Wednesday, December 02, 2015


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Wednesday, February 11, 2015

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Wednesday, November 05, 2014

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Thursday, November 6 at 6:00pm in EST
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Tuesday, July 01, 2014


I'm over at A Bookie's  Confessions today with an interview and a give away!  Why not stop by for a chance to win a down load of both books in the Jilted Series!  Both are available at AMAZON.COM and Barnes and  And hey they're only .99 pennies each! :)

Book 1

Book 2

Hope to see you there!  :)


Tuesday, June 03, 2014

IT'S HERE!  IT'S FINALLY HERE!!! and it's only .99!!!  :)

Yes, what happened to Baron Frederick Von Richter you ask?  Has he met his match in Martha Arden?

Here's a bit out about it!

Martha Arden has left England to escape the humiliation of a broken engagement. Going to Virginia to visit her cousin Jude, and his wife, Chloe, Martha becomes an unwitting pawn in their game to find a wife for their jilted friend, Frederick Von Richter. Will the ploy work? Will Martha be a bride for the baron?

How about I share the first chapter?

Hampton, Virginia 1824

 Chloe smiled at her and Martha didn’t like it. What was going on in her head? Something was amiss. Both she and Martha’s cousin Jude had been odd all day. And not odd in the way Colonials were odd. But odd all together. They’d been whispering when she walked in at breakfast and now at tea Chloe’s gaze kept darting about the room.

Martha’s manners were impeccable but she had to know what was going on. After all, she had come to America for a change and being bolder would definitely be a change. She set her tea cup down, the sound of the cup rattling against the saucer bringing Chloe’s wild brown eyes to rest upon her.

“Is there something you need to tell me?” she asked, her tone sharper than she intended. The question seemed to catch Chloe off guard and her tanned cheeks flushed crimson. That was another thing about the colonies. The women seemed more comfortable, less inhibited. Why even Chloe’s auburn hair had lightened under the intense Virginia sun. There was a robust, healthy glow about her that made her even more beautiful.

“No, why do you ask?” Chloe’s voice trembled just the littlest bit and to the untrained ear of a novice, that may have gone unnoticed. But to a governess to three of the most conniving, lovable brats to ever trample the English countryside, Martha heard it.

“It’s obvious. Both you and Jude are behaving strangely. Have I done something to offend? Should I not have come?”

Chloe’s mouth opened and snapped shut at the sound of the front door opening. She stood. “Not at all, my dear Martha. I am so glad to have you here.” Moving around the tea cart, she gripped her hands together. She was excited about something, but about what, Martha had no clue.

“Why the intrigue then?”

“Don’t be silly,” Chloe said, her skirts rustling as she walked toward the parlor door. “An old friend has only just arrived from Germany and I long to see him. I have so many things to thank him for.”



“I see. Why didn’t you tell me?” Martha took a step back.

Chloe’s attention came to rest upon her. “Because after what happened with Lord Sexton I knew you’d want to leave.” Her expression softened. “I want you to stay. I want you to be happy and I know you’ll adore Frederick as I do. The baron is nothing like Sexton.”

Martha’s mouth went dry and her chest grew tight. Lord Sexton. The widower father of her charges. He had made promises. Had told lies and left her hard fought reputation in ruins. She had held off his advances, had accepted his proposal only to have him break the engagement at the bequest of his father. Heat rushed to her cheeks at the reminder of her humiliation.

“I don’t want you planning my destiny,” Martha said, anger taking control of her usually composed demeanor. “And isn’t he the one you cast off in favor of Jude?”

Chloe visibly stiffened. “That was a very harmful thing to say indeed. Please do not speak of him as if he weren’t worthy of the most triumphant woman in all of England…or America.”

Her defense of him astounded her and Martha smoothed her gown. Ashamed. “I’ll be out in the garden. The sun is nearly set and I imagine it’s cool enough now for me to enjoy the weather.”

At the sound of the front door slamming to a close, Chloe rushed to Martha’s side. “Please don’t be rude to him. I should have given you more warning. I simply wanted to…”

“Catch me off guard?”

Chloe’s awkward smile should have annoyed her. But she found it rather charming that the woman she had known but three weeks’ time could read her so very well.

“Yes. We need a companion for him. Not a wife. Just so he doesn’t feel uncomfortable.” Her brow creased with emotion. “He loved me and it took us years of asking for him to finally agree to visit. Now that he’s here I don’t want him to feel like…”

“An intruder?” Martha inserted and inwardly agreed. Even though they were kind to her and generous, she made sure to go to bed early, and go for walks as often as the heat allowed. The love between them had her aching with a jealousy she loathed and Jude was her cousin and not the object of her affection. “All right. As long as you don’t think I’m a bride for the baron.”

“Only if that’s what fate has in store,” Chloe said in a rush before turning her back and giving Martha no chance at recourse. She hurried toward the door, her frame lithe, and her step light. She was so very elegant and Martha felt like a Clydesdale in comparison.

Chloe pulled open the door and upon the man’s entrance, Martha’s entire body shook. Every bit of her came to life. For in walked possibly, the most beautiful man, she had ever had the pleasure to lay eyes upon.

Dark hair, longer than the custom, full, well-trimmed beard. Bright blue eyes that sparkled as they came to rest upon Chloe. Sparkled with a warmth a man should only reserve for his lover. She swallowed the idea and suddenly had the urge to run to the door that would take her out into the garden.

 “Oh Baron! It is so wonderful to see you. Thank you so much for coming.” Chloe enveloped his hand in hers.

“My pleasure.” He bowed his head and when he stood a dark curl rested upon his forehead giving him an almost boyish quality. A quality that would have gone unnoticed had the strand stayed tucked in place.

Jude followed close behind the baron, the joy on his face mirroring that of his wife’s.

“Jude tells me you’ve come to love Virginia?” His voice was deep, the timbre rich and powerful. It’s sound soothing to her ear…soothing, yet pleasantly chill inducing.

“I do. It’s a very interesting place with many different sorts of insects.”

The baron’s laughter was robust and when he turned his head and his eyes came to rest upon her, Martha’s heart shuddered in her chest. The stare was intense. The scrutiny, the boldness of it, caused her skin to heat. She’d never been looked at like that before and his expression was anything but pleasant. It was as if he realized Chloe and Jude’s marital intention. For hadn’t she? The two were nothing, if not obvious.

“Come in, come in,” Chloe said, “and meet our cousin Martha Arden.”

Frederick stepped forward and offered his hand. Martha slid her cool fingers into the warmth of his palm and when he leaned forward and brushed his lips across her knuckles, her body electrified.

“Frederick Von Richter,” he said against her fingers, his breath hot upon her flesh. He straightened. “It is a pleasure to meet you. You are all Jude spoke of on the carriage ride from town.”

“I’m sure that was a rather boring trip,” she said, pulling her hand free and setting it atop her roiling stomach.

“Not at all. For you see, he believes that we will be very suitable dinner partners.”

Martha didn’t like the way he looked at her now. No. He seemed bitterly angry and irate. Why that anger was directed upon her she couldn’t fathom and the unfairness of it had her seething.

“Only dinner partners, sir?” Her tone dripped with her own animosity. “I thought for certain you had come all the way from Germany just to marry me. I am sorely disappointed that dinner is the very best you can offer.”

She didn’t know why she said it. Perhaps it was to stun him or to stop his unfair assumptions. Whatever her purpose, his growling demeanor seemed to ease, if only the littlest bit.

They stared at one another for a long moment and as childish as it was, she refused to drop her gaze. She had seen Lewis and Lucy playing this game many times and had chastised them for it and yet she still held her eyes locked to his. Refusing to grant him even the smallest of victories.

Finally, Jude stepped up behind Frederick and patted him on the back, ending the ridiculous contest. “Come sit down, man. Have some tea.”

Chloe signaled Martha with a wave of her hand. “Cousin, let us find Maggie and freshen up the tea? I’m sure we can locate more biscuits as well.”

Martha didn’t hesitate. More than ready to get away from the rudest, albeit handsomest man she had ever met.


 “You have to believe me, Martha,” Chloe said as they walked down the path and toward the kitchen. The small, whitewashed building a welcome reprieve from the suffocating unease of the parlor. “He really is one of the kindest men I’ve known.”

“Is he now?” Martha replied, none too pleased to be forced into the middle of this intrigue. She didn’t want any part of this plot. She wanted peace. She wanted to be left alone. Lord Sexton’s lies had wounded her to her core. Why did Chloe and Jude think this sad attempt at matchmaking would work?

“Did you honestly believe that just because we both lost at love we would settle upon each other…cast off to cast off? That just because he fell in love with you upon first sight, that he would do the same for me?” She blew out an exasperated breath. “Men don’t generally do that to dowerless heiresses forced into servitude. Besides, I don’t possess your poise and beauty, Chloe. Or have you lost your looking glass?”

