Eilean Donan Castle by DRW Photography

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Her Reluctant Groom Series, Book 2 ~ Rose Gordon

USA Today Bestselling and Award Winning Author of more than a dozen unusually unusual historical romances that have been known to include scarred heroes, feisty heroines, marriage-producing scandals, far too much scheming, naughty literature and always a sweet happily-ever-after.

When not escaping to another world via reading or writing a book, she spends her time chasing two young boys around the house, being hunted by wild animals, or sitting on the swing in the backyard where she has to use her arms as shields to deflect projectiles AKA: balls, water balloons, sticks, pinecones, and anything else one of them picks up to hurl at his brother who just happens to be hiding behind her.

USA Today Bestselling and Award-Winning Author of historical romance with a humorous twist...

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Her Reluctant Groom Series, Book 2
Marcus Sinclair, sixteenth Earl of Sinclair, has lived the last thirteen years as a recluse following an accident that left him heavily scarred. Though a recluse, Marcus has still managed to fall in love. The problem? The woman he’s taken with is none other than the sister of the lady he was once betrothed to!

Emma Green has fancied herself in love with Marcus since she was barely out of leading strings and he taught her how to fish. Neither her sister's engagement to him, nor the accident that left him disfigured has altered those feelings. But that matters naught. Why would he ever be interested in the younger sister of the lady who ruined his life?

Emma hadn’t paid much attention to where Marcus had gotten the book he’d shown her, but she’d been paying attention when he put it back. She was seven-and-twenty, well past the blushing debutante age, and she was curious. So why not satisfy her curiosity? She knew if anyone, especially Marcus, were to ever know what she was doing; they’d be shocked to the core. But nobody would find out. She’d just flip through the book to see the pictures, then put it back.
She took her first tentative step and winced. Her leg hurt. Badly. She widened her stance and took another step, taking care not to let her legs rub together as she padded over to the box he’d put that naughty book in, then frowned. He’d locked it! Her eyes quickly scanned the shelves and the vanity for the key. She didn’t see it anywhere. She sighed and reached up to her hair. She’d used a hairpin to pick a lock before; she just have to do it again. Pulling out a pin from the top so as not to compromise her entire coiffure, she bent the pin to make it straight and jabbed the end into the keyhole. She jiggled the pin for a second and smiled when the click of the lock broke the silence.
For good measure, she threw a glance over her shoulder before opening the lid. “Lady Bird’s Ladybird Memoir,” she read aloud. She hadn’t caught the title earlier. The shock over Marcus even owning a book with naked pictures was too much for her to care about such a trivial matter as that. Then Emma knit her brows. There wasn’t a single mention of a LadyBirdin all of Debrett’s. And she’d know—she’d memorized the entire dratted thing, after all. Not to mention the fact that she’d spent countless Seasons in London without ever encountering a single mention of such a person. Who was this Lady Bird?
No matter. She carried her treasure back to the bed. Careful to climb in so she wouldn’t bump that extremely painful cut on her leg; she adjusted the covers and ran her fingers over the lettering on the front. Nervous excitement raced through her. Taking a breath, she opened the cover and used the tip of her index finger to flip past the first few pages. She got to the table of contents page and blinked. “’Chapter One, The Differences Between a Lord and Lady’. I’d sure hope she’d know the difference,” Emma muttered, dropping her eyes down to the title for Chapter Four. “Hmm, ‘A Man Versus a “Gentle”man’. Interesting.”
Impatiently, she flipped the page to chapter one and thought her eyes might pop out as she started reading. The author of this book had written real stories about her lovers, using enough hints for just about anyone to recognize who she was talking about.
Emma devoured the first page, and then the second, followed by the third and fourth. Before she knew it, she was sprawled out face-down on the bed, face flushed, heart racing, nearing the end of the fifth chapter. When she’d first started, she’d occasionally glanced at the clock that hung just above Marcus’ vanity to make sure it wasn’t nearing dinner and she wasn’t about to be interrupted. Now she was too enthralled to care.
Taking a quick break, she put her finger in the book to mark her page and flipped through the rest to see how much further she had. She sighed. There was too much there to read in an hour’s time. She’d have to get as far as she could today and sneak it back out again later.
Keeping her place marked, she went to that page Marcus had shown her earlier. The night Gregory had decided to show up naked in her bed was not the first time she’d seen him naked. Thankfully, it was the last. As a double reason to rejoice, she hadn’t actually seen that specific part of him that night. It was either covered by the sheets or his hands after she kneed him. However, she hadn’t been so lucky a few months back when his robe “accidentally” came untied just as he entered her room to ask if she’d like him to stoke the fire. She cringed. For years she’d had to endure his subtle hints and uncomfortable innuendo. It wasn’t until about five months ago he’d become more bold with his advances.
Pushing the image of Gregory and his unattractive body out of her mind, she looked down at the drawing of the man in the back of the book. Perhaps Marcus had been right. From the five chapters she’d read, “Lady Bird”, who Emma was convinced now more than before was a fictional name, had described in detail many male members. Some long, some short, some thin, some wide, all different. She blushed. These were not thoughts for proper young ladies. Then again, neither was reading such a scandalous book. She sighed. She was an old spinster governess now. She’d never have a chance to be with a man anyway, so what was the harm in reading the book? Nobody would know, and after she finished, she’d just put it back and pretend to be the naive girl everyone thought her to be.
Curiosity urged her to flip back a few pages and look at all the pictures. She’d read enough stories to have an idea of what she’d find. Just as her finger grabbed hold of the paper and had it nearly flipped back, two sharp knocks sounded at the door.
“Don’t come in!” She didn’t know how long she could keep her guest outside and dared not take a chance walking across the room to return the book. Instead, she crawled up to the head of the bed, shoved the book behind the mountain of pillows, then turned around and sat with her back leaning against the pillows. “All right, you may come in now.”
The door opened and a frowning Marcus walked in. “What were you doing in here that I had to wait in the hall?”
“Getting dressed,” she said airily.
He blinked. “You seem to be wearing the same thing you had on when I left.”
Emma grabbed the edges of the robe and held them closed, trying in vain to scowl at him. “Not that it’s your concern, but I had my robe off,” she lied.
Nodding, Marcus took a seat in an empty chair. His face looked slightly pink and every time he looked in her direction, he’d shift and jerk his eyes away.
“Did you come in here for a reason?” she asked after he fidgeted in his chair for a few minutes.
“I wanted to talk to you about earlier. Emma, I was only trying to take care of you. I didn’t mean to—”
“I know,” she cut in. “It’s of no account. I was embarrassed then, but I’m not now.”
All Romance    


Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Rose Gordon ~ Her Sudden Groom

USA Today Bestselling and Award Winning Author of more than a dozen unusually unusual historical romances that have been known to include scarred heroes, feisty heroines, marriage-producing scandals, far too much scheming, naughty literature and always a sweet happily-ever-after.

When not escaping to another world via reading or writing a book, she spends her time chasing two young boys around the house, being hunted by wild animals, or sitting on the swing in the backyard where she has to use her arms as shields to deflect projectiles AKA: balls, water balloons, sticks, pinecones, and anything else one of them picks up to hurl at his brother who just happens to be hiding behind her.

To set this scene I should give you some brief information. In his plan to woo Caroline, Alex has invited her to his house to play lawn chess–her favorite game.

Unfortunately, Alex misunderstood what game she liked. It wasn’t lawn chess, but lawn chess–where the board is a huge wooden platform and the pieces are life-size. To salvage the afternoon, Lady Watson (Regina Banks) says that she’s instructed a footman to set up a pall mall course and with her parting words, reminds Alex to be a gentlemen and allow Caroline to use the pink mallet if she so wishes.

And thus begins their game of pall mall:

They walked over to the grass he’d pointed to and she carelessly dropped her ball to the ground. Standing next to her ball, she swung the mallet back so far she almost knocked herself in the head with the heavy chunk of wood on the end. Then she brought it forward with a swing that would have been more appropriate for a links course. The mallet hit the underside of the ball and sent it straight up into the air.

Caroline shrieked and brought her arms up to cover her face as the ball flew back down to earth only ten inches from where it was originally placed.

“Congratulations, Caroline,” Alex said smartly. “You’re ten inches closer to the hoop!”

She made a face at him and he chuckled.

Alex dropped his ball to the ground in the same place she’d started and brought his mallet back only about ten inches or so. Lightly swinging the mallet forward, he tapped the ball and sent it rolling straight ahead. His ball rolled smack into hers, but because it hadn’t been a hard hit, his ball stopped and rolled back about two inches.

“Oh congratulations, Alex,” Caroline said sarcastically. “Your ball is a whole eight inches closer to the hoop.”

“It would have gone further had yours not been in the way,” he returned with a teasing grin.

“Excuses, excuses.” She walked up to their balls with him. “Who goes now?”

“You do,” he said. “We always go in the same order, even if there’s a gap.”

“Oh.” She blinked at the balls that were no more than two inches apart.

