J.D.R. Hawkins

One bullet can make a man a hero… or a casualty.

Archive for the tag “fiction”

Five-Star Review for A Beckoning Hellfire

I received another five-star review for my novel, A Beckoning Hellfire. This is the second book in the Renegade Series. Thank you so much, Jose Popoff, for your outstanding review!

Jose Popoff

5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase

A beautiful tale set in history

Reviewed in the United States 🇺🇸

America will always remember the Civil War as one of the most tragic events in their history. This story is set in that time and it is quite engrossing. The details and narrative are captivating and you can see how the author easily conveys a bevy of feelings in its characters.

But I think that, more importantly, there is a strong powerful message embedded within the words, sentences, and paragraphs. This is like a poetic salute to the delusion that war is honorable and whatnot. I have never seen a man die but I am guessing that there is nothing beautiful about it. This book exposes this through the experiences of David Summers.

Release Day Blitz – Vive La Résistance (Donovan Trait#3) by Seelie Kay

Things are gonna get messy…

An illegal union, a banned birth, a Great Lie, and now, genocide. Vampire lawyer Donovan Trait and his wife, chemically-turned Judge Shirley Magnusen, are battling for their lives and the lives of their children. The Vampire Coalition wants them dead, but now the despots have also decided to expand their net, targeting any vampire whose blood is mixed with human or Were. Half-bloods are already treated like dirt by the Vampire Nation. They have been subjected to centuries of discrimination and cruelty at their hands. As the Coalition embarks on a campaign of terror, destruction, and slaughter, millions of half-bloods emerge from the shadows, ready and willing to reclaim their place in the Vampire Nation. The problem is, war cannot be unleashed out in the open in the human world, battles must be fought in other ways. Even with an island of highly-skilled vampire nuns and a few Weres and humans at that their side, it appears the Traits may be fighting an unwinnable war. Their only option may be to sacrifice their own lives in the hopes of setting all other half-bloods free.

Book Links:

Extasy Books * Goodreads

Read an Excerpt from Vive La Résistance

Donovan shifted on the lounger and muttered incomprehensively, then he emitted a rumbling snore.

“Hey, y’all. So yeah, vampires are real and they’re not above doing the dirty to those who share their blood. Take a look at this.” The Tik-Tokker grinned. “You are not gonna believe it. It’s so shady.”

Video of the Coalition camps rolled across the screen. Occasionally, the camera zeroed in a dirty or bruised Millennial, or a guard pushing a group of people into a building, their ankles locked together with some sort of rope. They were seen eating off of metal plates and lined up to fill a metal cup with something from a barrel. It wasn’t water. The liquid was rust-colored and thick, like blood.

“And the dudes running the place have a Marie Antoinette fetish. You know—” The woman mimicked a knife across her throat. “Off with their heads?” She giggled.

A guillotine appeared on camera. About ten people were in line, each with a black hood over their heads and their arms bound behind them. One at a time, they were pushed onto a stage and forced to their knees, their necks positioned directly under the blade. With manic efficiency, a guard released the blade. Most heads flew into a barrel in front of the platform. The ones that rolled off onto the stage were kicked to their final destination. The headless bodies were tossed onto a pile on the ground.

“Oh, grosss,” the woman complained. She leaned toward the camera. “Kind of like a bad zombie movie, isn’t it?” She sat back in her chair and made a face. “Whatever. I mean, like, are we supposed to believe that’s really happening? Isn’t that against the law or something?” She cackled. “As if.” She leisurely stretched her body, her crop top exposing a belly button ring. “I’m so shook.”

The woman tossed her hair over her shoulder and smiled. “Now, I’m not sharing this for the views. It is kind of sus. But if this shit is real, someone needs to get off the pot and do something about it. Aren’t there any woke cops out there who can play the James Bond card? Before anymore—” She swiped her finger across her throat and giggled. Then the screen went black.

Donovan shot up in his chair and blinked. Once. Twice. He shook his head and attempted to gather himself. What the hell? Sure, he had needed the sleep, even if it was only a thirty-minute nap, but the dreams he could do without. It had been less than forty-eight hours since the worldwide kidnappings. Donovan knew preparations for rescue were underway. But he also knew Bengotten and Hannigan were capable of even greater cruelty. He could only imagine the terror and the torture the victims were being subjected to. 

It was difficult to understand how the vampire world was capable of this. He had long prided himself on their natural superiority, their ability to rise up above the petty politics and unjustified violence in the human and Were worlds. Yet overnight, vampires had become the monsters, the tyrants capable of such evil. That astonished him. For the first time in his long existence, Donovan was ashamed of being a vampire. If it was possible, he might very well submit to being turned into a human or a Were. He buried his face in his hands. Yes, he could live as a human. Perhaps he could ask Dr. Alvarez to find a way to turn off his vampirism, maybe using the gene-editing Marilyn could not stop talking about.

 About Seelie Kay:

Award-winning author Seelie Kay writes about lawyers in love, sometimes with a dash of kink.

Writing under a nom de plume, the former lawyer and journalist draws her stories from more than 30 years in the legal world. Seelie’s wicked pen has resulted in nineteen works of fiction, including the new paranormal romance series Donovan Trait, as well the erotic romance Kinky Briefs series and The Feisty Lawyers romantic suspense series. She also authored The Last Christmas, The Garage Dweller, A Touchdown to Remember, The President’s Wife, The President’s Daughter, Seizing Hope, The White House Wedding, and participated in the romance anthology Pieces of Us.

When not spinning romantic tales, Seelie ghostwrites nonfiction for lawyers and other professionals. Currently, she resides in a bucolic exurb outside Milwaukee, WI, where she enjoys opera, the Green Bay Packers, gourmet cooking, organic gardening, and an occasional bottle of red wine. 

Seelie is an MS warrior and ruthlessly battles the disease on a daily basis. Her message to those diagnosed with MS: Never give up. You define MS, it does not define you!

Seelie on the Web:
Website * Blog * Twitter * Facebook * Instagram * Author’s Amazon Page

Cover Reveal!

Here is the cover for my new book, Double-Edged Sword. I’m so excited that I wanted to share! This book is the fourth one in the Renegade Series. I will post the purchasing link in a couple of days. Please let me know what you think!

Release Day Blitz – Ruin of the Scarred

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Bidisha, a 17-year-old braveheart, has lived all her life in hiding since she is the daughter of the most wanted woman in Bishnupur. In the calm of the British Raj, Bidisha embarks on the quest to free her mother from the false accusation. But for that, she needs to challenge the royals who dare not stand against the British.

And when she enters the palace, she encounters the power-hungry Yuvaraja Trinabh and his twisted mother, the Rani Maa. Rani Maa despises her dutiful but meek step-son Yuvaraja Prabir and his hound Debesh Das, a Yodha who is his master’s protector. And so, she assigns Bidisha a job to spy.

But hearts entwine, and love meddles their path in the most unpredictable and adventurous ways.

Furthermore, things become dicey when Bidisha slits off her lover’s thumb, the Yuvaraja himself. Her dream to live free becomes a farfetched nightmare as her hiding in the jungle is not an option anymore.

When the deadly romance and the moral complexity are only a superficial part of the deep-rooted dark conspiracy, will Bidisha survive her sinking ground?

Will she emerge a warrior, save her own heart and win her love?

Or, will she succumb to the royal politics, lose her mother and lose herself too?

Book Links:

Goodreads * Amazon US * Amazon IN

Read an Excerpt from Ruin of the Scarred

‘Don’t be under the impression that you are an exception because you saved my life,’ Rani Durga Moni Devi continued. ‘Didn’t I tell you yesterday that you need to be at least clean if not anything else? But look at you.’

Bidisha’s forehead scrunched even as she fisted her hands part in disappointment in herself and part in anger towards the man who was responsible for her current state. Bidisha looked at the man before her in annoyance. Her anger amplified when he gave her a smug smile even as the queen continued her tirade. 

Nobody had ever spoken to her like that. Though Bidisha had encountered rude men and women, she had always taught them a lesson if they crossed the line she had drawn. Bidisha was already having a one-on-one combat with Rani Durga Moni Devi in her mind and was mincing the queen with her sword in her world. She smiled at her thoughts, hiding her face when, in their imaginary battle, Rani Maa fell carrying her huge body weight. 

Suddenly, a pair of legs appeared before her and she knew instantly that it was none other than the mysterious man. Bidisha lifted her head.  

Did he see me smiling? This is not good. I should have been more careful before mocking the queen.

The man took her in from top to bottom, then stretched a hand and moved her out of his way. He then walked out of Rani Maa’s chamber as if nothing had happened. The huge man in black was not only mysterious and rude but was also indecent, she concluded. 

Bidisha felt a flash of irritation and she glared at his retreating form. Her first mission, she thought, would be to dig out all the information she could about that man, once she got into the palace. 

About the Author:

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Medha Nagur is anything but a stereotypical homemaker, at home full time but with a pen all the time!

A freelance blogger by profession in her past life, she was on her maternity break when she started writing fiction. Medha considers herself a chronic creative aficionado who loves painting and writing.

Once a lecturer in Science College, where she gave lectures in Computer Science soon after her Masters, was fascinated by the blog world and realized her love for the words and took up writing full time.

She is also at her creative best when it comes to cooking innovative dishes to cater to the needs of her 11-year-old son, 4-year-old daughter, and not to mention her epicure husband. Get a glimpse of her culinary art on Instagram.

A music lover who likes to hit the floor on Zumba numbers is also a fashion enthusiast (like any woman on this planet!).

She wants to be in the womb of nature when it comes to holidays, embracing its warmth, which she believes is a gift to mankind.

All in all, she is born to collect laughs and make a relentless commitment to love so that she can enjoy life in abundance.

Medha on the Web:

Facebook * Twitter * Instagram * Amazon

A Beckoning Hellfire Soaring to #1

My novel, A Beckoning Hellfire, just acheived #2 rating in Civil War books on Amazon. My publisher, Westwood Books Publishing, has been pushing to get this book rated as #1 on the Amazon bestseller list. Hopefully, that will happen soon!

Part of their marketing campaign is to get more reviews for the book. Here are a couple of five-star reviews that it recently received.

Nov 08, 2021

Pegboard rated it FIVE STARS! It was amazing

A Beckoning Hellfire: A Novel of the Civil War by J.D.R. Hawkins brings one of our country’s devastating times to life. David Summers is angry, hurt, and wants revenge. He can’t fathom a war that would have killed the man he idolized. His passion now is to make everyone pay who represented a small part in the death of his father. As he fights this war, brother against brother, father against son, he realizes there isn’t glamour or pride when you win a battle. The destruction and despair are unimaginable.

I found J.D.R. Hawkins a skillful writer as she brings the Civil War alive with a fierce reminder of our country torn apart. A Beckoning Hellfire is well-written and a fascinating novel. The characters are just as you would imagine them with hopes, dreams, and disappointments. They strive to live one more day and to keep their family and friends alive. People will show their true light during their darkest days. History lovers will enjoy this novel.


John H. Manhold

5.0 out of 5 stars 5* thoughtful addition to the American Civil War literature.

Reviewed in the United States on November 12, 2021

Verified Purchase

A RECONNING HELLFIRE, A Novel of the Civil War, Kindle Edition by JDR Hawkens.
The author has set forth a coming of age tale of a young farm boy in the horribly difficult time of the Civil War between the states. His father has joined the Army of the Confederate States of America and left him to manage the large but somewhat hardscrabble farm in western Alabama with the help of his sisters and mother. Unfortunately, he is killed and the family is informed just before Christmas shortly before his 18th birthday that was to occur the following year. With a typical display of the bitterness exhibited between residents of the northern and southern states, plus an anxiousness to “get into the action existent in almost all young naïve young men, he is determined also to join in the bitter fighting to “gain revenge on the Yankees:” The story unfolds following the young man’s subsequent enlistment and experiences as he becomes one of the many young men involved in the gradual expansion of the deadly hand-to-hand combat of a member of the Southern cavalry fighting under the flamboyant and highly successful J.E.B. Stuart. His plight is made worse by his actions immediately before leaving for the army, but aided in many ways by his lifelong close friend who joins with him and his unusual horse that has been his companion for many years.
Discussion: The author is the well-known as the eminently well-qualified one of the few women writing in this area of American literature, and once again has provided readers with a well-researched, well-written, mostly poignant story of one series of actions that could have taken place during the conflict. It is a story of the common soldier with only an occasional glance into the lives of the cavaliers and the storied lives lived by the wealthy plantation owners and that from which came the Southern Officers. Instead it depicts the farmer, blacksmith, storekeepers and others who made up the largest proportion of the soldiers involved in the horrendous conflict. It is not a story for the delicate reader and, as are any descriptions of battle scenes as they truly exist, subject to a goodly amount of repetition or repetitive-like description. However, the informed reader will learn much he/she may not previously known about the substitute foods and other innovative moves the southerners ‘manufactured’. It is a well-worthwhile addition to the collection of stories of tis great American conflict.

5* thoughtful addition to the American Civil War literature.

https://www.amazon.com/Beckoning-Hellfire-Novel-Civil-War/dp/1648030777/ref=sr_1_2?crid=2VKLVNBU6CDCY&keywords=a+beckoning+hellfire&qid=1639167713&sprefix=a+beckonin%2Caps%2C251&sr=8-2

Amazing Review for A Beckoning Hellfire

My publisher has been pushing to get top reviews for my novel, A Beckoning Hellfire, in hopes of spring boarding it to the #1 status on Amazon. I would like to share some of these with you in the next few weeks.

Grady Harp

Top Contributor: Children’s Books

HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWER

4.0 out of 5 stars 

Looking at history from both sides

Reviewed in the United States on November 5, 2021

Verified Purchase

Author/singer/songwriter JDR Hawkins writes novels and articles for newspapers, magazines, e-zines and blogs about the Civil War from the Confederate perspective. Her RENEGADE Series is rapidly winning multiple awards and to date there are three volumes – A REBEL AMONG US, A BEAUTIFUL GLITTERING LIE, and this volume – A BECKONING HELLFIRE. These novels relate the story of a family from northern Alabama who experience immeasurable pain when their lives are dramatically changed by the war.

At this particular time in our history, when questions are being raised about the validity of statues and memorabilia of the Civil War, creating heated discussions and confrontations, this book offers a fresh view of the Civil War from the Southern, and Confederate, stance. For a more complete picture of that historical event, Hawkins has created a fictional revisit to that mid 1800s time and her writing is inviting, from the first lines: “Here it is! Come Quick!” David sauntered across the dead grass toward his little sister. Amused by the way she was jumping up and down like a nervous flea, he couldn’t help but grin. Obviously, she was too excited to care that her petticoats were showing from under the brown coat and green calico dress she wore, or that her long auburn hair had broken free from its bondage as her bonnet slid from her head and dangled down her back.’ Approaching her novel from the family standpoint allows everyone entry to better understand the Confederate vantage.

Along those lines, the plot progresses as follows: ‘During the bloody American Civil War, the stark reality of death leads one young man on a course of revenge that takes him from his quiet farm in northern Alabama to the horrific battlefields of Virginia and Pennsylvania. On Christmas Eve 1862, David Summers hears the dreaded news: his father has perished at the Battle of Fredericksburg. Reeling with grief and thoughts of vengeance, David enlists and sets off for Richmond to join the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia. But once in the cavalry, David’s life changes drastically, and his dream of glamorous chivalry becomes nothing but a cold, cruel existence of pain and suffering. He is hurled into one battle after another, and his desire for revenge wanes when he experiences first-hand the catastrophes of war.’

This is a timely novel that will hopefully add new dimensions of thinking about the Civil War and its persistent scars.

Grady Harp, November 21

Release Blitz – Dawn’s Desire

One night of passion, a stolen moment of joy and six years of pain… A picture containing text, screenshot, electronics

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Rishi Khatri cannot forget the beautiful woman who swept into his life for one incredible night and then disappeared…with the contents of his wallet and large chunks of his heart.
Until the day, he meets Sehar again and he realises that he cannot forgive her. For, Rishi has made a cardinal mistake. He’s fallen in love with his one night stand.


Sehar Mirza’s one night of rebellion destroyed any chance of a normal future. But her heart cannot regret her choice. For in that one night, she laughed, she loved and she lost. She lived an entire lifetime.
When their paths cross again, Sehar and Rishi find their feelings for each other haven’t dimmed. All they want in life is another chance, a second chance.

But Sehar has a secret. One that will destroy their tentative happiness.

Can they learn to look beyond their past mistakes and hope for a shared future? Can Rishi forgive a betrayal so large that it leaves his already battered heart in pieces at Sehar’s feet?

Can love win? Or will loss claim their destiny for its own again?

Book Links:

Goodreads * Amazon.in * Amazon.com

Read an Excerpt from Dawn’s Desire

His home looked exactly as I’d expected it to. Meticulously curated, tastefully furnished and anally maintained. 

“You live alone?” I asked, as he handed me fresh towels and herded me towards the guest bedroom.

“Did you think I had a secret wife stashed away in my cupboard or something?” 

I shrugged. “Stranger things have happened.” 

He came to an abrupt halt in front of me. “Really? Like what?”

I gave him what I hoped was an enigmatic smile but what was, in reality, probably more constipated. 

With one last weirded-out look, he pushed the door of a room open and stepped back. “This is the guest bedroom. It has an attached toilet. If you need anything, let me know.” 

With that, he was gone before I could thank him or say any of the hundred other things bubbling through me. I dropped the duffel bag I’d carried along on the beautifully made bed and took in my surroundings. 

The entire room was done in shades of pastel green and cream and had a soothing effect on my otherwise frazzled nerves. My finger trailed over a summery yellow porcelain bowl on the bedside table with potpourri in it. 

Who kept his home so immaculate for him? Jealousy speared through me as I took in the many feminine touches to the room. I shook it off and marched into the bathroom to wash the day’s dirt and grief off of me. 

The hot spray of water from the shower boiled my skin and cleansed my soul. I took a deep breath as I wrapped my hair in a towel, changed into a comfortable pair of shorts and a t-shirt and followed my nose to the drawing room. 

Rishi held out a bowl of steaming hot deliciousness. “Chicken Pad Thai okay?” he asked. 

I nodded, taking the bowl from him. “Thank you.” 

He gave me a brief smile before picking up his own bowl and digging in. He had a copy of the latest book by Lee Child beside him.

“How are you enjoying that?” I asked, pointing with my fork to the book. 

He moved his hand in a so-so gesture saying, “Not sure if it is the book or my mood though.”

I bit my tongue. I really did. But it wagged anyway. 

“Is there something wrong with your mood?” I asked. 

His fork froze on the way to his mouth. “Nothing that concerns you,” he answered, quietly. 

It stung but I forced myself to look serene as I dug into my dinner. 

“You haven’t asked me yet,” I pushed my food around. “Why my parents threw me out of the house? Don’t you want to know?” 

“I haven’t asked you about many things, Sehar.” He reached casually for the television remote and turned it on. “Why would I start now?” 

This time it hurt to breathe. I sucked in a harsh gasp but it did nothing but burn its way through me. 

“I tried to explain my behaviour that night to you in Goa.” 

“And I told you I wasn’t interested in your explanation.” He kept his gaze on the television even as he increased the volume to drown me out. 

“Rishi, I never meant to-“ 

The television clicked off, the silence that fell in the room as abrupt as it was complete. 

He turned towards me, finally, fury burning in his gaze, his knuckles turning white from his grip on his bowl. 

“Is it so hard for you to understand that I am not interested in discussing that night with you? Ever? You lied to me, you slept with me, you used me and you stole from me…whatever your so-called justifications are, Sehar…I don’t care!” 

My throat locked, my apology crumbling and dying inside me. 

“Are we clear?” he asked, softly. 

“Crystal,” I forced out. 

“Good.” He turned the television on again, letting the sound wash over us. 

Silently, I ate every last bite in my bowl before walking to the kitchen to wash and stack it on the drying tray. 

I stopped at the entrance to the living room and watched him eat and stare at the television as if my presence in his home made no difference to him. 

We both knew better. We were both experts at pretending differently though. 

“I’ll be gone in the morning,” I told the back of his head. 

“You always are.” He increased the volume again until I thought the windows would shatter. 

Or maybe I would. 

About the Author:

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Shilpa Suraj wears many hats – corporate drone, homemaker, mother to a fabulous toddler and author.

An avid reader with an overactive imagination, Shilpa has weaved stories in her head since she was a child. Her previous stints at Google, in an ad agency and as an entrepreneur provide colour to her present day stories, both fiction and non-fiction.

Contact the Author:
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Release Blitz – Ruin

Billionaire Drake Fallahil needs a wife in three weeks. Or he stands to lose everything.

When he finds intriguing Anya Mallya-Bhatt in a compromising (read criminal) situation, he proposes a simple deal.

Go to prison. Or marry him for ninety days and walk away with piles of cash.

Desperate to save her family, MBA student Anya has no choice but to agree to the intractable investor’s proposal.

She doesn’t know what’s worse. Being bound to her ice-cold enemy or craving him!

This is not a match made in heaven. So she does the only thing she can – defy him.

Drake’s marriage of convenience to Anya turns incredibly hot… one that spirals out of his possessive control.

But enemies, past and present, threaten Drake’s tenuous control. Awakening the monster within. And the worst part? His much younger, secretive, whipsmart wife has more of a claim on his heart, the more he gets to know her…

And that’s an unforgivable sin. Isn’t it?


Book Links:

Goodreads * Amazon.in * Amazon.com

Read an Excerpt from Ruin (Billionaire Bastards #2)

“I stay up nights thinking of ways to tease you.” He was deadpan in delivery but sweetly, sexily earnest.

“You know what?” She went on her toes because she couldn’t stand one more second of not kissing him.

“So do I,” she whispered against his lips.

Their kiss was deep, slow, sugary as honey twined in molasses, their hearts beat as one even as he stooped low to accommodate the differences in their height. His tongue sucked on hers, as if he was tasting a rare sweet delicacy, made just for him and her inside were slick with wet and wanting.

Already anticipating how this night might end…

His eyes opened, lush green and filled with enough fire to melt her in the middle of the small, private park they’d discovered on this midnight picnic. “I think I might love you.”

Lena’s heart stuttered. Then beat faster, surer than it ever had.

She wanted to say, me too. Me first. From the second I saw you. But I’m scared because I lose everyone I love, one way or another and losing you will hurt till the end of time.

She let her fingers wander down to his zipper, found rock-hard evidence of his desire.

She smiled and caressed it while she whispered in his hot ear what exactly she wanted to do to him.

“I think I’ll go down on my knees. The grass is soft, isn’t it? And we’re alone tonight. No useless guards. And you opened that bottle of Krug I hate so I might as well put it to some good fucking use…”

She sucked on his lobe, pulled at the tender bottom with her teeth. Felt his erection leap into her palm. “Would you like to know how champagne and you taste on my tongue?”

About the Author:

Hi, I’m Aarti V Raman aka Writer Gal. I have been a former journalist, editor, and even a sometime-teacher before I plunged into my dream job. That of being a full-time writer.

In fact, my three favorite words are ‘happily ever after.’

This comes in handy as I primarily write bestselling contemporary romantic women’s fiction, which is all about living happily, after going through some hard times.

My more notable works include the Geeks of Caltech and Royals of Stellangård series, Something Old, Something New, More Than You Want, and The Perfect Fake among others. My chicklit family drama, The Worst Daughter Ever, has been picked up for screen adaptation.

I always love to hang with you, my dear reader friend. I’ve created Writer Gal’s Reader Pals on Facebook for this reason and I hope to see you there.

If not, I’m there on all social media but I’m most active on Instagram

Aarti on the Web:
Newsletter * Facebook * Instagram * Twitter 

Duchess Sale Blitz!

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He’s a powerful duke. She’s his uncle’s ward. They have forever been at war, until one night, one masquerade, and one kiss…

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Lara Ramsay is no stranger to scandal. As the orphaned daughter of a British colonel and his beloved Indian wife, whispers follow her everywhere. Not even the protection of the formidable Duke of Wolverton, a man she can’t stand, keeps the gossips at bay.
The audacious Lara has driven Tristan Wentworth, The Duke of Wolverton, to distraction since the day his uncle took her in—and he’s quite certain doing so is her favorite pastime. After catching her and his younger sister at a salacious masquerade, he’s had enough scandal and issues a marriage ultimatum: find a husband within six months or one will be chosen for her.
Unfortunately, no one in the ton appeals to her. Except, perhaps, the duke himself. The battle of wills has only just begun, and when Lara kisses him, their fate is sealed. Sometimes even the most proper duke needs to break the rules to win the heart of the woman he loves…

Book Links:
Goodreads * Amazon.in * Amazon.com

Quotes from Dare to be a Duchess:

“Here, right at this moment, I’m giving you an ultimatum: Find someone from the ton to marry in the next six months or I will choose someone for you.” – Duke of Wolverton

“Well then the plan is simple, ‘Divide and Rule.’” – Lara Ramsay

“You’ll be surprised that a gentleman with the best intentions can behave like a rake when faced with temptation.” – Duke of Wolverton

“I think, Wolf, that you go on and on about my undesirability and my unattractiveness as a way to convince yourself more than me. The fact is that you kissed me because I am desirable and I am very attractive indeed.” – Lara Ramsay.

“You know very well that I’m accepted in the ton, albeit grudgingly, thanks only to you. No man wants to marry me, and I don’t want to marry any of those men.” – Lara Ramsay.

Read an Excerpt from Dare to be a Duchess:

Wolf crossed his arms and glared at Lara. Despite being at fault, she was as unrepentant as ever. Her absolute nonchalance drove him mad, always. 

“It is my concern. Getting into trouble is second nature to you, so I’d be lying if I said that it gave me any pleasure to be the one to help you out.” Wolf scowled at her. “Paxton is not a fool. He only has to think closely as to whose identity I would desperately want to protect and then remember your dark hair and he will come up with your name. You truly have no sense at all.”

“Well then you shouldn’t have bothered coming to my aid,” Lara retorted. “I could have handled the situation perfectly well by myself.” 

Wolf put his hands on his hips. “And how may I ask would you have done that?”

“I’ve heard that a well planted knee on a delicate part of a man’s anatomy would normally do the trick.”

His eyebrows shot up. “You’re crazy to think that you could have deterred Paxton that easily.”

Lara merely stared at him, her head held high, further fueling his temper. 

“What, nothing to say?” he snapped. “Which brings me back to my first question. What in the world are you doing here in this depraved place?” 

Lara continued to watch him with those deep blue eyes, her lips set in a mutinous line. Her lack of response irked him even more. 

“Answer me,” Wolf demanded, his tone sharp.

She met his gaze head on. “We had no inkling this place would be so bad. And nothing untoward has occurred, so stop shouting at me.”

 “Unbelievable,” he growled. “Do you know how bad this place can be for two innocent girls like yourselves? Behind their masks and costumes, the men here have only one thing on their minds when they look at you, and you, as usual, don’t care that you could be completely ruined if discovered, let alone taken advantage of, in this den of vice. You are wild and irresponsible and you give no thought to your actions or the consequences thereof. And you brought Anne here? Just because you don’t care about your reputation doesn’t mean you can play fast and loose with hers.”

Lara’s eyes blazed with fury. “Anne is not a child. She is a grown woman who has a mind of her own.” 

“And that is justification for you to come here?” Wolf countered.

“I, too, have a mind of my own,” she shot back. “And I do not appreciate you telling me what I can and cannot do.”

His nostrils flared. He was the Duke of Wolverton, one of the most powerful men in England. No one defied him. And yet this one woman stood against him at every turn. Why couldn’t she understand the potential danger for her or Anne here?

About the Author:
Sapna Bhog is an author from India who writes contemporary and historical romance novels. As a self-proclaimed die-hard romantic, her books are filled with swoon-worthy heroes and feisty heroines who clash all the time, but do get their happy ever after. Sapna has always surrounded herself with books and when she is not writing she is reading. Originally from Dubai, she now lives in Western India with her husband, kids and a Siberian Husky. Sapna gave up a successful IT career and took a foray into writing and has never looked back since. Her favorite pastimes are reading, writing, traveling and shopping—not necessarily in that order. She loves to hear from readers.

Sapna on the Web:
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Book Blitz Pack – Insincerely Yours by Manasi Singh

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All Ray wanted was to have some fun. Little did she know that what began as a harmless midnight adventure would soon end up being the most terrifying night of her life.

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Shuttling back and forth between the States and whichever obscure Indian town her civil servant father was transferred to, Atreya ‘Ray’ Sen’s life has always been on the move. When she comes down to sleepy old Visakhapatnam and befriends Mira, Ray hopes she could be a successful means of whiling away her summer. When Mira invites her to a late-night adventure with Mira’s boyfriend and his pals, Ray jumps at the chance for some excitement. When one of the boys suggests they take a detour to one of Vizag’s most famous haunted houses, the night takes a turn for the dark. The spirit of a mean old man seems to be following them, killing them off one by one.

A near-death experience reveals to Ray that she is the only one who can bring peace to him. Now, Ray must race against time to find a way to save her family and friends, or else the once-peaceful town of Vizag would witness a bloodbath like never before.

An old Victorian mansion with a dark history…a spirit with a vengeance…a girl with no memory of her past…

Will Ray be able to stop the killings in time? Or will she be left with no friends and no family yet again?

Book Links:

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Real Life Incident that inspired Insincerely Yours

In the words of Stephen King, we make up horrors to cope with the real ones. But what if the horrors written is a part of reality? What if the tale is written not just as fiction, but as a memoir to the unexplained that occurred years ago, yet bears fresh imprints in mind? 

When I sat down to write this story, I had to resurrect memories from my college days, from that fateful night, when my friends and I had decided to have our own little late-night adventure. Back then, we were just stupid college freshmen who didn’t have a care in the world, who would go lengths for cheap thrills from the world of the supernatural. Here, I bring you the real-life story that inspired me to write Insincerely Yours. 

Our night started on the cliché note of being cold and stormy. We had found our source for horror stories: our friend Vishnu. Vishnu would always keep us at the edge of our seats with his storytelling, and that evening was no different. We had assembled in a circle around him, drinks in our hands, when he started telling us about the legendary haunted house that stood proud just off the path to the beach in Vizag. As the story goes, the house belonged to a retired colonel and his family. They kept to themselves, but the neighbors often complained of yelling and fighting coming in the evenings. One night, the house fell silent, and the neighbors saw an eerie glow emanate from the windowpanes. When they went over in the morning to check, they found that the Colonel’s family had disappeared overnight. The house was still as is, sans the family that had once lived in it. Nobody knows where they went, and the watchman claimed he never saw anyone leave the house. Their mysterious disappearance gave rise to the stories that the house is haunted. 

Scoffing at his words, my friends and I decided to check it out for ourselves. So off we went, Shreya, Swetank, Vishnu and I, on a drunken midnight visit to the famous haunted house. The house had a sinister look to it, with the front lawn stretching before us, coated with dried grass, exactly how I chose to describe in the book. Inside, the house looked like someone had lived here years ago, and had suddenly just chosen to walk out. The place oozed with a cold vibe, and I wasn’t the only one who felt it. We decided to explore the house a little, and each room creeped us out a little more than the next. Most of the belongings of the house had turned to debris owing to a cyclone that had wreaked havoc in Vizag a year ago, but there was one room that had managed to stay intact. Intrigued, we stepped in bravely, and immediately, we felt helpless. It was like the place had sucked the happiness out of our lives as a blanket of depression descended on us. We saw muddy footprints going towards the bathroom, and opened the door to find the room painted in vantablack, the darkest color known to humanity, often the sign of evil. The room started feeling like it was sucking the energy out of us, slowly as it grew. Swetank, being the most sensible of us, insisted we get some fresh air at the balcony we had seen on our way into the room. At the balcony, we felt the sudden weight the room had given us lift off us, and we slowly relaxed into conversation. In the entire time we were in that house, I kept getting this feeling that someone was watching us. As we were talking, I felt something move from the corner of my eye, and turned towards the balcony door, where I saw five shadows. Four was of us standing in the balcony, but one was coming from inside the house. As I turned around quickly to see if anyone else had noticed, I saw Swetank looking pale as a sheet. We saw the shadow stay for a few seconds, and it suddenly disappeared, vanishing. At this point, Swetank and I ushered the other two out of the house, and made a run for it. All we knew was that the old Victorian mansion housed something that was pure evil, so dark that even one hour in that place had left us feeling soulless for days after. Swetank and I promised then and there that we would never meddle with forces outside of our control ever again, but as you all know, promises are meant to be broken.   


About the Author:

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Manasi Singh is a lawyer, graduated from one of the top law schools in India in 2019. Lawyer by day and reader by night, Manasi always had a lot of stories to share, which she did by publishing short stories and articles in newspapers, magazines and journals. In 2019, she began writing short snippets on social media under the name “The Vanilla Writer”, shortly after which she published her first novel “As Fates Would Have It”, which was received warmly by readers of all ages. Manasi is a firm believer in art and creativity not being restrained in any way, which is why she writes short stories, fiction novels, screenplays for short films, and much more.

Manasi on the Web:
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