Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Coming Attractions

October! How the heck did that happen? It's the month of pumpkins, ghosts, goblins, guest authors and terrific books. Here's what's happening at The Romance Dish in October.

We kick things off Thursday, October 1st with the Kate Meader Playing with Fire review tour. This is the second full-length book in Meader's Hot in Chicago contemporary romance series and it's a winner.

Monday, October 5th brings historical romance author Paula Quinn to the Dish for a Q&A about her new book, The Taming of Malcolm Grant. This fourth book in Quinn's The McGregors: Highland Heirs series is one of my favorites in a three generation multiple series of books that occupy my keeper shelf.

Janga shares her thoughts about another reissued novel with her On Second Thought review on Thursday, October 15th.

Rose Lerner joins us Friday, October 16th with a cover reveal for her January, 2016 release, Listen to the Moon. Lerner takes us back to the village of Lively St. Lemeston for this third book in her series of the same name. The first two books were exceptional and I'll be pre-ordering this one as soon as it goes live!

Wednesday, October 21st brings Wendy LaCapra's Duchess Decadence tour to TRD with a Q&A. This third book in LaCapra's The Furies trilogy, a story of second chances, will be released October 19th.

You all know how much we love debut authors here at TRD! On Sunday, October 25th we'll be unveiling a sneak peek into Anna Bradley's November 3rd historical debut, A Wicked Way to Win An Earl. I'm excited to read this one!

See you in October! 

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Review - - The Legend of Lyon Redmond

The Legend of Lyon Redmond
By Julie Anne Long
Publisher: Avon
Release Date: September 29, 2015

Bound by centuries of bad blood, England's two most powerful families maintain a veneer of civility . . . until the heir to the staggering Redmond fortune disappears, reviving rumors of an ancient curse: a Redmond and an Eversea are destined to fall disastrously in love once per generation.
An Enduring Legend
Rumor has it she broke Lyon Redmond's heart. But while many a man has since wooed the dazzling Olivia Eversea, none has ever won her—which is why jaws drop when she suddenly accepts a viscount's proposal. Now London waits with bated breath for the wedding of a decade . . . and wagers on the return of an heir.
An Eternal Love
It was instant and irresistible, forbidden . . . and unforgettable. And Lyon—now a driven, dangerous, infinitely devastating man—decides it's time for a reckoning. As the day of her wedding races toward them, Lyon and Olivia will decide whether their love is a curse destined to tear their families apart . . . or the stuff of which legends are made.

For the past five years the residents of Pennyroyal Green have speculated about the reasons behind Lyon Redmond's sudden and unexplained departure from their village. Prevailing opinion is that a broken heart drove him away, the heart breaker, of course, being Olivia Eversea but she's not talking and nobody has seen or heard from Lyon in all that time. Until now.

For the past five years, Olivia Eversea has spurned every potential suitor, her heart belonging only to Lyon Redmond, oldest son and heir to the powerful Redmond family, enemy of the Everseas. Most of the suitors gave up when she showed no interest but not Lord Landsdowne. He persisted until Olivia finally acknowledged the fact that he wasn't going away, Lyon wasn't coming back and she wasn't getting any younger. Did she love him? No, she didn't, but she liked him and hoped that one day love might come even if it would never be the same kind of love she shared with Lyon.

It was the first week of February when Lyon Redmond received the message. She's getting married on the second Saturday in May. Of course, he knew who the "she" was. Was she happy? Was she in love? Had he waited too long? Was everything he'd done over the past five years for naught? There was only one way to find out. Lyon Redmond was returning to England and a reckoning with Olivia Eversea.

Throughout the Pennyroyal Green series, we've been teased with bits and pieces of Lyon and Olivia's relationship but, until now, only three people have known what really happened between these two: Lyon, Olivia and their creator, Julie Anne Long. The rest of us have been waiting a long time, almost eight years in some cases, for this story to be told. When a book is as highly anticipated as this one has been, for that many years, expectations are very high which means the possibility of disappointment is high as well. Unless we're talking about The Legend of Lyon Redmond. This book not only met my expectations, it blew them straight out of the water.

The book opens three months before Olivia's wedding when Lyon has been gone for five years. As the story progresses toward the wedding in "real" time, the story of Olivia and Lyon is told in flashbacks, beginning with their first meeting at the Sussex Christmas Eve Assembly five years earlier.

He wove through the crowd, leaving a little wake of turned heads. He might have even smiled and nodded appropriately, for such was his breeding, and such were his reflexes. Feminine hearts lifted and then broke as he passed.
Olivia lifted her head abruptly when he'd nearly reached her, as if she'd heard that gong. Her eyes flared for an instant.
And then she smiled.
But with absolutely no curiosity or surprise.
More as though she'd been expecting him.
That was like walking through a door into a world he'd never suspected existed. He understood, all at once, the word "joy," and why it was so small, just three letters. It was as simple and profound as a sudden flame in the dark. 
For a moment or for a year, they stood silent and smiling like loobies, as if they'd already said everything they were ever going to say to each other, perhaps in some other lifetime.
No one else existed.
And yet later they were to discover that dozens were watching all of this via sidelong glances and outright stares and stricken glares.
"Of course," she said, finally, softly.

Julie Anne Long is, in my opinion, one of the best authors in the business and this book, again in my opinion, is her best work. Her writing is exquisite, with words that reached into my heart, eliciting every emotion. Her words paint vibrant pictures...of emotions, exotic locales, soul-deep desire, and a love for the ages.  Reading this story, I ached for Lyon and Olivia. I felt their joy, their disappointment, their fear, the sizzle that snaps between them, their strength and their vulnerability. I could fill pages with quotes, passages, everything I love about this book - and there are many, many things - but I want every reader to travel this journey with Lyon and Olivia as I did; by slowly unveiling each twist and turn, every word, phrase, passage and page, and savoring it all.

Like a beautiful symphony, The Legend of Lyon Redmond hits every note perfectly, creating a masterpiece that brought me to tears and filled my heart with joy. It's my favorite book of 2015. Years from now, when people are asked to list their all-time favorite books, I fully expect Lyon and Olivia's enduring love story to be among those at the top. It really is that good.


Playing With Fire Tour Announcement

I am excited to be the October 1st stop on the blog tour for Playing with Fire by Kate Meader. Please note that each participating blog will do a Fire Giveaway: one copy each of Flirting with Fire and Baby, It’s Cold Outside (which includes Rekindle the Flame, the prequel e-novella which will publish November 30th for $1.99!) You can visit all sites on the blog tour to enter the Fire Giveaways – but keep in mind you can only win once! (U.S. only) 

From popular romance author Kate Meader comes the second novel in Hot in Chicago, a brand-new, sizzling series that follows a group of firefighting foster siblings and their blazing hot love interests!

As the only female firefighter at Engine Co. 6, Alexandra Dempsey gets it from all sides: the male coworkers who think she can’t do the job, the wives and girlfriends who see her as a threat to their firefighter men, and her overprotective foster brothers who want to shelter their baby sister at all costs. So when she single-handedly saves the life of Eli Cooper, Chicago’s devastatingly handsome mayor, she assumes the respect she’s longed for will finally come her way. But it seems Mr. Mayor has other ideas…

Eli Cooper’s mayoral ratings are plummeting, his chances at reelection dead in the water. When a sexy, curvaceous firefighter gives him the kiss of life, she does more than bring him back to the land of the living—she also breathes vitality into his campaign. Riding the wave of their feel-good story might prop up Eli’s flagging political fortunes, but the sizzling attraction between them can go nowhere; he’s her boss, and there are rules that must be obeyed. But you know what they say about rules: they’re made to be broken…

 9/28:      Night Owl Reviews, Author Chat

Week 1, three Fire Giveaways per day    

9/29:      A Book Whore’s Obsession
                Abigail Books Addiction
                Night Owl Reviews
                Mrs Leif’s Two Fangs About It Book Blog
                In Between the Pages
10/1:      Talk Supe
                The Romance Dish
                Four Chicks Flipping Pages
10/2:      Harlequin Junkie
                Bea’s Book Nook
                Collector of Book Boyfriends

Week 2, two and three Fire Giveaways per day  

                Fire and Ice Book Reviews
10/6:      Cocktails & Books
10/7:      Bookish Temptations
                Art Books Coffee
                Lush Book Reviews
                WTF Are You Reading?
                Once Upon An Alpha
10/9:      Romance Obsessed Book Blog
                Fiction Fangirls
                Red Cheeks Reads

Week 3, one Fire Giveaway per day 

10/14:   The Book Enthusiast
10/16:   About That Story

Monday, September 28, 2015

Today's Special - - Eva Leigh

I'm delighted to welcome historical romance author Eva Leigh to TRD today. Leigh's debut historical for Avon, Forever Your Earl releases tomorrow. It hit all the right notes for this reader, landing the book on my Best of 2014 list. I'm excited to see what Leigh brings us next! 

Eva Leigh is a romance author who has always loved the Regency era. She writes novels chock-full of smart women and sexy men. She enjoys baking, spending too much time on the Internet, and listening to music from the ’80s. Eva also writes in multiple romance genres as RITA-award nominated Zoë Archer. She and her husband, fellow romance author Nico Rosso, live in Central California.



Welcome! Congratulations on the upcoming release of Forever Your Earl, your debut writing as Eva Leigh. Please tell our readers what they can expect from this book.

Wit, wordplay, rakes, empowered women, and hot love scenes.

That right there would be enough to put it on my must-buy list!

On the surface, Eleanor (untitled owner/editor of the scandal rag, The Hawk’s Eye) and Daniel, Earl of Ashford (the paper’s favorite target) seem an unlikely pair. What is it about these two that convinced you they belong together?

I love the notion of opposites attract, but with a hidden core of mutual understanding and respect. Eleanor is a woman who’s had to make her way in the world, and Ashford has had everything handed to him. They seem very improbable as a couple, but it turns out that they’re both intelligent, driven, passionate people with a lot of compassion and a need to contribute.

Eleanor is an independent, self-sustaining, career woman whose
life choices fly in the face of societal expectations. What is it about this type of heroine that appeals to you as a romance writer?

I’m an avowed feminist, and so it has been very important to me writing both as Zoë Archer as well as Eva Leigh to depict women in male-dominated fields, kicking butt and not backing down. I want my heroines to be as strong and capable as my heroes. Relationships between equals are the sexiest and most romantic kind, to me.

I enjoyed the peeks into life “behind the curtain” at the Imperial. Do you have a background in theater?

Yes, I’ve done theater in high school and college. But what I really enjoy about writing of the theater is showing how people worked, and worked hard, especially in the creation of art. The theater is a very dynamic, not especially respectable place where women can have a lot of power, and I wanted to show that. You’ll see much more of it, and Maggie the playwright, in Scandal Takes the Stage, which comes out November 2015.

Where did you gain your knowledge?

I enjoy doing research! I have lots of books, plus the internet can be a valuable resource for learning more about all kinds of topics. Since readers know so much already about the Regency, I want to give them glimpses into worlds that they might not be as familiar with, such as journalism and the theater.

This reader is eager for more of those glimpses!

Will we see more of Jonathan Lawson and his sister, Catherine in future books? I’m intrigued by both of them.

There will most likely be a novella featuring Jonathan. Originally, I hadn’t planned on writing about his story, but there has already been such a demand to give him his HEA that I felt it was necessary!

Glad to know I'm not the only one clamoring for his story!

What’s next from Eva Leigh?

Scandal Takes the Stage, Marwood and Maggie’s story, will be out October 27, 2015. After that is Temptations of a Wallflower in May 2016. That one is also part of the Wicked Quills series, and it’s about a lady who writes anonymous erotic novels and a vicar!

Count me in for both of them! 

You are also an award-winning author of paranormal, steampunk and Victorian romances written as Zoë Archer. (I’m a huge fan of the Blades of the Rose series!) What’s on the horizon for fans of those books? 

Right now, I’m concentrating on my Eva Leigh persona, but 
Zoë definitely lives on. I’m entertaining different ideas to write under that name.

Thank you for visiting with me. Would you like to ask our readers a question today?

If you could go back in history and have any profession, what would it be, and why?

One randomly chosen person leaving a comment on today's post will receive a copy of Forever Your Earl

(U.S./Canada only)

Eva Leigh's irresistible new series introduces the Wicked Quills of London: a group of bold, brilliant female writers whose spirited allure is beyond seductive . . .

Eleanor Hawke loves a good scandal. And readers of her successful gossip rag live for the exploits of her favorite subject: Daniel Balfour, the notorious Earl of Ashford. So when the earl himself marches into her office and invites her to experience his illicit pursuits firsthand, Eleanor is stunned. Gambling hells, phaeton races, masquerades . . . What more could a scandal writer want than a secret look into the life of this devilishly handsome rake?

Daniel has secrets, and if The Hawk's Eye gets wind of them, a man's life could be at stake. And what better way to distract a gossip than by feeding her the scandal she desperately craves? But Daniel never expected the sharp mind and biting wit of the beautiful writer, and their desire for each other threatens even his best-laid plans.

But when Eleanor learns the truth of his deception, Daniel will do anything to prove a romance between a commoner and an earl could really last forever.

Click to read an Excerpt of Forever Your Earl

Book Info:
ISBN: 978-0062358622
Publisher: Avon Romance
Date: 9/29/2015

Links to Buy:

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Vanessa Kelly Birthday Bash Winners

The winners from Vanessa Kelly's Birthday Bash visit are:

Michele Medema
How to Marry a Royal Highlander by Vanessa Kelly

Diane P. Diamond
Meet Me At The Beach by V.K. Sykes

package of books

Carol L
Summer at the Shore by V.K. Sykes

Please send your full name and mailing address to:

theromancedish (at) gmail (dot) com

Review - - A Little Thing Called Love

A Little Thing Called Love
(a novella)
By Cathy Maxwell
Publisher: Avon Impulse
Release Date: September 22, 2015

Fyclan Morris has come a long way from his modest Irish roots. Educated, wealthy and successful, he's on the verge of being elected a director of the powerful East India Company and achieving all of his dreams, save one. His Romany-born grandmother had foretold it:

"You'll recognize her immediately," his Grand had said. "She'll be fair to your dark, a light to your step, a force you will not deny."

When Fyclan first sees Jennifer Tarleton on the street, he knows she's the one and is determined to meet her. When she reaches her destination, a private lending library, and he discovers his lass's love of books, the deal is sealed. There will be no other woman for him, regardless of the obstacles standing in their way. And there are many, seemingly insurmountable, obstacles.

Jenny Tarleton loves books. They are her refuge, her hope, her joy in a life fraught with strife. Her family doesn't understand but, then, they don't understand Jenny much at all. To them, she's a bargaining chip, a pretty object to sell to the highest bidder. The money her hand in marriage will bring them will erase her father's gambling debts, give her oldest sister's husband the promotion he craves and allow her other sister to marry where she wishes. None of them seem to care about Jenny's wishes. The only one who sees and appreciates Jenny for the person she is and not what she can bring them is the handsome Irishman who shares her love of books. Fyclan is certainly rich enough to meet her father's marriage price but he doesn't have the title her family craves and, unbeknownst to Jenny, he has a history with her father that makes him the last person her father would ever allow her to marry.

A Little Thing Called Love is the prequel to Cathy Maxwell's upcoming Marrying the Duke historical romance series. The first book in the series, The Match of the Century is the story of Elin Morris, the daughter of Fyclan and Jenny and will be released November 24th.

I thoroughly enjoyed Fyclan and Jenny's novella. It contains all the passion, humor and vibrant characters I've come to expect from a Cathy Maxwell story. At 86 pages, it's a quick read but I didn't feel at all shortchanged. Fyclan and Jenny pulled me into their world, into their hope, their despair, their passion and a love that refuses to be denied. I cannot wait to see them as parents and meet their daughter in The Match of the Century!


Review - - Ransom Canyon

Ransom Canyon
By Jodi Thomas
Publisher: Harlequin HQN
Release Date: August 25, 2015


Jodi Thomas introduces a new series with Ransom Canyon, a Texas-set contemporary western that spotlights Thomas’s deft touch with multiple storylines about the extraordinary lives of ordinary, flawed characters of various ages who struggle with problems in which the reader believes.

Staten Kirkland, a direct descendant of James Kirkland who founded the Kirkland Double K ranch more than a century earlier, is a man who loves his land and takes pride in following in the footsteps of his grandfather and the generations before him. When his sixteen-year-old son was killed in a single-vehicle accident two years after Staten’s wife lost her battle with cancer, the rancher clung to his sanity by a thread. It was the land and his wife’s best friend, Quinn O’Grady that saved him. Five years have passed since his son’s death, but Staten still lives life distanced from his emotions, managing the Double K and visiting Quinn when the storms come.

Quinn is a shy, silent woman who works her small lavender farm and confides in no one. She has known Staten since they were in grade school and has loved him almost as long. She is content to be his sanctuary when the wildness and the need for human contact overwhelm him, but after five years, each time they lie together, she wonders if it will be the last time. It is that uncertainty that prompts her to make a demand for the first time: “From now on . . . when you come to see me, I need you to kiss me goodbye before you go. If I’m asleep, wake me. You don’t have to say a word, but you have to kiss me.” Kissing Quinn is no hardship and Staten complies. Neither of them could have guessed in that moment that so simple a thing as a kiss could start a chain of changes that would alter their lives in dramatic ways.

Lucas Reyes is a part-time ranch hand for the Double K. Just seventeen, he grew up helping his father who works on the Bar W, the ranch that borders the Double K, but as soon as Lucas turned sixteen, he signed up to work when the Double K needed extra cowboys. Kirkland pays a higher wage, and Lucas is saving for college. He plans to finish high school early and have his baccalaureate degree by the time he turns twenty-two. But Lauren Briggman has him thinking about more than work and his collegiate future.

Fifteen and at the top of her sophomore class, Lauren Briggman is more interested in books than in boys, which is a good thing since her father, sheriff of tiny Crossroads, Texas, intimidates the young men who show any indication of interest in her. But Lucas Reyes is not like the other boys she knows. He is more serious, more thoughtful, and more ambitious. When he proves to be the stuff heroes are made of, Lauren knows she wants to be friends with him. When he gives Lauren her first kiss, she realizes how special this friendship is.

Yancey Grey is an ex-con who wandered into Crossroads looking for a stake that would put him on the road to normalcy, something Yancey has never known. But what was supposed to be a brief stop turns into a new life when a group of retired teachers give Yancey a job, a place to live, and people who care about him. Just when Yancey begins to believe a new life can be his, his past smacks him with the old reality. Can Yancey summon the courage to risk everything for his new community?

I’m a huge fan of Jodi Thomas’s Harmony series, and Ransom Canyon strikes familiar notes without being merely the new verse of an old song. Staten and Quinn are wounded souls drawn together initially by shared grief and the need for comfort. Without their being fully aware of it, their relationship shifts and moves in new directions. They are both interesting, sympathetic characters, and the developing relationship captures the reader quickly. I was especially pleased that they are both in their forties, old enough to have survived some devastating blows and young enough to build a new life.

Lucas and Lauren are good kids, hard-working, responsible, and family-loving—the kind who get too little attention in life and in fiction. Lucas, the eldest in a big family, listens to his father’s advice, cherishes his mother’s hugs, and feels no resentment that everything he wants is not handed to him. Lauren is weary of her father’s lectures and is bothered by the noisy clashes between her separated parents, but she is secure in her father’s love. She is even beginning to understand that her mother loves her too. In the early stages of young love, they are sweet and endearing.

Yancey is one of the misfits that Thomas excels at bringing to life. His story has tragic overtones, but the author presents it with considerable humor. There is nothing amusing about his throwaway past or his prison experience, but the mutual adoption that occurs between Yancey and the quirky senior brigade, his careful scrutiny of the townspeople as he studies how to act “normal,” and the budding romance between him and the warrior nurse made me smile.

If you have enjoyed the Harmony books, you will probably enjoy this book as well. If you like stories with colorful but credible characters engaged in several storylines, you should definitely add this one to your list. Thomas remains an auto-buy author for me. I am already eagerly awaiting the second book in the series, Rustler’s Moon, a January 26, 2016 release. Winter Camp, a prequel novella offering the story of Staten’s ancestor James Kirkland and the founding of the Double K, is also available. 


Friday, September 25, 2015

Debbie Mason Birthday Bash Winners

The winners from Debbie Mason's Birthday Bash post are:

(Snowbound at Christmas)

(package of books)

(package of books)


Please send your full name and mailing address to:

theromancedish (at) gmail (dot) com

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!
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