Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Werewolf Romance: Walking on the Wild Side



Last Thursday I started talking about Monster Love, in the form of Werewolf romances.

Werewolves have had a renaissance so to speak, a revival of interest since the movies and television have romanticized them.  I mentioned the series Twilight, with Jacob Black, and Trublood with Alcide. Those two werewolf characters are hot, and appeal to a wide audience of admirers.

So, with the paranormal romance genre, we've evolved from mere vampires to embrace all manner of creatures, so to speak.  Werewolves are no exception.  If you've been following this blog, you know that I have my own werewolf romance in progress, and I've been feeding you tidbits weekly in the form of my Serialized Sunday excerpts since last February. It's a change for me, as I've always been a Vampire Hero girl. But, Stephan St. John, my werewolf hero, has an endearing quality. If you want to read the story for free, just start here: The Gypsy's Curse, Post One

Now, Let me introduce you to a unique series that is sure to delight you: the Wild Wulfs, of London. They are three brothers. These boys were my first introduction to the werewolf romance lines, and it was a good experience---my first time with a werewolf hero.

The first story was called, The Dark One. It features the oldest brother, Armond, who is trying to live his life quietly. His pesky neighbor, however, won't let him be. It's a woman, and she's in trouble. So, Armond, being noble and honorable, helps her.  Of course this brings trouble, and romance.
This is set in the regency era.  It's my favorite story of the three.  

The heroine, Annabelle, is in the control of her wicked stepbrother. She turns to Armond for help. Armond marries her to save her reputation, and the marriage is one of convenience. Of course, they won't fall in love, now will they?  I love these kinds of forced marriage of convenience stories, so this one immediately pulled me in. The full moon is looming, and Armond has a big secret from his new wife. Will he overcome the curse, or will he end up killing his lady love?


Armond has two brothers, Jackson and Gabriel.



Jackson's The Untamed One, the troublemaker. He is on the hunt for a witch. He believes that by killing her he'll be free of the curse. But, things don't go as planned. He finds the witch Lucinda, in a cave, after having just given birth. Instead of trying to kill her, he ends up protecting her and her baby from an angry, dangerous man. After realizing she is not the evil witch he believed her to be, Jackson helps her after she promises she may have a spell that can set him free from the werewolf curse. Of course, this beastie has a big heart, he falls in love with Lucinda and her baby . . . .




The third brother, Gabe, is the earthy one. He's sort of a farmer. A rich farmer type as he tends the brother's estate and likes working with the land. He is cursed because he's the one in the family who vows never to love, and lives in seclusion. He ends up fleeing into the wilds with a woman named Amelia, a widow who is being hunted by another beast. Gabe ends up trying to protect her and himself from being hunted by a mad man who wants to kill them both.I liked this one because it featured the two of them running from danger in the wilds, the woods, and trying to survive.




All three Wulf Brothers are yummy heroes, each one different, and yet each one appealing as a romance hero.  The main theme in these books is the werewolf hero protecting the heroine from some sort of danger. He risks his life, both in human and wolf form, to protect the woman he loves.  This is the fascination of historical romance to begin with, and with contemporary romantic suspense, the woman in jeapardy theme that endures.  Sometimes it's an ex-navy seal protecting the woman in danger, sometimes its a noble hearted werewolf--your choice!

These wonderful romances are also set in the Regency time period, making them an extra special treat for Halloween if you like Historical Romance with a paranormal twist.  I've heard that Ronda Thompson published two more books in the series, making them a five book set. I've only read the first three, and highly recommend these delicious romance stories as a Halloween treat.

The werewolf romance; its all about loving the wolf, the beast within the man. The alpha romance hero takes on a whole new meaning with these stories--pun intended.



Happy Halloween, and may you have a wonderful night with the monster of your choice!

Here is a pic of the first silver screen werewolf, Lon Chaney as The Wolf Man.  






Sunday, October 26, 2014

Serialized Sundays: The Gypsy's Curse, continued




The Gypsy's  Curse, Chapter Eighteen Continued.
Copyright Lily Silver, 2013

“You’ve never had a Christmas?”
“No, my family did not keep the traditions of England.”  It was half true. Her tribe did not keep the Gadje festivals and holidays.
“Oh, Miss. It’s wonderful.” The girl said, setting the poker in the rack and coming to the bed. “It’s when we celebrate the birth of our lord.”
“A nobleman’s holiday?” It seemed ridiculous to get excited over some wealthy lord’s birthday or feast day.
“No, silly.” Maggie chided, tilting her head a little to look at Zara as if she were an oddity. “Our Lord Jesus Christ, the savior. It’s his feast day. God’s son, born in a manager in Bethlehem. Don’t you know the story of the Nativity?”
“Oh, yes.” Zara lied, not willing to seem completely ignorant of such a grand Gadje tradition. That would raise suspicions. “I do, I just thought it was some English holiday, the way you talked of family and sweet treats and the snow being so important to it all.”
“You must have gone to Church, being a Catholic and all. You are Catholic, aren’t you, being part French?”
“I am weary of your questions.” Zara remarked sharply. She was tired of having to keep adding to the lie, and watch her every word. Between Maggie today and St. John last night, she was finding it difficult to maintain her disguise. “I am also hungry.”
“Yes, Miss.” The girl, properly cowed by Zara’s ill humor, forgot her question about Zara’s spiritual leanings for the moment. She bobbed a quick curtsy to her and left her.
As the door closed, Zara released a long, pent up breath. At this rate, she was going to have to start a journal of her own to record all her responses lest she be caught in her own lies.

Maggie returned fifteen minutes later with a breakfast tray. She was quiet, subdued. Zara wondered if the girl were thinking of her family again, or if she were feeling out of sorts because Zara had been short with her. At this point, she did not wish to engage in another match of wits with the inquisitive girl so she ignored Maggie’s surliness. Let her pout a little, and think on how being a maid gave her little right to be questioning her ‘lady’s’  spiritual beliefs.
The eggs and rashers were delicious. Annie was an accomplished cook. Zara resisted the urge to lick the rasher juice from her fingertips as Julia St. John’s journal had made mention of the practice being extremely ill mannered and crude. It was written about a day laborer in the fields of the estate that Mrs. St. John had observed eating his lunch, but Zara didn’t miss the contempt for the lower classes and their ‘primitive’ manners conveyed in the hard lines of ink. If she were to pass herself off as genteel, not a true titled lady but a gentle woman, she had best be careful, even in the presence of an adolescent maid.
After her morning meal was cleared away, Zara stretched and moved her leg. Gingerly, cautiously, she moved her leg over the side of the bed. She would dearly love to leave this bed. Four days of resting the limb was tedious. She would rather be up and dressed, at least to feel equal to the task of playing an half English-half French √©migr√©’ from Martinique.
The girl protested as Zara stood and limped carefully across the room with her ankle bound in the odd contraption. “I will dress today.” She commanded quietly.
Maggie nodded, but bit her lip and looked at Zara with large, worried eyes. “As you wish, Ma’am.”
That was a change. Zara’s lips curled in the start of a smile. Perhaps it was best not to be on such familiar terms with the girl, as it invited enquires that Zara couldn’t afford to answer. Not if she hoped to make good on her disguise. She liked Maggie, and in any other circumstance might befriend the girl as equals, but this was a matter of her own survival. She could not risk being too friendly and thus incur a suggestion of being common born to her hosts.
The gown that Maggie brought to her was unfamiliar to her. She had stolen a few serviceable items from the deceased Mrs. St. John’s wardrobe when she fled the manse, nothing too fancy that might be recognized.  The dress that Maggie brought was made of heavy velvet. It was green, with long sleeves and a high neckline. Velvet. So soft and fine, she thought, caressing the skirt lightly. “Where did this come from?” She asked. “It is not mine.”
“From the lady’s closet, Miss. Mr. said I should let you have your pick of her things, as they’ve no use now with her gone. If you don’t like it, I’ll fetch another.”
“It’s lovely.” Zara admitted. “I did not expect St. John to be so lavish in borrowing me his wife’s clothes.”
“T’aint borrowed, Miss.” Maggie shook her head, setting in motion a lovely waterfall of curls bobbing beneath her mob cap and about her neck. “He says you are to take what you fancy, as otherwise he’ll have to pack the trunks up and send them to the rag bin. Shame that.”
“Yes--” Zara replied absently, almost ready to concur with the maid. She stopped herself just in time. As a recently arrived guest confined to her room due to injury, she couldn’t betray her knowledge of Mrs. St. John’s vast and expensive wardrobe.  “I suppose it would be.”
Once dressed in the elegant gown with puffed sleeves and a high neckline, Zara peered at herself in amazement in the long oval mirror. The deep green velvet brought out her eyes. Her hair was in a braid and needed tending, but the dress made her look like a woman of wealth. She limped across the room with Maggie’s arm to support her and stopped at the small dressing table and sat down. “Would you brush out my hair, Maggie, dear?”
The girl worked through her long hair, gently tugging out the tangles as she unfastened the braid. Zara’s hair was thick and often unruly. She liked wearing it down, as a cloak of glory in the tradition of her people. English women, however, would not be so careless, not women of the merchant class.  She didn’t give Maggie any direction in how to style it, as she was silently praying the girl would know some way to fashion it that would look the part she was playing.
After a forty minute battle that included numerous metal hair pins and a very hot curling device warmed in the fire, Maggie had Zara’s hair transformed into a stylish crown of curls about her head instead of the waterfall of chaos it had been previously.
“Thank you.” Zara whispered, grateful to the child for making her look so . . . English!
“If you have another way of styling it, Miss, just tell me. I went with the drawings in the ladies periodical Annie gave me from Mrs. St. John’s room. I need practice, if you don’t mind my saying so.”
“Very good. It does the trick for a recovering invalid.” Zara grinned up at the girl in the mirror. “I’m not going to a ball, so I’m certain this will do for a country house visit.”
"Just so, ma'am." Maggie smiled at her from the reflection of the mirror.
"Now then," Zara said officiously, attempting to sound like a gentle woman, "If you would help me to the chair near the fire, I would like to hear more from you about Christmas in England." She smiled at the girl, realizing it was a tentative ally she had in Maggie, and not wishing to alienate her by being too airy and distant. Besides, Zara had put the girl in her place earlier, so she didn't think it would hurt to soothe the sting a little by being an attentive listener.
"Oh, yes, ma'am!" Maggie's face brightened considerably. 
The next hour was spent pleasantly, as Zara sat in comfort near the warm fire with her leg propped on the footstool, as Maggie sat on the floor next to the fire and entertained her.
She learned that the Gadje Christmas celebration included woodland decorations being brought into the home, festooned with big red bows, and hung about the house to welcome the holidays. Maggie spoke of holly and ivy being the main plants sought in the woods, along with pretty green boughs from evergreen trees.
There was always a feast on Christmas Day, usually a cooked goose, along with special sweets, cakes and nuts. There was a particular spiced punch given to visitors, called Wassail punch. In the towns and villages it was customary to go door to door, singing special songs, a tradition named Wassailing, that included the punch that was given to visitors as a reward for entertaining the household with their songs.
Sometimes, the rich lord of the manor would give a party for his hirelings as a thank you for faithful service to him all year long. Maggie recalled having attended such parties as a wee girl, when her parents were alive. The local lord had put on a feast and all the town attended. The townspeople gathered at the town hall and had a country dance with hired musicians.
The descriptions of parties and festivities that Maggie gave her intrigued Zara. The holiday sounded amusing. She wished she might experience an English Christmas this year.
The thought brought home to Zara her lonely state. She had no real family, no friends with whom she might celebrate the Christmas season. It saddened her to realize she would be a stranger among the city folk if she settled there, or in some remote village far from here.
"Oh . . . . and mistletoe is hung in the doorways for kissing." Maggie's eyes lit up with excitement.

"For kissing?" Zara laughed. "Truly, you are making this up?" 
Copyright Lily Silver, 2013

Thursday, October 23, 2014

The Werewolf who loved me? The werewolf in romance novels



Yay, it's Halloween time again. Ghosts, Witches, Zombies, Vampires and Werewolves are in vogue again.

Last year in October, I spent a whole month chatting up the virtues of Vampire romance.  This time, I'm looking at the werewolf cult in romance.  And, as one of my works in progress ( The Gypy's Curse) is a werewolf romance, I thought I might like to give that side of horror romance a chance.

Normally, I'm not into the whole werewolf as a lover idea.  A line from a movie sticks out in my head,  "Why does it smell like wet dog in here?" It's from the movie Van Helsing, starring Hugh Jackman. It was a fun story and had monsters in it, Vampires and Werewolves. The line was said when one of the characters walked into a room that a werewolf had just vacated, and smelled the air. The werewolf had just come in from the rain.  It's funny, and if you have dogs, big dogs, you totally get that line!

The movie is campy, not really a serious horror movies. But, Hugh Jackman is lovely in this role as the monster fighting machine, Van Helsing. The monsters are funny, not scary. The vampires especially are silly and melodramatic, but that's the appeal of this mock horror adventure.  Check it out.

All kidding aside, however, America seems to be in love with werewolf heroes.  Look at the popularity of Twilight, and Trueblood. We have teen werewolves and adult werewolves, and the female population drooling over them.

Jacob from Twilight was enough to make the girls swoon, and add to that the Native American legends about being in the wolf clan, and the werewolf as a romance hero was reborn. Remember the whole Team Edward vs. Team Jacob thing a few years back? I do, as I worked at a local library and it was something my young teen patrons would bring up when checking out the series. I'd ask them which team they were on, and they'd happily tell me.

 
Teen wolf updated for a new generation!
Jacob Black was noble to a fault. He loved Bella, but her heart belonged to Edward. I felt sad for him, and the storyline intensified as he began to brood and become a deeper character.  In the book, he does go off on his own for a time, goes totally wolf and disappears off grid.  Then he comes back, after sort of making peace with himself and his wolf side. My only complaint is the ending, where he is in love with Bella's kid. That was a weird twist that I don't care for. But . . . moving along. 


The allure isn't just in the young adult movies, it's also in the hot very Adult series Trublood, as they added some werewolves to the mix fairly quickly in the typically all vampire series.   If you haven't met Alcide, here you go . . . . he's a hottie, and has the southern Louisana charm you can't resist. Like Jacob in Twilight, Alcide is completely noble and honorable. He is Sooki's friend at first, and then they become lovers. He protects her.  She could hardly resist him. Could you?


Now then,  fantasy aside, I'm a little confused by the werewolf love cult.   When I think of a big hairy man beast coming at me, I'm not exactly turned on. More like, I'm going . . .  eeew! This image below is the werewolf from Van Helsing, a sort of mix between the man and beast, and it's not really appealing as a romantic figure.  What do you think?



This isn't sexy, not really. It's sort of scary. Get an eyeful of those teeth, ladies. French kiss anyone. And if you thought your present boyfriend was hairy, this dude is hardly an improvement. This is a Man-Beast.  Half man, half wolf.  I don't find it at all romantic.  

So, what's the allure here?  I think, with the Werewolf romance genre, we are more in love with the idea of a man transforming into a wolf . . . . yes, as in walks on four legs, is majestic looking and beautiful, dangerous . . . 



This image is definately more of a romanticized ideal for a werewolf hero, don't you think?
A wolf is mysterious, strong, dangerous, and feral. He'll kill the enemy, attack, not slink away like a wuss. We liken them to our pet dogs, who are faithful and loyal, even though they are wild. The idea of taming such a magnificent creature is part of the appeal. The werewolf as hero trope in literature has morphed into a romanticized version that lovers of the paranormal romance genre adore.  And with this handsome animal at your side, you feel safe, protected, and loved. When you want to kiss him and be intimate, he can always morph back into his human form  .  . . . and it's all good......


 Werewolf love.  It's a mysterious affliction, being loved by a man who can transform into an animal, a very hairy animal.  It's Halloween, so let's let our fantasies loose, and enjoy a good Werewolf love story.  

I was introduced to the werewolf as romance hero several years ago, and here are a few of my favorite werewolf romance reads. Ronda Thompson had a series called The Wild Wulfs of London, a trilogy about three brothers who were cursed to become wolves.  It was set in the regency period, and it was my first introduction to the werewolf love stories.  They are delightful stories, and they are on my desert island keeper shelf. I bought the print copies in 2006-2007. They are rare finds, unusual stories, and worth keeping!

I'll talk more about the werewolf romance genre, and these delish lads the Wild Wulfs of London, in the next week's  Tuesday post. Its Halloween, let's celebrate Surpernatural love!



If you are curious about this wonderful, well written series by Ronda Thompson, here is the buy link for Amazon. I dare you, fall in love with a noble werewolf!  The Dark One on Amazon.com

Next time, I'll talk more about these three brothers, Armond, Jackson and Gabe, and the werewolf romance genre. I'll also talk about the original wolf man a little bit. So, until then, happy reading!



Sunday, October 19, 2014

Serial Sundays: The Gypsy's Curse, Chapter 18 continued,

For those just joining the story, you can start at the beginning if you wish by clicking this link: Presenting Rough Draft Sundays; The Gypsy's Curse serial romance

Each week I have posted a new chapter or scene of the story in progress. It's your chance to see a rough draft of a story straight from the writer's pen.





The Gypsy's Curse, Chapter 18 continued,
Copyright Lily Silver, 2013
Zara’s heart stopped. She was being probed, tested. Did St. John know her secret? Did he suspect she was the very same gypsy woman wanted for questioning over in Lexford? If he did, he was not making too much of it, just hinting that she might have Romany blood. Still, she couldn’t seem to breathe for a moment, as she waited for his response to Maggie’s outburst.
“So they do.” He said, flippantly, and without rancor. “But so do the Mullatos and Quadroons of the Indies, Maggie my girl. They learn fortunetelling from their African ancestors. Along with Voodoo spells and nonesuch. Now, I bid you ladies goodnight.”
He made a courtly bow to Zara, once more making her wonder at his behavior. Kind and respectful one moment, and cunning as a fox with his clever speech the next.
“Thank you, sir.” She said, relieved to have moved on from the subject of gypsy fortune telling to the traditions of the West Indian peoples. “I assure you, I’ve not learned any such magic as Voodoo, my maman strictly forbade such practices in our home. Even the servants were not permitted to practice their pagan ways under our roof.”
“Papist, then?” St. John replied, his brow arching at the question.
“I beg your pardon?” Zara murmured, taken aback by his odd turn of phrase. It sounded like an accusation. “I do not know what you are implying, sir?”
“Papist, your French relations in Martinique were of Catholic persuasion, I presume.”
“Ah . . . . yes. Yes.” Zara responded, fearing she’d just given up the game with her blunder. “Of course. I thought you said Pacifists, sir.”
He made an odd wave of his hand. “Papist, Pacifist. Yes, I do see the confusion.”
His words, while strong and clear, lacked a certain confidence, giving her to believe that he was not fooled by her mistake.
“The islands are astir with rebellion, sir.” Zara added, quoting Jason Leeds, the widow’s nephew, who gave it as his reason for fleeing the Indies recently in the hope of residing with his Aunt Kendall. She hoped that her knowledge of the situation, knowledge gleaned by listening to another’s conversation, would strengthen her claim in his mind of being recently arrived from the Indies. “There are those among the colonists who seek to defend of the slave trade while slaves, freed Negroes and abolitionists are planning rebellions in every colony. People such as my aunt and uncle are caught in the middle. They detest slavery but seek a peaceful end instead of violent means. My aunt and uncle wanted me safely away in England in the event another brutal uprising took place in our area as it did in Demerara this past summer.”  
“I read of it in the newspapers. A brutal event. Most unfortunate that it occurred mere months after a resolution was introduced in the House of Commons condemning slavery as repugnant to the principles of the British constitution and calling for its abolition throughout the British colonies.” St. John conceded. “Your relations were wise to send you away as a precaution. I wager that many islands will seek to emulate the Haitian and the Demerain uprisings. I understand that Demerara is still under marshal law. However, you are from a French colony, are you not? Martinique?”
His pointed question, along with his raised brows, unsettled her. “Yes.” She replied, determined not to let his exacting questions confound her, at least not on the surface. “If you have been to the Indies, sir, you would know the islands are clustered together, mere miles apart, despite the mix of nations. One island teeming with unrest affects the neighboring ones.”
“Ah, you speak the truth.” St. John conceded in an odd tone. His words confirmed his belief in her reply, and yet  . . .  and yet . . . the tone of them was not comforting. There was a peculiar lilt in his voice that made her uneasy.  “Good night, my fair one. Sleep well in my fortress, far from the stirrings of mob revolt.” He bowed again to Zara, and then withdrew.  
*    *    *

The morning light filtering through her window looked frosty. The trees were draped in white.  The snow came in the night, a heavy snow she gathered as she studied the black tree limbs contrasted by a layer of glaring white. Downy, feather-like flakes continued to fall from the cold grey skies. The window panes were trimmed in white drifts.
Zara shivered as she thought of the cold north wind and the wetness of the snow as it would cling to her skirts and dampen them if she were still trying to run from the villagers. She was grateful to be inside a stone fortress, tucked in a warm bed, with a fire crackling in the hearth. Maggie bustled about the room with a youthful energy that Zara envied. The medicine the doctor left for her had made her feel dull and tired. She disliked the feeling, as it hindered her ability to remain alert to her surroundings. Still, the ache in her ankle was enough that to go without the medicine brought a different distraction of the mind.
“The snowfall is exciting, isn’t it!” Maggie exclaimed, bouncing happily about the room with her flaming red braid flapping behind her back. She dashed from one window to the next, gazing out with a joy that was mystifying to Zara. “I just love the first snowfall, don’t you?” The freckled face turned to her from the frosty window, and Maggie’s eyes grew large. “Oh, sorry, Miss.”
Zara couldn’t help but smile in return. Maggie was a cheerful girl, even as a servant, she brought with her a fresh sense of wonder to everything she did. “I have seen snow before.”
Maggie’s lips formed a perfect O shape. She continued to gape at Zara with amazement.
“Why does the first snowfall excite you?”
“It’s near Christmastide, that’s why!” Maggie jumped down from her perch at the stone window casement. “And that means all kinds of good things coming our way. Special baked treats, decorating the house, and family . . .”  The red head bowed and the girl became silent as she looked down at her shoes, her lips trembling.
“What is it?” Zara asked gently, seeing the mistiness in the girl’s eyes. “Christmastide brings sadness to families?” It hardly seemed a reason to cheer.
“No, Miss.” Maggie mumbled, crossing the room to stab at the fire in the hearth with a poker. “This is the first Christmas I should be without family. Mama’s been gone for a few years, but my father, he was always there.”
“Your father has passed away?” Zara asked, careful in her wording as she knew it was a painful question to ask the girl.
“I don’t know. He’s missing, they aren’t sure if he’s dead or just . . . . lost.”
“Tell me more of this Christmastide you speak of. A winter festival of some sort?”

The shoulders raised little, and the head bent so low rose just inches. Wide blue eyes of astonishment.  “You’ve never had a Christmas?”  Copyright Lily Silver, 2013

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

A New Book Released and A New Look for A Christmas Story

 

 

Hello Everyone,
I'm excited, as I now have my 8th fiction book released in the stores!  It is release day and I'm ready to do the happy dance.  A new release means many things to an author. It's sort of like giving birth after having a stomach the size of Texas. There is exhaustion, relief, joy, and a feeling of emptiness in the region where your baby took up residence for many months. 

It's like sending your youngest kid off to college, and then you look around the house and think, 'now what do I do?'.  I have plenty to do, as I'm about to start the sequel to my time travel romance, Some Enchanted Waltz, I have to finish The Gypsy's Curse, and I have several other writing projects that need my attention. But for now, I'm in the mood to celebrate and sit back like a new mother and just admire my newest baby. 



I've felt exhilarated, nervous, lost, uncertain, and happy, all in the space of a few days.  So, without further ado, here is an excerpt from my newest work,  Gallant Rogue. Released 10/15/2014---that's Today!!!
Background:  Chloe is in Jack's cabin, it's late at night. He's teaching her the art of swordplay. And yes, they are in their pajamas or what you'd call them back in 1808. Actually, Chloe is wearing Jack's shirt as her nightgown is too long and billowy for sword play. They've shared a brandy, and now Chloe's mind is not on the weapon in her hand . . .  it's on her handsome instructor.

     Excerpt from Gallant Rogue:  Copyright Lily Silver, 2014
“Don’t hold it like that.” Jack moved in, sidling up against her from behind as she hoped. He placed his hand on her wrist. “Your sword must be an extension of your arm. You don’t drop your arm, do you?”
       It was too much to bear. Chloe wanted the game to be over. Enough of swords and proper stance; she wanted him to kiss her again. She had her opponent close. She must not lose him again. She leaned forward slightly so her backside was more pronounced. She lifted her sword arm, making him have to lean in to reach up and follow her arm’s unsteady movement. When he was in place, she did that terrible, wicked thing. She wiggled her backside against him.

       It was a small movement. 

       A subtle movement. One that would change the game between them significantly.

      “Chloe,” he murmured, his voice gritty and coarse. His hands moved to her waist. He was holding her about the belly, his hands palmed against her flesh.
      She straightened and leaned back against his frame. “Jack.”
      “What are you doing?”
      “Surely, a man of your years knows the answer to that?”
His breath caressed her neck when he answered her, raising gooseflesh and anticipation as she waited for him to kiss the back of her neck. “You know what I mean, woman. This isn’t a game.”
      “I am a woman. You are a man, an attractive man.”

      “You’ll regret it in the morning. This is not like you.’

      “How do you know if this is or isn’t like me?” she asked, lowering the sword and putting her free arm across his as it bracketed her waistline. “I am not a maid unacquainted with the lover’s dance.” 

Jack’s lips were close to her ear as he pressed against her in the way she intended. “It’s the brandy, darling. Lowers the drawbridge over the moat, drops the guard."  Copyright Lily Silver, 2014



Chloe and Jack deserve each other, but each one is tip-toeing around the other one, trying to decide if they should follow their feelings instead of their head.  That's romance for you, attraction to the person who is the opposite of what you think you need, or where you are headed in life.  

And on to other news ...... A new cover for an older book, one published last year around Christmas time. I've updated the cover for Christmas at Ravencrest, the short story that takes place just after the end of Dark Hero, (1st in the Reluctant Heroes Series), and features the newlyweds first Christmas together at Ravencrest Estates. 



This book is part of a trilogy, featuring three women at one house party: the bride, the widow and the companion (FYI Chloe's Christmas story is pre Gallant Rogue, before she was wed "A Christmas Kiss", back when Chloe was a paid companion to the Countess du Rochembeau).  I will be updating the cover of A Christmas Kiss soon.

Thanks for visiting, and come back again soon.  

Lily Silver, Author and free spirit







Sunday, October 12, 2014

Serial Sundays: The Gypsy's Curse Chapter 18





For those just joining the story, you can start at the beginning if you wish by clicking this link: Presenting Rough Draft Sundays; The Gypsy's Curse serial romance

Each week I have posted a new chapter or scene of the story in progress. It's your chance to see a rought draft of a story straight from the writer's pen.




The Gypsy's Curse, Chapter Eighteen


Copyright Lily Silver, 2013
Several days passed without Zara having a visit from her mysterious host.
She was relieved and a tad disappointed by his absence.
More than a little disappointed, if truth be told. Her uneasiness over his determined hospitality remained. Yet, the longer he remained aloof the more she wished he would pop in to visit her.
Maggie was friendly, but a bit annoying when it came to talking. In the three days following her injury, Zara had been left almost exclusively to the girl’s care, save a few brief visits from the housekeeper to check her progress.
“Is his lordship still in residence?” Zara asked the older woman when she came bearing the evening meal on a tray.
“Yes, Miss. He’s about his business, catching up on the estate worries after his two year absence. And he’s not a lord, mind you. He’d be quick enough to correct you on that score. He’s Mr. St. John.”  Annie’s tone was brusque, but not combative. She sounded tired. She arranged the tray on Zara’s lap and then sat in the chair next to the bed for a few moments, the very place Maggie had vacated in her hurry to go down to the kitchen for her dinner. The housekeeper picked up the mending project her charge was engaged in, frowned at it, and set it aside with a pensive sigh. “How are you faring with our young lass? She’s not a bother to ye, I should hope?”
“Maggie has been a blessing.” Zara returned, unwilling to utter the slightest criticism of the energetic girl. Maggie had been kind to her, kinder than most of the Gadje she encountered.
“Has Mr. St. John planned to stay here long?” Zara inquired. “I should hope if he does he would hire more maids to ease your labors.”  She smiled at the older woman, hoping to gain her trust.  “Maggie might help you more. I told St. John I did not need a constant companion.”
Annie’s quick chuckle said it all. “Oh, wearin’ on you a bit, our Maggie? She’s a good un, but a bit too full of herself after the master picked her up out of the gutters and promised her a position as a maid here.”  A sour look replaced the woman’s passing mirth. “Ach, and raisin’ her to be a lady’s maid! Why I never—“ Annie’s hiss of distaste echoed in the silent room.
Zara’s hand stilled in mid-air as she was about to tip the glass of fresh milk. She glanced at her visitor. “She’s a good girl. She does as she’s told.”
“Ach, that’s my point, Miss. She’s a girl, too green and raw to be pretendin’ to be something as high and fine as a lady’s maid. Those in service train for years, mind you, before they’ve been given such a high honor. And she . . . why she’s barely here a week and she’s given the job. I told him it weren’t right, but St. John will do as he pleases, that much I know.”
“I am not a true lady.” Zara confessed. “If that makes any difference.”
“Aye, and thank heaven for that!” Annie replied as she stood with a grim face and fisted her hands in her apron. “We endured more airs and uppity nonsense than we cared to when Mrs. St. John was with us. Didn’t like our common country ways.”
Zara was surprised by the woman’s angry manner.  “I’m only here for a short time, until my ankle heals and I can travel again. I won’t trouble you for long, Annie.”
“You are no trouble, Miss Jennings. You’re a blessing in disguise.”
“I beg your pardon?” Zara gasped, nearly choking on the bite of boiled carrots she’d been trying to swallow.
“A pretty girl under his roof, why, tis just the thing to snap him out of his despair.” The woman winked at Zara, giving her a mischievous smile as she bolted for the door.
After Annie left, the clock ticking on the mantle marked the slow progress of minutes. Much as she savored the silence in Maggie’s absence, Zara found being bed ridden a trial. She had been reading much of the time and even read aloud to Maggie in the evenings. She was tired of reading. Tired of long days marked only by the meals brought to her on a tray and the endless chatter with a fourteen year old girl. She wished she could don her boots and go for a walk in the cool evening air, breathe in the fresh, crisp late autumn air and smell the decaying leaves and moist earth. The wind rattled the window panes. A storm was coming. The blustery days of November were nearly behind them. December would bring snow and cold. She wished she might enjoy the autumn breeze once more before the snows covered the woods and blanketed the scents of moss and pine beneath the icy dew.
A brisk knock on her door made her start. Maggie didn’t knock, not anymore as they shared the room. She came and went as she wished, with adolescent ease. “Come in.”
The very man she longed for sight of poked his head in the door. “Care for a company, Miss Jennings? A little bird told me you were restless in our care. I thought a little diversion might be in order.”
Zara blinked at his words. Diversion. She was not certain she understood the word. 
“Fun.” St. John insisted as he entered the room with a wooden board under his arm. “A game of cards or would you prefer chess? I can retrieve a chess board if you prefer it.”  He set the green flannel board on the side table and extracted a deck of playing cards from his pocket. “I’ll leave the door open, so all is proper. Maggie will be back shortly to watch over us. What shall it be, cards or chess?” His eyebrows arched expectantly.
“I’ve never learned chess.” She murmured. Zara knew a few simple card games the Widow Kendall taught her to pass the time. “Cards, but I’m limited as far as that goes, too.”
He smiled at her. Zara’s heart blossomed with warmth in response.
“That’s an easy remedy.” St. John said in a casual tone. “What do you know?”
“Sheep’s head.”
“Ah, a very good way to pass the time.” He smirked. “Especially on board a sailing ship. Is that where you learned the game?”
His offhanded tone did not fool Zara. She knew what he was about. Fishing, he was, trolling for information about her whilst trying to appear casual. 
“My dear old aunt taught me when I was a girl.” She replied. “I doubt sailors would play such an innocent game, sir. At any rate, I was not privy to their leisure activities below decks.”
St. John nodded. After pulling a small table close to her reach, he sat in the chair opposite her and concentrated on shuffling the cards for a few moments. Zara watched his long, lean fingers as they deftly mixed the stack and started dealing the first hand. “Of course not.”
The first hand was dealt and played. Zara took the trumps. He shuffled again, and then handed her the deck, expecting her to deal the next hand. She did so and then studied her cards to determine which ones to discard. Her eyes kept darting up and over the cards to the man across from her. She couldn’t help it. He frightened her and intrigued her at the same time. A handsome man, but a man who had the ability to change his shape to that of a wolf.
Could one trust such a man?
“Oh, Sir?” Maggie came upon them and stopped short. She looked confused, as if she thought it peculiar that her employer would sit at a woman’s bedside playing cards in the evening when he had better things to be about. “Does Annie know you are here?”
St. John’s brow furrowed. “Should she?” He shot back with irritation. “I am the owner of the abbey, last time I checked.”
“Yes, sir.” Maggie curtsied and rolled her lips. “I meant, being Miss Jennings is . . . um. . . . well . . . um . . .”
“Lonely?” He finished with a hopeful tone when the girl stammered. “Bored, neglected? Yes, precisely. I should like her to have some pleasant way to pass the time, and so as her host, I’m endeavoring to rescue her from the doldrums, as any good fellow would do. Now, then, do you know how to play sheepshead, Maggie?”
“Of course I do. Da taught me years ago.”
Amused, St. John gestured to the chair across the room, at the vanity. “Well, then, pull up a chair beside us. Next hand, we’ll deal you in.”
That was all the encouragement the girl needed. Zara was pleased that he indulged the child, as it revealed a kindly nature, despite his often gruff demeanor with the staff. Maggie played well, and even won several hands. The evening moved swiftly. As the clock struck ten, St. John looked about with surprise, as if he did not note the passage of time.
“I say, tis late, Miss Jennings. I shall take my leave of you and bid you rest well.” He stood, and fingered the neat stack of cards on the table. “I’ll leave these here, for your amusement. If you grow bored, you might pass the time with reading the future in the cards.”
There it was again, the subtle hint that he was looking for information from her.
“I do not know what you mean, sir.” Zara replied, with all honestly. She did not learn the gypsy way of reading the fortune of another with a deck of playing cards. She could plead innocence without lying on that account.
“Well, I hear some young ladies from your island home know that trick. My mistake.”

“The gypsies do that.” Maggie piped up, almost with an indignant tone. “Everyone knows the gypsies read the cards and tell a person’s fortune.”
Copyright Lily Silver, 2013 

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

New Release! Gallant Rogue now available

 

 

Hello everyone, 

I've been very distracted lately. I've been so distracted that I've had little time to check in here or do much online.  The reason is a good one, a great one in fact. I've finally finished my 6th full length novel, the 5th full length historical novel, and the third in my series, Reluctant Heroes!  Wow that was a mouth full  

That's my 6th full length novel , as I have two Christmas short stories available. 

That's my 5th historical romance novel, as I have four others available, plus a contemporary romance (The Rock Star Next Door).  They are in order: 

                Dark Hero

                Some Enchanted Waltz

                Bright Scoundrel

                The Widow' Christmas Wish

And it's the third story in the Reluctant Heroes Series!  

                Dark Hero is number 1

                Bright Scoundrel is number 2

                Gallant Rogue is number 3 

 

This has been a long time coming:  the book took me a year and a half to finish.  Then it was sent to the editor, and then I had to wait for it to be returned, fix edits, than have it formatted for ebooks and print!  So, join me in this awesome celebration, a big moment in my otherwise quiet life; the final release of Gallant Rogue. 

Pre-order Gallant Rogue now on Amazon.com

What's it about, well, it's about a woman trying to run away from her past. She's the illegitame daughter of a Spanish man and a slave. Her father was the plantation steward and had a love affair with her mother.  She's scorned as a bastard, as the grand-daughter of a Voodoo priestess, and because she married another bastard of mixed blood, the former plantation owner's son, Gareth O'Donovan.

 

Chloe was Elizabeth Beaumont's friend and her paid companion in Dark Hero. She married Gareth O'Donovan and had nine years of wedded bliss. Her romance with Gareth was in the short story, A Christmas Kiss.

Well, it's ten years later, and Chloe is now a widow. She's tired of living at Ravencrest estates, where her friend and patroness is happily married and surrounded by children. She's lonely, and yet, she's scorned by those outside the plantation house as a bastard child of mixed blood. She decides to strike out on her own and search for her father's relative in Spain. She's hoping to pass herself off as a lady there, or at least as legitmate. Her uncle Miguel is a Spanish Marquis, and so her hopes are high that she can re-invent herself in a land where no one knows her secrets. There's just one problem with this plan, Spain is on the brink of war with France. Of course, as the inhabitants of Ravencrest Plantation live in the West Indies, they can hardly be aware of the turmoil simmering in Spain at the moment. Chloe sets sail for Spain, with Captain Rawling as her escort and protector. 

 

Jack Rawlings has always admired Chloe. He had intended to court her years ago, but someone else beat him to the punch and married her before he could make his interests known to the lovely Miss Ramirez. Now, he's charged with protecting her as they sail to Spain. Jack is pulled apart by his feelings for her, as he realizes that the lovely widow, Chloe O'Donovan, is not the simple maid he had admired and wished to wed a decade earlier. She's become a diamond of the first water, cultured and educated, and he feels he is beneath her.   Jack has a tragic history: he loved a lady and lost her in a horrible situation. His fiancee was captured by Barbary Pirates years ago, and murdered. He was supposed to deliver the ransome, but he arrived too late only to learn she had been murdered. He couldn't forgive himself, and turned to piracy. That's where he met his ally Donovan Beaumont. Together, they terrorized ships in the East Indies as Black Jack and the Raven.  Since then, he lost his wealth through gambling, his ship, and much of his self respect. He needs to rescue a lady, desperately, to make up for having failed his lady years ago. Chloe's in luck, as he's just the man to keep her from harm.

 

  When they arrive in Spain, all is not well. Chloe's uncle is missing. They set out in search of him, and encounter bandits and French troops.  Jack must protect her at all costs. He's determined in his quest, and will not rest until she is safely delivered to her uncle.  But when they arrive at the villa near the sea, they find that Uncle Miguel's life of priviledge is about to end. He's the prisoner of French soldiers, suspected of being in league with the Spanish militia hiding in the hills. Worse for it, the French Captain has evil designs on Chloe. Can Jack save her and her uncle? Will they escape the powder keg of revolutionary Spain, or will they all become victims of French retaliations?    

Goya's Third of May, 1808, French Soldiers shot Spanish citizens in retaliation for their rebellion. 

 I am excited about this new book. I was inspired by the storyline through art history, Goya's painting about real life events of the Spanish revolution against the French occupation, in The Third of May, 1808, and also by the PBS series, Sharpe's War.  So, for the last year and half, I've had my mind in 19th century Spain.  

  
Sean Bean as Officer Richard Sharpe

 The Sharpe Series, written by Bernerd Cornwell, is about a British Officer, Richard Sharpe, who had many adventures in Europe during the Napoleonic Wars.  Many of the novels have been made into a television series, with much of the action taking place in Spain when England stepped in to fight with the Spanish to push off the French. This took place a little later than my story, Gallant Rogue, as the British only stepped in the summer of 1808, and fought for years to free Spain from the French occupation.  I watched the Sharpe's series a bizillion times to get a feel for Spain in this time period, and because Sean Bean is such a hottie I could see my dear Captain Jack Rawlings being like him!  

Sharpe with sword drawn and his men at his back

 Sharpe was a rifleman during that war. He led his troops into the Spanish interior and had many adventures. If you love historical dramas, this is an excellent series to watch. I'm addicted, and yes, Sharpe has some romance enter his life, too! 

Yes, a yummy hero, and the inspiration for Jack Rawlings!

Sharpe and his men spent years in Spain. Sharpe even married a Spanish woman, a very fiesty woman who was a member of the secret Spanish Militia. She was a spy for the militia and helped the British get past the French troops. Like I said, this TV show is addicting, and you'll have countless hours of enjoyment in it if you like historical sagas with action, adventure, and romance. You can get it online, or at your library in the U.S.

Here we have Mr. & Mrs. Sharpe, his Spanish wife.

What's Next?  I'm finishing The Gypy's Curse, (serialized here), writing the sequel to Some Enchanted Waltz, and planning a fourth Reluctant Heroes novel in 2015,  Noble Assassin.  I've lots to keep busy with, and writing is my joy, my bliss, my reason for being. Please join me in visiting Spain in 1808, and the star-crossed lovers, Chloe (Ramirez) O'Donovan, and Captain Jack Rawlings. These two were support characters in Dark Hero, and now they have their own romance story, fraught with danger and adventure.  

A Christmas Trilogy

A Christmas Trilogy
3 women; 1 houseparty; 3 different love stories!