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The Devils Horsemen

Friday, August 21st, 2009

Title: The Devils Horsemen

Date: 2009-08-21

Whether it’s the elegant carriage horse of the Victorian era, or the mighty destrier  of the middle ages, horses play a significant part in any historical novel, and it’s essential to know something about the horse and its equipment to make the details of a story sound authentic.

I’ve loved horses and ridden most of my life.  Although I write futuristic and fantasy, rather than historical romance,  I still try to include horses in my stories, and  love to learn as much as I can about horses, past and present.  The modern horse, differs from  its historical counterpart not only in the style in which it is ridden, but also the harness and saddlery that is used.  I am lucky enough to live near the Wychwood  Stud, home of the Devils Horsemen, and to have visited them on several ocasions.  They have  one of the largest carriage collections in Europe at this present time, with over 150 carriages covering all periods from roman chariots to present day carriages, over 1,000 saddles and bridles, of all periods and styles,  and 70 highly trained stunt horses, a veritable researcher’s paradise!

This remarkable group of skilled horsemen have worked on such films as  Zorro, Highlander, Black Beauty, Troy, Tomb Raider and many others including countless television series and the ‘Lloyds Bank’ Black Horse commercial.

As well as providing stunt riders, horses and horsemasters for film and television, The Devils Horsemen also give public displays at their Stud, and appear at many events and shows throughout the year.  In addition, they  put on mediaeval banquets, where the audience eat their meal while watching the fantastic display of Western re-enactments, jousting, Cossack riding and many other wonderful displays.  I’ve had the pleasure of attending one of these banquests and have also watched their displays of trick riding and stunt horsemanship, many times.  The jousting is thrilling enough, but when Dan Naprous and his brothers take part in a ‘chariot race’ - minus the chariots, and standing up with a foot on each of two horses, and sometimes using even three horses,  that’s something else!

For a writer wanting to get a ‘feel’ for authenticity or a source of inspiration for any story involving horses, they couldn’t find a better place than the Wychwood Stud and the Devils Horsemen.  If you’d like to see more pictures, and learn more about these talented horse men and women, you can visit their website at http://www.thedevilshorsemen.com/pages/equestrian_displays.htm


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Taking Our Reviews from Sweethearts and Wenches

Tuesday, July 21st, 2009

Social media keeps one factor of writing in the forefront of every author’s mind: The Dreaded Review. There seems to be two kinds of reviewers in this world, just like there are two kinds of women: Sweethearts and Wenches. It’s sort of the Gone with the Wind prototype with Scarlett O’Hara and Melanie Wilkes. On one hand you get a syrupy sweet tribute that gushes so much you want to kiss somebody and have tea. On the other, you get a scathing sermon about your lack of technique and creativity, and by the time your done reading THAT one you want to have the reviewer taken out (then buried in the backyard in your nightgown). The mint in the julep these days is, the reviews come faster and from all corners of the global Internet, and there’s little control.

I actually know an author whose book has done very well all over the Internet and garnered only one hateful review at Amazon. The nasty reviewer next started showing up on her blog of all places, and then her website. After tracking down her cyber stalker who turned out to be a relative for some reason only Dr. Phil could grasp, the author was able to get the trashy review at Amazon taken down. This of course is an exception, as most negative reviews do come from people who read our work and actually don’t like it. What’s wrong with this picture? We’ve got to bleed to get published and then have someone tell us they don’t like what we have to offer? It’s almost like…wait for it…REAL LIFE.

Every time I turn around, one genre of writers is thumbing their noses at others. Romance writers are segregating into heat levels as we speak, and the e-book and print industry are at each other’s throats. Can’t we all just get along? Nope, not going to happen, because if we all got along then nobody would have any opinions and we’d all be a bunch of mealy-mouthed Melanie Wilkes. Let me tell you what I think. I think Gone with the Wind would have been a lot better if Melanie Wilkes would have kicked Scarlett’s perky rear end. Or at least tried to.

I am so tired of hearing people complain when the world doesn’t love them. Authors who turn to friends to review their books, or review each other’s, only hold themselves back. Not allowing ourselves to be evaluated by our readers and peers is asking to be lied to. Who said, “There’s no such thing as bad publicity?” Maybe they were on something.

It’s like this: If you want to become a better writer, you need to be open to criticism–the good, the bad, and the ugly. Sure, you need to pick yourself up and dust off your shoulders if some self-absorbed jerk rips you a new one. But don’t waste your time whining about it. Eat some radishes, shake your fist, or go after your sister’s boyfriend. Do something productive.

What not to do? Don’t submit your book for review to a site that celebrates telling the cold, hard, truth if you can’t handle it. At best you end up deflated and never touch the keyboard again. At worst, you end up whining like a fire engine until you become an object of mockery (and avoided at parties).

So maybe Scarlet would have put Melanie in a headlock and beat her senseless if she’d stood up to her. Who knows? The important thing is Melanie would have mustered up an opinion. And both of them would have lived with it. So don’t fret over those less than stellar reviews. Relish the good and live for tomorrow–for tomorrow is another day.

–Posted by Danielle Thorne

www.daniellethorne.jimdo.com

Twitter: DanielleThorne

Sail into a good book! THE PRIVATEER @www.daniellethorne.jimdo.com

CHILDREN OF THE MIST - CONTEST

Tuesday, June 30th, 2009

To celebrate the recent releasse of the sequel to ‘Starquest’ ‘Children Of The Mist, I’m  offering a WRP Gift token and this lovely window garland.

My heroine, Tamarith lives on a cold and icy planet Niflheim.  Even though it’s cold, parts of the planet are temperate and beautiful areas with flowers and butterflies. I happen to know Tamarith has a garland like this hanging in her window.

If you’d like to win one  for yourself, just go to

http://www.hywelalyn.co.uk/apps/videos/

and watch the ‘Children Of The Mist Video’.  Then answer this question:

What is it that Tamarith may always yearn for?

Email your answer to me by midnight 3rd July at hywelalyn@hywelayn.co.uk

and I’ll draw the winner on the 4th!


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WRITING SEX SCENES

Saturday, June 27th, 2009

  

 “Writing Sex Scenes” continues to be as topical as creating characters, getting the dialogue right and plotting a believable story.  Okay, you’ve got that down, your hero and heroine have met, now it’s time to get them on the path to love and the big scenes.  Today’s romances range from sweet to sizzling.  Erotica sells big.   A writer told me, “Write the hot stuff, it sells.”  I don’t write the hot stuff, because I don’t read the hot stuff.  The first rule: be at ease with your scenes.  

 

Ever scanned through a love scene in an otherwise good romance? Or passed it altogether because it was amateurish or embarrassingly bad?  We all have.  So how can we writers create the kind of scenes we’d like to read, that we can be proud of? 

 

Remember how it felt to be attracted to someone, and then finding yourself falling in love? Recall how you flirted, the shared coy laughter, the tightness in your body.  You held hands, smiled into each others eyes and, yes, fussed at each other.  You parted from the object of your affection, and you couldn’t wait to see him/her to straighten out the misunderstanding.  You missed him/her terribly.  The tension heightened until it was the right time to make love.  Practice writing pages and pages of scenarios, sans body parts and flat physical responses.  Go for heartfelt emotion, exaggerate.  Like dialogue, written sex scenes, even movie sex scenes, are not like real-life.  Think of yourself as a choreographer.         

 

Sounds easy, right?  Put readers in the scene; it’s what writers do.  So, why do many writers find it hard to write sex scenes?  

 

One, because writers frankly admit they wouldn’t want their mother/brother/pastor reading their scenes.  People will think they’re writing about themselves.  Maybe some writers are, maybe some aren’t.  As someone said, you don’t have to be a serial killer to write about serial killers.  Nonetheless, most (I’ll go out on a limb here) romance writers use a pseudonym, especially if their love scenes happen behind closed doors.     

