Crashing Together by Amelia Judd – Excerpt & Promotional Post

Determined to hide a fear too embarrassing to admit, recently-evicted Kat Bennett accepts an impromptu offer to crash with her brother’s best friend and player extraordinaire, Logan McCabe. When spitfire Kat proposes a no-strings-attached summer fling only to find out Logan has given his word to keep things platonic, she decides to convince Logan some promises are meant to be broken. Fans of Bella Andre’s THE LOOK OF LOVE will not want to miss this humorous and fast-paced romance from Award-Winning Author, Amelia Judd.

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Publisher: Mitchell Davis Press

Series: Silver Bay #2

Release Date: April 11, 2017

Award-Winning Author Amelia Judd Returns to Silver Bay with a Novel about Finding Love in Unexpected Places.Next step: seduce Logan. Which would likely be as difficult as convincing him to take his next breath of air. After all, how hard could it be to strike up a game with the world’s biggest player?

Determined to hide a fear too embarrassing to admit, recently-evicted Kat Bennett accepts an impromptu offer to crash with her brother’s best friend and player extraordinaire, Logan McCabe. When things heat up between them, spitfire Kat decides to embrace temptation rather than fight it. A steamy fling might be just the distraction she needs from her own problems. And who better to fling with than a gorgeous Australian who’s only in the country for a few months?

Logan loves his no-strings-attached lifestyle. Or at least he did until Kat, a woman he has always been attracted to but vowed not to touch, moves in with him for the summer. Even though getting to know beautiful, fiery Kat heats his blood and shoots his relaxed vibe to hell, Logan is determined to keep his word and his hands to himself.

But Kat plans to prove some promises are meant to be broken. Will living with Kat for the summer convince Logan it’s time to start playing for keeps or will their unexpected love crash and burn?

Excerpt:

He took a deep breath to relax his features and lifted his head from the back of the couch to look at her again. She sat cross-legged, beaming a Cheshire-cat smile at him. She didn’t fool him. Her wide smile might say charming and innocent, but the spark of mischief lighting her blue-gray eyes said she knew the effect she had on him.
“You enjoy torturing me.”
Kat tipped her head back and laughed. And damn if it wasn’t the sexiest thing he’d ever heard. The sultry, rich tones of her laughter oddly soothed and aroused him at the same time.
Christ, he was a fucking mess.
“I’m honestly not trying to tease, torment, or torture you. Well … not right now at least. Sorry if crashing together has made your life difficult. Can I do anything to make it easier?”
“Keeping your clothes on would help,” he grumbled.
Kat’s eyebrows shot up.
“I mean it, no more nudity. And you need to find a new bather for swimming, one with enough fabric to cover”—he gestured toward her body—“everything.”
“Fine. Whatever. No nudity.” She took another sip of her beer. Then, beer bottle still in hand, she pointed at him with her index finger. “But you really need to work on being less of a fun sponge.”
“Huh?”
“You kinda suck the fun out of everything. You should loosen up, relax a little bit.”
“What the hell are you talking about?” he snapped, grabbing his beer from the table with more force than necessary. “I’m a carefree, fun-loving guy.” He ground the words out between clenched teeth.
Kat cocked her head to the side. “Most guys would jump at the chance of no-strings sex, and you just made me promise to keep my clothes on for the summer. Even though your reason for saying no is bullshit, you’re still sticking to it. I hate to break it to you, Logan, but that makes you sound kinda mature and responsible, not carefree and fun-loving.”
“Holy shit. I’ve turned into Pax.” He dropped his head back again in misery. “I’m too bloody serious and more concerned about doing what’s right than having a good time.” He beat the back of his head against the hard cushion a few extra times as the depressing realization landed with a heavy thud in his gut. “I’m not sure if I should feel proud or disgusted.”
“Don’t sweat it. My brother is a great guy. And now that he’s with Sage, they’re having a lot of fun together. Besides, we all have to grow up sometime.”
He lifted his head to study her. “Have you?” he asked hopefully.
“Hell no. I’m still lots of fun.”

