It's over a year since I signed the contract for Lily's Leap, my first Australian historical romance so to see it available on Amazon was very, very exciting! A big thank you to the people who have reviewed it! You can read the reviews on Goodreads and Amazon I'd love you to add it to your TBR pile if you would like to indulge in a romantic romp through the nineteenth century! Here's a little taster for your Téa Time Treat!
Born into the privileged society of the squattocracy, Lilibeth Dungarven finds herself married, widowed and back under her father’s thumb all before her 21st birthday - a position this feisty and independent young woman fiercely resents. When she finally persuades her father to let her accompany a shipment of horses to Sydney, with the added promise of her stallion winning at the Windsor races she believes that her life is finally on the right track. That is until she is bailed up by a band of bushrangers who are intent on stealing her horses and holding her to ransom - a ransom her father is not prepared to pay.
Amazon.com Amazon.uk Lyrical Press iTunes
Lily could see the pale ribbon of road below cutting through the trees and the bright blue expanse of sky wide-open in front of her.
“Nero. You can do it,” she whispered into his sleek, shiny neck and he snorted in response. Her thigh muscles burned as she tightened her grasp on his flanks. His muscles tensed in response, attuned to her body. She gritted her teeth and willed her shaking hands to steady. “We can do this, Nero. We have to.” Her heart hammered so hard in her chest she thought it might leap right over the culvert and down the hill ahead of them.
With barely a moment’s hesitation she dug her heels into the stallion’s flanks and urged him down the hill. The last trees cleared and the sudden heat of the sun stung her face, then she crouched low over Nero’s neck. The clatter of his hooves on the sandstone surface told her they had reached the road. The blood raced through her veins, pulsing in her ears, a violent and excruciating pounding raged through her body.
“Stop.” Tom’s command echoed around her as the blocks of the convict hewn, sandstone walls reared ahead of her. Surely it wasn’t such a huge jump for a horse like Nero?
She leaned forward in the saddle and her cheek brushed the dampness of his neck. Time slowed. With her eyes squeezed tightly shut she sucked in a great gulp of air and clenched her teeth tightly together. Nero lifted into the air. His muscles bunched beneath her and he flew over the chiseled blocks and down the slope. Her knees gripped the saddle and she dragged the reins almost vertical as they plunged down. Tufts of wiry grass and small rocks littered the route. She flinched as Nero’s hooves crashed across them. Gasping in a quick breath, she prayed for the terrain to level off.
Her lungs contracted like bellows and what little air remained, whistled out through her pursed lips. Nero tensed and she shuddered as he stumbled and then regained his balance. Her heart leapt to her throat and her wrists twisted as she wrenched on the reins to slow him. He quivered to a halt. Silver spots danced in front of her eyes and she gulped in a breath to feed her starving lungs. Nero’s muscled body trembled and quaked beneath her and white froth flecked his muzzle.
“We did it, darling Nero. We did it.” The salty tang of his body filled her nostrils as she leaned over his neck murmuring endearments. She swayed with exertion and forced her rubbery muscles to respond as she squinted into the sunlight. Figures on horseback towered above her, stalled on the road. She had an overwhelming urge to wave her hand and shriek in triumph.
But she resisted; this was her opportunity and she had no time to waste. She cut away to the right praying her memory of the maps was correct as she searched for the track leading her to Laguna.
“Lil-eee. Lil-eee.” Tom’s call bounced off the sandstone walls. Shading her eyes with her hand she stared back toward the culvert wall. It was empty.
“Lil-eee. Lil-eee.” The sorrowful echo reached her, resounding somewhere deep in her gut. Her sweat-soaked curls clung to her face as she shook her head, raging at her ridiculous foolishness. After such an exhilarating and successful leap for freedom why did she suddenly feel so melancholy? Her heels bruised Nero’s flanks and she urged him away in a fast canter.
To celebrate ANZAC day Jenny Schwartz is my Téa Time Treat! I hope she bought some Anzac biscuits too!
Thanks for stopping by Jenny, please tell us about your Aussie ANZAC day story.
Memories of Love is a short romance written for Anzac Day. It celebrates one of the day’s great themes: mateship. Aussies are there for one another in the tough times.
Anzac Day is the day Australians remember those who fought and died for our country and for peace. If you’re ever in Perth, Western Australia (the setting for Memories of Love), you must visit Kings Park. The war memorial there has a stunning outlook over the city. But personally, even more than the memorial, I love the lines of old, tall trees planted to remember those who died in battle.
This is the view of Perth from Kings Park on a rare cloudy day.
Memories of Love
In a style reminiscent of Robyn Carr, an intensely emotional story about taking chances and risking your heart.
When her family home burns down, it’s the final heartbreak for Rita Jorden who has already lost her parents. Her boss, former SAS captain and head of Tamerlane Security, Ivan Novak, steps in, offering her his home and his help. But Ivan has his own demons, and although he’s interested in Rita, there’s darkness in his past that could cause her harm. Thrown together into a situation that’s too close for comfort, this story can only end in one of two ways: in the destruction of Rita’s dreams of love — or the gift of healing and hope to two damaged survivors.
“We’ll contain the fire, but we can’t save your house."
Rita nodded. Part of her had been mourning it since she stumbled out of bed. There would be no recovering from this. Her mobile rang and she blinked to realise she still held it.
It was instinct to answer.
“Rita, I need you to come into the office. An emergency.” Ivan Novak, her boss, owner and chief executive officer of Tamerlane Security.
Late night calls were always emergencies.
Rita cleared her throat, feeling the harsh pain of the smoke she’d swallowed. “Ivan.”
“Did I wake you?” A touch of amusement lightened his voice. “You sound croaky.”
“My house is on fire.”
Heads turned as his voice exploded from the mobile.
Buy links for Memories of Love are available from the Escape Publishing website.
Jenny Schwartz is a West Australian author and the daughter of a Vietnam Veteran. Anzac Day has a special meaning for her and she hopes Memories of Love shares with you the day’s message of courage, love and the celebration of mateship.
Georgie can run but she can't hide from the man who stalks her dreams and throws her ordered life into a tailspin.
Emotional entanglement is not on Georgie Martin's to do list. She has turned her back on her sophisticated Sydney lifestyle, determined to renovate her parents old flower farm and her shattered ego. However the challenges prove more than she bargained for until a madcap scheme comes to fruition and The Protea Boys are born. The team of efficient, well-tapered six-packs solve her farming problems, but their leader presents a different kind of challenge—their first spark of attraction ignites a passion she cannot ignore.
Tom Morgan likes his women “pretty and entertaining,” not “efficient and driven," but the threat of being co-opted as a wine waiter or worse, chef in his brother’s restaurant encourages him to take up what he sees as the highly amusing challenge of managing The Protea Boys. It is the perfect distraction while he waits for a new assignment—or so he thinks until he realizes he has found the one woman he cannot run away from.
Digital Edition: $4.99 | ISBN: 978-1-77101-991- 0 | Length: 49,000 words |
Publication Date: May 3, 2013 | PDF – MOBI – EPUB |
A nonchalant silhouette leaning against the side of the black four-wheel drive came into view. Tall and lean, with an Akubra pulled down shadowing his eyes and arms folded across his chest. As Georgie slammed to a halt, he pushed his hat back and winked at her.
"What are you doing here?" she snapped. It was a trick. Hillary had played a huge trick on her.
"Good morning, Georgina."
His laconic drawl made the hairs on her arms prickle, and his gaze ran up and down the length of her body; she stopped herself from rubbing her arms just in time. At least six feet four inches of pure muscle and screaming masculinity. The mere sight of him made her hackles rise. This was not one of her ridiculous dreams. She groped around, trying to find something to say, but he offered no help, just kept looking her up and down, waiting patiently.
"I didn't know it was you," she managed to splutter.
"You didn't know what was me?" he said, green eyes sparkling at her. She wanted to slap the ridiculous, audacious grin off his face. He was enjoying every moment of her discomfort.
"Hillary didn't say it was you." She ground the words out between her gritted teeth.
"Hillary didn't exactly say it was you either—but I guessed."
The whole conversation, if you could call it that, got more idiotic by the moment.
Take control. I have to take control.
Blood pounded somewhere inside her head. "So you're here to work, not just making a social call?" She narrowed her eyes, unable to be civil.
"I'm under the impression I'm starting work today. Hillary said you were expecting me, and I should turn up at seven o'clock this morning." He stared pointedly at his watch, accentuating his deliciously muscled forearm. " It's five to, by my reckoning."
"I didn't know it was you." Georgie's brain had stuck, like an old, scratched CD, the phrase stuttered in her head, and she couldn't stop it falling out of her mouth. "I didn't know it was you. Hillary said your name was Morgan."
"It is. Morgan, Tom Morgan." He enunciated the words as though she had a limited command of English.
In a vain attempt to restrain the recurring urge to hit him, Georgie clenched her fists.
"Remember? I introduced myself after our little adventure with the wombat last week."
How could she forget? She involuntarily moved her finger to her lips, unsure for a moment if her memory of his kiss was real or not, but the glimmer in his eye assured her it was, and she pulled her hand from her face and stuffed it into her pocket.
"Then we spoke on the phone."
"Yes. I remember. It's just I didn't know it was you Hillary had interviewed."
You're burbling, talking nonsense.
Hillary had said his name was Morgan, and she hadn't put two and two together. She dreamed—not dreamed, no, he didn't need to know about her dreams—of him as Tom.
Tom of the predatory green eyes with tawny flecks.
Mr. Leopard Eyes who was watching her with a deal more than a glint of amusement. She sucked in a deep breath and exhaled, enjoying the exasperated puffing sound escaping her lips. Her flesh shivered despite the warmth in her face.
"I can go if you like. It's not a problem. I was looking forward to the job. Thought it would be a challenge working for two lovely ladies."
That's it. That's done it. The patronizing sexist.
She clenched her teeth to prevent the words escaping. Sometime in the not-too-distant future she would explain to this man that she was running the business and she employed him—not the other way around. She'd played this game before, and she had no intention of falling into the trap again.
It's funny the conversations you get into. I was talking to Deborah Challinor - author of Behind the Sun and other amazing historical novels and discovered she had a bit of a thing for 'boots' which then led to all things historical as it does with Deb...I couldn't resist asking a few questions...
HOW MANY PAIRS OF BOOTS DO YOU OWN?
Er, well, ten, actually. Not counting the pair on its way in the mail as we blog. Online shopping is a terrible thing. And 17 pairs of shoes (which I think is quite reasonable), and five pairs of sneakers.
DO YOU INDULGE THIS FETISH IN YOUR WRITING?
Well, I would like to, but a lot of my books are set in the 19th century, and shoes then didn’t have quite the same status as an accessory as they do now, because they were seldom seen. Also, many of my characters come from the lower end of the socio-economic scale, so they don’t have the money to prance about in fancy footwear. And even when they do, sometimes they choose not to.
In Girl of Shadows, out later this year and the sequel to Behind the Sun, prostitute Friday Woolfe is told by her boss to smarten herself up. She does, but isn’t particularly thrilled with her new clothes...
‘Friday sat on the bed, untied the ribbons on her delicate suede pumps, inspected the damage and tossed them into a corner. It was ridiculous: they were new on today to go with her striped blue dress and were ruined already from traipsing around streets full of potholes and stones and horseshit. Why she couldn’t just wear her comfortable, black leather lace-up boots she didn’t know.’
HAVE YOU RESEARCHED NINETEENTH CENTURY FOOTWEAR FOR YOUR BOOKS?
I have. Footwear worn regularly, particularly during the early 19th century, hasn’t lasted, so there aren’t that many extant examples of everyday shoes. Why would there be? I don’t keep the crappy old runners I wear around the house once they’ve fallen apart, and people in the 19th century didn’t either. Online, however, and in books on fashion, there are quite a few images of ‘best’ shoes. Check out Pinterest and various museum collections.
Up to around 1825-ish well-heeled (excuse the pun) women generally wore pointed-toed slippers of soft leather or fabric, with a very low, or no, heel. By 1830 the square toe was in, and button and occasionally lace-up boots had became popular – to preserve modesty as wider, swinging skirts revealed more ankle. Heels remained low until around the 1860s-70s, when you started to get a bit of height. Poor and/or working class women tended to wear heavy and practical lace-up boots, or clogs. They were cheaper, lasted longer and tolerated dirty streets, mud and factory floors. Not terribly elegant, though. A bit like 19th century Crocs.
I knew you would be a mine of information Deb! I'm off to count the number of pairs of boots I have in my cupboard...I am however very proud to say I do not own any Crocs, but I do have a much loved pair of Doc Martins! Meanwhile check out Behind the Sun. I loved it and I can't wait for Girl of Shadows!
Image Victoria and Albert Museum, London
BEHIND THE SUN
(HarperCollins Publishers Australia, 2012)
Irreverent and streetwise prostitute Friday Woolfe is in London's notorious Newgate Gaol, awaiting transportation. There, she meets three other girls: intelligent and opportunistic thief Sarah Morgan, naive young Rachel Winter, and reliable and capable seamstress Harriet Clarke.
On the voyage to New South Wales their friendship becomes an unbreakable bond - but there are others on board who will change their lives forever. Friday makes an implacable enemy of Bella Jackson, a vicious woman whose power seems undiminished by her arrest and transportation, while Harriet is taken under the wing of an idealistic doctor, James Downey. Rachel catches the eye of a sinister passenger with more than honour on his mind.
When they finally arrive on the other side of the world, they are confined to the grim and overcrowded Parramatta Female Factory. But worse is to come as the threat of separation looms. In the land behind the sun, the only thing they have is each other ...
Amazon buy link: Behind-the-Sun
http://facebook.com/friday.woolfe.9 (profile page)
Hi Tea - and thanks for inviting me back!
Great to see you here again Zara. How's things on the other side of the globe?
Right now it’s cold and miserable here in the UK and I’d love to be over where you are. But, although I’m always keen to go off in search of the sun, there are some part of the UK that I love, and Cornwall, where Good Enough to Trust is set, is one of them. The story is about Sophie ‘Going back’ – but it gave me a chance to revisit a gorgeous place as well. (Oh, if only the sun would shine…)
I love Cornwall, but most specifically the north Cornish coastline around Tintagel and Padstow. There is a huge contrast between the villages and towns, but for me it’s all about the dramatic coastline, and the mystical, magical air of the place.
I’ve spent more hours than I’ll admit to in the tiny shops, finding out about the gemstones and the qualities they are supposed to hold, persuading my son that he really doesn’t need a life size replica of an Arthurian sword, and dragging him out for long walks exploring the region that is synonymous with King Arthur. (Magic is a great lever for getting kids out and about!)
Exploring the coast always does a brilliant job of knotting up and frizzing (yup, both!) my long curly hair – windblown is a mild way of putting it – but it’s worth it! For me, there’s a certain magic about the costal path, the way you turn a corner and suddenly reach the castle at Tintagel, and I think the wild weather adds to it! The waves are often crashing against the rocks, the wind whipping up the surf as seals bob about by the beach, and quite often there is a mist that coupled with the high hedges down the Cornish lanes makes the whole place mysterious.
I also love the legend of King Arthur – even if you don’t buy into it, the castle is an impressive place, and you can walk down to the tiny beach and explore the cave that could have once been lived in by Merlin – there’s certainly a romance that appeals to the writer in me. Where’s my knight in shining armour?
Sophie does more than just visit the dramatic coast though. For me the real heart of the region lies a short way inland, where you can walk along paths through the trees that pilgrim’s once followed, explore the ruins of churches, soak in the atmosphere – imagine the faeries and nymphs at the waterfall, and the knights riding through the natural beauty of the woods….
Well, it isn’t exactly sun-bathing weather in Cornwall yet, so I’m off to Barcelona for the weekend (which is where my other new release is set!) – it’s hard work this research business, and I’m going to have to drink wine, eat tapas, sit in the sun….
See you soon!
Thanks for dropping by. Have a fantastic time and don't work too hard on the research! Anyone who hasn't experienced the magic that is Cornwall I recommend a quick trip!
GOOD ENOUGH TO TRUST (Good Enough, Book 2 – Going Back)
An erotic romance, including menage, M/F/M and sex outdoors.
Do you trust the boy you loved, or the man you might?
Sophie has only one thing on her New Year’s resolution list – sorting out her life.
Losing her parents was hard, blaming herself hurt more – but was it really her fault, or was accepting the guilt easier than facing up to the truth?
Retracing her steps was never going to be easy, risking her heart again is even harder - and when there's two men to choose from will it be easier to trust the man she's never stopped loving, or the one that might give her the new start she needs?
Available from - Amazon (UK), Amazon (US)
WHERE TO FIND ZARA WHEN SHE'S NOT BUSY RESEARCHING IN FAR FLUNG PLACES...
Website - http://www.zarastoneley.com
Blog – http://zarastoneley.blogspot.com
Twitter - @zarastoneley
Facebook – http://www.facebook.com/zarastoneley
Amazon author page – http://amazon.com/author/zarastoneley
The wonderful Mina Carter has done it again! Here is the cover for my Ancient Greek novella, A Winning Streak.
It releases on June 14th and I am rather excited. I had such fun writing it.
What do you think of the cover?
Welcome Eva! I am so excited about the release of The Last Gladiatrix. Congratulations. I know writing historical romance requires heaps of research but it sounds as though you have discovered some really interesting beauty tips along the way!
Tell us all about Making up Roman style!
In The Last Gladiatrix the heroine, Xanthe, is a wild warrior woman of the plains who gets mixed up with a nasty Roman General only to find herself in the arms of a sexy Centurion. On the way she ends up in Rome and can’t help but notice the way Roman women dress. It’s very different from how her people, the Sarmatians, dress and groom themselves but perhaps not so different from what we know in the twenty-first century.
Roman women used a type of foundation made from honey and fatty substance, blended a little bit of ceruse which is a white pigment making the skin appear to glow. Not unlike many of the products on the market today promising a “luminous” and youthful look.
Blush in the form of hematite powder would be added and “mascara” would be applied to eyelashes in the form of a stick of coal. Lipstick was unheard of and Roman woman would smear their lips with a variety of stains in a number of colours. Red was as popular then as it is now although it was made from toxic compounds such as red lead and cinnabar (red mercuric sulphide).
Roman women of means did not apply their own makeup or do their own hair; they owned slaves who specialised in the process. The slave girl responsible for the wig collection was called an ornatirix and would spend her morning doing her mistress’ hair and her afternoons tending to the wigs, making sure they were in perfect condition with every curl just right. Roman women wore their wigs on special occasions and at dinner parties giving them that stylish edge over their competitors.
One thing is for certain, Sarmatian women did not share the Roman love of cosmetics, preferring to spend time on horseback either fighting or hunting alongside their men. I can’t imagine Xanthe popping a paste of toasted ants on to her eyelashes to make her eyes appear more alluring, but then you never know! When in Rome...
THE LAST GLADIATRIX BY EVA SCOTT
In the dust and death of the Coliseum, a slave fights for freedom, a soldier fights for his life, and they both fight for the love that has been forbidden.
Captured and enslaved by a Roman legion, Xanthe never expects to end up training for the Coliseum floor, but every night after the day’s march, she is put through her paces by a Roman solider who challenges her, tests her, and excites her.
Titus is drawn to Xanthe, her fire and her spirit, so he breaks one of his rules and brings notice on himself, offering to train her as a gladiatrix to spare her a courtesan’s role. But training her, working with her, soon becomes too much. Titus knows the penalty for taking property that does not belong to him, but how long can he resist?
The flash of her green eyes in the candlelight reminded Titus of the verdant wild forests of Northern Italy, which they had recently left. He rubbed a smear of dirt from her cheek with his thumb, and then taking her hand, he raised Xanthe up to stand. With deliberate, slow movements he unfastened her tunic, letting it fall from her shoulders to pool on the ground at her feet.
Xanthe made no move to stop him, their eyes locked, her fear and trust clear to see. He slid his fingers beneath the waist of her leggings and tugged them down over her hips, leaving her naked, standing there before him.
Titus took a sponge and dipped it into a bowl of warm water, letting it soak before applying it to Xanthe’s flesh. He washed her with firm yet gentle strokes, and as the water ran over her skin it dripped deliciously from her breasts. The centurion bent his head and licked at a droplet, pleased to feel her shudder in response. Her nipple hardened, inviting him to explore further. He needed no invitation. Xanthe had to summon all her self-discipline to stand still while Titus explored the curves of her body. His touch turned her core to molten fire; she could barely contain her need.
A bit about Eva
I live on the Sunshine Coast, in Queensland Australia with my fabulous husband and gorgeous little boy. When I'm not writing romance you can find me out on the water kayaking, fishing or swimming. When on dry land it’s all about the shoes and the coffee.
And where you can find her and her Romans!
Thanks for parking your chariot here! See you soon.
Welcome to my blog!
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