 

Two, it’s difficult to achieve authenticity in sex scenes.  There’s only a thread between reality and hoke, between sensual and silly. You don’t want to come off silly, unless you’re writing comic romance.    

 

No doubt, in real life, right after meeting, a couple will jump in bed and go to it.  That’s not why most romance readers buy romance novels.  They want the build-up.  They want to experience what the characters go through emotionally.  Sometimes a writer will get impatient in building tension and jump right into explicit sex, leaving the reader feeling cheated.  No matter how long the characters have known each other, the foreplay for the writer - if you will - is to get the reader sensitive to the hero and heroine’s feelings.  It isn’t a mystery that the two will have sex, it’s a question of the writer giving the reader the maximum in anticipation.  The reader must experience the seduction or the scene falls flat and will be passed over, or the book closed.

 

Once you’ve written an exquisite sex scene, it’s tempting to cut and paste it into the next story.  Never, never.  If you have a following, or intend to build one – and what writer doesn’t – your readers will get tired of your repetition.  Keep it fresh.  Your characters are not stereotypes, their love is their own.  Let them use their senses – savor the scent of their surroundings, feel the silk sheets, taste each other’s flesh, hear the rain on the window panes, move to the rhythm of the sea.  Let them speak innuendos, joke a little in the act of shedding clothing.  Use internal dialogue.  Create conflict with the couple’s first mating.  She’s shy; he’s a little too eager.  This can roll over into the next scene and the next, until he doesn’t know what to do to bring her out of her shyness.  The reader anticipates that he will. And, of course, he does - seductively.   

 

My advice: read love scenes from authors who are masters, but don’t copy.  Get a sense of their pacing and style. How else do you learn any kind of writing, except by reading?  Remember, make it emotional, seductive, tender, and, use all the senses. And, for heaven’s sake, don’t use medical or cutesy terms for body parts.   

 

 

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Gerrie Ferris

Let’s Rodeo!

Wednesday, June 24th, 2009

Ride ‘Em, Cowboy!

by Jacquie Rogers

Rodeo is a modern sport and the only sport born in the United States that came from an industry–the cattle business. It’s only natural that after the chores are done, the cowboys have a little competition to see who could win bragging rights of being the best, and maybe earn a few dollars, too.

The term “rodeo” is from a Spanish word meaning to round up or encircle. So rodeo actually is closer to our term of round-up than, say, tournament or horse show, terms used for early rodeos. Many claim to be the first rodeo. From a University of North Carolina student’s paper: “The first formal rodeo was held in Cheyenne, Wyoming in 1872. However, the first rodeo to deliver monetary prizes was said to be in Pecos, Texas in 1883, and the first rodeo to charge admissions was in 1888 in Prescott, Arizona. The rodeo emerged as entertainment between 1890 and 1910 due to Midwest shows and performances during July fourth celebrations and cattlemen conventions.”

Buffalo Bill Cody’s Wild West Show also professes to be the first. “In 1882, the town of North Platte, Nebraska where Cody lived at his Scout’s Rest Ranch, wanted to celebrate the 4th of July, and asked Colonel Cody to put the show on for them. Cody obliged, and put on what has been considered to be one of the first rodeos in America, and was called The Old Glory Blowout.” This show is still on the road today, first under the guidance of Monty Montana, and now with Monty Montana, Jr., and the Montana family.

101 Wild West Rodeo makes the same claim. “It was 1905 when the Millers offered to perform what they called a ’round-up’ or ‘buffalo chase’ as an entertainment incentive for a National Editorial Association convention. Visitors were said to come to the ranch in 30 regular and special trains, and the crowd estimated at nearly 60,000 was thrilled to the exhibition of cowboys recreating real life ranch work from bronc riding and roping to Tom Mix’s debut as a roper and rider.”

Boys Will Be Boys

Most agree that saddlebronc was the first official event, but not in the format we know today. The eight-second ride hadn’t been invented yet. Instead, the cowboy who rode the longest, providing that the horse was still bucking, was the winner. This, too, could be how we ended up with separate scores for cowboy and horse. (Modern day: judges score 50 for the horse and 50 for the rider, so there’s a possible 100 points for an 8-second ride.)

One of the earliest saddle bronc stars was Waaya-Tonah-Toesits-Kahn, better known as Jackson Sundown. A Nez Perce Indian who, at 14, endured the Nez Perce Retreat under the leadership of Chief Joseph. Sundown made it to Canada, then moved back to Idaho in 1910 where he married and started a ranch. His name was legend, and he last won the saddle bronc world title when he was 53 years old.

Bill Pickett, Bulldogger

No doubt about it, Bill Pickett was the man who brought bulldogging, now called steer wrestling, to modern rodeo. As the story goes, when Bill was a boy growing up in Texas, he watched the dogs subdue cattle, and he copied their technique. He could jump on a steer, bite its lip, and the steer would stop struggling. There’s certainly no lip-biting in modern rodeo, but it’s still spectacular to watch a cowboy leap from his horse and wrestle a steer twice his size to the ground. This is a timed event–no points for finesse in bulldogging.

The traditional events in rodeo are saddle bronc, bareback bronc, calf roping (tie down roping), team roping, steer wrestling, and of course the most popular of all events, bullriding. Of these events, only bullriding is of no use on a working ranch, although I doubt much steer wrestling goes on, either.

But the Girls Could Whoop ‘Em

Bonnie McCarroll

Women have a lower center of gravity than men and even though generally not as strong, many women showed they could compete on the same level as men. During the 1910s until 1929, there were many prominent women who were champions in their own right, performing side-by-side with the men. But in 1929, Bonnie McCarroll (right) was killed in the bronc riding at the Pendleton Round-up in Pendleton, Oregon, 14 years after this photo. A huge outcry forced most of the rodeos in the west to ban women from competition, and the cowgirls headed east, but eventually, their opportunities died there, too. For a brief time in WWII, women were allowed to compete due to the lack of men, but as soon as the war was over, women were relegated to barrel racing. Some of the champion women athletes were: Prairie Rose Henderson, Goldie St. Clair, Bertha Blancett, Norwegian emigrant Tillie Baldwin (first woman bulldogger), and bullrider Tad Lucas.

It’s All Bull

Bullriding is a spectacular event, called the most dangerous eight seconds in sports. The only men in more danger than bullriders are the bullfighters–rodeo clowns, but their business is anything but funny. Some of the best I’ve ever seen are Wick Peth and Leroy Coffee.

I loved watching Leon Coffee fight bulls–he was an incredibly gifted athlete, the best at cowboy protection, and was a terrific entertainer. In Down Home Ever Lovin’ Mule Blues, I patterned my hero’s moves after Leon’s style:

Brody did a little fancy footwork, loving the sounds of the boys’ ooo’s and ahhhs, then got a laugh out of them by snagging his green derby on one of the bull’s horns. For the grand finale, he teased the bull into charging, then did a handspring over the bull’s head and walked the length of his back, jumping off the tail end.

Another rodeo clown and bullfighter that I know personally is Jim O’Keefe. He gave me this scene:

Brody thrived on danger, just like all the other men she’d known until she moved to the city.

Fearless, daring, and downright foolhardy, Brody rushed to the side of the bull, jumped up, and jerked the bullrope’s tail, releasing the hung cowboy’s hand from the bull. The cowboy flew several feet in the air and landed off to the side like a sack of potatoes.

The bull whipped around and bashed Brody in the ribs with one huge horn. Even though Brody’s ribs were probably broken, he kept the animal away from the downed cowboy until the chute crew could drag the unconscious man off to the ambulance. Finally, the pick-up men herded the snorting bull back into the corral.

Jim’s ribs have been broken a few dozen times. He has a plate in his head, steel rods in his spine, and has had well over 200 broken bones. This is actually fairly typical of a rodeo bullfighter.

Thrills and spills . . . rodeo is getting more and more popular as the years go by. Yes, the sport evolves, but it seems that the further away from the Old West we get, the more we savor the values of family, hard work, and an honest relationship with our animal friends and the earth.

Find a rodeo, put on your best hat and boots, grab the kids, and go have a great time!

May your saddle never slip.

Jacquie

Jacquie
Down Home Ever Lovin' Mule Blues (See the Book Video featuring Justin Saragueta)
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Royalties go to Children's Tumor Foundation, ending Neurofibromatosis through Research

Faith of the Heart ~ Damaged Heroes Book 4

Monday, June 22nd, 2009

I’m pleased to announce that the fourth book in my award-winning Damaged Heroes series is scheduled to release in ebook on Tuesday.

This book came into being the way many of my stories do.  By playing the “What if…?” game.  I can’t take credit for dreaming up the game.  It comes from Stephen King.  He believes a writer should always think about what could happen, what unusual things could occur, what paths could be followed.  I play the game often and highly recommend it for authors.  It always keeps me from getting bored!  

Faith of the Heart was born on a Christmas Eve mass as we waited for the services to begin.  My church has a beautiful crucifix, and I found myself just staring at it, thinking about Jesus and all the things he accomplished in his short life.  My husband reached over to hold my hand.  (Yes, after almost thirty years as a couple, we still hold hands.  We’re a pair of odd ducks.)  I started to wonder, “What if someone could cure people like Jesus did?”  Then I wished for a moment that faith healers were real and could cure my husband of his Crohn’s disease.  At that moment, I had my herione.  Faith healer Sarah Reid “introduced” herself to me.

I didn’t sleep much that night as I turned ideas around in my mind.  What hero would possibly be the last person in the world to fall for a faith healer? An investigative reporter.  One who had experienced a great loss and been ripped off by a fake “healer.”  Joshua Miller sprang to life.  On our long drive to my in-laws’ home for Christmas dinner, I wrote while Jeff drove.  (If you’ve ever been in a car while my husband drove, you’d realize what a sacrifice it was for me and how important this story was.)  The prologue poured out of me almost faster than I could capture  it on paper with my favorite green ink. 

Yes, I’m weird.  I always write in green ink.  Aren’t all authors eccentric? ;-) 

About the same time I started on Faith of the Heart, I also started Turning Thirty-Twelve.  Then All the Right Reasons.  Afraid no one would enjoy a story about a faith healer unless it was an inspirational romance, I kept pushing Sarah Reid and Josh Miller aside to work on other stories.  But the couple kept calling to me, begging me to finish their tale.  So I did.  Then, to test the waters, I sent it to a few contests.  And it just kept hitting the finals.  I’m so proud to say that FOTH won the Lone Star and Winter Rose contests, and it finaled in Reveal Your Inner Vixen and GOTCHA.

So…if you’re looking for a nice, sophisticated story, I’d love for you to take a look at Faith of the Heart. 

*hugs*
Sandy James

Blurb:

Investigative reporter Joshua Miller has turned his back on life. Since cancer claimed his wife, he can’t bring himself to write another story. Then he hears about a fascinating woman who piques his curiosity.

After being struck by lightning, Sarah Reid finds herself with a gift… and a curse. She can heal the sick and dying. She soon realizes that along with the special gift also comes danger to her own life. Feeling responsible for the death of her best friend, Sarah reasons that perhaps she has received the gift to make amends, no matter the personal cost.

Neither expects sparks to fly when they meet. Sarah discourages Josh’s persistence in investigating her while he fights his attraction, refusing to acknowledge that she can truly save people.

Can Sarah break through Josh’s stubborn cynicism and show him that miracles really can come true by leading him back to love?


