obsessed with making her his #Thriller #Suspense #LauraLovett @SDSXXTours

Losing Cadence
by Laura Lovett
Genre: Thriller, Suspense
When Cadence Weaverly graduates from high school, she thinks it’s for
the best that she and her boyfriend, Richard White, take separate
paths: she to Julliard and he back to Harvard. Ten years later, she
has an ideal job and a wonderful fiancé, Christian. She is building
the life of her dreams—until the day Richard resurfaces out of the
blue, abducts her from her San Francisco apartment, and returns her
to his mansion where he holds her captive.

Cadence can hardly
believe her ears when Richard professes his undying love and reveals
his plans to build a life together. Terrified to fight back for fear
he will have Christian murdered, Cadence must determine how to reason
with a mentally unstable man who is obsessed with making her his
forever. But even if she manages to escape, will she ever really be
free of the man who hunts her heart?
In this psychological thriller, a young woman must rely on perseverance,
courage, and inner strength to survive after she is kidnapped by her
deranged ex-boyfriend.
Finding Sophie
Sequel to Losing Cadence
Finding Sophie is the highly
anticipated sequel to Laura Lovett’s debut psychological thriller,
Losing Cadence.
For twelve years, Cadence Davidson has
dreaded her daughter’s twelfth birthday, for that is the day she will
tell Sophie who her true father really is.
Sophie’s world is turned upside down
when she learns that her biological father is really Richard White,
the man who abducted her mother twelve years earlier.She wonders if
she will ever meet the elusive billionaire, only to find herself
suddenly abducted into the life that he has carefully crafted for her
and her mother.
Despite his carefully orchestrated
plan, Richard White is faced with unexpected events that threaten to
tear his newfound family apart. Will Richard be able to find peace
and hold on to the family he has fought for a lifetime to bring
together?
In this psychological thriller, an
obsession that spans decades comes to it’s ultimate test. Love, loss
and courage coalesce as Richard faces his demons and makes the final
choice to find peace and love.
Laura (Hambley) Lovett was born and raised in Calgary, Alberta,
and received her PhD in Psychology from the University of Calgary in
2006. Her love of writing began at an early age when she would create
and draw characters, telling stories to herself as she drew.
An accomplished author in the academic and business world, Laura
pursued her love of creative writing to pen her first novel, Losing
Cadence, a psychological thriller. Losing Cadence was written over
many years as Laura juggled school, work and family, but she made
time to pursue her passion for writing.
Laura is a psychologist and entrepreneur, currently running
practices in the areas of career and leadership development and
distributed workplaces. She was nominated and selected as a
Distinctive Woman in Canada in 2013. Laura also enjoys teaching at
the University of Calgary and has been an Adjunct Professor of
Psychology since 2010.
Laura lives in Calgary with her husband and three children. She
loves playing squash, travelling, spending time at the family cabin
in Montana, as well as her view of the Rocky Mountains as the snow is
falling on her hot tub.
Follow the tour HERE
for exclusive excerpts and a giveaway!
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another means of attaining their prize #Erotic #Romance @AnyaBSummers @GoddessFish

Hey folks! Today I’m happy to introduce you to Anya Summers and her story Menage in Paradise!

~ * ~ BIO ~ * ~

Born in St. Louis, Missouri, Anya grew up listening to Cardinals baseball and reading anything she could get her hands on. She remembers her mother saying if only she would read the right type of books instead binging her way through the romance aisles at the bookstore, she’d have been a doctor. While Anya never did get that doctorate, she graduated cum laude from the University of Missouri-St. Louis with an M.A. in History.

Anya is a bestselling and award-winning author published in multiple fiction genres. She also writes urban fantasy and paranormal romance under the name Maggie Mae Gallagher. A total geek at her core, when she is not writing, she adores attending the latest comic con or spending time with her family. She currently lives in the Midwest with her two furry felines.