He bit back a smile. The head of the mallet was about four inches long, the only way she’d be able to hit that ball was if she either hit it to the side, knocking it off course, or turned her mallet to the side and hit it with the side of the mallet, which would probably only make it roll a half inch away. “Your turn,” he prompted.

She sighed and leaned down to pick up her ball.

“Don’t,” he commanded more harshly than he meant, stepping backward. “It’s against the rules to move your ball.” Not to mention that when she’d leaned down, her shoulder had unintentionally, but still seductively, brushed the fall of his pants.

“What should I do?”

“Put your stick between the two balls and give it a flick with your wrist,” he suggested, feeling grateful nobody else was here to hear him say those words. There were too many ways that sentence could be misconstrued.

She angled her mallet sideways between their balls and hit hers just far enough to get it out of the direct path of his.

“Good work,” he said approvingly as he strode up to his ball. He swung and hit it, sending it about eighteen inches in front of him.

“Nice shot,” she said with a look on her face he couldn’t interpret.

“Thank you,” he said tentatively. “It’s your turn.”

She walked up to her ball and got in position to club it again. “What are you doing?” she squealed as his hands descended on her.

“Helping you,” he murmured in her ear. Covering her hands with his, he stood as close to her as he dared.

“Where did your mother go?”

He froze. “She probably went to check on my father. She’ll be back shortly. Don’t worry, I won’t do anything I oughtn’t.”

“I know,” she said with a swallow.

“Now, the problem is you’re trying to hit it for all it’s worth. That won’t work with pall mall. It’s more about tapping the ball. Just bring it back this far—” he pulled their arms back together until the mallet was only about a foot from the ball— “then, smoothly bring the mallet forward. All right, let’s try it for real this time.”

She nodded and let him help her move her arms back, then swung forward. The ball rolled about three feet. “Did you see that, Alex?” she squealed, his arms still wrapped around her.

“Yes. I might wear spectacles, but I can see,” he teased, fruitlessly willing himself to let go of her.

“Your turn.” She twisted in his arms, presumably to get free.

He let her go. “Right,” he clipped. He walked to his ball and knocked it a good twelve inches.

Paying him and his poor playing no mind, Caroline took her turn and without his help, hit her blue ball so well he had to take a second glance to make sure it had in fact gone through the hoop. Hell’s afire, she truly was a natural.

In less than twenty minutes, Alex crossed through the first hoop and Caroline’s ball sailed through the fifth. They’d gotten in a habit of yelling to the other when they’d finished with their turn so the other could go. More than once, Alex had contemplated picking up his ball and throwing it further ahead when she wasn’t looking. But he’d never cheated at a game before and he wasn’t going to start with pall mall!

Alex stood with his mallet poised behind his ball, waiting for Caroline to scream it was his turn. Instead, her words came out sounding a bit different. Usually she said, “Your turn.” But this time she said, “Wait a second, Alex. I’m going to help you.”

His lips twisted into a snarl. There was only one thing worse than cheating: getting help. He swallowed and swung his mallet back. He didn’t care if he hit the ball in a way that would send it backward. He just wanted to hurry and hit it before she got here to “help” him. Staring down at the ball, he brought his mallet forward to hit his ball when suddenly a purple slipper came into view and settled on his ball.

“What are you doing?” she demanded, hands on her hips.

“Taking my turn. Now, if you’d remove your dainty slipper, I’ll get on with it.”

“Not so fast.” She grabbed him by the lapels. “I said I was going to help you. Didn’t you hear me?”

“Yes. But I don’t want your help, so I ignored you.”

She rolled her eyes. “Too bad. Now stand still.” She came around to stand behind him, wrapped her arms around him, and put her hands on his.

Never in his life had he been torn between feeling two vastly different emotions. On one hand, he was rather embarrassed she was helping him. On the other, lust and desire coursed through him at an astonishing rate as her soft breasts rested against his back. “Perhaps we should back up,” he rasped. With how responsive his body was to hers, when they swung that mallet, her hands were going to feel something else that was long and hard if she didn’t allow him some space.

“Nonsense,” she said, pressing closer to him. “The problem is you’re stiff.”

Yes, I know. But how did you? “Excuse me?” he asked raggedly.

She brought her hands to his shoulders and kneaded his muscles. “You’re body is too tense. Relax.”

He wanted to groan in vexation. As long as she stood pressed up against him like this, his body would not relax.

He let her help him swing, and the ball went about as far as it had when he’d done it alone.

She shook her head. “You’re too rigid, Alex. If you’d soften up and relax, your game would improve.”

“I’ll keep that in mind,” he said dryly. “Now go take your turn.”