Of Wales, Mists and Sequels

Wednesday, June 3rd, 2009

I’m so happy to be posting my first entry here.  I’ve just returned from a trip to my homeland of Wales, and it was great to be in the mountains again.  This is  a picture of the countryside around my sister’s home where I was staying.  Sometimes the mist comes sweeping in from the hills and is such a spectacular sight. 

Watching the mist over the Welsh Mountains inspired the creation of the planet Niflheim (named after the  ‘land of mist and cold’ of Norse legends) that I used in my first novel, Starquest

Niflheim, planet of telepaths, takes up only a small part of the orginal story, but I became fond of the misty world and her people, especially Tamarith, who becomes a good friend of the heroine in Starquest, and I ended up writing a sequel, entitled Children Of The Mist, which is mainly set on Niflheim and takes place about six years after the first book ends.

I am excited about the release of  Children Of The Mist by The Wild Rose Press, on 19th June, just over a fortnight to go!  Yesterday I received my advance Author Copies and it was such a thrill to hold them at last, and see the lovelycover by Tamra Westberry in ‘real life’.

Here’s the blurb and a short excerpt:

Two minds united against a common foe. Two hearts afraid to show their love: Long ago Tamarith fell in love with a man she can never have, and is convinced she will never love another. However, she cannot help but be intrigued by a handsome stranger whose psychic powers exceed even her own. Vidarh seeks only to find his true purpose in life and to win the regard of his father, who eschews his son’s psychic abilities.

Thrown together by a common threat to their planet, then torn apart by an evil greater than any they could have imagined, can Vidarh save the lovely Nifl woman who has captivated him, before it is too late? Will Tamarith and Vidarh overcome the deadly enemy who threatens to destroy all they know and love?
Will they find the happiness they both seek? Or are they fated to live their lives alone?

***

EXCERPT:

 

Tamarith stopped and gazed for a moment  across the water. The G-type sun, now fully risen,  caused the lake to shimmer like a veil of golden silk, with scarcely a ripple disturbing its calm. The  pastel-colored walls of the graceful buildings on the  shore reflected the glow of both suns. In the distance, the mountains encircling the settlement  reached high into the cerulean sky. The swirling  mist that hid their summits was as much a part of  Niflheim as the earth upon which she and Vidarh  stood.

 

She sensed his mind discreetly touch hers and realized he was staring at her keenly. She turned  back to face him, returning his questioning glance and studying him in turn.  Taller than average, and broad-shouldered,  today he wore a sleeveless, belted leather shirt over thick breeches, with long,  icecat-wool lined boots.  His upper arms were well muscled, his skin tanned as if he were used to working outdoors. His curly,  dark auburn hair, kept away from his face with a plain leather band, reached almost to his shoulders.It caught the sun’s rays and gleamed like the polished dark red wood of the trees that flanked the feet of the mountains.

 

She took in his clear, hazel eyes, with their  friendly twinkle, the long, straight nose, strong jaw  line and smiling mouth. He would have been  fighting off the local unattached young women if the  situation they found themselves in were not so  serious.  Not that she was particularly interested in his looks, or those of any other man, for that matter.
No, something else about Vidarh of Ragnak excited her curiosity.

I really enjoyed writing both these books.  Starquest is that cliche ‘the book of my heart’ and I had such fun writing Children Of The Mist and learning more about the beautiful, misty planet of Niflheim.   Surprising what can spring from something as simple as watching the weather over the mountains!

If you’d like to find out more about my books, you can do so by visiting any of  my sites below my signature.


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New Release-THE DUKE’S DILEMMA

Tuesday, May 26th, 2009

A Regency Romance

I’m thrilled to announce the release of THE DUKE’S DILEMMA at BookStrand publishing. My previous published book is a contemporary, but I do love writing stories about Regency England. The Regency period is fascinating to me. My twin heroine had been knocking around in my head for some time demanding her story. And so I gave in and created twins with much different personalities, added a handsome hero, and lots of conflict and danger.
Hope you enjoy the blurb and excerpt below:

Blurb:
After losing her fiancé in a war, Helena Steeples vowed never to wed. But when her twin, Mary Ann, refuses Duke Nicholas’ proposal, Helena finds herself attracted to him.
Nicholas knows Helena, the shy twin, does not meet his initial criteria for a wife, but she fascinates him. With both families’ support, the duke pursues Helena and she signs a contractual agreement to marry him.
Two days before their wedding, her former fiancé, believed dead, returns, postponing the nuptials. Helena notices changes in her former beau, while the duke suspects he’s the traitor they’ve long hunted.
Helena finds herself in the middle of an attempted murder, treason, and a former fiancé who wants to hold her to their earlier obligation. He knows Helena’s secret and can destroy her reputation and ruin her wedding plans to Nicholas.
Once the secrets are revealed, will Helena marry the duke or her former fiancé?

Excerpt:
Moonlight shone across the kitchen floor and the lingering smell of food brought a smile to Helena’s lips. All the servants were abed and the fire had burned down to a small ember.
Cold beef and thick slices of bread sat on a platter. She poured herself some milk, got the butter, and cut herself a slice of the beef. The moonlight provided plenty of light to see by.
“May I have a piece?”
Helena jumped, dropping the knife onto the metal pan. The clatter echoed in the silent house. They stood breathless for a moment, but no one seemed disturbed.
“Your Grace, what are you doing here?”
“The same as you, I suppose. I couldn’t sleep and I was hungry. It is rather forward of me to come into your kitchen in the middle of the night, but I’ve always thought it the best time and place to relax and think.”
“I too. None of my family knows of my midnight jaunts, but cook usually leaves something out in case I come down.” She couldn’t stop herself from smiling at him, as though they were fellow conspirators.
He seemed more approachable tonight in his open-necked white shirt and black trousers. Her heart tripped faster when his green eyes looked at her so intently. She studied him. She’d never paid attention to his handsomeness. Of course, she rarely considered any of the men she saw during the season in London. They all circled around her sister and didn’t notice her.
Forcing herself to look away, she cut the duke a larger piece of the meat, handed him the bread plate, and poured out another glass of milk. Then she sat at the old wooden table and put her beef between two slices of buttered bread.
The silence of the house created an atmosphere of intimacy and Helena knew her behavior was improper. Her nightdress left few barriers to the imagination and her skin heated every time he gazed at her. She didn’t want to leave. He fascinated her and brought back color and feeling into her life. Something she’d almost forgotten. What harm could come of a few stolen moments?

* * * *

The enjoyment on her face when she bit into her sandwich made him smile. How had Helena managed to always stay on the sidelines? Tonight, her golden hair fell in waves down her back, making his hands tingle with the desire to run his fingers through it.
Although he busied himself, putting the meat slices on his bread, he couldn’t ignore her. Her light blue robe did nothing to hide the soft curves of her body. And yet he’d never noticed Mary Ann’s figure. How odd. When Helena bent to slice his meat, her robe had parted just enough to tantalize him with a brief glance of one soft rounded breast. His body hardened at the thought, desire flickering along the pathways of his nerves.
Did she hide her real self deliberately? If so, why?
“Don’t you like the food?” she asked.
He bit into his sandwich, washing it down with milk. But his hunger for food was gone, replaced by a different craving.
Forcing his mind into a safer direction, he asked, “Did your sister discuss our conversation?”

* * * *

“Yes, I’m sorry things did not work out to suit both of you.” She studied him. “I suppose you will all leave tomorrow.” For some unexplainable reason the thought made her sad.
“No.”
“But Mary Ann said she made it very clear she wouldn’t marry you.”
“She did. I intend to speak with your parents tomorrow,” he said.
His voice was cool and reserved. Helena realized the friendly warmth had faded, replaced by the proper duke.
“They won’t force her, you know.”
“Don’t worry. That’s not the reason I wish to speak with them.” He leaned back and pushed his plate away. “I want to be certain we leave on good terms with your family. Our parents have been friends for many years and your mother has been a support for mine, since my father’s death.
“We are here now.” He shrugged. “It would be rather awkward to wake everyone up tomorrow morning and leave right away.”
“Of course, I only thought it might be uncomfortable for you. My sister is not the most tactful person as you saw tonight. Although, do not misunderstand me, I love her very much.”
“I’m sure you do and I appreciate your thoughtfulness.” His lips curved into a half smile. “Don’t concern yourself about me. I’m a grown man and quite able to handle disappointment or rejection. It is nothing.”
His words rankled. They made him sound cold and uncaring. She resented the confused emotions he created inside her. Disappointment swept over her as she realized the man she’d been attracted to earlier only existed in her imagination.
“Mary Ann is right. You aren’t the man for her. She needs someone with feelings, someone who will love and cherish her.” Standing, she glared at him. “Not a man who sees her as a slight inconvenience.” With those words, she pulled the skirt of her bed robe to the side and marched out.

* * * *

Nicholas chuckled after she left. He hadn’t seen such a grand exit since watching a play, several months ago, at Drury Lane.
Head high, she walked as though clothed in a ball gown of heavy satin and not the thin robe of silk that did little to hide her enticing figure.
What he wondered would have happened if someone had come into the kitchen and found them having a midnight snack? Would the man she loved reject her? And more importantly, would she be considered compromised and he forced to marry her?
Feeling the lingering remnants of desire in his body, he wasn’t sure he’d mind. Mary Ann’s twin sister became more intriguing each time they met and most especially when alone.
He stood and stretched. No, he wouldn’t leave tomorrow. This week-end had become much more interesting then he’d expected.

Rachel McNeely
http://www.rachelmcneely.com

The Romantic Miss Dumbarton Part II

Tuesday, May 26th, 2009

Title: The Romantic Miss Dumbarton Part II
Location: Maggi Andersen\’s blog
Link out: Click here
Description: Second part of my Regency The Romantic Miss Dumbarton
Date: 2009-05-29

Read My Chapter of Pass the Plot 2 at Harlequin Community

Monday, May 18th, 2009

Hi all,

Shameless Promotion for my first post here on CRR.

On May 18, Harlequin Community will post my Chapter 3 of Pass the Plot 2.

In Pass the Plot 2, selected volunteers each contribute a chapter to a story, like I do on the Romantic Synonymous blog. One chapter will be posted each week until the story is finished.

Here’s the link to thread in the forum
http://community.eharlequin.com/forums/write-stuff/pass-plot-joanne-rock
Scroll down, as my chapter, the current latest one, will be at the end. Your timing may vary, so if it’s not up right now, please try again.

How did they pick me? I volunteered and the random access selector found me. Sometimes I do luck out.

Harlequin author Joanne Rock started and will finish this eight-part story, an as-yet-untitled medieval. Since about all I know about medievals is what I’ve read in the Brother Cadfael mysteries and Lindsay Townsend’s A Knight’s Vow and A Knight’s Captive (Shameless Promotion–Lindsay has two more Knight novels coming from Kensington), those of you who write medievals can tell me where I’m all wet.

You have to register at Harlequin Community if you want to comment on the thread. Here’s the registration link. There is a separate discussion thread. Here’s the link.

Hope to see you there.

Thank you all,
Linda

Linda Banche Regency romance--most with humor, some with fantasy, and occasionally a paranormal
Lady of the Stars--A legend spanning time, and the man and woman caught in it--Regency time travel, available from The Wild Rose Press
Pumpkinnapper--Pumpkin thieves, a youthful love rekindled, and a jealous goose. Oh my--coming September 30, 2009 from The Wild Rose Press
http://www.lindabanche.com
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