Copyright © Crashing Together 2017 by Amelia Judd

Other Books in the Series:

Publisher: Mitchell Davis Press

Series: Silver Bay #1

Date Released: January 24, 2017

Love is a Risky Venture in Amelia Judd’s Award-Winning New Romance

“Hello, Pax. It’s good to see you again.”

And with those frigid words, karma kicked his ass and blew his dreams into a million tiny fragments.

Paxton Bennett walked away from a privileged upbringing to devote his life to La Vida de Ensueño, the socially responsible luxury resort he manages in Costa Rica. No way will Pax let a hotel chain swallow up La Vida and turn it into another lifeless clone. All he needs is a loan so he can match a buy-out offer. Unfortunately, every damn bank keeps saying no. He has one last hope—an on-site visit from a loan officer that he’s sure he can impress…

Banker Sage Somerset doesn’t want to see Pax Bennett across a busy coffee shop, let alone spend a week at a tropical resort with him. After their cringe-worthy last encounter, just hearing his name makes her blush or curse. Plus, there are snakes in Costa Rica. A lot of snakes! Determined to remain professional on her unwelcome assignment, Sage hopes she can survive a week in Pax’s world…

But a quirky staff, meddlesome family, and the night-time visit of a tiny green gecko soon threaten to turn business into pleasure. Will Pax and Sage fight their troublesome chemistry? Or will they take a chance on the biggest venture of all—each other?

Now available for $0.99!

About the Author:

Award-winning author Amelia Judd writes fun and flirty contemporary romance. She loves to entertain her readers with memorable characters and fast-paced plots that blend humor, heart, and heat.

After receiving a degree in international affairs, Amelia lived and studied in Belgium for over three years. During her time in Europe, she traveled extensively, earned a master’s degree, and fell in love with writing contemporary romance.

Amelia now lives in the Midwest with her sports-loving husband, two active kids, and a lovable dog that stays by her side day and night. When she isn’t writing, she’s spending time with family, hanging out with friends, chauffeuring her kiddos around town, sneaking off to the movies, or planning her family’s next getaway.

Website | Facebook | Goodreads | Amazon

***Giveaway***

If you would like to enter for your chance to win a $25 Amazon Gift Card, please click on the Rafflecopter link below:

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Sara’s Review of A Study in Scoundrels by Christy Carlyle

I wish to extend my sincere thanks to Tasty Book Tours for letting me participate in the virtual tour event for Christy’s newest novel, and I’d also like to thank Avon Books for providing me with a copy of this novel in exchange for my honest review. If you would like to see all of the blogs involved in this event, please click on the banner above, murr! =^.^=

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Rating:

Publisher: Avon Impulse

Date Released: April 11, 2017

Series: Romancing the Rules #2

Goodreads Description:

Sophia Ruthven is the epitome of proper behavior. On paper at least, as long as that paper isn’t from one of the lady detective stories she secretly pens. She certainly isn’t interested in associating with the dashing Jasper Grey, the wayward heir to the Earl of Stanhope, and one of the stage’s leading men. But when she learns Grey’s younger sister Liddy has gone missing, she can’t deny her desire to solve the mystery…or her attraction to the incorrigible scoundrel.

Responsibility isn’t something Grey is very familiar with. On the boards and in the bedroom, he lives exactly how he wants to, shunning all the trappings of respectability and society. Grey knows he should avoid the bewitching Sophia, but he’s never been able to say no to what he wants. And having Sophia in his arms and his bed is quickly becoming the thing he wants the most.

As Sophia and Grey’s search for Liddy continues across the English countryside, can this scoundrel convince a proper lady that he’s actually perfect for her or will their adventure leave them both heartbroken? 

Review:

As the second book in Carlyle’s Romancing the Rules series, I enjoyed this book much more than the first, and I’m looking forward to continuing this series as more books come out. Fans of Carlyle’s novels and of historical romances will want to add this title to their lists of books to read in the coming weeks.

I’ve wanted Sophia’s story ever since I met her in Rules for a Rogue, so I was excited to learn more about her in this novel, and I was also looking forward to learning more about Grey, too. There was no question that these two would end up together, it was simply a matter when and of how would they connect. Sophia is a proper society lady, she’s never questioned the rules of etiquette, and has spent the majority of her life caring for her family. She’s as close to a spinster as a woman could be without actually being one. Yet she’s also a woman who craves adventure and excitement, as evidence by her writing mystery novels. Grey is her complete opposite. He’s a scoundrel of the highest order and an actor. He cares nothing for displays of proper behavior or being responsible, he prefers to live of carefree enjoyment. But he’s not as carefree as he appears, Grey harbors a painful past which he is running from. Together they complete each other and provide just the right amount of incentive to change and find the happiness they both deserve.

I really enjoyed watching their relationship grow as the story progressed. Theirs is a slow build affair, both initially denying their attraction, but fate and Grey’s sister keep bringing them back together. I honestly can’t imagine Sophia ending up with anyone other than Grey. She’s his voice of reason, someone who is able to understand his pain and help him find his way through it, while he’s her motivation to live and let loose every once in a while.

Likewise I enjoyed seeing Sophia’s siblings again, if only for brief cameos, and meeting Grey’s family. Liddy, Grey’s sister, is your typical teenager. Some might call her a brat and may find her overly annoying, but she struck me as behaving as many a sixteen/seventeen year old would behave nowadays, which is to shun proper decorum and get into trouble. I can’t fault her acting as she did, even if I was rolling my eyes the entire time. Cate, Sophia’s friend and housekeeper, was a gem. I instantly loved her and couldn’t help but smile every time she nudged Sophia to follow her heart while acting like that wasn’t what she was doing. If there was a matchmaker in this book, Cate filled the role perfectly.

As for the writing, the pacing of this book was much smoother and didn’t drag as much as the first book did for me. The search for Liddy helped keep the story moving, and it allowed for plenty of will they/won’t they moments both in regards to whether they would find her, and if so in what condition, and whether Sophia and Grey would give in to their desire for the other. I also enjoyed the idea of Sophia actually “investigating” Liddy’s disappearance and taking on her character’s role of detective, regardless that it was just Sophia using common sense and thinking as a young woman would think. She accomplished more than Grey did regardless.

This is a wonderful addition to what is turning into a lovely series and I’m greatly looking forward to reading Clary’s novel later this year. I also hope that Carlyle considers continuing the series and allowing Liddy and Juliet to have stories of their own. Honestly, if you haven’t given the Romancing the Rules series a try, what is stopping you? Take a moment and give the Ruthven siblings a try, I promise you won’t regret it.

Excerpt:

Laughter tickled his ears. Weight bore down on his chest, draped over his hips. A soft weight, pliant under his hands. Heated too. Pleasure in his groin twined with pain in his head as the soft, warm weight moved against him.
He blinked, then again. Colors shimmered and blurred. The light was too dim. The room too smoky. Perfume burned his nose, too spicy and pungent.
What was that sound? A moan. A cry.
A rumbling groan reverberated in his own chest.
“Don’t leave me now,” a woman whispered near his ear. “I need release.”
He flexed his fingers, digging into the warm flesh of smooth feminine legs. Slid his hand up, finding the thicket of curls between the woman’s spread thighs.
“Yes, Grey.”
She moved against him, her breath quickening as little moans emerged. She clutched at his shoulder, her other hand on his, showing him how to touch her.
He didn’t require much direction. The role of lover was one he knew by heart. Some said he was skilled on stage, but he never doubted his expertise in the bedroom.
His own body had numbed. Whether from drink or the drugging effect of the smoke rising in whorls above his head, he wasn’t certain. But this, how to touch a woman, how to give pleasure. This he knew intuitively. This was where he excelled.
Heaven knew he’d failed at everything else.
Except acting.
But performing on stage was all a matter of illusion, of lying artfully. Sex and falsehood were his twin aptitudes.
If only he could see the woman clearly and scatter the fog in his mind. He twisted his head on the pillow and noticed a half-empty glass of blue-green liquid glowing in the low gaslight.
“What did I drink?”
A trill of laughter. Red lips. The curve of a grin in a pale face. A waterfall of red hair.
He swirled his fingers in the woman’s curls. She stilled and held her breath. He knew he’d found the key. Gently, masterfully, he touched her with all the art he’d learned from countless lovers.
“Oh, Grey.” She twitched against his fingers, dug her nails into his shoulder. “Don’t stop.”
He didn’t. Not until she gusted out a long moan, dipped her head, and sank against him as if her bones had melted.
“Absinthe,” she murmured against his chest. “A bit of laudanum.”
Grey pressed a fist to the throbbing crown of his head and tried to sit up. The lady on his chest stretched like a cat woken from a nap before rising off him and stepping away from the bed.
No, he realized when his vision cleared and he took in the books lining the walls, not a bed. Not his bedroom. He was on a settee in his London townhouse’s library, and he and his lady companion were not alone. Half-clothed bodies reclined around the musky, haze-clouded room. Some sleeping. Others smoking from an enormous bubbling hookah. At least one couple was busy, writhing and moaning in the far corner.
A man stumbled past the open library door, nude from the waist up, his shirt and coat rolled in a crumpled ball in his arms. Returning to the threshold, he let out a burp before offering, “Many happy returns, Grey. Smashing birthday party.”

About the Author:

Fueled by Pacific Northwest coffee and inspired by multiple viewings of every British costume drama she can get her hands on, USA Today bestselling author Christy Carlyle writes sensual historical romance set in the Victorian era. She loves heroes who struggle against all odds and heroines who are ahead of their time. A former teacher with a degree in history, she finds there’s nothing better than being able to combine her love of the past with a die-hard belief in happy endings.

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

***Giveaway***

If you would like to enter for your chance to win 1 of 2 print copies of Rules for the Rogue, book #1 in Christy’s Romancing the Rules series, please click on the Rafflecopter link below. This giveaway is open to US Residents only!

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Release Day Blitz: Historical Hellions Box Set

Historical Hellions Box Set – Featuring seven novellas and novels from award-winning and bestselling authors.

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Publisher: La Loma Elite Publishing

Date Released: April 11, 2017

Authors: Elizabeth Essex, Christina McKnight, Erica Monroe, Lila DiPasqua, Eileen Richards, Madeline Martin and Christy Carlyle

From bluestockings to scandalous heiresses, these strong-willed, unconventional historical romance heroines don’t let anything stand in their way when it comes to love and happily ever after. Featuring seven novellas and novels from award-winning and bestselling authors.

The Pursuit of Pleasure by Elizabeth Essex
Independent, politically-minded heiress Elizabeth Paxton has never wanted to marry, but longs for the freedom afforded to widows. The last thing she wants is dangerously attractive Captain Jameson Marlowe as a husband.

The Thief Steals Her Earl by Christina McKnight
The Earl of Cartwright is determined to find out who stole from his family. When he finds out the thief is the woman he’s fallen in love with, he must choose between duty and love.

Secrets in Scarlet by Erica Monroe
When a bluestocking with a scandalous past meets an idealistic sergeant, sparks fly as they work to solve a murder…but her secrets may lead to their undoing.

Sleeping Beau by Lila DiPasqua
Inspired by the tale of Sleeping Beauty—a scorching hot historical romance novella from the Fiery Tales series. One sleeping rake, one scorching kiss, one night of unforgettable passion…

The Art of Seduction by Eileen Richards
A spinster finds freedom as a theatre set painter until a chance meeting with the marquis who broke her heart has her questioning what she wants for her future.

The Madam’s Highlander by Madeline Martin
What’s the madam of a successful bawdy house in Edinburgh to do when she finds one of the English supported Black Watch soldiers needing to desert his post? She helps him, of course – but there’s a high price to pay.

Reckless Wager by Christy Carlyle
Victorian propriety and passions collide when a beautiful widow makes a wager with a wounded police detective bent on solving the Ripper mystery.

***Giveaway***

If you would like to enter for your chance to win a Kindle Fire, please click on the Rafflecopter link below:

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Release Day Blitz: The Playboy Bachelor by Rachel Van Dyken

We’d like to extend our sincere thanks to Forever for letting us share this special post with you today!

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Publisher: Forever

Date Released: April 11, 2017

Series: The Bachelors of Arizona #2

She’s no Sleeping Beauty. And he’s definitely no prince . . .

Margot McCleery could have lived her whole life without seeing Bentley Wellington again—her ex-best friend and the poster boy for Hot, Rich Man-Whores everywhere. But Margot’s whiskey-augmented grandmother “buys” Bentley at a charity bachelor auction, and now suddenly he’s at her door. Impossibly charming. Impossibly sexy. And still a complete and utter jackass.

Bentley’s just been coerced by his grandfather to spend the next thirty days charming and romancing the reclusive red-haired beauty who hates him. The woman he abandoned when she needed him the most. Bentley knows just as much about romance as he knows about love—nothing. But the more time he spends with Margot, the more he realizes that “just friends” will never be enough. Now all he has to do is convince her to trust him with her heart . . .

Excerpt:

“I’m writing a kissing scene!” she blurted, mentally kicking herself for screaming it in his face. “And the guy’s a complete jackass. Since my only experience with jackasses is you…” Her voice was shaky, just like her body. Could he tell how much she wanted him? How much she hated that her response was this—raw. “I-I figured you were the only one who could show me what it’s like.” Good one, Margot. Do you really have to sound so…desperate?
“What what’s like?”
“A kiss. From a jackass.”
“Got the jackass part.” He treaded water and then grabbed her by the arm and pulled her deeper into the pool until they were on the opposite end, his body pressed against hers. At least his eyes were still locked on her face. “And you’ve never been kissed?”
She rolled her eyes. “Not by someone like—”
“If you keep insulting me, this kiss won’t ever happen, Red.”
“Don’t call me that,” Margot whispered. Was she so weak that she’d forgive his abandonment for one kiss? “Please?”
“This kiss.” His calculated gaze didn’t make her feel any better about the situation. “How long does it need to be? How deep? Where do you want my hands?”
Margot’s mouth dropped open. “That’s not how kisses work! You can’t just map out the kiss. That takes all the romance out of it!”
“Oh, so you want romance?”
“Yes! No! I mean. I didn’t say that!” Her face flamed, and she sagged in defeat. Admitting she wanted romance kind of felt like she was on the losing end of the little battles they’d been having, like she was giving him an in. And if he got in, he’d only hurt her again.
“I was joking,” he said, just before his lips brushed hers. His tongue slid across her bottom lip and then sucked it for a few seconds before he slid it into her mouth and deepened the kiss.
Her lips softened beneath his gentle coaxing, and his hard thighs pressed against hers as a deep hunger awakened within her.
Oh, this was bad.
So bad.
And very, very good at the same time.

About the Author:

Rachel Van Dyken is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of New Adult, Regency, and contemporary romances. When she’s not writing you can find her drinking coffee at Starbucks and plotting her next book while watching The Bachelor. She keeps her home in Idaho with her husband, son, and their snoring boxer, Sir Winston Churchill. She loves to hear from readers!

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

***Giveaway***

If you would like to enter for your chance to win 1 of 10 eBook copies of The Playboy Bachelor, book #2 in The Bachelors of Arizona series, please click on the Rafflecopter link below:

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Sara’s Review of You May Kiss the Bride by Lisa Berne

I’d like to extend my sincere thanks to Tasty Book Tours for letting me participate in this tour event, and to Avon Books for providing me with a copy of this novel in exchange for my honest review. If you would like to see all of the bloggers participating in this event, please click on the banner above, murr! =^.^=

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Rating:

Publisher: Avon Books

Date Released: March 28, 2017

Series: The Penhallow Dynasty #1

Goodreads Description:

In an unforgettable debut, Lisa Berne introduces you to the Penhallow Dynasty—men destined to marry, but hesitant to love.

Wealthy and arrogant, Gabriel Penhallow knows it’s time to fulfill his dynastic duty. All he must do is follow “The Penhallow way”—find a biddable bride, produce an heir and a spare, and then live separate lives. It’s worked so well for generations, certainly one kiss with the delectable Livia Stuart isn’t going to change things. Society dictates he marry her, and one chit is as good as another as long as she’s from a decent family.

But Livia’s transformation from an original to a mundane diamond of the first water makes Gabriel realize he desperately wants the woman who somehow provoked him into that kiss. And for all the ladies who’ve thrown themselves at him, it’s the one who wants to flee whom he now wants. But how will he keep this independent miss from flying away?

Review:

As the first book in a new series, I have to say that it proved to be an enjoyable read and that the series shows promise. Fans of historical romance will definitely want to check this one out for its slow burning romance and memorable characters. I greatly look forward to reading Berne’s next novel in the series when it comes out.

I loved Livia. She’s lived most of her life being the “orphan girl,” easily ignored or pitied by those around her. In reality she is a compassionate, spirited, and intelligent young woman. She’s easily my favorite out of all the characters simply because she’s someone I could readily relate and connect with. While I initially felt sympathy for her in the beginning, I was soon cheering her on and smiling like a Cheshire Cat every time she stood up to the various members of the ton. I wanted her to take society by storm, and while she didn’t quite go that far, she did give them much to get their knickers in a twist over. Gabriel, on the other paw, managed to both frustrate the hell out of me and surprise me throughout the book. My initial feelings toward him were all over the place, and I honestly thought that I would end up despising him because of his behavior and thoughts toward Livia, but he managed to redeem himself enough to warrant my grudging respect. I truly believe that so much of the grief these two went through could have been avoided had they both not been so firmly set in their opinions of each other. It certainly lead me to question whether their relationship was realistic because they were so aloof throughout a good portion of the book.

While Berne’s leading characters had me divided in my feelings toward them, her secondary characters likewise left me liking some and downright loathing others. Cecily was just asking for me to take swipes at her insipid face with my claws. She’s so shallow and so true a representation to how many young ladies of the ton behaved and thought back then, I just couldn’t refrain from hissing whenever she showed up. Mrs. Penhallow (Grandmama) likewise made my fur crawl a lot in the beginning, but unlike Cecily, she managed to turn my feelings toward her around and I ended up warming up to her considerably in the end. Mrs. Cott is a dear and I only wish that we had gotten to see more of her, but she mostly was kept in the background so we never get a full feel for who she is. Hugo, Gabriel’s cousin, is awesome. His scenes left me smiling and I look forward to seeing more of him at some point hopefully. I have to give a few purrs to Berne for her skill at making every character in the story standout and draw upon the reader’s emotions, be they ones of love or hate. It certainly didn’t make for a dull read in that sense, murr!

For the most part this was a smooth, easy book to read. Yes there were some moments where it felt like the story lagged a bit and I found myself wishing for the action to pick up, but I never lost full interest in the plot. Since Livia was so likeable a character, I was emotionally invested in seeing how everything played out in the end, even if it meant gritting my teeth over some of the moments while everyone was in Bath. Likewise while I initially questioned the relationship between Gabriel and Livia, there were plenty of little moments scattered throughout the story where you could see each of them slowly seeing the other’s true qualities and soul so when they did finally come together I could accept it because I had those moments to look back on.

Overall this was a solid read from a debut author, which is why I have to give this book four paws and a tail wave of appreciation.

