three covers to look more like they belong together to a series. Some people do this with their books, others don’t, but I need some input.

Here are the covers as they are and below is a poll. If you have a few minutes, I’d appreciate it if you’d vote for your opinion.

 

 

Intentions of the Earl

Liberty for Paul

To Win His Wayward Wife

 

 

So what do you think? Should I leave them (it has been 2.5 years so it’s not like I’m trying to present these as new books), keep the picture but change the lettering/positioning or have them completely re-done.