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Entries in historical romance (22)


Day 3: Romance Previews featuring HER CHRISTMAS KNIGHT by Nicole Locke

Are you enjoying our Romance Previews  featuring HER CHRISTMAS KNIGHT by Nicole Locke this week?

Let's set the stage for today's excerpt:

Yesterday, Alice Fenton of Shoebury played a courtly game only to meet in the dark the man she’s loved all her life. A man, who she hadn’t seen for six years and had thought dead. Distracted by Hugh’s presence, she doesn’t realise that King Edward had entered the room. 

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Book of the Month: A Noble Masquerade by Kristi Ann Hunter

by Kristi Ann Hunter

Bethany House 

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Lady Miranda Hawthorne acts every inch the lady, but inside she longs to be bold and carefree. Approaching spinsterhood in the eyes of society, she pours her innermost feelings out not in a diary but in letters to her brother's old school friend, the Duke of Marshington. Since she's never actually met the man she has no intention of ever sending the letters and is mortified when her brother's mysterious new valet, Marlow, mistakenly mails one of the letters to the unsuspecting duke.

Shockingly, this breach of etiquette results in a reply from the duke that soon leads to a lively correspondence. Insecurity about her previous lack of suitors soon becomes confusion as Miranda finds herself equally intrigued by Marlow, a man she has come to depend upon but whose behavior grows more suspicious by the day. As the secret goings-on at her family's estate come to light, one thing is certain: Miranda's heart is far from all that's at risk for the Hawthornes and those they love.

Scroll down the page to read a letter to readers and an excerpt! 


Read a letter to readers!

A Noble Masquerade is the first full-length novel in the Hawthorne House series. I simply adored this family when they marched their way into my novella, A Lady of Esteem, and fairly soon after their arrival they were each demanding a story of their own. (Note: Visit your favorite ebook retailer for a free copy of the novella.)

This book follows the oldest sister and next to youngest sibling, Miranda, a young woman with an excess of vibrant emotions and an insufficient amount of self-restraint. Having grown up with her mother’s voice in her ear, constantly telling her all the things a lady should and shouldn’t do, Miranda tries to live by the rules even when they grate against her natural inclinations.

Knowing how much I censor my own actions because of what I think others would expect of me, I have to think it would have been even more difficult to chafe against those expectations two hundred years ago, especially in a society where stepping outside of the accepted behaviors could get one ostracized. It was going to take a very special journey with a man as equally unusual as herself for Miranda to discover the freedom to be herself and live in a hypercritical world.

Ryland has gone out of his way to buck tradition, allowing him to meet Miranda in a most curious fashion by masquerading as the servant Marlow. This gives them a unique chance to get to know each other in a very real way outside of the veneer they present to society. The fact that their lives are in a bit of danger might have a little bit of an impact as well.

One of the most fun things about writing this book was discovering the very interesting people this couple has surrounded themselves with. Exploring the secondary characters was almost as much fun as delving into the relationship and lives of Ryland and Miranda. A few of them are so endearing that I can’t help but bring them back later in the series, perhaps even as a main character with a story of their own.

Miranda’s journey and realizations she makes about herself and the way God sees her were very personal, as I myself worked through similar issues a few years ago. Watching Miranda learn these lessons for the first time encouraged me with how far my own understanding had come since walking that same path.

I hope that while you escape to the beautiful world of Regency England and frolic along the rocky path to love with Ryland and Miranda, you will also find a bit of encouragement along the way.

Happy reading!


Read an excerpt!

Marlow entered the library with a loaded tea service.

“Your tea, my lady,” he said with a bow.

Miranda looked from the valet to the tea service. The comforting aroma of tea spread through her, making her more relaxed with every breath.

She should offer him a cup. It was the middle of the night, with no one around to see them, and if ever the rules of propriety could be bent it was now.

Then again, “A lady is always a lady.

Bother that. She shoved the memory of her mother’s frequent reprimand out of her mind, fighting a grin at the mental image. It would be a few hours yet before anyone else stirred in the house. Besides, there was something addicting about his grey gaze. Almost refreshing in its honest directness.

She moved from the desk to the settee, trying to subtly wipe her hands against her dressing gown. Had they been sweating while she wrote her letter? “Would you care to join me?”

His gaze snapped to hers.

Miranda’s heart gave a strange twist in her chest. They were alone. As alone as she’d ever been with a man, servant or otherwise.

She should recant her offer. The memory of those grey eyes had not accounted for how uneasy they made her feel. They seemed to see more than what was actually before him, as if he could look into her soul and pick apart her inner ponderings and motivations. What a ridiculous thought. Something about this man clearly brought out her fanciful side.

“I would be honored, my lady.” Even after answering in the affirmative, he hesitated before taking a seat across the low table from her.

Miranda began to pour the tea. She fixed his cup according to his stated preferences and then sat back with her own cup. She’d already thrown propriety to the wind; rigid posture might as well join it.

“How did you come to be in Griffith’s employ, Marlow? I wasn’t aware he had set about looking for a new valet, although it was high past time. Herbert must be sixty years old.”

“We happened upon each other in the village. I had, ah, been relieved of my employment. Your brother took a liking to me, however, and here I am.”

“Truly? That sounds so very unlike Griffith,” she murmured. Griffith never did anything without thinking it through and coming up with a good reason or twenty.

“Then I am even more grateful for the position.” Marlow quietly sipped at his tea, apparently waiting for her to guide the conversation, if there was to be any.

Did she want there to be any? Yes. Yes, she did. If for no other reason than to pretend she had control over something. “Did you work as a valet before?”

“Yes, my lady.”

Miranda took a large gulp of tea and tried desperately to think of something, anything, to ask that did not involve work. She really didn’t want to know what it was like dressing a gentleman for a living, and especially not in relation to her brother. Having decided that they were going to have a conversation mere moments before, she wasn’t quite ready to abandon the effort.

Her gaze drifted back to him, as if just looking at him would inspire an appropriate topic. All it did was make her realize that she’d been wrong when she thought no man could fill out a coat like her brothers did. Marlow was either padding his shoulders or his muscles were straining the seams of his tailored jacket. She cleared her throat and looked back to her teacup. Tiny blue flowers on white porcelain were considerably safer to look at. “Have you any family near here?”

“No, my lady. I am afraid it is only me. There may be a scattering of cousins over in Derbyshire, but I’ve lost touch with them over the years.”

“Did you grow up in Derbyshire, then?”

“No, Kent.”

She looked at him in confusion. It wasn’t unheard of for aristocratic families to become scattered, with so many of them traveling to London to marry, but the lower classes? “How in the world did you become so separated? Kent is nowhere near Derbyshire.”

“A small move here, a large move there, and you end up going wherever the work takes you.” He had a faraway look in his eye, and she suspected there was much more behind his statement than the scattering of extended family members. With a sad little smile and a shrug, he went back to sipping at his tea.

“I see,” Miranda said, although she really didn’t. A servant would have to change jobs quite a bit to jump from house to house and travel all the way to Derbyshire from Kent and then on to Hertfordshire—and Marlow couldn’t be much older than Griffith. She cast about for conversational inspiration and then remembered her entrance to the library had interrupted his reading. “What are you reading?”

Marlow glanced at the book open near the stack of boots he had been polishing while reading. “Shakespeare. Twelfth Night.

“Is that the one where the noblewoman pretends to be a servant to the duke?”

He nodded.

“I’ve never understood how that would work. I mean, I can’t even make myself a cup of tea, much less do things for someone else.” She glared at the teapot, as if her ineptitude was entirely its fault. “Aside from the practical aspects, there’s the fact that you’d have to go against everything you had been taught since childhood.”

Marlow cleared his throat. “I believe, my lady, that the idea is that someone will do whatever is needed when the situation calls for it. I think anyone, nobility included, can find hidden talents within themselves when it is required to accomplish their goals.”

After several moments of awkward silence, he placed his cup back on the tea tray. “If you have finished, I will see to the dishes, my lady.”

“Of course.” She quietly placed her cup down and stood. The smile she directed at the servant wasn’t as forced as she expected it to be. The interlude had been far from comfortable, but spending time with him intrigued her more than anything else of late. “Thank you for the tea.”

With a last questioning glance at the valet, she lit her candle and went back to her room. Amazing how such a little bit of light made the pathway so much easier to navigate.

Her nerves had settled and bed didn’t seem such a daunting place anymore. If part of her suspected it had more to do with the tea and conversation than the lateness of the hour, she refused to admit it.

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A legend has passed away...Bertrice Small (1937-2015)

Bertrice Small passed away on Tuesday, February 24, 2015. She leaves behind her son Thomas, and four grandchildren.

Most romance readers are familiar with Bertrice's large volume of fiction. You can visit our page on Historical Romance Writers to browse all her book titles. (

Her careers stood the test of time, and she continued to publish books and communicate with her readers.

Personally I had some interaction with Bertrice through the years. She was always humble, always kind, and always wanting to promote and do interesting things for her book. I did not know her well, but I do know after my many years interacting with authors that she was a genuine and kind person. I would often misspell her name in emails, and she would politely remind me it was spelled "Bertrice". :-)

How wonderful is it that she has left such a large book legacy for her readers?

I leave you with the last letter to her readers (from her website

December 2014

My dear Readers and Friends:

Well we've made it to the twelfth month of the year. Hoo Ray for all of us. I hope it has been a good year for you. It's been an interesting year for me, but in the end I cannot really complain because I'm still here. LOL! And on the 9th of this month I'll add another year to my total. Can't believe it. I remember when I was younger, and knew someone who was the age I am now I thought they were soooo old. Funny, I don't feel old, and I expect neither did those long ago people. I realize now that while we may add years to our lives, old is a state of mind. I don't expect I'll ever get to that particular place, and I hope none of you will either.

Dyalisis three times a week is taking a toll on my work. I keep promising to get that laptop, but so far I haven't done it. I know I must or you will never get to read Serena's story which actually is almost done. And it's such a good story. Like her sisters, Serena is not an easy girl, but of course she will have her happily ever after. I promise!

The family is well I am happy to report. Cora will be a contestant in the Miss Junior U.S.A. New York pageant. While she says it would be fun to win - and Grammi thinks she would be a great representative for New York - her main interest is in the scholarship money the pageant offers. As a high school junior she is now considering what is to come. Her talent is voice. Her singing is excellent, and that just isn't a proud grandmother's opinion. The pageant is in January, and I'll be reporting the results in my February newsletter. Tom, of course, will be escorting her to the pageant. All those pageant mothers will be quite an eye- opener to him. LOL! I imagine he'll come back with some fun stories. He's a wonderful observer of the human condition. Chandler should be entering the local community college after the new year. He's been taking time off to decide what he wants to do. Miss Sophia is half-way through 6th grade, and next year will be in the Southold school. Little Evan is in 3rd grade in Southold, and all is as it should be.

Thanksgiving was lovely with a traditional dinner at my house. I am planning to move in with Tom on the advice of everyone. I've been avoiding it, but it is what it is to use that current expression. My wonderful assistant, Aneta, will live in my little cottage while she seeks a place of her own, and I wait for a buyer. Well, my dears, I will close now as there is really nothing more to say other than I wish you the happiest of holidays - Christmas, Hannakah, Quanza, whatever you celebrate. And may the new year bring us all much good health and happiness. God bless to you all from your most faithful author,

Bertrice Small



May God Bless you Bertrice Small. We thank you for all that you have left us.


Blog Tour featuring Cheryl Holt and her new release SEDUCING THE GROOM


Read an exerpt

A Message from Cheryl Holt:

For many years of my life, I was hailed as “The Queen of Erotic Romance.”  I was one of the first authors to jump into erotics just as they were bubbling up as a romance subgenre.  I wrote fifteen erotic novels and novellas.  At the time, they were considered the cutting edge of the erotic market, but when we see how erotics have evolved over the past decade into full-on erotica, the old books I used to write seem very tame in comparison.  They’re still fun to read, but they’re so different from what’s available now.

My erotic novella, SEDUCING THE GROOM, originally appeared in an erotic anthology in 2004.  It was priced at an exorbitant $15.00, and the print run was very small, so very few people ever bought it or read it.  It’s sort of a “lost” book for me.  The rights recently reverted to me from my old publisher, so I’m rereleasing the book so everyone will have a chance to read it.  And I hope you will.  It’s a great story that’s extremely well written and very fun to read, but when you remember that—just a decade ago—it was the hottest kind of erotic story out on the market, it’s such a surprise!  I think you’ll all be fascinated.  The world is changing so fast!

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Trapped at the Altar Jane Feather New York Times bestselling author Jane Feather introduces a sizzling new series that moves from the remote wilds of southwest England to the turbulent royal court, when a lovely young woman is forced into marriage in order to unite two families--and discovers a most unexpected passion. . . - See more at: