Saturday, 17 October 2015

And the winner is...


Hey Everyone!

A giveaway has ended and that means I've got some winner announcement to make! 

So congrats, the lucky winner of a $10 Amazon gift card offered by Christina Phillips is


@tessaa99

Congratulations! I have sent you a notification e-mail, please get back to me within 48 hours or I will have to draw a new winner. Thank you!

Don't forget to enter all the ongoing giveaways you can find a direct link to each one of them at the top of the blog.

Have a fantastic weekend!
 

Friday, 16 October 2015

Guest post by Wendy LaCapra + Giveaway

Please give a warm welcome to the historical romance author Wendy LaCapra, who is celebrating the release of the 3rd book in her Furies series, Duchess Decadence! Read on to learn more about the novel, the research Wendy did and for your chance to win the books in the series!

 
Interesting notes from my Furies Series Research
by Wendy LaCapra

All three books in The Furies series, Lady Vice, Lady Scandal and Duchess Decadence take place in 1784 either in London, or within 2 day’s travel. So what was a day in the life of Late Georgian London like? Well, the early 1780’s pre-date the French Revolution, and so the atmosphere was more open, liberal and, in many ways, more licentious. Cyprians and Bawdy houses were in abundance, and from 1757-1791 an annual register of prostitutes called Harris's List of Covent Garden Ladies printed about 8,000 copies a year. (The 1787 Version details that Mrs. K—ng of 17 Union Street is, among other things, ‘in every way formed for giving and receiving pleasure’)

In the pricer parts of town, night watchmen kept oil lamps on decorative posts lit through the night and called out the time and status. Georgian Terrace Houses were common in London. Dirt was swept out during the night and collected by scavengers before the streets were cleaned by watercarts. One would breakfast at 11, but if his lordship wished to review the news, the illustrious publication known as the London Times was, until 1788, called the Daily Universal Register.

Late spring through fall, pleasure gardens were a popular diversion. One of the most frequented was referred to as Vauxhall, but the garden’s official name, New Spring

Gardens, wasn’t actually changed to Vauxhaull until 1785.

The American war of Independence ended in 1783, and the loss of the colonies was still fresh. India and the East India Company were very much on the minds of the men in Parliament, and the turmoil led to the dismissal of the ministers and an election, and those events play a small roll in all three books of The Furies series. Want to know one of my favorite anecdotes which did not make it into the books? During the 1784 election in Westminster, the famous Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire reportedly gave out kisses to those vote-holders who promised to vote for the Whig Politian Charles James Fox.

The fashion for men was still bright colors with elaborate lace and stitching. Fullness in the rear and hips was the rage in ladies fashion and quite a few sources remark on large and elaborate hairstyles. The hair powder tax was not implemented until 1795, and so white powder and white wigs were still very much in use. I did find some references that referred to ladies tinting their hair powder with pink and lavender, so the heroine of Lady Scandal appears with pinkish hair when she first meets with the hero. Pink hair? See, every fashion comes round again given a few hundred years!

Duchess Decadence by Wendy LaCapra

Book #3 in The Furies series

Thea Worthington, Duchess of Wynchester divides her time between social engagements and playing her luck against fickle fortune. Yet every gamble is only a bluff—a means to hide from the pain deep within her, and the loss of a babe she never held in her arms. Now Thea's luck is about to run out. Her estranged husband has returned and seeks a reunion...

Plagued with guilt over what happened to his wife three years ago, the Duke of Wynchester has kept his distance. The duke is resolved to piece his family back together, especially now that he's discovered his beloved brother—long thought dead—still lives. But Thea's lovely, porcelain facade is on the verge of cracking...spurred on by the duke's brother's secretive, malevolent animosity.

With everything riding on her future, Thea plays a daring game of chance for love and her marriage...and this time, the dice are most certainly rigged.

Buy at Amazon - B&N - iTunes - Kobo

Excerpt

“I win.”

In an invisible mind-cup, he twirled the black dice of their future. His rudderless ship could reach only one port—he had to choose. He could open to the invitation within her parted lips. They would have a second chance.

Or, he could declare her false north, and proceed as he had drunkenly resolved—the production of an heir and then a return to quietly separate lives thereafter.

The latter would keep the Wynchester title from oblivion and keep him safe from the danger in her eyes. The spirits he’d ingested burned in his stomach.

