Tag Archive | Crimson Romance

Elizabeth Boyce: Valor Under Siege (Giveaway)

Kissing and Voting in the Regency Era

by Elizabeth Boyce

In election years, I frequently become misty-eyed about the work of suffragettes whose valiant efforts finally culminated in women being granted the right to vote in the UK in 1918, and in the USA in 1920.

It’s easy to imagine that prior to having the franchise, women were not involved in politics. It’s particularly easy to imagine Regency-era ladies were too constrained by social etiquette and gender roles to hold a political opinion, much less express one, but friend, we would be wrong. So very, very wrong.

Women did not have the right to vote in the UK during the Regency era, but they played a vital role in the political life of the nation. Lady Holland was an ardent supporter of the Whig party in the during the Regency, and her home, Holland House, became unofficial headquarters for the Whigs. She and other political hostesses worked on behalf of their favored party by hosting suppers and salons for politicians after Parliament had let out for the day. Debates continued over a meal and caucuses were held in drawing rooms. Women were expected to be present at such events; in fact, a political evening only attended by men—a “man dinner,” it was uningeniously called—was quite a letdown for guests.

But the political work of women during the Regency was not contained to the domestic sphere. The female family members of a man running for political office were expected to help get him elected. Women canvassed their communities, going door to door to speak to voters and, maybe more importantly, those voters’ wives. You see, even though only men could vote, his vote was often regarded as the common property of his household, and wives could absolutely influence how that vote was cast (Remember, this was before secret ballots; a husband who voted against his family’s wishes might have had to answer for it at home!).

This canvassing was not limited to voters of their own class. During an election, ladies of the upper echelons mingled with the public of all social orders. It wasn’t unheard of for a duchess to call upon a butcher in an effort to win his vote.

In addition to knocking on doors, women bestowed little gifts upon the electorate, such as preserves, candles, or lengths of fabric. Such treating was not seen as bribery at that time. Regency-era voters expected to be wooed!

Speaking of wooing, sometimes canvassing became a little more… personal… than jams and ribbons. Remember the duchess and the butcher I mentioned a moment ago? In the election of 1784, the Duchess of Devonshire, while canvassing on behalf of James Fox, a Whig, was said to have kissed voters to win their support—including a butcher. The incident was the subject of political cartoons, and Fox’s Tory opponents attempted to smear Fox through his association with the duchess, but the Whigs were unfazed by the scandal. The party called upon the duchess to continue her work, and Fox retained his seat in Parliament.

My latest release, Valor Under Siege (The Honorables, book 3), features a small town Parliamentary election. It was lots of fun to pit my Whig hero, Norman Wynford-Scott, against Lady Elsa Fay, a former Tory political hostess who runs circles around Norman when it comes to canvassing. It was wonderful, too, to learn about the political system of the era I enjoy so much, and gain a greater appreciation for women’s roles in that world.

Giveaway: To win an e-book copy of Honor Among Thieves (The Honorables, book 1), please leave a comment sharing your own thoughts or memories about women getting involved in a man’s world–be it politics, the workplace, academia, etc. Contest closes 11:59 PM EDT on Wednesday, September 14, 2016. One winner will be chosen at random from all eligible commenters.


About Valor Under Siege

All’s fair in love and politics . . .

When ambitious solicitor Norman Wynford-Scott is ousted from his legal studies due to a holiday revel spun out of control, he adapts a new plan of running for the Parliament seat of a local village. Only trouble is, the same irresistible woman who ruined his good name is thwarting his campaign at every turn.

Widowed and drink-addicted, Lady Elsa Fay has retreated to the family village of Fleck to regain her sobriety. She’s distracting herself from her troubles – and her memories of the one passionate night she shared with Norman – by organizing the Parliament campaign of her husband’s cousin. Until Norman arrives intent on winning the seat for himself.

Shamed and determined, Elsa will do all she can to send her former friend and now adversary packing – even if it means breaking her own heart in the process.


About the Author

eb-author-shot-copyElizabeth Boyce’s first taste of writing glory was when she won a gift basket in the local newspaper’s Mother’s Day “Why my Mom is the Best” essay competition at age eight. From that moment, she knew she was destined for bigger and better gift baskets. With visions of hard salamis and tiny crackers dancing in her head, she has authored seven Regency novels and novellas, resulting, thus far, in two gift baskets from adoring fans (AKA amazing friends).

Elizabeth lives in South Carolina and shares her artisanal cheeses with her husband and three children. She sneaks some to the cat when no one else is looking.

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Elf Ahearn and “Lord Monroe’s Dark Tower”

Susana, I’m so pleased to be invited to post on your blog today. You do great service to us Regency romance writers and readers.

The first thing I heard when I set out to become an author was, “Write what you know.”  Tough to do since the Regency occurred about 200 years ago, but I’ve always been accused of having an old soul. I feel most comfortable around antique things – furniture that shows the dents and cracks of use, books marred by the crayon scrawls of children. Signs of life thrill me. So the challenge I set myself when I wrote Lord Monroe’s Dark Tower was to make it seem “lived in.” To this end, my heroine, Claire was inspired by my sister Jenny, and the book’s hero, Flavian, by a feline who was everything she ever wanted in a man (except shedding).

Flavian was a striped tabby who walked like a truck driver but meowed like a soprano – all high and tweety. You will not find these character traits in the book, but you will find other similarities.

We always had a running tab of two to three dogs and four to five cats in the house along with four excitable girls and my excitable parents. At dinner the whole mess of us would crowd into the kitchen. My mother would feed us the human food and the animals would square off over their bowls. Dogs growled, cats hissed—but Flavian was unflappable. If he wanted Friskies, he just walked up to the bowl, nudged whoever was in the way, and got it. No fuss, no buss. All the animals respected Flavian, not because they were afraid, but because he exuded that kind of authority.

Jenny was mad for Flavian and he was mad for her. If he needed a warm lap she was there; if the night were cold, her bed was where he’d find warmth; should he need a treat, she’d give it to him, and when she required a dead mouse, he would provide it.

In the early stages of writing Lord Monroe’s Dark Tower, I thought, what would it be like if Jenny could have her ideal love without four legs and a tail? What would that man be like and how would my sweet, quiet sister, who, like Claire, is a healer, react to such a person? And so, the love story was born.

Now that I’ve confessed the origins of Lord Monroe’s main characters, for a chance at winning a free download of the novel, I’d like to know, have you ever had a pet you wished were human?

About Lord Monroe’s Dark Tower

roses2Two years of bewildering silence have passed since Claire Albright’s passions were first inflamed by powerful, brooding, Lord Flavian Monroe. On the brink of her London debut he unexpectedly summons her, asking for help to cure his ward’s hoarding. Embroiled in a desperate attempt to curb the child’s destructive madness, Claire struggles to understand why Flavian’s kisses veer from burning desire to icy rejection. Can she reach his heart before the child’s insanity undoes their chance at love?

When he was fourteen, Flavian made a mistake so devastating it ruined all hope for happiness. Years later, he’s still paying for his sin. But before his ward’s troubled mind destroys his home and family, he must see Claire once more. Vowing to keep their relationship professional—she the healer, he the guardian—he finds the bonds of his resolve snapping. Somehow, he must content himself with the love that could have been, but he cannot resist . . . one final embrace . . .

Available at Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble

A Snippet From Lord Monroe’s Dark Tower

“Claire!” Half way around the lake, he finally heard her answering call. His heart lurched when he caught sight of her. Dressed in pale green, she stood surrounded by a sea of yellow flowers. A straw bonnet shaded the perfect oval of her face. His eyes scrolled down her bodice. Between her breasts, she’d tucked a tiny bouquet of wild flowers: purple, pink, yellow, and white. He swallowed.

As he strode toward her, she said, “This spot has enough St. John’s wort to supply…” He crushed the end of her sentence with a kiss.  All the frustration, all the passion he’d whipped back since she’d come to Bingham Hall, broke free the instant his mouth met hers. He tipped her till her bonnet came off and dangled by the string around her throat. His tongue parted her reluctance and demanded her participation while he explored the wet grotto of her mouth.

On the verge of lowering her to the ground, she put both hands to his shoulders and pushed. “Flavian, wait.” Her cool fingers went to each side of his face, and her gaze burrowed into the furthest recesses of his mind. He felt the question in her body, the beseeching touch of her fingertips: ‘I am the lamb, you, the lion. What will you do with me?’ He understood the question, but couldn’t bring himself to answer. Valencia’s eyes, like black bottomless pools, flickered in his thoughts. So many years ago, he’d asked that same question of her. Being a lion, she consumed him. And then, when she so desperately needed his help, he’d been powerless . . . worse, he’d been reluctant. He stepped out of Claire’s grasp. “I wasn’t thinking.”

Fire leapt in her eyes. “Not thinking?” She ran several paces away. Pointing at him, she cried, “You make a mockery of my heart. One moment your lips burn against mine, the next, you ignore me.”

“I . . . I’m sorry.”

Doubled over with frustration, she yanked on the skirts of her dress. “I don’t want your apology. I want your love.”

“You have it.” Before he could retract the words, they hovered in the air between them. All went still. Even the birds ceased their song. Claire clutched her heart. “Why would you say that?”

“I love you.” He stepped toward her, though his chest ached and his throat went dry. “God help you, but I love you.” At her feet he dropped to his knees, hat in hand. “I love you.”

About the Author

Elf CloseupElf Ahearn, yes, that is her real name, lives in New York with her wonderful husband and a pesky (yet irresistible) cat. She came to romance late in life because she had to meet the right guy before any of that love stuff made sense. Before meeting the man of her dreams, Elf was a journalist, a corporate communications specialist, an actor, an insurance underwriter (which amuses her friends because she can’t add two numbers together to save her life), and a Lithuanian vampiress. (Not really but if you’re still reading I wanted to give you a thrill.) Like many romance authors, Elf was nuts for horses, though now she’s turned to cats. (They’re not as easy to ride, but they eat less hay.) In fact, the temptation to write a horse story is what lured her into romance writing in the first place. (See A Rogue in Sheep’s Clothing, the first book in the Albright Sisters series; there’s a really hot stallion in it.) Thanks for taking the time to read this post, and I hope you win the free download of Lord Monroe’s Dark Tower!

Elf’s Previous Post on Susana’s Parlour:

Regency Romance With a Gothic Twist:

Elf Ahearn and “A Rogue in Sheep’s Clothing”

Killarney Sheffield and “Through Gypsy Eyes”

Hi Susana! I’m so pleased to be visiting your parlour today.

I’m  Killarney Sheffield, the author of Through Gypsy Eyes, released from Crimson Romance on April 15, 2013. Through Gypsy Eyes is my eighth published novel.



I would be delighted to offer my newest re-release Stand & Deliver Your Love from BooksWeLove to one lucky commenter.

Many people have asked me just how I came up with the idea of a blind heroine and a guide animal in the form of a seeing eye pony named Jester. Like many authors I sometimes struggle with “showing” vs “telling” and developing the sensory dimensions in a novel. I started writing a short piece from a blind woman’s point of view. Obviously my character could not see the world around her but had to interpret it through touch, taste, smell and the sounds around her. It is a wonderful exercise that really helped me connect with Delilah.

The story just took off from there and refused to stay quiet until I seriously wrote her story and for me as a Canadian farm gal, a book is never complete without some kind of animal sidekick. Most people would have gone with the guide dog approach but, I hate to offend anyone here, I am just not a dog person. My whole life has been spent around show horses of various breeds and disciplines.As I was thinking on an animal sidekick I remembered an old show I saw once on Animal Planet about a lady in the USA who trained miniature horses to be guides for the blind. She used a harness similar to a dogs, put cute little sneakers on the pony’s feet for traction and house-trained them. These remarkable little creatures could do everything a guide dog could and posed less of an allergy problem.

From this simple show the idea behind Jester was born and he quickly became a most endearing character who threatened to steal the story in more than a few scenes! You can view a quick teaser of the tale here: http://youtu.be/S6qfLlbIkxA.

True to my love of critters big and small I am currently polishing another historical romance novel with suspense, adventure and paranormal aspects to it titled Love’s Magic. It is the story of a female magician and her unusual sidekick, a black Holland rabbit named Dexter.

About Through Gypsy Eyes

roses2Delilah Daysland doesn’t see herself as marriage material. After all, who could love a woman locked in darkness?

Try telling that to Lord Tyrone Frost. He’s determined to do his duty and see her wed to a suitable gentleman, as the King commands.

Delilah has other plans. Convinced her father’s death was no accident, she must depend upon her pony Jester to guide her through everyday challenges as she seeks the truth behind mystery, murder, and deception. Though drawn to Tyrone she’s afraid to trust him, until she sees the world and love through gypsy eyes.

Sensuality Level: Behind Closed Doors




The pony snorted and then nickered. She strained to hear anything beyond her own movement as she kept herself afloat. Was there a slight rustle in the brush? Stilling her movement, she paid closer attention. After detecting no further sound she closed her eyes, allowing herself to relax and float in the blissful rocking motion of the current. It must be a small woodland creature out to parch its thirst on such a stuffy night. There was nothing to fear from such creatures, she was sure. A soft splash gave her pause and she rolled over. Treading water she turned to face the opposite bank. Ripples rose, slapping her chest as if something waded in the shallows. She listened again. A rhythmic sloshing made its way toward her. Alarm quickened her pulse as she concentrated on the sound.


An answering nicker came from the bank behind her. She worried her damp lower lip between her teeth. If Jester is yet on the bank, then what is in the water with me? The unknown visitor slowed, treading water a few yards from her. By the noise it made she surmised it was large. Intuition told her it was not a mink or beaver come to fish. The fine hairs on the back of her neck began to prickle. Crossing one arm over her breasts and paddling with the other to keep afloat she inquired, “Is someone there?”

“I thought my eyes deceived me when I spied a fair maiden floating in this pool.”

The unexpected baritone froze her movement. Delilah gasped, almost going under the surface of the water when she forgot in surprise to paddle for an instant. She scrambled for something appropriate to say under the circumstances. “I beg your pardon, sir? ‘Tis most unseemly to disrupt a lady’s swim.”

He chuckled, a low, husky sound making her picture a large, muscular physique. “Ah, you are right; however, I have yet to determine whether you are a lady or merely a figment of my overtaxed imagination.”

Heart thudding against her ribcage, she swam backward toward the opposite bank, struggling to appear calm and collected. The stranger could accost her here and no one would know to come to her rescue. How senseless I have been. Surely Jester will be no match for a man intent on harming me. Taking a deep breath, she gathered her courage.

“I assure you sir, I am not a figment of anyone’s imaginings, least of all yours.”

“Hmm …” the preponderance followed her. “Perhaps then you are a woodland nymph out to temp any man who passes by to try your nectar?”

Her feet touched bottom, sinking into the sand. Before she could turn and make for the bank his hands were on her waist. To her horror he cradled it in a firm, yet gentle grip.

“Release me sir, for you do offend a lady, not a nymph.” She fought a growing sense of panic as he drew her to him.

His minty breath tickled her damp cheek. “You have flesh as any maiden. Do you taste as sweet as one, too?”

Anger and shock at his boldness brought her hand down with force to slap the surface of the water. He sputtered in response to the spray splattering his face. Perhaps I might have the upper hand. “Release me this instant or I shall scream and alert my maid who sleeps on the bank,” she bluffed.

Despite the warning, he chuckled. “There is no maid, wood nymph, for I walked the whole perimeter when I spied you here.”

Is his intent to take advantage of a lone woman and defile me? What am I to do?

Summoning her little remaining courage, she tried to reason with him. “I say again, release me good sir, for my presence will be missed at the manor even as we speak.” She grimaced at the tremor in her voice betraying her fear. He shifted, his mouth brushing her ear, and she gasped at the intimate contact.

“Ah, even so I would take a moment to test your lips to see if they are as soft and sweet as your voice,” he whispered.

About the Author

GE DIGITAL CAMERAWell, before becoming a published author I used to be a natural horsemanship trainer, farrier and English & Western riding coach. I currently live on a Canadian cattle ranch with my family, though one day have dreams of seeing the world and moving to Australia. I am still as passionate about my horses as my writing but have to work hard to balance the two these days. Which is my greatest joy? Probably my registered Thoroughbred stallion, Stamp de Gold, whom I lovingly refer to as Love Monkey. In a horse person’s life there comes that one very special equine who seems to know exactly what you want and what you are thinking. I have been blessed with two of those amazing creatures over my years of owning, training and showing, my dear departed Melderman and Stamp de Gold. For all those ‘horsey’ readers and authors out there I also have a blog dedicated to all kinds of horse info.

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Current Books on Amazon

Rue Allyn and “One Day’s Loving”

The Shy Heroine

I love series books, especially when a family (yes, metaphorical families are fine) is involved. What I don’t like is when every family member feels like the same person with a slightly different appearance. You know the type—they talk alike, walk alike, even make love alike. Every man is the MOST handsome and every woman is the BRIGHTEST beauty. I don’t know a single family where all the relations are exactly alike.

When I set out to write my Wildfire Love series about the Alden sisters of Boston the first two books, One Moment’s Pleasure and One Night’s Desire, came easily because Edith (the oldest) and Kiera (the middle child) were both bold. Edith was more of a planner than Kiera and a bit less of a risk taker. Edith was attractive, but not beautiful. She knew how to present herself. Kiera never had to worry about her appearance. She was stunning in a potato sack. These women let me know right up front who they were and what they wanted.

roses2Not so with their youngest sister Persephone Mae. As the youngest, she’d always been sheltered and protected by her siblings. She grew up shy and unassuming and a bit on the dowdy side. When circumstances leave her on her own to deal with the disasters caused by her grandfather’s will, she’s forced to come out of hiding. But getting her there wasn’t easy.

Have you ever dealt with an extremely shy person? Someone who is too awkward and/or ignorant to be able to express what he/she wants. Someone who lacks the experience and confidence to act assertively. I feel for the shy ones in life because all too often they are ignored or derided and they don’t even realize they don’t have to put up with ill treatment.

Because she’d been sheltered all her life, Mae had no idea what she was capable of. For her, simply traveling from her home to the attorney’s office for the reading of the will was a challenge. She went, despite her worries. Once I got her out of the house, I wouldn’t let her go back to hiding until she recognized that a shy, retiring life wasn’t what she wanted or needed. I won’t spoil all the fun by telling you how Mae changes her life. I will tell you that despite all the difficulty of dealing with a shy heroine, I think she’s the most courageous of the three Alden sisters. She is absolutely not a mirror image of her siblings, but is her own woman.

Please leave a comment and let me know if you like heroines who are shy, feisty or somewhere in between.

If you’d like to know more about Mae and discover the answers to some of the questions raised here you may read a longer excerpt at http://rueallyn.com/2c3ODLexcerpt.html.

One Day’s Loving will be released on November 18, 2013 and is the third book in the Wildfire Love Series. Freedom or love? Courage or comfort? Unless Mae Alden meets the terms of her grandfather’s outrageous last testament she will lose everything. She’s ready to sacrifice all creature comforts to preserve her principles, but is she willing to lose her one chance at love?


You can find the first two books of the series here, or you may pre-order One Day’s Loving here.

About the Author

HPIM0613.JPGAuthor of historical, contemporary, and erotic romances, Rue Allyn fell in love with happily ever after the day she heard her first story. She is deliriously married to her sweetheart of many years and loves to hear from readers about their favorite books and real life adventures.


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Regency Romance With a Gothic Twist: Interview With Elf Ahearn, Author of “A Rogue in Sheep’s Clothing”

Today I am pleased to welcome Elf Ahearn to Susana’s Parlour. She writes “Regency romance with a Gothic twist” and her book, A Rogue in Sheep’s Clothing is currently available (see below).

She’s giving away a free copy to the commenter who gives her the best response to her question about their favorite and/or most-hated food. (Just for the record, I detest lima beans too, Elf!)

Elf HeadshotWhat inspired you to start writing?

My friend, a beautiful fellow-journalist named Susan Baker, and I decided to form a literary society. At our first meeting only three of us met, me, Susan and this guy named Dave. We read scraggly little fragments of our fiction to one another and offered lame criticism mostly based on good reporting skills. Susan’s piece was incredible, though. It was a story about a crabby old woman befriended by a guy who takes the time to talk to her—to find out what made her so upset.

After that first meeting Susan left the paper for a job at the front desk of a factory. The pressure to make deadlines, she said, was killing her. In fact, I’d noticed that for hours sometimes, she’d just sit and stare at an empty screen on her monitor.

Despite her move, we decided to hold another literary society meeting. When that day dawned, however, Susan couldn’t make it, and Dave had to write an article about a planning and zoning meeting. “It’s just you, Elf,” Susan said, “You have to carry the torch.”

A few weeks passed and Susan and I decided that the ideal excuse for a get-together was to celebrate our birthdays. She just couldn’t muster the energy to write for a literary society anymore, she told me. The weekend before the scheduled date, I was staying with my boyfriend, (now my wonderful husband) when my sister called. Susan had telephoned with the message that she wouldn’t be able to meet for our birthdays after all. I didn’t call her back. I figured I’d phone her Monday.

So, Monday came and I dialed Susan’s number. Her roommate picked up. Over the weekend, the roommate told me, Susan drove to the far end of a parking lot in Poughkeepsie. She aimed her car at the brick wall of a church and hit the gas. The impact killed her.

Susan’s father approached me at her memorial service. He had a package for me—a birthday present from her. When I unwrapped it I found a red journal with lined pages. At the center of its cover, delicately surrounded by a picture of a smiling sun, curling flowers and puffy clouds, were the words, “Seize the Moment.” I’m not going to say that I write for Susan or even that I write for her memory, I write because I have to and I write because, as she so permanently proved, the moment is now.

How long have you been writing?

I wanted to be a writer when I was a kid, but my spelling was atrocious. Teachers left snarky notes all over my short stories—always about the spelling. My father had an expression, “xysizzle.” That’s what most three-syllable words looked like after I got through with them. So, I was afraid to write. Then a man named Steve Jobs teamed up with another guy named Bill Gates. They invented this magical machine that made it possible for me to write without anyone knowing what a terrible speller I am. Steve, Bill—you’ve made a lot of money—but still, I owe ya.

What advice would you give to writers just starting out?

Take classes! It’s amazing how much teachers know. But, if they’re not supportive, ditch ‘em. Nobody, but nobody, needs to hear how much they stink.

What comes first: the plot or the characters?

I ascribe to the “big bang” theory of plotting. At the climax of my novels, I want gnashing of teeth and rending of clothes, fire, thunder and a whole lot of other dramatic stuff. Ergo, I usually have the end in mind before I start, but the characters push me around before I get there.

What is your work schedule like when writing?

I’m most creative at night, in bed. I don’t want to count the number of times my husband has gently pried the computer from my sleeping fingers.

What is your favorite food? Least favorite? Why?

Lima beans and creatures of the sea are the bane of my existence. Otherwise, I’m not picky.

What is something you’d like to accomplish in your writing career next year?

Naturally, I’d like to be on the New York Times Bestseller List with movie executives licking my toes for a chance to make a film of A Rogue in Sheep’s Clothing. On the off chance that that doesn’t work out, I’d like to see the last two books in the Albright Sisters series published. Crimson Romance, the publishers of Rogue, already purchased Lord Monroe’s Dark Tower. That’s the second book in the series. Hopefully, they’ll be interested in taking them all on.

Every writer dreams of getting “the call.” What were you doing when yours came? Who got to hear the good news first?

My friend, Liz Shore, got the call first and I was super excited for her because she’d been through heck in a hand basket, and she earned that contract. Then two days later, Jennifer Lawlor, my editor at Crimson Romance, sent me an email accepting Lord Monroe’s Dark Tower. I asked about A Rogue in Sheep’s Clothing and a few hours later she wrote back saying they wanted that book as well!

Strangely, the news depressed me. Weird, right? I wandered around the house for a few hours totally unnerved. At last, I called my husband. He was so thrilled that I finally allowed myself to be happy. After that, I called Liz and we screamed for like fifteen minutes.

I’d love to hear from Susana’s Parlour readers. How about telling me what your favorite/most hated foods are? The best answer gets a free digital copy of A Rogue in Sheep’s Clothing.

About A Rogue in Sheep’s Clothing

roses2In Lord Hugh Davenport’s opinion, women of the ton perpetually hide behind a mask of deception. That’s hard for Ellie Albright, the daughter of an earl, to swallow—especially since she’s disguised herself as a stable hand to get back the prized stallion her father sold to Hugh to pay a debt. If Hugh learns her true identity she’ll lose the horse and her family will go bankrupt. Somehow, though, losing Hugh’s affection is beginning to seem even worse.

Already only a step away from being snagged in her own web of lies, Ellie’s deceit threatens to spin out of control when Hugh’s mother invites Ellie and her sisters to a house party. Now Ellie has to scramble to keep Hugh from knowing she’s the stable girl he wants to marry, while simultaneously trying to win his trust as herself. Can she keep her costumes straight long enough to save her family? And even if she does, will it be worth losing his love?

Available on

Amazon.com (Kindle), iTunes (iPad, etc.), Barnes & Noble (Nook) and BookStrand.com.

Visit me at www.elfahearn.com or become a pal at Facebook by going to elfahearnauthor.


A stiff breeze swept up the massive stone edifice bringing the scent of heather, gorse, and a tinge of the dank salt sea. The beauty of it sobered her. “My God, it’s magnificent,” she said, feeling the sun’s warmth and the chill of the breeze on her cheeks. For miles around she saw only the dip and rise of the yellowed moors disappearing into soft, distant gray.

Hugh joined her cliff-side. He settled on a patch of thin, wind-whipped grass. Ellie plopped down beside him and took a deep whiff of the heather he’d picked for her on the trail. “Ah,” she said. “It smells like England.”

Hugh broke off a branch of the plant and put it between his teeth. “Tastes like her, too,” he said. Ellie laughed.

Then they grew silent, listening to the rustle of grass, feeling the hot sun, and breathing the rich smell of sweet flowers and fecund herbs.

“This is my day,” said Hugh, lying back in the grass. “You may have a piece of it.”

Ellie swatted him with the stalk of heather. “I shall take your captain’s salute on horseback.”

“And I shall take this moment, right now,” he said, closing his eyes.

They were silent again. Ellie lay back and snuggled into the grass. The cool wind couldn’t reach her here – just the thick heat of the sun. She closed her eyes, too.

A fly tickled her forehead. She brushed it away. It came back and tickled her again. She opened her eyes in time to see Hugh leaning over her, the branch of heather in his teeth. He flicked it away from her face.

“You’re the annoying fly,” she said, lunging to pull the heather from his mouth. He caught her wrists and rolled onto his back. She struggled, enjoying the feel of his large, callused hands. “I suppose if I were really clever,” she said, giving up and leaning on his chest, “I could get that branch without using my hands.”

“Oh yes, and how would you do that?” replied Hugh, a glint in his eye.

Ellie leaned over and, bringing her face close to his mouth, pulled the heather from his teeth.

A bolt of electricity raced through her. She hadn’t meant to be so intimate—hadn’t anticipated the heat of his flesh against hers, or the soft velvet of a corner of his lips. Her heart beat fast and her face grew hot. She looked away, dropping the heather from her mouth. “I’m never getting married,” she blurted.

Hugh studied her. “Then I’m not either.”

Gently, he brushed a bit of heather from her lips.

The caress stirred a small fire. She closed her eyes and lay back down on the grass. Joy washed over her. “That’s wonderful,” she sighed. Hugh’s hand closed on hers.

About the Author

Elf Ahearn, yes, that is her real name, lives in New York with her wonderful husband and a pesky (yet irresistible) cat. Learn more about her at www.elfahearn.com or friend her on Facebook.

Guest Author: Rue Allyn

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Susana’s Parlour is celebrating the second anniversary of The Romance Reviews with the Treasuring Theresa Lucky In Love Giveaway. To enter the contest, click the TRR graphic at right or the Treasuring Theresa graphic in the side bar.

Before you go, leave a comment on today’s guest post for five contest entries. Be sure to include your email address in your comment!

This morning I’d like to welcome Rue Allyn to Susana’s Parlour. Rue is another member of our local writers’ group, the Maumee Valley Romance Writers of America. (Which, I’d like to add, is an incredibly supportive group of writers who are beginning to make their mark in the publishing world.)

When does a book begin?

The answer to this question depends on how you take it and who you are. Are you an author, editor, reviewer? Do you contemplate the best moment in a character’s adventure for your story to open? Do you ponder which decade, year, month, day, etc. is the best setting for your story? Are you a reader, interested in the biography of the main characters—how old they are when their story starts, what “backstory” events might have formed them? Or are you a bibliophile (book lover) interested in the evolution of the book? Each of these interests and more are covered in the general question, “When does a book begin?” Today, I’m interested in the last perspective, that of a bibliophile and will draw on my March 18, 2013 western historical romance, One Moment’s Pleasure, for examples.

roses2I could say, with some validity, that One Moment’s Pleasure’s existence began, May 10, 1869—the day the silver and gold spikes were driven into the rails at Promontory Point Utah, completing the first transcontinental railway in the USA. Without that historical event and those leading up to it, none of the fictional events in One Moment’s Pleasure could have taken place as they did. My story, the story that I wanted to tell, would not exist.

I could also argue that the forced or arranged marriage trope is the inciting element for One Moment’s Pleasure’s. I’ve always enjoyed forced marriage stories—especially when they end HEA—and have always wanted to write one. Once I began to think about writing such a tale, I wanted to turn the trope on its head (which I think I did) and make it fresh. The result wasn’t just One Moment’s Pleasure but three books: the entire Wildfire Love series of which One Moment’s Pleasure is the first. But the idea for the first book sprang from that forced marriage trope. How old is the trope? Well, forced and arranged marriages are as old as marriage itself (a subject of much debate between scholars much more sophisticated than I). Assuming that the history of marriage as an institution extends to pre-biblical times, I’d say my little western historical romance began a very long time ago.

I could produce other options for when One Moment’s Pleasure began—the day I had the first idea for a forced marriage story, the day I started research, the day I actually began drafting, etc. Please leave a comment and let me know when you think a book begins.

If you’re curious about the inciting incident of One Moment’s Pleasure, here’s the opening date and line:

Oakland Point California, July 1870

Weaving her way through the crowds thronging the Oakland Long Wharf railway terminal, Edith Marietta Alden of the Boston Aldens finally attracted the attention of a lanky Chinese man with a large wooden pushcart.

Want more? I include a blurb below, or you may follow the links below to find an excerpt and more information.

One Moment’s Pleasure will become a lifetime’s passion when spinster, Edith Alden, embarks on a search for her missing sister.  Pretending to be a rich bored woman looking for an interlude with an anonymous male Edith enters the San Francisco bordello where her sister was last seen. She escapes the bordello almost too easily, but she can’t escape the passion ignited by a stranger’s kiss.

Born and raised in the brothels of the California gold rush, Dutch Trahern worked for years to erase a childhood spent committing petty crimes and worse in order to survive. That past comes back to haunt him in the form of a woman he rescues from prostitution. Now his hard won respectability is threatened by an irresistible desire for a woman he shouldn’t want.

About the Author

????????????Author of historical, contemporary, and erotic romances, Rue Allyn fell in love with happily ever after the day she heard her first story. She is deliriously married to her sweetheart of many years and loves to hear from readers about their favorite books and real life adventures.  Learn more about Rue at http://RueAllyn.com

Watch for One Moment’s Pleasure, coming March 18, 2013, from Crimson Romance publishing. Better yet, Pre-order now through Rue Allyn’s Amazon Author Page http://www.amazon.com/author/RueAllyn.