Posts Tagged ‘piatkus’

Happy publication day Cara McKenna!

‘Gritty and compelling. McKenna is a master at capturing realistic situations and characters’ Maya Banks

‘Sweet, smoking hot, stand out’ Beth Kery

YES! Finally the UK can get our hands on one of the hottest books out there! Utterly intense, unforgettable and not for the faint-hearted, Hard Time will turn your world upside down.

Happy publication day Cara McKenna!
——————–
My pounding heart went still, eerie as birds fallen silent in the wake of a gunshot.

He was big. Tall frame, wide shoulders-but not burly. His near-black hair was due for a cut, curling under his ears. Dark brows, dark stubble, dark lashes and eyes.

And he was handsome. So handsome it broke your heart.

A deck of cards was split between his hands, paused midshuffle. Some of the men wore navy scrub tops and bottoms, some navy tee shirts, a few white undershirts. This man wore a tee, with COUSINS stenciled on the front, above the number 802267. Those digits imprinted on my brain, burned black as a brand.

He watched me. But not the way the others did. If he was trying to picture me naked, his poker face was strong, though his attention anything but subtle. His entire head moved as I passed through his domain, but his eyes were languorous. Lazy and half-lidded, yet intense. A hundred looks in one. I didn’t like it. Couldn’t read it. At least with the horny jerk-offs, I knew where I stood.

I wondered what the worst thing you could do and still only get sent to a medium-security prison was. I hoped not to ever learn the answer.

And I hoped to heaven inmate 802267 hadn’t signed up for any of the day’s programs.
——————–
Praise for Cara McKenna:

Hard Time delivers erotic passion unlike anything I’ve seen.‘ – Under the Covers

For all of its forbidden nature, this is a lovely, heartfelt romance’ – Dear Author

‘Ultimately, we learn that people are more than just labels, snap judgments are often misguided, and new life is found in the most unlikely of places. There’s nothing sugar-coated here, and the romance stands out more because of it’Heroes & Heartbreakers

‘The emotions, actions and reactions of all the characters were honest and real. I kept wondering the whole time whether Annie and Eric were going to find a way to make it work’ Guilty Pleasures Book Reviews

Happy publication day Sheila Roberts!!

We are thrilled to have publishing today three gorgeous epubs by Sheila Roberts that are sure to get you in the holiday spirit! They are full of romance, humour and one even features a pesky ginger cat who just might meddle with a few human destinies!

Read on for more about these heart-warming tales from New York Times bestselling author Sheila Roberts!

When a guy is in trouble, he starts making deals with his Creator . . . and Ambrose the cat is no exception. In danger of losing his ninth and final life, Ambrose makes a desperate plea to the universe. He’ll do anything if he can just survive and enjoy a nice long, final life. His prayer is answered when a stranger comes along and saves him-and now it looks like he has to hold up his end of the bargain.

The stranger turns out to be a firefighter named Zach, who’s in need of some serious romantic help. If Ambrose can just bring Zach together with Merilee, the nice lady who works at Pet Palace, it’s bound to earn him a healthy ninth life. Unfortunately for Ambrose, his mission is a lot harder than he ever thought. Merriliee is way too shy to make the first move on a ladies man like Zach, and Zach thinks he’s all wrong for a nice girl like Merrilee. Now it’s going to take all of Ambrose’s feline wiles-and maybe even a good old fashioned Christmas miracle-to make them both realize that what they’re looking for is right in front of their eyes.


At Christmas time, it seems as though a woman’s work is never done. Trimming the tree, mailing the cards, schlepping to the mall, the endless wrapping – bah humbug! So this year, Joy and Laura and the rest of their knitting group decide to go on strike. If their husbands and families want a nice holiday filled with parties, decorations, and presents – well, they’ll just have to do it themselves.

The boycott soon takes on a life of its own when a reporter picks up the story and more women join in. But as Christmas Day approaches, Joy, Laura, and their husbands confront larger issues in their marriages and discover that a little holiday magic is exactly what they need to come together.

When Kiley Gray discovers an enchanting snow globe in an antique shop, she has no idea how much her life is about to change. For years, the snow globe has passed from generation to generation, somehow always landing in the hands of a person in special need of a Christmas miracle.

Kiley could use a miracle herself. This year, all she wants for Christmas is someone to love. A hopeful shake leads her on an adventure that makes a believer out of her. When Kiley shares the story of the snow globe with her best friends-two women with problems of their own-they don’t believe it. But they’re about to discover that at Christmastime, sometimes the impossible becomes possible and miracles really do come true.

 

Happy publication day Sheila Roberts!

All three books are also available in paperback in December and make great stocking stuffers!

Happy publication day MJ Summers!

We are so excited to be the UK publishers of MJ Summers‘ Full Hearts series! Her books are clever, warm and incredibly romantic.

 

And sexy.

 

Did we say sexy?

 

SEXY.

 

Read on to discover the first two Break In Two and Breaking Hearts, out now from Piatkus Entice!

 

Having just discovered that her live-in boyfriend has traded her in for a twenty-two year old hostess, thirty-one year old Claire Hatley is on the run from Seattle. Devastated and alone Claire must make a fresh start. She answers an ad for a chef at a guest ranch just outside Colorado Springs and finds herself face to face with Cole Mitchell, quite possibly the sexiest man to ever ride a horse.

Common sense tells them to stay away from each other, but their attraction is not to be denied. He gives her a glimpse of what love should be, but just as she starts to trust him, the past comes back to tear them apart.

Join Claire and Cole as they embark on the stormy love affair of a lifetime.

 

 

 

Luc Chevalier, powerful billionaire and well-known heart breaker, has everything he desires: power, luxury, beautiful women . . . and no strings attached. Now, an accidental meeting is about to make him question everything.

Megan is a single mum leading a very ordinary life, when she comes crashing into Luc’s seemingly oh-so-perfect world for just one night in the city of love: Paris. Yet that night changes Megan. The part of her she’d hidden away for so long is brought back to life, and she knows she’s out of her depth: Luc is beautiful, ruthless and – somewhere deep down inside – irreparably damaged.

Will two people who don’t believe in happily-ever-after manage to put aside their doubts and find their forever?

 

 

And don’t forget the Full Hearts novella Don’t Let Go! It’s a bite-sized dose of one-click romance!

MaryJanice Davidson is a proud Cumberbimbo!

 I AM A PROUD CUMBERBIMBO

by

MaryJanice Davidson, ‘Proud Cumberbimbo’

***

I love England.  Great Britain, I mean.  Um, that place on the other side of the ocean that isn’t America.  No, not Australia.  (Though I think Australia’s terrific, too.)  I love it for reasons any sane, right-thinking individual loves it:  the Tudors (the actual family, not the Showtime show), high tea, low tea, universal health care, crisps, chips, the currency, the accents, their tolerance of Americans, Benedict Cumberbatch.

Yeah.  Benedict Cumberbatch.  Or, as we say in Minnesota, oofta.  Because the man is the sexiest weird-looking guy since Matt Smith.  (Mr. Smith has a box for a head.  I’m sorry.  You know it’s true.)

Come on.  You’ve noticed.  My sweet, sweet Benedict is not conventionally attractive.  He’s not conventionally anything.  Google “Benedict Cumberbatch” and “otter” and then tell me I’m wrong.  (“You’re wrong.”  “Shut up.”)

From the top of his thick, dyed dark hair (under which, he’s a natural redhead!  Zow!) to the bottom of his size whatever feet (who cares?  I’ve never been into feet.  I’m not sure he has feet), and everything in between, he’s weirdly hot.

And that neck.  At casual glance, it looks about twenty inches long.  (I’m a freakish six feet tall myself, and I write about vampires.  So I think about necks and legs.  And Benedict is 45% neck and 55% legs.)

And the voice.  Sweet Mother of God, the voice.  It’s been described as a jaguar trapped in a cello.  If anything, that’s underselling it.  Like Americans aren’t a sucker for a posh accent anyway?  (We are.  We’re accent whores.  It’s disgusting.  We’re disgusting.)  I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again:  oofta.  Gotta love a guy who plays a dragon, and they barely have to fiddle with his actual voice to make him sound like a sexy, smoky dragon.

Which reminds me, he even makes smoking look hot.  And it’s not!  Health issues aside, the smell and the nicotine stains aside, the tiny burns all over various outfits aside, my dad smoked for thirty-some years.  No one grows up watching their dad smoke and thinks, “Day-amn!  That is hot!”  But Benedict pulls it off.

And the talent.  All of the above would be terrific on its own, but the guy has severe acting chops.  He’s like Gary Oldman; he sort of disappears into his roles.  He’s been Van Gogh and a dragon and a genetically manipulated warlord and Sherlock Holmes and Stephen Hawking and Frankenstein and Hamlet.  It’s a good thing I’ve got a crush on the man, or I’d probably want to kill him.  It’s pretty unfair; he’s the whole package.  The whole smoking long-legged talented deep-voiced redheaded package.

Even when he’s playing a complete douchelord (see:  Atonement, Star Trek) you can’t take your eyes off him.  Proof of my devotion:  I was into him waaay before the world suddenly decided he was delicious.  BBC’s Sherlock did it for me.  (Oh, man, did Sherlock do it for me.  Also I might obsessively read Sherlock fan fic.  Don’t judge.)  I essentially went from, “So many channels and nothing on, maybe I’ll bake something inst—oh my God who is that?”

After gorging on Sherlock’s first two seasons, and brownies, I started tracking down his body.  Of work, I mean, his body of work.  (Awesome thing #232 about being a writer: this counts as research.  It counts as work, even!)  Atonement, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, Amazing Grace, etc., a lovely list of “work”, all laid out nice and neat thanks to the good people at Wikipedia.

Then, the most wonderful news of my life (after “It’s a girl!” in 1995 and “It’s a boy!” in 1999, and “The bakery’s going to be open on Sundays now!” in 2011), my man Cumberbatch was going to be in Star Trek: Into Darkness.  And he was glorious, as I knew he would be.  The bulk!  The brain!  The lone tear tracking down a sculpted cheek as he talked about losing his people!  The bulk!  The trash-talking of Spock!  Listen:  I’ve been a Trekkie for decades.  My husband and I used to call in sick so we could see the earliest show whenever a new movie was out, that’s the measure of our geekiness, but if there were any characters besides Khan in Into Darkness, I didn’t notice.  (There was a captain, I guess, and that woman from The Losers, and the guy from Sean of the Dead, maybe?  Who cares.)

All this to say, I’m crushing on a man I’ve never met.  So much so that I dedicated my latest book, Undead and Unwary, to the magnificent son of a bitch.  (My husband is a very understanding man, to wit:  “Hey, if you think you can get him, go for it.  Maybe come back in time for our son’s graduation?”)  Why?  Because I have the best job in the world:  writing stories about fantastic things happening to ordinary people.  Because I’m lucky enough to have readers all over the world, and am determined to share with them the joys and sorrows of being a Cumberbimbo.  And because whenever a settled forty-something wife and mother feel like a teenager again, it’s worth noting, not least because reminders that unexpected thrills lurk are never a bad thing.

 

Undead and Unwary is out now on Entice! Benedict Cumberbatch is out now somewhere in the world! GO FIND BOTH!

Happy October 7th Book Birthdays!

One day to rule them all, one day to bind them, one day to bring them all and in the darkness read them . . .

And if you haven’t turned off after that incredibly hokey introduction line, you are in for a major treat! Today we have some gorgeous books being published and we can’t wait to share them with you! Read on for more details and then be sure to one-click, add to your TBR or fall into hysterics on the floor. We’ll take any one of those . . .

 

Echoes of Scotland Street by Samantha Young

From the bestselling author of On Dublin Street, ‘Scotland’s EL James‘ (Sunday Post) comes a seductive story of forgiving the past and making up for lost time . . .

Shannon MacLeod has always gone for the wrong type of man. After she drifted from one toxic relationship to the next, her last boyfriend gave her a wake-up call in the worst possible way. With her world shattered, she’s sworn off men – especially those of the bad-boy variety.

Cole Walker is exactly the sort that Shannon wants to avoid – gorgeous, tattooed, charming, and cocky. But his rough exterior hides a good man – one who’s determined to pull Shannon from her self-imposed solitude and win her heart.

As Shannon begins to open up, the passion between them ignites to blazing levels. But when her past comes back to haunt her, her fears may destroy the trust Cole has built between them – and tear them apart for good . . .

Watch the trailer here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lEUzg-9V4-k

 

Sideswiped by Lia Riley

It was only meant to last the summer . . .

