Saturday, 29 August 2015

Guest blog: Kae Elle Wheeler - 'The Price of Scorn'

Fourteen years after Prince Charming and Cinderella are crowned as Chalmers King and Queen,  Cinderella, Pricilla and Esmeralda gather at their mother’s deathbed.

Lady Hildegard Roche has nothing but resentment and scorn for the stepchild who culminates all that was stolen from her.

In a story of enlightenment and shock, the sisters learn how tragedy shaped their mother into the woman she became. The question is: Can the sisters forgive her?

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Barnes & Noble:  http://bit.ly/1UetsLU

Excerpts (3)

#1

“Why are you telling me this now?” Papa roared so loudly the paintings on the wall seemed to tremble. But Hilda knew it was she who was trembling. On stealthy feet, she hugged the wall and crept closer. There was no other way to gain her freedom save leaping from her balcony.

Even Juliet had not jumped to her death in that particular fashion. That line of thought sent a chilled pricks over her skin. We are not lovers destined to death, she reassured herself.

All she need do was make it to the pond. Off Papa’s property. Then out of Alsace to the safety of Grenoble, all within the arms of Pierre. ’Twill be over soon...’twill be over soon...soon. If she kept repeating the words, they would come true. Wouldn’t they?

The duc must have departed. Papa would never dare speak to Maman so plainly with a guest in residence. Relief filled her along with a twinge of guilt. There was no choice in leaving Maman to her fate. She’d made her decision in no uncertain terms, her place was with Papa.

She shuddered. If Papa had any inkling Hilda had given her most precious commodity to Pierre Tasse, he would kill her lover without remorse, and beat her to a bloody pulp. She moved quietly along the carpeted hall.

She slipped by the clock—a monstrosity—though she rather loved the overbearing piece of wood at the moment.

“You,” Papa spat.

Hilda froze, squeezing her eyes shut.

#2

“SO, WE’RE TO HAVE a new papa?” Pricilla stood on her tiptoes, surveying the array of items laid on out Hilda’s vanity. To a curious child it must resemble a market full of sweet meats for the taking.

Her glance moved from a sleeping Esmeralda on a pallet before the hearth to Pricilla. Hilda took a small jeweled box from Pricilla’s hands and set it back on the vanity out of reach.

“Where did on earth did you hear such a thing, ma chère?”

“From Cousin Dirk.” Her tiny fingers clasped a necklace laced with emeralds.

Hilda frowned at Pricilla’s reflection in the mirror. “What exactly did Cousin Dirk say?”

Her nose wrinkled as she studied the clasp. “That if you married him, he would be more a papa than Gustaf ever had been.” She gave up on the necklace, dropping it back on the vanity before latching onto the matching bracelet and slipping it onto her wrist.

“That’s certainly true enough,” Hilda muttered under her breath. Gustaf had been a menace. But instincts warned Dirk would be just as awful, in perhaps a different way. “But as things stand, I plan on marrying no one.”

Pricilla paused and turned large, worried blues eyes on her. “But where shall we live?”

“Here, of course,” Hilda told her. She lifted Pricilla’s wrist and surveyed the gap that would fit an additional wrist or two. “Very nice.”

“But I heard him say if you didn’t marry him, we should have to leave.” Tears shimmered into luminescent pools. “That we should have to live in the woods—in the dark.” Her tears spilled over. “I don’t wish to live in the woods, Maman. I-I don’t like the dark. Maman, you must marry him. S’il vous plaît, you must.”

Each panic-trilled word rose in hysteria, until Pricilla threw her arms about Hilda’s neck, sobs racking her small form.

Hilda squeezed her tightly, furious at Dirk’s nerve in saying such things to a child. Her child.

#3

Hilda squinted in the afternoon sun over the array of blooms that normally calmed her. “Lord Roche,” she began. “I cannot—” The words were more difficult to say than she’d envisioned. Her knees shook beneath her skirts and she forced herself to move, lest she collapse. At the low terrace wall, she laid her hands atop.

“Please, your grace. I must apologize for placing you in such a precarious position.”

She glanced at him, his earnest expression tugging at her.

He began to pace. “’Tis true. As I said, I am looking for a wife. But, I feel there is something truly special about you.”

Her short laugh erupted at the irony. “Me, special? Lord Ro—”

“I have not explained to anyone why I need a wife.”

Hilda paused.

He stopped before her, captured her gaze. “Anyone can see how much you love your children. Your face lights up the dark just saying Lady Pricilla’s name.”

Something inside melted a little. “Oui, Lord Roche. That is so. She—they—are my world,” she said softly. Steeling herself against long dead dreams, she straightened and her tone sharpened. “That changes nothing, sir.”

“Do you fear for your children?”

“Every day,” she bit out, feeling as if Gustaf still had his hand gripped about her throat, squeezing.

“They’ve nothing to fear from me.”

She looked away from his gaze back over the garden. She almost believed him. But a woman was always under a man’s control.

About the Author

Kathy L Wheeler (writing as Kae Elle Wheeler) graduated from the University of Central Oklahoma with a BA in Management Information Systems that includes a Vocal Minor. She is an avid theater buff (holds season tickets to Broadway Series in OKC), loves the NFL and NBA (also holds season tickets to Thunder Basketball in OKC), loves travel, people and karaoke.

She is a member of several RWA chapters, including OKRWA, DARA, and The Beau Monde. She writes both Contemporary and Historical romance.

Kathy/Kae lives with her musically talented husband in Edmond, Oklahoma, has one grown daughter who recently had a baby, and one bossy cat!

For more about Kathy / Kae Elle please visit:



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Friday, 24 July 2015

Guest blog: Mickie Sherwood - 'Templet's Tasty Tails'

Loss…life…love. What a difference a year makes!

Web Designer Erika Washington's contract with her childhood best friend covers all possibilities about her pregnancy. But, one unpredictable event redirects her future. As a donor-surrogate, what does one do when fate changes the plan and claims the lives of the intended parents? If you're selfless, strong-willed Erika Washington, you mount a defense to keep your baby.

Entrepreneur Booker Templet, owner of Templet's Tasty Tails, secretly agrees to help his first cousin. However, unfortunate circumstances change the course of his life. After he learns the identity of the other donor, Booker plans to be a part of his child's life. No matter what.

Will Erika and Booker battle over custody of the baby? Will their horrible loss help them find consolation in each other's arms? Or will fate intervene yet again?


Scene: After Booker becomes her client, Erika accepts his invitation to have a firsthand look at his business operations.

Enjoy an extended excerpt:
Erika stopped suddenly. "You've got to be kidding." She looked at the black rims with the silver, riveted studs.
"No. I mean every word."
"No," she contested. "Not that." Erika looked up at Booker, then at his truck. "That."
Laughing, Booker placed a hand on her shoulder. "See what I mean? A sense of humor on display."
"I can't climb up there." Although she adjusted the leg of her jeans, her protruding tummy hindered her knee lift.
"You don't have to." He uttered those words as he reached and cradled her in his arms.
"Put me down, Booker Templet."
"Erika." He looked her dead in her unbelieving eyes. "It's the only way to get you into the truck. Will you open the door for me, please?"
She did. "Now, put me down." Her tush met the leather seat.
Booker remained in the door as she buckled her seatbelt. Apparently satisfied with her handiwork, he rounded the front end. He slid one long leg in before settling into the driver's seat. After he cranked up, Booker hooked a right once he reached the road.
The serene countryside captured Erika's attention. She snapped shot after shot. When he reduced his speed, she realized they neared his business.
"That's the plant over there."
Erika traced his finger point to the aluminum-sided building and silos in the distance.
"Here's where most of my work is done." He drove off the road.
What Erika saw was green grass seeming to float in water. "Is that rice?"
"And she's smart, too." Booker laid a wrist over the steering wheel. "What's left of it. The crawfish pond is, also, where rice is grown. Flood. Drain. Harvest. Re-flood."
"Sounds like a vicious"—Erika watched him look over his field—"but profitable cycle."
While he sat in deep contemplation, she aimed her camera. The faint whir tempted him. Booker glanced her way, and Erika snapped again.
"Plus playful."
"You're such an easy target…I mean, an inviting subject."
"Ahh, Erika Washington. There's certainly more to you than meets the eye."
Erika pondered what Booker said, smiled at him, and then started taking shots of the area.
"Let me show you something." He left his seat. She saw him shed his cowboy boots for camouflage-green rubber boots from the truck bed. He came to her side. "May I?"
"At least you asked this time." Opening her door, she permitted him to pick her up.
Booker slushed through the bog to a patch of tall grass with her in his arms. "Get your camera ready."
Excited, Erika fumbled and almost dropped it. His quick recovery had her poised for the photo shoot. "A boat?"
"Yep. Specially designed for harvesting crawfish traps." Booker's diligence seated her carefully under the boat’s canvas tarp. "Would you like to go check a trap?" Hesitancy shone in his eyes. That was the first time he’d appeared unsure about anything.
"I don't run from new experiences. Let's do it," she said. Erika laughed, happy with the way the day progressed. He smiled.
They floated over to one of the markers that bobbed on the water. Booker elongated his body to grab the top. When he lifted his arm, up came a wire basket. Erika gripped it, too. Together they set it on the bottom of the boat.
"I can now add crawfish harvester to my list of accomplishments."
His eyes glinted.
"What's that look?"
"Pure admiration, Erika."
"Why, Booker Templet. I declare, sir," she did her Scarlett O'Hara impersonation, "I do believe you're being fresh."
Booker grinned then shook his head. As was his habit, he pulled at his ear.

Curious about what happens next?

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Bio:
Mickie Sherwood is an author and novice photographer who takes nature pictures right in her own backyard. She loves to engage in her favorite pastime which also incites her creativity. Combine that aspect of her life with the enjoyment of spending time with her family, and cruising vacations, and the development of interesting characters who encounter intriguing circumstances is not very far behind.


Check me out.


Wednesday, 15 July 2015

Guest blog: Angela Britnell - 'The Wedding Reject Table'

Once on the reject table, always on the reject table? 

When Maggie Taylor, a cake decorator, and Chad Robertson, a lawyer from Nashville Tennessee, meet at a wedding in Cornwall it’s not under the best circumstances.

They have both been assigned to ‘the reject table’, alongside a toxic collection of grumpy great aunts, bitter divorcees and stuffy organists.

Maggie has grown used to being the reject, although when Chad helps her out of a wedding cake disaster she begins to wonder whether the future could hold more for her.

But will Chad be strong enough to deal with the other problems in Maggie’s life? Because a ruined cake isn’t the only issue she has – not by a long shot.

2nd novella in the Nashville Connections series.   First: What Happens in Nashville.

Buy here:




Excerpt:

Maggie couldn’t hold back a heavy sigh as she stared at the wedding reception seating chart.
‘Have they stuck you on the RT as well, honey?’
She glanced back over her shoulder and froze. Smiling right at her was the handsome stranger she’d noticed across the aisle in the church. She’d always been a pushover for a man with intriguing eyes and these were tawny, fringed with lashes so long and dark they should have been illegal, and sparkling with good humour. Stop that right now. You don’t do pick-ups at weddings. It’s undignified and desperate.
‘What on earth are you talking about?’ Her tone of voice was sharper than she’d intended.
‘The Reject Table.’ His deep smooth voice was laced with a delicious warm drawl she could’ve listened to all night. ‘Of course they wouldn’t call it that, they might gloss it over by using the term “Independents”, but we know the truth, don’t we?’
‘Do we?’ Maggie bristled. She refused to admit she knew precisely what he was talking about. She’d endured enough of these ritual humiliations while seeming unable to sustain a relationship long enough to change her Facebook status.
‘Yeah, sure do. I’m guessin’ your English ones are the same as ours. We’ll have the elderly maiden aunt, the bitter newly divorced third cousin, the grumpy dishevelled organist,’ he reckoned them all up on his long, well-shaped fingers, ‘and of course the mandatory gaggle of single strays.’
‘And which category do you fall into?’ Maggie’s brazen question shocked her into blushing hotly.
‘Take a wild guess,’ he challenged, and stepped closer so his arm brushed against hers.
God, he smells delicious. The tempting combination of spicy cologne, soap and something indefinably male wafted in the air and would’ve made her swoon – if she was the swooning type. Maggie’s middle name should’ve been Sensible.
‘Well, you’re obviously no one’s maiden aunt. The organist was sixty if he was a day and no one could describe you as dishevelled. By the process of elimination I’d say you’re the rogue transatlantic cousin representing the groom’s American grandmother who’s too old to travel.’ As soon as he’d spoken it’d clicked in her filing cabinet of a brain. She hadn’t helped the bride with the seating plans without gathering some useful information.
‘Spot on.’ His eyes darkened with surprise. ‘How about you?’ Maggie winced at his direct question. ‘Sorry, sore point?’
She lifted her chin and contrived to look unconcerned. ‘Not at all.’
‘Forgive me. I’m forgettin’ my manners all around today. I can’t believe I said that to a beautiful lady.’ He thrust out his right hand. ‘I’m Chad Robertson from Nashville in the great state of Tennessee. By day I’m a music attorney, and by night I turn into the rogue you rightly determined me to be. A single one, if you’re at all interested.’ The almost-question hung in the air between them.

Wednesday, 8 July 2015

Two Historical Mysteries for under £4.00/$6.00



Two historical mysteries in the Widow of Bath series are half-price at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, UK Nook, Kobo and Apple until July 15th. For details just go my Lindsay's Book Chat blog and click on the links on the right-hand sidebar

Lindsay Townsend