The Enemies of Versailles BLOG TOUR!!

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The Enemies of Versailles will be released this Tuesday (March 21st) and to celebrate I am participating in a Blog Tour for the book! If you haven’t already seen it, you can find my review of the book here. See below for more information about the book, an excerpt, a short author bio, and author Q&A! This was a really good read and a great conclusion to the series, I would definitely recommend checking it out! 

SUMMARY

In the final installment of Sally Christie’s “tantalizing” (New York Daily News) Mistresses of Versailles trilogy, Jeanne Becu, a woman of astounding beauty but humble birth, works her way from the grimy back streets of Paris to the palace of Versailles, where the aging King Louis XV has become a jaded and bitter old philanderer. Jeanne bursts into his life and, as the Comtesse du Barry, quickly becomes his official mistress.
“That beastly bourgeois Pompadour was one thing; a common prostitute is quite another kettle of fish.”
After decades of suffering the King’s endless stream of Royal Favorites, the princesses of the Court have reached a breaking point. Horrified that he would bring the lowborn Comtesse du Barry into the hallowed halls of Versailles, Louis XV’s daughters, led by the indomitable Madame Adelaide, vow eternal enmity and enlist the young dauphiness Marie Antoinette in their fight against the new mistress. But as tensions rise and the French Revolution draws closer, a prostitute in the palace soon becomes the least of the nobility’s concerns.
Told in Christie’s witty and engaging style, the final book in The Mistresses of Versailles trilogy will delight and entrance fans as it once again brings to life the sumptuous and cruel world of eighteenth century Versailles, and France as it approaches irrevocable change.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

4957310Sally Christie was born in England of British parents and grew up around the world, attending eight schools in three languages. She has spent most of her career working in international development and is currently settled in Toronto. A life-long history buff who wishes time travel were a real possibility—she’d be off to the eighteenth century in a flash!—The Enemies of Versailles is her third novel. Learn more about Sally and the Mistresses of Versailles trilogy at www.sallychristieauthor.com

 

AUTHOR Q&A

What about the topic of the mistresses of King Louis XV captured your attention? What made you want to write about this?

I was initially drawn to the incredible tale of the five Nesle sisters, four of whom became his first mistresses. I was amazed that their story was virtually unknown in the English-speaking world, and I remembered being so excited that I had found it and that I would be the one to tell it!

I was initially only focused on the sisters, but when I discovered that his more famous mistresses – the Marquise de Pompadour and the Comtesse du Barry – also hadn’t been the subject of any English fiction, the trilogy was born.

Which mistress was your favorite? Or alternatively which character in the books was your favorite?

Hmmmm…. A hard question! I really loved all my characters – each of the five Nesle sisters has a place in my heart and I adored Jeanne du Barry – I think she was perhaps overall the kindest, most genuine woman. Pompadour was a little trickier, because she is (and was) such an enigma – she was the perfect woman that became exactly who the king wanted her to be, and trying to discover her real persona and her real motivations was fascinating.

There is a soft spot in my heart for Madame Adelaide, Louis XV’s eldest surviving daughter and the nemesis of Jeanne du Barry in The Enemies of Versailles. It was really interesting researching about the daily lives of her and her sisters, and all of the constraints and boundaries around them as unmarried royal princesses in the stultifying world of Versailles.  She became a figure of fun in her later years, and in my book I do lampoon her a bit – it’s easy to make fun of fusty old spinsters and I certainly fell into that trap. In reality I think she was an intelligent woman who no doubt suffered quite a bit in her life, both before and after the Revolution.

When did you realize you wanted to be an author and did you have another profession before this?

I’ve been writing since I was 8 years old and writing has been my constant companion and hobby throughout the years. Even though I wasn’t published, I always considered myself a writer (because that’s what I did!), and when a change in my circumstances a few years ago left me with some space and time to write full-time, I thought: “Okay, let’s test this assumption that you are a writer.” Luckily everything worked out and I did become a writer!

Between graduating from university and writing the Mistresses of Versailles trilogy, I worked at a whack of other jobs, including financial services, headhunting and international development, and also got an MBA. I like having had lots of varied, real-world experiences before writing full-time; I definitely think it helps in terms of character development and motivations.

I also found working in different cultures overseas helped with writing history: in different societies you get to experience remnants of the past, for example more overt sexism than what we might deal with today in North America, or attitudes about poverty or handicapped people that might mimic some of what existed in the 18th century.

Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?

The best piece of advice I read when I was dedicating myself to writing full time was: “Write the book you’d want to read.” And I did, and I loved the book I was writing (at that time my first book, The Sisters of Versailles) and it helped me to keep the faith during the nerve-wracking querying and selling process – if I liked it, surely someone else would too!

EXCERPT

5154lvfkqgl-_sx320_bo1204203200_“I am in the arms of an angel,” he declared, over and again. “What kind of angel are you?” he asked me, then answered himself: “A saucy, dirty, lovely, kind angel. But an angel, my dearest: never have I awoken to such delights.”

I savor his words and the memories, trying to catch every little detail before they disappear. That look of delight when I showed him the way; how he turned from a jaded old man into one filled with tenderness and energy; his doting words (I have been waiting for you all my life); the feel of his skin; the smell of verbena on the pillows; the softness of the down mattress; and his childish delight in all that I offered him.

“I have been wandering in the desert for four years,” he murmured. “Not forty, as Moses did, but four years is a long enough time. Now I have found you.”

I stayed two days and two nights nestled in a room under the eaves of the palace. Then Louis—as he says I must call him—had to prepare for the imminent death of the queen, and I was sent here to this discreet little house in town, just steps from the palace.

Barry joins me, flustered and nervous. He promised me—the king, I mean, not Barry—that he would send for me soon. “As soon as I can, my angel,” he said, holding me tighter than any man has ever held me. And now I sit, and wait, and remember. The house is small, but clean and smartly furnished. I wander through the rooms and look at the naked nymphs painted on the salon walls, smile in recognition at a gilded chair with straps, now sitting in an empty bedchamber. It is so quiet here, after all the noise and bustle of Paris—almost like being in the countryside.

I sigh in contentment. The King of France said he loved me! Me.

“He is so kind and has the nicest eyes and his voice is so soft and deep, as soft as . . . as . . . a cushion.” My eyes fasten on the sofa, then on the delicate tortoiseshell box that arrived that morning, containing a beautiful pearl necklace. “And, oh,” I continue, jumping up onto a chair and sticking my tongue out at Barry:

“Did I mention he is the king? The King of France?” Barry puffs his cheeks and watches me silently. He’s worried; it’s been three days now, and apart from the necklace, no word from the palace.

“Three days,” he says sharply. “Three days—you’re a fool to be dancing around like you own him. He’s forgotten you already.”

“Oh, la, shut up!” I cry, jumping down and going over to ruffle his hair. “The king loves me. Loves me,” I repeat. “Don’t be worried. Now,” I say, leaning down to peck Barry on the cheek, “instead of worrying, you should be planning which government post you want! Or would you like another five supply contracts? Ten?” Or maybe an ambassadorship, I think, twirling away and going to sit by the window; it might be nice to have Barry firmly gone.

“I did consult my lawyer about purchasing a house on the rue de Varennes,” he says, puffing out another long sigh. “But perhaps that was premature, two nights is a flimsy foundation for a lifetime of dreams to hang upon.”

“Oh, poof, Barry, you do talk nonsense sometimes. I’m going out for a walk.” I grab my cloak and hurry out the door, eager to get away from his sour mood. I want to walk forever and absorb the amazing turn my life has taken, but instead my footsteps lead me toward the Place d’Armes, the giant esplanade in front of the palace. All roads lead here. Ahead of me the palace sits in its golden, spreading glory, hundreds of windows glinting back their secrets, the majestic iron and gold gates hung with great black cloths for the queen’s mourning. He is in there, somewhere . . . What is he doing? Is he thinking of me?

Versailles is a fairyland, a land of mythical beings, one that spreads for miles and miles. That is the life that I want. Barry always accuses me of being lazy, and without ambition, but suddenly I feel it, a craving so intense and so sharp it stops my heart with longing.

I want that life, and all that it offers.

2017 Monthly Status Update: February

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Monthly Stats:
# books read this month: 4
# pages read this month: 1,344
# books read year-to-date: 13
# pages read year-to-date: 4,434

Favorite Books I Read:

To be honest, I wasn’t crazy about any of the books I read in February so I am not going to single out any as my “Favorite” or “Least Favorite.”

Other Posts this month:

Didn’t get in any other posts this month either. This has been a busy month for me at my day job! I hope to start catch up in March but definitely by April! So stay tuned

Status of 2017 Reading Challenges:

  1. Finish 2016 ARC’s from NetGalley that I missed – No progress on this one yet
  2. Participate in 2 reading challenges – Scheduled for May and August
  3. Other goals:
    1. Write shorter reviews – I’m trying!
    2. Continue establishing relationships – I think I’m doing it, we’ll see how it goes I guess!

Next Month TBR List:

-The Hidden Man by David Ellis (half-way through now)
-Last Night With the Duke by Amelia Grey
-Seven Days of You by Cecilia Vinesse
-The Whole Art of Detection by Lyndsay Faye
-The Fall of Lisa Bellow by Susan Perabo
-Never Let You Go by Chevy Stevens
-The Surgeon by Tess Gerritson
-Stormswept by Sabrina Jeffries
-Windswept by Sabrina Jeffries
-Dead Letters by Caite Dolan-Leach
-The River At Night by Erica Ferenick
-The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden

Happy Reading everyone!

2016 Recap and 2017 Goals

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I can’t believe that 2016 is already over! This year flew by and I was able to get so much accomplished while also having lots of fun. When I set my goals for this year I wanted to get in a better variety of books. I was able to accomplish some goals but not as many as I had planned. I find it hard sometimes to do the reading challenges that I’d like to do. I sign up for too many reviews between all the ARC sites and email requests, and I end up barely being able to keep up with that review schedule. It doesn’t end up leaving much room for reading specific books to fit requirements of a reading challenge. I couldn’t even really keep up all year, I have about 30 books from summer-ish that I still have to read for NetGalley. I ended up kind of giving up on some goals that I had set for 2016 in order to keep up with my reading schedule and also to keep my sanity!

So! To recap on the goals I had set for 2016:

  1. PopSugar 2016 Reading Challenge – Read at least 20 books off this checklist. I really enjoyed doing this checklist for 2015 so I decided to participate again for 2016 – I ended up completing this one, you can browse through the ones I used to check off the list here.
  2. Book Riot Read Harder Challenge 2016 – I heard a lot about this checklist this past year at the Book Riot Live conference and online and I’m excited to try this checklist this year! – I was able to check off 8 out of the 24 boxes, not as much as I would have liked but you can see the books I used for this checklist here.
  3. Penguin Random House Challenge Your Shelf: Books A-Z Challenge – This was technically a 2015 challenge but I liked the list so much that I’m going to use it for 2016 just for my own purposes. I’m going to try and read at least 10 books off this list. – Unfortunately I didn’t get to read any of the books on this list, maybe some other year!
  4. Participate in one shorter reading challenge per quarter. And since I’m a planner by nature I’ve already picked out which ones I plan to participate in:
    1. Quarter 1 – I’m currently participating in Bookish Bingo: Holiday edition which runs through end of February 2016 so this one will be my Quarter 1 reading challenge – Seems like a running theme but I didn’t do well with this reading challenge this past winter, I didn’t even get a real bingo. I did the best I could though, and you can see my bingo square and the books I read here.
    2. Quarter 2 – I’ve been wanting to participate in a Bout of Books challenge for a while now but the timing never lined up for me in 2015 so I am planning on definitely participating in the one in May 2016. – I did participate in a Bout of Books this past May and it was great fun! This one worked really well for me since I just had to read as much as possible. You can see my posts from this challenge here.
    3. Quarter 3 – I really liked participating in the ARC August challenge this past August and I am sure I will have a bunch of ARC’s on my schedule at that point so I am planning to participate again this year. – This one also went fairly well for me, I had some time off in August and I was able to devote a good amount of time to reading. You can see which ARCs I was able to read and review during this challenge here
    4. Quarter 4 – I found this listing of the 24 Best Books About Witches to Get You in the Halloween Spirit and I noticed a lot of the books on the list were already in my TBR list so for Sept/Oct I am gong to work my way through this listing (this will be my own reading challenge hosted by my site). – I didn’t end up having time to do this, maybe some other year. 
  5. Other general goals that are less defined but are just overall goals I’d like to work on:
    1. Establishing contacts/relationships with publishers – I think I made some good progress on doing this, I have been participating more in Blog Tours through the books I request on NetGalley and I have made a couple contacts through these requests. Definitely lots more room to grow here though!
    2. Continue to review ARC’s from authors – Check, did it. Lots. Almost every book I read this year was an ARC or author request.
    3. Try doing some shorter reviews on books that I don’t necessarily have as much to say on. I’ve been having trouble keeping up with all the reviews I have to do and I’m hoping to write some shorter reviews this year for the books I’m just reading on my own – I maybe did a couple but I could definitely do more of these shorter reviews next year.
    4. Try to wrap up some of the series that I’m in the middle of, I feel like there are just so many and I lose track of the characters. I know its unreasonable but I almost wish authors would release a full series at the same time and be like “ok that’s it I’m not doing anymore.” I’ll start reading a series because the “finale” is out and then there’s somehow another sequel released and while excited it is also incredibly frustrating. – I probably didn’t do these well, I read mostly ARC’s so unless I got an ARC for a book in my series then it probably didn’t get read.

So overall I set a TON of goals and accomplished a few and passed on a few. I definitely read A LOT. I read some books that I never would have picked out on my own, and some of these I really loved too. I made connections with some wonderful authors, I’d consider some of them friends at this point even. I also continued participating in a local book club this year, that also has introduced me to books I might not have read otherwise. You can see the books we read for book club this year here. And there were also a couple books I read for an online book club this year, you can see those here. I also started doing Monthly Status Update posts on my reading progress throughout the year.

I ended up reading 122 books in 2016, below is a chart showing # of books read per month for this year and also the last 3 years. I peaked this year in May, I think I burned myself out a little. I slowed down during the summer as life got in the way.

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And now onto 2017!! I am excited to see what the next year will bring. For my goals for 2017, my main focus will be on trying to finish all the ARC’s that I wasn’t able to read during 2016. Other than that I hope to do a couple reading challenges again that I enjoy and continue to work on my relationships.

  1. Finish any ARC’s from 2016 that I missed from NetGalley.
  2. Participate in 2 reading challenges:
    1. Bout of Books 19 in May 2017
    2. ARC August in August 2017
  3. Other general goals:
    1. Writing shorter reviews
    2. Continuing to establish relationships

Short and simple! That’s pretty much my plan in essence this year, to keep it simple and just accomplish as much as I can. And that’s it! Hopefully 2017 is a productive and happy year for me and for all of you as well! Happy new year to everyone!!

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2016 Monthly Status Update: November

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Few days late again for the update but things are crazy. Gearing up for the holidays and also working a bunch leaves little time for blogging. We went away to MA this past weekend and had a great time, really got us into the festive spirit! Anyways here is my status update for what I got done in November.

Monthly Stats:
# books read this month: 12
# pages read this month: 3,396
# books read year-to-date: 114
# pages read year-to-date: 34,534

Favorite Books I Read:

Duke of Pleasure by Elizabeth Hoyt – 4.25 stars
My Girl by Jack Jordan – 4.25 stars

Books I Didn’t Particularly Enjoy: 

There weren’t really any books that I disliked this month, was a good month for reading!

Other Posts this month:

The Legendary Lord BLOG TOUR
Mistletoe, Mischief and the Marquis BLOG TOUR!!!

Status of 2016 Reading Challenges:

I’ve pretty much given up on the reading challenges for 2016, I’m mostly just trying to survive at this point.

PopSugar Reading Challenge 2016 Checklist – 20/20 books read
Book Riot Read Harder Reading Challenge – 8/24 books read
Penguin Random House: Challenge Your Shelf A-Z Reading Challenge – 0/26 books read

December TBR list:

-Love Connection by Camilla Isley
-The Trouble with Dukes by Grace Burrowes
-The Twilight Wife by A.J. Banner
-Burning September by Melissa Simonson
-The Enemies of Versailles by Sally Christie

I’m actually happy that I managed to keep the list short for this month because there are a lot of books on my backlog too so I’m hoping to have some time to dig into some of those but we will see how the month goes. Happy reading everyone!

2016 Book #103 – Melody’s Key by Dallas Coryell

512vpzth6vl-_sx331_bo1204203200_Title: Melody’s Key
Author: Dallas Coryell
Date finished: 11/1/16
Genre: Contemporary romance
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
Publication Date: June 17, 2016
Pages in book: 338
Stand alone or series: Stand alone
Where I got the book from: Author/Publisher NOTE: I received this book for free from the author/publisher in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affected my opinion of the book, or the content of my review.

Blurb from the cover:

“His eyes settled on her…piercing green embers of flame that revealed the ferocity of his pain and passion, yet still shrouded him under veils of ever deepening mystery that made every ounce of her ache to unravel him.” Tegan Lockwood’s dreams were dead, sacrificed on the noble altar of duty before they ever had a chance to live. Her entire existence was disappearing into the abyss of apathy as she labored her days away keeping her family’s struggling business alive. There would be no emotion, no color, no beauty in her life. That is, until a mysterious visitor begins to draw her out of the darkness of her past towards something that will challenge the boundaries of her world, and unlock the most deeply held secrets of her heart.

My rating:  3.0 stars out of a scale of 5

My review: I was provided a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest and fair review. This book tells the story of Tegan Lockwood, a young woman who is still recovering from traumatic wounds inflicted on her by her last boyfriend years ago. She grew up working in her family’s home, always feeling looked down on by the other people who lived in the town, who were for the most part wealthy estate owners. Tegan’s family can’t afford to lose her as a worker, never mind the costs of getting her to the US, so when Tegan is offered a scholarship to Columbia for winning an art contest, she postpones fulfilling her own dreams to help her family keep their house. And then Mason Keane takes up residence in their guest house for the summer, and Tegan has no time or patience for a spoiled celebrity pop star who is allegedly there to recover from all his sex-ing and drugs. But then she meets him, and he’s nothing like she expected. There’s something vulnerable about him, something that makes her think he’s hurting inside as much as she is. And the more time they spend together over the summer, the closer they become and the more Tegan begins to crave being near him. But she wonders what will happen at the end of the summer when Mason has to go back to the US. And when Tegan learns that her family’s livelihood is being threatened, can she trust Mason to help her?
Overall I liked this book. Tegan and Mason were such a cute couple, I was smiling through most of the book because they were just too damned cute together. And the plot line had a lot of potential, there were a couple things that personally I didn’t care for but overall I really liked the story. I don’t usually go for stories with flowery/sappy wording but in this story line it was definitely romantic and if that’s what you’re into then this is definitely a must read. Tegan and Mason are both songwriters so there are many poems/songs interspersed through the story. I also liked the back story that was inter-woven about Tegan’s ancestors and letters that Tegan had found in the attic. It was a tragic story but was a great piece to further engage the reader. For me there were pieces that dragged on a bit and alternatively I thought the ending went almost too quickly. There were also a couple holes in the story, like what was going on with Simon? And did Cale go to jail like he deserved? I’m guessing no. Other than those couple small things though this was a sweet love story. I would recommend, especially if you’re looking for writing with a lot of emotion/feeling.

The bottom line: This was a good book and it was definitely romantic. Lots of flowery language, if you like romantic/poetic language then this is definitely for you.

Link to author website

Click on the cover to go to the book’s Amazon page

The Legendary Lord BLOG TOUR

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The Legendary Lord by Valerie Bowman was released this past Tuesday (November 1st) and to celebrate I am participating in a Blog Tour for the book! If you haven’t already seen it, you can find my review of the book here. See below for more information about the book, an excerpt, and a short author bio. This was a very good read, I would definitely recommend checking it out! 

SUMMARY

THE MAKING OF A LEGEND…
When Christian Forester, Viscount Berkeley, flees the stuffy ballrooms of London for his Scottish hunting lodge, the last thing he expects to find ensconced before his fire is an incredibly beautiful woman. But the plight of lovely young Sarah Highgate, who has run away from an unwanted betrothal, inspires an eminently practical exchange. He’ll safeguard her reputation with the ton while she advises him how to best attract a proper bride…
As the undisputed belle of the season, Sarah has enchanted plenty of suitors. Still, she isn’t interested in marriage, especially not to the pompous bore her father has chosen for her. But her hasty escape seems reckless now that she’s estranged from her family and has no one to count on besides Christian. Turning the luckless lord into such a catch has another unplanned consequence for Sarah: Has he run away with her heart?
The Legendary Lord is the sixth installment of Valerie Bowman’s Regency-set Playful Brides series.

EXCERPT

the-legendary-lord-whim-1CHAPTER ONE

Scotland, November 1816

Someone was inside his house. Christian Forester, Viscount Berkeley, stood outside the small hunting lodge and watched as a plume of smoke from the chimney billowed into the darkening sky. He made his way slowly toward the front door, pushed it open with his boot, and tightened his fist around the pistol he kept inside his coat pocket whenever he traveled. He’d spent the last sennight on the road from Bath. He was tired. He was dirty. He hadn’t shaved. And he was in as foul a mood as he ever got. It was bitter cold. The wind was picking up. And from the looks of things, the sky was about to open up and dump an unholy amount of snow on this place. All Christian wanted was a warm fire and some food. Instead, it looked as though he would first be forced to dispatch a thief. He took a deep, calming breath and slowly pulled the pistol from his inside coat pocket.

He pushed farther with his boot and the front door creaked open, revealing the great room. The empty great room. Christian glanced around the space. There was a fire in the grate, a pleasant woven rug he didn’t recognize set in front of the door on the wooden planks, and a boiling pot of what smelled suspiciously like stew bubbling over a fire in the kitchen. Christian stepped inside. Yes. It was obvious. Someone was here. Someone other than Mr. Fergus, the caretaker, and his little black Scottish dog with black pointy ears who also happened to be named Fergus. The odd man once explained to Christian that if men could name their sons after themselves, then by God, he could do the same with his dog. Christian had always thought that sounded about right. But no, Fergus I and II (human and canine) weren’t here now. In addition to the stew, the room smelled vaguely of flowers. Lilies, to be precise. There were no flowers in the Scottish Highlands at this time of year. He’d made it up here just ahead of the looming storm that was already blowing freezing gusts up the mountaintop behind him. The smell of lilies meant one thing: perfume. A woman was here. An uninvited, unknown, unwanted woman. And he’d left London to get away from women.

He shut the door behind him, stomped his boots on the rug, and cleared his throat. Perhaps she would show herself, introduce herself. Oh, and explain what the bloody hell she was doing here.

There was no movement. No sound. Nothing. He swung his heavy wool overcoat from his shoulders and placed it on the rough wooden coatrack he’d made himself out of a felled oak tree one summer here. He might be Viscount Berkeley in both London and Northumbria, but here in Scotland he was just Christian. Or Master Christian, according to Mr. Fergus. There was no pomp and circumstance at the hunting lodge, which was why Christian liked it so much. One of many reasons.

the-legendary-lord-hh-300x250-1A small opening in the bottom of the door at the back of the house flapped to and fro for a moment and Fergus II, the canine variety, came rushing into the room like a black dart. He had the manners to stop and shake the snow from his back and paws as Fergus I had taught him when he’d created the little door for him. Fergus II came rushing up to Christian, wagging his tiny tail furiously and hopping about on all four paws. Christian put his hands on his hips and stared down at the handsome little pup. What in the—? Christian nearly rubbed his eyes. Was it his imagination or was Fergus II wearing a small red woolen coat?

“Well, what are you doing?” Was Christian mistaken? Was his caretaker here after all? Had Fergus I begun to do things like cook stew, place homey rugs near the door, and wear perfume? Or had he taken to entertaining a companion? A female companion? Perhaps she had made the stew. Yes, that surely made more sense than Fergus I wandering around smelling like lilies and dressing his dog in sweaters. But knowing the irascible man, Christian decided that scenario was equally implausible. No. More likely a vagrant had happened by the dwelling and, finding no one home, had decided to take up residence. It wasn’t uncommon in these parts. But Christian wanted to get to the business of dispatching the drifter (male or female) posthaste.

After sliding his pistol back into his pocket, he leaned down and scooped up the little pooch. Fergus II licked him squarely upon the nose. “Thank you,” Christian said, wiping off the slobber with the back of his gloved hand. “I don’t suppose you’d be so kind as to tell me who’s here?”

The dog blinked at him and cocked his stout head to the side.

“No?” Christian rubbed the back of his neck. “Very well, then. I’ll follow you. Lead on.”

He set the short, solid dog back down and motioned for him to precede him down the corridor. The entire lodge consisted of a great room with the kitchen instruments in one corner and a sofa and two aged leather chairs near the fireplace in the other corner. A plump cushion for Fergus II sat near the sofa. There was a wooden table and four matching chairs (also made by Christian one long-ago summer) near the kitchen area. A corridor led to two small bedchambers, each populated with a feather bed, a chair, some books, and a rug. If Mr. Fergus was here, he was either outside in the snowy forest or in one of the bedchambers. The man usually slept in the small room at the back of the barn, but Christian had just come from there after seeing to his horse. That room had been empty and Fergus’s mount was gone.

“Go on, mate, show me,” Christian said. He followed the dog’s determined little trot down the corridor to Christian’s own bedchamber door. Mr. Fergus wouldn’t have any business in that room. Christian frowned. The dog placed his paw on the door and whined.

“Go on, then,” Christian prodded, his chin in his hand. Fergus II glanced back at him as if confirming his permission, then he pushed open the door slightly with his paw and trotted inside the dark room. A few moments of silence passed. The only sound was the dog’s toenails clicking against the wooden floor. A moment later, a distinctly female voice floated out into the corridor. “Why, there you are. Are you here to wake me from my nap?”

Christian’s eyes widened and his hand fell away from his chin. By God, there was a woman in his bed!

Copyright © 2016 by Valerie Bowman

AUTHOR BIO

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VALERIE BOWMAN grew up in Illinois with six sisters (she’s number seven) and a huge supply of historical romance novels. After a cold and snowy stint earning a degree in English with a minor in history at Smith College, she moved to Florida the first chance she got. Valerie now lives in Jacksonville with her family including her two rascally dogs. When she’s not writing, she keeps busy reading, traveling, or vacillating between watching crazy reality TV and PBS. She is also the author of the Secret Brides series, starting with Secrets of a Wedding Night, Secrets of a Runaway Bride, and Secrets of a Scandalous Marriage.

 

Buy Links:

Macmillan

Barnes & Noble

Amazon

Social Links:

Author Website

Facebook

Twitter: @ValerieGBowman

2016 Monthly Status Update: October

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A few days late but I’m catching up on my blogging! I meant to post this a few days ago but my work schedule has been just insane this week. October was a busy month for me between work and all the reading I’ve been getting done. Also went to Pennsylvania for the weekend. Lots going on in the next month as well, going to Florida next weekend and then Thanksgiving is just around the bend. But I am getting a good amount of reading done and reading some great things!

Monthly Stats:
# books read this month: 10
# pages read this month: 3,305
# books read year-to-date: 102
# pages read year-to-date: 31,138

Favorite Books I Read:

Wow October was a great month for reading. This was such a hard choice for me to pick my favorites, I read so many good books.

Behind Closed Doors by B.A. Paris – 4.25 stars
The Boy Is Back by Meg Cabot – 4.5 stars
Faithful by Alice Hoffman – 4.5 stars

Books I Didn’t Particularly Enjoy: 

I had a great month and really didn’t dislike anything I read, which is great!

Other Posts this month:

My Brown-Eyed Earl BLOG TOUR AND GIVEAWAY
Christmas Joy BLOG TOUR

Status of 2016 Reading Challenges:

PopSugar Reading Challenge 2016 Checklist – 20/20 books read
Book Riot Read Harder Reading Challenge – 8/24 books read
Penguin Random House: Challenge Your Shelf A-Z Reading Challenge – 0/26 books read

November TBR list:

-Melody’s Key by Dallas Coryell
-The Legendary Lord by Valerie Bowman
-When a Laird Finds a Lass by Lecia Cornwall
-Picture Perfect Wedding by Lynnette Austin
-The Amateurs by Sara Shepard
-Sarah’s Key by Tatiana de Rosnay
-The Danger of Desire by Sabrina Jeffries
-Duke of Pleasure by Elizabeth Hoyt
-Mistletoe, Mischief and the Marquis by Amelia Grey

There are a lot of books on my backlog too so I’m hoping to have some time to dig into some of those but we will see how the month goes. Happy reading everyone!