Talia Stolfi has seen more than her share of loss in her twenty-one years. But then fate brought her Bran Lockhart, and her dark world was suddenly and spectacularly illuminated. So if being with Bran means leaving her colorless NorCal life for rugged and wild Australia, then that’s what she’ll do. But as much as Talia longs to give herself over completely to a new beginning, the fears of her past are still lurking in the shadows.

Bran Lockhart knows that living without the beautiful girl who stole his heart will be torment, so he’ll take whatever time with her he can. But even though she has packed up her life in California and is back in his arms for the time being, she can’t stay forever. And the remaining time they have together is ticking by way too fast. Though fate seems determined to tear them apart, they won’t give up without a fight-because while time may have limits, their love is infinite . . .

Praise for Upside Down, the first in the Off the Map trilogu:

Upside Down gave me all the feels. Romantic and poignant, the journey of love and acceptance lingers long after the book is closed’ Jennifer L. Armentrout/J. Lynn, # 1 New York Times bestselling author

‘Must read romance . . . Upside Down is refreshing and heartfelt New Adult contemporary romance . . . Talia and Bran’s romance is a slow burn with a large serving of conflict, angst and emotion. That said, the dialogue is smart, quick-witted and enhanced by hilarious banter and Australian colloquialisms that provide laughs scene after scene’ USA Today

 

Broken by Laura Wright

The Cavanaugh brothers left behind River Black, Texas, long ago. But after their father dies, bequeathing them the Triple C, a cattle ranch that sustains their small town, they return – and confront the painful memories of their childhood home . . .

For years, James Cavanaugh has travelled the world as a horse whisperer, but even the millions he’s earned hasn’t healed the pain he hides behind his stoic exterior. Forced to tackle old demons at the ranch, James throws himself into work to avoid his true feelings. Until he meets a woman who shakes the foundations of his well-built walls . . .

Sheridan O’Neil’s quiet confidence has served her well, except when it comes to romance. Tired of rejection, she’s ready to swear off men. But after being rescued from a horse stampede by the most beautiful cowboy she’s ever met, her resolve wavers. Only, as Sheridan uncovers James’s belief that no woman is safe with him, she wonders if such a wounded man could ever give in to love, or if some hearts are too broken to be healed . . .

For fans of Joan Johnston, Pat Thayer, MJ Summers and smokin’ hot cowboys, this is sheer reading pleasure

Praise for Laura Wright:

‘Saddle up for a sexy, intensely emotional ride with cowboys that put the wild in wild west. Laura Wright never disappoints!’ – Alexandra Ivy, New York Times bestselling author

‘Secrets, sins, and spurs – Laura Wright‘s Cavanaugh brothers will brand your heart!’ – Skye Jordan, New York Times bestselling author

 

Undead and Unwary by MaryJanice Davidson

How do you out-devil the devil? For vampire queen Betsy Taylor, the answer is relative – literally – as MaryJanice Davidson‘s ‘sexy, steamy, and laugh-out-loud funny’ (Booklist) New York Times bestselling series continues . . .

First: kill Satan. Second: reorganize Hell. Sounded simple enough back then, but for Betsy Taylor, managing “down below” isn’t as easy as she’d hoped – even if she is doing it with her sister, Laura, a bona-fide Antichrist. So yes, Betsy has been shirking her hellish responsibilities, but she’s been just so darn busy these days. And she’s not just yanking Laura’s chain. There’s a brand new baby drama involving a pair of uncanny (ok, terrifying) toddler twins, an upcoming birthday party that has to be planned, and, are you ready for it? Betsy’s dad – once so very dead – has been spotted in downtown St. Paul.

Now, despite all the chaos, Betsy’s friends rally around, helping her to handle all this fire and brimstone jazz. As for Betsy’s sister and dad – they have their own surprises in store for the vampire queen. And jolt by jolt, Betsy will discover that there’s nothing as heartwarming as family. Yeah, like Hell.

If you love Darynda Jones and Janet Evanovich, this is the rip-roaring, devilishly funny adventure for you!

Thank you, Ambrose! by Sheila Roberts

The wonderful Sheila Roberts stops by Entice to tell us some inspiration behind The Nine Lives of Christmas, her forthcoming contemporary romance and movie on US television channel Hallmark! We knew we were cat people for a reason . . .

 

Who knew that a matchmaking cat would lead me to Hollywood?

But that’s exactly what happened when I created Ambrose the feline hero of my Christmas novel The Nine Lives of Christmas. I suppose in some ways Ambrose and I came full circle, because it was Hollywood that introduced him to me in the first place. I’d been thinking about a scene from my all-time favorite movie, It’s a Wonderful Life, specifically the scene where George Bailey is on that snowy ridge, telling God, “Please, I want to live again.” I remember thinking, I’d love to put a cat in the same position. What if I wrote about a cat who was on his last life and desperate to hang onto it for as long as possible? What would he have to do to keep that life? What would he be willing to do? Something to help a human, of course.

But if a cat has gotten a raw deal from humans in previous lives this might prove to be no easy task. He’d have to encounter some pretty special humans. And I think Ambrose did when he met Zach the commitment phobic fireman and Merilee, Pet Palace employee and veterinarian wannabe. I had a wonderful time weaving all their stories together.

Lo, and behold, I wasn’t the only one who fell in love with these characters, and this holiday season Ambrose and his two-legged friends will come to life on the Hallmark channel. I couldn’t be more thrilled.

Not only did my characters get to be in a movie, my husband and I did, too. We had a chance to visit the set during the filming of The Nine Lives of Christmas and take part in the fun. Being on the set of a movie is a fascinating experience. I was amazed at how many people it takes to bring a story to life. In addition to actors and extras (also referred to as “background”, which was what we were), you’ll find makeup artists, cameramen, people to run mikes, people to build the set and fix the lighting, the director, the producers, even a continuity expert whose job is to make sure that everything stays consistent from scene to scene. A movie in the making is like a circus on the move, with trailers parked everywhere to house various staff and actors and, of course, a big tent set up where all those workers can be fed. Days are long – these people put in twelve hour days – and while the work is fun, it’s still work. And tiring. Let me tell you, I have a new appreciation for all those people who expend so much energy just to entertain us. Filming one scene can take hours. Our simple part alone involved several retakes. But we wouldn’t have missed a minute of it!

Unless our debut scene ends up on the cutting room floor, you’ll see my husband and me getting escorted to a table in the restaurant scene. I now have mixed feelings about my screen debut. They say the camera adds ten pounds. I had already added thirty all on my own. Oh, dear!

But I probably don’t need to worry too much. I’m sure Ambrose the cat will steal the show.

 

The Nine Lives of Christmas is out in ebook on November 4th and paperback December 2nd 2014!

An extract from Tracy Anne Warren’s THE MAN PLAN!

The first two installments of the sexy Graysons series are out now on Entice: The Last Man on Earth and The Man Plan! If you haven’t read them yet, we’re super jealous. We wish we could start over and consume them both again for the first time!

Below, Graysons author Tracy Anne Warren introduces an extract from The Man Plan by sharing with us her love of romance and writing, a passion we can clearly see in her books,

 

 

 

Dear Reader:

Every so often, someone asks me why I write romance and the simplest answer is because I love to read romance. My love affair with romance novels began when I was a teenager. It was only natural then, I suppose, that my interest in writing merged with a need to tell my own stories of courtship, love and commitment.

There is something deeply satisfying and pleasurable about reading romance novels. It is the sense of happiness and hope these stories provide. The idea that despite all the challenges and disappointments and sorrows that exist in the world, there is also joy and kindness and steadfast love – the sort that will stand the tests of both time and trial. For me, there is nothing quite like settling down with a great romance novel and letting myself get swept away by characters who will stay with me long after the last page is finished.

I hope you will be swept away too when you escape into the fictional world of the Grayson siblings and discover how each of them finds happiness and lasting love.   Cheers,

Tracy Anne

 

Prologue

Bang.

The church door swung back hard on its hinges, caught in an icy blast of wind that raked James Jordan’s short hair and cut beneath the thick dark wool of his coat. He barely acknowledged the chill as he jogged down the stairs, strode across the concrete pathway, too deadened inside to be troubled by a little nip from the elements.

He’d been so happy just a short while ago, buoyant and brimming with anticipation. The late-December sky had been clear and sunny when he’d arrived for the ceremony, as if it too were celebrating the day. Now it was swathed in gray, broad clouds lumbering above in sullen gloom.

How could she have done it? he wondered. Madelyn, his friend, his love.

How could she have crushed him on this, the day they were supposed to have wed?

She’d suffered as she’d told him, he knew, the words passing from her lips in a strange, strangled whisper.

Sorry, she’d said, but I can’t marry you.

She loved him, but not that way, not enough to promise herself to him for a lifetime. Her face had been ruddy and swollen from tears as she pleaded with him to understand.

But he didn’t want to understand. Not now. Perhaps not ever. Nor did he want to forgive. She’d hurt him, betrayed him, shamed him in front of their guests, their families and friends.

Yet the humiliation was nothing, not compared to the chasm that had opened deep inside him. The pain of knowing he’d lost her.

He clutched a set of car keys—hastily borrowed from his best man—inside his fist. The hard-edged metal teeth bit into his hand. He squeezed harder, craving the pain.

He had to get away.

Had to be alone.

Where?

What did it matter where?

Just away. Anywhere away.

“James, wait,” a soft voice called to him, satin-slippered feet rushing up from behind.

He walked onward without pause.

A slender hand reached for his shoulder, plucked at his coat sleeve. “Please, James. Please stop.”

He walked on. He didn’t need to look to recognize the identity of the speaker. Ivy Grayson, Madelyn’s teenage sister. “Let me be, Ivy.”

She kept pace with him, undaunted. “You shouldn’t go, not this way. Please stop.”

He did, finally, halting at the neat black iron gate to the fence that surrounded the church’s rear yard. With a sigh, he turned, found her standing, slender and pretty in her bridesmaid’s finery. Tiny fresh rosebuds were arranged in her fair hair, the flowers the same deep pink as her long formal gown.

“There’s no reason to stay,” he said in a lifeless tone. “The wedding’s off.”

“You shouldn’t be alone,” she insisted gently.

“But that’s exactly what I want to be.” He saw the distress in her blue eyes. “I’ll be fine,” he assured her. “Don’t worry about me.”

“But I will worry.” She bit her lip. “Why don’t I come with you?”

“No,” he said, more harshly than he’d intended.

Her face fell at the rebuke.

A fresh gust of wind swept over them on its rush toward the west. Ivy shivered in her thin garment.

He frowned. “Why’d you come out here without a coat? You’re freezing. Go back inside.”

She wrapped her arms around herself, shook her head. “No, I’m okay. It’s not that cold.”

He made a rude noise and began unbuttoning his coat. He slipped it off, revealing the fine, hand-tailored black tuxedo he wore underneath.

His wedding clothes.

He draped the coat over her shoulders, drawing the flaps closed in front.

Ivy sighed as heat enveloped her.

His heat, his scent trapped in the sleek silk lining and soft cashmere wool. She drank it in, all of it, luxuriating in the exquisite sensations. Despite her height—she stood five feet nine in her bare feet—his coat hung on her, voluminous as a tent. The hem just barely cleared the ground.

“I can’t take your coat,” she protested. “You’ll be cold.”

“I thought you said it wasn’t cold,” he chided mockingly.

“No. I said not much,” she hedged.

They eyed each other for a long moment, the air between them easy with the familiarity of years. For an instant the tension eased from his jaw as his natural sense of humor asserted itself. Then his eyes hardened again.

She read his pain, her heart aching. “I’m so sorry. Maybe I could talk to her—”

“No. There is no talking to her. She’s made up her mind. It’s done. She doesn’t want me.”

“I don’t understand her. Any woman would be thrilled to be yours. I’d marry you in an instant,” she blurted, saying the words she’d never, ever meant to say out loud. Revealing a wish she’d kept locked away inside her heart for such a very long time.

“It’s nice to know someone still would after today.”

Aware he thought she was joking, she lifted her chin. “I’m serious. I’ll marry you. I know I’m only fifteen, too young yet for you, but if you’d wait, I wouldn’t leave you at the altar. I’d make you happy. Grandma Bradford was only seventeen when she got married.”

“Ivy—”

“I know you still love Malynn,” she said, using the name she’d given her sister long ago, when her toddler’s tongue couldn’t wrap itself around the harder word “Madelyn.” “I wouldn’t expect you not to. But maybe as time goes on it won’t hurt so much. Maybe in a couple years there’ll be room in your heart for me. If you loved one sister, why couldn’t you love another?”

“Shh, Ivy. Enough.”

“I love you, James.”

He closed his eyes for a brief moment before meeting her gaze. “I love you too, sweetheart. We’ve always been the best of friends, haven’t we?”

She nodded, a spark of hope flaring to life inside her.

“And we’ll continue to be friends, good friends, no matter what. But, Ivy, as flattered as I am by your proposal, it wouldn’t be right. There’re a lot of years between us, too many years. Besides, what would you want with an old man like me when there’re so many young guys just waiting for a chance to be with a beautiful girl like you?”

“But I don’t want any of them. I want you. And you’re not old,” she protested.

“I’m thirty-one. When I was fifteen, thirty-one sounded as close to ancient as you could get without actually being dead. Come on; admit it. You know I’m right.”

She shook her head. “I don’t see you that way. I see you as you, as James. Your age doesn’t matter to me.”

“But it matters to others; you know it does. Your parents, your family, your friends—what would they think?”

She knew exactly what they would think, and they wouldn’t approve, no matter how much they liked James. And they did like him, even adored him. Her parents had all but adopted him years ago, when a then-teenage Madelyn had dragged him over from the house next door.

Maybe he was old enough to have known her since she was a baby. But she didn’t care. She loved him.

He gave her a sympathetic smile. “I know you won’t believe me, but six months or a year from now, you’ll look back on this and wonder what you could have been thinking. You’ll have met some great guy at school. You’ll be worrying about which college to attend and what dress to wear to the prom. I’ll be the last thing on your mind.”

A lock of her hair came free of its carefully styled knot and blew across her face. He reached out to tuck it behind her ear. She caught his hand, pressed his palm to her cheek and closed her eyes. “You’re always on my mind,” she murmured earnestly.

When she opened her eyes again, he met her look and sighed. “Ivy, you seem to have forgotten that until a few minutes ago, I was going to marry your sister. I love Madelyn and I wanted her for my wife. Getting over her is going to be one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do. But I’m going to try my damnedest and so are you. You’re going to get on with your life and get over this . . . this crush you have on me.”

He pulled his hand away.

A tear slipped down her cheek. “You’re going, then?”

“Yes, I’m going.”

“When will I see you again?”

He tucked his hands in his suit pockets, hunched his shoulders. “I don’t know. A while. I have some business in Europe I’ve been neglecting because of the wedding. I may see to that.”

“Be careful.”

“I’m rarely anything else; you know that.”

“You’ll need your coat.” She slipped it from around her shoulders and held it out to him. “Mine’s inside the church.”

He shrugged into his coat. “You’d better run on. Someone’s probably looking for you by now.”

But she stood her ground, her eyes serious and intent. “She’s a fool, you know, to have let you go,” she stated, her words those of an adult.

He paused, then pressed a kiss to her forehead. “You’re a sweet girl. Don’t ever let that change.”

He turned and unlatched the gate.

She watched him walk away, the skin on her forehead and cheek hot and tingling where he’d touched her. She wished he’d kissed her on the lips, but it was too soon for that.

James was right about a great many things, she knew.

She was too young for him.

Her family would disapprove.

And less than an hour ago, he’d been pledged to marry her sister.

But not anymore.

Before, Ivy had been willing to let him go. For Madelyn’s sake. For his sake. Because she’d known he loved her sister, and above all else, she wanted him to be happy.

But now he was free. Now he could be hers. And he was wrong about her feelings; they would never change.

She loved him.

She always had.

She always would.

And someday, she promised herself, he was going to feel the same.

Happy publication day Christine King!

We are excited to finally welcome the 2013 Entice Writing Competition winner Christine King to Piatkus! Her regency romance debut, The Blade and the Dove, is filled with secrets, danger and ferocious passion.

Trapped she may be, tamed she is not . . .

Lady Elinor, the ethereally beautiful wife of Sir Lucien Reveley, is lusted after by many but known by no one. Famously cold and unfeeling, she is regarded by the gossiping Ton with curiosity. Yet beneath her seeming serenity hides a desperate woman – married to a man whose public persona belies the sadistic, sensual monster within.

Finally pushed to breaking point, Elinor flees, desperate to escape the increasingly debauched demands of her husband. Living a modest life in hiding, Elinor keeps herself safe, but when she meets a man who sees beneath her reserve, a man who makes her tremble for his touch, the secrets of her past threaten to destroy her fragile peace . . .

 
Perfect for fans of Stephanie Laurens, Mary Balogh or Elizabeth Hoyt, Christine King is a stunning new voice in historical romance!