Tag Archives: Historical Romance

Teaser Tuesday!

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Teaser TuesdayWelcome to Teaser Tuesday, the blog series where I share snippets from upcoming and past releases, and works-in-progress and invite writing buddies along to play.

Some people just aren’t content with writing one Christmas themed novella. Oh no. Some people have to show off and write and release two in the one year. I tell you, if historical romance author Anna Campbell wasn’t such a lovely friend I’d have to get snitty with her for being such an over-achiever and making the rest of us look bad.

As it stands, not only is Anna a good friend and regular here on Teaser Tuesday, I’m a total fangirl and the more books the merrier I say!

So here’s Anna to tell you about her second gorgeous 2016 Christmas themed novella, but make sure you read to the end. You know what a generous soul Anna is and there could be a giveaway.

 

Author Anna CampbellHello again, Cathryn! I feel like I was only here a couple of weeks ago. Oh, that’s right. I was! Thanks for asking me back to talk about my second Christmas novella for 2016, A Match Made in Mistletoe.

One of the things I find endlessly fascinating about human nature is that often we’re completely wrong about what we think will be best for us—and sometimes fate has to nudge us pretty hard (and occasionally tip us over a cliff) to point us in the right direction. In A Match Made in Mistletoe, my heroine Serena Talbot profoundly misunderstands her heart and what it wants—and mistletoe mayhem results.

This excerpt comes from early in the story when the guests turn up for the annual Talbot Christmas house party, including the man Serena’s had a lifelong crush on, Paul Garside, and his brooding, sardonic friend Giles Farraday, Marquess of Hallam. Serena is determined that this Christmas, Paul is going to propose, so she turns to an old superstition that if you put a sprig of mistletoe under your pillow, you’ll dream of the man you’re going to marry. Unfortunately, the person who turns up in her dream isn’t lovely, easygoing Paul but annoying Giles!

 

Torver House, Dorset, December 1820

Paul bent to kiss Serena’s cheek. She awaited the usual thrill at the touch of his lips. But the fleeting contact left her unmoved. Dear Lord, what was wrong with her?

As she drew away, she caught Giles’s interested gaze and stupidly, she blushed. The memory of that horrible dream constricted her breathing, so she sounded cursed fluttery as she greeted Paul’s friend. “And, Giles, welcome back to Torver. Did you have a good trip up from London?”

“Serena, how cruel.” Ironic humor lengthened Giles’s lips. “You’ve known me nearly as long as you’ve known this vagabond, yet I don’t merit the same rights?”

“Same…” Puzzled, she stared up at him. He towered over her, taller than Paul. How had she never noticed that before?

A Match Made in Mistletoe by Anna CampbellA purr of laughter escaped him as he leaned in. “Who needs mistletoe?”

He’d kissed her before in silly Christmas games. Since his first term at Eton, Frederick had invited Paul and Giles to spend school holidays at Torver House. While Giles’s visits in recent years had become rarer, he’d never missed a Christmas. He was part of the fabric of her life.

So why did his casual kiss stop the world? At the cool brush of his lips, shivery heat rippled through her. She closed her eyes, fighting for balance.

“Serena?” Giles’s soft, deep voice—why had she never before noted its beauty?—seemed to come from far away.

She blinked and with surprising reluctance, stepped apart from him. Another horrid blush stained her cheeks, and she only just stopped herself from raising a hand to touch where he’d kissed her. Her skin burned where his lips had touched.

Drat that dream. It had turned her batty.

Reluctantly, she met Giles’s eyes. Dark and somber, they settled on her face. She’d learned through the years that little escaped his penetrating intelligence. Right now, the idea of him seeing her confusion made her cringe.

“Welcome home,” she stammered, only realizing what she said after the words emerged.

For once, Giles’s smile lacked an edge. “Well, that’s a nice reception.”

She blinked again to bring the bustling room into focus and realized that the whole interaction had lasted mere seconds. Mary and Paul weren’t even looking at them, but talked about some mutual acquaintance.

Still those enigmatic eyes examined her face. She shifted awkwardly from one foot to the other. “I…I meant…”

To her surprise, he touched her cheek with one elegant hand. Mostly Giles kept his distance from her. Gestures of affection were unheard of. “Don’t spoil it.”

 

You can read a longer excerpt and the blurb on my website.

A Match Made in Mistletoe: A Regency Novella is only 99 cents on Kindle. Buy now from: Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo and iBooks.

A Match Made in Mistletoe only 99 cents on Amazon

I think, like most people, I am slightly superstitious. Not about things like black cats or ladders, but I tend to notice omens, random coincidences that seem to bring me a message from the realms beyond. What about you? Are you superstitious? Any particular rituals you use to bring you luck or save you from disaster or confirm you’re on the right path?

GIVEAWAY!

I’ve got a Kindle download of A Match Made in Mistletoe (no geographical restrictions) to go to someone who leaves a comment today. Good luck!

Please note: Giveaway closes midnight AEST, 9th December 2016. Open internationally.

 

Ooh, being a mad (and sadly untalented) golfer, rituals and superstitions are definitely something I can comment on! I have this thing where my buggy must be to the right of the ball when I’m hitting. If it’s not, it does my head in because no matter how far away I leave it I’m convinced I’ll hit it in my backswing. I have lots of other little “issues” too but I’ll keep them private. I don’t want you all thinking I’m completely kooky!

What about you? Do you have any rituals or superstitions? Let us know and we’ll put you in the draw to win a Kindle download of Anna’s gorgeous novella, A Match Made in Mistletoe. Just the thing to put you in the Christmas mood.

If you’d like to learn more about Anna, please visit her website. You can also connect via Facebook and Twitter using @AnnaCampbelloz.

 

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Teaser Tuesday!

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Teaser TuesdayWelcome to Teaser Tuesday, the tantalising blog series where I share snippets from my works-in-progress, up-coming releases and published novels, and occasionally invite good writing buddies to share pieces from their books.

I’m particularly chuffed to host regular guest Anna Campbell today, not least because it gives me a chance to gush over one of her previous releases, Winning Lord West, which I read last week and enjoyed HUGELY. It might well be my favourite of the Dashing Widows series so far. But that might all change with her new release, Pursuing Lord Pascal.

For those of you new to Teaser Tuesday or Anna’s books, Anna writes Regency romances filled with gorgeous men and sassy ladies, is a best-seller and multi-award winner, a fabulous writer, and a wonderful friend. Oh, and she’s Australian. See? All the good things at once. You should buy her books.

Here’s Anna to tell you more about Pursuing Lord Pascal. But make sure you read to the end. There might be a giveaway!

 

Historical romance author Anna CampbellHi Cathryn!

Thank you so much for having me back to share a Tuesday Teaser with your readers. I always love visiting!

When I originally planned my Dashing Widows novellas, I intended to write a trilogy. But luckily both readers and I have so enjoyed these stories of adventurous ladies and the rakes who win them, that there are now going to be at least three more. The first story of the ‘second’ trilogy is Pursuing Lord Pascal, and it’s out right now on all e-book platforms.

PLP features two characters who play a peripheral role in the earlier stories. Amy, Lady Mowbray, is Lord Stone’s youngest sister, and her hero is London’s handsomest man who has provided some not very serious competition for my previous Dashing Widows heroes.

There’s a touch of Dirty Dancing in this story about the geek girl who gets the cutest guy in the room—and doesn’t have to change who she is to do it. By the time you finish my latest novella, I hope you’re saying, “Nobody puts Amy in the corner!”

The excerpt is from early in the book and describes Amy and Pascal’s first meeting since she was an awkward teenager.

 

Raynor House, Mayfair, London, March 1829

All Amy’s newfound confidence fizzled to nothing. Striding toward her was the man she’d spent a couple of agonizing years dreaming about when she was a silly girl. He’d fueled her romantic fantasies, until she hit sixteen and decided that life was real and practical, and adolescent foolishness served no purpose.

Anthony turned, and the unalloyed pleasure in his expression surprised Amy. “Pascal, grand to see you.”

“And you, Kenwick.” Lord Pascal bowed briefly to Fenella. “Lady Kenwick.”

“My lord,” Fenella said with a pretty curtsy.

“Will you please introduce me to your lovely companion?”

cover of Pursuing Lord Pascal by Anna CampbellLovely companion? Amy almost looked around to see who he meant, even as those blue eyes leveled on her with unmistakable intent.

“Amy, may I present Lord Pascal?” Fenella said, shooting him a speculative glance. “Pascal, this is Amy, Lady Mowbray, down from Leicestershire for the season.”

Automatically Amy extended her hand. When he took it in his and bowed, a strange current zapped through her as if she touched lightning. Bewildered, she told herself this was impossible, especially as they both wore gloves. But it was so hard to think rationally when such remarkable male beauty filled her view.

The hundreds of candles in the ballroom turned Lord Pascal to gold. Golden hair. Golden skin. Tall, perfectly proportioned body. Broad, straight shoulders. Narrow hips. Long legs. Cheekbones high and prominent. Lips so crisply cut that they’d look sculpted from marble, if they weren’t so warm and sensual.

Such spectacular masculinity would make Michelangelo weep.

“Delighted, Lady Mowbray.” His soft murmur set her every nerve jangling with female awareness.

“Good evening, my lord,” she said, shocked that the words emerged at all, let alone as steadily as they did. With a spurt of relief, she realized that she wasn’t sixteen anymore.

By God, she could handle society. She could handle anything life threw at her. Here was proof. While butterflies and grasshoppers performed a mad ballet in her stomach, she faced down the man who had once turned her tongue-tied.

Her smile broadened as she stared into Lord Pascal’s brilliant blue eyes. Dear heaven, that color was extraordinary, like a noon sky on a perfect summer day.

Those eyes warmed and turned predatory, and she realized her hand still rested in his. Ten years ago—good Lord, last week—she’d have jerked away, flustered and awkward. Not tonight. Tonight she remained just where she was and let herself drown in those azure eyes.

“May I presume upon our new acquaintance and ask for this waltz?”

“I’m engaged with Sir Brandon.” With a flirtatiousness she’d never before attempted, she let her lashes flutter down. She didn’t mention that she and Pascal had met before, if years ago. Why revive memories of her clumsy younger self and spoil this chance to make an old dream come true?

Pascal didn’t even glance at Fenella’s son. “I’m sure he’ll yield to my greater need.”

“Greater need?” Amy slowly withdrew her hand. “That places too much importance on a waltz.”

“Sometimes a waltz can be a matter of life or death, my lady.”

 

Love that excerpt? You can read an even longer one and check out the blurb at annacampbell.com

But for instant happiness why not buy right now? Pursuing Lord Pascal is only 99 cents on Amazon.com. That’s a serious bargain so grab your copy today. You can also purchase from Kobo, iBooks and Nook.

Now, let Anna tell you about her very generous…

GIVEAWAY!

I’ve got a Kindle download of Pursuing Lord Pascal for someone who comments today. No geographical restrictions. Seeing this story is about a heroine with a girlhood crush who ends up getting the dream guy in the end, I’d love to know about your first crush, real or fictional.

Good luck in the draw!

Ooh, Anna, what a wonderful question. My first crush (besides those of the equine kind) was for former Pakistani cricket captain Imran Khan. That man was so gorgeous. I used to have dreams of us both escaping into the dessert on white Arab horses. Might have got my countries a tad mixed up with that fantasy, but I was only a little country girl and back then the rest of the world was a complete mystery.

Anna and I would adore hearing about your first crush. Please share and you could win!

Please note: Giveaway closes midnight Friday 14th October, AEST. Open internationally. Prize is a Kindle copy of Pursuing Lord Pascal.

Don’t have a Kindle e-reader? Not a problem. You can download the reading app for free to your smartphone, tablet or computer and read Pursuing Lord Pascal on there.

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Teaser Tuesday!

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Teaser TuesdayWelcome again to another fun instalment of Teaser Tuesday, the blog series where I share snippets from my works-in-progress, up-coming releases and published novels. Most of the time. Occasionally I like to spice it up and let writing buddies tease you with their works too.

Today is such a day and I’m delighted to host historical romance author Anne Gracie on the blog. Her Chance Sisters series, including The Autumn Bride, The Winter Bride and The Spring Bride (current finalist in the Romance Writers of Australia’s prestigious Ruby Awards), has been a blast and I’ve been eagerly awaiting book 4—The Summer Bride—and Daisy’s story. The girls are all great characters but I’ve developed a real soft spot for Daisy and so want her to reach her happy ever after. I bet if you’ve been following the series you feel the same.

Here’s Anne to tell you more about the The Summer Bride. Oh and don’t forget to read right through to the end. There might be a giveaway!

 

Romance Author Anne Gracie

The Summer Bride is the first “friends-to-lovers” story I’ve written, and I have to say I really enjoyed watching these two following their separate paths, all the while fighting an attraction that can’t be denied.

I loved Daisy and Flynn. Daisy is down-to-earth and outspoken and funny, and Flynn . . . well, Flynn’s a real charmer — brash, confident, and very masculine. And though it took him a while to work out what he really wanted, when he did, he went all out to get it.

Daisy and Flynn are on different courses. He wants to marry an aristocratic lady, she doesn’t want to marry at all. She has plans . . .

Daisy had no illusions about herself. She was a little Cockney guttersnipe with a gimpy leg and a foul mouth—though she was working on the swearing, and her grammar. But she loved beautiful clothes and—praise be!— she was good at making them.

She was going to be somebody, and she was going to do it all herself; Daisy Chance, Dressmaker to the Toffs, with a shop and a business all her own. That was her dream, and she was so hungry for it she could almost taste it.

The fact that Daisy fancies Flynn and always has, is irrelevant. She’s a realist, and a businesswoman, and respectability is what matters now.

Daisy pretended to stare out of her window but watched him from the corner of her eye. He was one good-looking man, Flynn. His breeches fitted nice and tight, his legs were long and powerful, and he smelled beautiful—clean and manly, not like so many posh gents who drenched themselves in perfumes and smelled like a blooming flowerpot.

No, Flynn was all man. She fancied him rotten—always had, from the first day he’d come swaggering into Lady Bea’s parlor, as brash and confident as if he owned the place. Those bold blue eyes of his had summed up every female in the room, a perfect invitation to sin.

The Summer Bride by Anne GracieFrom the very first he’d been danger wrapped in shades of masculine elegance—he’d just come from Freddy Monkton-Coombes’s very exclusive tailor—all the while complaining about having to dress like a pea-hen—not a peacock—in drab colors. With a gold earring in his ear, like a bloomin’ pirate. He was wearing it today; it glinted in the dim light.

He’d flirted with her that first day, just a bit—and she’d flirted back.

Daisy sighed. In the old days she’d have gone after him like a shot, but she’d turned respectable now, and so had Flynn.

He was planning to marry the finest young lady in London, and Daisy was starting up a business of her own. They were on different pathways, and a romp between the sheets wasn’t on the cards for either of them.  More’s the pity.

Besides, Flynn was her friend, the first man she’d ever been friends—real friends—with. The men she’d known in the past were users—pimps, predators, thieves and swindlers—all crooks of some kind.

Flynn was different, and she wasn’t going to risk spoiling their friendship with a bit of rumpy pumpy, no matter how tempting it was. That sort of thing never lasted—and the break-up always ruined the friendship.

So it was look but don’t touch.

She eyed his long, muscular thighs in their gleaming boots, and smiled to herself. Lucky he was such a treat to look at.

*

Oooh, I can’t wait for this book. I pre-ordered it back in March and today is the day it’ll be popping onto my Kindle and racing to the top of my to-be-read pile.

I bet you’d love a copy of The Summer Bride too. Well, here’s your chance to win one. Yes, lovelies, we have a…

GIVEAWAY!

For your chance to win a paperback copy of The Summer Bride simply answer this question from Anne:

What’s your favorite romance trope? Friends to lovers? Revenge? Second chance at Love? Convenient Marriage? Secret baby? Amnesia? Etc

Comment away and we’ll pop you into the draw.

Please note: Giveaway closes Friday midnight Friday AEST, 8th July 2016. Open internationally. Rah!

The Chance Sisters books are available right now from Booktopia, BookdepositoryAmazon, Kobo, iBooks, Google Play, or your favourite bookstore.

The Summer Bride cover and blurb image

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Teaser Tuesday!

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Teaser TuesdayWelcome to Teaser Tuesday, the tantalising blog series where I share snippets from works-in-progress, up-coming releases and published novels. Unless I invite good writing buddies to fill in for me, as is the case today.

Historical romance author Anna Campbell is a regular on the blog with good reason—she’s lovely, likes a good a natter over a glass of fizz, and writes fabulous romances! If you haven’t picked up any of the books in Anna’s Dashing Widows series you’re missing out. They’re huge fun. But I have to say her newest release Stranded with the Scottish Earl sounds even more fun. There’s something about men in kilts…

Here’s Anna to tell you more about it. Make sure you read to the end. There could be a GIVEAWAY!

Author Anna CampbellHi Cathryn! Or should I say Och aye the noo, lassie?

Thank you for having me as your guest today. I’m so excited to be back here on your wonderful blog to talk about my latest release which, as you’ve probably guessed, has a Scottish flavour.

Haggis, bagpipes, hunky Highlanders, what’s not to like? Well, maybe the haggis…

Stranded with the Scottish Earl: A Regency Novella is out 30th June (it’s up for pre-order now). As you can tell with a title like that, it’s a complex political thriller. Nah, I’m having you on. It’s a fun romance featuring a Scotsman and a feisty English lassie who, you guessed it, get stranded together in a flood in Hampshire.

When roguish Scotsman Ewan Macrae, Earl of Lyle, turns up on Charlotte Warren’s doorstep in the middle of a flood, he’s the last person she wants to see. Her father has decided Lyle will make her a wonderful husband, but resolutely independent Charlotte is having none of it. Until the weather traps them alone together in the house. Baby, it might be cold outside, but it’s sure heating up indoors!

The teaser takes place just after a passionate first kiss in Lyle’s borrowed bedroom.

 

“I don’t understand what happened,” Charlotte said dully.

“It’s quite simple.” Lyle pushed up until he sat beside her, leaning against the bedhead. “I wanted to kiss you the moment I saw you.”

Astonishment flared in her caramel eyes. And dangerous pleasure. He fought the urge to draw her back into his arms. He’d managed to stop once. Nothing on God’s green earth would restrain him if he succumbed to temptation a second time.

“But why did I let you?”

tranded with the Scottish Earl by Anna Campbell“Perhaps because we’re trapped here,” he said, knowing that the attraction went much deeper than mere propinquity.

“It must be more than that.” She studied him with a troubled expression. “I’ve never acted this way before.”

“I generally don’t leap on virtuous young women either,” he responded, stung.

“You seemed to know what you were doing.” It sounded like an accusation.

Lyle knew she picked a quarrel as a distraction. But he refused to oblige. He was experienced enough to know that a loss of temper would lead to a different loss of control. He stared into the fire and answered in a mild tone. “Does that mean you liked it?”

“I don’t have much to compare it to,” she muttered.

Shocked, he turned back to her. Shocked, and disgusted with himself. He’d jumped on her like a starving man snatched at a cheese sandwich. “You make me feel like a beast.” He paused as he pondered just what she’d said. “Much or nothing?”

She frowned at him. “What?”

“You said you didn’t have much to compare my kisses to.”

She blushed. “You have no right to ask that.”

“I had no right to kiss you either. Yet I did.” His gaze sharpened. “Who’s been trifling with your favors? And where do I need to go to kill him?”

She didn’t smile at his absurdity. Nor was he convinced he was joking. “I’ve been kissed before,” she admitted ungraciously. “It was…nice.”

A grunt of laughter escaped as he sagged with relief. “I don’t need to kill him after all. Heaven help your swains if that’s the best they can do.”

Miss Warren regarded him with displeasure. Thank God. He preferred her snap and fire to seeing her crushed with mortification.

“Your kisses weren’t nice.”

“I should hope not.”

“And I do wish you’d put a shirt on,” she said crossly, shifting to the edge of the bed but still—interesting again—without making any move to leave.

Feeling absurdly optimistic for a laddie who had been stopped in his wicked tracks, he rolled to his side of the bed and stood. The temptation of having her near tested what small restraint he retained.

 

Want a longer excerpt? You’ll find it on Anna’s website.

Stranded with the Scottish Earl is only 99 cents on Amazon.com. Talk about a bargain, so secure your copy today! You can also purchase from Smashwords and Barnes and Noble.

And now for an even more exciting bit. Yes, folks, we have a…

GIVEAWAY!

Anna says: I’ve got a Kindle download of Stranded with the Scottish Earl for someone who comments today. No geographical restrictions.

Do you like Highlander romances? Who’s your favourite Scottish hero?

Good luck in the draw!

And good luck from me too.

Please note: Giveaway closes midnight Friday AEST, 1st July 2016. Open internationally.

tranded with the Scottish Eart by Anna Campbell banner

Remember, Stranded with the Scottish Earl is only 99 cents on Amazon. That’s a whole lot of kilted romance for less than a dollar, so pre-order your copy now.

 

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Teaser Tuesday!

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Teaser TuesdayWelcome to Teaser Tuesday, the blog series where I share snippets from past and upcoming releases, and works-in-progress, and occasionally con author mates into joining in the fun.

Today I’m thrilled to welcome back historical romance author Anna Campbell. Regular followers will know what an Anna Campbell fangirl I am but here’s a tale for you. I’d never read an historical romance until I won a copy of Anna’s Tempt the Devil on a blog. I loved it and was so hooked I gobbled up all Anna’s previous novels and every release since. I’ve also gone on to read lots of other historical romance authors and fallen in love the with genre. All because of a book I won on a blog.

This, too, could be YOU. Yes, lovelies, there’s a giveaway. In fact, there are TWO GIVEAWAYS. So please give a hearty welcome to Anna and read on.

 

Author Anna CampbellHi Cathryn! Thank you so much for having me as your guest today. I love the Teaser Tuesday spot – it’s so great to get that delicious little taste of a book!

Winning Lord West, the third book in my Dashing Widows series, comes out on 30th April. I loved writing this story of childhood sweethearts reunited. If you’ve read the previous books in the series, The Seduction of Lord Stone and Tempting Mr. Townsend, you’ll know that Lady Crewe and Lord West have been circling each other for quite a while. It was great fun finally to bring them together.

The teaser takes place at a country house party before Silas and Caroline’s wedding. And I think this time round you can definitely say this is a teaser!

Fed up with Helena avoiding him, West invades her bedroom late one night. He wants to talk to her, but that’s not quite how things work out as attraction flares and sends good intentions right out the window!

***

“It’s a good thing I never knew what was under those dauntingly stylish gowns, or you’d have found yourself compromised well before this,” West said. “It was hard enough keeping my hands off you anyway.”

Helena looked gratifyingly intrigued. “Really?”

“Yes, really,” he said, as though he swore his life away. He drew a hairpin from the mass of black hair coiled at her nape. “With your hair like this, you remind me of a renaissance princess.”

Her mouth, red with kisses, quirked with familiar, endearing humor. “Lucretia Borgia?”

Winning Lord West by Anna Campbell“Someone a little less murderous.” He removed two more pins. A silky skein of black snaked down across her shoulder. Delicately he lifted it and brought it to his lips, breathing deep. Her rich scent flooded his senses. Smoky. Female. Unforgettable. So true to the woman she was.

Through the busy years, and lovers who had meant far too little, as he now recognized with regret, he’d never forgotten Helena. She was endlessly fascinating, extraordinary. Salty and satisfying, where sugar palled.

She responded to his kiss with pleasing swiftness, and his brief kiss turned into something long and profound. He buried his hands in her hair. When he drew away, it tumbled loose around her slender shoulders.

He nibbled a path down her neck, feeling her shiver, as he disposed of corset and shift. At last he set his hands on her naked body. “You’re beautiful.”

She raised her chin and faced him proudly. Tall. Slender. Long-legged. Graceful as a young goddess. “I’m glad you like me.”

“I’ve always liked you.” His smile was wry. “Haven’t you worked that out yet?”

She didn’t answer. That was all right. Soon she’d admit her fondness for him.

While West took off his trousers, Helena perched on the bed to remove slippers and stockings. The sight of her bare calves and feet enthralled him. Odd how random, seemingly insignificant moments kept catching him on the raw.

Tomorrow he’d ponder reasons. Right now, Helena awaited. He cast away the last of his clothing and strode toward the lovely woman, watching wide-eyed from the luxurious bed.

***

You can read a longer excerpt and the blurb on my website.

Winning Lord West is only 99 cents on Amazon!

Here are the buy links:

Amazon

Smashwords

Barnes and Noble

GIVEAWAY!

Two people who comment today will win a Kindle download of Winning Lord West. No geographical restrictions. Do you like reunion romances? Why do you think they’re so popular? Do you have a favourite reunion romance? Right now, I think I’m going to go for Casablanca!

Good luck in the draw!

Please note: Giveaway closes midnight Friday AEST, 29th April 2016. Open to everyone, everywhere.

That’s two books and two winners, people, so get typing.

The Dashing Widows series by Anna Campbell

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Teaser Tuesday!

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Teaser TuesdayWelcome to Teaser Tuesday, the tantalising blog series where I share snippets from works-in-progress, up-coming releases and published novels. Except on the days when I invite good writing buddies to fill in for me, like today!

What a thrill it is to have Anna Campbell returning to Teaser Tuesday. Those of you who’ve been following my blog and social media for a while will know what a fan of Anna’s work I am. Her Regency romances are wonderful, loaded with great characters and filled with passion. I’m a particular fan of her novellas. They might be short but those babies sure pack emotional punch.

Here’s Anna to tell you about her newest release, Tempting Mr. Townsend. Can’t wait to get into this one. It sounds fab.

Oh, and make sure you read the post to the end. There could be a giveaway.

 

Hi Cathryn! Thank you so much for having me as your guest today. I always love visiting your blog and I think a book called Tempting Mr. Townsend fits a spot called Teaser Tuesday to a T!

Author Anna CampbellI had huge fun writing my second Dashing Widows book, Tempting Mr. Townsend, especially its rough, gruff, heart-of-gold hero Anthony Townsend who comes from the wrong side of the tracks compared to delicate Lady Fenella. This is a bit of an opposites attract/Beauty and Beast story – two of my favourite tropes in romance. I love watching two people who start out with apparently nothing in common gradually reach an understanding as they fall in love.

This novella begins as a road trip to find two runaway schoolboys, but by the time we get to the excerpt, the boys are safe, but Fenella isn’t so sure that her heart is! The scene takes place in the library of Anthony’s newly acquired estate, the Beeches, on the night after their arrival.

 

Fenella threw her hands up. “Oh, you’re impossible. I’ll be glad to get back to my real life.”

“Will you?” Anthony asked softly.

Briefly she looked unsure, then her lush mouth firmed. “At least in Mayfair, I’m free of insane plutocrats and their persuasions.”

He laughed, enjoying himself. “Yet.”

He’d always intended to pursue her, but her confession of a weakness for him invited a more overt wooing. She was a grand little fighter, but he doubted she’d win when Anthony Townsend allied with her own desire against her.

Tempting Mr Townsend by Anna Campbell“There’s no point continuing. I’m tired, and you’re off your head. Good night, Mr. Townsend.” With an irritated swish of her skirts, she flounced off. He let her reach the door before he spoke. “Lady Deerham, there is one more thing.”

“What is it?” Annoyance roughened her voice.

A man of his size could cross the room in a few paces. He caught her arm and using her surprise, swung her around to face him. A gentle push and her back bumped against the closed door. “This.”

Furious eyes snapping blue fire focused on his face. “Mr. Townsend, just what on earth do you think you’re doing?”

“My dear Lady Deerham, surely it hasn’t been that long.”

“I’ll scream,” she warned, trying to slay him with her disapproval. Unfortunately for her, he found her spirit arousing. This close she smelled like a flower garden in spring. He drew that glorious scent deep into his lungs.

“I dare you.” One hand pressed her shoulder against the door while the other caught her chin to hold her still.

Not that she was struggling. Which was dashed interesting.

“You are the most provoking man,” she muttered.

“That’s insane plutocrats for you.” He hid a smile as anticipation made his blood rush. “Now stand still so I can kiss you.”

“Well, really,” she gasped before his lips stole her breath away.

©Anna Campbell

You can read a longer excerpt and the blurb on my website.

Tempting Mr. Townsend is only 99 cents on Amazon! Why not grab your copy today? Instant gratification could be yours. Visit Amazon, Barnes & Noble or iBooks.

GIVEAWAY!

Two people who comment today will win a Kindle download of Tempting Mr. Townsend. No geographical restrictions.

I’ve told you that one of my favourite themes in a romance is Beauty and the Beast. What’s yours? Fish out of water? Friends to lovers? Cinderella? Secret baby? Cowboys? Sheikhs? Billionaires? There’s so many of them and they’re all great! Let’s talk classic romance tropes today on Teaser Tuesday.

Please Note: Giveaway closes midnight Friday AEST, 18th March, 2016. Open internationally.

That’s TWO BOOKS UP FOR GRABS, dear readers. So get commenting and good luck!

The Dashing Widows series by Anna Campbell

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Teaser Tuesday!

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Teaser TuesdayWelcome to Teaser Tuesday, the tantalising blog series where I share snippets from works-in-progress, up-coming releases and published novels. Unless I’m feeling lazy and invite good writing buddies to fill in for me, like today!

I’m very excited to show off a sample of historical romance author Anna Campbell’s new Regency novella. Not only do I adore her books, she’s huge fun at writerly get-togethers and is always up for a glass of fizz, which makes her very much my kind of person. Anna has won the Australian Romance Readers Awards Favourite Australian Romance Author so many times I nicknamed her the Romance Queen. A title. I must say, she wears magnificently.

Anyway, enough of me. Here’s Anna to tell you about her new release. This one sounds a hoot. Make sure you read to the end. There might be a special giveaway.

Author Anna CampbellHi Cathryn! Thank you so much for having me as your guest today.

Usually I’m drooling over the recipes on Friday Feast on your blog – it’s nice to be here for the low-calorie Teaser Tuesday spot! Snerk. Which doesn’t mean I plan on delivering one of those tasteless low fat cheese kind of teasers.

No, this one’s as full-blooded and swashbuckling as my hero in A Pirate for Christmas, my seasonal novella this year.

Actually Rory Beaton, the new Earl of Channing, isn’t a pirate – gossip just paints him as one. He is, however, neglecting his duties as lord of the manor and redoubtable vicar’s daughter, Bess Farrar, beards him in his den to point out his obligations – and to get permission to borrow his donkey for the annual nativity play.

Cue entry of mischievous donkey Daisy who was a lot of fun to write. Now, she really does have a pirate heart!

Here’s the first meeting between Rory and Bess – and if you catch a whiff of classic British comedy To the Manor Born, your nostrils are not deceiving you!

 

“If you leave a note, I promise to deliver it,” the man said.

Bess’s lips firmed as she shifted to find a comfortable spot on the unforgiving seat. The noble Earl of Channing didn’t want visitors settling in. Indications were that he didn’t want visitors at all.

Too bad for the noble Earl of Channing.

“So he can ignore it, the way he’s ignored my other correspondence?” she asked sweetly.

A Pirate for Christmas by Anna Camobell coverThe studious-looking man avoided her eyes. “His lordship has been busy since taking over, Miss Farrar.”

Bess glanced around the dusty, empty great hall. “Not with domestic matters.”

“His lordship—”

His lordship stormed in.

At least Bess assumed that the disheveled auburn-haired man who crashed through the door at the other end of the hall must be Penton Abbey’s elusive new master. He stalked past her, brandishing a sheaf of papers.

“That blasted Farrar besom is hounding me again, Ned. I thought I asked you to put her off.” His Scottish brogue added an exotic edge to his heated remarks.

He didn’t see her as his long stride ate up the tiled floor. It would be hard to make out an army in this gloom, especially with the sky darkening for snow.

“Rory, for heaven’s sake,” the other man stammered, casting Bess an embarrassed glance.

Bess stood and performed a perfunctory curtsy. “Good afternoon, my lord.”

He turned on her. He was as tall as his friend, but much more heavily muscled. A more formidable character altogether, she could already tell. “Just who the devil are you?”

She permitted herself a cool smile. “I believe I’m the blasted Farrar besom.”

“Oh, hell,” he muttered, staring at her thunderstruck. He looked as shocked as if one of these iron-hard oak chairs had stood up, bowed and asked him to dance.

©Anna Campbell

You can read a longer excerpt and the blurb on my website.

A Pirate for Christmas is only 99 cents on Amazon! Buy from Amazon.com, Amazon.au and Smashwords.

GIVEAWAY!

True to the tradition of Friday Feast, which I know this isn’t, do you have a favourite cheese? I must admit to a liking for brie and gouda.

Anna's favourite cheeses

I’ve got two Kindle downloads of A Pirate for Christmas: A Regency Novella to give away to people who share their cheesy stories today. Good luck!

Please Note: Giveaway closes midnight Friday AEST, 6th November 2015. Open internationally.

That’s TWO BOOKS UP FOR GRABS, lovely readers. So get commenting!

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FRIDAY FEAST with Elizabeth Ellen Carter

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Hello munchkins, and welcome to another tasty edition of Friday Feast. This week we travel back in time with an historical romance author, French it up, and give away TWO books. How’s that for warming your winter soul!

But first, news from Us Heins Weren’t Meant To Play Golf. As the sun continues to shine, so does my golf game continue to brighten. I know. AMAZING! I’ve been playing so well that I managed to drop a stroke off my handicap. I even won the ladies competition last week and qualified for an end of year district playoff event. Whoop! It won’t last, of course. The curse will undoubtedly return, but until it does I’m going to savour this good form while it lasts.

Enough crowing. To our guest we must go!

EECarterSX200_Please give a big welcome to historical romance author Elizabeth Ellen Carter on her debut Friday Feast. Elizabeth’s debut novel, the French Revolution era set Moonstone Obsession, was published in 2013 by Etopia Press. Earlier that year, the adventure romance had been shortlisted in the Romance Writers of Australia Emerald Awards for Best Unpublished Manuscript. Her second novel, Warrior’s Surrender, was voted Favourite Historical Fiction in the 2015 Readers & Writers Down Under Readers Choice Awards.

Elizabeth has a new book out, a sequel to Moonstone Obsession and another action-packed historical adventure. Take a look.

MOONSTONE CONSPIRACY

Moonstone Conspiracy by Elizabeth Ellen CarterRevolution in France, rebels in England, and one woman caught in the crossfire…

For her unwitting participation in a plot to embezzle the Exchequer, Lady Abigail Houghall has spent the last two years exiled to the city of Bath. A card sharp, sometime mistress, and target of scandalous gossip by the London Beau Monde, Lady Abigail plots to escape her gilded cage as well as the prudish society that condemns her. But the times are not easy. France is in chaos. The king has been executed, and whispers of a similar revolution are stirring in England. And because of her participation in the robbery plot, the Spymaster of England is blackmailing her into passing him information about the members of London’s upper crust.

When the dashing English spy Daniel Ridgeway takes a seat at her card table and threatens to expose her for cheating, she has no choice but to do as he demands: seduce the leader of the revolutionaries and learn what she can about their plot. As she’s drawn deeper into Daniel’s dangerous world, from the seedy backstreets of London to the claustrophobic catacombs of a war-torn Paris, she realizes an even more dangerous fact. She’s falling in love with her seductive partner. And the stakes of this game might just be too high, even for her.

Doesn’t that sound fantastic? Having a soft spot for all things French, this is right up my alley and I bet it’s up yours too. Which means you should buy a copy of Moonstone Conspiracy right now! Try Amazon, Barnes and Noble, iBooks, Kobo, Google Play, All Romance Ebooks or direct from the publisher Etopia Press.

Now get your spoon out for Elizabeth’s delicious recipe!

Taking It Slow

At this time of year, time turns home and hearth, simple comforts that warm the heart and warm the soul.

I was guilty (perhaps still am guilty) of trying to do things in a rush – waiting for the next big project, the next excitement, the next thrill.

I am learning to slow down. Appreciate each moment for its own sake, valuing the here and now, knowing that this day, this hour, this second, once gone is gone forever.

One of the things I was guilty of taking a shortcut on was this ubiquitous dish. I didn’t treat it with respect. It was just something that came out of a pack – often as a flavouring for other dishes – Apricot Chicken, for instance.

French Onion Soup is simplicity itself, but taking the time makes you appreciate the little things.

One of the things you’ll need for this recipe is time, but that’s a good thing. In this fast-paced world we need to unplug from technology and spend time thinking, reflecting or even gathering the family or friends around the kitchen for a chat.

This French Onion Soup recipe is just the thing to bring people together.

French Onion Soup

Elizabeth Ellen Carter's French Onion Soup

60g butter

2 tbs olive oil

1kg thinly sliced brown onions (you’ll need about 8-12 depending on size)

2 tsp brown sugar

2 tbs plain flour

4 cups beef stock

Weighing onions for the soupOnce you’ve sliced the onions, add your olive oil and butter. Wait for the butter to melt and start bubbling away.

Then add the onions (I use a mix of brown, white and red – whatever’s handy) and turn the heat down to medium-low.

Caramelising onions

It may look like a lot of onions but over the next 40-50 minutes they will break down, releasing beautiful aromatics that will have people wondering when dinner will be ready.

Chat, enjoy a glass of red wine (I prefer a dry Shiraz), but be sure stir the onions regularly

This step cannot be rushed. The onions need to wilt, brown and begin to caramelise.

Caramelised onions

Add the brown sugar to aid the caramelising process. The savoury of the onion and sweet of the sugar is just delicious.

After 10 minutes of stirring, add the flour to help add a little thickness to the soup. Stir for two minutes and add the beef stock.

Beef stock added to onions

Allow the flavours to combine on a low simmer for the next 15 minutes.

Serve with cheesy bread – but any bread will do. We had ours with olive sourdough. Delicious!

I’d like to give away a copy of Moonstone Conspiracy and Moonstone Obsession.

Just tell me what recipe brings your family together?

*

Oh, I ADORE French onion soup, Elizabeth. Thanks so much for sharing your recipe. You are spot on about taking the time to caramelise the onions. That is definitely a stage that can’t be rushed. Hmm. I have a real hankering for this soup now. Might have to put it on this week’s menu!

By the way for anyone who’s interested and looking for a treat, if you happen to be in Melbourne check out Bistro Guillaume at Crown Casino. The French onion soup there is divine. Actually, everything at the restaurant is beautiful. I may have to sneak in a visit when I’m down for the Romance Writers of Australia conference this month.

Now, lovelies, did you see that Elizabeth has a…

GIVEAWAY!

To be in the draw to win an ebook copy of both Moonstone Conspiracy and Moonstone Obsession, simply reveal what recipe brings your family together.

Perhaps you have a favourite soup or maybe it’s the good old roast that makes you think family. I’m not sure we really have a recipe that gets our family together but you can’t beat a good old barbecue for family fun, burnt snags and all. And it saves on the washing up!

So what recipe or food gets your family together? Reveal all and you’ll be in the draw. Easy!

Please note: Giveaway closes midnight Tuesday AEST, 11th August 2015. Open internationally. Rah!

Don’t have an e-reader? That’s okay. You can easily read ebooks on your phone, tablet or computer via any one of the many apps available.

If you’d like to learn more about Elizabeth and her books, please visit her website. You can also connect via Facebook, Twitter using @EECarterAuthor and Pinterest.

Friday Feast recipe index link.

 

FRIDAY FEAST with Alison Stuart

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Welcome to another mouth-watering edition of Friday Feast! This week, we’ll be exploring the delights of Belgium with a hugely talented historical author, salivating over a fruit dessert and offering you the chance to win a swag of Waterloo memorabilia!

First, news from Us Heins Weren’t Meant To Play Golf. So the new golf bag didn’t work either. I’m still playing like poo and my handicap is going out with every round. The glory days of the start of the year, where a single figure handicap seemed within reach, are now mere wispy memories. I have, it has to be said, descended back into the quagmire of hackerdom and become bogged.

But maybe this is only a winter anomaly? Maybe, come spring, things will change? Surely, if I’ve reached those heights before I can manage it again? There must be hope!

Author Alison StuartTime to move on to the real reason you’re here, because I’m certain it’s not the embarrassment that is my golf game.

Today’s guest is award-winning, cross-genre historical author Alison Stuart. If you haven’t read her novel Gather the Bones, then you’re missing out on a terrific read. I adored that book as did many others, which is why it was a finalist in numerous awards. Reflecting her background in the military and fire service, Alison has a predisposition to men in uniform (don’t we all!) and her latest follows that path.

Take a look at Lord Somerton’s Heir

LORD SOMERTON’S HEIR

Lord Somerton's Heir by Alison StuartCan the love of an honourable man save her from  the memory of a desolate marriage?

From the battlefield of Waterloo to the drawing rooms of Brantstone Hall, Sebastian Alder’s elevation from penniless army captain to Viscount Somerton is the stuff of dreams. But the cold reality of an inherited estate in wretched condition, and the suspicious circumstances surrounding his cousin’s death, provide Sebastian with no time for dreams — only a mystery to solve and a murderer to bring to justice.

Isabel, widow of the late Lord Somerton, is desperate to bury the memory of her unhappy marriage by founding the charity school she has always dreamed of. Except, her dreams are soon shattered from beyond the grave when she is not only left penniless, but once more bound to the whims of a Somerton.

But this Somerton is unlike any man she has met. Can the love of an honourable man heal her broken heart or will suspicion tear them apart?

Ah, now doesn’t that sounds romantic? It can be yours with just a few clicks. Try Amazon, Kobo, iBooks, Google Play, Nook, JB Hi-Fi or your favourite ebook retailer.

All set? That’s the way! Here’s Alison.

It’s Tuesday – It Must Be Belgium

Ah, the culinary delights of travel!

My husband and I have just returned from 6 weeks in the UK and Europe and one of our favourite aspects of travel is food… and beer… and wine. We make a point of eating local food and drinking local brews, wherever possible (a visit to the Champagne region of France was particularly tough!). There were two destinations on our journey when this policy failed us – Copenhagen and Berlin where it seemed that the only eateries around where we were staying were provenders of every world cuisine – except the local. We ate noodles and Thai.

Inevitably our journeying footsteps take us through Brussels. Why? You may well ask. We have rather a soft spot for this quaint little town. My husband had several business trips to Brussels before I made it there so by that time he was well acquainted with the local cuisine and the best places to find it. Of course it helps that the local cuisine is beer and chocolate. We have only just finished the 1kg box of our favourite Corne Port Royale chocolates that we lovingly hauled back with us. When every second shop sells chocolate it pays to know the good ones and you know you’ve been to a city too often when you get annoyed that your favourite shop has moved!

Which brings me to beer. We have two favourite haunts… A La Mort Subite, a beer hall just off the Grande Place with wonderful arched mirrors, murals and brasswork. It opened in 1928 and nothing much has changed since, including the paintwork. In my book GATHER THE BONES, the characters have a brief interlude in Brussels, although, given the circumstances it is doubtful they visited beer halls, but I am sure Paul and Tony would have enjoyed a beer at La Mort Subite and not felt out of place or time. The speciality of LMS is the Lambic White Beer… and it HAS to be eaten with a plate of cheese, salami, gerkins and pickled onions – sprinkled with celery salt and eaten with mustard.

La Mort Subite, Brussels

On to La Becasse, another beer hall, discreetly tucked away and quite hard to find if you don’t know where to look. Here the decor is wooden panelling and brasswork – just wonderful on a cold night. In fact it was rather odd being in Brussels in warm weather… as all my previous trips had been in the cold. It is one place I distinctly prefer a little cold.

A popular haunt of students La Becasse was oddly deserted on our recent trip (exam season  apparently). We spent a pleasant evening working our way through the beer menu. Particular favourites are the Lambic Beer, the fruit beers (particularly the Kriek or cherry beer) and the wheat beers all served in fabulous blue earthenware jugs and accompanied by another plate of cheese, salami and little pickled onions. Who needs dinner?

But if you are on the hunt for real food, the Belgians are best known for their Moules Marinieres (not to be eaten in a month with no ‘R’), their Frites (potato chips) and Goffres (waffles) all served from ‘holes in the wall’ or street carts tucked into corners. Nothing like a warm goffre dripping chocolate on a chilly night while you admire the Mannekin Pis, which has to be world’s most underwhelming statue.

We only had one full day and we occupied that fully in a day trip to visit Waterloo, on a stuffy local bus. We missed the bicentennial of the battle by a week. I won’t bore you with that here – you can read about it on my own blog, but in recognition of this important battle, my ‘Waterloo Story’, LORD SOMERTON’S HEIR is on sale on Amazon and iBooks for this week at only .99c and I am also running a contest to win some Waterloo memorabilia. You can enter via Rafflecopter through this link… Click HERE to enter.

Author Alison Stuart at Waterloo

And now to my recipe… which is not, as far as I know, Belgian, but is a family favourite passed on to me by a dear friend when I got married (origin unknown).

NECTARINE NUT KUCHEN

(serves 8)

PASTRY

I cup (125g) plain flour

2 TBLSP castor sugar

30g finely ground almonds

60g butter

1 large egg

Grated rind 1 lemon

1/2 tsp vanilla essence

Place flour and castor sugar with the almonds into a bowl. Add butter cut into small pieces and either process for a moment until crumbly or mix, using your fingertips.

Add the egg lemon rind and vanilla essence and mix until it binds together.

Remove and wrap well then chill for 30 minutes. Roll pastry out between some waxed paper or on a lightly floured board. Press into a tin (with removable base) or a form tin or a quiche tin, approx 20”. Butter the tin lightly on the base and sides. Having pressed the pastry into the tin, chill while preparing the fruit and topping.

FILLING

500g firm ripe nectarines or plums

1tblsp lemon juice

2 tbsp sugar

1/2 tsp cinnamon

Cut the fruit into segments, removing the stone from each one. Place in a bowl. Add the lemon juice, sugar and cinnamon and stir gently until the fruit is coated.

Place into the crust, pressing down lightly with a spoon to slightly flatten the top without crushing the fruit.

TOPPING

45g ground almonds

2 tblsp sugar

1 tblsp brown sugar

30g unsalted butter

Mix the almonds with both sugars. Add the melted butter and stir with a fork. The topping should be quite moist. Scatter this evenly over the top of the fruit.

Place in a moderate oven and cook for about 35-40 mins until pastry is golden and fruit is tender. Remove from oven, stand for 5 mins then cut into wedges and serve warm with cream.

*

That sounds absolutely delicious, Alison! Anything with fruit in it is a house favourite and I adore being able to take advantage of a season’s abundance. Thanks so much for sharing this with us.

Did you read, Feasties? Alison is running a…

GIVEAWAY!

And it’s a really super-simple one too. No commenting – although we would love if you did – just a quick click then choose how many times you want to enter!

Visit Alison’s Rafflecopter giveaway today. Go on! You could win a swag of Waterloo memorabilia, including a reproduction of The Times with Wellington’s Waterloo despatch, a Wellington keyring, a Napoleon bookmark and other goodies.

ALISON STUART (1)

If you’d like to learn more about Alison and her books, please visit her website. You can also connect via Facebook, Twitter using @AlisonStuart14 and her blog.

