Review of HEART’S DELIGHT ~ 1st in Cheryl Holt’s new Lost Lords Trilogy

My thoughts…..4 stars (Picture above from Cheryl’s website)
Cheryl Holt wasn’t given the title Master Storyteller for nothing. Michael and Magdalena’s perilous path to love and passion is a prime example of why she enjoys the sobriquet.
Michael is the quintessential Cheryl Holt hero; handsome, cocky, arrogant, and just this side of insufferable but with a charm and appeal
that’s hard to resist. If you like your heroes PC or touchy-feely sensitive you’ve come to the wrong book.
Tragedy tore Michael’s family apart and he’s been on his own from a young age. He’s a survivor who’s clawed his way out of the gutter to
become an extremely wealthy man with a penchant for assisting aristocraticgentlemen gamblers in their ruination. On his climb to the upper echelons of wealth he’s accompanied by his best friend of twenty five years, Ramsey Scott, where one goes so goes the other. The only people they trust are each other.
Michael is an unapologetic survivor with a deep seated antagonism for the aristocracy. He thinks he has all he needs until he meets Maggie. She stirs a yearning in him he does his best to deny.
Magdalena Wells aka Maggie came from a wealthy family. When her oldest sister stole her fiancé she left Cliffside, the family home, for London with Vicar Sterns and his wife to assist them in running a mission. Upon their passing Maggie inherited the mission and meets Michael in that capacity. They meet again when Gaylord’s, Maggie’s brother-in-law, proclivity for gambling beggars her sisters, putting Maggie in an unenviable position. Maggie shares many traits with a typical Cheryl Holt heroine but one. She doesn’t allow Michael the leeway her heroines grant the heroes. She cuts him off and out. Good for her, she met his arrogance with a stone wall he couldn’t climb or go around. This makes Maggie my second favorite CH heroine.
Jealous aristocratic fiancée’s, danger, Newgate, lost and found family, haunting memories, and sweet come-uppances are just some of the delectable twists and turns offered up for readers.
HEART’S DELIGHTs fetching characters, danger, romance, and gripping family mystery is sure to delight readers.


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Cheryl Holt’s Lost Lords Trilogy Blog Tour & Scavenger Hunt!


I’m getting ready to release my 40th novel!  It’s a huge career milestone for me, and I hope all of you will help me celebrate by enjoying my new trilogy, “The Lost Lords of Radcliffe.”

The three books are a “real” trilogy, with one story leading into the next and the drama building with each novel.  I’m releasing them over the summer so you’ll be able to read the 2nd and 3rd books right away without having to wait months or years to find out what happens.  HEART’S DELIGHT will be here on June 1st.  HEART’S DESIRE is coming on July 1st.  And Book 3, HEART’S DEMAND–my 40th novel!!!–will be here onAugust 1st.  It will be a great summer of sexy, yummy reading.

The 3 novels will be released as e-books and print books.  The e-version will be available for all e-readers, but the print books will not appear in stores.  They will have to be ordered on-line at Amazon.  The covers are beautiful, the stories breathtaking, heartbreaking, dramatic, and thrilling.  I think it’s my best work yet.

I hope you’ll spend the summer–with me!  And my Lost Lords of Radcliffe.  Coming June, July, and August of 2015.
Lost Lord’s series:

Evangeline Etherton grew up as an orphan and charity case at Miss Peabody’s School for Girls.  But she was always haunted by memories of the loving family and siblings she’d once had.  As a tiny girl, her father passed away, and her mother was wrenched from their lives and transported on a prison ship to Australia.  Her three brothers were cast to the winds of fate and vanished from her life, but she was too young to understand why.

What happened to her mother and brothers?  Might her mother still be alive?  And what about her brothers?  Evangeline vows to learn the answers to those questions and begins her quest to find them and bring them all home.

Three little lost lords, cast to the winds of fate…

So begins CHERYL HOLT’S breathtaking new trilogy, The Lost Lords of Radcliffe…


MICHAEL SCOTT grew up an orphan on the streets of London. He has no memories of his past, but he’s haunted by terrible dreams and always feels as if he lost something vital and precious along the way. Through cunning and determination, he’s become rich, prosperous, and dangerous. As a brigand and criminal, he knows how to fight and survive any battle. But when he had such a rough beginning as a child, how has he managed to thrive so spectacularly? How can he ever learn the truth?

MAGDALENA WELLS runs a charity mission in London’s worst slums. Although she’s heard many vicious rumors about treacherous, deceitful Michael Scott, when she meets him, she can’t help but fall under his spell. He is the most extraordinary person she’s ever encountered. If ancestry makes the man, how is she to account for his remarkable traits? His drive and accomplishments have propelled him to the highest levels of London society—which is exactly where he seems to belong. How could a ruffian be so brilliant and successful? What is his true history? Can Magdalena help to reveal the secrets he’s always been dying to discover?

Join CHERYL HOLT as she once again weaves a beloved tale of family, loyalty, love, and loss. As the truth about the “lost” lords is gradually revealed, readers will be cheering…
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 “I want the donation you promised me,” Maggie petulantly said. “I demand it as reparation for all the ways you’ll eventually damage Tim.”

“I’ve changed my mind about it. I can’t stand people who ride their moral high-horse. You’re too persnickety, and I don’t like you.”

“You don’t like me?”


“We’re scarcely acquainted. How could you have received sufficient details to have formed an opinion?”

“I’m an excellent judge of character.”

“And in your infinite wisdom, what sort of person have you judged me to be?”

“You think you’re a saint.”

“I do not!”

“But you ought to see the world as the dangerous, hard place it actually is.”

“I don’t need a lecture from you on what the world is like.”

“Don’t you?”

Because she’d spent years helping the needy, she was regularly thanked and lauded and praised. She couldn’t remember the last time she’d been insulted or disparaged. Well, except by her family, but they didn’t count.

She was furious and aggrieved and feeling greatly maligned. She’d like to castigate him, to list all the reasons he was wrong about her, but for once she was tongue-tied and couldn’t conceive of a single remark worth sharing.

He rose and came over, and he towered over her, glaring as if she was young and foolish and out of her element.

He dragged her over to the door and pushed her into the hall. It was a gentle push, but a push nonetheless.

“Goodbye, Miss Wells. Don’t darken my door again with your nonsense.”

“I wouldn’t lower myself,” she huffed.

“Good.” He shouted, “Ramsey!”

In a thrice, Ramsey appeared. “What now?”

“Miss Wells is leaving. Escort her out, and tell the footmen if she shows up again and they let her in, heads will roll.”

“Heads will roll?” she scoffed. “Oh, you are by far and away the most exasperating man I’ve ever had the displeasure to meet.”

“I try,” he smugly retorted, and he motioned to Ramsey.

Ramsey reached for her arm, but she shook him away and stomped off. She was about to start down the stairs when she peered around at Mr. Scott. He was watching her, looking amused and elegant and maddening beyond measure.

“You haven’t heard the last of me,” she absurdly warned.

“I’m trembling in my boots, Miss Wells.”

“I’ll speak with the authorities about Tim. I’ll inform them of how you abuse boys in this neighborhood.”

His laugh was cruel and snide. “Don’t you know, Miss Wells? I am the authority in this neighborhood. My word is law. Now go away and don’t come back.”

He vanished into his office.

She hovered on the top step, yearning to march back to him, to apprise him of what she truly thought, but she wasn’t a fighter. She was a problem solver and helper who never argued over any issue, which was why her personal life was such a mess.

She whipped away and kept on down the stairs.

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Cheryl Holt is a New York TimesUSA Today, and Amazon “Top 100” bestselling author of forty novels.

She’s also a lawyer and mom, and at age 40, with two babies at home, she started a new career as a commercial fiction writer. She’d hoped to be a suspense novelist, but couldn’t sell any of her manuscripts, so she ended up taking a detour into romance, where she was stunned to discover that she has an incredible knack for writing some of the world’s greatest love stories.

She is considered to be one of the masters of the romance genre, and her emotional, dramatic, and riveting stories of passion and illicit love have captivated fans around the world. She has won or been nominated for many national awards. For many years, she was hailed as “The Queen of Erotic Romance”, and she’s also revered as “The International Queen of Villains.” She is particularly proud to have been named “Best Storyteller of the Year” by the trade magazine Romantic Times BOOK Reviews.

Cheryl lives and writes in Hollywood, California.

Head’s up on an All Souls Trilogy Board Game (& other goodies) giveaway

Penguin has created a gorgeous, limited-edition All Souls Trilogy board game & is giving away a total of 10 board games, via their Twitter @PenguinPbks,  over a two week period that began on Tuesday 5/26 and culminates Thursday 6/4.  These are random giveaways and will also feature other All Souls prizes. Here’s how to enter:

Check the Penguin Twitter during the morning (ET) on 6/4 and retweet the giveaway post by 4:30 pm ET. Winners will be randomly selected around 5pm ET from those who’ve retweeted.  It’s that simple…Good luck y’all!


Mary watched Mr. Perfect’s expression changed from merely polite to concerned.

I take it that means you are in hiding for some reason?” he asked conversationally. As if he had this type of discussion every day.

He was doing his best to calm her, and to Mary’s astonishment it was working. In any event, he deserved to know the truth, and there was no point in hiding it now that she’d been discovered.

She took a breath. “Yes. Since my mourning for my father ended, I have been moving from family member to family member hiding from my paternal cousin, Mr. Gawain Tolliver. His father, my uncle, is my trustee.” Mr. Perfect—if she kept thinking of him by that name, she was going slip and end up blurting it out—Mr. Featherton listened patiently while she tried to tell the story in a logical fashion. “That is how I ended up at Rose Hill.”

He was quiet for several moments, his brows drawn together in thought. “Your cousin has not found you here, has he?”

No.” She heaved a sigh. “The months I’ve been here are the first time in years that I’ve felt safe from him. Being at Rose Hill has been like heaven.” She smiled remembering all she’d done. “I was able to try new ideas for the estate and refurbish the formal garden.”

Kit set down his cup. He must still be in shock. The only thing he could think was that Lady Mary had a beautiful smile, and he was happy to finally see it. Not to mention, he didn’t have to go chasing her brother down to find her. Using a rueful tone, he said, “Then I had to come and ruin everything.”

Her gaze flew to him. “No, no, no, please don’t say that. Even if I have enjoyed Rose Hill, this plan was folly, and I have to leave soon in any event. I need to find a husband, or Gawain will still attempt to . . .” Her face turned a lovely shade of red.

Deuced strange that her father’s brother had been chosen as trustee. If the case had ever got through the court there would be no problem having the man replaced. “I thought you couldn’t marry without your uncle’s permission.”

She straightened her back and shoulders. “Once I am three and twenty, which is not many weeks away, I may marry whomever I choose, and it will not be Gawain.”

No, but Kit was not so green that he didn’t know very well it would be him she must wed. Her being at Rose Hill could not be kept a secret forever, particularly with Lady Bellamny’s goddaughter knowing. “It seems to me if you met the right man, he wouldn’t care about your money.”

Ella Quinn’s bachelors do as they like and take what they want. But when the objects of their desire are bold, beautiful women, the rules of the game always seem to change…

Handsome, charming, and heir to a powerful Viscount, Christopher “Kit” Featherton is everything a woman could want—except interested in marriage. So when he hears that someone on his estate near the Scottish border is claiming to be his wife, Kit sets off to investigate.

Since her parents’ death, Lady Mary Tolliver has been hounded by her cousin, a fortune-hunting fool after her inheritance. Refusing to settle for anything less than love, Mary escapes to the isolated estate of rakish bachelor, Kit Featherton. Knowing he prefers Court to the country, she believes she will be safe. But when Kit unexpectedly returns, her pretend marriage begins to feel seductively real…  

Bestselling author Ella Quinn’s studies and other jobs have always been on the serious side. Reading historical romances, especially Regencies, were her escape. Eventually her love of historical novels led her to start writing them. She has just finished her first series, The Marriage Game, and her new series will start in April 2016.

She is married to her wonderful husband of over thirty years. They have a son and granddaughter, one cat and a dog. After living in the South Pacific, Central America, North Africa, England and Europe, she and her husband decided to make their dreams come true and are now living on a sailboat cruising the Caribbean and North America.

Ella is a member of the Romance Writers of American, The Beau Monde and Hearts Through History. She is represented by Elizabeth Pomada of Larsen-Pomada Literary Agency, and published by Kensington.




Blog http://ellaquinnauthor.wordpresscom




You’ve discovered your character’s need, and potential their want, which is a false goal. You’ve learned about the four types of obstacles that can obstruct your character on the way to achieving their goals and filling their need. Now, to build a heart-pounding story where you send your character through the toughest obstacle course you can imagine, you should map out a blueprint for the course.

4 Elements of a Story


Primary character looking to fill the void in their life.


A false goal that the hero/heroine initially believes is their path to wholeness.


One of the four obstacles opposing the hero/heroine.


The true goal of the hero/heroine which will satisfy their void.



Antagonist example

In the Cinderella adaptation Ever After, Danielle (heroine) works tirelessly to gain acceptance (want) from her stepmother (antagonist) until she realizes her family of friends, including the Prince, love her unconditionally (need).

Physical example

In The Little Mermaid adaptation Splash, yes I went there!, Madison (heroine) leaves the sea to be with Allen (want) but when her legs get wet and her fins come back (obstacle) she’s forced to tell Allen the truth of her existence in the hopes that he’ll come and spend forever with her under the sea (need).

Inner/Psychological example

In the unconventional fairy tale Shrek, Princess Fiona (heroine) hopes to be rescued by a knight in shining armor (want) who will break her curse (obstacle) until she realizes that true love is “color” blind (need).

Mystic Forces example

In The Frog Prince, Tiana (heroine) dreams of opening a restaurant (want) but her dream takes a slight detour when she’s turned into a frog (obstacle) along with Prince Naveen and learns to seek and take help from others (need).


Now its your turn. Fill out your own obstacle card for you story. If you want to take it a step farther, fill out a card for each scene! 




Trained as a Pleasure Hound and now surviving by selling his body to rich women, Jaspir’s heart has always remained loyal to Lady Merlyn. When Merlyn’s fiance, Liam, approaches Jaspir for help in ensuring her happiness in the bedroom, Jaspir agrees to train Liam in the pleasure arts. What starts as rivals in an uneasy truce, soon turns carnal when Merlyn learns of their secret lessons and iis torn between the attentions of two men who would do anything to rule her heart.

Amazon Purchase Lin      Goodreads     Facebook     Twitter    Website     Publisher



Ines writes books for strong women who suck at love. If you rocked out to the twisted triangle of Jem, Jericha, and Rio as a girl; if you were slayed by vampires with souls alongside Buffy; if you need your scandalous fix from Olivia Pope each week, then you’ll love her books!

Aside from being a writer, professional reader, and teacher, Ines is a very bad Buddhist. She sits in sangha each week, and while others are meditating and getting their zen on, she’s contemplating how to use the teachings to strengthen her plots and character motivations.

Ines lives outside Washington, DC with her two little sidekicks who are growing up way too fast.

PB launch celebration of THE BOOK OF LIFE w/ great goodies giveaway!


Manic Readers is happy to be a part of the PB launch celebration for A BOOK OF LIFE to be released May 26th. Thanks to Emma, as part of that celebration MR has a signed copy of Diana’s commonplace book and All Souls alchemical buttons (six different designs) for give away (Sorry, U.S. only).   Keep reading to discover how to enter.

CommonplaceSpreadMockUp2SHADOW buttons

Q: A Discovery of Witches begins with Diana Bishop stumbling across a lost, enchanted manuscript called Ashmole 782 in Oxford’s Bodleian Library, and the secrets contained in the manuscript are at long last revealed in THE BOOK OF LIFE. You had a similar experience while you were completing your dissertation.  What was the story behind your discovery?  And how did it inspire the creation of these novels?

I did discover a manuscript—not an enchanted one, alas—in the Bodleian Library. It was a manuscript owned by Queen Elizabeth’s astrologer, the mathematician and alchemist John Dee. In the 1570s and 1580s he became interested in using a crystal ball to talk to angels. The angels gave him all kinds of instructions on how to manage his life at home, his work—they even told him to pack up his family and belongings and go to far-away Poland and Prague. In the conversations, Dee asked the angels about a mysterious book in his library called “the Book of Soyga” or “Aldaraia.” No one had ever been able to find it, even though many of Dee’s other books survive in libraries throughout the world. In the summer of 1994 I was spending time in Oxford between finishing my doctorate and starting my first job. It was a wonderfully creative time, since I had no deadlines to worry about and my dissertation on Dee’s angel conversations was complete. As with most discoveries, this discovery of a “lost” manuscript was entirely accidental. I was looking for something else in the Bodleian’s catalogue and in the upper corner of the page was a reference to a book called “Aldaraia.” I knew it couldn’t be Dee’s book, but I called it up anyway. And it turned out it WAS the book (or at least a copy of it). With the help of the Bodleian’s Keeper of Rare Books, I located another copy in the British Library.  

Q: Are there other lost books like this in the world?

Absolutely! Entire books have been written about famous lost volumes—including works by Plato, Aristotle, and Shakespeare to name just a few. Libraries are full of such treasures, some of them unrecognized and others simply misfiled or mislabeled. And we find lost books outside of libraries, too. In January 2006, a completely unknown manuscript belonging to one of the 17th century’s most prominent scientists, Robert Hooke, was discovered when someone was having the contents of their house valued for auction. The manuscript included minutes of early Royal Society meetings that we presumed were lost forever.  

Q: Shadow of Night and A Discovery of Witches have often been compared to young adult fantasy like Twilight, with the caveat that this series is for adults interested in history, science, and academics. Unlike Bella and Edward, Matthew and Diana are card-carrying members of academia who meet in the library of one of the most prestigious universities in the world. Are these characters based on something you found missing in the fantasy genre?  

There are a lot of adults reading young adult books, and for good reason. Authors who specialize in the young adult market are writing original, compelling stories that can make even the most cynical grownups believe in magic. In writing A Discovery of Witches, I wanted to give adult readers a world no less magical, no less surprising and delightful, but one that included grown-up concerns and activities. These are not your children’s vampires and witches.

Here’s a taste of the audio books.. THE BOOK OF LIFE, SHADOW OF NIGHT, &  A DISCOVERY OF WITCHES. All read by Jennifer Ikeda. You can also check out Deborah’s Spotify Playlist for THE BOOK OF LIFE. Some of the artists are familiar and others are new but the music shares an enchanting quality…

How can you enter to win the above pictured goodies?  Tell us, do you prefer your fantasy adult based or are you more of a fan of the young and new adult fiction and why? Good luck!

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Deborah Harkness is the NY Times bestselling author of the All Souls Trilogy (A DISCOVERY OF WITCHES, SHADOW OF NIGHT, & THE BOOK OF LIFE). A history professor at the University of Southern California, she’s received Fulbright, Guggenheim, and National Humanities Center fellowships. She’s also published works on the history of science, magic, and alchemy.



Last week we learned that characters have holes that only ‘needs’ can fill. Before a character can see their need, they have to yearn after a want, which takes them on a bumpy ride to nowhere.

This obstacle course consists of four physical and/or internal complications that force the hero or heroine to make decisions that produce dramatic action.

The four kinds of obstacles are:

The Antagonist (Bad Guy)

A specific antagonist lends clarity and power to the dramatic structure because his primary function is to oppose the protagonist. He doesn’t necessarily have to be evil, but he should personify the protagonist’s obstacles.

Example: Cinderella’s Wicked Step Mother

Physical Obstructions

Physical obstructions are just what they seem –material barriers standing in the way of the protagonist. These can be rivers, deserts, mountains, a dead-end street, or a car causing a crash –anything that presents a substantial obstacle for the protagonist.

Example: Arielle’s fin

Inner/Psychological Problems

Inner obstacles are intellectual, emotional, or psychological problems the protagonist must overcome before being able to achieve his goal. For example, dealing with fear, pride, jealousy, or the need to mature fall into this category.

Example: Fiona’s (from Shrek) appearance

Mystic Forces

Mystic forces enter most stories as accidents or chance but they can be expressed as moral choices or ethical codes, which present obstacles. They can also be personified as gods or supernatural forces, which the characters have to content with.

Example: Tiana’s (from The Frog Prince) magical transformation into a frog


Which of these obstacles will your character face? Will they face more than one type of obstacle during the course of the story?

Next week, we’ll put it all together -the character, need, and obstacle- into a scene card.




Trained as a Pleasure Hound and now surviving by selling his body to rich women, Jaspir’s heart has always remained loyal to Lady Merlyn. When Merlyn’s fiance, Liam, approaches Jaspir for help in ensuring her happiness in the bedroom, Jaspir agrees to train Liam in the pleasure arts. What starts as rivals in an uneasy truce, soon turns carnal when Merlyn learns of their secret lessons and iis torn between the attentions of two men who would do anything to rule her heart.

Amazon Purchase Lin      Goodreads     Facebook     Twitter    Website     Publisher



Ines writes books for strong women who suck at love. If you rocked out to the twisted triangle of Jem, Jericha, and Rio as a girl; if you were slayed by vampires with souls alongside Buffy; if you need your scandalous fix from Olivia Pope each week, then you’ll love her books!

Aside from being a writer, professional reader, and teacher, Ines is a very bad Buddhist. She sits in sangha each week, and while others are meditating and getting their zen on, she’s contemplating how to use the teachings to strengthen her plots and character motivations.

Ines lives outside Washington, DC with her two little sidekicks who are growing up way too fast.


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My thoughts….3.5 stars
First impressions are a big deal and frankly, Evie Rosen’s left a lot to be desired. She came across as self absorbed, envious, and in
many ways that matter most, a poor friend. However, this is her book so I was hopeful because not liking the protagonist makes for a long torturous book.
Then two major life events prompt a beyond ridiculously connected Evie to give up smart phones, Facebook, Instagram, and even her
computer.  Evie disconnects completely, and after her withdrawal wanes, begins to discover a whole world out there just waiting to be explored.
It’s easy to get sucked into the illusions created by Facebook and other sites. Evie cyberstalks exes and constantly checks email, likes, etc. She’s connected 24/7. When Evie is forced to see she has a problem, inspiring the decision to disconnect, my interest became fully engaged. Up to that point I was struggling.
Will Evie be able bridge the distance, reconnect with friends and family, and clear up the misunderstandings and misperceptions
developed when she had her face stuck in a blackberry or computer constantly? Will she be able to have a romantic relationship without the assistance of Google?
LOVE AND MISS COMMUNICATION is an engaging modern cautionary tale about how easy it is to miss out on a real life when you become a slave to social media and the narrow electronic windows on the world created by being electronically leashed. As a reader who remembers life before the internet, much less social media, Evie’s journey to discover, “Is there life without always being connected?” was refreshing. In all honesty, considering how many usually ignore each other in favor of their phones, it’s one more people should consider taking.


 Amazon    B&N      Indiebound

Book Synopsis: An instant bestseller when it was first published in 1987, The Shell Seekers is an enduring classic which has touched the hearts of millions of readers worldwide.  A novel of connection, it is the story of one family, and of the passions and heartbreak that have held them together for three generations. It is filled with real people–mothers and daughters, husband and lovers–and inspired with real values.  Now for the first time in trade paperback, this magical novel—the kind of reading experience that comes along only once in a long while—is the perfect summer read, whether you are returning to it again, or opening the cover for the first time.

At the end of a long and useful life, Penelope Keeling’s prized possession is The Shell Seekers, painted by her father, and symbolizing her unconventional life, from bohemian childhood to wartime romance. When her grown children learn their grandfather’s work is now worth a fortune, each has an idea as to what Penelope should do. But as she recalls the passions, tragedies, and secrets of her life, she knows there is only one answer…and it lies in her heart.

Author Info: ROSAMUNDE PILCHER has had a long and distinguished career as a novelist and short-story writer, but it was her phenomenally successful novel The Shell Seekers that captured the hearts of all who read it and won her international recognition as one of the most-loved storytellers of our time.  The Shell Seekers was followed by September and then by Coming Home and Winter Solstice, which also became worldwide bestsellers.  She lives in Perthshire, Scotland.


For centuries, Cole Shilo has mourned the loss of his wife, Mianna, and drowned himself in his work as Head Sentinel of
Cornerstone Deep. But when he is sent to harvest a second-class woman who has broken curfew, her soul calls out to him. His
response couldn’t have been worst timed. The Lords and the Gods are not happy.

Rebirth isn’t possible on Cornerstone Deep…

Is it?

My life is a mirage of endless time. But you engulf me, rivet my mind, encompass my soul.”

Cole unstopped the slender vial and gently lifted Anna’s head to administer the potion. As he carefully tipped the container to her lips, tremors traveled down his forearms. His hands quaked. The amber liquid jumped to the brim and he quickly tilted it upright. Gods, Cole, control yourself. She needs every drop.

A soft palm rested on his wrist and Cole’s gaze shot to Elaina’s. When had she returned and how did he not pick up on the strong compassion emitting from her when she had? Her blue eyes looked deep into his, understanding with a touch of sadness. “Let me do that, Cole. You’ve been through enough.”

He wasn’t sure if the tremors were from anticipating a fortunate outcome or from sheer anxiety over the whole ordeal, but he accepted her tender attention as a blessing. Vincent’s intervention with her was evident. He watched as she patiently poured small measures into Anna’s mouth.

Elaina turned to Cole and lifted the emptied container. “Well, that’s it. She got it all.”

He sighed. “Thank you.”

“Anything, Cole.” She smiled and set the vial on the bed stand. “What about you? Can I get you a drink? It might calm you some.”

Nodding, he offered a small smile.

“Good, then. I’ll be right back.”

As she closed the door behind her, Cole eased himself onto the bed. “Don’t give up, Anna.” His faint words were swallowed by the silence of the room. “I’ll fix this and see to it nothing ever happens to you again.” Brushing his fingertips over her hair, he solemnly whispered a plea. “Don’t leave me.”

Her soft locks sent countless memories rushing through his mind—her smile, cheeky comments, blue eyes dancing as if life itself was a game. Her Arylinite spirit embraced every moment of love, able to see beneath façades that others deemed as truth. He sighed, knowing that side of her may have been unique to that lifetime—a result of her specialized upbringing in the Arylin colony of the northern territory.

He tilted his head and gazed over her still face. Her features were remarkably similar to Mianna’s. The gentle slope of her nose, the way she chose to wear her dark hair long, and he couldn’t deny her blue eyes when she’d looked at him. He cupped her cheek with his hand, gently stroking her lips with his thumb. They curved from a bow-tie center into a natural smile. So soft. Inviting. He leaned to her and lightly kissed them, then leaned his cheek to hers.

“Talk to me, Anna.” His breath was a plea. As much as he knew no answer would come, his heart called to her with his deepest wish.

He brushed his fingers down her neck to her chest, tenderly caressing her pale skin at the neckline of her gown. A strained pause caught his throat as he lightly followed her breast to her ribcage. “What’s in your heart?”

The tiny circles he drew on the thin fabric fed his longing for her touch. Supple creases followed his motion. To have her arms around him, the love they brought, had given him unmitigated comfort in a past life. It could be so again.

“My life was yours.” He kissed the circles he created. “Every moment, I found joy in you.”

He looked at her closed eyes. “Please, don’t leave me. Please promise you’ll be mine again.”

No emotion showed upon the visage of his love, but distant echoes of vows lighted his soul.

Open to me.” He wondered if his whispered thought could possibly reach her unconscious mind. “Speak to me with your soul.”

Her lips parted and a chill flew through him. He waited, listened intently. Weak sensations touched his senses. “Anna,” he said aloud, hope rising. He cupped his palm to her cheek again. “Fight for it. Call to me.”

Anna remained silent.

Cole’s heart ached. Yet, that small reaction spurred his resolve. He framed her face as he lowered to take her lips with his. “I’ll help you.”

The scent of licorice and cream fell from his lips as he called on his Breath of Zephyr. His soul’s voice owned his words. “My life is a mirage of endless time. But you engulf me, rivet my mind, encompass my soul.”

She inhaled his sensual gift and gasped for deeper intake.

Yes. Hope impossibly filled him. His muscles tightened with expectation. His heart pounded against his chest. “Call to me!”

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Charlene A. Wilson is an author
of tales that take you to other dimensions. She weaves magic, lasting
love, and intrigue to immerse you into the lives of her characters.

She began writing in her early teens when her vivid dreams stayed
with her long after she had them. The characters and worlds were so
amazing she brought them to life through her books.

Charlene resides in a small community in Arkansas, USA, with her
two beautiful daughters, husband, a cuddly Pekingese, and a very
chatty cockatiel named Todder.

Author site   Blog     FB    Twitter    Goodreads    LinkedIn


 My thoughts….4.5 stars

Mellie (Melinda Smithson) is a blue stocking with a penchant for science and has a muslin bleaching formula and cosmetic cream under her belt. But Mellie wants more. She wants the money from her cream sales in her name only (so not done and seriously, what a scandalous thought), freedom and independence (such dangerous desires, is it her mother’s madness coming out?) to marry for love (and that vehemently excludes her cousin Ronnie). Mellie wants the picket fence, 2.5 kids, and pet. When she looks at Trevor’s scheme it’s logically sound and on the surface seems to be the answer to both their dilemmas. Problem is once emotions are brought into play logic tends to fly out the window.
Trevor comes to Mr. Smithson and Mellie’s home to escape, creditors mainly, after being cut off by his grandfather. Mellie’s desperation to escape marriage to Ronnie and be the mistress of her own fortune and future sets his mental wheels aturnin’ and everything becomes crystal clear….He and Mellie can help each other attain their goals, easy peasy. Since they really don’t even like each other, parting and breaking the engagement once each has obtained their objective will be simple and allow Mellie to save face. As a gentleman he can do nothing less, after all, it is part of his code.

What was it Burns said? “The best laid schemes of mice and men…..”

50 WAYS TO RUIN A RAKE is my first Jade Lee. If I had to try and encapsulate Mellie and Trevor’s pothole filled path in one word it would have to be effervescent. Reading is the perfect entertainment. It also educates, elucidates, illuminates, and my personal favorite, provides an escape from life’s stresses.
50 WAYS TO RUIN A RAKE was the perfect read at the perfect time for me. Snappy and clever applies not only to the dialog but the plot and characters too. The madcap misadventures of Mellie and Trevor sparkled and brought me much needed levity. Intelligent humor, or at least my definition of it, isn’t always thick on the ground so it’s always gratifying to discover it, especially by happenstance. If this is an unusual departure for Ms. Lee my fingers and toes are crossed that she plans to make it habitual…….I’m still grinning.

FAKING IT by Leah Marie Brown


Vivia Grant couldn’t be happier. She has her dream job and is about to marry her dream man. Does it really matter that she’s led him to believe she’s a virgin? After all, being in love makes every experience feel like the first time anyway! But an unexpected encounter with an ex-lover is about to expose her embarrassing lie…

When Vivia’s fiancé discovers the truth, he ends their engagement—via text—and uses his connections to get her fired. Unemployed and heartbroken, Vivia begins planning her new future—as a homeless spinster. But her best friend has a better idea. They’ll skip the Ben & Jerry’s binge and go on Vivia’s honeymoon instead. Two weeks cycling through Provence and Tuscany, with Luc de Caumont, a sexy French bike guide. Too bad Vivia’s not a big fan of biking. And she’s abysmal at languages. Will she fib her way through the adventure, or finally learn to love herself—and Luc—flaws and all?

“What do you mean you think the wedding is off?”
I barely open the door before Fanny rushes in, an impeccable vision in knee high black leather boots and a fuchsia Burberry trench. She takes one look at my puffy, tear-streaked face, shrugs out of her trench, and engulfs me in a hug. I must look a wreck because Fanny is not a hugger.
“Tell me what happened, ma chérie.”
We stop hugging and snake our way through a labyrinth of packing boxes until we locate my couch. Fanny sits with her legs crossed, hands folded in her lap, while I assume a fetal position, knees tucked under my chin, a wad of soggy Kleenex clutched in my hand.
Fanny waits patiently until I begin my story.
“I met Nathan at Snob tonight.”
Snob is this super swank wine bar/art gallery in the Mission District. Each month they feature the work of a different local artist. One month, marionettes hung from the ceiling, and the next month, mixed media collages depicting the conflicting patterns found in nature, chaos versus order, covered the walls. I don’t really like wine all that much, but Snob has this hip, laid back vibe that stimulates my creativity. And they serve the best tapas. Nathan thinks the artwork is “weird” and the tapas overrated, but he waxes poetic about Snob’s impressive selection of wines. As I see it, Snob is the perfect place for us.

Leah Marie Brown has worked as a journalist and photographer. An avid traveler, she has had adventures and mishaps from Paris to Tokyo. She doesn’t buy cheesy tee-shirts or useless bric-a-brac, but prefers friendships and memories as souvenirs from her travels. She lives a bike ride away from the white sand beaches of Florida’s Emerald Coast with her husband, children, and pampered poodles. She is hard at work on the next novel in The It Girls series, but loves to hear from readers. Please visit her website at Follow Vivia on Twitter @Chic_Traveler and Pinterest as Vivia Perpetual Grant, Perpetual Virgin.


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