Excerpt:

She had been dismissed. Livia rose and after dipping the briefest of curtsies in Lady Glanville’s direction, went to the door with long strides, so angry that she felt she had to get out of there or explode. Behind her she heard Aunt Bella saying in a soft little bleat, “Livia! No word of gratitude! Pray come back!” Instead, she closed the door with exaggerated gentleness and leaned against it for a moment.
By the bannister stood a maidservant with an armful of gowns. With a muttered sentence of thanks Livia took them and hurried upstairs to her room where with savage satisfaction she flung the gowns against the wall, leaving them to lie in a crumpled heap on the floor. She paced back and forth, back and forth, until the red haze of rage subsided. Then she went to her bed and dropped full­length upon it with unladylike abandon, causing the old wood frame to creak alarmingly.
It was stupid of her, she knew, to react like that to the Orrs. But it was hard, so hard, when Cecily had every­ thing and she had so very little. No parents, no brothers or sisters; no money, no education, no prospects.
Your future must be thought of, too.
It was strange, now that she considered it, how little time she had spent thinking about her future. Possibly because there was no point to it. In her existence here she was like a great hoary tree, deeply, immovably, rooted into the earth.
She couldn’t even hang on to the morbid hope of inheriting anything from Uncle Charles when he died. He’d run through most of Aunt Bella’s money ages ago, and year by year everything had slowly declined, dwindled, faded away. Now there wasn’t much left; the estate barely brought in enough for Aunt Bella to pay for her cordial, and for Uncle Charles to spend his days hunting, drinking, and eating. Speaking of romantic marriages.
Well, it could be worse. At least she didn’t have a mother like that revolting Lady Glanville. Imagine having her breathing down one’s neck all day.
Still, this was only a small consolation. A very small consolation.
Livia thought about Cecily’s beautiful white gown and those elegant kid slippers with the dainty pink rosettes.
It was those rosettes that did it.
Envy, like a nasty little knife slipping easily into soft flesh, seemed to pierce her very soul.
Abruptly Livia twisted onto her side and stared at nothing.
She would not cry.
Crying never helped anything.
There came to her, suddenly, the memory of the first time she had met Cecily, some twelve years ago; they’d both been around six. Cecily and her mother had come to call. Livia, recently arrived from faraway India, desperately lonely, was so anxious to be friends with the lovely, beautifully dressed girl with the long shining curls. Shyly she had approached, trying to smile, and Cecily had responded by saying in a clear, carrying voice:
“Oh, you’re the little orfin girl. Your papa was sent away from here and he died. And your grandpapa was a runaway and he drownded. And your mama drownded, too. Why is your skin so brown? Are you dirty?” And she had backed away, to hide behind the skirts of her mother Lady Glanville, who had said to her, with that same cold smile that never reached her eyes, “Poor little Livia isn’t a native, my dear, she’s every bit as English as you and I. The sun shines quite fiercely in India, and she had no mama or papa to make sure she stayed under her parasol. Do you see?”
Livia had never forgotten the burning sense of shame from that day. Nor had Cecily made it any easier, for from time to time she would laughingly recall the occasion of their first meeting and how she had thought Livia to be unwashed, as if it was the funniest anecdote in all the world.
Livia did not like to remember, even if only hazily, how when she was four, the monsoon season struck Kanpur with devastating onslaughts of rain. Both her widowed mother and her grandfather had died in a great flood, and it was with grudging reluctance that Uncle Charles had sent money for his niece’s passage to England.
Upon arriving in Wiltshire, Livia was not so much welcomed into the home—if such the ancient, ram­ bling domicile known as Ealdor Abbey could be so termed—of Uncle Charles and Aunt Bella, as absorbed. Aside from grumbling within earshot about the expense of feeding her, Uncle Charles barely noticed her. Aunt Bella, childless, somnolent, always unwell, with interest in neither Society nor useful occupation, accepted Livia’s presence without a blink but also without care or concern for the little girl for whom she was, ostensibly, responsible.
Oh, you’re the little orfin girl.
Livia smiled without humor.
Yes indeed, Cecily certainly had a knack for getting to the heart of things.

About the Author:

Lisa Berne read her first Georgette Heyer book at fourteen, and was instantly captivated. Later, she was a graduate student, a grantwriter, and an investment banker, but is thrilled to be returning to her roots and writing her own historical-romance novels! She lives with her family in the Pacific Northwest.

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

***Giveaway***

If you would like to enter for your chance to win a $25 gift card to a book seller of your choice, please click on the Rafflecopter link below:

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/521ac4c81262