Sunday, September 30, 2012

Book Tour, Review & Excerpt: Return to Arethane





Title: Return to Arèthane
Author: 
ISBN13: B008794JZI

Goodreads Synopsis:

16-year old Emily has accepted her fate with each weakening beat of her heart, but after her best friend's brother and sister arrive in town and turn out to be more than what they appear, Emily's life is turned upside-down. When their friendship includes confronting wizards who harbor dark secrets and dancing with an elf prince, Emily discovers there are some things still worth living for.


Get your Own Copy:

Review:

The cover is so beautiful. I mean, it's not the usual kind of cover that draws me, but something about it was very interesting. The title was gripping, because as I've mentioned before, I enjoy uncommon, foreign or made up names. The cover and title, alongside the synopsis - that didn't reveal so much - I was hooked and wanting to read more.

Emily's life used to be perfect, or at least seemed it, until her life went downhill and she changed. One day she up and dumped her boyfriend, quit the cheerleading squad, got a lip ring and refused to dress conventionally. Even though she comes from money, it doesn't compensate the fact that she has an absent father and an alcoholic mother. Her life takes a turn to, well, not exactly the best or worst, but certainly weird when her best friend's brother and sister come to town to stay. Her best friend's brother, Jarrad, just had to be hot and of course, her being her, the first time she met him had to be when her mother was drunk and causing a scene. Though, for some strange reason he was nice to her and paid her more attention than the rest of the girls trailing after him. That and, for some reason Dafne's - her best friend- sister was a lot different than the other two, more hostile with an icy demeanor. The more time she spends with the siblings , the more she realizes some strange things are happening and she couldn't explain it at all. What on earth was going on?

As I mentioned at the start, I love unusual names, so is it any surprise I adored the characters in this book? I mean, with names like Jarrad, Karawyn, Aerath and Jabari, how could I not? It's quite new and refreshing having the important character in the book not be the heroine nor the guy she's falling for. In this case it was Karawayn.

At first I was a bit confused on why the point of views shift from Emily and Karawyn and not say, Emily and Jarrad, since that would make more sense, but then it became obvious that it must have been Karawyn's importance here. It was quite an interesting contrast between the two characters, since Emily is real, human, with feelings stringing from happiness to sadness, and anger. There were emotions and interests and livelihood. With Karawyn however, it was not. She obviously wasn't human  in the conventional sense, and she had no bubbly emotions. They all ranged from anger to disinterest and pain. Quite different actually that even though they wouldn't be announced as the different points of views changed, you could tell from their mood.

I actually felt sorry for Emily from the start. Even though it appears that she's rich and has the coolest friends and lifestyles, with a mother like that and an absent father I wouldn't envy her it at all. Then there was the mysterious intake of pills, I was curious about it from the start. I actually think the fact that she suffered and had such a teenager moment of being embarrassed by her mother at a restaurant and to make it worse in front of a super hot guy, I completely felt for her as it made her seem more realistic. That and the other traumatic incidents she'd gone through.

The writing was actually quite good, easy, flowing and made for a great read. There was also the added humor and unique touches that made this book one of the best I've read these past few weeks. Though, I've read a lot this month so I can't remember mostly. Just that Kelly Riad has become one of my new favourite authors and I cannot wait for 'Prince of Aréthane' to come out!

Rating: 4/5



Excerpt:
(Just so I can share some of the awesomeness that is this book)

 “Can you grant wishes?”

“Depends on what you wish for.” He grinned.

Emily’s eyebrows lifted, but she didn’t take the bait. “Can you cast spells?”

“We don’t cast spells,” he said. “Spells require incantations and potions and we need none of that. But we have something we do. Your ancestors called them elf spells, but they’re actually enchantments.”

“Enchantments?”

“A sort of…hypnosis. We can bend humans to our will. Make them forget, or remember what never was.”

“What?” Emily turned to Dafne. “Is that what you did to me in the green house?”

Dafne’s shoulders came up, a pained look of guilt on her face. “Yes, I’m sorry,” she said. “But it obviously didn’t stick. My enchantments aren’t that powerful.”

Emily frowned, despite being impressed.

“Jarrad’s really good at it,” Dafne added, nodding toward her brother.

“How do you do it?” Emily asked him.

“Well…it’s hard to explain,” he said.

“Show me then,” she shrugged.

“No,” he answered, shaking his head.

“No?” she squeaked. “Why not?”

“I’m not going to manipulate you.”

“Oh, come on!” she complained, standing up from the railing. “Your sister had no problem with it. And it’s not manipulation if I want you to.”

“It is. It’s placing you in a vulnerable state.”

“I trust you.” Which was weird, because she hadn’t trusted anyone in awhile.

“It doesn’t matter.” He shrugged and his expression looked determined.

Dafne watched with a wide smile on her face, thoroughly enjoying their back and forth banter, seeming to hope for her brother’s defeat. Emily decided on a different approach.

“Please?” she begged.

“Emily, don’t,” he said, looking down, seeming suddenly troubled as he gripped the railing he still leaned against.

“Please?” she repeated, sweetly.

“Emily,” he sighed, breaking down under her pleas.

“Please, Jarrad?”

Did she actually just bat her eyes? Why was she so anxious to be placed under an elf spell? Curiosity…what did it do to that cat?

He huffed and stood up. “Very well.” He tossed his ice cream cone into the trash can, brushed his hands off, and looked around. “But you can’t get upset if you don’t like how it feels.”

“I won’t,” Emily promised. She had a feeling she would love how it feels. Pleased with her victory, she squared off in front of him. “What do I do?”

He raised an eyebrow. “Whatever I say,” he said, playful mischief twinkling in his eyes and her cheeks grew warm again.

Taking hold of her arms, he moved closer, slowly, until she could feel heat pulsing between them. He lowered his head, his eyes focused on hers.

And she was stuck. Instantly transfixed.

She couldn’t blink. She couldn’t move.

She didn’t want to do either, waiting for him to speak again.

Everything disappeared into the two heavenly skies that were his eyes and she was lost in their cloudy details, swimming lucidly in some other world. He blinked—slowly, deliberately—lowering his eyelids like the deep undulation of a wave and she felt a wash of swirling rainbow ecstasy flood her body, running down her neck and arms, moving like thick syrup through her lungs, filling up her rib cage, surrounding her heart, before crawling down her legs.

Then she no longer felt her legs. Emily no longer knew if her hand still held the ice cream. 
Her eyelids grew heavy, so heavy, as though a drug eased and slipped its way through her 
veins. And then she watched with breathless anticipation as his lips moved.

“Emily?” His voice caressed her ears and traveled like a hand tracing down her neck, pulling her, willingly, unquestioningly wherever he led.

“Yes?” she breathed, lips parted and barely moving.

“Do you wish to please me? Will you obey my every command?”

“Yes.” And she did. She would. Obey him and no other. The option to disagree or disappoint him was inconceivable to her. Just to see him smile; she waited for him to command her so she might serve him. It was a feeling unlike any other. She had no control. And she didn’t care.

“If I asked you to go on a date with me, would you?”

“Yes.” It was the only word she knew. The only word she could push across her lips, the rest of her body arrested by his eyes.

“If I asked you anything…”

“Anything,” she sighed.

“I want you to lo—…” He stopped. Frowning, he pressed his lips together, and the need to know what he wanted from her nearly broke her.
With his head tilted slightly, Jarrad thought a moment then asked, “What is your greatest fear?”

Without hesitation, she answered, “My heart.”

She couldn’t read the thoughts playing across his face and she wanted to so much. She wanted him to speak again. She wanted the moment to never end. Then he sighed and the scent threw her into a whirlpool of strawberries and cream delight.

Though he stood so close, his voice echoed from far away.

“Emily?” he said from the other side of the world. “Emily, are you with me?”

The words hurled toward her, growing louder and louder until she blinked, face tilted up to him, her head cocked.

“Emily?” he repeated, his brow furrowed. “It’s done.”

Done? What was done?

Oh. The spell.

That was it? But she felt fine. No enchantment, no hypnosis.

She couldn’t really remember what she had just been doing, but she was fully confident she had not fallen under his spell.

Emily grinned up at him. Jarrad looked confused.

“Guess your magic doesn’t work on me, Casanova,” she said, pushing him aside.

But her words were slurred, her voice came from somewhere outside of her body, moving slow and tar-like. He lifted his eyebrows, taking a step back.

What control Emily had over her legs was lost; it was as though they had disappeared completely. Then she collapsed. Jarrad grabbed her, catching her before she hit the ground and eased her down.

With confusion, she studied her surroundings, sitting on the cold concrete with legs spread out and Jarrad kneeling between them, one arm still around her and the other holding her by the elbow. His face was knitted with concern. She still held that stupid ice cream cone.

“Did I just fall?” Emily looked up at him with bewilderment.

Laughter exploded from Dafne somewhere behind Jarrad and his concern vanished, replaced with amusement. He bit his lips together, the corners tugging up, trying to suppress 
his own laughter.

“Dropped would be more accurate,” he said with a grin.

Emily realized then he’d had complete control over her. He could have done more with her and to her than Abe ever could have dreamed and yet Jarrad did nothing with that power. 
And somehow Emily knew he never would. He would never take advantage of her. She also now recognized the strange rush she had continually felt when looking into his eyes, he’d been enchanting her the whole time whether he realized it or not.

Jarrad helped Emily up to her feet. She looked around, rocking unsteadily back and forth. 
Dafne sat on the ground, cross-legged, with her face buried in her hands. Her body shook with silent laughter.

“Thanks, Daf,” Emily said to her dryly. Dafne lifted one hand, palm out, and shook her head, still shaking.

“Are you okay? You aren’t mad, are you?” Jarrad asked, still holding her by the elbow.

“No, I’m not mad,” she said, shaking her head. “That was…crazy, but really, really amazing. 
You’re kinda dangerous, you know?”

“Not really,” he said. “We never use our powers for evil.”

“Good to know.” She smiled at him. “You can stop laughing now,” she said to Dafne, her voice loud and annoyed.

“May I try something else?” Jarrad asked, ignoring his sister’s laughs.

“Another elf spell?” Emily asked.

“Enchantment,” he corrected her. “I’d like to show you something.”
Dafne’s laughter stopped; she looked up at her brother. Emily turned to her for help, but she only shrugged.

“I won’t fall again, will I?”

“I won’t let you fall,” he said.

When she nodded her consent, he threw away her melting ice cream cone and took her in his hands again, his touch soft and warm but he soon let go and placed them on her face at her temples. Digging his fingers into her hair, he cupped her face and commanded her attention once again. But as she stared into his eyes, this time she did not feel the euphoric fall through space. Instead, the gazebo started to twinkle and dissolve into a million little points of light that fell to the ground, showering around them like falling fireworks, revealing another world in their trail.

They stood beneath a different gazebo, this one made of thick, gray stone, cracked along 
one column and dressed in vines. Trees appeared around them, glittery moss snaking up the trunks, the night filling the spaces in between with dark shadows. Curling clusters of pale purple and yellow flowers hung from feathery, leafy vines clinging to the arches of the gazebo.

The hard wooden floor beneath their feet was replaced by broken stone through which soft, thick grass grew in patches and the sounds of cars passing by on the street faded, the soft chirping of crickets and the songs of night birds taking their place. From some distance, 

Emily could hear a brook lapping against a pebble shore.

With Jarrad still holding her face, Emily looked up at a mural painted in Fresco above, depicting ancient elves in faded colors. Jarrad let his hands slide down her neck, then shoulders and arms until he held her hands, never letting go.

“You asked if I could ever go back home,” he said, his voice heavy with emotion. He stood completely still, as though focusing all of his control. “For now, this is the only way.”

“This is your home?” Emily twisted her body around to see everything while still clutching Jarrad’s hands tightly. It looked like something out of a fairy tale; the trees massive with smooth trunks along which sparkling moss snaked, and a low mist that cloaked grassy pathways and rocky hills. Little lights danced across the leaves of the trees.
She leaned toward one of the flowers; she could smell its soft perfume. Jarrad let go of one hand and laced his fingers through hers with the other, keeping a tight connection.

“You can touch it.” He inclined his head toward the flower.

She looked at him questioningly and he nodded. With hesitation, she reached out until the velvet petals were against her fingertips. “It’s real,” she whispered.

“Only because we’ve made it real,” Jarrad said. He watched her with a slight smile as she tickled the flower.

“How are we here?”

“Through my memory. I’ve just made it your memory, too; your reality, actually.”

“This is your home,” Emily said with wonder as she looked all around. Just the day before, she never knew elves existed and now she stood in the middle of another world. Even though it was a created memory, no more than manipulated imagination, it felt so real. And Jarrad had shared it with her. She squeezed his hand and smiled.

“Thank you.”

“You’re welcome.” He took in a deep breath and let it out slowly. As he did, everything began to dissolve, fluttering in pieces like falling leaves until they stood once again beneath the little wooden gazebo at the park.

Even though she didn’t want to, Emily let go of Jarrad’s hand.

“You’re amazing,” she said.

He smiled with pride then glanced over at his sister, leaning against the railing with her arms and legs crossed.

Shaking her head, Dafne fought back a smirk and said, “Show off.”



About the Author:


Kelly Riad is from Texas where she lived with her husband and a house overrun by pets. She now lives in the San Francisco Bay area and is determined to bring the y'all to the West Coast. While she published her first book - a handmade pop-up titled "The Lost Puppy" - in the fifth grade to much acclaim by the first graders, she only recently picked the craft back up. "Return to Arèthane" is her second published novel. 

Links : 



Friday, September 28, 2012

Book Tour, Review & Giveaway: Snapshots





Title: Snapshots
Author:  


Goodreads Synopsis:

My name is Cyclop Blaine and I am a real person.
“You are mine.”
I am a real person: heedless of a childhood spent under the supervision of an old man I only know as Master.
“You belong to me.”
I am a real person: regardless of my teenage years bound by violence as the adoptive son of the Victory Street Gang's leader.
“You will obey me.”
I am a real person: despite the visions I see in others' eyes. Snapshots of their futures.
“You will cower before me.”
I am a real person: my life will be my own. I belong to no one.
“You. Are. MINE.”


Get your Own Copy!




Review:

This book was perfect for my cover lust, I love the very light blue eye! The title hadn't sounded bad either, and well, the synopsis was amazing as well, the combination is what led me to join this tour to be honest, it looked - and sounded - very promising and I couldn't wait to start reading it. Later on, as I read, I started appreciating the title more and more, it did go well with Cyclop's gift. How seeing into someone's head went on in snapshots, which was a very creative choice.

Cyclop Blaine has no family. At least, none that are biologically related to him. Found in a dumpster at the age of five by Tyler Blaine, the leader of the Victory Street Gang, and adopted by him, he finds the only family that matters. Even though the fact that he has eyes two different colours, and a gift that makes him feel like a freak that has everyone thinking of him as some sort of sideshow, he thinks of it as a little price to pay in return for shelter, a home and family. Even if it hurt like hell when doing so. Along with a number of issues he's going through - which included the death of Tyler and getting kicked out of the gang - Cyclop keeps hearing whispers in his mind, 'Mine', over and over again. What are these voices? And what's going to happen?

I have read a few books in the first person lately, and not all were good, this one on the other hand seemed quite real and I was hooked onto the character's background story and life. The prologue had interested me a lot actually, I remember reading on just to figure out more about the widow and the two kids. The name, Cyclop was awesome. I seriously love it when unusual names are used in books. It adds to the creativity of the author, and their originality I guess in not following the normal patterns. In this case, the unusual name matched the character's unusual personality and his 'gift'.

To be honest I try to steer away from books with homosexuality, because they're not usually my cup of tea. But I guess I am not completely against them since I saw this one through, as well as another book I am actually looking forward to reading when it comes out. So I was a bit hesitant when Cyclop and Darryl's attraction was announced, though he's apparently not gay but bisexual. Though I guess I did feel for him, especially since he'd been locked away for no one to see him and struggling with who or what he is, including his sexuality.

The writing was good, flowing, and easy to follow through with. It also happened to be a quick read, I was done before I realized it and wanted to read some more. I hate books that end with a cliffhanger. Or well, I sort of love/hate books that end with cliffhangers would be more accurate. I hate it because it's over, but also because I loved the book so much that it only fed for my excitement to know more about the goings on.

Rating: 3/5



Author Bio:

Patricia Lynne never set out to become a writer, and in fact, never gave it any thought during high school and college. But now she can't stop writing. Patricia lives with her husband in Michigan, hopes one day to have what will resemble a small petting zoo and has a fondness for dying her hair the colors of the rainbow.


BlogTwitter -  Facebook -  Goodreads 




Giveaway:

Since I completely forgot about this, I'll make it really simple, just leave a comment and you'll be entered into it :)

Book Tour: Chapter One of Racing With The Wind



So, I did some sort of mistake and switched my posts and I was supposed to have a blitz the start of September and the review at the end of the month, but oh well, I am sharing the chapter now, though here's my review of Racing With The Wind, to check it out.




Title: Racing With The Wind
Author:  
ISBN13: 9781938876004


Goodreads Synopsis:

The intrepid daughter of an earl leaves Regency London for the Parisian court of Louis XVIII, where she finds adventure, mystery, and above all, love.

THE NIGHTHAWK
Hugh Redgrave, marquess of Ormond, was warned. Prinny had dubbed Lady Mary Campbell “the Swan,” but no ordinary man could clip her wings. She was a bluestocking hellion, an ill-advised match by every account. Luckily, he sought no bride. His work lay on the continent, where he’d become legend by stealing war secrets from Boney. And yet, his memories of Lady Mary riding her stallion were a thorn in his mind. He was the son of a duke and in the service of the Prince Regent…and he would not be whole until he had won her hand.

THE SWAN
It was unheard of for a Regency debutante to postpone her first season, yet Lady Mary had done just that. Far more interested in politics than a husband, she had no time for foolishness or frippery. Already she had assisted her statesman uncle in Paris, and she swore to return to the court of Louis XVIII no matter the danger. Like her black stallion, Midnight, she would always run free. Only the truest heart would race beside her.



Get Your Own Copy:
All Romance   - Amazon  - Apple iBooks  - Barnes & Noble  - Smashwords 



Chapter One:


Racing with the Wind 
Copyright 2012 Regan Walker 
Chapter 1 


London, 1816 


Standing at the edge of the ballroom, Lady Mary Campbell smiled to herself, thinking it was a bit like standing on the edge of a cliff. Stepping forward would bring a drop into the unknown. It was a step she had no desire to take. 

But, then, she had no choice. She’d postponed her dreaded debut as long as possible, and at nineteen she was well past the age most ingénues greeted their first season. Dressed in ivory satin she was, but she could hardly wait for the day she could wear red. And though she would have preferred her long hair down and flowing free, tonight it was drawn up into a pile of curls. 

Gazing into the immense room with its crystal chandeliers, hundreds of candles, and men and women in elegant finery, Mary let out a deep sigh. It was all very glorious, of course, but it wasn’t the Tuileries Palace where she had waltzed last December. It wasn’t the world she loved, the world in which she thrived, the world of books and ideas. It wasn’t the countryside, where she could ride her horse and forget everything. It wasn’t even her uncle’s world of statesmen. Those men, she was certain, would not give a thought to the gowns or balls for young women entering London society, and she wished she could follow their example. No, Mary was not at all at home in this place where young men mingled with their future wives—wives they would dominate and keep from truly seeing or enjoying the world. 

That was one reason she was not anxious to wed, and she had several. But at the request of her mother, the dowager countess of Argyll, she had come to this ball and would dance with the young men. And when her sweet mother insisted her only daughter go to court and curtsey before George, Prince of Wales, the Prince Regent, Mary had bowed to the gracious request and sweetly obeyed. 

Her best friend, Elizabeth St. Clair, bubbled on at her side about the grand decorations and the pretty gowns, but Mary’s mind was on the Times article she’d read at breakfast describing Napoleon’s exile on the island of St. Helena. There was a small note at the bottom of the article saying recent information suggested Napoleon’s defeat in Russia was, in part, due to the legendary Nighthawk. She longed to meet the mysterious man, that stealer of secrets, if indeed he existed. But if he did, she was certain he would not be wasting his time at some tedious London ball. The world did not revolve around a dance, not even the waltz. 

Elizabeth tugged on her glove. “I say, Mary, do you agree?” 

Mary realized she had missed what her friend was saying and tried to recall the original question. She wanted to show support for Elizabeth, whose blue eyes were wide with wonder at the beautiful gowns and the handsome young men; her older sisters had already taken their place in London society, and Mary knew Lizzy was anxious to join them. 

“Well, it is rather as I expected, Lizzy. It’s like being offered up to the highest bidder, is it not? ’Tis strange so many go so willingly to the auction block.” 

Elizabeth’s side-glance stopped Mary’s reflection. “Oh, do try and enjoy yourself, Mary. It’s not so bad. Besides, you’re gathering many admiring looks!” 

“I think you are imagining that. Recall the conversation of the Baroness Johnson in the retiring room we overheard. She could barely wait to tell her friends that the Campbell hoyden who reads philosophy and rides horses like a man is here.” 

“Actually, you were most gracious to her, Mary; more the lady than she. I rather think she’s just a jealous old biddy. Besides, I wasn’t talking about the women. It is the men who cannot take their eyes off you.” 

Mary’s cheeks warmed. Her friend was exaggerating again out of kindness and loyalty. Her mother, too, remarked in a caring way about her appearance, and her uncle complimented her gowns, but Mary knew their words were merely encouragement to wear the female frippery she disdained. Her heart seized with a pang of regret as she wondered if her father would have thought her pretty. He had not lived to see her blossom into womanhood. 

Lizzy, I am not seeing what you are, but since you asked, I will do my best to be happy. After all, you are here, and I do love to dance.” 

As if summoned, two young men approached and asked for the first quadrille. Mary 
resolved to be nice. 

So it begins, she thought to herself. 

One young man offered an arm. Green eyes met blue. His kind face was framed by light brown hair, and he smiled, leading her smoothly out into the room. They were soon gliding across the polished wood floor. To her surprise, Mary’s spirits lifted. 

As the dance took a turn, Mary’s gaze drifted over her partner’s shoulder, drawn unbidden to two men standing in front of a pillar. She did not recognize them, but the dark stare of the taller man pierced her gown, corset and chemise and touched her very skin. Feeling exposed in a way she never had, she shivered, and she was glad when her partner whirled her away. 

And yet, she continued to surreptitiously watch the man, drawn to his overwhelming presence. He wore black, his white shirt and cravat the only contrast to the dark brown hair that fell in waves to his nape. He exuded a kind of power unlike any other male in the room. There was nothing the dandy about him. 

Taking a long draw on his brandy and gazing around him, Hugh Redgrave, Marquess of Ormond and only son of the Duke of Albany, drew a breath and held it as his eyes came to rest on a girl gliding across the dance floor like a swan over a lake. The tall young woman with hair the color of spun gold and fine features set in an oval face was striking, but it was more than her beauty that drew him; she moved with a grace beyond her years and had a fire in her eyes that set her apart from the other debutantes. 

He had found the evening tiring until now. The ball served only to remind him he was nearing the age of thirty, and as his father’s heir, the pressure to select a wife from among the young ladies presented increased with each passing year. Comforting himself with an occasional mistress to warm his bed was serving his needs just fine; he was in no hurry to take a wife. When he did, it simply would be an arrangement among peers. Far better to see marriage as a matter of business, as so many others did. That would have one advantage: He could never lose someone he loved. 

Yet, he wanted to delay the inevitable for a while longer. He had a good excuse. His work had kept him away from England, and if he were fortunate, it still might. Perhaps the Prince Regent had a new assignment for him. 

As was his usual practice, Hugh had made this appearance in the ballroom before retiring for a game of cards. Leaning over to his friend, the second son of the Earl of Lindsey, he chuckled. “I feel a bit like a fox watching baby chicks. Do you think we make their mothers nervous?” 

“They do watch us with skeptical eyes,” Griffen Lambeth replied. “No doubt they are worried any minute we will pounce.” 

Hugh nodded. “Indeed. And how little we’ve done to deserve the reputations we have.” 

“I’m not sure I agree with that, since you have cultivated yours as a cover for your other…activities, have you not? And by cultivation I’m not just speaking of your latest indulgence, Lady Hearnshaw. Before her there was the countess of—” 

“I confess I have done. It seemed necessary at the time. Just like my sneaking back to England every year or so to put in an appearance at a ball and leave the impression I was still in London, ready to pounce at any moment. All is part of the show.” 

His reputation as a rake, a man of the world who would seduce any woman who took his fancy, would unsettle the mamas, he knew, but better the mamas think them rakes than know them as spies. Not that he intended to dance with anyone. No matter there were some real beauties at the ball tonight; his previous encounters had taught him young noblewomen were silly and too talkative, prattling on about town gossip and matters of the home. Insipid. A night with one would precipitate a quick marriage. No, it was best to stay with women who posed no threat to his bachelor status. Older, more experienced women, women who willingly offered their bodies while not asking for his heart. 

Still, he was curious about the blonde girl. There was something special about her. “Who’s that dancing with Arthur Bywood?” 

Griffen’s eyes scanned the couples. “Ah. I wondered if you’d noticed her. That would be Lady Mary Campbell, daughter of William Campbell, the late Earl of Argyll. You remember, the one killed in that horrible riding accident.” 

Hugh’s mind seized at the memory of another riding accident, one that had forever changed his life. But that was not what Griffen referenced. “She couldn’t have been very old at the time.” 

“No, she was quite young. An only child. I understand it was heart-rending. Now some young cousin or other will inherit the title.” 

Hugh’s eyes followed the girl as she moved gracefully away from and back to her partner. She was laughing at something her partner was saying, her head thrown back in unusual abandon. It was a sensual display, and to his surprise his body responded; his trousers were suddenly too tight. 

All the ton has been anticipating her,” Griffen offered. “This is her first season.” 

Hugh was puzzled. “Anticipating her? Why is that?” 

“Surely you have heard, my friend. The fiercely independent—and some say rebellious—Mary Campbell? While our young fops here will dote on the girl, I expect the young men’s fathers hope she does not choose them. She has a reputation.” 

“What kind of a reputation?” 

“Well, a diamond of the first water she may be, but still a diamond in the rough. Too intelligent for a young woman, and both headstrong and outspoken with a tongue that cuts like a blade.” 

“A bluestocking hellion?” 

“Just so. Of course, it all can be explained, her having been raised without a father. The dowager countess, her mother, is a gentle woman, and she was clearly not up to the challenge. Lady Mary will be…difficult to manage.” 

“Hmm.” 

“Have you really never met her, not even when you were younger?” 

“No.” Even as Hugh said the word, he wondered why that was. The Campbell estate lay only a short ride from his family’s country home. Then again, he’d been on the Continent for several years. “Have you?” 

Griffen chuckled. “Oh, aye, and it was most disconcerting. A rare bit of baggage, that one.” 

Hugh turned to his friend, suddenly curious. “Don’t be obscure. Tell me.” 

“Well, she stared at me with such a bold look I’ll not soon forget… There’s no fear in those piercing green eyes, I can assure you. It’s a bit off-putting in a female that young. Nor is she shy with her opinions.” 

Hugh’s gaze returned to the young woman. He sensed again that she was different, but perhaps it was simply as Griffen suggested and she would be difficult to manage. While he loved a challenge, he did not need a difficult and marriageable young woman. Not now. Not ever. 

As he and Griffen turned toward the card room, Hugh silently pitied the man who ended up with her. 


Author Bio:


As a child, Regan loved to write stories, particularly about adventure-loving girls. But by the time she got to college, more serious pursuits were encouraged. One of her professors thought her suited to the profession of law. Regan says, “I became a lawyer because I thought it would be better to be a hammer than a nail.” Years of serving clients in private practice and several stints in high levels of government gave her a love of international travel and a feel for the demands of the "Crown" on its subjects. Hence, her first romance novels involve a demanding Prince Regent who thinks of his subjects as his private talent pool. Regan says her stories will always involve adventure as well as love. 
 
Regan lives in San Diego with her Golden Retriever, Link, who she says inspires her every day to relax and smell the roses.

Website - Blog Website  - Blog  Facebook  Twitter