~ * ~ STALK ~ * ~

Website ## BookBub ## Amazon Author Page ## Twitter ## Facebook ## Goodreads

~ * ~ BLURB ~ * ~

Ian has wanted Olivia from the moment they first met. They shared a torrid one-night-stand in Scotland a year prior and never spoke of it again. Now they are business partners, and Ian has plans to woo Olivia back into his bed permanently.

Eric Thomas is a drummer from the superstar rock band, The Harbingers. When he meets Olivia, he knows there’s something different about her. He wants her – and not just for the night.

But when the two Doms cause a stir with their antics on Pleasure Island as they each attempt to win Olivia, they will be forced to contemplate another means of attaining their prize. Can they convince Olivia to experience the fantasy of a ménage with them? And will what happens on Pleasure Island stay that way?

Publisher’s Note: While this steamy ménage is part of the bestselling Pleasure Island series, it can be read and enjoyed on its own.

~ * ~ EXCERPT ~ * ~

Adrift and unsteady, he braced himself against the swells as the ferry moved through the cobalt waves like a hungry sea creature.

Eyes shielded behind a pair of aviator sunglasses, Eric surveyed the rest of the passengers aboard Goddess of the Sea. In addition to their boat captain, Deke, a Dom with the bearing of a boxer, there were four couples present on deck whom, after a quick perusal when they first arrived, he had ignored.

He wasn’t intentionally being an ass. Not this time.

As the drummer in an internationally known rock band, maintaining anonymity was difficult at best. Out in public, even on the way to an exclusive resort catering to the BDSM lifestyle, Eric tempered his interactions with people. It was safer that way. Then he didn’t have to worry about it ending up in the tabloids.

And on Pleasure Island, with the non-disclosure agreement every guest must sign, he could sue the pants off anyone who leaked information to the press.

Besides, out of everyone on board the vessel, it was the lone beauty on deck who captured his attention. The name of the ship, Goddess of the Sea, perfectly described the willowy blonde poised at the stern. In skinny jeans that accentuated her endlessly long, supple legs and a gauzy peasant top that rivaled the sea in color, she had seized his full attention.

He had to admit she was stunning. The way the sunlight illuminated the waves of her golden tresses that stopped mid-back made her look like a beacon, a shimmering gemstone. No man, no Dom worth his salt, would want to deny himself the pleasure of her company.

He’d done enough of that.

Denying himself. That stopped, now.

Eric’s intentions on Pleasure Island were simple. Find himself a submissive and fuck himself into a state of orgasmic bliss over the next two weeks. Hopefully one that he could maintain once he left the island.

Easy. Simple.

And, he prayed, the most effective cure for his malaise. Not to mention, it was doctor ordered: the fun, the frivolity to be had on the island, as a way to battle his misery.

And damn it all, he needed to feel happy. It had been too long since anything had stirred his lethargy. Not a stay at an exclusive facility in Switzerland to help his depression, where his bandmates believed he was getting it on with a ski instructor. Not all the accolades, fame or fortune that had come his way through The Harbingers’ success.

And he hated that it made him sound like a pansy ass wanker.

Over the next two weeks, on what was becoming the legendary Pleasure Island, he would soothe his battered soul and the depression surrounding him. And the beautiful woman standing all alone was a damned fine place to begin.

~ * ~ BUY ~ * ~

Blushing Books ## Amazon

~ * ~ GIVEAWAY ~ * ~

Anya Summers will be awarding a $15 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. CLICK HERE to enter to win! Readers, follow the tour and comment; the more you comment, the better your chances of winning. The tour dates and places can be found here: Tour Schedule

~ * ~

Anya Summers, thank you for stopping by today!

Love & blessings to all! ❤
Jacey

made a vow to protect her #ParanormalRomance #Shifter #EmiliaHartley @SDSXXTours

Mountain Wolf Protectors Series
by Emilia Hartley
Genre: Paranormal Romance

Get the complete BESTSELLING Paranormal Romance Series packed with
Romance, Action, and lovable characters throughout!

The Mountain Wolf Protectors Box Set is complete with all the drama,
romance and suspense your heart desires. By the time you reach the
end you’ll be begging for more! This is one series you do NOT want to miss!

Book 1 – Protected by the Mountain Wolf
Book 2 – Adored by the Mountain Wolf
Book 3 – Mated to the Mountain Wolf
Book 4 – Married to the Mountain Wolf

What are you waiting for?
Jump right into the adorable story of Nova and Amara
now!

Warning: This series contains lots of sexy shifter
action, irresistible mates and steamy love scenes. Tons of mouth
watering Paranormal Romance bonus content included!
More about the books in the box set:
Protected by the Mountain Wolf
Book 1
Amara’s life changed the moment she was attacked by a group of wolves. She
was only 15 at the time, who could blame her for ignoring her
grandfather’s warnings? She quickly began to believe all those
stories he told her about the wolves who protected their town,
Strathford. The wolves who could turn into humans. Shifters, as she
learned they were called.

Ten years had passed since then, and Nova still couldn’t forgive himself
for letting the Valley Clan slip into their territory unnoticed. If
only he had been there in time. Since that day, he made a vow to
himself to protect her, no matter what happens. Though he didn’t
personally know Amara, he felt a connection to her after watching
over her all these years. With his curiosity growing each day, he
finally decided to visit her at work. He’d talk to her for an hour,
settle his curiosity and then never speak to her again. Or so he
thought…
Adored by the Mountain Wolf
Book 2
Two weeks after she started living on the Compound – the home of the
Mountain Wolves – Amara was getting anxious to return to her life.
She had a job, friends and family to return to. Not only that, she
had to make sure her sister was safe from her psychopath boyfriend,
Kal. If only she could tell Sadie the truth, that he was the wolf
shifter who wreaked havoc on Strathford for all these years.

As much as he wanted to protect her, Nova knew that he couldn’t keep
Amara from her life forever. He and the Mountain Wolves have been
vigilant in the fight against the Valley Clan, but they begin to lose
their footing as the attacks increase in frequency. When Nova is
reminded he has to protect his pack he has no choice but to bring
Amara with him, for her safety.
Mated to the Mountain Wolf
Book 3
Weeks after the war between the Mountain and Valley clans ended, resulting
in Kal’s capture, things were finally starting to get back to normal
for Amara. Well, as normal as they could be in preparation to marry a
wolf shifter. Before Nova and Amara they could officially be
considered mates, there were a series of trials that needed to be
passed. And if she were honest, the thought of failing scared her
more than anything. To make matters worse, her secret admirer just
began to tip the scale from flattery to all out stalker.

Even after Kal was captured, and the horrors Amara had faced in her life
were over, she still wasn’t completely safe. And that’s what angered
Nova the most. He just had to work that much harder at protecting
her.
Married to the Mountain Wolf
Book 4
The day finally came. Ten years ago, Nova would have never imagined that
he’d be standing where he stood today. With the odds completely
against him, this wasn’t even a thought in his mind. The first night
he saw Amara seemed like forever ago and now here he was, standing,
waiting for his bride to meet him at the altar. Amara. His Bride. His
Mate. With all of the shit that had happened over the past few
months, he was finally glad to see his woman happy, in all her glory.
He wouldn’t let anything interrupt this day. Today will be perfect.
For Amara’s sake.
Reading wasn’t always Emilia’s passion, but over the years she developed an
irreplaceable love for books. She writes about large, protective
alpha males and their strong, sexy female mates.
If you enjoy steamy shifters and fated mates, then you’ll LOVE Emilia’s
books!
Follow the tour HERE
for exclusive excerpts and a giveaway!

Love isn’t always responsible #Gay #Contemporary #Romance @CFWhiteUK @GoddessFish

Hey folks! Today I’m happy to introduce you to C F White and The Responsible Adult Series!

~ * ~ BIO ~ * ~

Brought up in a relatively small town in Hertfordshire, C F White managed to do what most other residents try to do and fail—leave.