“Martha really,” Chloe whispered. “You mustn’t say such things. You are beautiful and elegant. You carry yourself with grace and pride and-and dignity.”

Martha felt tears burn her eyes. For if her cousin spoke in earnest, she still could not believe the words true. “Please, let us forget all this nonsense. It matters little now. The baron is in as much a mood to woo me as I am to be wooed.”

Chloe gripped her cousin’s hand tightly. “You are a treasure to me, Martha.”

Martha smiled, glad that all the foolishness had been cleared away. “Now, if you don’t mind. I would like to go for a walk before it gets too dark and I owe little Jack a lesson.”

“Yes, you go ahead. I believe he’s in the garden. But do be careful and don’t be long. You know I will worry if you and the boy are out after dark.”

Martha walked the sandy garden path. Daisies and black eyed Susan’s bowed their heads inward, narrowing the path and tapping her skirts as she passed. Eyeing the boy’s blond curls bobbing up and down amongst the colorful array of wild flowers, she made her way toward him.

Jack turned to her, his blue eyes flashing with his pleasure upon seeing her. May, the lad’s mother stood nearby, her face flush and aglow with the summer heat and sunshine.

“Hello Miss Martha!” The boy’s exclamation warmed her heart and had her forgetting the baron. Children were so refreshing. At such a young age they were guileless and full of affection. She thanked God every night that Jack was here, for he eased the ache in her heart left by the absence of the Sexton children.

“Good afternoon, Jack.”

He rushed to her and she bent to receive him in a most welcome hug. He smelled of summer air along with the tang of sweaty little boy. It was the smell of playfulness and youth.

“What are you doing out here?”

“Waiting for you Miss Martha. I’ve found a frog and I wanted to show it to you before Ma and I take it back to the creek.”

Martha stood and smiled. “Well, let me see it and then set it free. What sort of animal is a frog?”

“A slimy kind?” he asked as they made their way to where May stood, her hands on her hips and her young, fair face glowing with pride.

Martha laughed. “Yes, but you know what I mean. We talked about this before. Frogs are am…”

Jack bit his lower lip and then smiled as the answer came to him.“Andphibiants.”

Martha bit back a chuckle. “Yes, well almost. Amphibians.”

The lad nodded. “That’s a hard one.”

“Yes it is. I’m proud you remembered.

“You’ve come to view the specimen?” May asked, pointing at the brownish green frog.

Martha narrowed her gaze and stared at the creature, it was larger than she anticipated, it’s legs curled beneath his pale belly. His moist skin glinted in the sun. “He’s a fine frog. The finest I’ve ever seen.”

“Aye Miss Martha, he is.” Jack slipped his hands in the pockets of his pants and pinched his lips “I’d like to keep him. Ma says I can’t. What do you think?”

Both May and the boy stared at her expectantly. May seemed so young and as they awaited her reply, it wasn’t lost on Martha that Chloe’s father had taken advantage of the poor girl and left her on her own to raise a baby. Had she herself been younger, would she have yielded to Sexton as May had to Lord Pembridge? Perhaps that reason alone was why she and May had bonded so quickly. Why she wanted what was best not just for Jack, but for his mother as well.

“As much as you like this frog, I think it would be best to take him to the creek.”

“Like him?” Jack’s mouth popped open. “I love him. He’s amazing.”

“Even more amazing out there where he can eat all the bugs he wants.” She widened her eyes. “And just think Jack, at the creek he can find a lovely girl frog and have babies.”

“I don’t know…”

“But listen little man, the babies will be tadpoles and we can watch them grow up. Tadpoles, you know, start out with no legs.” She pulled a handkerchief from her pocket and dabbed at a stream of perspiration that slid from her hairline. The sun beat down on them and she worried the frog would turn to dust if he wasn’t returned to the water soon.

Jack stared at her, astonished. “We got to hurry.” He grabbed the frog and headed down the path that led toward the woods and the creek beyond. “Come on, Ma. We want to see frogs with no legs, don’t we?”

Martha watched as the pair slipped from view and smiled. “Yes, thank you God for Jack.”

Circling toward the house, a light breeze touched her heated skin, but the moist warmth of it did little to aid in her misery. She wasn’t accustomed to such a stifling climate and although Virginia had many blessing, it was also cursed. Cursed with an array of biting insects and cloying heat.

Reaching the wrought iron bench she turned her body toward the setting sun and sat. Pink and yellow clouds met her gaze and she allowed herself to relax. It was a most spectacular sunset and she realized that God was here just as He had been in England. There was a definite comfort in that. For at times, she longed for the motherland. The cooler weather, the cobbled streets, the joyful sound of her charges playing. Lord help her, she even missed those spoiled rotten pranksters. She had, after all, begun to look upon them as not just her charges. But as her soon to be children. Damn Samuel for ruining everything and hurting her. Damn him twice for taking her away from the children. They had just begun to respond to her teachings. They had begun to love her.

Despite her strength, tears slid down her cheeks. When she started her employment, she would have never guessed how much she would grow to love the little louts.

At the soft sound of footfalls, she dried her eyes and looked toward the interloper. It was the baron and her stomach dipped. She did not want another confrontation. No. She simply wanted and needed peace in which to think.

Yet, she couldn’t deny that he did strike a fine figure. Especially now with his coat off and his collar opened. He appeared more relaxed and approachable and when he smiled she felt her tension ease, if just a little.

“Miss Arden.” He stopped before her, his shadow blocking her view of the sunset and casting him in silhouette.

“My lord,” she said, wetting her lips. “Is there something I can do for you?”

“You could allow me a moment of your time,” he responded. “And allow me to sit and enjoy the sunset with you?”

Still reluctant, she moved to the side and he lowered himself. The narrow bench forced them close and she could feel his warmth and smell his pleasant, manly scent.

“It is a lovely spot to end the daylight hours,” he said and turned to her. His blue eyes flashed and his mouth turned down beneath his thick mustache. The solemnness of his demeanor had her curious.

“Indeed it is. I spend most of my evenings here. I like to give Jude and Chloe time alone and I find many of my best and most serious thoughts occur on this very spot.”

“Indeed,” he remarked and the silence between them stretched as they watched the clouds darken as the sun dipped lower and lower. Yet it wasn’t an uncomfortable silence. There was a peace in it and when he finally spoke again, she met his gaze. His eyes caressed her face with a gentleness she hadn’t expected and yet found that she enjoyed. “Miss Arden, I feel the need to apologize to you.”

She recognized his sincerity, for his face was so very easy to read. “It is all right, sir. Neither one of us behaved very well.”

“That is not true.” He smiled now, with obvious relief. “You behaved perfectly reasonably. I have been at sea too long and my manners far too unused.”

“It’s all right.” Martha let out a small laugh. “Lady Chloe as much as admitted that she had hopes for…” She looked away, embarrassment at her honesty creeping up in the forms of a warm flush.

He too laughed. “Jude spoke of nothing but you on our travels from town. But that is not your fault and I should not have judged you so harshly. The fault is mine and I just hope you can forgive me.”

He stood and offered his hand. When she placed her fingers in his, he bent forward and kissed her knuckles. Standing he smiled and she noted his even, white teeth. “Friends then?”

“Yes.” She nodded. “Friends.”
SO are you interested?  If so, go here for your buy links....And remember, it's only .99!! :)
Have a great day!


Saturday, November 09, 2013

Read the excerpt below for your answer!

Here's Chapter 1 for your will find your answer:

What is the name of Jonathan's estate?

Like this post, go back to the event and comment your answer.  But remember, you have to like this post, too or no go!

Happy Hunting,

Chapter 1

Surrey, England
     "Julianna, how does it feel to be the spinster sister of England's most beautiful bride?" Jonathan asked, leaning back against the creamy yellow cushion of the settee.
     "I rather think I’m the lucky one," Julianna replied, hoping she kept the bitterness from her tone.  But it was hard, for Jonathan had a way of bringing a pot of water to a boil with a single word.
"How so?" he queried, his brow lifted in question. 
My, he was a handsome devil.  She longed to slap the smirk from his perfectly glorious lips.  How she hated and loved him.  The bane of her existence and the joy of her life.
     She looked at her younger sister, her pale cheeks aglow with happiness as she and her new husband spoke in hushed tones in the corner of the parlor.  Abby and Michael would soon be leaving to visit Italy.  A trip she had always longed to make and never had.
     "Well?  I'm waiting," Jonathan said, giving the back of her arm a pinch.
     "Stop that," she scolded, smacking at his hands to cease his painful pressure.  "If you must know, I wouldn't wish to marry into your family, Jonathan."  She lied. "Being bound to you by friendship is enough, thank you."
     "You wound me, dear Julianna. Do you hold my brother in such low esteem that you would wish he didn't love your sister?"
     She rolled her eyes.  "Please, I wish Abby and Michael nothing but happiness."
     "Still my sweet, your words crush my tender heart.  I thought you loved me."  He pouted, his words in jest.  A joke that left her aching.
     If he only knew the truth, for love and hate battled for dominance in the darkest part of her heart, at least where Jonathan Denbigh was concerned. How could he not realize just how much he meant to her? Just how much he had meant to her since she met him at the age of thirteen.  That she dreamt of him at night and now, sitting next to him, the musky scent of his cologne, the warmth of his body…well, damn it all, it was too much.
     Standing, she smoothed the skirt of her azure gown and lifted her chin.  "You don't need me to love you.  I think you love yourself well enough."
     "Touché," he said leaning forward, his elbows on his knees.  "But you have to admit, I'm a little lovable."
     She smiled down at him and crossed her arms over her chest.  "Yes, I love you like a chicken loves a fox."
     He bared his teeth and growled.  "Be careful little chicken, or I'm apt to gobble you up."
     "Oh really Lord Denbigh, I’m not one of your silly little half wits.  Does that charm truly work on anyone?"  But she had to admit, the idea of his nibbling on her had chills racing across her flesh. 
     "Too well sometimes," he admitted leaning back once again with an elegant ease.  Lifting a long finger he motioned toward Constance Whitcomb. 
     Dressed in a fluid gown of saffron, Lady Constance demanded more attention than the bride herself.  Long, flowing locks of gold cascaded over her creamy white shoulders.  She was beautiful and she now garnered Jonathan’s full attention. Oh, to have him look at her that way. As if she was the only woman in the room.
 "In fact, Miss Whitcomb has grown quite fond of the idea of matrimony," Jonathan explained, his gaze pinned to the golden beauty.
Julianna stared at the woman, just the sound of her name rankled her and sent currents of jealousy racing through her veins. She was ever so graceful and the way men gathered around the woman had her feeling like a scrubbed sow in a silken feed sack.
"Oh Lord Nesbitt, you’re so very delightful," Constance cooed, her gloved fingers coming to rest intimately on the young man’s wrist. 
Bennett Nesbitt smiled, his handsome face alight with joy.  Did her mere touch turn men of normal temperament into grinning fools?  She pulled her attention away from the pair and glanced back at Jonathan and her stomach roiled.  Had she witnessed a flash of anger in the depths of Jonathan’s eyes?  Dear Lord, was he serious about the silly girl?
"And you, sir?" she asked, her voice trembling.  "Are you leaning toward a wedding of your own?  I’m certain your father would approve of the match."
     "Yes, he would," Jonathan conceded, his jaw twitching with irritation.  "But I would like a wife who can read Shakespeare and understand what old Will was talking about."
     "And since when does a woman's mind concern you?"
     Jonathan stood and gazed down at her, his dark eyes flashing.  "If I choose to share my life with a woman, I want to be able to carry on a conversation that goes beyond the latest fashion and gossip."
     Julianna lifted her eyes to meet his stern gaze.  "I'm sorry if I offended you," she replied.  "But this is a side of Jonathan Denbigh that I haven't seen before."
     His expression eased and he gave her chin a playful pinch.  "Perhaps you weren't looking."
     Her lips curled into a relieved smile.  "Let me know the next time the reformed gentleman makes an appearance.  The rake has been gallivanting all over the countryside for far too long."  She said the words with humor, but her heart knew the painful truth of them.
     Leaning in, his warm breath fanned across her cheek, her abdomen tightening at the close contact. All playfulness and jest slipped from his countenance.  Her heart beat at a maddening pace.  "You'll be the first to know.  For the truth is, Lady Julianna, I believe…" 
Dear God, he truly did look like a ravenous beast, ready to devour her. Had she become the only woman in the room?  Or was she little more than a ploy to force Constance to look their way? 
Still, all joviality had disappeared, the taunting, the teasing that exemplified their relationship, gone. What she recognized in his eyes rivaled what she always felt when she saw him upon entering a room. Was he going to kiss her?  Right there in front of everyone?  Surely not!  He was a rake but he wasn’t a fool. And what had changed that he would even consider such a thing? 
     At the dull, rhythmic tapping of wood against wood, Julianna pulled her attention from Jonathan.  No easy task, for he'd never looked at her in such a serious manner before.  Yet she recognized the sound and it always demanded her full consideration.
     Grandmother Chesterfield entered the parlor, her graying hair pulled in a severe knot, her silver blue eyes as alert as any bird of prey.  She focused on Julianna, her brow lifted in question as her gaze slid back and forth between her granddaughter and Jonathan.  She puckered her lips before tapping the cane hard against the floor.  As always, at the harsh sound, all talk ceased and everyone stopped what they were doing to look upon the Chesterfield matriarch.
     "Abby, Michael, your carriage is at the ready.  It is time for you to grace Italy and allow Italy to grace you."
     Abby let out an enthusiastic giggle.  "Oh, the warm sun, the blue skies. I can hardly wait!"  She lifted the skirt of her pale gown and rushed to Julianna, blonde curls bouncing, sapphire eyes alive with happiness.
     "Take care sister," she said, pulling Julianna into a tight embrace.  "I will write every day to tell you about Italy.  I know how much you want to go, too." 
     Julianna held tight to Abby, her heart aching at the idea of her baby sister being so far away.  But more than that, it ached for the change that would occur when she returned to England.  For they would never again have the closeness afforded to sisters that dwelled beneath the same roof.
     "You take care," Julianna whispered, tears stinging her eyes.  "And I will look forward to your letters."
     Jonathan stood at Julianna's side, shaking his brother's hand.  "Congratulations, again dear Michael.  Will you write letters, too?"
     Michael's cherubic face lit up, his dark eyes flashing with mischief.  "I don't plan on having time to write."  He grabbed his wife's hand and kissed her knuckles.  "But I'm sure Julianna will be happy to share her news with you.  Isn't that right, my sweet sister?"
     "Will you?" Jonathan asked, turning to face her, his eyes too flashed with mischief.  "Will you share their happy news with me?"
     "Certainly.  You know you're always welcome here.  You have been since childhood.  Why would that change now?" 
     "Things have changed. Your sister and my brother have wed.  Whether or not you like it, you are bound to me by friendship and family ties."
     She narrowed her eyes and stared up at him, the dull twinge of longing flared back to life.  "Jonathan, why are you making lists of our connections?"
"Abigail!"  Grandmother pounded the cane on the floor, her countenance demanding all chit chat cease and desist.  "Your carriage will wait but your ship will not.  Now please, give your grandmother a kiss."
     In flurry of satin skirts and the scent of roses, Abby rushed to her grandmother's side.  It was an odd display of affection.  Abby sobbing on Grandmother's shoulder.  Grandmother's expression offering no sign of sorrow except the single tear that ran down her wrinkled face.
     "Go, child.  God speed and much happiness."
     Michael offered Julianna and Jonathan a final tight lipped smile as he waded into the fray of lace and linen.  "Come along, Abby," he said, sliding his hand around her small waist.  "Make the goodbye swift and sure.  For we will see them all when summer has reached the gardens."
     She nodded, her blue eyes red with tears.  "Yes.  I love you Julianna.  Grandmother."
     And hand in hand they left.  Julianna watched her precious sister embark on a new life, leaving her behind. Behind and alone.
     Her stomach roiled with the realization.  She was indeed the spinster sister of England's most beautiful bride.
     She pressed her fingers to her temples.  "Will you excuse me?  I feel a headache coming on," she said, fighting through her sob.  "Good evening to you, Jonathan."
     "Are you all right?" he asked, tilting his head in concern.  He reached for her, but she backed away. Was that pity in his eyes?  God, she could take anything but pity from Jonathan Denbigh.
     "I-I'm sure I will be."  She moved past him and facing her grandmother, she dipped her knee.  "Good night, Grandmother."
     The matriarch reached out and touched Julianna's cheek, her gnarled fingers warm and soft.  "Good night, child.  I'll see supper is sent to your room."
     Unable to fight the tears any longer, Julianna rushed into the hall and up the spiral staircase to her room.
     This morning the house had been filled with joy and anticipation.  But that was behind her now.  Her stomach throbbed with emptiness for she needed to speak to her sister and her sister was gone.
     Throwing herself on the bed, she filled her pillow with her anguish.
     "What just happened?" Jonathan asked, looking to Lady Chesterfield and wondering why she didn't follow Julianna.  If he could, he would have followed her.  He would have offered her a hankie or pinched her arm until she squealed and forgot about her sorrow.
       His stomach clenched at the memory of those tears sliding down the young woman's cheeks.  Damn it, he didn't like seeing Julianna cry.  Not one little bit.  Seeing her irritated with him, he liked.  Sad, not at all.
     "She realized her sister has gone and she's alone," Lady Chesterfield replied moving deeper into the room, her cane tap-tapping against the oaken floorboards. 
     "But she's not alone," Jonathan replied, curling his hands at his sides. One sister marries and suddenly the other is lonely? Confusion mixed with frustration. He'd never understand the fairer sex.  Never. "She has a doting grandmother and friends who care for her a great deal."
     "Indeed," she replied, looking imperiously down her nose at him.  "Now, follow me into my study.  We have much to discuss and it needs to be done alone."
He glanced over his shoulder at Bennett Nesbitt.  The man had practically drooled all over Julianna’s slippers at the wedding and now he turned his wet nose toward Constance.  Not that Constance didn’t relish a wet nose. 
Still, he followed Lady Chesterfield to her study as directed.  One simply didn’t not do what Lady Chesterfield asked.  It was bad form or stupidity. Either way, you ended up doing as you were told with a pat on the head or switch to the legs.  Having known her since his youth, he chose the pat on the head.
Once alone in the powder blue room, Lady Chesterfield shut the door.  "Do you consider yourself one of Julianna’s friends?"
     The question caught him off guard. "Yes, of course."
     Lady Chesterfield insinuated herself atop the well worn chair behind her desk.  Resting her head on the back cushion, she peered at him, her stare unnerving to say the least.  "Sit, Jonathan.  Keep me company."
     He released an exasperated sigh. "Aren't you going to see to her?  Make sure she's all right?  If I were in your position, I most certainly would."
     "Sit, Lord Denbigh."  There was an edge to her voice that had him plopping down on the nearest wingback like a five year old in trouble for pulling a little girl's braids. 
     She closed her eyes, her lips pursed. 
     "I'm sitting," he grumbled, setting his elbows on his knees.  "Was there something you wanted of me?  For if not, I think I'd like to return to Denbigh Hall.  I'm tired and in need of a strong drink."
     "My how you do go on," Lady Chesterfield mumbled. 
     He stood feeling utterly annoyed with the woman.  Where was the hostility coming from?  By God he wasn't going to stand there and take it.  As fond as he was of Lady Chesterfield, as much as he respected her, he really was no ones whipping boy. "Yes.  And I'm going to return home.  Please give Julianna my warmest regards and tell her I'll call on her in the morning."
     Her lids popped open and her silver eyed gaze came to rest on him.  "Stop!" she shouted.  "Sit down.  I haven't given you leave yet."
     He crossed his arms over his chest and smirked.  "I didn't realize I needed your permission."
     "This is my home.  Julianna is my granddaughter.  You sir, are too close to her for her own good."
     "What?" he asked, the smirk slipping from his face.  "Too close?"
     "Yes, that's what I said."  She too stood, the formidable woman was locked in a tiny body.  Yet she may as well have been six feet tall and three hundred pounds.  For she had him trapped with her words.  "She hasn't had a suitable caller in months."
     "And that's my fault how?" he asked, hating the direction this conversation was taking. Hating the notion that he caused Julianna any hardship.  Hating the idea of her with a suitor of any kind.  She was his friend first and foremost, not some sop’s lover.
     "It's your fault because by all appearances, you two are connected.  You walk with her to town.  You come to play whist.  You dance with her at balls and sing with her at parties."
     He sank back down in the chair and brushed a dark blonde curl from his forehead.  "She has been my closest friend since childhood," he mumbled impotently. "I didn't think…"
     "And neither did I.  Not until your brother married Abby and I saw the sorrow in Julianna's eyes.  She is the eldest. She should have wed first."
     "I see."
     "No," Lady Chesterfield replied.  "I don't believe you do.  You must sever ties with her."
     His gut tightened and he sprang once again to his feet.  "I'll do no such thing!  How can you ask that of me?"
     "Because I love her and if you care for her at all, you'll let her go.  She needs to move forward and find someone to make a life and a family with.  Bennett Nesbitt showed a great deal of interest in her until he saw the pair of you huddled together after the wedding."
     He paced back and forth before the fireplace, his hands shoved deeply in the pockets of his jacket.  "You're asking me to leave and never come back?  Don't you think Julianna will find that rather odd?  I don't want to hurt her." Hurt her, hell.  The thought of never seeing her again, never hearing the sweet tinkle of her laughter, never ever spending another relaxing moment in her company…  Well, that hurt him.  Hurt him more than he ever expected. And the very idea that Lady Chesterfield would see her with that fop?  Blast it, it was unconscionable. 
     Lady Chesterfield pounded her cane against the floor so hard that it echoed against the thick plastered walls. He stopped pacing and faced her. "Then you marry her."
     His mouth dropped open.  Was she serious?  Surely, he had misheard.  Marry Julianna?  "That would be like marrying my own sister."
     "She's not your sister.  She's a beautiful woman.  Open your eyes man."
     The thought of her silky brown hair and wide blue eyes had him momentarily forgetting what Lady Chesterfield had requested. Yes, she was indeed beautiful, and smart and sweet and he most certainly did have feelings for her.  Why just this night, he wondered, and not for the first time, how it would be to kiss her full lips.
     "So, you either marry her or sever your ties with her.  Those Lord Denbigh are your choices, for at this moment I am considering terms for her engagement."
     She stared at him through those eerie eyes, her graying brow lifted as she waited for him to answer. 
     "Does Julianna know of your plans?  I hardly think--"
     "Marry her or sever ties," she interrupted. "Those are your options, for she will be engaged by summer’s end and every single person of the ton will know it is coming well before then."
     "I'm not prepared to wed," he said, clenching his jaw so tight his teeth threatened to shatter. He would not be forced into a marriage, not by anyone, not even Lady Chesterfield.
     "Then you've made your decision."  She pointed a crooked finger at him.  "You’re dismissed."
     "Good luck to you and God bless Julianna," he shouted bitterly.
     Lady Chesterfield shook her head, a wicked smile lifting the corners of her lips.  "Look at Julianna through fresh eyes Lord Denbigh.  Who is truly the loser here? You have taken her for granted too long and if you wait much longer, it will be too late.  She will be the wife of another and lost to you forever."    Jonathan stared at the woman.  "You dismiss me as if there are no feelings between Julianna and me."
     "You dismiss her as if her feelings don’t matter.  She is deeply enamored with you, Jonathan.  Does that not mean anything?"
     Jonathan bit back the disbelieving chuckle that nearly popped from his lips.  "Julianna in love with me?  Don’t be silly.  She couldn’t possibly—"
     "I know," Lady Chesterfield agreed, nodding her head with vigor.  "She is entirely too good for a man who would disregard her as you have.  And yet she has the tenderest of feelings for you."  She leaned back in her chair and steepled her fingers, eyeing him as if he were the most fly ridden platter at a picnic luncheon.
     "I can’t disagree.  I have lived my life as a single man doing what I please with whom I please.  Surely, if she loved me as you say, she wouldn’t have allowed me to continue pursuing my passions without as much as a word.  Without as much as a hint of jealousy."
     "I have born witness to your philandering ways, Jonathan and if you recall properly, not once did Julianna condone your rakish behavior.  Why when she learned Constance Whitcomb was coming to the wedding she very nearly lost her breakfast."
     "Lady Constance is a weed," Jonathan retorted and glanced toward the door.  Maybe he should rush up the stairs to Julianna’s room and confront her.  Surely, they would have a good laugh.  Love him?  Poppycock!
     "A weed?"  Lady Chesterfield interjected.  "What does that mean?"
     He sighed.  May as well show his true colors once and for all.  "It means she is pretty enough but not something I want in my garden."
     "Disgusting Lord Denbigh.  I would have liked to think more of you."
     He deserved that and he knew it.  "I beg your pardon."
     "The time for pleasantries is obviously over," Lady Chesterfield said, standing.  "Is Julianna someone you’d like to plant in your garden, for if she is not the best flower you have ever seen, then it is time to end her torment.  Allow someone worthy to pluck her and make her his."

Friday, November 08, 2013

I'm having a party and you're invited...and guess what? It's today!!!! ;)

HELLOOOO!  I'm late posting this, so I hope you get it in time!  I'm hosting a massive FACEBOOK EVENT November, 9, 2013...YES THAT'S TODAY!!!

Here's the link: 

So swing by for your chance to hobnob with some terrific authors, win oodles of prizes and just have a good old time!

We have a wonderful list of authors coming to
the party! Stop by. Visit with your favorite or meet a new favorite!

Here's the schedule and remember all these times are EST!! 
10:00-10:15 Harris Channing--welcome

10:15-11:00 Lori Brighton
11:00-12:00 Angela Brown
12:00-1:00 Jessica Killabrew writing as Jessica Anderson
1:00-2:00 Lyssa Samuels
2:00-3:00 Amy J. Hawthorn (A.j. Hawthorn)
3:00-4:00 Missy Martine
4:00-5:00 Alanea Alder
5:00-6:00 Charlette Morgan
6:00-7:00 Cassidy Kingston
7:00-8:00 Harris Channing

Most have promised prizes! So please come and tell your friends to come too! 

I'm giving away lots of  prizes...the grand prize being, well a picture paints a thousand words!  :)

Hope to see you there.  It's open to the public, so invite your friends!

Have a great day!