Friday Feast recipe index link.

FRIDAY FEAST with Anne Gracie

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Hello lovelies, and welcome to another super-tasty edition of Friday Feast. This week, in a not-to-be-missed post, one of my absolute favourite historical romance authors shows off her gorgeous new release, gives you a step-by-step guide to jelly cake bliss, and generously offers a wonderful giveaway. So keep reading!

But first, the sigh-worthy saga that is Us Heins Weren’t Meant To Play Golf. At last I’m home from South Australia and have managed to hit a familiar golf course with my own clubs. Author Anne GracieI was more than a bit fretful that some of Dad’s bad golfing juju might have followed me home and curled its sniggery, meddling self around my clubs but fortunately that wasn’t the case. Thank god. Then again, it could be simply biding its time. The curse is sneaky that way.

What is most definitely not sneaky is this week’s Friday Feast guest. She’s a joy! Multi-award winning and best-selling Regency romance author Anne Gracie is an auto-buy author for me. Her stories are charming, fun, emotional and absolute delights to read. If you’ve never tested the Regency romance waters, then Anne’s Chance Sisters series it the perfect place to start. The Autumn Bride and The Winter Bride were completely heart-warming and now book three in the series, The Spring Bride, has hit Australian shelves with US following shortly. It looks another beauty. Check it out.

THE SPRING BRIDE

US Cover of The Spring Bride by Anne GracieOn the eve of the London Season, Jane Chance is about to make her entrance into high society. Haunted by a childhood riddled with poverty and hardship, Jane is determined her own children will never suffer the same; she intends to make a good, safe, sensible marriage. All goes according to plan until a dark, dangerous vagabond helps her rescue a dog.

Zachary Black is all kinds of unsuitable–a former spy, now in disguise, he’s wanted for murder. His instructions: to lie low until his name is cleared. But Zach has never followed the rules, and he wants Jane Chance for his own.

If that means blazing his way into London society, in whatever guise suits him, that’s what he’ll do. Jane knows she shouldn’t fall in love with this unreliable, if devastatingly attractive, rogue. But Zach is determined–and he’s a man accustomed to getting what he wants.

Doesn’t that sound wonderful? I already have The Spring Bride loaded to my e-reader and with a few quick clickety-clicks you could have this charming book too. Try those good people at Booktopia, Bookworld or Angus & Robertson. Or visit Book Depository, Amazon.comAmazon.au, Kobo, iBooks, Barnes & Noble, JB Hi-Fi, Google Play, Fishpond, Boomerang Books, or your favourite book retailer.

All loaded up with some spring goodness? Great. Now get some jelly in your belly with Anne!

A Retro Wonder

I made these recently to take to a friend’s birthday party. I was going to make something savoury, but I’ve known this woman since she was 15, so I decided to make something fun and yummy and retro. They proved a big hit.

Cup cakes are very fashionable, but for my money these are more delicious and fun. And surprisingly easy to make. The hardest part is getting the jelly at the right texture, and that’s all a matter of timing. And I had to buy a new patty pan tin because Mum’s old one was all rusty.

Jelly Cakes

Makes up to 30 or more little cakes, depending how you fill the patty pans.

Anne Gracie's Jelly Cakes

The cakes:

60g butter, softened

1 egg, lightly beaten

1/2 cup caster sugar

1 cup self-raising flour

2/3 cup milk

The coating:

85g packet raspberry jelly crystals (any flavour will work, though)

1 cup boiling water

2/3 cup cold water

3 cups desiccated coconut

The filling:

Lashings of whipped cream (a 300ml container of thickened cream is plenty)

Method:

1) Preheat oven to 180°C. Grease a 12 hole shallow patty-pan tin (1.5 tablespoon capacity) or a gem-iron pan. (If you don’t have one, a cup cake or small muffin pan might do)

2) Cream butter and sugar with an electric beater until light and fluffy. Add in egg, a little at a time, beating until well combined.

3) With a big spoon, gently fold in half the flour and half the milk. Repeat until remaining flour and milk is used up.

Jelly cake batter

4) Spoon mixture into patty pans. Bake for 10 — 15  minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Cool cakes on a wire rack. (Cakes can be frozen in this state and kept for coating later.)

Jelly cakes ready to bake

Baked, un-iced jelly cakes

5) Make the jelly in a big shallow bowl. Stir jelly crystals and boiling water together until crystals are dissolved. Mix in the cold water. Refrigerate for 1 hour or until cold and slightly thick. (*This is the trickiest part. It needs to be the texture of unbeaten egg white.  Too runny and it soaks into the cake, too thick and it won’t coat the cakes at all. Check frequently. If too solid sit the bowl in some hot water to reverse the setting process. Or maybe zap it in the microwave.)

Jelly cakes being coated in jelly

6) Place coconut into a large bowl. Make like lamingtons — coating each cake in jelly, then rolling in coconut. Pop them into the fridge for half an hour or so to let the jelly set.

Jelly cakes being rolled in coconut

You can serve the cakes like this or fill them with cream, which is decadent and delicious and as far as I’m concerned traditional.

7) I put the jelly-and-coconutted cakes in a large plastic container, and keep overnight or until an hour or two before I want to serve them in. (You can freeze them at this point, too, I believe.)

Place jelly cakes into the fridge

8) Whip cream. Carefully slice the top off each cake and place large blob of cream on the inside. Replace top of cake. That’s it.

Anne Gracie's Jelly Cakes

When you’ve finished creaming all the cakes, eat the wonkiest looking one — you owe it to your guests to make sure the cakes are fit to be eaten. 😉 Put the remainder in the fridge. Then resist temptation firmly, or else there will be no cakes left!

A bitten-into jelly cake

Oh, these are brilliant, Anne! Thanks so much for sharing the recipe. Jelly cakes were such a favourite growing up and you don’t see then often now, certainly not  home-made ones, which are the only ones to have. Love the step-by-step instructions too. Very helpful.

Now for the bit we all adore. Yes, Feasty lovelies, Anne has offered a…

GIVEAWAY!

But of course you’re going to have to work for it. Not very hard though, I promise. Today your task is to choose which cover of The Spring Bride you prefer most and why. So… does the Australian version do it for you?

1SpringBrideAussieMed

Or the US version?

US Cover of The Spring Bride by Anne Gracie

Me? I love the covers of both. They both sing spring, but I have to admit that the US version is the one I like best. Her dress is stunning!

So what about you? Reveal which cover you prefer and why and we’ll pop you into the draw to win a copy of The Spring BridThe. Just the thing to enjoy with a cuppa and a sweet jelly cake.

Please note: Giveaway closes midnight Tuesday AEST, 2nd June 2015. Open internationally. Rah!

If you’d like to learn more about Anne and her gorgeous books, please visit her website. You can also connect via Facebook, Goodreads and Twitter using @AnneGracie, and the totally fabulous WordWenches blog.

Friday Feast recipe index link.