Welcome Destiny – Blushing Apples Blog Tour

Destiny’s here today to talk about her new release Blushing Apples!
Title: Blushing ApplesBlushing Apples Final Cover
Author: Destiny Dawn
Publisher: Heatstroke Press
Buy it at Amazon:
Blurb:
Elana really can’t help herself when she steals the first bite and it’s all downhill from there. After seeing the fruit every day, she thought one would be enough, but to her flustered surprise it’s not. All she can think about is the succulent apple in her hand and the taste across her lips. She hungers for more, and is willing to do anything for another taste.
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Cascades Blog Tour -Welcome Charley Descoteaux

I’d like to welcome Charley to the blog today to give you a glimpse at her new Christmas novella!

Cascades by Charley Descoteaux

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Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Release Date: December 9, 2015

17,453 words

Cover Artist: Bree Archer

 

 

Blurb:

Justice “JB” Bishop tells himself he’s satisfied with life in the small town of Upright, Oregon. He was born and raised there, and has settled into a comfortable, if lonely, routine working at his uncle’s bar. JB doesn’t expect anything to change after he turns fifty, until an old friend drops in. She suggests he get out of town for the holidays, and soon JB finds himself on an Amtrak to Canada. JB expected to feel different in Canada, to see things he couldn’t see at home. He never expected to find the one who got away.

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Excerpt:

“So, what does JB stand for anyway?”

I stood across the bar from Pete, polishing the spots off a glass for something to do. He slurred so thickly I could barely understand him, but he would notice if I slacked too hard while he was paying me to work. The slant of his shoulders and the glassy look in his eyes said I’d better move him toward a booth soon or I’d have to pick him up off the floor later. I wasn’t as young as I used to be, and he wasn’t as light. “It doesn’t stand for anything. You know that.”

He sipped from his glass and made a face. I’d started serving him O’Doul’s about forty-five minutes ago, but was too late to save myself from overnight drunk patrol.

“Bullshit. I know what it means.”

The place looked even shabbier from the business end of the bar, with its dusty cedar-shake paneling and century-old flooring, more like fencing than something you’d walk on. Dim neon beer signs and pictures of hunting victories going back to the Reagan years decorated the walls. The buzz I had going didn’t make it any prettier.

I clapped Pete on the shoulder. “What does it mean, then?”

He squinted at me, his bushy gray eyebrows nearly covering his eyes. While he worked on remembering what we’d been talking about, I pulled his arm across my shoulders and steered him toward the back wall. Four booths with wide seats covered in black Naugahyde stood there in the darkness, well away from the windows and the curious eyes of Upright’s two police officers.

Pete slid into the one nearest the men’s room, his usual resting place on the most difficult nights. He leaned into the corner made by the back of the booth and the wall, and sighed. “Thanks, JB.”

“You bet. Can I get you anything?”

Pete chuckled. “The brain I drowned?”

“Take it easy. I’ll get you home if you’d rather sleep there tonight.”

“Nah. Save your back. You’re not a young’un anymore. Gotta think about that, or you’ll regret it.”

Before I could answer, he’d nodded off, his head back and mouth wide, snoring. I could’ve argued, but what good would it do? He could see the gray in my beard and the growth in my forehead better than I could.

I turned off the neon signs, locked the front door, stretched out on the cot in the storeroom, and waited for morning.

Most nights I’d get to the end of my favorite relaxation technique before I fell asleep, but not that night. Not sure why, but it had been the slowest Saturday night in history. Probably had something to do with how close it was to Christmas, even if that usually meant the place would be full instead of empty. The disappointing night didn’t surprise me—it came with the holiday territory. I fell asleep with my perfect man only half-constructed.

Half-remembered.

 

Buy Cascades:

 

Dreamspinner Press: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=7112

Amazon US:  http://www.amazon.com/Cascades-Charley-Descoteaux-ebook/dp/B018YKO0DU/ref=sr_1_2?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1449296882&sr=1-2&keywords=Cascades

All Romance eBooks:  https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-cascades-1929239-149.html

 

BIO:

Charley Descoteaux has always heard voices. She was relieved to learn they were fictional characters, and started writing when they insisted daydreaming just wasn’t good enough. In exchange, they’ve agreed to let her sleep once in a while. Charley grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area during a drought, and found her true home in the soggy Pacific Northwest. She has survived earthquakes, tornadoes, and floods, but couldn’t make it through one day without stories.

 

Rattle Charley’s cages:

Blog:  http://cdescoteauxwrites.com/

 Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/charley.descoteaux.3

Dreamspinner Author Page: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/index.php?cPath=879

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/CharleyDescote

Goodreads: http://tinyurl.com/aqe7g7r

 Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/charleydescote/

 e-mail: c.descoteauxwrites@gmail.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ironbound Kisses- Welcome Jessica Walsh!

I’ve got Jessica Walsh here today to give you a little look at her book ‘Ironbound Kisses’.
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Title: Ironbound Kisses
Author: Jessica Walsh
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Buy links: Dreamspinner, Amazon
Blurb:
Don’t talk to him. For all intents and purposes, he doesn’t exist.
Thomas knows the rules when he takes a job with the circus, but he can’t stop thinking about the strange young man hidden away in the manager’s trailer. After a chance meeting with Isle, Thomas is even more intrigued, despite Isle’s warnings. As his obsession with Isle grows, Thomas vows to solve the mystery surrounding him and rescue him from his prison. But nothing is what it seems—especially not Isle—and Thomas is left unable to trust his own mind. Amidst the sparkles and illusions of the big top, Thomas can’t tell whether the spell he’s falling under is love… or something very different. He just knows he has to have Isle, and he’ll do things he never imagined himself capable of to get him.
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Give a Warm Welcome to Avon Gale

Avon Gale’s here today to tell you about her newest novel: Breakaway. If you like hockey, chances are you’re going to dig this.

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Picture1.pngDrafted to play for the Jacksonville Sea Storm, an NHL affiliate, twenty-year-old Lane Courtnall’s future looks bright, apart from the awkwardness he feels as a gay man playing on a minor league hockey team. He’s put his foot in his mouth a few times and alienated his teammates. Then, during a rivalry game, Lane throws off his gloves against Jared Shore, enforcer for the Savannah Renegades. It’s a strange way to begin a relationship.

Jared’s been playing minor league hockey for most of his career. He’s bisexual and doesn’t care if anyone knows. But he’s determined to avoid another love affair after the last one left him devastated. Out of nowhere a one-nighter with rookie Lane Courtnall gives him second thoughts. Lane reminds Jared why he loves the game and why love might be worth the risk. In turn, Jared hopes to show Lane how to be comfortable with himself on and off the ice. But they’re at different points in their careers, and both men will have to decide what they value most.

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The rivalry between the Storm and the Renegades was about as intense as you were going to find for two southern-market hockey teams. It was fun as hell, and Lane was a lot more comfortable with the game—with the speed and the heavier checks and even the trash talk—and he was having a great time. He was definitely not going to throw down with Jared, or anyone else. Instead, he was going to score goals and leave the fighting to the people who were better at it.

Unlike the last time the two teams played, which were low-scoring games with the winner decided by a single goal, this one was a back-and-forth, fast-and-furious effort. Both teams scored within seconds of each other. The momentum shifts were dizzying, and the building was electric. Lane scored a goal and got booed, really vehemently, because a home team goal had just been announced.

“Home wrecker,” Bridey said with a grin and an enthusiastic fist bump.

His fist bump from Reeder was a little less enthusiastic. Reeder had been the best player on the Storm for the last three years and was probably not expecting Lane to show up and challenge him for the top position. But that’s how it went. It was Lane’s job, and he was there to play.

The other person who was there to play, apparently was Jared Shore. And he wasn’t playing like Lane remembered, because he was…. Wow. He was fast. Or at least a lot faster than Lane remembered, and it was obvious he wasn’t going for the Sea Storm’s scorers to knock them over. He was going for their goal.

“Hey, Campbell.” Lane grabbed his teammate’s arm before he hopped over the boards, onto the ice. “Watch out for Shore, man.”

“Why? I’m not gonna fight him. Sorry Courts.” Campbell flashed a grin at him. He was missing a tooth. “I lose my teeth just skating. I don’t need to pick on goons.”

Jared wasn’t just a goon, which was exactly what Lane was trying to tell him. “I think he’s trying to score,” Lane pointed out literally, with his stick, indicating Shore as he skated up the lane and put the puck behind Hunter to tie the game.

Four minutes later Shore scored again and gave the Renegades a 3-2 lead with two minutes left in the period.

Lane had conflicting feelings as he watched Shore celebrate his goal with his teammates. He still really, really wanted to get laid, and he hated losing. But he was kind of proud of Jared. Not proud enough to want his team to win, though.

“Go score another one and shut this fucking crowd up,” Coach Spencer said, looking as if Shore netted that goal just to personally annoy him.

“We should probably never want crowds in this league to be quiet, even if they’re not ours,” one of Lane’s teammates said. The guy had a point.

Lane tried the same move he had last time, but the Renegades defense knocked him over and called him a stupid motherfucker.

“Your mom’s not hot enough. Sorry,” Lane snapped back, and the defenseman actually snorted before he went back to trash talking.

Lane wondered if that guy’s mom was there, and then he felt bad.

The third period was crazy, and as the clock ticked down to end the game, Lane found himself directly across from Jared at center ice, waiting for the puck to drop.

“No smirk this time, kid?” Shore drawled when they put their sticks down on the ice for the face-off.

“Not yet,” Lane said. He won the face-off and raced down the ice. He was going to score. He knew it, even before he saw the light flash behind the Renegades’ goalie—who was pissed as hell and clearly one of those goalies who threw things. Like his water bottle. At Lane.

As the clock ran out, the game was tied, and that meant sudden death overtime. For five minutes, each team would have a chance to score a goal and end the game immediately. But the five minutes passed without a single goal, and the game went into the most dreaded of all outcomes—a shootout.

“Not going home with this one,” Shore said, bumping him in the shoulder.

“Someone will probably fight you for that,” Lane snapped. He really liked Jared a lot, but this was war. Fraternization was for later. And why did this have to go to a shootout? He was trying to get laid.

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Dreamspinner || Amazon || ARe || Barnes and Noble || Kobo || Google Play

 

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Picture1.pngAvon Gale was once the mayor on Foursquare of Jazzercise and Lollicup, which should tell you all you need to know about her as a person. She likes road trips, rock concerts, drinking Kentucky bourbon and yelling at hockey. She’s a displaced southerner living in a liberal midwestern college town, and when she’s not writing you can find her at the salon, making her clients look and feel fabulous. She never gets tired of people and their stories — either real or the ones she makes up in her head

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@Facebook||   @avongalewrites.com||  @twitter || bourbon and candy (avon’s mailing list)

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Northern Lights Blog Tour – Welcome Asta Idonea!

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Title: Northern Lights

Author: Asta Idonea

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Release Date: 1 December 2015

Genre: Short Story / Contemporary / Holiday-Themed

Pages: 25

Buy Links:

Dreamspinner Press

Amazon US

Amazon UK

ARe

 

Blurb

A dream romantic vacation to Iceland to see the Northern Lights turns into a nightmare when James’s workaholic boyfriend, Richard, again insists on putting his work first. After a call from Richard’s office, an argument ends with the couple splitting up for good. Not only has Richard left James, he’s left him abandoned to explore the park alone, where James quickly gets lost. But just when things seem darkest, the Solstice works its magic, and James finds the guiding light he needs. Or it finds him.

 

Excerpt

“NO. NO, Bob, listen to me. Bob, listen to me. Yes. No. Yes. Bob. Bob. Calm down.”

I turn off the tap, shake my hands over the sink, and reach for towel as I listen to the one-sided conversation drifting through from the next room. I don’t really know why I’m surprised. It’s not as if this hasn’t happened a hundred times before. Richard and I will make plans, and then that damn phone of his will vibrate, emitting the inane, grimace-inducing ringtone I’ve never been able to stand, and everything will unravel.

Richard and I met at a Christmas party five years ago, just before he started his job at Robert Preston & Associates. To date, that was the one and only Christmas we’ve managed to spend together. Every year since, something work-related has called him away. He does his best to make it home for dinner on my birthday, which falls during the holidays, but even that is touch-and-go. Some years I’ve ended up celebrating alone, surrounded by fast-cooling, half-eaten slices of pizza and a pile of empty beer cans.

For months I’ve been begging him for this overseas trip. We’ve been going through a tough patch, and I thought spending the holidays together—without interruptions, just the two of us—would go a long way toward healing the rift. I’d held out hope that the distances involved would grant us some measure of security, that the fact that we were out of the country would make Bob think twice before dialing. But it appears I was wrong.

Audio Excerpt

Author Bio

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Asta Idonea (aka Nicki J Markus) was born in England, but now lives in Adelaide, South Australia. She has loved both reading and writing from a young age and is also a keen linguist, having studied several foreign languages.

Asta launched her writing career in 2011 and divides her efforts not only between MM and mainstream works but also between traditional and indie publishing. Her works span the genres, from paranormal to historical and from contemporary to fantasy. It just depends what story and which characters spring into her mind!

As a day job, Asta works as a freelance editor and proofreader, and in her spare time she enjoys music, theater, cinema, photography, and sketching. She also loves history, folklore and mythology, pen-palling, and travel; all of which have provided plenty of inspiration for her writing.

Website: http://www.nickijmarkus.com

Twitterhttps://twitter.com/NickiJMarkus

Facebook Author Page: http://www.facebook.com/NickiJMarkus

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4567057.Nicki_J_Markus

A Trip to Remember

Where he ends up might be better than where he was going.

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A Trip to Remember

Meg Harding

Holiday Novella, Sleigh Ride Anthology

17,514 words

Contemporary Romance

Published by DreamSpinner

Cover by Bree Archer

 Blurb:

Colin wants to spend the Christmas holiday with his family, but a blizzard settles in and his flight is cancelled. Unwilling to accept this, he strikes out on his own and crashes his car. Where he ends up might be better than where he was going, though.

Logan was content to wait out the blizzard and spend the holiday alone, but when a frozen-solid Colin ends up on his doorstep he’s not going to turn him away. He takes him in and shows him Christmas spent with a stranger really doesn’t have to be awkward after all.

Excerpt:

Left alone, and more aware of the situation than he had been since he’d woken up, Colin took the opportunity to look at the room more thoroughly. In the corner stood a large Christmas tree, the lights and ornaments all red and white, and a couple presents scattered beneath. From the mantle above the fireplace hung several stockings, and little glass reindeer were placed on the mantle itself. Christmas knickknacks were spread throughout the room, placed on shelves and tables. A spinning snowflake dangled from the ceiling fan.

“Your family was supposed to come here, weren’t they?” he asked when Logan came back into the room.

“Yeah.” He handed the wet cloth to Colin with a small smile. “They’re smart, though, they didn’t try to travel through a blizzard.” He winked, his smile turning into a pleased smirk.

Colin rolled his eyes and scrubbed the cloth along his neck, hoping he was getting everything. “Are you ever going to let that go?”

“Considering I’ve only been harping on it for about ten minutes, I think you’ve got a ways to go.” Logan sat down next to him, his hip pressing into Colin’s stomach. “Give me that. You look so pathetic.” It sounded like he was trying not to laugh. He tugged the cloth from Colin’s grip, leaning over him to start dragging it over his skin.

Colin froze for a second, his neck tilted back vulnerably. He swallowed heavily. Logan was very much in his space, his face hovering right over Colin’s. He could see the striations in his irises, the way his pupils had expanded. If he respired out his mouth, he’d be breathing right into his face. He felt like he was holding his breath.

Get a grip. He tried to subtly exhale out his nose. “I thought you weren’t going to play nurse,” he said.

“I had no idea you’d make it look so difficult,” said Logan, brushing his thumb over the skin he’d just scrubbed, soothing irritated flesh. “It seemed wrong to let you keep trying.”

Find it Here:

Dreamspinner Press

Amazon

All Romance Ebooks

Author Bio:

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Meg Harding is a graduate of UCF, and is completing a masters program for Publishing in the UK. For as long as she can remember, writing has always been her passion, but she had an inability to ever actually finish anything. She’s immensely happy that her inability has fled and looks forward to where her mind will take her next. She’s a sucker for happy endings, the beach, and superheroes.  In her dream life she owns a wildlife conservation and is surrounded by puppies. She’s a film buff, voracious reader, and a massive geek.

WordPress / Twitter / Facebook / DreamSpinner / Amazon / Google + / Goodreads

The Servant Duchess of Whitcomb- A Glimpse Inside

 The Servant Duchess of Whitcomb

A Novel in The Scandalous Whispers of the Remmington Realm

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Author: Vicktor Alexander

 

Release Date: November 27, 2015

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Cover Artist: Anne Cain

Pages or Words: 304 pages

Categories: Alternate Universe, Fantasy, Gay Fiction, Historical, M/M Romance, Mystery, Romance, Science Fiction, *Trans, Interracial, Military

Blurb:

Orley Garrick is known throughout Angland not only as the man with two dukedoms but also as the hero who survived a brutal kidnapping at the hands of Nafoleon’s army, never once betraying the secrets of His Majesty. Still haunted by his memories, Orley pushes his crippled body to dangerous limits, all in an attempt to run from the demons of his past.

Until he meets Chester Boland, a maid in his friend’s household. Orley is besieged by desire for this gorgeous male woman, and by a connection he cannot ignore. But there are those within the Remmington Realm who take issue with the Duke’s choice—especially given Chester’s Tafrican lineage.

Having stared death in the face and won, Orley proposes they steal away and elope. However, before they can begin their new life, they uncover dangerous secrets that go deeper than they could ever imagine—involving those they trust the most.

Orley and Chester must discover exactly how deep these secrets run before their enemies make sure Chester is removed from Orley’s arms… forever.

 

Excerpt:

THE SHARP retort of gunfire exploded around Orley Garrick, Duke of Whitcomb, and he ducked, trying to avoid the debris and the bodies of fallen soldiers around him as he surged forward. The smoke from the countless rifles burned his eyes as he desperately looked for the person who had caught his eye. He heard the cries of the dying calling out to him as he rode his horse farther into the thick of battle. Using his sword, he cut down an enemy soldier who raced toward him, mouth open as he let out a battle cry. Orley closed his eyes against the spray of blood across his face and blocked out the sound of the man’s death gurgle as he fell to the ground beneath his own horse.

Orley raced on toward the figure in white who didn’t belong on the battlefield. He called out a warning, telling the woman to be careful, because there was no way a man would be on a battlefield wearing a long, flowing white chemise, free of dust and bloodstain, appearing almost angelic among the crowd of soldiers. The woman didn’t stop. Instead she walked straight toward the commander of the enemy soldiers, and fear filled Orley. He wasn’t sure why; he didn’t know the woman, and yet he could not let anything happen to her.

At that moment, the woman turned to look at him, and Orley gasped when he realized the woman in front of him was not female as he’d suspected but male. Why in the world was a lady on the battlefield?

“You should not be here!” he yelled, trying to warn the male, but just as he got close enough to lift the woman onto the back of his horse, an enemy soldier plunged his sword through the woman’s back and out through his chest. Orley watched helplessly as the woman’s eyes widened moments before he collapsed to the ground, and a grief unlike aught he’d ever experienced ripped through him.

He was not sure how he knew, but the dying woman belonged to him, and someone had just taken him away.

Tossing his head back, Orley let out an anguished shout at the heavens.

 

ORLEY WOKE, panting and sweating, in the home of his friend, Heathcliff.

Holy. Shit. That one had been very different from his other nightmares. He rubbed his face with his hand and groaned as pain raced through his leg—the one that would never be the same. All because of war, a battle. All because of….

Orley shook his head. No, he wasn’t going to think about that.

Someone knocked lightly on the door, and Orley winced as he realized his plan to come to his room and take a quick nap after his taxing journey out of Tlondon had turned into a deep sleep and a brand-new nightmare.

God, he hated sleeping.

“Enter,” he called out as he sat up and swung his legs off the bed he was borrowing while visiting Heathcliff and Lucien for their country-house party. The door opened, and Orley turned to address the person standing there. He stopped short, almost swallowing his tongue as he took in the vision of the most beautiful creature to have ever been born.

Orley had been privileged to see many beautiful people in his life. Male and female, he was a lover of aesthetically pleasing images and didn’t discriminate. However, all of them paled in comparison to the lovely light-brown-skinned woman in front of him. Orley’s stomach clenched, his groin tightening as he inhaled sharply. The lovely scent of jasmine wafted up to his nostrils, and his eyes slid closed as he relished in the delightful fragrance emanating from the male who had just entered his room.

“Forgive me, Your Grace. I was sent to bring you a light repast and perhaps something to wash up with? His Grace the Duke of Pompinshire thought that perhaps you would like to freshen up before joining the rest of the guests downstairs.” The woman’s voice was soft and lyrical, with a slight lilt to it, and Orley wondered if perhaps he sang. He would have no problem lounging around on the settee listening to him sing or even just talk. Of course, as he took in the male’s appearance, he felt the desire to do much more than just listen to him.

“Your Grace? Are you ill?” the servant asked, and Orley swallowed, shaking his head.

“N-no. I’m fine. Just a bit out of sorts, I’m afraid. I appear to have overslept during my nap, and now I am feeling quite peckish,” he lied.

The woman nodded, his hazel eyes lighting with relief. Orley wondered at that. Was his well-being really of great concern, or was it just because the maid had been sent to look after Orley?

Orley allowed his gaze to rove over the young male’s form again, taking in every detail intently. He would like to have something to conjure up in his mind’s eye later on that evening when he put his hand to his already burgeoning erection.

Wearing the female black dress with a white apron, which was the maid’s uniform that was standard in most homes of the gentry, the young woman had honey blond hair that was currently pulled back in a very luscious chignon at the nape of his neck, and Orley could only imagine how long and thick it was. An image rose to his brain of that hair hanging down over his face as the young woman slid up and down his cock, and he pressed a hand to the sheets covering his waist. The young male’s skin was almond colored, and all Orley wanted to do was spend hours licking every inch of his body. He was not overly tall, only a few inches taller than Lucien, Heath’s husband, but still much shorter than Orley. And where Orley was all hard, thick muscles, the male maid before him was slender, though still with a lovely, toned body.

His slim-fingered hands held a covered silver tray, and Orley gestured him forward with a beckoning wave.

“Well, far be it from me to refuse such generosity from His Grace. You can just place it there on the nightstand,” he directed, watching the sway of the servant’s hips beneath the skirt of his maid’s gown as he walked toward the cherrywood nightstand. Orley shoved his fingers through his blond locks, messing up his hair and throwing his queue into disarray. He was unnerved as the vestiges of the nightmare faded from his mind, wreaking havoc with the lovely, distracting image of Heathcliff’s maid, whose form even now was causing a pleasurable ache in his balls.

“Is there anything else that I can do for you, Your Grace?” the maid asked, his voice hushed, eyes downcast, and a slight tinge of red to his light brown skin.

Orley prided himself on being a man of honor, integrity, and character. As a matter of fact, his grandfather, Charles Edrick Garrick I, the former Duke of Whitcomb, had more than once given him lessons and lectures on the way a gentleman was to behave. Anyone can strut around and use his physical strength to try and prove his brawn. But it takes honor, patience, gentleness, character, integrity, fortitude, knowing when to fight, knowing when to walk away, knowing when to love, how to love, and when to let go, and most importantly, knowing when to use your physical strength and when to be humble, that makes you a man.

Orley had always believed those words from his grandfather, had in fact lived by those words for his entire life. He’d only strayed from them when he’d served in His Majesty’s military and on those rare occasions when he’d allowed Blaine, Heathcliff, and Quincy to talk him into traveling down into the Lower East End to partake of the wares of the light-skirts. And while his grandfather’s words usually guided him, right now he was seriously considering doing something illicit.

He couldn’t believe the images that were passing through his mind. Flashes. Quick, as if they were memories like his time spent on the battlefield rather than the salacious, hopeful yearnings of a desirous, dry, fruitless attraction. However, the longer he spent in the company of the object of his mind’s current musings, the more it seemed his “dry, fruitless attraction” was soaked in hope and possibility. And perhaps it was for that reason that rationality and his grandfather’s words of character, honor, and integrity grew softer and softer until they were suddenly silent. All he could concentrate on was how lovely Heathcliff’s maid was. How round the male woman’s derriere was. How slim his shoulders were. How graceful his neck was.

How full his lips were, and how much Orley desperately wanted to kiss them.

“I think I would really like to know your name,” he heard himself saying.

The maid’s eyes widened, and he gasped softly. “Me, Your Grace?”

Orley chuckled. “Of course you. There is no one else in the room but you and I, and I assure you that I already know my own name. Unless it has changed in the time I have been asleep. It hasn’t, has it?”

The maid giggled and covered his mouth, shaking his head. Orley found himself even more enchanted. When was the last time he’d heard someone allow themselves to be so free that they just giggled? His life was constantly surrounded by danger, drama, gossip, backstabbers, and intrigue. He had a very small group of people he could trust, and they didn’t often have the time to smile, much less giggle. Being around someone who could giggle was a relief. It was like a bright ray of sunshine. Orley absolutely had to have the maid’s name.

“No, Your Grace. Your name hasn’t changed.” The maid glanced away for a moment, as if embarrassed, and then looked back. “My name is Chester.” He executed a flawless curtsy, and Orley rose from the bed and bowed low, smiling at Chester’s gasp. He knew Chester was surprised that a member of the gentry, and a duke no less, would bow to him, but he would soon learn that Orley was unlike every other duke out there.

“It is an honor to meet you, Chester. I am extremely happy to be in your presence and very happy that you will be serving me, and now….” Orley stepped close to Chester, looking down into the young woman’s hazel brown eyes. His heart was pounding, and his leg, for the first time in years, was not throbbing in pain—perhaps that was because only one thing on his body could be throbbing at a time, and his cock already had that covered. “I would very much like to kiss you.”

“Y-you would?” Chester stammered.

Orley nodded, lifting his hand to brush his fingers against the side of Chester’s cheek.

“Is that okay, Chester? I find you to be the most beautiful woman I’ve ever seen in my entire life, and I would really like to kiss you. May I?”

“You’re asking me?” Chester looked confused. “I was told that men of your standing didn’t ask, that you just take.”

Orley shook his head, saddened by what Chester thought of men of the ton, but he knew Chester’s assumptions came as a result of dealing with “men” of a certain ilk. He would be speaking with Heathcliff about those matters later that week, but at that moment, all of his energy and attention was focused on Chester.

“Of course I am asking you. You always have a choice. Not just with me, but with every single man in the world. You do not have to do anything you don’t want to do. At least, that is the way it should be in a perfect world. So if you don’t want to kiss me, we don’t have to.” Orley would be disappointed, he would be haunted for days, perhaps a fortnight, by the fullness of Chester’s mouth, but eventually he would get over it.

Chester nibbled on his bottom lip and then grinned. “I would love for you to kiss me, Your Grace.”

Orley wanted to let out a loud yell of triumph, but he held back and lowered his lips to Chester’s full, pillow-soft mouth. He was fully expecting the surge of lust that spread through his limbs. Maybe he was even expecting the tingle that spread through his fingers and toes. However, the lightheaded feeling that drowned him in peace and yet simultaneous excitement, and the way his heart sped up, were completely unexpected. He growled and pulled Chester to him, as close as he could possibly get the woman. He felt a bit like a ravenous beast, wanting to devour Chester whole.

He lifted his lips to take a breath, opened his eyes, and gazed down into Chester’s dazed ones. Chester smiled slowly up at him. Orley grinned back, rubbing his hand up and down Chester’s back and already preparing for the next round of kissing.

So he was surprised when he went to lower his head for another kiss and was met with nothing but air and the sound of his bedroom door closing.

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In the spirit of the Regency period in which this book and series is set, I thought I would share some recipes from that era. (All recipes found on http://www.janeausten.co.uk/online-magazine/regency-recipes/)

 To Make Mead

To every gallon of water put 4 lbs of honey, and for 20 gallons add as follows: 2 oz of nutmeg, half an oz of mace, half an oz of cloves, 2 ozs of race-ginger, all just bruised, and sewed up in a linene bag; then add a large handful of sweet briar with the above, boil it all together for an hour, skimming it all the time it boils; then drain it off. Add a little balm to it, if it does not work, turn it and let it stand a day or two. Then add the juice of 6 good lemons, with the rind of them and your bag of spices in the barrel. Stop it up close for 10 or 12 months. Then bottle it for use. You may add some more spices if you like it.

-Martha Lloyd’s Household Book

 To make tea crumpets

Beat two eggs very well, put them to a quart of warm milk and water, and a large spoonful of barm: beat in as much fine flour as will make them rather thicker than a common batter pudding, then make your bakestone very hot, and rub it with a little butter wrapped in a clean linen cloth, then pour a large spoonful of batter upon your stone, and let it run to the size of a tea-saucer; turn it, and when you want to use them roast them very crisp, and butter them.

—The Experienced English Housekeeper, Elizabeth Raffald, 1769

 A Harrico of Mutton

    Cut a neck of mutton into steaks. Flour them and fry them brown on each side. Put into your stewpan a piece of butter and 2 spoonfuls of flour, and let is simmer together until is is of a light brown (keeping it stirring all the time). Add to it some good gravy and let it boil up, then put in your steaks, and turnips and carrots and let it stew one hour. Pepper and salt to your taste and 2 Spoonfuls of catchup–when done if greasy mix some flour with cold water and put to it, but let it only boil up once afterwards.

 Irish Stew

6 pounds boneless Lamb shoulder (or beef roast) cut into 2-inch pieces

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/2 cup all purpose flour

1 Large Yellow Onion peeled and finely chopped

1/2 cup water

4 cups Beef Stock

2 teaspoons sugar

4 cups carrots-cut into 1 inch pieces

2 large yellow onions peeled and sliced

3 pounds potatoes or turnips peeled, quartered and cut into 1/2 inch pieces

1 teaspoon dried thyme, whole

1 bay leaf

 Put lamb salt pepper and flour in large mixing bowl-toss to coat meat evenly.

 Brown meat in frying pan with bacon fat or butter. Put meat into 10 quart stove top casserole-leave 1/4 cup of fat in frying pan. Add onion and sauté till onion begins to color. Deglaze frying pan with 1/2 cup water and add the onion to your casserole with the beef stock and sugar. Cover and simmer for 1 1/2 hours or till tender. Add remaining ingredients to pot and simmer covered for 20 minutes until veg. is tender. Check for salt and pepper before serving.

 Bouillabaisse

3 lb Assorted white fish, such as sea bass, flounder, red snapper, grouper, perch, sole, pike, haddock, and cod.

1/3 c Olive oil

5 Garlic cloves, chopped

5 To 10 Saffron threads

1 pinch Thyme

2 lg Onions, coarsely chopped

5 lg Tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped, or one diced tomatoes

1 Bouquet garni (1 bay leaf, 1 thyme sprig, 6 parsley sprigs pinch each of grated orange peel, ground fennel seeds, basil, and oregano)

2 Carrots, coarsely chopped

2 Leeks, coarsely chopped

Salt and freshly ground -pepper

6 c Water

1 1/4 c Dry white wine or broth

2 lb Clams or mussels, washed

1 t Saffron threads

2 tsp Pernod

2 Baguettes (French bread) cut diagonally into thin slices

2 lg Garlic cloves, peeled

 Fillet the fish or have your fishmonger do it for you. Cut the fish into 1-in (2.5-cm) chunks. Marinate with 2 tablespoons olive oil, 1 clove chopped garlic, a few saffron threads, and a pinch of thyme for at least 1 hour.

 Sauté the onions and remaining chopped garlic in 4 tablespoons olive oil for 4 minutes. Add the tomatoes, bouquet garni, orange peel, fennel seeds, basil, oregano, carrots, leeks, salt and pepper, and cook covered for 10 minutes. Add the water and 1 cup of the wine and bring to a boil. Simmer uncovered for 30 minutes. Remove from the heat. Blend the mixture in a blender for a few seconds and then strain it into a soup pot through a fine strainer lined with cheesecloth. Discard the residue in the strainer. Taste the stock for seasoning. If it tastes a little thin, reduce over high heat for a few minutes until the flavor is more fully developed.

 Add the clams and simmer until they just begin to open. Add the fish and the remaining wine and cook at a rolling boil for 10 minutes. Add the saffron threads and continue to cook for another 5 minutes. Taste and season with Pernod, salt and pepper. Pour into warmed individual bowls.

 Meanwhile dry the baguette slices in the oven for a few minutes and then rub them with the whole cloves of garlic. Top the slices of bread with plenty of rouille and float them in the bowls of soup. Serve immediately.

 For a more authentic style, ladle the soup into the bowls and serve the fish on a separate plate to be added by each guest.

Boiled Plumb Pudding

Shred a pound of beef suet very fine, to which add three quarters of a pound of raisins stoned, a little grated nutmeg, a large spoonful of sugar, a little salt, some white wine, four eggs beaten, three spoonfuls of cream, and five spoonfuls of flour. Mix them well, and boil them in a cloth three hours. Pour over this pudding melted butter, when dished.

Susannah Carter, The Frugal Housewife, or, Complete woman cook; wherein the art of dressing all sorts of viands is explained in upwards of five hundred approved receipts, in gravies, sauces, roasting [etc.] . . . also the making of English wines. (London: Francis Newbery, 1765)

 454 g/ 1 lb Beef Suet, finely chopped

397 g / 14 oz / 2 ½ Cups Raisins

1 tsp Nutmeg

1 tbsp Brown Sugar

½ tsp Salt

180 ml / 2/3 cup White Wine

4 Eggs

5 tbsp Flour, plus extra for dusting

3 tbsp Cream

60 cm x 60 cm /2 ft x2 ft muslin cloth and kitchen string

 Set a large stockpot of water on to boil.

 In a large mixing bowl, combine the sugar, eggs, wine, cream and nutmeg. Add in the suet and flour. When this is incorporated, add the raisins and continue mixing until a stiff batter is formed.

 Thoroughly wet the cloth and dust it with flour on both sides. Lay this cloth across a mixing bowl large enough to accommodate all your batter. Spoon the batter into the center of the cloth and tie it up securely (with a little room for expansion) with kitchen string, being sure to leave long ends to hang the pudding in the water. The pudding should look like a ball wrapped in fabric.

 Submerge the pudding in the boiling water by suspending it from a wooden spoon placed across the top of the pot. Boil vigorously for 3 hours, adding additional water as necessary.

 Remove the pudding from the water after three hours. Allow it to drain in a colander and then store it in a bowl (to preserve its shape) overnight or for several hours before serving. Reheat before serving. Serve with melted butter.

 *Melted Butter

Melted butter was perhaps the most common sauce to be served with any number of dishes. To make your own, melt 3 tablespoons of butter over a medium heat. Quickly whisk in 2-3 tsp of flour and remove the butter from the heat. Do not allow the mixture to boil or the sauce will separate, thus becoming “oiled”.

Serves 8

 Meet the author:

Vicktor “Vic” Alexander wrote his first story at the age of ten and hasn’t stopped writing since. He loves reading about anything and everything and is a proud member of the little known U.N. group (Undercover Nerds) because while he lives, eats, breathes, and sleeps sports, he also breathes history and science fiction and grew up a Trekkie. But don’t ask him about Dungeons & Dragons, because he has no idea how to play that game. When it comes to writing he loves everything from paranormal to contemporary to fantasy to BDSM to historical and is known not only for being the Epilogue King but also for writing stories that cross lines and boundaries that he doesn’t know are there. Vic is a proud father of two daughters one of whom watches over him from Heaven with his deceased partner Christopher. Vic is a proud trans* and gay man, and when he is not writing, he is hanging out with his friends, or being distracted by videos of John Barrowman, Scott Hoying, and Shemar Moore. Vicktor has published numerous bestselling novels and has a WIP list that makes him exhausted just thinking about. He knows that he will be still be writing about hot men falling in love with each other, long after he is living in an assisted living facility, flirting with the hot, male nurses.

Where to find the author:

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/VicktorAlexanderB

Facebook Author Page: http://www.facebook.com/AuthorVicktorAlexander

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/VVeeB

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/vicktora/

Other: https://www.instagram.com/vicktoralexander/

Other: http://www.vicktoralexander.tumblr.com

Other: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/VicktorAlexander

Other: http://www.vicktoralexander.com

Other: http://www.authorvicktoralexander.com

Goodreads Link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/27422380-the-servant-duchess-of-whitcomb


Tour Dates & Stops:

27-Nov: Havan Fellows, Louise Lyons, Prism Book Alliance

30-Nov: Onwards, Upwards, House Millar

1-Dec: Jessie G. Books, Divine Magazine

2-Dec: Tempeste O’Riley

3-Dec: MM Good Book Reviews, Fantastical Worlds, Fiery Love

4-Dec: Mikky’s World of Books, Brightly Books

6-Dec: Love Bytes

7-Dec: Inked Rainbow Reads, BFD Book Blog

8-Dec: A.M. Leibowitz, Antonia Aquilante

9-Dec: Grace R. Duncan’s Blog

10-Dec: Bending The Bookshelf, Book Lovers 4Ever

Rafflecopter Prize: E-book copy of book, $50 Amazon Gift Card, Scandalous Whispers Swag Pack

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