Friday, September 25, 2015

PJ's Birthday Bash - - Vanessa Kelly

Vanessa Kelly and her husband, Randy write as V.K. Sykes
It's the last day of my Birthday Bash and we're wrapping things up with one of my favorite people, the wonderful Vanessa Kelly! When she's not busy writing regency historical romances, Vanessa teams up with her husband to pen romantic suspense, sports-themed contemporary romance and their current small-town contemporary series set in the fictional Seashell Bay, a small island off the coast of Maine. I highly recommend them all!

For more information about Vanessa and her books, visit her website and connect with her online at FacebookTwitter, and Goodreads

Thanks so much for helping me celebrate my birthday, Vanessa!

Blairgal Castle
Scottish Highlands

Alec Gilbride strolled down the long corridor of the east wing, heading for his wife’s private sitting room. His grandfather was napping by the fireplace in his private sitting room (Blairgal had at least a dozen of them), his father was busy in the library, and the dinner bell wouldn’t ring for at another hour. Perfect timing for a private afternoon visit with Edie—emphasis on private.

The door to the sitting room opened and their butler came trotting out, carrying an enormous silver platter.

“Hallo, Barclay. What are you up to?” Alec said.

“Good afternoon, Captain. I just brought Mrs. Gilbride a nice cup of tea, along with some scones and lovely piece of Cook’s plum cake.”

Alec frowned. “What the devil is she doing drinking tea at this time of day?” Normally, he and his wife indulged in a glass of whisky before dinner. A nice cup of tea and some plum cake hardly sounded like an inducement to amorous activities.

“I wouldn’t know, sir,” Barclay said in an excessively dignified tone. “You’ll have to ask Mrs. Gilbride. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to see about the lobster patties.”

Tea and lobster patties? What a gruesome combination. Something decidedly odd was afoot.

Edie was sitting by a cozy fire, scowling over the top of her spectacles at a piece of paper. She looked up, a warm smile replacing her frown. “I was wondering when I would see you. You’re rather late today.”

“Well, I’m here now.” He sat beside her and tipped up her chin for a quick kiss. “So whatever it is you’re working on, you can put it aside. I have other things in mind for the afternoon’s activities.”

Edie laughed and batted his hands away from the bodice of her gown. “None of that, sir. I’m too busy to spend the afternoon dallying with you.”

“You’re never too busy for that,” Alec said, raising his eyebrows.

“Well, I am today,” she said, again frowning down at her list.

He plucked it out of her hand. “What is this? And who are all these people?” A horrible thought occurred to him. “Good Gad. You’re not planning on inviting all these people to Blairgal for Christmas, are you? We already have your mother to contend with.”

“No, she has other plans. And you love my mother.”

Alec decided that, for once, discretion was the better part of valor. “Then what’s all this for?”

“It’s the guest list for PJ’s birthday party. I must get all the invitations in the mail immediately.”

“She certainly seems to have a lot of friends,” Alec said, peering at the long list of names. “Manda Collins, Debbie Mason, Janga, Anna Campbell, Christina Dodd, Theresa Medeiros...hmm. Why are you only inviting women?”

Edie took the list back with an aggrieved sigh. “There are men included—you just failed to notice. Randy Sykes, for instance. He’s a wonderful man who writes contemporary romance and romantic suspense.”

Alec narrowed his gaze. “Wonderful, is he? How well do you know the blighter?”

Edie whacked him on the arm. “He’s married to Vanessa Kelly, you big oaf. There’s no need for you to be jealous.”

“Just checking.” He picked up another piece of paper from the low table in front of them. “Is this the menu for the party? You’ve got a lot of food here, old girl. Who’s paying for all this?”

“We are.”

“Oh, splendid,” he said. “I can just hear Grandfather complaining about the bills now.”

Edie rolled her eyes. “We can afford it. Besides, PJ is more than worth it.”

“She’d better be, because lobster patties are bloody expensive.”

The door opened and a dark-haired young woman strode into the room. She was clad in some kind of leggings, and a shirt that bore the words: Keep calm and eat lobster. “Did I hear you say lobster? How much do you need?”

“Good Lord,” Alec said, as he and Edie stared at her. “Who are you and why are you dressed like that?”

“I’m Lily Flynn, from Seashell Bay, Maine. I captain a lobster boat. If you need lobster, I’m your gal.”

Edie waved a vague finger at the attractive woman’s legs. “Is that what you wear when you’re, um, catching lobster?”

Lily glanced down at herself. “Jeans and rubber boots? What else would I wear on a fishing boat—a ballgown?”

“Good point,” Edie said. “Now, how many pounds of lobster can you provide on short notice? We need quite a lot, since we have several hundred romance writers and readers coming to the party. Oh, that reminds me. Alec, can you take care of the champagne?”

He mentally winced. Romance writers and champagne? It was a recipe for disaster.

“Hmm,” Lily said. “I think we can—”

The door flew open again and Lady Reese marched into the room. “Eden Gilbride, are you planning a birthday party for PJ without me? How can you even begin to think of organizing such an important event without my support?”

“Oh, sorry, Mamma,” Edie said. “I thought you’d already left for London with Fergus.”

Fergus Haddon was Alec’s cousin. Lady Reese had taken it into her head that she needed to drag the poor lad down to London to find him a wife—a Sassenach, no less. Alec very much doubted that his cousin would go along with that plan.

Lady Reese scowled. “That excessively exasperating young man seems to have disappeared for the moment. I’ve sent Shana Galen, Theresa Romain, and Kate Noble out to look for him. In the meantime, I thought I would help with the party planning.”

“Excellent idea,” Edie said. “Perhaps you could talk to Lily about how much lobster we need for the patties.”

Lady Reese inspected Lily with a disapproving eye. “Dear me, young woman. Why are you dressed in that very odd fashion?”

Lily rolled her eyes. “Because I’m a fishing boat captain.”

“That’s certainly an unusual profession for a lady, although I generally approve of women being able to support themselves. One can never become too dependent on a man, you know,” Lady Reese said. “But I simply cannot allow you to run around the castle dressed in so scandalous a fashion. You will give Alec’s grandfather palpitations if he sees you.”

Her ladyship grabbed Lily by the arm and began to drag her out of the room. Lily objected, but Alec could have told her not to bother. What his mother-in-law wanted, she usually got.

“Don’t worry about the party, Eden dear,” Lady Reese called over Lily’s protests. “This young person and I will take care of everything—after I get her properly attired.”

The door slammed shut behind them, and silence once more returned.

“Thank God,” Alec said. “As much as I appreciate your mother’s decisive attitude, sometimes it’s a bit much.”

“I know, and you’re a darling to put up with her,” Edie said. His wife patted him on the cheek before reaching behind her to grab a mass of wool yarn in a bright yellow shade. Alec eyed her with consternation as she also extracted two long knitting needles from under the cushions of the chaise. Now that they were alone, he was hoping they could return to business, as it were. But Edie appeared to have other ideas.

“Now what are you doing?” he asked in a frustrated voice.

“What does it look like? I’m knitting.”

“But you don’t knit.” His wife rarely engaged in typically feminine activities. She was dreadful at needlework, and even worse on the pianoforte.

“I do now,” she said.

Suspicious, Alec peered at whatever it was she was making. “Is that a…”

“Baby bootie,” she said in a shy voice. Then she blushed.

Since Edie wasn’t prone to blushing, Alec had to think it through. When the answer finally came to him, he felt like someone had thumped him on the head. “Good God, are you…” He seemed to unable to finish his sentences.

“Surprise,” she said with a grin, holding up the unevenly knit bootie. “In about seven months time, we’re going to be celebrating another birthday.”

Good God, Edie was…was pregnant! He swept her into his arms and planted an enthusiastic kiss on her lips. “It’s a splendid surprise, my love. You’ve made me very happy.”

She hugged him close, then gave him a sly little smile. “And now that we’re alone, perhaps we should celebrate the impending event. I can think of the perfect way to do so.” She reached for the buttons on his waistcoat, but then paused and sucked in a pained breath.

“What’s wrong?” he asked with concern.

“Nothing, really. I’m just feeling a bit queasy at the moment.”

“You are looking a little green around the gills,” he said.

A moment later, she was scrambling off the chaise. “You’ll have to excuse—” She clapped a hand to her mouth and raced for the door.

Alec sighed and followed her from the room. He could foresee a long seven months ahead. But there’d be much joy—and a wonderful party—at the end of it.


Happy birthday, dear PJ! May you have many, many happy and healthy years to come—thank you so much for all your love and support!!

Thank you, Vanessa! 

To celebrate PJ’s birthday, I’ll give away a copy of HOW TO MARRY A ROYAL HIGHLANDER, my latest Vanessa Kelly historical romance, and also a copy of MEET ME AT THE BEACH, one of my VK Sykes contemporary romances.

In addition to Vanessa's giveaways, I'll also give a package of books from my prize stash (U.S. only) and a copy of Summer at the Shore by V.K. Sykes (open to all addresses serviced by

Lily traveled a long way - in both time and miles - for my party. If you could go anywhere, in any time, where would you choose to spend your birthday and why?

Want to spend more time with Alec and Edie? Check out their book, How to Marry a Royal Highlander.

Illegitimate yet thoroughly irresistible, the Renegade Royals are leaving behind their careers as daring spies for the greatest adventure of all…
At sixteen, Alasdair Gilbride, heir to a Scottish earldom, fled the Highlands and an arranged betrothal. Ten years later, Alasdair must travel home to face his responsibilities. It’s a task that would be much easier without the distracting presence of the most enticing woman he’s ever met…
After one escapade too many, Eden Whitney has been snubbed by the ton. The solution: rusticating in the Scottish wilderness, miles from all temptation. Except, of course, for brawny, charming Alasdair. The man is so exasperating she’d likely kill him before they reach the border—if someone else weren’t trying to do just that. Now Eden and Alasdair are plunging into a scandalous affair with his life and her reputation at stake—and their hearts already irreparably lost…

Want to know more about Lily, our Seashell Bay fishing boat captain? Pick up a copy of her book, Meet Me At The Beach.

When Lily Doyle spots her high school crush Aiden Flynn on the inbound ferry, she knows trouble is about to dock in Seashell Bay. And not just because he’s more handsome than ever. If Aiden’s in town, the rumors must be true about his family’s plan to sell their coastal land to the highest bidder. But Lily will do whatever it takes to convince the hottest guy on the beach to protect their idyllic island home.
Gorgeous Lily Doyle was the only thing Aiden missed after he escaped from his hometown to play pro baseball. Now all Aiden wants is to wrap up the business deal and get back to his life, not relive a past that still haunts him. But as memories rush in about the night of passion he and Lily shared long ago, everything else washes right out to sea-everything except the desire that still burns between them.

Vanessa is participating in a holiday anthology with Kate Noble, Shana Galen and Theresa Romain that will be published November 10th. Don't miss A Gentleman for All Seasons!

The tiny village of Hemshawe is the sort of place where nothing ever happens…until a handsome ex-soldier and his matchmaking sister let the imposing manor house at the edge of town. The friendly Londoners shake up the staid people of Hemshawe, and villagers see each other in a new and oh-so-appealing light.
Suddenly long-sparring enemies become lovers, a town festival heralds a new start for a fallen woman and a dandy, and a man who has given up on love gets a second chance with the woman he never forgot. And the matchmaker herself? She won’t rest until she finds her own happily-ever-after…
A Madness in Spring by Kate Noble
Adam Sturridge has made Belinda Leonard’s blood boil since childhood, and the feeling is mutual.  But when a would-be matchmaker arrives in the village of Hemshawe, she’d determined to erase the thin line between love and hate.  Now, Belinda and Adam are faced with falling for someone they’ve always considered an enemy — can they overcome old prejudices and discover how to rub each other the right way?
The Summer of Wine and Scandal by Shana Galen
When viscount’s son and dandy Peregrine Lochley is temporarily exiled from London to the country for his misdeeds, the last thing he expects is to encounter an intriguing woman. But Caroline Martin has a secret to hide, and it just might be too scandalous for even this debauched rogue.
Those Autumn Nights by Theresa Romain
Ten years ago, wealthy Eliza Greenleaf broke lowly soldier Bertram Gage’s heart—but the last decade brought changes in fortune to them both. Now that he’s made his mark on the world, a twist of fate brings the Greenleaf family under his power. Will this war-hardened officer triumph over his former lover…or will Bertie and Eliza give love a second chance?
The Season for Loving by Vanessa Kelly (Renegade Royals 4.5)
Miss Georgie Gage, matchmaker extraordinaire, is resigned to life as a spinster—almost. When notoriously aloof bachelor Fergus Haddon arrives from Scotland to spend Christmas with the Gage family, Georgie thinks she’s finally found her own perfect match—if, that is, she can get the handsome Highlander to agree!
Pre-order from:   Amazon   Nook   Kobo   iBooks


  1. Happy Happy Birthday. I hope you had a good celebration. Thank YOU for giving us presents on Your bday.
    Patty B43

  2. I have been enjoying the bash thank you. I hope all of your birthday wishes came true.

  3. Chuckled at the meeting of the historical characters with the contemporary one in this cute little story. Happy Birthday, again and thanks for all of the fun.

  4. This has been an exciting Birthday Bash PJ. The stories are all wonderful. Happy Birthdaay and may all your birthdays be happy, healthy & joyous ones.
    Carol L
    Lucky4750 (at) aol (dot) com

    1. Thank you so much, Carol and many thanks for partying with me this week!

  5. I enjoyed the fun little story, I would love to get an invite to PJ's birthday party at Blairgal Castle! Sounds like tons of fun with all the authors dropping by! PJ, hope your birthday week was full of happy moments and thanks for having us at your birthday bash this week!

  6. Happy Happy Birthday, Baby. Good for a song title. LOL. Hope you have enjoyed your week long bash. Thanks for sharing your special day with all of us and for your generosity. Loved reading all the blogs and hearing about new to me books.
    PS - Dodgers magic number now 3!!!!!

    1. I'm so glad I was able to introduce you to new-to-you authors and books!

      PS - Dodgers magic number now 3!!!!!

      I'm guessing the excitement level in your house is about to go through the roof! :)

  7. We, it's been a glorious week, with lots of fun guests that we've enjoyed. I've read Vanessa's books, as she's one of my "go to" Authors.

    1. Thanks for coming to the party, Diane! I'm glad you've had a good time. Vanessa is one of my "go to" authors as well. Love her books!

  8. I would go to Ireland or Scotland, I've always thought it would be great, plus, I'm recently single and would love to have fun. :)

    1. Ireland and Scotland are two stops on my "must see" itinerary. One of these days!

  9. Happy birthday! would love to Visit Scotland and Galapagos Islands and Great Barrier Reef

    1. You're going to be logging some miles, Diana! I hope you make it to all three!

  10. Sorry to see your birthday end :) Thanks for the celebration. Lots of good reading ahead. There are so many places I'd like to still visit. Today I'd like to visit Sicily where my ancestors came from but if I could travel back I would like to visit Egypt and find out about those pyramids.

  11. Happy, happy birthday, PJ! Thank you so much for inviting me to help celebrate with you. I wish I could give you a two week vacation to Blairgal Castle, with tons of hunky Highlanders waiting on you hand and foot! You are truly a classy lady, and I so appreciate your kindness, your support, and your friendship. It's one of the true blessings in my life. And Randy sends a Happy Birthday hug and kiss, too! XOXO

  12. Replies
    1. I would like to go back to the 1930's to spend a birthday. Life was tough back then would like to experience it in person.

  13. Happy Birthday! What a delightful celebration week. I have enjoyed each day. If I could spend a birthday in another place it would be Italy during the 1950's since I was growing up at that time and never had the opportunity to travel. What an experience that would be.

  14. Happy Birthday, I hope you are enjoying your day. It sounds like you are surrounded by friends and family. I still hope you are enjoying laughter, and are feeling loved and special!����

    Question: how do we enter to win????

    1. You only need to post a comment to enter but if you leave an anonymous comment I'll need your name or email address to be included.

    2. Opps, I forgot to say I would love to go back in time anywhere around the 1800. Just to see the lovely dresses, and to see a real gentleman, it would be so romantic! But, I would not want to stay for longer than a day because I know I would not be graceful in their clothing. I can just see it now..... me falling head over bum down the stairs! And honestly I could NOT be without my Kindle.
      P.s. this is my first time doing this... is it called blogging? Ha,ha I guess I still live in the 80's!

  15. Thanks for this wonderful week, filled with authors whose books are captivating and special and lovely wishes. To travel to another time, place for my birthday would be fascinating as I would enjoy this change of scene and era. Florida when life was slow and easy since I love sunshine.

  16. maybe Hawaii- would be fun

  17. This has been quite a party - I hope you had an excellent Birthday week PJ!

    I'd like to have another birthday with my parents and let them meet their great-grandsons - that would be a day for wonderful memories, tho also bittersweet that it would only be for one day.

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  19. Another fun chapter in PJ's birthday bonanza! I'm honored and delighted to be on the invitation list. It's been a memorable week, PJ. I'm already looking forward to September 2016, and, in the meantime, I am enthusiastically anticipating A Gentleman for All Seasons by Vanessa and friends. And I'd love to spend my birthday month touring the islands of Greece.

    1. Couldn't hold a birthday without you, Janga!

  20. Happy birthday, PJ! My birthday is not a big deal to me, as long as I can spend it with close friends and family I'm happy. If I could travel back in time, I'd love to know the truth behind some historical mystery--the Princes in the Tower, perhaps. Or to find out why my ancestors fled England in the 1630's (we suspect they were running from the law).

    Not really anonymous: Christine,

  21. PJ, I have thoroughly enjoyed your birthday week celebration. Hope you had a wonderful birthday. I would love to visit Scotland in the 1600s-1800s. I have always wanted to go there.

  22. Always Lovely to find another author to look into. Vanessa's been a added joy to my life which at the best of times can still be stressful with my 10 yr old who is very medically fragile. Reading takes me on Mini trips all the time, and are very much needed :-)

    1. Thank you Vanessa you make me laugh out loud quite often, and have made many of my days brighter since I have found you. That there is Priceless to me :-)

  23. I would like to go back in time to vist my great grandparents about 30 years ago.

  24. Happy Birthday! Since mine is around Christmas time I would love to spend it at an English country manor during the regency period!

  25. Happy Birthday. I would spend mine in 1800's in England hopefully at a ball so I can wear the pretty dress.

  26. Happy Birthday!

    I would spend my birthday in Paris, France.

  27. Happy birthday!!! I would be at universal studios Florida with my family and friends!!!

  28. Happy birthday, PJ! Waving to Vanessa!

    1. Hey, pal! Did you guys find Fergus yet?

    2. That guy is impossible to find. He's always getting pulled into a secret corner by a certain Sassenach lady.

    3. Those sassy Sassenachs! You guys better call out the bloodhounds.

  29. Happy birthday, PJ! And hi there, Vanessa--what a hilarious scene! If I could pick anywhere in time/location to travel, I'd visit Regency England right alongside Lily.

    Don't enter me in the giveaway--just wanted to send you both good wishes. PJ, hope it's been a great week of celebration for you.

  30. What a great giveaway. HAPPY BIRTHDAY,P.J With people of my past.

  31. HAPPY BIRTHDAY P.J With my ancestors.

  32. HAPPY BIRTHDAY P.J My love ones who are not here anymore.

  33. I think I have an A.R.C. of this book (although I won a different book, the wrong book was sent to me). I'd like to visit Victorian times (London).

  34. Happy Birthday PJ,I hope all your birthday wishes and dreams come true :)
    I'd like to visit England,Ireland or Scotland :)
    Thank you and all fantastic authors for the amazing Birthday Bash :)

  35. Happy Birthday. Your books sound good.

  36. Happy Birthday! enjoy your day; & thanks for the giveaway...

  37. Happy Birthday, PJ! And hi, Vanessa! I already have Vanessa's books, so don't enter me for those. I would love to go to Ireland for my birthday, with my husband. We both have a lot of Irish in our heritage & it looks like such a gorgeous place, from pictures I have seen.

    1. Hi Sharlene! Ireland is on my bucket list, too.

  38. Hope you had a wonderful birthday!! Thanks for the chance, I haven't read any Vanessa's book, so I'm crossing my fingers!
    Thank You

  39. Happy Birthday, PJ! <3

    I really hope I'm on that party list, Vanessa...err...I mean, Edie. ;-)

    I'd love to go to medieval Scotland for my birthday. I love imagining castle living and who wouldn't want to be surrounded by warrior men wearing kilts. LOL

    I already have both the VK Sykes books, so don't enter me for those, but I'd love to be in the running for Vanessa's title.

    Marcy Shuler

  40. How sweet are you to do this for us, HAPPY BIRTHDAY, Thanks for the awesome giveaways you are doing. Linda May

  41. Happy Birthday! I am happy to share the same birth month with you. My BD was on the 3rd. Thanks for the giveaway.

  42. Thanks to everyone who stopped by today to help us celebrate! I love all your birthday wishes. Be sure to stop by this weekend to find out the lucky winners! ~PJ

  43. I enjoyed the story. I could see them planning an actual birthday party for you. If I could time travel I would go back to the early 1900's. I would want to meet my grandparents. My mom's parents were deceased by the time I was born. So was my dads dad. I have so many questions. Happy Birthday PJ!!! It was a great week. Thanks for inviting us to your bash and the gifts along the way.

  44. Happy Birthday! I'd choose to celebrate my birthday in modern-day Scotland. (jmcgaugh (at) semo (dot) edu)

  45. Hope you've had half as much fun during your birthday week celebrations as I have , PJ!! Thanks for inviting all the wonderful authors!

    And thank you authors for such great stories! I've loved seeing behind the pages at the characters lives! ;-)

    Last time I get to say it this year, HAPPY, HAPPY, HAPPY BIRTHDAY PJ!!!!!!

  46. This comment has been removed by the author.

  47. Modern day Scotland with all of my family and friends!!

  48. Today IS my birthday and I spent it with DH who took me out for dinner at one of my favorite restaurants and gave me treats from my favorite candy shop.๐Ÿ’œ. Two fantasy trips would have been fun. 1 - To Denver to see my Colorado Rockies beat LA tonight. They had fireworks, I'm sure in honor of my special day. 2 - To the East coast to see my kids and grandkids. Three grandsons in the D.C. area and a granddaughter in Philly are growing up so fast and Grandma misses them.

  49. Happy Birthday to you, Happy Birthday to me. Everybody sing๐Ÿ˜

  50. Thanks for sharing your birthday week with us PJ. You are a truly generous lady and I hoped you had a very lovely birthday week! I've enjoyed all the guest authors who came to celebrate and Vanessa, I love the bonus story and how you brought your two series together, this would be an epic party to go to!

  51. Happy Birthday. Thanks for sharing it.
    Me too baseball fan. Mets are on the verge of winning their division. A World Series Win will be great.
    Karen T.

  52. Happy Birthday :) Thanks for sharing.

  53. Since birthdays for me have been more for family celebrations now for many years, I would want to take them with me if the party was being held anywhere but home! I think the main place we all would want to go right now is Thailand, since the exchange student we hosted several years ago is getting married this year, and it would make a lovely combination of celebrations.

  54. I would like to go to Europe for the history and the Carribbean Islands for the relaxation!