Studying at a West London university, she realised there was a whole city out there waiting to be discovered, so, much like Dick Whittington before her, she never made it back home and still endlessly searches for the streets paved with gold, slowly coming to the realisation they’re mostly paved with chewing gum. And the odd bit of graffiti. And those little circles of yellow spray paint where the council point out the pot holes to someone who is supposedly meant to fix them instead of staring at them vacantly whilst holding a polystyrene cup of watered-down coffee.

She eventually moved West to East along that vast District Line and settled for pie and mash, cockles and winkles and a bit of Knees Up Mother Brown to live in the East End of London; securing a job and creating a life, a home and a family.

After her second son was born with a rare disability, C F White’s life changed drastically and brought her pen back to paper after she’d written stories as a child but never had the confidence to show them to the world. Now, having embarked on this writing journey, C F White cannot stop. So strap in, it’s going to be a bumpy ride.

~ * ~ STALK ~ * ~

Website ## Twitter ## Facebook

~ * ~ BLURB ~ * ~

The Responsible Adult series follows bad boy Micky O’Neill as he attempts to better his life to bring up his disabled little brother. A past full of juvenile delinquency and living in a small town rife with idle gossip means Micky struggles to be seen as anything other than a no-hoper from the wrong side of the tracks… until he takes a job at the local supermarket and meets his boss, Dan, a university graduate and self-proclaimed shy, awkward bookworm.

Dan, older and burned from a past relationship, is the one person who sees through Micky’s tough-guy facade to the true heart underneath. With fear and mistrust on both sides, the two must steer their way through a complicated relationship where outside forces are determined to break them up at every turn.

Responsible Adult is a series about growing up and learning that love always brings responsibility.

NOTE: The first book in the series will be available for $0.99; the second book in the series will be available for $1.99; the third book in the series will be released on December 5.

~ * ~ ABOUT Book Two – Hard Time: ~ * ~

Love isn’t always responsible.

After Micky O’Neill is remanded in custody for breaching his court order, his already tempestuous relationship with Dan Peters is tested to the limits.

Having to battle their way through a court case that could end with Micky in jail, social workers breaking up the family home and the return of Micky’s deadbeat father, it seems everything is set to destroy their relationship before it even has the chance to start.

With such high stakes involved, not just for Micky but for once-burned, twice-shy Dan, they both have to learn that falling in love isn’t always responsible.

Excerpt:

“I think you’re right,” Dan said.

Micky glanced up, finally looking Dan in the eye. Dan smiled and saw the ease of Micky’s shoulders. He nodded at Flynn.

“Wales would be good for him,” Dan explained.

Micky peered back to his brother and watched for a while. He breathed in deeply and scratched at the contents within his pockets. Dan could practically see the thinking process going on behind his eyes. He had to bite his tongue not to demand that Micky spill whatever was on his mind.

“We could go now,” Micky finally said, still looking out at his brother.

Dan glided the hand ruffling through Micky’s hair down to his back and let it drift away. He shuffled and searched his brain for a response. He seriously hoped Micky wasn’t suggesting what he thought he was. Running now could never be an option. He knew that. Micky would know that. The question was, he supposed, did Micky really care at this point?

“What?” Dan urged quietly.

“Fuck all this, Dan,” Micky said more forcefully and scraped his hands out of his trousers to slap down to his thighs. “Why wait around in fucking limbo, letting other people decide what happens to me? To him.” Micky waved a hand in Flynn’s general direction and turned to finally look Dan in the eye. “To us,” he stated poignantly.

“Micky—” Dan cautioned.

“What, Dan?” Micky scorned. “This place is toxic. For me. For Flynn. I’ve never really understood that until now. Until you.” Micky twisted to face Dan and glided a thumb across his cheek. “There’s a shit ton of bad memories on every street corner here. I need to start fresh. You said you’d always come find me. Or wait for me. But will you follow me?”

~ * ~ BUY ~ * ~

Amazon ## Pride Publishing: Misdemeanor (Responsible Adult #1) ## Pride Publishing: Hard Time (Responsible Adult #2) ## Pride Publishing: Reformed (Responsible Adult #3)

~ * ~ GIVEAWAY ~ * ~

Enter to win a signed copy of the first book in the series (US/Europe – other locations will receive a gift card substitute). CLICK HERE to enter to win! Readers, follow the tour and comment; the more you comment, the better your chances of winning. The tour dates and places can be found here: Tour Schedule

~ * ~

C F White, thank you for stopping by today!

Love & blessings to all! ❤
Jacey

Check out the Heroes of Westhorpe Ridge! #Holiday #Romance #BoxSet @KryssieFortune @ReviewByCrystal

Heroes of Westhorpe Ridge
Holiday Series Boxed Set
By Kryssie Fortune

Kryssie is giving away a $10 Amazon Gift Certificate and 3 ebooks of Submission, Secrets, and the Soldier to lucky winners during the tour. Please use the Rafflecopter below to enter. Remember there is a chance to enter every day, so please follow us along on the tour. You may find the tour locations here


About the Boxed Set:

Kryssie Fortune’s holiday series, Heroes of Westhorpe Ridge, is now available in a convenient e-boxed set!


Marriage, Mobsters, and the Marine:


Abigail Montgomery, a small town schoolteacher with zero self-confidence, dreams of the Dickensian Christmas her family never enjoyed. Each month she attends a masked BDSM club, but her next visit will be her last. If she doesn’t marry within the next year, her brother won’t inherit Montgomery Hall. Desperate, she advertises for a husband.

Jared Armstrong, a former Marine sharpshooter and occasional Dom needs $125,000 to get his family out of a hole. His solution–to marry Abigail Montgomery for her money. His only regret is his wife won’t accept his spanking lifestyle.

Gradually, Abigail comes to dream of making their marriage real, but she promised Jared a divorce two years after their wedding. Can they share some Christmas magic as their relationship faces extortion threats, a kidnapping, and an attempted murder? Or will Jared break her heart when he walks away?

Sex, Scandal, and the Sheriff:
Jasmine Stewart (Jazz to her friends) falls for the blond stranger when he spanks and seduces her at a Washington soiree. Later, when she discovers her flatmate is trying to draw her into a spy ring, she goes to the authorities. The ensuing publicity costs her her job, her security, and her future. Starting over in Westhorpe Ridge is her only option.

Sean Mathews, former SEAL and Westhorpe Ridge’s sheriff, can’t forget the woman he spanked when he visited Washington, but he thinks she’s a spy. When she turns up in Westhorpe Ridge, he tries everything to make her leave town. Despite their misunderstandings, though, they can’t keep their hands off each other.

As Year’s Eve looms, the spy ring resurfaces. Jazz will need all of Sean’s SEAL prowess to survive. But because his wounded leg cost him his speed in the water, will it be enough?

Desire, Deceit, and the Doctor:
Twelve years ago, Mandy Devlin moved away from her friends and family–under threat. If she returned in the next ten years or told anyone who fathered her baby, her boyfriend’s great-aunt would bankrupt her family. She’s a single mom who dreams of her lost love and a good spanking. When she’s finally free to return to Westhorpe Ridge, the last person she expects to see is Adam–the man she loved and lost so long ago.

Dr. Adam Montgomery doesn’t know he has a son. Thanks to his great-aunt’s will, he has nine months to find a bride or he loses Montgomery Hall and the fifteen million dollars she left him. Although he seduces Mandy on his first night home, he still believes she betrayed him twelve years ago. No way would he marry a woman like her.

As Valentine’s Day looms, someone tries to kill Mandy. Is Adam trying to get rid of her? Or can Mandy trust him to protect them?

Note: All of the books in this set were previously released as single titles.


Buy Links: 



Excerpt from Marriage, Mobsters, and the Marine
FOR ABIGAIL, CHRISTMAS felt like the loneliest time of the year. Once her father died, her mother had drifted through life, uncaring. There’d been no presents or decorations, not even a special dinner. Adam had often stayed at college, saying he needed to keep on top of his studies. Abigail had bottled her sorrow, not even telling her brother how much she ached to sing carols around a family tree or cook a Dickensian Christmas dinner for the people she loved.
Abigail still enthused over the things she had planned for her class. “I’m pushing for a field trip to Red Heart Canyon where the Cherokee nation once gathered to celebrate the winter solstice. Local history needs preserving. You see, some yahoos took exception to their temple ceremony and massacred half the gathered women and children. History records it as another land grab by the European settlers.”
Jared frowned. “That’s rough.”
“The way we treated Native Americans sucked,” Abigail agreed. “Rumor has it Red Heart Canyon is haunted by the women the settlers killed. There’s an old mine shaft cut into the side of the canyon, but no one ever found any gold. On a more cheerful note, Mandy’s going ahead with her costume party for Ben, followed by another one with a sit-down dinner for the adults. My class is real excited about it. It’s the Saturday before Christmas, but you need to plan your costume. I’ve got mine already.”

About the Author: 
Kryssie Fortune writes the sort of hot sexy books she loves to read. If she can sneak a dragon into her paranormal books she will. Her paranormal heroes are muscular werewolves, arrogant Fae, or BDSM loving dragons. 

Kryssie likes her contemporary heroes ex-military and dominant. Her heroines are kick ass females who can hold their own against whatever life – or Kryssie – throws at them.

Kryssie’s pet hates are unhappy endings, and a series that end on a cliff hanger.


Her books are all stand alone even when part of series. Plot always comes before sex, but when her heroines and heroes get together, the sex is explosive and explicit. One review called it downright sensual.

Kryssie’s Social Links:
Facebook | Twitter | Blog | Website   

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stalking him since his birth #Fantasy #SupernaturalThriller @Justine_Avery @SDSXXTours

The One Apart
by Justine Avery
Genre:Fantasy, Supernatural Thriller
Only one obstacle stands in his
way of enjoying a normal life. He remembers—every life he’s lived
before.
Tres is about to be born… with the
biggest burden any has ever had to bear. He is beginning again—as
an ageless adult trapped in an infant body.
He and his teenage mother face life
filled with extraordinary challenges as they strive to protect,
nurture, and hide how truly different he is. But Tres alone must
solve the greatest mystery of all: who is he? The answer is linked to
the one question he’s too afraid to ask: why am I?
In his quest, Tres discovers that all
is considerably more interconnected and dynamic than he could ever
imagine—and fraught with far more danger. He cannot hide from the
unseen threat stalking him since his birth.
Life as he knows it—as all know it—is
in peril. And Tres is the only one aware.
Justine Avery is
an award-winning author of stories large and small for all.
Born in the American Midwest and raised all over the world, she is
inherently an explorer, duly fascinated by everything around her and
excitedly noting the stories that abound all around. As an avid
reader of all genres, she weaves her own stories among them all. She
has a predilection for writing speculative fiction and story twists
and surprises she can’t even predict herself.
Avery has either
lived in or explored all 50 states of the union, over 36 countries,
and all but one continent; she lost count after moving 30-some times
before the age of 20. She’s intentionally jumped out of
airplanes and off the highest bungee jump in New Zealand, scuba dived
unintentionally with sharks, designed websites, intranets, and
technical manuals, bartered with indigenous Panamanians, welded
automobile frames, observed at the Bujinkan Hombu Dojo in Noba,
Japan, and masterminded prosperous internet businesses—to name a
few adventures. She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree that life has
never required, and at age 28, she sold everything she owned and quit
corporate life—and her final “job”—to freelance and travel
the world as she always dreamed of. And she’s never looked back.
Aside from
her native English, Avery speaks a bit of Japanese and a bit more
Spanish, her accent is an ever-evolving mixture of Midwestern
American with notes of the Deep South and indiscriminate British
vocabulary and rhythm, and she says “eh”—like the Kiwis, not
the Canadians. She currently lives near Los Angeles with her husband,
British film director Devon Avery, and their three adopted children:
Becks, Sam, and Lia. She writes from wherever her curiosity takes
her.
Avery loves to
connect with fellow readers and creatives, explorers and imaginers,
and cordially invites you to say “hello”—or konnichiwa.
Follow the tour HERE
for exclusive excerpts, guest posts and a giveaway!

to protect what she believes in #Historical #Romance @BeverleyOakley @ReviewByCrystal

Forsaking Hope
Fair Cyprians of London
By Beverley Oakley

Beverley is giving away a $10 Amazon Gift Certificate to a randomly drawn winner 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

About the Book: 

Two years ago, she missed their secret assignation and disappeared without a trace. Now the divine “Miss Hope” is in Felix Durham’s bed – a ‘surprise cheering-up gift’ sourced by his friends from London’s most exclusive brothel. Felix is in heaven – and he wants to stay there.

So does Hope, but she can’t.

Hope Merriweather lives by a code of honour – even if she’s a prostitute.

Having sold her soul, she’s prepared to sacrifice everything else to protect what she believes in.

Even if honour – in her eyes – comes at the cost of thieving and breaking hearts. Including her own.

Available for preorder here:
~*~*~*~*~*~
Excerpt: 

Chapter One

Wilfred Hunt.
If there was a name to tip Hope into the abyss of despair she was hearing it spill from Madame Chambon’s lips now as the older woman directed Hope to take a seat in the reception room, presumably so Madame could loom oppressively over her.
With her hands on her ample, expensively padded hips, Hope’s benefactress—procuress, employer and gaoler were other monikers—sent Hope a beetling look that needed no interpreting: Regardless of Hope’s true feelings, Hope must project the required show of warmth and delight at being the chosen one.
Madame patted the side of her faux curls. Years of hot irons had reduced her hair to the texture of wool but her crowning glory these days was supplemented by the lustrous locks of those girls who dared cross her – before they were thrown back into the street from where most had come.
Nevertheless, Hope had to make her resistance clear. Surely Madame who knew her history would understand her loathing for this man, above all others. “I shan’t do it,” she whispered. There was little evidence of the willful child and wild adolescent who’d been the despair of her family. “I won’t—”
Outside, the noise of the traffic rumbling over the cobbles and the shrill calls of competing vendors settled upon the tense silence. Madame Chambon’s other girls, ranged around the sumptuously appointed room on red velvet upholstered banquettes, watched the exchange with prurient fascination. Hope knew it had been a calculated ploy of Madame’s to conduct her interview in public so that Hope would serve as an example to them.
No one crossed Madame Chambon.
The shrill cry of a fishmonger caused Madame to look pointedly out of the window. With something between a smile and a sneer, she smoothed a Marcel wave. “Is that where you plan to return, Hope? The gutter?” Her nose twitched and in the sunlight that filtered into the room, the grooves chiselled between mouth and chin were thrown into harsh relief, highlighted rather than hidden by the thick powder she used to conceal her age.
Madame Chambon’s comfort, now and into retirement, depended on obedient girls. Hope knew that as well as anyone. She’d had to bury her rebellious streak just to ensure food in her belly.
The Frenchwoman raised a chiselled brow and began to pace slowly in front of her girls. A painter with an eye for beauty would have been ecstatic at capturing such a spectacle on canvas. The discerning young man about town who visited 56 Albemarle Street was frequently rendered ecstatic by the range of delights Madame Chambon’s girls offered in addition to the visual.
“You forget yourself, Hope. I put a roof over your head and deck you out as handsomely as Mr Charles Worth ever did for his most discerning customer.” There was acid in Madame Chambon’s tone. “But for me, you’d be starving and glad of the pennies you could trade for a grubby stand-up encounter in a dark alley.” Madame Chambon thrust out her bosom and breathed through her nose, her response a calculated warning to the other girls arranged in various languid poses about the ornately decorated reception room that intransigence would not be tolerated.
“Mr Hunt has requested you.” She paused and when Hope remained silent, though her stance and expression left no one in any doubt as to her horror regarding this enforced assignation, went on. “Remember what I told you—what I tell all my girls when they first come here? The past must be forgotten the moment you step over my threshold. You are reborn, remodelled, refashioned into the most exquisite delectation of womanhood. A marquess, a prince, is well recompensed for the tidy sum he hands over in order to enjoy your sparkling wit, to converse with you in French, or if he chooses, on philosophy…to enjoy your charms…and,” she added significantly, “your gracious hospitality and tender ministrations to his needs. That is our agreement and you are no different. If Mr Hunt wishes you, Hope, to attend him at his residence then you will go.”
Faith, one of the kinder girls, patted Hope’s arm in silent solidarity. Hope didn’t expect any of them to speak up in her defence. Not when they all relied on Madame Chambon as much as she did to provide them with the necessities of life. Anything more than that was part of a strict contract that indentured a girl for life unless she was able to secure a generous benefactor to settle Madame’s severance bill. The fine clothes were part of the charade, necessary to entice a more elite clientele. Hope’s exquisite wardrobe did not belong to her though she’d have forsaken all the dupion silk and Spitalfields lace for the freedom of the gutter and to be mistress of her own destiny – and her body – if she could only be sure of a plate of gravy and potatoes every second day.
Closing her eyes, she hung her head, the carefully coiffed curls that fell forwards brushing against her tear-streaked cheeks. It was as well that they not be in evidence. Tears, weakness, vulnerability were like a red rag to a bull where Madame Chambon was concerned.
“How long…do I have to prepare myself?” She was not so stupid she couldn’t admit defeat when there was no alternative. Obduracy was beaten out of one, but tears ensured a girl got the very worst next assignment. Their clients weren’t all marquesses and princes, though they did require a very fat pocket book.
“Tomorrow.”
“Tomorrow.” Hope repeated it in a leaden tone, and stared at her hands, clasped in her lap; white-knuckled. As white as the rabbit-fur that edged her fashionable black-and-white striped satin cuirass. Hope had the tall, slim figure suited to the scandalously tight tie-back skirts that were all the rage, the back flowing into a train adorned with elaborate swags and trimmed with bows. She’d turned heads the length of Oxford Street as she’d promenaded along the pavement following a walk through Hyde Park earlier that afternoon. In fact, for the first time in two years, she’d almost felt happy as she’d pretended a sense of freedom in the afternoon sun, blocking her mind to the prison to which she was returning.
She drew in her breath and forced herself to be brave, knowing the punishment she’d invite for daring to speak her mind. “Please tell Mr Hunt I will see him again under sufferance.”
Madame Chambon’s voice was surprisingly caramel. “Well then, now that you have made your objection clear, Hope, you will be pleased to hear that Mr Hunt’s desires are not only motivated by fond memories of your no-doubt mutually satisfying congress. I believe he wishes to acquaint you with news of your family.”
Hope hid her shock. “I have no family.” With care, she modified her tone so it was as leaden as before though emotion roiled close to the surface.
“Not even a sister?”
Hope raised her chin. Here was the chink and Madame knew it. The woman did her research.
Aware that the other girls who surrounded her were tense with anticipation, Hope struggled not to respond. Camaraderie existed at surface level but one never knew when it might profit one to have the dirt on a fellow prostitute. It was, clearly, another reason Madame Chambon had chosen to make this conversation public.
“Mr Hunt will see you at nine tomorrow evening,” said the so-called Frenchwoman who, it was whispered, was from the gutters of Lambeth, not Paris. “At his apartments in Duke Street. Now go and prepare yourself for Lord Farrow. Married to a monolith like the venerable Lady Farrow, he likes his girls vivacious and free-spirited. There’ll be less coin in your pocket if you sully the transaction with that long face, Hope.”

~*~*~*~*~*~
Author Info: 

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 tarring 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: