Friday, November 30, 2007

Historical Accuracy

Two posts in one day!
But since they address completely different things, perhaps it's better done that way.
Over at Dear Author, there is a kerfuffle going on about historical accuracy in romance novels. It started when an author was called on about a detail in her latest book, and the responses are evoking a general fuss.
Me, I like accuracy, and I don't believe in twisting the period to fit the story, but that's just me. How do you feel?
After all, I have books on my keeper shelf that contain egregious inaccuracies, but I love them all the same. The author didn't make the same mistake twice, the plot didn't depend on the error and the error wasn't repeated throughout the book. The author wrote a compelling story about compelling people. So - meh.
But when an author gets it so wrong that I can't believe her depiction of the age which is the setting for the story, I stop believing in her characters, too. When the plot depends on something impossible, or an improbability is introduced as a normal event then I start to question.
But equally, when the history starts to take over the story, and the author stops the story for long explanations, that loses me too. I want the history to be the background to the story, to be its servant. So that's bad writing, too, in my opinion.

Excuses for absence

I promise to blog a bit more frequently. Although I've lost my days for blogging, I will try to visit and to blog!
I've been caught up in trying to get my writing career re-established and I've been more fortunate than I dreamed possible.
In July my main publisher, Triskelion Publishing, went bankrupt, leaving a mess behind it a mile wide. We authors were dragged into the whole morass because although there is a clause in our contracts saying that in the event of bankruptcy, we got all our rights back, that doesn't seem to mean anything to a bankruptcy court, and our contracts were deemed 'assets' to be disposed of with the rest of the company.
Nightmare. At first the bankruptcy court appeared to believe that it had the copyrights to all our books, but that's not so and never was. That glitch sorted out, we settled down to a morass of court dates and details, many of which were wrong. For instance, one of my books, "Black Leather, White Lace" was divided into two - "Black Leather" and "White Lace"! The court didn't seem to be interested, but eventually I managed to get them to accept the release letter that Triskelion had sent me at my request back in June which released around half my books, and then last week they auctioned the others off.
Siren Publishing bought them and then released the rights back to us. For which I am very grateful, otherwise we'd still be waiting for the court to make up its mind, and that could be years.
So now I'm back to writing and submitting. Samhain Publishing now has most of my historicals, except for the Richard and Rose series which is with Mundania Press. Loose Id and Ellora's Cave have the bulk of the paranormals, and all the contemporary paranormal series I write. Which is fantastic. Both of these companies are large, well established e-publishing companies, and at Ellora's Cave my books will come out in print later in the year.
So something good did come out of the whole mess, after all.
And I feel so much better!

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Sense and Sensibility 2008

There's some interesting information about the forthcoming new adaptation of Sense and Sensibility on the BBC website.

"Emerging star of the small screen Charity Wakefield plays the impulsive Marianne Dashwood in this stylish, new Andrew Davies adaptation of Jane Austen's classic 19th-century novel, Sense And Sensibility.

Appearing alongside an impressive cast, including David Morrissey, Janet McTeer and Mark Gatiss, the 26-year-old actress explains that she was delighted to land such a choice role.

"Marianne is the embodiment of youth and hope," the Sussex-born actress tells Catharine Davey. "I was so excited to be offered the part because I felt that it was a role which I could really attack. I understand her character and feel that we have lots in common. She goes on such a tremendous journey and that is why she's exciting to play."

The Oxford School of Drama graduate plays one of the three Dashwood sisters, who struggle to build a new life when they find themselves penniless and uprooted on the death of their father.

"She's quite a wild thing," laughs Wakefield. "Certainly, in those days, Marianne would have been talked about as 'hot-headed'. She refuses to be bound by traditional codes of conduct. She's very honest and earnest, and she wants to tell the truth."

You can read more by clicking here and here

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Christmas Awards


I just dropped in to tell you that the Red Roses For Authors Christmas Awards are up at the site.
Nicola Cornick For The Lord Of Scandal
Kate Temayne For The Loveday Loyalty
Louise Allen for No Place for A Lady
If you would like to vote for any of these authors please visit the site for how to information
www.redrosesforauthors.blogspot.com
Thank you.

Monday, November 26, 2007

The Social Outcast


I've just received a copy of my third novel, The Social Outcast, published by Thorpe in large print. I've liked all the cover pictures Thorpe have used for my books but I think this is my favourite. They must be mind-readers because they've managed to produce an image on my heroine, Eloise Hamilton, looking exactly as I imagined her when I was writing the book: young, independent of spirit and trying hard to pretend that she didn't mind being excluded from the upper echelons of society.

What do you thing?

Wendy Soliman

Christmas is coming

Like last year, we will be having a Christmas round robin story on the blog throughout December, so make sure you bookmark the site and join us for some festive fun!

And to get you in the mood, here are some of our books that include Christmas scenes:


Saturday, November 24, 2007

Lord Thuston's Challenge HNS Review


I was delighted to read the review on the right, for my latest Robert Hale book, in this month's HNS booklet.
It's always wonderful to know that an expert in the field thinks my books are worth reading.
This book can be borrowed from your local library or bought from any good bookshop. Amazon have an excellent offer on this one at the moment.
Best wishes
Fenella Miller

Edmund Bertram's Diary


Although the official release date of Edmund Bertram's Diary isn't until November 30, the book is ready early and the publishers, Robert Hale Ltd, are already shipping it.

Hale are offering a 30% discount until November 30 (and possibly a little afterwards) and free UK p&p


You can order the book from Hale by clicking
here




Exclusive extract
This extract is taken from near the end of the book. Maria has run off with Henry. Edmund has gone to see Mary, and has been horrified by her reaction. Here he tells her that he wouldn't want Maria to marry Henry.

'I would not ever want to see my sister married to such a man as your brother – the man I now know him to be. Inconstant, deceitful, immoral, everything that a man should not be. I see now that I have never understood you; that I have loved an image of you, and not you yourself.’

She did not know how to look At first she was astonished, then she turned red, and I saw a mixture of many feelings, chief amongst them anger. I saw a great, though short struggle, half a wish of yielding to truths, half a sense of shame, but habit, habit carried it. She would have laughed if she could.

‘A pretty good lecture, upon my word. Was it part of your last sermon?’ she said sarcastically. ‘At this rate you will soon reform everybody at Mansfield and Thornton Lacey; and when I hear of you next, it may be as a celebrated preacher in some great society of Methodists, or as a missionary into foreign parts.’

But her words could no longer wound me. I only said in reply, that from my heart I wished her well, and earnestly hoped that she might soon learn to think more justly, and not owe the most valuable knowledge we could any of us acquire, the knowledge of ourselves, to the lessons of affliction. And then I left the room.

I had gone a few steps when I heard the door open behind me.
‘Mr. Bertram,’ said she. I looked back. ‘Mr. Bertram,’ said she, with a smile; but it was a smile ill–suited to the conversation that had passed, a saucy playful smile, seeming to invite me in order to subdue me. I resisted; it was easy; and I walked on.

As I walked out of the house, I was shocked to see that our interview had lasted only twenty-five minutes. Such a short time to change so much!
I met my father soon afterwards, and though I did not tell him of everything that had passed he guessed it had not been good, for he suggested to me that I should write to Fanny and tell her to ready herself, then go to Portsmouth and take her home.

My gloom began to lift at the thought of seeing Fanny again, but I worried about leaving my father. He reassured me that he could manage alone, and so I sent my letter, telling Fanny I would be in Portsmouth tomorrow for the purpose of taking her back to Mansfield Park. I said also, at my father’s request, that she should invite her sister Susan for a few months, for he was sure that Fanny would like to have some young person with her, someone who could help counteract her sorrow at the blow that had befallen her.


Wednesday 10 May

I arrived in Portsmouth early, by the mail, too worried to be tired by my lack of sleep, and by eight o’clock I was in Fanny’s house. I was shown into the parlour, and then Mrs Price left me in order to attend to her household affairs whilst the servant called Fanny down. She came in, and I strode across the room, reaching her in two strides and taking her hands in mine, scarcely able to speak for happiness and relief at being with her again.

‘My Fanny – my only comfort now,’ I said, momentarily overcome.
I collected myself, for what were my griefs compared to hers?

I asked if she had had breakfast, and when she would be ready. She told me that half an hour would do it, so I ordered the carriage and then took a walk round the ramparts. As I felt the stiff sea breeze, I thought of the moment I had taken Fanny’s hands, and I wondered at the strangeness of it, that her fingers were so tiny and yet they could put such strength into my own; for I had felt it flowing into me, strength and courage, when I had touched her, sustaining me in my misery, and I hoped that my touch had strengthened her, too.

You can find another extract on my website by clicking
here

Amanda Grange

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Regency Equitation


“Miss Crawford's enjoyment of riding was such that she did not know how to leave off.” Mansfield Park.
I recently finished a book that will be coming out in summer 2008 called Unmasked. It features a band of highwaywomen who redress injustice on behalf of the poor. One of the first problems I came up against in my research was that although I enjoy riding I am not particularly competent at it and certainly not good enough to know what it would be like to be an excellent rider in the nineteenth century! So I went to talk to an expert in side saddle riding, Toni Besley, who is a member of the British Side Saddle Association. She not only helped me out with the details of both side saddle and riding astride (my highwaywomen, naturally enough, rode like men!) but also explained about fascinating details such as saddle design and fashions in riding habits. Here is a little bit of the information she gave me on fashions.

It was Queen Henrietta Maria, an arbiter of fashion, who introduced hunting and riding dresses for ladies in the sixteenth century. Prior to that women had worn their ordinary clothes to go riding but by the late sixteenth century women wore a protective overskirt or “safeguard,” with cloak, hat, boots and a mask to guard the complexion from mud and other unpleasant substances.

The first riding habits were modelled on male attire, with a military style particularly popular. By the time of the Regency the fashion for voluminous riding coats (redingote) had been replaced by a simpler style, often with a high waistline and pleated jacket back. Materials included wool or nankeen and also velvet.

One interesting point was that feminine underwear was not suitable to wear beneath riding breeches. What ladies did about underwear if they chose to ride in this way is maybe best left to the imagination!

Nicola

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Monday, November 19, 2007

Keeping it all going



From Jane Jackson

Trying to balance being a professional writer with family life is a juggling act – with a lot of balls to keep in the air. A few weeks ago my younger son and his wife had their first baby, a little boy called Henry James. They live in Lichfield and obviously I had to go up and see the new arrival. As you can see he is absolutely gorgeous. (His dad isn't bad either, but I admit I'm biased!) Then a month later my niece/god daughter and her husband produced a baby girl, Amelia Grace, known as Millie. They are coming down to Cornwall for Christmas and are very sensibly renting a cottage so that they can visit family and friends, but also have some quiet time.

My father, who is 92 and chairman of the local branch of the Dunkirk Veterans, and chairman of the local branch of the Order of St George, rang and asked me to type out two speeches for him, each to be given at a special lunch in one of our seafront hotels.

My elder son and his wife are coming from Australia for a month to spend Christmas in Cornwall. Matt says he’s longing to have a cold Christmas. He’s probably forgotten that once when he and his sister were little they went paddling in the sea on Christmas Day, it was so warm. But I can see his point. I don’t think I could face roast turkey and Christmas Pudding in 30 degree heat. So emails have been flying to and from regarding their itinerary and which of the family they’ll be staying with on what dates.

Meanwhile, the publication date for Devil’s Prize is approaching (January 2008) and I must start preparing a press release and publicity material for all our local newspapers and radio stations. Devlin Varcoe, the main character in Devil’s Prize and the devil of the title, is a hero to die for. I’ll tell you more about him next time. But right now I need to get on with Chapter 8 of my new book before the phone rings again.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Exciting promotion



I am thrilled to tell you that The Loveday Revenge has been chosen by W H Smith to be included in their christmas paperback promotion. The series has been acclaimed as a family drama that transcends time. Romance is weaved with emotional suspense and adventure.

Here is a taster from the opening of the novel.
'Loveday are you ready to die!' Adam's tormenter bellowed.

Without warning the figure attacked from behind. Instinctively Adam rolled, but as he came up on his knee to rise a pistol was cocked close to his ear. Time spun out and expanded with ethereal slowness. Harry Sawle's face was a foot from his own, the pistol cold against Adam's temple. Hatred contorted the smuggler's features. They had been adversaries for years. Was this how it was to end? It was Adam's last thought before the trigger was pulled.

There was no blinding flash, just an ominous click. The weapon had misfired. Adam sprang to his feet reaching for Sawle's throat, and the two men fell to the ground with Adam's weight on top of the smuggler. His fingers pressed harder. Sawle's eyes bulged with terror, his hands on Adam's arms rapidly losing their strength. This was the moment of Adam's triumph. Sawle would die for his part in Edward Loveday's death, and for the brutality he had inflicted on other members of Adam's family.

'Adam, stop!'

The voice shocked him into loosening his hold. Sawle lay unmoving on the grass, but his harsh gasps for breath told that he was still alive. Adam stared at the shadowy figure emerging out of the mist.

'There is no honour in murder. Only the law can judge him and claim his life.'

Adam cried out. He was shaking violently as he stared into the darkness where the vision of his father had been. But now there was no man. No mist. No trees. No body lying prone beneath his hands. Only the memory of mocking laughter.

'Good lord, Adam, you look as though you have seen a ghost.' His wife Senara was gently shaking his shoulders as she sat up in bed beside him.

Adam groaned and shook his head. The dream had been too real. It haunted him still. 'I had hunted down Sawle. The time for revenge had come. Then my father appeared. Real and solid and no ghost. He told me that was not the way. He was angrier than I had ever seen him. He told me that the law should deal with Sawle; that I must not have his blood on my hands.'

'Edward was a wise man. When revenge is governed by hatred, it can bring no good upon the perpetrator. The feud between Sawle and your family has raged for a decade. This dream is an omen.'

'You would say that. You see omens and premonitions in everything.'

'You may mock my gypsy blood, but I am rarely wrong.' Her eyes were round with fear. 'Promise me you will heed this dream.'

Adam would give his life to spare the woman he loved suffering. He did not tell Senara that the dream had also shown that Sawle would do everything in his power to kill him.


I enjoy writing the action scenes as much as the romantic ones. I hope you enjoyed reading this.
Kate Tremayne

Thursday, November 15, 2007

New book!


I have a new book out!
The second in the Triple Countess series, set in the mid Georgian era, "A Chance To Dream" is about the Triple Countess's second son, Orlando Garland, Lord Blyth.
Orlando has spent all his life working to restore the fortune dissipated by his wastrel father. By a mixture of strict economy and property speculation, he's done it. So now it's time to play.
But Orlando's sister had a riding accident and broke both her legs, and with it, her confidence. Her legs are healed now, but she won't go out into society. Enter Charlotte Lambert who is really Violetta Palagio, the daughter of the most notorious courtesan in London. So what is a man to do when he falls in love with a woman who is totally ineligible?

This was great fun to write and I'm very proud of it. You can read an excerpt and order the book here:
http://www.mybookstoreandmore.com/product_info.php?products_id=752

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

The Royal Pavilion Brighton - The Long Gallery

The interiors of the Pavilion were originally in the neo-Classical style, but the Prince of Wales revived chinoiserie in 1802, and the interiors became full of simulated bamboo, lacquer, pagodas and dragons, giving them an exotic feel.



The Gallery
The architect responsible for the Long Gallery was John Nash. He was inspired by Elizabethan architecture, which made frequent use of long galleries because they gave people somewhere to walk when it rained.

When it came to decorating the gallery, Frederick Crace took his inspiration from pleasure gardens such as Vauxhall. He had the walls painted with a bamboo mural, and then lit by painted skylights in the day and by Chinese lanterns at night.

This is a description of the gallery's usage, written by Lady Ilchester in 1816.

"As soon as Princess Charlotte sat down to cards everybody moved about as they pleased, and made their own backgammon, chess or card parties, but the walking up and down the gallery was the favourite lounge. All the rooms open into this beautiful gallery, which is terminated at each end by the lightest and prettiest Chinese staircases you can imagine, made or cast iron and bamboo, with glass doors beneath, which reflect the gay lanterns etc at each end."


For more information on the Pavilion, click here

Saturday, November 10, 2007

A New Hero to fall in love with


Anyone who's read my Regency-period romantic mysteries published by Robert Hale won't be surprised to learn that I have a fierce passion for all animals because a dog, (always of indeterminate pedigree!), takes a staring role in each book. For various reasons I've been without a dog of my own for a few years but that situation changed last week when we adopted a stray mongrel from the local pound.

Meet Jake, pictured above. He's about two years old and, as you can see, very handsome, as well as being a bit of a hunk. He is so affectionate, and is so well behaved, that I can't begin to imagine how anyone could have abandoned him. Still, he's landed on his paws now. We're not too sure what breeds his parents would have been. Any ideas?

On the writing front, I'm looking forward to the publication in large print of my third book for Hale, The Social Outcast, in December. I wonder what cover they'll come up with. I really liked their efforts in respect of my previous two so I'm optimistic.

My fourth novel for Hale, The Carstairs Conspiracy, will be published at the end of January and my fifth, A Bittersweet Proposal, has been accepted for publication next year as well! More details about both next time.

I'm now busy with the research for the next one. Obviously, a dog will feature prominently and guess who he'll be based upon!

Wendy Soliman (and Jake)

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

In praise of dark, tortured heroes!



With my new Regency novella The Pirate’s Kiss in the US shops now and available from Amazon, this seemed like a good opportunity to reflect on the appeal of the outlaw hero – and to browse some pictures of men in costume at the same time! (Yes, I make no excuse!)

What is it about the bad boy hero that is so appealing? Whether they are rakes, outlaws or dark, tortured heroes, there is something irresistible about the idea of redeeming the bad boy. Georgette Heyer started the whole thing for me with the Marquis of Vidal in Devil’s Cub, and my current favourites are heroes such as Kylemore in Anna Campbell’s fabulous book Courting the Courtesan, and Sebastian in Christine Wells’s Scandal’s Daughter. Mad, bad and dangerous to know, these Byronic characters are just asking for a good woman to bring out the best in them.

In fact Byron had a lot to do with promoting the cult of the pirate as hero. His poem The Corsair was published in the summer of 1814 and was immediately interpreted as a smouldering, piratical self-portrait. “In combination with a fetching self-portrait…sporting an exotic headscarf and cutlass, it added yet another fantasy persona to spin around his celebrity status,” Judith Mackrell wrote in the Guardian newspaper earlier this year.

10 000 copies of his poem were sold on the day of publication. I’m sure we would all give a lot for his sales figures! Byron modelled his story on tales of Barbary pirates who sailed the Mediterranean and Aegean kidnapping men and women to sell as slaves. He idealised his hero, Conrad, as “a man of loneliness and mystery.” In effect his poem was a wildly fantasised gloss on the brutal reality of pirating but it appealed because he portrayed the pirate as a celebration of liberty, completely free and daring to live their lives on their own terms.

Maybe the type of woman that appeals to the bad boy is the kind that isn't really trying to change him, just to love him? And maybe the dark hero still possesses all the qualities a hero must have – the integrity, the loyalty and the honour – even if he is sometimes a hero against his will!

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Lord Deverill's Secret


Hooray!

The paperback of Lord Deverill's Secret is out today, which means that, for the first time, one of my Regency romances is easily available in the US! UK readers will need to order the book online, as it isn't released in the UK.

I hope readers are going to like the combination of romance, mystery and adventure that make up the book.

And isn't the cover lovely? I particularly adore the vase of flowers. It looks like something out of a painting by an Old Master. The cover artist, Aleta Rafton, is really talented.


So what is the book about? Orphaned Cassandra Paxton arrives in Brighton to sell her family's town house, because she needs the money in order to pay the mortgage on the family estate.

Worried about something her brother said to her before he died, that he had "done something terrible", she seeks out Lord Deverill in order to find out the truth.

"He was not at all what she had expected. She had thought he would be much younger, about twenty-two or three years of age, with dissolute features and a wild air, instead of which he was about thirty years of age. His hair was dark and his eyes were a clear sage green. His features were craggy, with a broad forehead and a strong nose and chin, but something about his mouth suggested that he could be good humoured if he pleased. He looked up as he saw her, and for a fleeting moment she thought she saw a glint of recognition in his eye. But that was absurd. He had never met her before."

Lord Deverill reassures her, but he is privately concerned that she is about to stir up the past, which will put them both in danger . . .

The book is set in Brighton, against a backdrop of sea bathing, races and an evening at the Pavilion. I hope you like it!

Monday, November 05, 2007

BOOK COVERS



On the left is the cover of my first Linford Romance, The Return of Lord Rivenhall, published in LP last month. On the right is the cover of my second book for Hale, A Suitable Husband, published in February 2006. This is the cover I didn't like as the woman's head is far too large for her body. Am I imagining things or is this a re-working of the original design? Although the two are facing different ways I'm sure the faces are the same.
The Linford cover is fine; I quite like it. I wonder if the artist realised he was reusing it with the same author.
Remember that you can buy all Robert Hale books direct now at www.halebooks.com. I'm looking forward to the Christmas 'round robin' story!
Fenella Miller
www.fenellajanemiller.co.uk

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Guest Blogger of the Month - Marina Oliver

We're delighted to welcome Marina Oliver to the blog as our guest blogger for November.

"Thanks for having me on the blog. To begin with, I'd like to tell you about my new book, COURTING LORD DORNEY.
Rosabella Traherne is wealthy, thanks to her Nabob uncle. She is
pursued, because of her money, by men in Harrogate, so decides to visit
Bath incognito, where she might find a man who loves her for herself.
Her cousin Jane, Lady Hodder, is persuaded to accompany her and lend
her countenance.
Lord Dorney is wary of heiresses, since his brother was ruined by
marriage to one. The despair of matchmaking mamas, he is attracted to
Bella's spirited defence of hapless girls, children and dogs. Bath
breathlessly awaits developments, until Lord Dorney discovers Bella's
deception and leaves for London.
Frustrated, Bella follows. Lord Dorney is polite but unresponsive.
Bella, despairing, sets tongues wagging by her outrageous behaviour, and
finds the /ton/ condemning her. She will in future concentrate on her
scheme to house orphan children in small homes. Then her enemies take a
hand . . .

This is my eleventh Regency, and fiftieth published novel, and I start
the second half-century in March 2008 with AN ACCIDENTAL MARRIAGE.
I've written crime, sagas, contemporary and historical novels, but I
thoroughly enjoy writing Regencies, recreating that fascinating world.
It's a time of great change and excitement, in politics, economics,
industry and agriculture. It is a society of extremes, with flamboyant
characters, enormous wealth and dire poverty, which gives a novelist
wonderful scope for interesting plots.
Most of all, though, as with all historicals, I enjoy the research,
and tend to get carried away with it. Sometimes it's hard to drag myself
away from intriguing biographies, or visits to yet another stately home
to study the way people lived, and get back to my characters and their
lives."

Thanks, Marina, we'll look out for the book!

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Loveday Publication Day



Today The Loveday Revenge is published in paperback by Headline.

It is book eight in the series and after creating so many adventures, romances, challenges and dramas for the Loveday family it was immensely satisfying to bring their arch enemy to justice. It has been described as the most emotionally intense and suspenseful of this highly acclaimed series. It is not only the Lovedays who have faced danger from their enemy and when he commits an act so cruel and heartless the whole community rise up against him in an exciting and dramatic climax.

Can this be the end for the Loveday family?
Wild blood courses through the Loveday veins, as romance and danger continue to colour their lives.
Blighted by a series of tragedies, the Loveday family is on the edge of ruin. It would seem these cruel events have been instigated by Harry Sawle - an evil and corrupt smuggler who has sworn to destroy them. If the family is to survive, the time has come for brothers Adam and St John Loveday to exact their revenge.
Meanwhile their stepbrother, Richard Allbright, returns from the war with France, with sinister consequences. And in Australia vengeance is also on Japhet Loveday's mind. He must triumph over his adversaries or fail to achieve his dream of returning to England with pride and honour...

Reviews: 'This sweeping saga has the lot: colour, intensity and pace' Northern Echo

Rich is passion and drama, with the atmosphere and flavour of eighteenth-century Cornwall' North Cornwall Advertiser

'A fast moving and exciting read' Historical Novels Review.

Many people write to me asking for the order of the series to be read. In chronological order they are: Adam Loveday, The Loveday Fortunes, The Loveday Trials, The Loveday Scandals, The Loveday Honour, The Loveday Pride, The Loveday Loyalty and The Loveday Revenge. All the books are available from Amazon or with free P&P and UK delivery from Headline by ringing 01235 400 414 or visit their website www.headline.co.uk

To read the first chapter of The Loveday Revenge and extracts from other books in the series visit my website. click here
Kate Tremayne




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