Friday, February 12, 2016

A Dangerous Hero; Release Day for Noble Assassin!

Just in time for Valentine's Day!  A New Historical Romance Release from Lily Silver:

Hello everyone. I'm excited this weekend. It's Release Day for Noble Assassin, Book Four of my Reluctant Heroes Series!  As a Valentine's Treat, take a peek at an Excerpt below from the First Scene;

The Governess meets the Assassin!  Excerpt from Noble Assassin, Copyright Lily Silver 2016

The Island of Ravencrest, West Indies, 1808
“Will you help me?” The lovely blonde woman sat before him at his desk, her blue eyes pleading and fearful.
Ambrose was not a heartless man, but he was as yet unimpressed by her tale of woe.
The glow of a candle flickered and danced before him, although it was only mid- afternoon. The storm outside made it necessary to light the candles to see. The tropical rainstorm brought an additional sense of gloom to the atmosphere as Miss Wallingford sketched out her story in the most obscure terms possible.
The light of the flame was entrancing, a warm yellow golden glow that bathed his mind in calm. It was a trick he learned in the East Indies, to focus on the simplest thing to clear his mind of all the clutter that shadowed an issue and brought a thousand questions and concerns.
The warmth of the flame could comfort. The heat could maim or kill.
So it was with any object. It could be used for good or evil. The intent was purely in the one wielding the object in his hand. His childhood tutors trained him to see even everyday objects that appeared harmless as potential weapons at his disposal.
“Mr. Duchamp, will you help me?” The whisper soft voice of his unexpected guest brought Ambrose back from his quiet contemplation of the flame. Miss Wallingford was quite fetching by candlelight. Her buttery blonde curls framed a face that could launch a thousand ships, if the legend of Helen of Troy were to be given life. She was an English woman with an English nose, a resolute English chin and prim, tight English lips.
Pink lips, to be precise. Lips that needed kissing, but had likely never had the pleasure.
Miss Wallingford was the governess at Ravencrest Plantation. He steepled his hands before him and studied the lovely woman who had come to the island plantation just eighteen months ago.  He studied her with ruthless silence, ignoring her plea. Why would such a lovely, intelligent woman require the lethal assistance of a man such as himself?  “I will think on it.”
Her smooth English brow was pinched. She appeared offended by his reluctance to entangle himself in her private affairs. “I have no one else who can help me, sir. No one else to turn to.”
“You might speak with his lordship,” Ambrose suggested.  Sharing her dilemma with their employer was an unpleasant option, but an option, nevertheless. “Count Rochembeau is a fair man. He has a soft spot for those trapped in unfortunate circumstances. He might offer a better solution than I could. A more civilized and honorable solution.”
“His lordship would dismiss me and send me back to England.” Miss Wallingford sat up straight in the chair. “And they would find me easily if I were returned to English shores.”
Ambrose sighed. He studied the candle again, seeking the serenity of the silent flame. He knew what happened when a target was located by a professional assassin. There could be a time of waiting to make the kill. If the assassin were smart, he would strike quickly and leave the area before someone noticed him and his cover were blown.
Pretty Miss Wallingford was putting him in a very difficult situation by asking for his help with her would-be pursuers. Suppose she was involved in political intrigue?  His employer would not be pleased if Ambrose brought trouble to the serene island refuge where both he and the count had come to escape the horrors of France years ago. Count Rochembeau had finally found peace after his ordeal in the Bastille. The count found refuge in the arms of his beautiful wife and the bland domestic life they shared with their five children.
He picked up an apple from the bowl on his desk and began peeling it with his favorite dagger. After twirling away the skin with ease, he sliced it into quarters and picked up a piece with the tip of his blade. He bit into the tasty fruit. He’d skipped lunch and he was famished. He picked up another piece with the tip of his blade, about to shove it into his mouth.
She was watching him with fascinated horror. So, she’d heard the stories about him and his fondness for sharp instruments from the sailor’s wives. Tres bien. A fierce reputation was not a flaw but a weapon of the mind. A weapon he’d honed to full advantage. 
“Pardon, mademoiselle,” he said in a flat tone devoid of true regret. “I have forgotten my manners. Would you care for a piece?” He extended his arm across the desk, holding the dagger out to her with a chunk of fruit impaled on the end.
Her eyes told the tale. She was appalled by his casual savagery. 
End of Excerpt, Copyright Lily Silver, 2016

If you want a simmering, suspenseful historical romance with an unlikely hero set in the warm Caribbean, here is the link for the book on Noble Assassin on

Thursday, February 11, 2016

The beautiful side of Paradise; Setting of Noble Assassin

Paradise, yes, that's the word we conjure when we think of the Caribbean.

My newest novel is set in the Caribbean, near St. Kitts. It takes place in 1808, and so, it is set in the backdrop of The West Indies.

You've met the characters, Ambrose Duchammp and Juliet Wallingford in previous posts, and toured the landscape to view the creatures on the islands, specifically the more imposing creatures.  

Today I present another side, the more alluring side of the Caribbean, the romantic side, if you will.

Juliet is from England so to her, the island is a wonderful place unlike anything she's ever known.

Butterflies of every color and tropical blooms.

Hibiscus flower after a tropical shower

The landscape is dotted with exotic tropical flowers, such as hibiscus and bouginvilla creeping up the garden wall or along hedges. Bouginvilla can be white, pink, coral, red, or purple. Juliet sees it infringing everywhere.  When she goes to the port city to shop, Ambrose gifts her with pink orchids. Does he know it's her favorite color?   Who can resist the magic and beauty of the Caribbean landscape.
It's the perfect place to fall in love.  

Imagine the bright colored parrots flying about, landing on trees, greeting you with their sharp caws.

And imagine living in a land that is forever warm after spending your life in a damp, cooler climate such as England. The heat and humidity take some getting used to, but it's worth the discomfort. Every day, you can walk the beach if you wish, enjoy the sunshine and collect sea shells.  Imagine taking a carriage ride at night with your sweetheart, and making love on the beach, beneath a canopy of stars.

So, if you are looking to get away from winter this February, slip into the romance of the Caribbean with a historical romance set near St. Kitts.  Noble Assassin will be released this weekend.

Tomorrow, on release day, I'm posting an excerpt from the first scene of the book.  
Happy Valentine's Day!

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Jane Eyre in the West Indies: Meet Juliet, Heroine in Noble Assassin

Juliet, Governess and Dreamer

It takes guts to pack up your few belongings and flee to a strange land. It takes a lot of courage to sail across the ocean in 1807 and take a job as a governess in order to hide from a man stalking you. 

Juliet Wallingford does not consider herself a heroine. In her own mind, she's not a brave soul. She's a bastard child of a nobleman and has not even met her father. When her mother died, she was taken to a school for girls, and spent her childhood there as a ward to a mysterious benefactor. Once she reached an age of adulthood, her father stopped paying for her lodgings. She had the choice of going out on her own to support herself, or staying at the school as a teacher to earn her keep. She chose the latter, with very bland results. A boring day job in an institution where she lived and ate as well as taught, a place where she has about as much chance of meeting a potential husband as meeting the Emperor of France. 

She answers an ad for a governess and goes to a remote estate on the Yorkshire moors. A little like Jane Eyre, but with disastrous results. There is no Mr. Rochester waiting for her there, only a wicked man who preys upon her innocence, and has done so with former governesses coming to his home to fill the position. 

hibiscus flowers from West Indies

After fending off his attack, Juliet plucks up her courage and flees to the Indies. She finds her new position most favorable as the family is loving and kind, to their children and to their staff. She's content. Sort of.  She's also dreamed of having her own home, her own children to fuss over and a husband to share her life with.  She had a slight crush on the sea captain who brought her to the Indies, as he was attentive and kind to her, asking her to join him for dinner in his cabin each night with his senior officers, and generally giving her an idea of what a true gentleman behaves like. She daydreams about marrying the captain, of joining him on his adventures at sea. It's a sweet dream for a lonely governess with no family or home of her own. 

Not your typical Mr. Rochester

Our Jane Eyre doesn't know that Mr. Rochester is waiting for her in the Indies: Mr. Duchamp is blissfully unaware that his life is empty and lonely without her.  He's an intimidating, dangerous man, rumored to be a killer. He'll teach her the art of self protection, instruct her in how to use a dagger, tease her, make sport of her, and offer a pretend courtship to protect her reputation while engaged in said lessons--something she finds insulting and humiliating but must play along out of fear her employers will let her go if they know the truth, that she's a fugitive from English shores. 

Her penchant for dreaming of that knight in shining armor sweeping her away arises again, and she can't help but wonder what it would be like to be Mr. Duchamp's Bride. The only problem is, he's not in love with her, he's just pretending, she believes. 

Juliet is tortured by the future, when the pretense is finished and she's left alone again, embarrassed to have not truly captured Mr. Duchamp's attentions. He's a hard man, with his heart locked away in a steel box.  How could she ever hope to inspire a true affection in him? 

She might be surprised to learn she's not the drab little mouse she believes herself to be. Not in Mr. Duchamp's mind. But . . . that's not the whole story. It's her story, her perceptions in the matter.  

Juliet is forced to trust him as her enemy closes in. Will her heart survive intact?  

Available for Sale Feb. 12th, 2015

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Monkeys, Sharks and Snakes, Oh My! Creatures of Noble Assassin

Copyright: violin / 123RF Stock Photo

Noble Assassin is set in the Caribbean, so naturally, we think of sunsets, bright flowers, sandy beaches and benign surroundings.

The story is set on an imaginary island near St. Kitts. So, yes, there are sandy beaches, and tropical flowers, brilliant sunsets, and . . . snakes.

Copyright: byrdyak / 123RF Stock Photo

The hero of our story, Ambrose, has a cottage on the edge of the sea. Behind the cottage is jungle brush and a large, long lagoon.  He has pets in his backyard paradise.  There is a group of Vertvet Monkeys, or Green Monkeys as they are often called. Ambrose, our bad guy hero, has trained one among them to come when he calls. Titus Andronicus  (Shakespeare, a dark story full of nasty murders) is the name our noble assassin has given his pet. Titus will sit on his shoulder and let him feed him by hand. Meet Titus

Copyright: mattiaath / 123RF Stock Photo

The tropical landscape is beautiful of course, with vibrant blooms and green jungle foliage. There are parrots, and butterflies, lizards, and snakes. Tarantula's also live here, but don't make too much of a showing in our story.  The nine year old twin boys in the story like to play with small lizards. Well, boys will be boys, after all.

Copyright: magphoto / 123RF Stock Photo
Ambrose also has pets in his backyard lagoon. Two tiger sharks swam in one day, infant sharks that slipped through the coral barrier. Ambrose kept feeding them, and made a barrier so they could not escape. The lagoon is fed fresh ocean water with the tides. He's named his two pet sharks, now nearly fully grown, Louis and Maria, after the French King and his queen who were executed by guillotine during the French Revolution. He's showing his sentimental side in the choice of names.

Copyright: kiankhoon / 123RF Stock Photo

These darlings are more than pets, they also provide backyard surveillance so that he's not attacked in the night by enemies trying to land in the lagoon. And land they do! Crunch, Crunch.

His monkey tribe also serves as an alarm system, as they screech warning whenever intruders enter their backyard habitat.  Ambrose is adept at using the tools at hand as weapons or defense mechanisms, you see.

Copyright: nirut123rf / 123RF Stock Photo
Other creatures on the island that make an appearance in the book are jungle snakes.  Yes, snakes play an integral part of the rescue event at the end of the story. Couldn't resist as my Gothic side kicks in. Dark Hero, the first book in the series is a Gothic Romance set in the Caribbean. Noble Assassin also has Gothic elements, such as a brooding hero, a woman in danger, an isolated estate and a sometimes forbidding atmosphere.

Most of the snakes on the island of St. Kitts and the mirror island of Ravencrest are not poisonous. However, with any rule there is always an exception. But, consider this; if you were confronted with a room with writhing snakes on the floor, would you want to take your chances by walking thru them?

Make no mistake, Noble Assassin is a historical ROMANCE. But it has some suspenseful elements, and a paranormal twist, as most of my romances do. You can pick up a copy this week, just in time for Valentine's Day.  Escape to the Caribbean this winter and enjoy a romantic adventure with Ambrose and Juliet.

Monday, February 8, 2016

Meet Ambrose; Assassin turned Hero

He likes sharp and pointy things!

Writing an assassin as a hero took some work. Ambrose Duchamp cameoed in my first published novel, Dark Hero, as a support character. He frightened the heroine back then, and most of the crew of the hero's ship. He was known as a ruthless sort, the one guy you didn't want to piss off. He spent his time on deck playing with his dagger, showing off his skills to make his mark. This time, he's the hero in the romance. Meet Ambrose Duchamp, former royal assassin, retired pirate, all around bad boy when it comes to crossed swords.  He likes sharp and pointy things, and is remembered from Dark Hero as the man with the sharp dagger at the ready. 

Ambrose escaped France at the start of the Revolution in 1798. After some wild and quite violent adventures in the East Indies as a pirate, he's contentedly spending his days in paradise, given the job of overseeing Ravencrest plantation as the steward for his long time friend. He likes the quiet life, and living on an obscure island plantation in the West Indies. He has a dark past and a heart crushing secret that makes him loathe himself. He's mystified when his housekeeper, Mrs. Fitz, says she worries about him. He hates himself so can't fathom that others would care for him. He believes he does not deserve to be loved. When his friend warns him that Aphrodite will find him regardless of where he hides, and will bring his true love across his path, he scoffs at the idea. 

Juliet, a romantic dreamer

And then, fate knocks on his door in the form of a pretty but shy governess named Juliet. She's the opposite of him, soft, kind, tenderhearted, and naive. She's in danger. She has left England to hide in the Indies. She's asking him to to take an interest in her problems, without telling him the true reason for her flight from England. Should he help her? Why? What has she done that is so horrible that a nobleman would send men on a six week journey to the Indies to find her?  She's hiding something very dark and disturbing and refuses to give him the particulars. She just wants him to protect her without giving him a good reason why she's being stalked by a vile man.

Ambrose is the man to handle a dangerous mission. Dark is his middle name. We're talking about a man who was trained from childhood on a thousand ways to kill and then steal away in the night. A man who keeps sharks in his back yard lagoon as a security measure. Miss Juliet has sought out his valuable services and his honor will not allow him to walk away from a woman in jeopardy. 

But will his heart survive?  

Available Feb. 12th 2016

Saturday, February 6, 2016

A tribute to Alan Rickman: AKA Colonel Brandon, the unsung hero in Jane Austen's Classic

Alan Rickman as Colonel Brandon in 1995 Sense & Sensibility

When I heard that Alan Rickman died a few weeks ago, my response was to watch Sense and Sensibility, the 1995 version where he plays a Regency Hero with finesse.

Sometimes a hero is unsung, unnoticed by the crowd. Sometimes, he slips away at the end of a book, overshadowed by another man with more flash and appeal.

This seems to be the case with Colonel Brandon, the gallant hero in Sense and Sensibility. He's there, in the background, waiting to rescue a lady.  That lady is young, full of silly ideas about love, and about what makes a romantic hero.

I'm talking about Marianne Dashwood, of course. She's fancied herself in love with Mr. Willoughby. But Mr. Willoughby, a young, handsome and dashing man, is a terrible rake. She is obsessed with him, and disdains the noble hero waiting in the wings, our beloved Colonel Brandon.

As you might guess, our noble hero endures. He is taken with Marianne: her youth, her exuberance, her energy, as it reminds the Colonel of a lost love from his past.

As Marianne allows danger to court her, and takes risks based on her emotions, he watches her, and admires her while her older sister, Eleanor chides her for her actions. Eleanor, if you are familiar with the story, is the sensible sister, stoic and realistic, where Marianne is sensitive to her passions and does not apologize for her actions. She sees Eleanor as a prude.

Colonel Brandon first meets Marianne Dashwood at a friend's house. He walks into the room (in the movie) when Marianne is playing the piano and singing, and he is entranced.

Colonel Brandon's noble behavior is contrasted by that of Mr. Willoughby. Willoughby leads Marianne on, giving her the impression that he plans to marry her. Even her family is fooled by his 'devotion'.  Eventually, the need for money overshadows his feelings for poor, penniless Marianne. He becomes engaged to a woman who can support him.

Marianne is crushed. Her heart is broken. My favorite scene in the whole movie is the one where Colonel Brandon goes out searching for her, and brings her in from the storm, bearing her in his arms. He still cares for her, even after she's been rude to him and pushed him off. His love for her endures.  And this wonderful man is portrayed by Alan Rickman in the 1995 movie, with Kate Winslet playing the lovely and impetuous seventeen year old Marianne.

Okay, if your heart doesn't increase at the thought of Colonel Brandon and his quiet devotion, wait, there is more!

After Marianne is snubbed and hurt by Mr. Willoughby, Brandon agrees to take the sisters home from London. They stop at a friend's mansion to spend a day or so before continuing the journey (where the famous scene of his rescue takes place). Marianne learns she can see Willoughby's manor house from the estate she's staying on, and goes for a walk. She doesn't return for hours, and a storm sets in. Brandon goes off to find her and carries her home.  After her despondent wandering in the cold rain, Marianne takes ill. She's in serious danger, and our hero, Colonel Brandon, is beside himself with emotion.  He wants to do something to help. He needs to do something.

So he goes to Eleanor, gripping the doorknob behind him as he begs her in a serious mien
"Give me a vocation (task) or I shall run mad!"  Can you imagine Allen Rickman's deep British voice saying that?  Gives one shivers, it does.
Colonel Brandon begging for a task while Marianne is ill. 

Eleanor sends him to her mother, feeling that Marianne will rest better during her fit of fever if her mother is present. The Colonel speeds to their home on his noble steed, and brings mama to the house by dawn the next day. Fortunately for him, after a hellish night where the doctor is uncertain the girl will live, Marianne pulls through and the fever abates. Her mother comes rushing to her side, and our dear Colonel lurks at the door, peeping in at his beloved Marianne.

Finally...... Finally! Marianne notices him, and the efforts he has made on her behalf. 

And it gets even better. Once she is home but still recovering from the dangerous fever that nearly took her life, Brandon sits by her side and reads to her. Such devotion. And now that Marianne has grown up a little after her misadventures with Willoughby, she appreciates the attentions of an honest and honorable suitor, despite their age difference.

Brandon (Rickman) is an enchantingly noble hero! 
To sum up the rest of the story, he leaves her for a short time to go to London. And buys her a Broadwood piano small enough to fit her mother's small parlor.   Needless to say, this handsome, mature, and noble hero gets his happily ever after in the end.

Yes, I know when the 1995 Sense and Sensibility was released, everyone was swooning over Hugh Grant as Mr. Edward Ferrars and Greg Wiese as Mr. Willoughby.  If you look at the cover of the video or movie poster, you see Hugh Grant, Kate Winslet and Emma Thompson. Alan Rickman isn't even given a place on the cover, even though his character's noble actions play an important part of the plot of the story. It's a shame!

Granted, Hugh is hot, but, his character for the part is weak, and walks about rather confused by circumstances and is ordered about too much by his mother and elder sister. Hot but sort of a wimp, sorry to say. Edward takes no action to rectify his situation, he lets others do things for him.  Rickman's character, on the other hand, Colonel Brandon, is strong man, a wealthy gentleman and a former officer of the Army. His actions--yes--actions to care for and protect those he loves are those of a true hero.

I salute Colonel Brandon, created by Jane Austen, and the wonderful actor Alan Rickman who first brought him to life for me in a movie.

It's clear that Rickman's most popular and most remembered role is Professor Snape in Harry Potter, and he did an amazing job in those movies. However, in my heart, I will always remember this talented, smooth, handsome British actor as Colonel Brandon, the unsung hero in Jane Austen's novel