Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Online Mating Tour, Excerpt & Giveaway!

Online Mating
Evelyn Jules

Genre: Erotic Romance

Publisher: SilkWords

Date of Publication:  December 27, 2014  

ISBN:  978-1-941847-34-3
ASIN:

Word Count:  Reader-vote story

Cover Artist: Indie Designz

Book Description: 

After joining a sexual compatibility site, Sydney finds herself at a coffee shop awaiting her first date.

When bachelor number one makes a bizarre and slightly alarming entrance, will she stick to Plan A or choose the sympathetic stranger?




SilkWords is the go-to source for interactive romance and erotic fiction.

With gorgeous custom covers and a clean, sophisticated design, the SilkWords site offers a secure, upscale reading environment. In addition to content on their web site, they offer stories for purchase in the standard e-book formats.

SilkWords is owned and operated by a full-time mom with a background in genetics and an RWA RITA-nominated, multi-published sci-fi romance author.

Their technology guy and site designer was the founder of Microsoft Xbox Live.

SilkWords features two formats that allow readers to choose how the stories will proceed.

Pick Your Path:

Will she or won't she? With which man (or woman) in which location? With Pick Your Path romance, you decide. Romance and branched fiction are made for each other, like picking your favorite flavor of ice cream...positions, partners, and paraphernalia, oh my!

Reader Vote:

Readers vote at choice points and decide how the story will continue. These stories are a great way for readers and authors to connect. It’s exciting to be part of a developing story!


            
            Sydney Montrose slid into her favorite booth at the coffee house, her eyes darting from one corner to the other. Tensed up and nervous, she tapped her fingernails on the Formica tabletop a whole twenty minutes before her date with Charlie was supposed to begin.
            If you could even call this a date.
            Too many shots of tequila and a very convincing best friend had coerced her into joining an online sexual compatibility site, Sexcapades.com. Not a dating site. She was sick of dating. All that ‘getting-to-know-you’ crap, the fake smiles and feigned interest. Up till now she’d been taking the traditional route to a relationship right along with every other sucker. Yes, she wanted to find love. Eventually. What woman didn’t? But all the other sites out there focused on finding that love through communication and common interests and blah, blah, blah. Sexual compatibility, in her honest opinion, was a critical, too often ignored component.
            There was a reason why they called it the ‘lusty thirties’. Okay, maybe that was just her. Once she reached that particular milestone, though, something inside her shifted. It was a sexual awakening, punctuated by a voracious desire to ‘get off’ that drove her batty most nights. She crossed her legs, feeling that familiar tingle between her thighs that she could never quite shake. An overwhelming urge to visit the ladies’ room took root, but she mentally glued her ass to her seat. She was fed up with servicing herself.
            A smile flitted over her features as she recalled her last failed relationship. Trevor was a spanker. He also played the trombone in the same orchestra Sydney played the piano for. Proximity could be a pain in the ass sometimes. He’d whispered to her during rehearsal one evening that she gave him a tromboner. That should have been a red flag, but one glance at his trousers and all sensibility was lost. Until she found out he was doing the second chair piccolo player. Cheeky bastard.
            Since then she’d been through the entire woodwinds section and most of the brass, in part to seek revenge against Trevor, but mostly because they were the only guys she knew. Quite frankly, she was tired of dating men full of hot air. She was done with guys who were all talk. She needed action. Sexcapades.com, she hoped, was the answer.
            Some of the questions the site asked when she created her profile would be qualified as shocking to most. By the time she’d paid the registration fee, she’d shared her favorite positions, how often she felt horny, and whether she was a cuddler or a love ‘em and leave ‘em kind. Depended on the guy. Sex toys: yea or nay? Yea-ish. Screamer or a silent type? Screamer. Definitely a screamer.
             Though every picture she posted on her profile was of her fully-clothed, she’d never felt more exposed. Or empowered.

  


About the Author:

Hailing from the Great White North, Evelyn Jules loves curling up on the couch with a hot toddy and a steamy book. Nothing warms a girl up faster than a little hanky-panky. When she’s not reading deliciously erotic tales, she’s weaving her own in hopes of warming her readers’ hearts and other parts!







Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Storm Clouds Tour

Storm Clouds
Dragon’s Fate
Book Three
Lacy Danes

Genre: Paranormal Romance/
alternate universe/historical/red hot

Publisher: Samhain

Date of Publication: December 30th

ISBN: 9781619225718
ASIN:

Number of pages: 75

Book Description:

Before there can be fire, there must be air…

Like his brothers, Ilmir is a dragon born by blood magic. Unlike them, he has an unrelenting thirst for human blood. His one and only scruple: he will never bite a woman he loves. It would kill her, and her loss would drive him mad.

Yet over the years, a young girl he once rescued and brought to the Isle has grown into a woman who occupies too much of his mind and heart.

On her name day, Astrid makes her two most heartfelt wishes: to experience the delights of the city, and to bring the vexing Ilmir back to the Zir family fold. As her wishes drop from her lips, lightning cracks and she discovers she is a weather witch—one in need of serious training to control her powers.

But her goal to redeem Ilmir is fraught with peril, for her deep need to learn the magical language not only awakens the dragon’s passion, it creates a perfect storm of danger that could cost the life of the man she loves.

Warning: This novel contains explicit sex, weather witches, vampires, a super-hot air dragon, and a woman who can wrap him up in a spell.

Available at   Amazon    BN    Kobo   iBooks


About the Author:

Lacy Danes made a New Year's resolution to write a hot, historical romance.

A year and a half later, she achieved her goal. She lives in Portland, Oregon, where besides writing she enjoys playing cards, chasing her kids around, and savoring a great martini with the man of her dreams all while watching the world go by.

Visit Lacy at her web site.









Monday, December 29, 2014

Bear and Bear Alike Tour, Excerpt & Giveaway!

Bear and Bear Alike
Blackwood Brothers
Book Three
Marie Mason

Genre: paranormal, romantic erotica,
bbw romance, werewolves, shifters

Date of Publication: November 17, 2014

Word Count: 70,000

Book Description:

Ryland and Ryker Blackwood were twins. Identical, thigh clenching bear shifter twins who had no trouble getting women into their beds. Or bed. They’d shared just about everything in life, even women.

The scent of the cat shifter they found on their construction site was driving both Blackwood brothers crazy with lust. Or was it? Every time they thought they were getting closer to finding the woman who would be their mate, one of their bears backed away. The hot and cold feeling they were getting from their animals was confusing the shit out of them.

Was the cat shifter meant for one of them or both of them?

  
Excerpt

The bar was filled mostly with men who had come here to drink and forget their troubles. Or their wives. Watching one of the customers reach out and grab the ass of a waitress as she walked by, Ryker gave off a little growl. He might like to fuck women, but he never disrespected them. The crowd parted for him. Even though that had not been his intention, both he and Ryland took full advantage of the fact and headed toward the bar.

Before they could reach it, he stopped dead in his tracks, the scent of oranges pulling at him. If Ryland hadn’t been paying attention, he would have plowed into him and sent them both the floor. “Fuck.”

The scent of the cat shifter was playing the same tricks it had on the construction site. Outside, her scent had been strong, overwhelming him. Now, it had faded again.

But he could still follow it.

He jerked his head, pointing Ryland in the right direction.

Their mate was the curvy woman leaning over the bar wearing a low-cut blouse and a skirt short enough to show everyone everything should she bend over.

Oh, f--- no, Ryker thought as he pushed his way through the crowd that had yet to sense the predator among them and get out of the way. There was no way in hell his mate was going to wear that skimpy little outfit. Or work in a bar filled with shifters and humans just waiting to grab a piece of her fine-looking ass.

F--- no.

He didn’t even take time to memorize her features. He had a vague impression of coal black hair and a creamy, pale complexion.

He gave a little roar and the path completely cleared for him. The males threw him an uneasy look and the women gave him I’ve-got-just-what-you-need smiles. He didn’t bother to return any of the silent invitations, his attention focused solely on the woman as she got her drink order and turned to walk away. She lifted the heavy tray above the swaying bodies as she made her way around the dance floor to the tables in back. He quickened his steps dimly aware that Ryland was on his six.

As she moved, the air drifted back to him, filled with her scent. Oh, there was no doubt this luscious bundle of curves was his. He shook his head to clear away the possessive though. Theirs. She was theirs.

Her ass swayed as she walked and it was all he could do not to crush the heads of the men who ogled her as she walked by. She was definitely giving off the mate vibe—his bear and c*** had both roared to attention the moment he’d caught sight of her.


About the Author:

Marie Mason has loved writing and reading her whole life. Everyone knows when you start to hear voices in your head, you’er destined to be admitted to the nearest mental ward—or become a writer. Marie decided to become writer instead of waiting for the men in white coats to come carry her away.  She loves books about alpha males and especially alpha males who just happened to be a demon, wolf or a bear.






Cherry Blossom Blitz, Excerpt & Giveaway!

Cherry Blossom
Vampire Cherry
Book II
Sotia Lazu

Genre: Erotic Urban Fantasy

Publisher: Acelette Press
Date of Publication: 18 December 2014

ISBN: 978-0692291986
ASIN: B00OS4WZ7U

Number of pages: 228
Word Count: 59,120

Cover Artist: Sotia Lazu

Book Description:

With her murderous maker still on the run, Cherry has enough on her mind even before her newly turned boyfriend, Alex, demands they meet each other's parents. Constantine, her ex and now member of the vampire council, is suspiciously quick to allow this breach of vampire law. It soon becomes clear there's a lot Cherry doesn't know about her family's past.

And it's threatening her present and her future.

Alex is changing, Ádísa is dead but not as gone as she should be, and feelings forced aside are reconsidered. Back in her hometown, and faced with an overabundance of new information, Cherry is determined to fight for herself, her family, and her man.

That's when her world is turned upside down.

Again.

Available at  Amazon  BN  Kobo  iTunes  Smashwords   ARe


Excerpt

“There has been a possible sighting of Willoughby.” Constantine motioned at Liza, and she hurried to refill his teacup.
Gag.
“I can’t say more at this time, but you should be getting ready for a trip at short notice,” he said.
Alex nodded, unperturbed as always by Constantine’s exaggerated air of mystery.
I wasn’t that big a person. “You got us out of bed to tell us someone’s seen the bad guy, but not who or where? What’s next?” I deepened my voice to a basso. “It will rain one day in the near or distant future.” In my normal pitch, I asked, “Was that doomsday-worthy enough for you?”
“Cherry, this is all I can tell you right now. You have to trust me. What matters is we may have a clue as to his surroundings, if not his intentions.”
“A clue you won’t share with the class.”
“I’m sure he’ll tell us more when he knows more.” Alex placed one hand over mine, which I’d apparently fisted without realizing it. His effort at soothing me had the opposite result.
“He knows more now.” I locked my gaze on Constantine’s. “Don’t you?”
Constantine shook his head and smiled ruefully. “When did you become so cynical?”
I scrunched my face in mock concentration, then widened my eyes. “I know! Must have been about the same time I found out you’d been lying to me for years, and our entire relationship was a sham. Yup, that was the exact moment.”
His eyes were a stormy midnight blue that usually meant anger or extreme pain. Yes, the man came with preinstalled mood-rings on his face.
I wasn’t being fair. His maker had appointed him my sponsor. She wanted me to fall for him, and it hadn’t taken long for that to happen. But at the time, Constantine didn’t know Ádísa had ordered my turning. And contrary to her wishes, he’d really loved me in return. Just weeks ago, he insisted he still did.
Liza walked up behind Constantine, and laid both hands on his shoulders. Until that moment, I’d only thought of her as Head Concubine. I’d assumed all they shared was sex and blood. Apparently, I’d been at least partially wrong there.
How well she knew him astounded me. Even though Constantine’s posture didn’t change, Liza noticed the subtle increase of tension in his body, just like I did. Thing was, I couldn’t tell if Constantine’s discomfort was out of guilt over the lies he’d told me in the past—for which he’d atoned by killing his own maker—or because he really knew more about Willoughby than he let on.
I didn’t want it to be the latter. Not when he’d been regaining my trust. My stomach clenched at the possibility. Instead of asking him, I said, “Fine, be mysterious. But while we’re here, can you remind Alex we’re not supposed to keep in touch with our families?” Might as well get one problem out of the way.
The tiny lines of tension around Constantine’s eyes smoothed out, and his jaw relaxed. Was it me, or did my ex seem relieved by my change of subject?
Before Constantine could speak, Alex piped in. “I want Cherry and me to meet each other’s folks. I know it’s not something vampires do, but I’m still alive as far as my mother knows, and I don’t see how Cherry’s family would be anything but ecstatic to see her again. She was never declared dead, just missing, so she can tell them she was off finding herself or something.”
I didn’t expect the matter-of-fact way he’d presented his case to do him any good. What he was asking went against council policy. No way would Constantine condone it.
Constantine smiled, his irises now faded to their normal light blue. “We have been doing things our own way for a while now.” He shrugged, apparently oblivious to how my mouth gaped at his response. “I don’t see why you shouldn’t do as you please, as long as you’re careful. I will, however, be joining you when you visit Cherry’s parents. As a precautionary measure, in case things go awry. I’ll have to make some arrangements first, but we should be able to leave by the end of the week.”
It was obvious from Alex’s eager expression that he’d go along with anything to get the go-ahead for his silly fantasy. I didn’t exactly view things the same way. It was weird how readily Constantine had agreed.
“Precautionary measure?” I asked. “You plan to mind-wipe them, if our little reunion is threatening to the vampire community?” Meaning if my parents somehow realized I was undead, freaked out, and threatened to tell the world about our existence.
The look he gave me was full of scorn. “No.” The word sounded like it was mentally accompanied by several non-flattering adjectives. “What I had in mind was that you’ll have a member of the council with you, in case another vampire realizes what you’re up to. My presence will make your visit legitimate.” I could swear I heard him finish his sentence in my head with, “You idiot.”
“Oh.” Because, what else could I say? He only had our best interest at heart, and I really should stop being so suspicious of him. If he said it was all right, it probably was. “Okay then, I guess.”
Constantine grinned. “Besides, a road trip with just the three of us? Think how much fun it will be.”
Yeah, he was hiding something, all right. All this cheer wasn’t normal. “What’s in it for you?” I asked.
“Just the pleasure of your company.” His mocking tone and arched eyebrow didn’t exactly vouch for his sincerity.



About the Author:

Sotia’s making do with Greek reality, while writing and mostly thinking in English.

She loves romances with a twist and urban fantasy novels, always with vivid erotic elements. Her favorite characters to write are not conventional hero-material at first glance, and she enjoys making them fight for their happiness.

Sotia shares her life and living quarters with her husband, their son, and two rescue dogs, one of which may be part-pony. Sappy movies make her bawl like a baby, and she wishes she could take in all the stray dogs in the world.

Also, she hates mornings!


@justsotia





Friday, December 26, 2014

Christmas Wonder Giveaway Hop!


Celebrate the Wonder of the Season! Visit all of the blogs to see what they love most about the season and which books have made their Christmas wish lists! There's a giveaway at each stop so be sure to visit them all!

The Holiday season is magical here at Share My Destiny, so tell us what you think is special or magical about this time of year and enter to win a collection of eBooks all about Paranormal and Mystical Holidays! Don't forget to follow the hop for great prizes at every stop!




Kiss of Christmas Magic: 20 Paranormal Holiday Tales of Werewolves, Shifters, Vampires, Elves, Witches, Dragons, Fey, Ghosts, and More

'Twas the night before Christmas and all through the house,

not a creature was stirring...except for the hot werewolf in a Santa hat come to seduce you while you read...

Treat yourself to a winter wonderland of shapeshifters and vampires, elves and fairies, ghosts and other paranormal creatures!

Twenty brand-new novellas of Christmas magic from some of the stars of paranormal romance will brighten your holiday with candy cane kisses and hot toddy loving. Spend your long winter nights with otherworldly alpha males where true love always wins the day and the spirits of the season are naughty AND nice.

This is a limited edition bundle.



a Rafflecopter giveaway


Enter to win the Wonder Hop Grand Prize!


Entry-Form

Follow the Hop!

The Last Guardian Rises Tour, Excerpt & Giveaway!

The Last Guardian Rises
The Last Keepers’ Daughter Series
Book 2
Rebecca Trogner

Genre:  Paranormal, Romance, Mystery

Publisher:  Crescent Moon Press
Date of Publication: November 15, 2014

ISBN:  978-0-9908827-6-3
E-ISBN: 978-0-9908827-7-0

Number of pages:  295
Word Count: 90,000 approx

Book Description: 

Lily Ayres, Sanguis Ancilla to Krieger Barnes, has retreated into the shadows of the archives, hiding from the king and the intense emotions he arouses in her. How long can she deny him? Will she accept her role in the Other world and the abilities arising within her?

Krieger Barnes, Vampire King of North America, has shared his blood, his kingdom, and his heart with Lily. He summons her, needing her nearness, needing her to attend the council meeting with him.

Merlin, the king’s advisor, must fight the darkness that threatens to overtake him. Can he survive the dark magic?

Lucien Black, the wielder of the Dragon Sword, is once again charged with Lily’s protection. How will he explain his avoidance of her?

A being buried deep underground, inside a cage of iron and wrapped in chains, escapes. Is he the dark entity that the Others feel and fear?


Available at Amazon

Excerpt

He came back cradling what looked like a journal in his large hands. It was bound in leather with a faded black ribbon tied around the covers.

“Fell, I guess.”

Lily knew it couldn’t have fallen on its own. And why didn’t the lights come on when it moved? She took the offered book from Liam and rubbed her hand over the old leather. Someone had taken great care to keep it oiled and the leather supple as sin. For now, its contents were silent. Not all texts spoke with her – perhaps this one would later, or never would.

“Ready?” Liam opened the door and waited for her to follow.

Her mind said no, definitely not ready to see Krieger, but her heart beat faster, and she remembered his cool, calm voice, and how she loved the ambiguous color of his hypnotic bluegrey eyes. The night before Lily’s mother was discovered and she’d fatally stabbed Henry, Lily had argued with Krieger. From this vantage, Lily could see how trivial her protestations were. She’d felt he’d betrayed her, though he hadn’t, and because of her, Krieger had staunched the flow of blood through the bond they shared. Now, just a hint of warmth was flowing through her body, that feeling of being connected to him again, that tiny bit of delicious balm soothing her worries.
  

About the Author:

Rebecca Trogner lives in the Shenandoah Valley region of Virginia, and frequently crosses the Blue Ridge Mountains that were the inspiration for Krieger’s home. She dreamed of being a writer, but got sidetracked by the day-to-day adventures of life. With the encouragement of her family, she has finished her second novel and is currently writing the next book in The Last Keeper’s Daughter series. To find out more about the author visit www.rebeccatrogner.com.







A More Perfect Union Tour, Excerpt & Giveaway!

Emily’s Vow
A More Perfect Union
Book 1
Betty Bolté

Genre:  Historical Romance

Publisher: ePublishing Works!
Date of Publication: October 4, 2014

Ebook: 978-1-61417-654-1
Paperback: 978-1-61417-655-8
ASIN: B00O7601NY

Number of pages: 247

Cover Artist: ePublishing Works!

Book Description:

Emily Sullivan’s greatest fear is dying in childbirth, as did her twin sister and their mother. Then she’s thrown in a loyalist prison for her privateering father’s raids on the British, and her accuser--a former beau--promises to recant if she will marry him.

Frank Thomson always loved Emily despite her refusal to return his affections. A patriot spy posing as a loyalist officer, when Frank learns of Emily’s plight, he challenges her accuser to a duel.

Freed from prison, Emily ponders returning the affections of her rescuer--the only man she's ever loved and who married her twin to save the Sullivan family's reputation. But Frank cannot afford to be discovered. For the sake of young America, he must deliver his secrets.

Available at    Amazon    BN    Kobo   iBooks  Google Books



Excerpt

Emily hurried down the sandy road beside her friend, noting the waning sunshine draping shadows across the street. The slap of the waves at the distant convergence of the Cooper and Ashley Rivers beat a syncopated rhythm against the array of ship hulls, large and small, in the protected harbor. Many of the masts bobbing against the darkening sky sported the hated British flag. The losing army had resorted to sanctioned looting of the beautiful homes—those still standing after two years of British occupation as well as fires and bombardments—as booty for the officers and soldiers before they withdrew. She hoped they would leave soon, but nobody knew exactly when the British ships planned to depart. They'd already sent the bells to London along with other pilfered items. In fact, the British officers sought retaliation for the threat posed by the patriots, who had hidden their true allegiance, against the loyalists living in the city. The officers encouraged harassment of the American citizens, which translated into her father, a leading merchant in town, fearing for her safety more than ever. Until the British actually evacuated, uncertainty and fear blanketed the town.
Dragging in a deep breath, unease settled over Emily's frayed nerves at the thought of Frank's return. "I cannot believe Father insists I marry him after all that man has done. Surely Americans have matured enough they wouldn't force a woman to marry. It's 1782, after all. I'm not a child. Why doesn't he understand?"
A seagull glided past, its laughing call bringing a smile to her face. Her enjoyment didn't last long, though. The occupation of the town created fear and disquiet throughout the citizenry. Add in the horror of her sister Elizabeth's fiancé Jedediah dying, leaving her pregnant and in need of a husband. Then Jedediah's brother Frank, the man Emily had secretly cared for, married her sister to keep the child from being a bastard. Emily survived the misery of watching Frank marry Elizabeth only to suffer much more when Elizabeth died in childbirth with Frank away at war. Emily had come to terms with the prospect of raising her nephew, but being forced into marriage with Frank, too? How could life turn and twist with such disregard for her future goals and plans?
Frank's imminent arrival now distressed her as much as the three hundred British ships crowding the harbor. The rumor about town suggested the ships stood poised to carry away the defeated enemy troops along with any loyalists wanting to flee the town. Many slaves would likely take the chance on freedom offered by the British, despite the American protests. The constant motion of the water for once failed to soothe her troubled thoughts.
"Have you told your father how you feel?" Samantha matched Emily's stride easily despite her slight limp and the basket she carried.
Sharing her feelings with her father had once enjoyed an easy place in Emily's heart. Now his demands for her to cloister within the theoretic safety of the town house, joined with his desire that she marry to secure her future, made confiding in him difficult. His concern stemmed from her advancing age with few appropriate prospects for marriage due to America's fight for its independence from an overbearing mother country, which seemed to be winding down. She longed for those carefree days, years before, filled with friendly banter and heartfelt discussions with her father.
Emily wrinkled her nose. "I haven't spoken with him, not that I think he'll care. He's more concerned with my supposed need for a protector while he's away." What a pickle. Did he have to choose Frank to serve as both bodyguard and suitor?
The thought created ripples of fear along her spine. Marrying a man, any man, meant losing her individuality, a fate she dreaded. The vows included obeying and honoring him, which translated into having his children. She shivered, recalling her twin sister on her deathbed mere days after delivering her son. Emily held her hand as Elizabeth's life departed, her fingers falling limp within Emily's clutching grasp. Just like their mother before her.
So many young women across the country feared pregnancy and being brought to bed for that very reason. Elizabeth, like many of those women, had written out her will when she discovered she carried a child. At least the document detailed her wishes for her son. And her surrogate husband, Frank Thomson. Elizabeth was to wed Jedediah, the betrothal announced and celebrated, before Elizabeth revealed she was with child. The banns had been read twice when his militia duty arose and he'd left to fight. If Jedediah hadn't been killed, Frank would not have felt obligated to do his duty as Jedediah's brother to wed Elizabeth and give the unborn child a father and thus avoid bastardy.
Emily used to think of him as her Frank, until he told her his decision to wed Elizabeth. Her heart had hurt for months as she struggled to understand and accept the reality that she could never have him. But once Elizabeth died in similar circumstances as their mother, Emily's fear of dying as a result of childbirth eclipsed any naive desire to marry.
No, better to pursue her dreams of opening her ladies' accessories shop. She squared her shoulders, ready to face the astonishment of the ladies in town as well as plan a strategy for the battle when her father voiced his objections.



Amy’s Choice
A More Perfect Union
Book 2
Betty Bolté

Genre: Historical Romance

Publisher: ePublishing Works!

Date of Publication: October 5, 2014

Ebook: 978-1-61417-659-6
Paperback: 978-1-61417-660-2
ASIN: B00O7984P8

Number of pages: 231

Book Description:

Without a goodbye, Amy Abernathy's childhood sweetheart, Benjamin Hanson, leaves to fight in the American War for Independence.

Amy chooses to pick up the pieces of her heart and leave Charles Town to help her sister who is with child.

Benjamin knows he hurt Amy, but he plans to make it up to her after his mission is completed. Then he learns that Amy has been captured by renegade soldiers. Now Benjamin faces his own choice: free the sassy yet obstinate woman he's never stopped loving or protect Charles Town from vengeful British occupation.

Available at   Amazon    BN    Kobo   iBooks  Google Books



Excerpt

"Benjamin, what brings you out here so early this morning?" Walter slathered yellow butter on yet another slice of bread.
Amy kept her eyes on her plate, but her movements slowed, indicating she listened intently.
"Colonel Scarsdale made an important announcement last week, one that increases the chance of violent retaliation and looting by the British troops as they prepare to evacuate the city." Benjamin kept his eyes on Walter but watched Amy's actions at the side of his vision.
"Is the war finally over then?" Walter laid down his knife, eyes intent on Benjamin.
"It appears to be, all but the acts of signing the peace treaty and evacuating His Majesty's troops."
"When might that happen?" Emily fisted her napkin and gazed at him with hopeful eyes.
"As soon as conditions allow them to leave the harbor. But between now and then they will scavenge for any items of value they can lay their hands upon." He willed Amy to look at him, and finally she rewarded him by lifting her eyes to meet his. The force of her gaze sent a shock racing through him, stirring a reaction below his belt. Shifting to be more comfortable, he held her stare for a moment.
"But how does that impact us out here?" Amy regarded him, one hand poised above her plate, a bite of ham waiting. "Surely the Britons will not harm us so far from town. They'll be busy preparing to evacuate."
"Clearly you do not fathom the reality of the matter." When Amy merely stared at him, realization dawned as to the extent of the situation before him. He nearly let out a loud breath in annoyance. He checked the reflex. He needed to address the fact that Amy wasn't the only one in danger. Ideas popped into his head and he dismissed several before nodding. A simple solution. "I have come to take the girls back to town where I can keep them safe."
A startled silence followed his pronouncement.
"We are safe here." Samantha strode into the room and made straight for the sideboard.
Benjamin rose to greet her, and she waved him back into his seat. As he resettled himself, he noted Walter had not moved from where he sat crunching on a slice of apple.
"Yes, more so than we'd be in town at any rate." Emily looked from one person to another. "So many soldiers still roam the streets, after all."
"Besides, we cannot move Evelyn." Amy held knife and fork poised to slice through the ham. "I won't leave her here alone. She needs help until the baby arrives, and for a span after."
"She has me." Walter laid his hands flat on the table at either side of his plate. "I can take care of her."
Why did Walter brace himself as he spoke about his wife? Benjamin recognized the defensive nature, an insecurity, exemplified in Walter's behavior.
Amy darted a glance at Walter, then returned her gaze to Benjamin. "That's my fear."
Her mouth formed a stubborn pout as her eyes reflected her concern. What had occurred here to provoke such a statement? Amy glanced at Walter with unease plain in her expression, her distrust of the man evident. Despite himself, Benjamin tensed at the idea of Amy living under the same roof as Walter.
"I know how to defend myself, so I'll stay." Samantha placed her napkin in her lap. "More to the point, Evelyn will deliver any day now, and she'll need me."
Walter looked like he wanted to say something but held his thoughts in check. His brow lowered as he dipped his bread into his coffee. Walter did not act as refined in character as his appearance first suggested. More pieces to the puzzle fell into place, but still some holes remained before Benjamin formed an opinion of him.
"You'll need help with running this place." Emily laid her napkin on the table, her eyes steady on Samantha. "I'm accomplished at that, so I will stay to assist."
Seeing where this was leading, Benjamin made an effort to change the conversation's course. "In the event, Miss Amy stays with me." He spoke with less conviction than earlier as his resolve wilted under the arguments put forth by the women surrounding him. "I can't stay away from town long, not only because Captain Sullivan expects me to ensure the museum collection is not touched, but also because Amy's father requested I bring my fiancée back posthaste."
A feminine gasp drew his eyes to Amy's startled expression. Damnation. Too late, he realized his error as, in rhythm with three blinks, her stubborn expression shifted to surprise, then anger.
"Pardon me?" Her eyebrows arched over wide eyes. "You are engaged? To whom, pray tell?"
The set of her jaw dared him to say what he must in order to tell the truth of the matter. An attack of cotton mouth forced him to try to swallow as he searched for the proper response. How crass could he be, blurting out his bald intent? His carefully prepared speech blown apart by his own foolish words. Again, words had tripped him up and left him floundering. Yet, his mother would be proud of him for sticking to the facts, even if they created an awkward moment. He heaved a sigh. Nothing for it but the bare truth. "I spoke with your parents a few days ago, and they agreed..."
"Stop." Amy, face red, held up a hand as though warding off a blow. "Pray, don't tell me my parents actually negotiated with you for my hand?"





About the Author:

Betty Bolté writes both historical and contemporary stories featuring strong, loving women and brave, compassionate men. No matter whether the stories are set in the past or the present, she loves to include a touch of the paranormal. In addition to her romantic fiction, she’s the author of several nonfiction books and earned a Master’s in English in 2008. She is a member of Romance Writers of America, the Historical Novel Society, the Women’s Fiction Writers Association, and the Authors Guild. Get to know her at www.bettybolte.com.

Website: www.bettybolte.com




Twitter: @BettyBolte