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Fish out of Water


Lord of Pleasure

In the Rogues to Riches historical romance series, Cinderella stories aren’t just for princesses… Sigh-worthy Regency rogues sweep strong-willed young ladies into whirlwind romance with rollicking adventure.

Nondescript “good girl” Miss Camellia Grenville only ever opens her mouth when forced to sing at her family’s musicales. That is, until the night she infiltrates the ton’s most scandalous masquerade ball on behalf of her sister, and finds herself in the arms—and the bed—of the one man she’d sworn to hate.

Irresistibly arrogant and unapologetically sensuous, infamous rake Lord Wainwright always gets his way. When he accepts a wager to turn his rakish image respectable in just forty days, he never anticipates falling for an anonymous masked lover…or that discovering her identity would destroy them both.

The Major’s Faux Fiancée

Dukes of War Series #4

When Major Bartholomew Blackpool learns the girl-next-door from his childhood will be forced into an unwanted marriage, he returns home to play her pretend beau. He figures now that he’s missing a leg, a faux fiancée is the best an ex-soldier can get. He admires her pluck, but the lady deserves a whole man—and he’ll ensure she gets one.

Miss Daphne Vaughan hates that crying off will destroy Major Blackpool’s chances of finding a real bride. She plots to make him jilt her first. Who cares if it ruins her? She never wanted a husband anyway. But the major is equally determined that she break the engagement. With both of them on their worst behavior, neither expects their fake betrothal to lead to love…

Regency-set Historical Romance Novel

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Meet the Heroine: Miss Grace Halton

Dukes of War #1: The Earl’s Defiant Wallflower

Miss Grace Halton crossed her goose-pimpled arms over her ruched bodice, mindless of the thick moulding digging into the small of her back or the clumps of wax sticking to her silk slippers. Her gaze darted about the ballroom. Elegant couples began a lively country-dance. Grace hugged herself tighter. She had never felt less like dancing.

Not that she’d been asked.

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Her jaw clenched. She hadn’t any idea how to accomplish any of her goals. Without her grandparents’ money, she couldn’t return to her homeland. Without a husband, she couldn’t get her grandparents’ money. Without a noble birth and a British accent, she couldn’t attract a man interested in something other than her dowry or her virginity.

Back home in Pennsylvania, she’d had friends of both sexes, who loved her for herself and not for something they might take from her. Back home in Pennsylvania, they would’ve had a right belly laugh to see Gracie Halton trussed up in finery and mincing about a suffocating ballroom. Back home in Pennsylvania, her mother— her mother—

Grace’s breath caught and her eyes blurred. Oh, who knew what was going on back home in Pennsylvania? She’d written her mother and her neighbors every day since she’d stepped off the boat, and had yet to receive a single word of response. Fear gripped her. Was her mother still in the threadbare bed Grace had last seen her in? Was she even still alive? Was there still time? Or had Grace flung herself headlong into a fool’s mission that only ensured she would not be present in her mother’s last hours, when she needed her daughter most?

Blindly, Grace pushed away from the velvet-lined wall . . .

Right into the path of a giant as tall and as hard as an oak.

A firm hand caught her about the waist as strong fingers captured her wrists. She blinked the sting of unshed tears from her eyes to find herself entangled not with an oak, but with a man possessed of dark brown hair and dangerous golden brown eyes. A wry smile curved his lips as the orchestra began the opening strains of a waltz.

The hot muscles beneath her palms were hard and firm—no need for a tailor’s touch to improve this sculpted body. He was impossibly tall and uncomfortably close. But unlike the other trussed turkeys sweltering inside the breezeless room, his clothes didn’t reek of day-old perfume. His eyes weren’t bloodshot or blasé, but rather clear and warm and drinking her in as if he were two seconds away from yanking her close enough to claim her mouth. Her heart thundered.

Everything about him was raw heat and restrained power. The exact opposite of what she was looking for. If a man like this took a wife, he would never let her slip away.

She forced her starving lungs to breathe. She was making a cake of herself. She’d almost mown down this exquisite hulk of a man, like the unsophisticated American they all believed her to be. He was simply protecting the herd by putting himself in the path of the rampaging bull.

Heat flooded her cheeks as she broke eye contact. She’d never felt so foolish and uncultured in her life.

Her breath hitched, but she forced herself to meet his eyes. A warm, honey brown. Someone this gorgeous definitely had somewhere better to be. She tugged at her wrists, signaling he was free to go. Only a fool would try to keep him.

He dropped one of his hands, but did not immediately hurry away, as she had anticipated. He seemed even larger than before.

His free hand tightened at her waist. “Shall we dance?”

Just like that, her legs could barely hold her steady. She tilted into his touch, conscious that he must be able to feel her body tremble beneath his fingers. Why would he wish to dance with her? He was too young to be a roué, too gentlemanly to be a rake, too well-heeled to be desperate for money, too smolderingly attractive to be in want of female companionship.

But it couldn’t hurt to make certain.

She narrowed her eyes and forced her mind back on her mission. She needed a husband with money. “Are your pockets to let?”

He blinked at her in confusion. “What? No!”

“Are you in the market for a wife?”

Hell no!” His sculpted cheekbones flushed a subtle pink as he belatedly recalled he was speaking to a lady. “That is to say, at some point, it is my duty to take a wife.”

“Close enough.” Grace slid her wrist from his fingers and placed her hand in his. “This dance is yours.”

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Meet the Hero: Lord Oliver York

Dukes of War #1: The Earl’s Defiant Wallflower

Oliver York, Earl of Carlisle, marched into the ballroom. He clearly wouldn’t be curing his best friend tonight. Perhaps the one most in need of wine, women, and dancing was Oliver himself.

Except the ratafia was warm, the wine bitter, the music off-pace. The debutantes were only attracted to his ignominiously gained title. The men only approached him to hear gore-splattered war stories Oliver had no inclination to retell, much less relive.

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Ballroom Waterloo. The deafening orchestra, the cloying perfume, the swirls of satin and lace—it was as much a hell as the battlefield he’d escaped.

Anybody who fantasized about war was an imbecile. Anyone who fantasized about inheriting a title was an even bigger imbecile. This whole ballroom was chock full of imbeciles, and Oliver was the biggest of them all for thinking Xavier was a soldier he could save, this soirée a skirmish he could win. He didn’t know these people anymore. He wasn’t certain he even wished to. He curled his hands into fists.

Look at them planning their attacks. Sharpening their rapier wits. All of them, pawns in the same war, playing the parts they were born to play. He could no more have escaped inheriting his earldom than a wallflower could avoid being labeled a—

Oliver frowned. Brow furrowed, he squinted through the swirl of dancing couples and frowned again.

There was a girl. Across the room. Pressed into the wallpaper. A pretty girl who didn’t know her part.

Not a wallflower, this young woman, despite her back-to-the-wall stance. True wallflowers dressed in drab colors and did their best to blend with the shadows. This one wore a gown with enough silk and lace to befit an empress. The colors could blind a peacock. Her cleavage would tempt the Prince of Wales himself.

And yet, something about her gave the impression that her come-hither bodice and opulent trappings was nothing more than costuming. The true her—whoever that might be—was hidden from the naked eye. Oliver narrowed his own. Something in the set of her jaw, the stiffness in her spine, the softness of those ripe, full lips . . .

Even as he watched, she trapped her plump lower lip beneath a row of straight white teeth. Dark hair. Pale skin. Voluptuous curves. He shifted his weight.

This Snow White belonged to a different type of bedtime story. What man wouldn’t want those soft red lips on every part of his body? She must’ve infatuated half of London by now. The virginal lace at her bosom, the way those thick black lashes blinked a few more times than strictly necessary . . .

Oliver’s intrigued half-smile died on his face as he realized the truth. This wasn’t coquetry. His enticing wallflower was uncomfortable. Nervous. His fingers curled into fists. Where the devil was her chaperone? Her friends? Hell, her suitors? She was utterly alone. Someone this beautiful, with skin that fair and hair that dark couldn’t have any difficulty attracting a man.

“Got your eye on the new one, Carlisle?” came a sly whisper from behind Oliver’s shoulder. “Better dip your wick now, before all the others have their way. Miss Macaroni won’t be looking half as nubile once she’s had a mouthful of—”

“Macaroni?” Oliver interrupted, barely managing to tamp down his impulse to plug his fist into the speaker’s face, sight unseen. He wouldn’t be able to resist the temptation for long. War did that to a man.

The voice chuckled. “Eh, she’s a Yank. Best thing for anyone to do is keep a hand over her mouth, because you can’t understand a single word coming out of it.”

Oh, mother-loving shite. That was Phineas Mapleton talking. The ton’s worst gossip.

“Not that anyone’d want her for conversation anyway,” Mapleton continued. “Every female worth her salt has already given her the cut direct. The only creatures putting themselves in her path now are the profligates planning to give her a tumble or two. Dirty money, dirty gel. Not much else a chit like that can hope for. Old man Jarvis already put his name down in White’s as being the first to tup her. Got fifty quid on it, myself. Want to add your name to the pot?”

His lip curled in disgust. Ballrooms were treacherous indeed. This jackanapes had an innocent American in his sights. One who didn’t even seem to have a duenna, much less friends to keep away wolves like Mapleton.

Oliver’s temple began to throb as he forced his fists to unclench. This was a different type of combat, he reminded himself. The worst thing to do would be to make a scene with Mapleton. The scandal would be horrific.

Yet he couldn’t walk away. Not when the wallflower needed rescuing. His goddamn Achilles heel, no matter how disastrous the outcome tended to be. He wished his heroics would work out for once.

He kept his eyes trained on the pretty black-haired American, every muscle tensed for action. An eternity ticked by. No one approached her. She had no one to dance with, to talk to. She looked . . . lost. Hauntingly lonely. Frightened and defiant all at the same time.

’Twould be better for them both if he turned around right now. Never met her eye. Never exchanged a single word. Left her to her fate and him to his.

It was already too late.

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The Captain’s Bluestocking Mistress

Dukes of War Series #3

Captain Xavier Grey’s body is back amongst the beau monde, but his mind cannot break free from the horrors of war. His friends try to help him find peace. He knows he doesn’t deserve it. Just like he doesn’t deserve the attentions of the sultry bluestocking intent on seducing him into bed…

Spinster Jane Downing wants off the shelf and into the arms of a hot-blooded man. Specifically, the dark and dangerous Captain Grey. She may not be destined to be his wife, but nothing will stop her from being his mistress. She could quote classical Greek by the age of four. How hard can it be to learn the language of love?

Regency-set Historical Romance Novel

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The Earl’s Defiant Wallflower

Dukes of War Series #2

Oliver York returns from war to find his father dead, his finances in arrears, and himself the new Earl of Carlisle. If he doesn’t marry an heiress—and fast!—he and his tenants are going to be pitching tents down by the Thames. He definitely shouldn’t be trading kisses with a penniless debutante… no matter how captivating she is!

Miss Grace Halton is in England just long enough to satisfy the terms of her dowry. But a marriage of convenience isn’t as easy as she’d hoped. Back in America, her ailing mother needs medicine only Grace’s dowry can afford. Which means the dashing earl she can’t get out of her mind is the one man she can’t let into her heart.

Regency-set Historical Romance Novel

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Too Sinful To Deny

TOO TEMPTING TO OBJECT…

One look at the towering ocean-side manor that is to be her new home, and exiled socialite Susan Stanton knows: This is a place haunted by secrets and riddled with menace.

For Susan, there is no escaping it. At best she can stay clear of the most dangerous element of all—dark-haired smuggler Evan Bothwick, a man whose shaded countenance cannot hide his wicked intent.

But Susan has a secret of her own—a special gift that renders her privy to the darkest mysteries lurking within the walls of the manor and in the labyrinthine cellars beneath. And the only man who can help her make sense of it all is Evan, the very scoundrel and rogue she would do anything to be able to resist…

Regency-set Gothic Historical Romance Novel

Wicked Sinful series #2

Too Wicked To Kiss

HIS TOUCH HOLDS HER CAPTIVE…
From the ravens circling its spires to the gargoyles adorning its roof, Blackberry Manor looms ominously over its rambling grounds. And behind its doors, amid the flickering shadows and secret passageways, danger lies in wait.

TO HIS EVERY DARK DESIRE…
Evangeline Pemberton has been invited to a party at the sprawling estate of reclusive Gavin Lioncroft, who is rumored to have murdered his parents. Initially, Gavin’s towering presence and brusque manner instill fear in Evangeline…until his rakish features and seductive attentions profoundly arouse her. But when a guest is murdered, Evangeline is torn. Could the man to whom she is so powerfully drawn, also be a ruthless killer?

Regency-set Gothic Historical Romance Novel

Scoundrels & Secrets series #1