Above painting: Louis Jean Francois - Mars and Venus an Allegory of Peace
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Thursday, June 30, 2016

New Release! STOLEN BY THE LAIRD by Eliza Knight

Happy Thursday! I'm thrilled to announce the release of my newest novel, STOLEN BY THE LAIRD!

ABOUT THE BOOK:

She was supposed to be his prize... But not all rewards are sweet...

Laird Brody Keith, Marischal of Scotland, has been asked by his future king to travel with William Wallace to Dunnottar Castle, where they will seize the castle back from the English. If he completes his mission, the castle, the land and all it holds, will be his. Brody is more than eager to sink his blade into the hearts of his enemies after the brutal murder of his sister and father. But what he doesn't count on is finding an English lass in need of his protection...

Lady Guinevere has led a less than pleasant life in Scotland over the past year, and now she can either run for her life or accept the proposal of a man who should be her enemy. Survival bids her to acquiesce, but that doesn't mean she has to play nice. Except, she's coming to adore the people whom she's always been told she should hate, and respect the man who risked his life for her.

Joined for a mutual purpose, Brody and Guinevere seem doomed from the start, but as time passes and their true enemies draw closer, they'll form an alliance that not even the devil himself can break.




EXCERPT:

Brody pushed the door open the remainder of the way and came face to face with four Englishwomen. They huddled by the window, dressed in Sassenach gowns, hair once styled as though they were attending a great feast, jewels at their necks, and tears adorning each face except for one.
“Och, but I’ve died and gone to Hell,” he muttered.
Everyone knew Englishwomen were as shrewish as… well as, an Englishwoman, and as cold as dead fish.
All four stared at him, wide-eyed, mouths hung agape.
Much like fish, he thought.
They were pretty enough, especially the one with the long flowing blonde locks. Though it looked as though her locks had seen better days, perhaps not to have been torn from whatever fancy knot they’d been in.
“Who are ye?” he asked in not too kind a tone. He didn’t want any shrewish behavior, simply facts.
The blonde stepped forward, squared her shoulders and looked him straight in the eye with her piercing blue—nay more green than blue—eyes. She was the only one who didn’t cry. As though she’d been expecting him. The lass was beautiful, even if she was a harpy. Her bone structure was delicate, but her eyes sharp, and the way she frowned, well, he guessed her tongue to be just as barbed. The gown accentuated the curve of her hips and the swell of marginal breasts—he refused to call them the perfect size, for she was English, and he denied finding anything about her to be flawless.
“Who are you?” she retorted.
Och, a fiery little fish. “I asked ye first.”
“Well”—her gaze roved from the top of his head down to his boot tips and he felt more than a little assessed—“I think it is plain to see I outrank you, savage, so you must answer me first.”
At her bold words the ladies in her presence all paled, one covered her mouth, another pinched her own arms and the third nodded approval.
Brody chuckled, taking a menacing step forward. “Then I suppose we have found ourselves at an impasse, fishy, for I do believe I outrank ye.”
“Fishy? Ye insult me.” She shook her head and regarded him with something akin to disgust. “Impossible.”
Her revulsion almost had him checking himself. How odd, and why should he even wonder at her manners? She was English after all. Every woman he’d ever met up to this point had fallen at his feet. Brody was known for his charismatic tongue, his lovemaking abilities. Well, this fish wouldn’t know those things. And from the looks of her, she’d be too uptight to enjoy the pleasures he could have given her, if he wanted to, which he wouldn’t.
Brody puffed his chest and took several steps forward. “I assure ye, madam, given your current situation, anything is possible.”
Two of her ladies fainted dead away and the third stepped in front of the blonde, only to be shoved behind, a sharp word from the Grande Fishy’s mouth.
Then she turned back to him, pursing her lips as though she were contemplating a truce.
Before she could speak, he cut her off. “I dinna make deals, lass. If ye dinna believe me, then take a look out your window at the kirk yonder.”
“So you intend to kill us then?” Despite the stubborn set to her jaw and shoulders, her lower lip quivered.
Och, but why did that slight tremble have to tug at his heart? “We shall see what comes to pass.”



BUY LINKS:



ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Eliza Knight is an award-winning and USA Today bestselling indie author of sizzling historical romance and erotic romance. Under the name E. Knight, she pens rip-your-heart-out historical fiction. While not reading, writing or researching for her latest book, she chases after her three children. In her spare time (if there is such a thing…) she likes daydreaming, wine-tasting, traveling, hiking, staring at the stars, watching movies, shopping and visiting with family and friends. She lives atop a small mountain with her own knight in shining armor, three princesses and two very naughty puppies. Visit Eliza at http://www.elizaknight.comor her historical blog History Undressed: www.historyundressed.com


Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Seeing the World in Blue and White by Sherrie Hansen

Welcome to History Undressed, guest author, Sherrie Hansen! She's written a great post for us today about Scotland! Enjoy!


Seeing the World in Blue and White
by Sherrie Hansen


I’ve been hearing Scottish accents in my head for over a decade, and now, after returning from my second trip to Bonnie Scotland, my mind’s eye is just as steeped in images of the highlands and islands I’ve been writing about.




Our trip was a flurry of wildflowers and walled gardens, castles and keeps, and lochs and legends. My mind is whirling with the characters and construct of a new story, ancient ghosts and curses, and modern day longings and desires set to clash like pitchforks and swords at Culloden.





One of my characters is the “rightful” heir of a castle and as fascinated and enamored of Scotland as I am, the other is there only because she could find no other way to wiggle out of her duties as the legal heir of a castle she cares nothing aboot.



Even more exciting is the sense of déjà vu I feel about the Wildflowers of Scotland books I’ve already written.



As I spotted each of the wildflowers I’ve featured in Thistle Down, Wild Rose, Blue Belle, Shy Violet, and Sweet William, and the castles and kirks that provide a backdrop for each of the stories, the characters have come to life for me all over again.




One of the highlights of the trip was the day I left a copy of Shy Violet with a random staff member at Eilean Donan’s Castle Café, where many scenes in the book take place. A few days later, on our way back from the Isle of Skye, we stopped once more to eat lunch. The recipient pulled me aside, and in her delightful Scottish accent, said “I’ve begun to read yer book, and I’m loving it! Ye’re a very good author, and I thank ye so much.” 



The whole time we were at Eilean Donan Castle, I kept catching glimpse of people who looked like Nathan or Violet. William and Lyndsie, the stars of Sweet William, felt very close to me when we were on Skye - walking around the mysterious Fairy Glen at Uig, watching the cows graze on Claigon Coral Beach near Dunvegan and dipping a toe in the Fairy Pools at Glenbrittle. Because I know what happens to William while he’s on Skye, I had a deep, sense of foreboding until we were on our way home, and I knew everything was okay.


There’s a magical connection between Scotland and me. I’m a Blue Belle, and always will be. (For those of you who don’t know me, I have a B&B and Tea House called the Blue Belle Inn.) Loving the blue and white Saltire of Scotland is a natural extension of my love of blue.




If you’ve yet to fall in love with Scotland, I hope you’ll pick up a copy of one of my Wildflowers of Scotland novels and see if the highlands and islands of Scotland resonate with you like they do me.



Age old castles and blue-watered bays,
White sandy beaches and quaint cottage stays.
A rainbow of colors and chocolates, hand-dipped,
A valley of bluebells and sheep, freshly clipped.




Legends galore, buried treasure, and more…   
In the Wildflowers of Scotland novels, that’s what’s in store.



Twenty-four years ago, Sherrie Hansen Decker rescued a dilapidated Victorian house from the bulldozer’s grips and turned it into a B&B and tea house, the Blue Belle Inn. Sherrie and her husband, Mark, who is a pastor, live in 2 different houses, 85 miles apart. Sherrie writes murder mysteries and novels whenever she’s not working at her B&B – or trying to be a good pastor’s wife. Her contemporary romantic suspense novels include Night and Day, Love Notes, and Thistle Down, Wild Rose, Blue Belle, Shy Violet and Sweet William, her Wildflowers of Scotland novels.




You can see what’s she’s up to at: 
 http://sherriehansen.wordpress.com/
www.BlueBelleInn.com or www.BlueBelleBooks.com

Sherrie’s new release is Sweet William.

He’s a real sweetheart. She’s a wee bit tart. When Minnesota farm boy, William McKnight, and sassy Scot, Lyndsie Morris, are forced to work together in the kitchen of Rabbit Hill Lodge, the atmosphere is as charged as an episode of Chopped. Will someone get cut, or will they find a recipe that works? Things just start to get spicy when an angry bull butts his way into the picture, and Lyndsie has to decide if she loves William more than everyone and everything she holds dear.




Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Bold...Brilliant...Brave...Heroines Throughout History PETTICOAT SPIES ~ Part Two by Tara Kingston

Welcome back to History Undressed, our regular 3rd Tuesday blogger, Tara Kingston! Today she's bringing us Part Two of her Petticoat Spies article. The first can be viewed here. Enjoy!

Bold...Brilliant...Brave...Heroines Throughout History
PETTICOAT SPIES ~ Part Two

by Tara Kingston


Greetings! I’m Tara Kingston, historical romance author and lover of all things Victorian. I’m fascinated by history through the ages, especially the bold, brilliant women who helped shape our world, and I’m delighted to be a monthly contributor to History Undressed. I’ll be sharing facts about daring women through history—some famous, some not so well-known, but all remarkable with their own unique contributions.

Today’s post takes a look at several female spies of the Civil War era. Driven by fierce loyalty, women on both sides of the conflict faced incredible risks to gather intelligence that help defeat the enemy. This month, the focus is on some of brave women who spied for the Confederacy.



Rose O’Neal Greenhow ~ The widowed Washington, D.C. socialite known as “Rebel Rose” used her considerable connections to spy for the Confederacy. A charming hostess, Rebel Rose gleaned information on military activities and Washington’s defenses and passed this on to Confederate leadership. Her activities drew the suspicion of Allan Pinkerton, resulting in her house arrest and eventual confinement in the Old Capitol Prison for several months. Deported to the South, Mrs. Greenhow was sent on a diplomatic mission to Britain and France by Jefferson Davis. During her time in England, Mrs. Greenhow wrote and published her memoirs.



Belle Boyd ~ Born in West Virginia in 1844, Belle Boyd began spying for the Confederacy at the age of seventeen. Using her skill at flirtation to help her gather info, Belle served as a courier, passing information to Confederate generals such as Stonewall Jackson and P.G.T. Beauregard. The woman known as “Cleopatra of the Secession” and “Siren of the Shenandoah” was arrested on multiple occasions by Union forces and faced eventual imprisonment in the Old Capitol Prison. Following her release, Belle boarded a ship bound for England in 1864, intent on transporting Confederate papers. After the ship was intercepted by a Union Navy vessel, Belle was again arrested as a spy. She fell in love with a Union officer who was one of her captors, Samuel Hardinge; they later married and had a daughter. After the war, Belle Boyd wrote and published a memoir, Belle Boyd in Camp and Prison, and launched a career as an actress and performer, eventually touring the country giving lectures on her adventures as a Civil War spy.



Antonia Ford Willard ~ Born in Virginia in 1838, Antonia Ford gathered information from occupying Union soldiers in her hometown, Fairfax Court House and provided military intelligence to Confederate general J.E.B. Stuart and spied for Colonel John Mosby, leader of a group of Confederate rangers. Miss Ford received an honorary commission as an aide-de-camp from Stuart in 1861. Accused of spying in 1863, Antonia Ford was arrested and held in the Old Capitol Prison. Her arresting officer, Major Joseph Willard, had lobbied for her release. After taking the Oath of Allegiance, Antonia was released from prison and went on to marry Major Willard. Their son later became the lieutenant governor of Virginia.


Petticoat spies like these courageous women inspired my Secrets & Spies series. The three books in the series are available for Kindle and Kindle Unlimited. Here’s a link to the first book in the series: Secrets, Spies & Sweet Little Lies on Kindle

Here’s a little about the story:

A heart's destiny cannot be denied when a daring Union spy abducts a beautiful runaway bride he suspects of being a traitor.

Emma Davenport was a model senator’s daughter: prim, proper, but hell-bent on escaping the dreaded fate of spinsterhood that awaited her under wartime Washington’s all-too watchful eye. She was going to be a bride, and no one was going to stop her. Not even the daring renegade who steals her from a train transporting her to a forbidden marriage. Her heart tells her this mysterious desperado is a dangerous man, but the pleasure of his touch is a more potent threat than any weapon.

Union Army Major Cole Travis is a highly trained operative, as skilled with deception as he is with a gun. Keeping a beautiful traitor from her rendezvous with a treacherous scoundrel shouldn’t be a challenge for the battle-seasoned spy—but he’s not the only one after his tempting captive. Emma Davenport must be kept out of enemy hands at all costs. Drawn to this woman whose innocent allure may be just another weapon in her arsenal, Cole risks his neck to shield her. Soon, however, protecting her from his own heart’s desire becomes another story entirely.

To Read More About Civil War Petticoat Spies:

All photographs are in the public domain.

About The Author:


Award-winning author Tara Kingston writes historical romance laced with intrigue, danger, and adventures of the heart. A Southern belle-out-of-water in a quaint Pennsylvania town, she lives her own love story with her real-life hero in a cozy Victorian. The mother of two sons, Tara's a former librarian whose love of books is evident in her popping-at-the-seams bookcases. It goes without saying that Tara's husband is thankful for the invention of digital books, thereby eliminating the need for yet another set of shelves. When she's not writing, reading, or burning dinner, Tara enjoys cycling, hiking, and cheering on her favorite football team.

In a world where a man’s loyalty doesn’t depend on the color of a uniform, danger, intrigue, and passion are facts of life for the men and women of Tara’s Secrets & Spies series, historical romances set against the backdrop of the Civil War. http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00GK677PY/ref=series_rw_dp_sw