Haddon!—unbidden, a dormitory-taunt using his youth’s courtesy title rose in his mind—heard your mama died and your father married a whore. You think she likes your mama’s bed?

With determined effort he’d risen above such taunts. No one had dared besmirch the Wynchester title since he’d become the duke. No one except Thea Marie. She’d shunned him and joined her friends on the edges of respectability, leaving him a laughingstock.

I hear the duchess has a gift with cards, Wynchester. Why don’t you wager her for a night in her bed?

His cheeks grew as taut as a spring-trap. Tonight, in a manner of speaking, he’d done just as the fools suggested. Although she—not he—had issued the wager. A wager he’d won. Which meant she would have to return…and she would have to make every effort.

“I will show you,” his words came out murky and low. “I will show you.”

Her eyes grew wide. “Show me?”

He nodded, not trusting his voice for more. He had no idea—no idea—what would become of them. Between here and his black-dice future hid recriminations with teeth as sharp as iron leg-traps. All he knew was that he must show her he was—

“My dear Duke,” she said, “there is no need—”

“Yes,” he interrupted. He was her dear duke—hers to have and to hold, for better, for worse—and he was going to take her home. Now.

“I will not let you forget this time, Duchess.”

She shrieked as he swept her off her feet. She was surprisingly light for so tall and troublesome a creature.

“What,” she yelped, “do you think you are doing?”

He stalked to the door. “Open!” he yelled, as if the door itself would heed his command.

Lady Vaile swung open the door and took a swift step back. “Oh dear,” she cried. “Max!”

He strode out into the larger room, ignoring both lady and guests.

“Wynchester!” the duchess pleaded. “Good God, everyone is looking.”

“Let them sketch the image and take it to Grub Street, for all I care.” He ignored the sudden silence in the room and headed for the hall and beyond that—his carriage. “I am taking,” he said loudly, “my duchess home.”

On the far side of the room, Lady Sophia stood on her toes, stretching toward the Earl of Randolph.

Bah. First Harrison, now Randolph. And, worse, he had bet Harrison a cask of his best brandy Lord Randolph and the fiendishly pretty little Fury would never come together. Then again, losing his cask was not the worst—he swayed as he pressed onward—he’d had enough brandy for quite some time.

“Sentiment,” he spat with disgust.

“That’s it,” the duchess said with a look of pure horror, “put me down.”

“No.”

Sentiment may be a weasely creature with ferret-sharp teeth, but at the moment he rather enjoyed its effects. Strength surged though his limbs and his intent was startlingly clear—bed.

Buy at Amazon - B&N - iTunes - Kobo

Wendy LaCapra has been reading romance since she sneaked into the adult section at the library and discovered Victoria Holt & Jane Aiken Hodge. From that point on, she dreamed of creating fictional worlds with as much richness, intrigue and passion as she found within those books. Her stories have placed in several contests, including the 2012 Golden Heart®. She lives in NYC with her husband and loves to hear from readers.


Connect with her at her website - Facebook - Twitter - Goodreads


GIVEAWAY RULES:

1 Winner will win signed copies of Lady Vice, Lady Scandal & Duchess Decadence with swag (compact mirror, 2 oz. Lady Scandal Rose Bath Salts, and pens!) USA/CA shipping ONLY

7 Winners will win an eBook copy of ONE of the following books from the ladies from www.PastThrills.com:

• The Accidental Duchess, by Madeline Hunter
• Secrets for Seducing a Royal Bodyguard, by Vanessa Kelly
• Good Earl Gone Bad, by Manda Collins
• The Dukes Daring Debutante, by Ann Lethbridge
• The Love List, by Deb Marlowe
• I Spy a Duke, by Erica Monroe
• Reckless Wager + Bonus Novella Wanton Wager, by Christy Carlyle

To be entered to win simply fill out the Rafflecopter form below:

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Good luck!

Wednesday, 7 October 2015

Excerpt: First Season/Bride to Be by Jane Ashford + Giveaway

The weather is quickly turning to chilly, so what better way than to curl up on the sofa with a heart-warming historical romance to spend the afternoon? Today I'd like to share with you an excerpt and giveaway of Jane Ashford's recently released duology: First Season / Bride to Be! Read on and enter the giveaway at the end for a chance to win yourself a copy.


Two classic Regency romances by beloved bestselling author Jane Ashford celebrate the adventures of a London Season.

FIRST SEASON

Widowed Lady Anabel Wyndham was married right out of the schoolroom and has never before experienced the delights of a London Season. She’s dazzled by the attention of the fascinating Sir Charles Norbury, a man whose touch seems to melt her very soul, but a notorious rake. She’s drawn to handsome friend-of-the-family Christopher Hanford and the comfort and serenity he offers. But how does one choose between two such charming suitors? Anabel is finding that love is so much more dangerous the second time around.

BRIDE TO BE

Emily Crane is the toast of the ton—and she couldn’t find it more tedious. Until she encounters the darkly sensual stranger whose life she once saved and the London Season becomes infinitely more exciting. Recently returned from the wilds of South America, Lord Richard Sheldon has only contempt for tiresome London chits, but he finds himself stunningly intrigued by the dauntless Emily Crane. When the two become embroiled in a budding scandal and are forced into an engagement, they discover a passion more dangerous than any killer…

Buy at Amazon - Kindle - B&N - iBooks

First Season Excerpt

“There you are,” said someone from the hall below. “They said you had gone upstairs.”

Anabel looked down to find Sir Charles Norbury gazing up at her. A tingling shock ran through her body, and the candle trembled a little, dripping wax.

“You have missed the first waltz,” he added, meeting her at the bottom of the staircase and taking the candlestick from her hand. He snuffed the flame between forefinger and thumb and set it aside. “And I came early especially to engage you for it.”

“I wanted to look in on the children.” As always, his presence overwhelmed her. He seemed to tower over her, yet his pale green eyes felt close and compelling. She found it hard to breathe.

“It is a country dance now, unfortunately. Mayn’t we wait outside here for the next and hope?” He smiled and reached for her hand to lead her across to a small empty anteroom.

Anabel knew she should say no, but her voice seemed to have died, and she went with him silently and allowed him to escort her to a sofa and sit beside her, his arm thrown along its back.

“You look exquisite tonight,” he said softly. “The loveliest woman at the ball.”

This outrageous compliment revived her. “What a plumper. There are dozens of prettier ones.”

“No.”

“Flatterer.” She smiled, but when she met his eyes, they were very serious.

“No,” he said again. “To me you are the most beautiful.” He held her gaze for a moment, then slowly bent forward and took possession of her lips, his arm tightening around her shoulders.

Anabel’s slight trembling increased, and her mind dissolved in confusion. She should pull away, part of it cried; this was terribly fast, and someone might come in at any moment. But another part urged her on, fascinated by Sir Charles’ attractions and filled with curiosity.

His kiss was very expert, and nothing at all like her deceased husband’s, Anabel’s only standard of comparison. His lips seemed to draw all strength out of her, leaving her limp and pliant, yet she felt disconnected from the expected sensual pleasure. He knew how to draw response from her body, clearly, but her heart and mind remained in turmoil.

Norbury, on the contrary, was in the grip of feelings stronger than any he had ever experienced, and for him the kiss confirmed a decision. This was the woman he wanted. Never had his passions been suffused with such emotion. Beyond thinking, he moved his free hand to Anabel’s knee and slid it upward caressingly, savoring the curve of her waist under the thin satin dress and cupping his fingers around her breast. She drew her breath in sharply.

A scuff of footsteps in the hall, followed by a scrap of conversation and a laugh, jerked Anabel upright. She pulled away from him only just in time to avoid being caught by two couples coming into the room. But it was obvious in the way that the newcomers stopped, smiled, and apologized that their appearance gave them away. Anabel rose and hurried from the room, Norbury behind her. Her cheeks were flaming, and she felt that she could not possibly face the crowd in the ballroom.

Buy at Amazon - Kindle - B&N - iBooks

Jane Ashford discovered Georgette Heyer in junior high school and was captivated by the glittering world and witty language of Regency England. That delight led her to study English literature and travel widely in Britain and Europe. Her historical and contemporary romances have been published in Sweden, Italy, England, Denmark, France, Russia, Latvia, Slovenia, and Spain, as well as the U.S. Twenty-six of her new and backlist Regency romances are being published by Sourcebooks. Jane has been nominated for a Career Achievement Award by RT Book Reviews. She is currently rather nomadic.

Connect with Jane at her website - Facebook - Goodreads


GIVEAWAY RULES:

To be entered to win simply fill out the Rafflecopter below:

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