Monday, April 22, 2013

It's here!

It’s here, it’s here, it’s here! Behind the Courtesan is finally out there for the world to enjoy. But I warn you, this book is intense and you’re not always going to like Blake or Sophia but you will love the story… Who doesn’t love a good love story? (and check out the beautiful cover!!)

When courtesan Sophia Martin returns to the village she fled as a young woman, she knows it won't be a happy reunion--but she can't refuse her brother's request to attend his expectant wife. Trapped until the baby arrives, she must navigate the social rift she caused when she left to pursue a disreputable life--and keep the true reason for her departure from the man she once loved, the bastard son of the Duke who ruined her.

Blake Vale has never forgotten Sophia, but he can't accept the decisions she made, the courtesan's life she leads, or the fact she's cast aside her true self. Plain old Sophia has to be inside this hardened woman somewhere, and he's determined to make her see she doesn't need rich men to be happy, and that their future has nothing to do with the past.

When the dukedom suddenly falls within his reach, Blake must come to terms with his own past and his birthright, and what that means for his future...and Sophia.

And now let's get a taste of what you're in for... 

When you imagine a first kiss between would be lovers, do you see in your mind a tender meeting of the lips, an eruption of invisible butterflies and soft caresses? Or is it the frantic can’t-get-close-enough, hands in hair, mashing of bodies and short breaths, lust driving the moment on and on? I envision all of those things in a romance novel but what happens when the hero and heroine have an intense dislike of each other or each other’s actions? What happens when emotions are so high and the tension so thick that that first kiss almost never comes…
‘His warm lips brushed against her forehead, her cheeks, her eyelid, first one and then the other, but it felt wrong. It had to be her decision, her instigating the contact, her in control.’

Being a London Courtesan means Sophia has to stay in control of every situation with members of the opposite sex. She is adept at manipulation and self preservation but after spending time with a man she is unable to lead, things quickly spiral out of her hands. But perhaps being able to let go is the gift his hatred of her occupation could bring her? Maybe she doesn’t have to play the courtesan with him…

‘For if the truth were told, she wanted him to kiss her. She wanted to feel the texture of his unshaven face against her cheek, across her stomach, the inside of her thigh.’

But then again, stubborn pride—in a time where that may have been all you had left in your arsenal— makes you irrational and prone to doing the one thing you said you wouldn’t.

‘“Can you forget who I am?”
It was on the tip of his tongue to ask her once again who she really was, but it wasn’t the time. “I’ll never forget who you are.” When she made as if to wrench herself from his grip, he softened his tone, pulled her closer again so they were nose to nose. “You’re the woman who saved my life, who gathered firewood and kept me warm. You fixed me when you should have kicked me and left me on the road to die. I know who you are and I’ll never forget that. Neither should you.”’

Even though this is no apology and wouldn’t work in this day and age, it’s a huge sacrifice for an obstinate man of the Regency era who still knows how to hold a grudge fourteen years later. Some things you just never, ever get over.

‘It was a bad idea. He didn’t even like her. But none of that mattered when he placed both of his huge warm hands against her flushed cheeks, tipped her head back and touched his lips to hers.’

And sometimes we forget what it was we were so angry about…

‘At first his kiss was gentle, protective, caring; he didn’t crowd or push her.’

…and the rest of the time, none of it matters in the face of true passion.

‘She sighed again and leaned into him. He treated her with such reverence and she wanted to let him, but when she touched her tongue to his, the fire grew in her belly to a raging inferno and she did something no courtesan should ever do. She lost control.’

So finally, Blake and Sophia get their first kiss. He doesn’t apologise for his treating her harshly, especially since her reappearance reminds him of the hurt and betrayal he suffered at her fleeing and yes, he is a stubborn ass like most men. Even knowing the full story doesn’t necessarily erase the past. Nor should it. But Sophia isn’t looking for a sorry. She isn’t even looking for his love. All she craves at the end of the day is to belong. She craves acceptance and understanding, a little normality.

And it wouldn’t be a happily ever after if she didn’t get everything she wanted now, would it?

You can find Behind the Courtesan at Carina Press, Amazon, B&N, All Romance eBooks and where all good ebooks are sold. (But might have to wait for tonight with the USA time difference t actually read it.)

You can find me at or Facebook - Bronwyn Stuart Romance Author and Twitter @bronwynstuart


Sunday, April 14, 2013

Boxes - Weird and wonderful uses throughout history.


Weird and wonderful uses throughout history. 

By Suzi Love

I've always been fascinated with boxes and containers and the often strange uses found for them. 
Hope you enjoy a few photos from what I call my ...'weird and wonderful' collection.

Teeny weeny boxes had numerous uses for a lady's toiletry, her fashion accessories, her occupations, and her travel. 

Boxes had lots of crazy medical uses. 

And then there are my favorite weird boxes. 

Would you keep a vampire killing box in your house??

 In my latest book, Embracing Scandal,  my heroine travels on one of the new railway lines to the country estate of her enemy.

You can find Embracing Scandal here:- Amazon  Barnes and Noble   iTunes

Hope you've enjoyed a peek at my favorite uses for boxes and containers. 

For more historical images, take a look at my magazine HERE.

Or visit my blog :-  Suzi Love

Monday, April 8, 2013

The last great battle of the English Civil War

My latest release, SECRETS IN TIME, revolves around the last great battle of the English Civil War, fought on June 14th 1645 - Naseby.

It was great fun writing a time travel story where my dashing cavalier hero, Nathaniel, comes forward in time to 1995. One of the quandaries facing Nat is foreknowledge...knowing the result of the battle, what would happen if he were to persuade King Charles I not to take the field. Would that have changed the outcome of the English Civil War...?

The battle of Naseby is well documented. It's significance in history is twofold - firstly it marked the first appearance on the battlefield of a single, well trained military force:  the New Model Army raised and commanded by Sir Thomas Fairfax (Not Oliver Cromwell!). Secondly it marked the crushing defeat of the royalist cause. King Charles I barely escaped with his life. The war was lost to the King within a year and only a few years later he died on the block.

On the day of the battle, it is estimated that 12,000 Royalist troops took the field to face 15,000 Parliamentarians, a newly formed, well trained and armed “standing army” - the NEW MODEL ARMY of Sir Thomas Fairfax and Oliver Cromwell. Behind both armies were the baggage lines where the camp followers, the women who followed the drums, prepared themselves for the inevitable stream of wounded to care for. In the royalist lines were the female camp followers, English, Welsh and Irish, soon to become innocent victims in a man’s war.

The battle commenced about 10 in the morning and was all done by 3.30pm with the King and his men in full retreat. The King’s baggage train was overrun and according to legend, the women of the train took flight along the Clipston Road. It was there one of the less glorious moments for “God’s chosen” victors took place. The hatred the English bore for the Irish mercenaries, fuelled by stories of the massacres of good protestants by evil catholics, was borne out on the women of the baggage train.

Mistaking the Welsh speaking women for Irish, the forces of Parliament carried out a massacre. It is not known how many were killed but there are contemporary accounts of up to 300-400. One contemporary witness reports “The Irish women Prince Rupert brought on the field (wives of the bloody Rebels in Ireland, his Majesties dearly loved subjects) our soldiers would grant no quarter too, about 100 slain of them, and most of the restof the whores that attended that wicked Army, are marked in the face or nose, with a slash or cut.” (Rushworth letter). The common punishment for a whore was to split or cut off the nose of the offender, marking them for life. Those women of more means who were able to gather up wagons and coaches, managed to make some sort of escape without meeting the fate of their poorer sisters.

 Meanwhile the King’s men did not escape lightly, those that were not slaughtered in their retreat, were captured. From a force of 12000 men who had taken the field that morning, less than 4000 reached safety and many of those were badly injured. Parliament’s New Model Army had destroyed the King’s army and the last hope of victory. Casualties on the Parliament side numbered barely 150 while over 1000 of the King’s men lay dead.

The royalist baggage lines proved rich pickings for plunder. The King’s own baggage was taken, including a “cabinet” containing his personal correspondence. This discovery was a God given propoganda opportunity and were published as “The King’s Cabinet Opened” within weeks of the battle.  The letters were a damning indictment on Charles, revealing his attempts to negotiate treaties with the hated Irish and other foreign powers to bring their forces over to England.

For any victorious army, prisoners are a problem and accounts suggest that the royalist prisoners numbered between 4000-5000. These were all men who needed to be fed, sheltered and their wounds treated. Local churches, being large and easily secured, were used as temporary lock ups. The majority of them were marched south to London where they were paraded, along with the captured colours, through the streets of London. A gibbet was prominently on display in case any took it into their heads to take flight or cause trouble. After wringing the most of the propoganda value from the display as they could, it was decided that the majority of the prisoners should simply be released to go home on giving their promise not to fight again. The majority who chose not to give that undertaking were sent to serve “in Foreign parts” (Ireland, Spain or France) or were simply imprisoned for a couple of years. The royalist officers (numbering just under 500 - mostly infantry) were held separately from the common soldiers.

Not included in the figures for the prisoners were the seriously wounded, numbering about 500. They were distributed around the nearby villages. There are ample contemporary accounts of the local villagers claiming compensation for their troubles in caring for the wounded of both sides after Naseby. Payment for treating the winning side tended to be more generous. For the romantically inclined there are stories such as those of “Mr. Mansell” who was found alive by a young woman who nursed him back to health.

Finally in the aftermath of a great battle comes the thankless task of clearing the battlefield, a task which extended well beyond the confines of the Naseby field as the flight of the royalists was marked by the dead and dying. Tradition tells us the task fell to the local villagers who stripped the bodies and buried them in mass graves, some so shallow that within a short time, they “became very offensive, that matter issued from the graves and ran several yards upon the ground, which, having subsided the cattle ate those spots, for several years remarkably bare.”(Mastin 1792).

AS at Naseby in 2007

I have visited the battlefield at Naseby twice (see photo). It is now cut in two by a major arterial road (it is hard to imagine the Americans allowing such a sacrilege to happen to their battlefields!). Apart from an obelisk erected in the nineteenth century, there is little to mark such a decisive battle and even harder to imagine the carnage of that awful day in the quiet Northamptonshire countryside.
(This blog was first posted in Hoydens and Firebrands 20/6/10)

For more information on my time travelling cavalier and to read an excerpt from SECRETS IN TIME, click HERE

And for a chance to win a $25 Amazon Voucher enter my SECRETS IN TIME contest, click HERE

Sunday, April 7, 2013

HH Good News!

Again our fantastically talented HH members
have some wonderful news to share.

So without further ado we congratulate...


Christina Phillips celebrated the release of her
third book in the Roman / Druid romance series
available 20 March from Ellora's Cave
in their Xanadu line.

In 51 A.D., Druid priestess Nimue is injured and enslaved by the hated Roman Legions. Even though she is drawn to her captor, she’s determined to escape and complete her mission for the Briton king and her duty to Arianrhod, the goddess she is bound to.
The tough Roman warrior who captures her is far from the brutal barbarian she expects. His touch inflames her desires and passion burns between them. Though Nimue does not accept her enslavement, her heart surrenders to her enemy. When Arianrhod appears to her in the form of an owl, Nimue knows the union is blessed.
Roman warrior Tacitus is enchanted by the fiery beauty who shows no fear and challenges him at every turn. Though enslaving her goes against his heart, he’s determined to make her his. No woman has ever heated his blood as she does. But when he discovers her true nature as one who actually communes with the gods, his loyalties are torn between his heritage and a woman who could destroy everything he’s ever believed in.
A Romantica® fantasy erotic romance from Ellora’s Cave

Maggi Andersen celebrated the Amazon US release
of her new The Spies of Mayfair series
A Baron in Her Bed
available now!

London, 1816. A handsome baron. A faux betrothal. And Horatia's plan to join the London literary set takes a dangerous turn. Now that the war with France has ended, Baron Guy Fortescue arrives in England to claim his inheritance, abandoned over thirty years ago when his father fled to France after killing a man in a duel. When Guy is set upon by footpads in London, a stranger, Lord Strathairn, rescues and befriends him. But while travelling to his country estate, Guy is again attacked. He escapes only to knock himself out on a tree branch. Aspiring poet Horatia Cavendish has taken to riding her father's stallion, "The General", around the countryside of Digswell dressed as a groom. She has become bored of her country life and longs to escape to London to pursue her desire to become part of the London literary set.
When she discovers Guy lying unconscious on the road, the two are forced to take shelter for the night in a hunting lodge. After Guy discovers her ruse, a friendship develops between them. Guy suspects his relative, Eustace Fennimore is behind the attacks on his life. He has been ensconced in Rosecroft Hall during the family's exile and will become the heir should Guy die. Horatia refuses to believe her godfather, Eustace, is responsible. But when Guy proposes a faux betrothal to give him more time to discover the truth, she agrees. Secure in the knowledge that his daughter will finally wed, Horatia's father allows her to visit her blue-stocking aunt in London. But Horatia's time spent in London proves to be anything but a literary feast, for a dangerous foe plots Guy's demise. She is determined to keep alive her handsome fiance, who has proven more than willing to play the part of her lover even as he resists her attempts to save him.

Bronwyn Stuart is gearing up for her latest release
Behind the Courtesan
available April 22 from Carina Press
Here's the blurb to wet your appetite:

When courtesan Sophia Martin returns to the village she fled as a young woman, she knows it won't be a happy reunion--but she can't refuse her brother's request to attend his expectant wife. Trapped until the baby arrives, she must navigate the social rift she caused when she left to pursue a disreputable life--and keep the true reason for her departure from the man she once loved, the bastard son of the Duke who ruined her.
Blake Vale has never forgotten Sophia, but he can't accept the decisions she made, the courtesan's life she leads, or the fact she's cast aside her true self. Plain old Sophia has to be inside this hardened woman somewhere, and he's determined to make her see she doesn't need rich men to be happy, and that their future has nothing to do with the past.
When the dukedom suddenly falls within his reach, Blake must come to terms with his own past and his birthright, and what that means for his future...and Sophia.

Alison Stuart is celebrating her latest release
Secrets in Time
An historical, time travel romance
available now from Lyrical Press

Can love endure across time?

When a seventeenth-century cavalier hurls himself over her garden wall, Doctor Jessica Shepherd is more angry than surprised. Although she’s no stranger to military re-enactors, there’s something different about Nathaniel Preston. If he’s to be believed, something…or someone…has sent him forward in time from the midst of a civil war to the quiet English countryside of the twentieth century.

With time working against them, Nathaniel has to convince Jessica why fate brought them together before he’s forced to return to his own era…and certain death in battle.

Can the strength of love overcome all obstacles, even time itself?

A Lyrical Press Historical Fantasy Romance


Nicole Hurley-Moore has signed a contract
with Jupiter Garden Press for her
Medieval Paranormal Romance
Congratulations Nicole!!!
Here's the blurb to wet your appetite:

On the mountain, high above the village of Farran – Nuri is caught between heaven and hell. Two men fight for her love and her soul. The first is Maras, an elemental being that follows the storms. Blessed with silver hair, ice grey eyes and skin that heals with water, Nuri knows that he is not human, he’s something more. She believes Maras is her beautiful fallen angel.
The other is Erebus, a pious monk sent by the Church, whose tortured soul is twisted by his desire for Nuri. Nuri must choose whether to follow her heart or be tied to the edict of the Church and village. Maras is transient and is bound to the elements and their love may be as fleeting as the storm itself. But Nuri may sacrifice more than her heart when the Church brands her angel a demon. As Brother Erebus will do anything to protect her soul from the silver haired devil, even if he has to crush her body to do it. 

Annie Seaton has signed a new contract with
for four new contemporary romance novels.
Release dates are yet to be advised.
Congratulations Annie!!!

Sasha Cottman has signed her
for her Regency romance
Letter from a Rake
available mid 2013.
Congratulations Sasha!!!


had their bi-annual convention in Brisbane in March
where some HH members were nominated
in their writing categories.
While no one came out a winner this year
we'd still like to congratulate our members who were
honored with a nomination.
Alison Stuart
Danielle Lisle
Christina Ashcroft
Annie Seaton
Congratulations ladies.
You're all winners either way! 

Congratulations everyone!
And until next month happy reading.