Monday, July 31, 2017

Sneak Peek: FLORIDA GOTHIC by @MitziSzereto (#horror #Florida #gothic)

Florida Gothic cover

Bestselling multi-genre fiction author Mitzi Szereto returns with an eerie, gritty, gory and raunchy tale of death and revenge in Florida Gothic, the first of an all-new series of horror novels!

Advance praise for FLORIDA GOTHIC

Mitzi Szereto’s dark night of the soul is one wild, soul-blasting old mother of a trip, plus maggots, cockroaches, and cocaine. Solid, slippery, bug-eyed fun.”—Peter Straub, Interior Darkness: Selected Stories


Stuck in a twilight world between life and death…

A hit-and-run driver leaves Ernesto Martinez to die by a Miami canal. Then an alligator comes along to finish the job.

Being dead gives Ernesto plenty of time to think. He thinks about his wife, taken from him too soon by illness. He thinks about his daughter, the victim of a drunk driver. He thinks about his death as he watches his body slowly decompose.

Most of all, he thinks about injustice.

The meth head ex-con living in the Everglades. The judge enjoying retirement on the Gulf Coast. The son of a Colombian drug kingpin partying in South Beach. These men care nothing for the pain they’ve caused. But they’ll soon know what it is to feel pain.

Set against the sweltering bug-infested backdrop of South Florida, Florida Gothic weaves a darkly unnerving and visceral tale of sex, drugs, crime and vengeance.

(Book #1 in The “Gothic” Series of standalone horror novels from Mitzi Szereto.)


Dusk spreads its steamy cloak over Ernesto’s Little Havana neighborhood. Watchtower pamphlets lie scattered on the rubber welcome mat along with pieces of junk mail that fell out of his mailbox. The pile also contains a soggy notice from the post office informing him that his mail will be held at his local branch for thirty days, after which it’ll be returned to the sender if not picked up. The notice is dated three weeks after Ernesto’s death.

It feels strange leaving the house.

Ernesto pauses on his front porch, listening. The neighborhood offers all its usual sounds: dogs barking, children playing, people bickering in Spanish. The steady hum of traffic coming from Southwest Eighth Street is suddenly interrupted by the blast of a car horn, followed by an angry shout. “¡Cabrón!” Everything’s pretty much as it should be…

Except for Ernesto, who doesn’t belong here among the living. But other than his missing arm and mangled leg, he seems to be in better shape than ever. His hearing’s sharper and so is his eyesight, which, prior to his death, was in a depressing state of decline. Even in the fading daylight he can see things clearly—the letters and numbers on the license plate of Gonzalo Hernandez’s Ford parked across the street; the rain-blurred type on the post office notification lying on the doormat; even the phone number on the lost dog flyer stapled to the electricity pole. It never occurred to him that being dead would have so many benefits.

Taking a deep breath to fill non-functioning lungs, Ernesto leaves the safety of his front porch and merges with the thickening dusk. He walks with a lopsided gait, his damaged right leg dragging behind him like an appendage that doesn’t belong to him, yet still insists on being there. His pace is slow, but determined. He doesn’t think about where he’s going. His feet have a mind of their own as they lead him farther away from his street and his neighborhood. A troop of palmetto bugs trail behind him like foot soldiers, their wings clicking with excitement. Like Ernesto, they’re also tired of being cooped up in the house.

Soon Ernesto finds himself back in familiar territory. Here the streetlights are less likely to function due to the occasional bullet. Here the residents lock themselves inside their homes after sundown, too frightened to go out or speak to their neighbors unless they share the same skin color. Here the children don’t play in their yards and are instead confined to their bedrooms. This isn’t a friendly or welcoming place. If his sense of smell still functioned, Ernesto would notice that it even smells different here, though that might be the canal, which stinks of more decay than usual, like the inside of an old crypt no one ever visits.

Suddenly he hears voices. Their brusque and jerky cadences are jarring, at times aggressive. Usually when Ernesto hears voices like these he gets frightened and goes in the opposite direction. But tonight he feels no fear.

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About the Author

Mitzi Szereto is an author and anthology editor of multi-genre fiction and non-fiction. She has her own blog of humorous essays at Errant Ramblings: Mitzi Szereto’s Weblog and the web TV channel Mitzi TV, which covers the “quirky” side of London, England. Her books include Oysters and Pearls: Collected Stories; Phantom: The Immortal (co-authored with Ashley Lister); Rotten Peaches (The Thelonious T. Bear Chronicles) and Normal for Norfolk (The Thelonious T. Bear Chronicles)—the cozy mystery series co-authored with celebrity author bear Teddy Tedaloo; The Wilde Passions of Dorian Gray; Pride and Prejudice: Hidden Lusts; Dying for It: Tales of Sex and Death; Thrones of Desire: Erotic Tales of Swords, Mist and Fire; Getting Even: Revenge Stories and Love, Lust and Zombies. Her anthology Erotic Travel Tales 2 is the first anthology of erotica to feature a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature. She divides her time between the Pacific Northwest and the UK.

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Mitzi Szereto website:

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Sunday Quiz! How well do you know my books? (#prize #contest #excerpts)

Quiz graphic
Happy Sunday!

I feel like giving away a $10 gift certificate. Anyone want it?

Here’s how to enter. You’ll find three excerpts below. Which of my books does each on come from?

Tell me in a comment, below. Don’t forget to include your email address.

Special bonus: tell me the name of my most recent BDSM erotic romance, and I’ll give you an additional entry.

Excerpt 1

The stranger loomed over her, a huge man-shaped shadow. Full night had arrived, and Maddy could see nothing of the man’s features. She shivered and felt her heartbeat quicken once again. She was lost and alone, crippled by an ankle that was sprained if not broken. What could she do to protect herself?

He sank on his haunches next to her aching, muddy body. “Are you hurt, Miss?” he asked, his vowels rounded by the traces of French. Maddy’s fear melted in the warmth of that rich voice. The scent of roses tickled her nostrils. The pain in her ankle dwindled to an occasional annoying twinge.

The man’s skin reminded her of the Blue Mountain coffee she and Troy had enjoyed at breakfast, a brown so dark it was almost black. Raindrops gleamed on his smooth cheeks and pooled in the hollow of his throat. Looking at him made her thirsty. He was powerfully built, with massive shoulders swelling out from his worn denim vest. Underneath, his muscled chest was bare. A tight frizz of black hair grew in the furrow between his breasts.

As he crouched at her side, his jeans stretched taut over his thighs but hung loosely around his narrow hips. Another line of kinky curls ran down from his navel to disappear under his waistband.

His face was the visage of a Nubian king, prominent cheekbones and a fleshy nose with elegant, flared nostrils. His liquid-brown eyes were set wide apart, in deep sockets protected by the fine arch of his brows. His proud forehead rose above them, up to the tight-knit black frizz that covered his skull.

And his mouth… Maddy couldn’t stop herself from staring at those full lips, mahogany-red against his rosewood-dark face. They were parted in a half-smile that revealed the pearly white of perfect teeth. An image flashed through Maddy’s mind, that kinky head bent to her breast, those sensual lips fastened on her nipple. Her nubs tightened under her soaked shirt, their ache completely distracting her from her injured ankle.

Excerpt 2

Shadows filled the apartment. The lamps were still off. As my eyes adapted, however, I saw a male figure seated in the chair by the window, hunched over with his head in his hands.

Tom!Rushing to his side, I gathered him in my arms, his curly head pillowed on my breasts. Although he didnt resist, he also didnt reciprocate. Instead, he slumped against me, motionless, as though all the energy had drained from his powerful body. I barely felt the electricity that normally kindled when our skins touched.

His scent rose around me and my pussy twitched to life, but I knew that right now, sex wasnt what Tom needed.

Its okay. Everything will be okay.I stroked his curly head, unsure how to counter his apparent weakness.Ill take care of you, Tom. Dont worryYoull be fine…”

Fine?His voice was bitter, edged with despair.Im cursed. Damned. How could I ever be fine?

He raised his face to mine. Tears brimmed in his luminous eyes. A vast wave of pity surged through me. I bent to kiss him, trying to pour my strength into him.

Our mouths met. Desire flickered underneath my boundless compassion. I let my tongue play along the soft seam where his lips pressed together. After momentary resistance, he opened to me, allowing me to take what I craved. At first, he was passive. I persevered, though, and before long, he was kissing me in return, running his hands along my arms and gently fondling my breasts. My body awakened, little bursts of lightning racing through my limbs to my dampening sex.

The night came back to me, in vivid detail. I remembered the joy, the sense of connection. This man was made for me. I had to save him.

Tom finally broke the kiss and leaned back with a sigh.Ah, Shaina! I should never have allowed you near me. But I was so very lonelyI wasnt thinking straight. Now Ive put you in danger too.

Danger? What kind of danger?I reached over to flick the switch on my reading lamp, so I could read his expressions. Then I seated myself cross-legged at his feet and clasped his hands in mine.Tell me, Tom. Tell me everything.

You will not believe me.

How could I not believe afterafter what I saw this morning?

His eyebrows knitted together.I never wanted you to seeI was careless…”

But I did see. And now I know, at least something about you. But I dont know enough to help you out of whatever trouble youre in. Tell me the whole truth. I promise Ill keep it private, if thats what you want. And I promise I wont be shocked.

Toms lush mouth twisted in a grimace of disgust.You might not be able to keep that promise. But never mind. Youve asked. Ill tell you.

Excerpt 3

There’s a soft knock. I hobble over to the door and peer through the peephole to confirm that it’s Jimmy. It seems to take hours for me to unfasten the chain and retract the bolt, but I finally get the door open.

Hi, Stella.” His voice is soft, concerned. It feels like a caress. “I didn’t want to ring the bell. Figured your nerves were kind of shot, the last thing you need is the jangling.”

Jimmy looks a bit rumpled. His sandy hair is in his eyes. His white business shirt is damp, wrinkled and untucked in the back. He needs a shave.

He looks good enough to eat.

Come on in out the rain. I’m so glad to see you.”

Not as glad as I am to see you.” Jimmy wraps his arms around me in what begins as a brotherly hug. He buries his face in my hair, breathing deeply. “I’ve been so worried about you, Stella. This whole thing with the murders...”

Shush, let’s not talk about that.” I am enjoying the feel of his lean, strong body pressed against mine. I ignore the dull ache from my bruised ribs. I want him to be my only reality. He smells clean, despite his disarray: soap, menthol, some kind of lemony aftershave. Just a hint of sweat, enough to blend the other scents into something organic and distinctly Jimmy. Breathing him in, I feel a bit light-headed, like he was some kind of drug. My knees go weak, and I hold onto him more tightly.

Stella...” he whispers. His hands begin to roam, gliding from my back under my arms to cradle my breasts. He holds them almost reverently, ignoring for the moment the swollen, demanding nipples poking into his chest.

I adjust my position, inserting one thigh between his legs, to seek out the rigid bulk I know I’ll find there. Ooh, Jimmy! Very nice! I rub myself back and forth over his cock, teasing, feeling him grow even bigger and harder. A shudder runs through his frame and I think for a moment that I’ve gone too far, that he’s already going to come. I try to back away, but he grabs me and pulls me back, grinding his thigh against my pubis.

Even through two layers of cloth, my clit pulses and throbs exquisitely. I reach around and grab his butt cheeks so that I can control the friction. He does the same to me. For I don’t know how long, we stand there tangled up in the doorway, dry-humping each other like two teenagers.

I’m halfway to coming, when he stops suddenly. I start to protest, but he silences me with a rich, delicious kiss. It’s strong and sweet like Greek coffee, brazen tongue probing, shy lips nibbling. I kiss him back eagerly, trying to pour all my gratitude and my lust into the moment.

All at once I’m off balance. Before I realize what is happening, Jimmy sweeps me up in his arms and carries me into the parlor. “Jimmy, you’ll hurt yourself!” I’m half laughing, half concerned. I’m not a small woman, and Jimmy’s no Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Just relax and let me do the work.” He settles me gently on the couch and for a moment just stands back to look at me, something like adoration in his eyes. I’m embarrassed by his intensity. I focus my attention on the appealing bulge in his groin.

Why don’t you open your fly and make yourself more comfortable?” I reach for his zipper, but he catches my hands in his, holding them tight. His lips twist in an odd half-smile.

Why don’t you let someone else take control for a change?” A flicker of fear shimmers through me. I have the strange notion that he is planning to get out his handcuffs and restrain me. I swear, the image is so vivid, it must come from his mind. All my years of dancing have made me sensitive to men’s perverse desires.

Terror seizes me briefly. I wonder if I can escape. Then lust floods in, and I wonder if I want to.


So... what do you think? Just enter the titles in your comment, along with the numbers. If you need help, check out my list of books here!

Saturday, July 29, 2017

When Love Gets Real (#crisis #romance #giveaway)

Heart of Fire

I’ve been writing romance for—jeez, can it really be true?— eleven years. During that time, I’ve learned a bit about what readers want. Often, escape is at the top of the list—a quick trip to a fantasy world where the guys are all hunks who know exactly how to show a gal she’s adored. We want to be pampered and cherished. We want moonlight and luxury, exotic locations, flowers, champagne, and of course lots of physical affection. We want everything to be perfect, the way it so rarely is in our daily lives.

I’ve been thinking, though, that love shows its real colors only there’s some crisis or tragedy. Love means taking care of your partner when he’s ill, rescuing him when he’s in trouble, forgiving him when he has done something less than admirable, supporting him when he’s under attack. In the interests of escapism, romance sometimes avoids seriously negative situations (though that’s becoming less true these days). Yet these are exactly the circumstances where love shines brightest.

For instance, in my contemporary romance The Ingredients of Bliss, my heroine has to deal with the fact that her lover has been abducted by a ruthless gang of criminals. The mob boss has threatened to slaughter his prisoners. The police don’t believe her story. Emily knows she must save Harry herself—as unlikely a prospect as this might seem. Up until that point, she had not been sure he was the one man for her. It takes this crisis to make her love real.

Here’s an excerpt. Emily has made contact with the gang, telling them she has recovered the stolen goods she promised in return for Harry’s release. It’s all a bluff, though. She and Toni, the renegade police woman who’s become her ally, have nothing to rely on but their own wits.


It was barely two. Toni had promised to come fetch me at four-thirty. After the feverish activity of the last thirty-six hours, I wasn’t sure what to do in the interim.

I glanced around. At this hour, I was the café’s sole customer. One waiter hung out behind the bar, peering at his mobile and ignoring me.

All at once, I felt utterly alone.

Roger had called the Tastes of France team back to the States. No one knew how long it would be before Etienne and Harry were freed, and meanwhile, we didn’t want one of the crew to let the secret slip. If the police decided to take another look at the case, the Triad might respond by cutting their losses—and their prisoners’ throats.

We broadcast the official story that Etienne was in isolation due to complications from influenza. Apparently, the studio had been deluged with get well cards and messages of sympathy.

I’d stayed in France ‘out of concern for my colleague’, a tale that only confirmed the popular assumption that Etienne and I were a couple. Meanwhile, Harry was such a low key presence—at least outside the bedroom—that nobody even seemed to realize he’d disappeared.

Nobody but me, that is. I hadn’t had time think much about my Master since we’d spoken two days ago. Now it hit me, like a speeding train with failed brakes—sharp fear and terrible need. My beloved, rumpled, horny, bossy Harry! There was some possibility I’d never see him again. That he, or I, might not get out of this alive.

My stomach lurched and a sour taste filtered up into my throat. This wasn’t a game of Go. One false step and his life could be forfeit. I liked to imagine I was clever, some sort of woman of international intrigue, bargaining with the Iron Hammer as if I had the upper hand. But what did I have, really? Nothing. No drugs. No weapons. Nothing to offer in trade for Harry’s life. Nothing I could use to protect him.

Hysteria built in my chest. Tears blurred my vision. I had to get out of here. I tossed a twenty onto the table and ran for the elevator before the storm burst.

Back in my room, the floodgates opened. I sobbed and wailed, face down on the bed, until the pillow was soaked with tears. A fit of hiccups seized me. My moan became a silly yelp with each rhythmic clench of my diaphragm.

Get hold of yourself, girl.’ I could almost hear my grandmother, scolding me. ‘Crying wont help.

Closing my swollen eyes, I breathed deeply, trying to will the spasms away, along with my despair. I needed a clear mind for what was to come. Fear would only muddle my thoughts and corrupt my judgment. Gradually my panic ebbed. I released it, grateful for my Dragon training.

I focused my thoughts back on my lover. Harry wouldn’t want me to be upset. He’d tell me to relax, to let go, to trust myself and him. He’d take me in his arms and I’d know that all was well. New ease flowed through me as I remembered the magic he could work on my body and my spirit.


Get your own copy of The Ingredients of Bliss today!

Meanwhile, I’m giving away a copy of the prequel to the book, Her Secret Ingredient to one person who comments on this post. Let me know how you feel about romance that includes dire situations and severe life challenges. Do you prefer that authors keep things light, or do you like to see the characters’ tested? Be sure to include your email address in your comment!

Friday, July 28, 2017


Mentor image

I'm not a great writer, and never will be. Please, don't object – this isn't false modesty, just realism.

I'm a competent writer, with excellent nuts and bolts skills. Give me a theme and I can spin a plausible yarn that will amuse or arouse my readers. My plots are for the most part believable and consistent, without the truck-sized holes one sometimes sees. My sentences generally read well. My characters might not jump off the page, but they're not cardboard either.

Still, I know I'll never win awards, never be called a genius, never write something that will change my readers' lives. I just don't have anything that important to say – possibly because I've lived nearly six decades without experiencing any great trauma or tragedy. My tales aren't mindless smut, but they don't have the emotional or moral depth of great literature. They're basically throw-away entertainment. When I die, I will not leave an enduring body of work behind me. Oh, I've got a pretty long back list, don't get me wrong, and I hope it will continue to grow, but I doubt that anyone will have heard of Lisabet Sarai ten or twenty years in the future.

That's one reason why I work so hard on behalf of other authors, especially those new to the publishing game. Maybe, just maybe, one of the authors for whom I do crits or whom I edit will turn out to be a truly Great Author. And then I'll feel as though I've done a bit to help make that happen. 


I'm better at mentoring and critiquing than I am at writing, and believe me, I realize these are valuable skills. I try to apply them for the benefit of my colleagues. I know a few authors whom I really admire, who truly have the GA Potential, but still have difficulties with grammar, or pacing, or coherency. I'm pleased when I can assist them in smoothing the rough edges of their jewels. 


Sometimes I fantasize about winning the Pulitzer Prize. Hey, I'd be thrilled with an EPPIE! My identity isn't tied up in those dreams, though. I've always written, but I never envisioned myself as a Writer with a capital 'W'. So honestly, it doesn't bother me – too much – to acknowledge my limitations.

If one of the authors I've worked with, though, won a prize, I'd be over the moon. I imagine their work, becoming classics, receiving the accolades they so justly deserve. If that ever happened, well, that would be my true legacy – not the slick and superficial novels and stories I list on my website.

And honestly, I'm okay with that. I don't need fame to be happy – luckily, since I'll never be famous. The knowledge that I've contributed to the creation of something with lasting value is enough.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

The Perils of Servant Life during the Regency (@BeverleyOakley #historical #giveaway #murder)

The Duchess and the Highwayman cover

By Beverley Oakley (Guest Blogger)

A servant working in a Georgian, Regency or Victorian household – the time periods in which my books are set – was very much at the mercy of her employer. These were the days before unions, Occupational Health and Safety, or income protection insurance mitigated against the ill fortune of being injured, or taken advantage of by a harsh mistress, or a young man with a roving eye.

The mistress of the household was often the arbiter of a servant’s future.
Many of my romances follow the lives of the young ladies in high society but in my latest story, The Duchess and the Highwayman, my heroine, Phoebe, pretends to be a servant after she’s wrongfully accused of murder. As a duchess, in satin and lace, with an educated voice and bearing, she’d be recognised instantly. However, in order to exist below the radar of the local magistrate whose advances she’s recently rejected, she believes her chances of survival are greater by disappearing into the great unwashed – a servant below notice.

For a long time she succeeds, but only through luck and the kindness of the ‘highwayman’ who rescues her from her vengeance-filled lover who’s just framed her for her husband’s murder.

Luck certainly had a role in the happiness of a servant’s life. For most servants, survival depended on their obedience and almost complete subjugation to the wishes of their employers in return for a roof over their heads, food and small wages.

Their ‘character’ or reputation was crucial to securing work and many a girl cast out from a secure job without a ‘character’ ended up on the streets, unable to secure more work because their previous employer refused to vouch for her.

Recently, I came upon a gem of a book discovered in a pile once belonging to my grandmother who was born in 1903. Titled The Complete Letter Writer for Ladies and Gentlemen, the book, published in 1908, offers a raft of letters designed to be used as templates for prospective employers, lovers writing to upbraid a flirtatious fiancée or to break off an engagement.

Below are two examples of suggested wording offered by this indispensible companion to any mistress of a household eager to ensure that her little “below stairs” dominion was augmented by a girl of good character.

Heres thecharactera servant would hope her prospective employer would receive with all her questions answered in the affirmative.

Mrs. A will feel much obliged if Mrs. B. will kindly give her the character of Mary Jones, who has applied to Mrs. A for the situation of housemaid. Mrs. A. will be glad to know if Mary Jones is honest and respectable; clean in her work and person, and likely to suit. Is she good-tempered and obliging and tidy in her work?

If Mrs. B. will kindly answer these questions and reply fully in confidence Mrs. A will feel greatly indebted to her.


But woe betide the fate of the poor, high-spirited girl referred to in the following letter:

Dear Madam,

My answer to your note as to Mary Gray must, I am sorry to have to say it, be unfavourable. I was upon the point of dismissing her when your note arrived, as I consider her quite an unfit person to be left alone in the house. She is excessively indolent and very fond of a class of company that a girl ought not to see.

Believe me, Madam.

Yours Sincerely,


The book is a real glimpse into the past and filled with gems.

I am giving away a $10 Amazon Gift Certificate and an ebook The Mysterious Governess. to randomly drawn winners via rafflecopter during the tour. Please use the RaffleCopter below to enter. Remember you may increase your chances of winning by visiting the other tour stops. You may find those locations here.


A duchess disguised as a lady’s maid; a gentleman parading as a highwayman.
She’s on the run from a murderer, he’s in pursuit of one…

In a remote Norfolk manor, Phoebe, Lady Cavanaugh is wrongfully accused by her servants of her brutal husband’s murder.

There’s little sympathy in the district for the duchess who’s taken a lover and made clear she despised her husband. The local magistrate has also vowed revenge since Lady Cavanaugh rebuffed his advances.

When Phoebe is discovered in the forest wearing only a chemise stained with the blood of her murdered husband, she persuades the noble ‘highwayman’ who rescues her that she is Lady Cavanaugh’s maidservant.

