The random—and not so random—musings of a quirky Regency romance writer.
No one with that many people in her head can possibly be normal...

Saturday, July 20, 2013

~Sweet Saturday Sample~ Michaella's Match

Sorry I'm a bit late posting this. I've scoured my recent work to find an excerpt I thought would entertain my readers and the one I've picked is from a short story titled Michaella's Match

This story is closely connected to my novel Heartless, taking place a few years after that story's conclusion. Lady Michaella Harcourt is the star of this short, the sister of the heroine from Heartless. Some of you may remember her as the sweet, meek, legitimate daughter of the Earl of Harwood. She developed feelings for Gabriel St. Clair but fate (aka The Evil Author) had other plans. 

(If this story was longer and wasn't destined to be part of an anthology of Regency shorts, it would be titled Melancholy, In keeping with my one-word titles for this "series," just so you know.) 

Without further ado, here is part of the opening scene of Michaella's Match. Enjoy! ♥

The Season
London 1824

The dancers swirled by, dresses billowing out with each swift turn of the waltz. Ladies smiled, content with their partners, satisfied they were pleasing their parents with their actions. Gentlemen smirked, pleased with their conquests, satisfied they held the prize of the Season. The vibrant gowns of the duennas and widows mingled with the muted tones of the débutantes, creating a shimmering rainbow in the candlelight, accented with sparkling gems.

Lady Michaella Harcourt stood off to the side, blessedly alone for the nonce. She couldn’t endure one more moment of fake smiles and condescension. She watched the dancers, bitterness tugging at her heart. She witnessed one young girl fall in love with the man who held her, his own eyes so focused on the girl in his arms that Michaella knew the rest of the world ceased to exist for them.

Tears stung the back of Michaella’s eyes. She knew that feeling, remembered the all-consuming joy to be had with a gentlemen who returned one’s regard. The press of a hand, stolen glances, and the assurance that he would speak one day, making his feelings known to all, kept one holding on. And if one found oneself alone with one’s love, for just a moment, a stolen kiss, a sweet, all-consuming embrace might be all one had to hold onto, years later.

The crack in her heart deepened, sending a shaft of pain through her body. She stumbled back, disappearing behind the shrubbery that lined the grand ballroom. Her shaking legs threatened to send her to the floor.

How could the pain remain so fresh after so many years? She’d found a man she loved, one who’d adored her, made her feel safe and secure. She may not have been allowed to marry him, spend her life with him, but she’d still had much more than most young ladies.

Years later, her pain should be nonexistent, or at least manageable. Yet she could no longer see her sister, her beloved sister, the one with whom she’d never had secrets. As time passed the pain did not lessen, as she was told it would. It only increased, bringing envy and bitterness with it.

She envied her sister’s happiness. Leandra was married to the worst man in England, yet her happiness was visible for all to see. Her duke treated everyone with contempt, but for Leandra he was a different man. He loved her and her alone. He’d changed for her. He continued to change for her.

And it was that very man who’d arranged a marriage for Michaella, the sister he’d gained through marriage. He’d found a man he approved of to be her husband. The arrangements, the details, and the final agreement were all carried out through letters, hidden from Michaella’s mother. The countess would not look kindly upon the duke for interfering.

Good manners demanded Michaella at least call on the duke, on her sister, assure them both of her good health and continued love for them. It was no fault of theirs that the one man she truly loved was gone.

A tear escaped. Brushing it angrily away, Michaella straightened. It was enough. She could no longer wallow in her misery. She had to move on, and her betrothal was just the thing. Perhaps babies would help her leave the past fully behind, allow her to grow, maybe even find the happiness she’d so briefly enjoyed with Gabriel.

Just the thought of him sent the pain coalescing through her. How could life be so unfair?

“Steady, my lady,” a voice whispered close to her ear, making her jump. “You would not want the tabbies catching sight of you in such a state.”

©2013 Laura J Miller. All Rights Reserved.

Thank you for taking the time to read my excerpt! For more Sweet Saturday Samples, please click HERE

♥Happy reading, writing, and blogging!!♥

There's a jukebox in my head. It's currently playing
♫♪ Joelle (FFXIII-2) ~ Village and Void

Friday, July 12, 2013

Mark Your Calendars! Intrigue Will Be FREE!

Intrigue will be FREE!? 

Yes, you read that right. Starting July 14, for two whole days Intrigue can be downloaded for free from the Amazon Kindle Store. Even better, you can download Linda Boulanger's new book, Dance With the Enemy, for FREE too! So mark your calendars, 'cause you don't want to miss this!!

~Intrigue by Jaimey Grant~
Blackmail, highway robbery, murder, and treason. What's a lady to do?

~Dance with the Enemy by Linda Boulanger~
Was his blood flowing through her veins enough to unite their hearts?

♥Happy reading, writing, and blogging!!♥

There's a jukebox in my head. It's currently playing
♫♪ Sarah MacLachlan ~ Don't Give Up On Us

Saturday, July 6, 2013

~Sweet Saturday Sample~ Intrigue

It is Saturday and that means it’s time for a Sweet Sample from one of my books. It’s been several months since I’ve had opportunity to do so, but I mean to get back into the habit. 

Enough of that. Let’s get to the sample.  

This is taken from Chapter Four of my newest Regency release, Intrigue. The heroine (Malvina) is engaged to a man she barely knows (Gideon), has a teenage son who is a wee bit unbalanced (Wolf), and is being blackmailed by a scoundrel (...we don't know his name at this point). Enjoy!

About a week after Wolf’s homecoming, Malvina received an unexpected, yet expected, visitor.

The weather was still balmy at the peak of the day. Malvina had taken to walking about unescorted in the woods near the house. She used the time to think and as her problems had increased of late, she had much to occupy her mind.

An insect buzzed close to her ear and she waved it away. As her arm came down, she was grabbed from behind. A hand closed over her mouth, stifling her cry of alarm and cutting off her air. Her captor dragged her backwards, into the trees, until they were hidden from the view of any casual passersby.

She struggled against the arm, desperate to escape as her air slowly dwindled, black edging her vision. Then a voice whispered close to her ear, “If you don’t scream, my lady, I will release you.”

After a brief nod she was released. She stumbled and nearly fell to the ground but her companion reached out and steadied her with a hand under her elbow.

“Where have you been?” she snapped, her eyes probing the shadows in an attempt to make out his features. “I began to think you had decided to leave me out of your plotting.”

“Hoping, more like,” scoffed the man. “Unfortunately for you, I still have need of you. I will contact you soon about your next assignment.”

“Very well,” she answered, knowing she had no other choice. What this man held over her head was enough to make her do just about anything he could think to request.

The man glanced around the wooded area with a distracted look on his face. A patch of sunlight lit his face and he stepped out of it, squinting up through the leaves overhead. His brow crinkled.

In that moment of brightness, Malvina caught ordinary features, handsome yet nothing out of the common way, dark brown hair peeking out from beneath his hat. Then he was hidden in shadow again.

“I hear you have a man staying with you. Care to explain that?” His eyes swiveled back to hers, sliding over her face and down to her bosom. He paused there, eyes narrowing. She could only assume he stared at the pendant she’d taken to wearing, the pretty little gift bestowed on her by the very man he wanted to discuss.

Malvina felt an overwhelming urge to kick him in the shin and run away. A childish desire, to be sure, but one she couldn’t help but feel. “I am engaged. You may wish me well.”

“Indeed?” he replied, his brows raised slightly. “And will he be a problem for you? I would hate to have to remove him from the scene because he put his nose where it doesn’t belong.”

“He will not be a problem,” lied Malvina. She schooled her expression into one of annoyance, trying to cover her desperate hope that Gideon would prove to be just that. But at the same time, she feared for him.

“And who is the lucky man? All I can uncover is a vague description and his abject laziness.”

“Does it matter?”

“It does if you want him to survive the night.”

She studied him for signs of an empty threat. She was used to such, having lived with a man who was quite fond of empty threats. Finding nothing but dark promise, she capitulated. “He is Gideon Mallory,” she told him, giving him the name her betrothed had given the headmaster at Wolf’s school.

A look of sheer amazement crossed the man’s face. He snorted a laugh that contained hints of genuine amusement. “Did you say Gideon Mallory?”

“Do you know him?” she asked, unable to hide her surprise.

“The question is, my dear lady, do you?”

This book is currently available on Amazon HERE. 

Thank you so much for stopping by and taking the time to read my excerpt! Please take a moment and check out some other Sweet Saturday Samples by clicking HERE

♥Happy reading, writing, and blogging!!♥

There's a jukebox in my head. It's currently playing
♫♪ LotR (Return of the King) Soundtrack ~ The Return of the King

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

~General Updates~ Intrigue, InD'Tale, RNC, Book Covers

Well, dang. I don't like that I'm getting into the habit of updating this blog only once a month. Not good. Things should get back to normal after August, when all the vacations and conventions and stuff are behind me.

I did it. I clicked the button.
  Intrigue (my next full-length Regency romance) is finally done and uploaded to KDP. It's currently "in review" on my KDP dashboard. Hopefully, by this time tomorrow, it will be available for purchase.

  This one takes place between Deception and Entangled*. The hero is a secondary character from Deception. His friends include the Duke of Derringer, so of course, the morbidly attired, slightly eccentric duke makes an appearance.

  *Formerly known as Spellbound.

InD'Tale Magazine and RNConvention.... 
  The lovely ladies from InD'Tale are hosting a casual gathering at the Golden Nugget Buffet in Las Vegas on August 8. It's so they (we) can get to know the lovely readers of InD'Tale Magazine. If you plan to be in Vegas for the convention, please consider gracing us with your presence. The exact time is yet to be determined.

  More info on the event can be found HERE and info on the buffet itself can be found HERE

Book Covers.... 
  I have joined forces with some seriously brilliant cover designers. Our fearless leader, Renée Barratt of The Cover Counts, started a facebook page called Cover Art Collective with the specific purpose of displaying the premade covers that many of us have available. So if you are an author in need of an affordable, quick, yet professional cover, please check out the ones listed there. ♥

  *Each designer has their own album of available covers. These are NOT template designs. Each design is sold only once. When a design is purchased, it is removed from the page. 

♥Happy reading, writing, and blogging!!♥

There's a jukebox in my head. It's currently playing
♫♪ Matchbox 20 ~ Real World


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