Hugh Redding has his own reasons for hunting down the man who would have Phoebe tried and hanged for murder. He plans to turn ‘the maidservant with aspirations above her station' into the 'lady' who might testify against the very villain who would see Phoebe dead.

But despite the fierce attraction between Phoebe and the 'highwayman', Phoebe is not in a position to admit she's the 'murderous duchess' hunted across the land.

Seizing an opportunity to strike at the social and financial standing of the man who has profited by her distress, Phoebe is drawn into a dangerous intrigue.

But when disaster strikes, she fears Hugh will lack the sympathy or understanding of her unusual predicament to even want to save her a second time.

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Hugh stared after her and when he’d regained his senses he found he was unconsciously touching his mouth with the fingertips of his right hand.

Damn, but she’d taken him by surprise with that kiss of hers. Even still his lips were burning.

At the window he gripped the sill and stared down the modest drive that led from the cottage to the road.

She’d asked him what he’d hoped to achieve by accosting Wentworth at pistol point. Honour for his sister. Yes, it had been rash but he’d been in his cups when he’d come up with the plan to prove to Ada that not all men were smooth-talking confidence tricksters who led vulnerable women down the road to ruin.

There was also the small chance of exacting some retribution from the man. A marriage proposal had been his ultimate aim though when he’d confidently told Ada he’d ensure Wentworth did the honourable thing she’d burst into tears and said she’d not marry him if he were the last man on God’s earth.

Well, Hugh didn’t much fancy Wentworth for a brother-in-law either but he did love his sister exceedingly and surely marriage was better than ruin or the convent, as Ada had at one stage desired.

And contrary to what Phoebe believed, Ada and he had grown up without a mother and Hugh had had a more than usual guiding influence on his young sibling which was why’d felt Ada’s failure was somehow his.

He fingered the scar on his wrist, sustained during a childhood show of chivalry on behalf of his sister’s honour. Phoebe’s talk of just now had unleashed a veritable storm of emotions. Surprisingly, her talk about exacting retribution in the form of depriving Wentworth of what he most wanted kept replaying itself in his head.

She’d sounded so confident but what could a maidservant know about exacting retribution from a man like Wentworth? Who was she really? A village child born in some humble hovel? Her beauty had no doubt opened a number of doors. Could she have had a noble protector who’d left her to slide back into servitude? Is that where she’d learned to speak and act like a lady?

He touched his finger to his lips once more. Ha, that precious innocence of hers for which she’d not barter a dress was a tall tale. Only a woman experienced in the ways of men would have been so bold as to plant a kiss like the one she’d given him. A woman used to being paraded and feted by a gentleman.

Perhaps, as she claimed, she could be useful to him.

But she’d need a little coaching. He couldn’t afford for her to embarrass them both by proving her low birth during an unguarded moment.

He smoothed back his hair and regulated his breathing. Yes, he would take Phoebe in hand and teach her how to be a lady.

Then he’d make her his mistress and she could have all the gowns she chose, within reason.

About the Author

Beverley Oakley was seventeen when she bundled up her first her 500+ page romance and sent it to a publisher. Unfortunately drowning her heroine on the last page was apparently not in line with the expectations of romance readers so Beverley became a journalist.

Twenty-six years later Beverley was delighted to receive her first publishing contract from Robert Hale (UK) for a romance in which she ensured her heroine was saved from drowning in the icy North Sea.

Since 2009 Beverley has written more than thirteen historical romances, mostly set in England during the early nineteenth century. Mystery, intrigue and adventure spill from their pages and if she can pull off a thrilling race to save someone’s honour – or a worthy damsel from the noose – it’s time to celebrate with a good single malt Scotch.

Beverley lives with her husband, two daughters and a Rhodesian Ridgeback puppy the size of a pony opposite a picturesque nineteenth century lunatic asylum. She also writes Africa-set adventure-filled romances starring handsome bush pilot heroes, and historical romances with less steam and more sexual tension, as Beverley Eikli.

You can get in contact with Beverley at: