Goodreads is giving away 100 ebook copies of my new novel, Double-Edged Sword! This is the fourth book in the Renegade Series, and has already received several five-star reviews. The giveaway is going on now, and will run through August 3. Here is the link so that you can enter to win. Best of luck!
The almost soundless whisper had Naina’s eyes snapping open in the dark. A hard hand came up to cover her mouth even as a terrified squeak left her lips. A pair of dark, intense eyes in a face streaked with camouflage paint floated into her vision. “I’m here to rescue you. Your father sent me. I need you to stay completely silent when I remove my hand. Can you nod if you understand?”
Keeping her eyes on his strong, reassuring ones, Naina nodded quickly. The stranger waited to make sure she wouldn’t scream, and slowly lifted his hand from her mouth. Slipping a knife out from seemingly nowhere, he cut the rope binding both her hands and feet within seconds and levered her up from her prone position. Helping her to her feet, he watched intently to see if she was steady on her feet. Reassured that she wasn’t going to faint at his feet, Arjun moved quickly to the door and looked out. The guards were still unconscious from the light taps to the back of their heads administered by his teammates, and so far there was no sign of any other movement in the camp. Coming back into the room, he put his lips close to her ear to whisper, “Can you walk?”
Nodding mutely, Naina craned her neck to get a glimpse of his face from this angle. The stranger was so tall that he towered over her by almost a foot. Dressed all in black, with a mini arsenal strapped on to him, he looked like he’d arrived straight from hell. Apparently, the devil was her hero tonight.
About the Author:
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.
We are running a contest for the next week, so if you go to Karen’s website/blog, you can find out more information about this award-winning book and win a signed paperback copy. Thanks so much for your support!
My award-winning novel, A Beautiful Glittering Lie, is featured on “Karen’s Killer Fixin’s.” Ms. Karen Docter is also an award-winning author who writes romance. She invited me to participate in her blog, and the fun part is that I got to include my favorite recipe. I thought maybe a recipe from the book might be good, such as Cush, but instead, I opted for a recipe from my UDC chapter’s recipe book. Here’s the recipe, courtesy of the Varina Howell Davis Chapter 2559 United Daughters of the Confederacy.
J.D.R. Hawkins is an award-winning author who has written for newspapers, magazines, newsletters, e-zines, and blogs. She is one of only a few female Civil War authors, and uniquely describes the front lines from a Confederate perspective. Her Renegade Series includes A Beautiful Glittering Lie, winner of the John Esten Cooke Fiction Award and the B.R.A.G. Medallion, A Beckoning Hellfire, which is also an award winner, and A Rebel Among Us, which has just been published. These books tell the story of a family from north Alabama who experience immeasurable pain when their lives are dramatically changed by the war. Ms. Hawkins is a member of the United Daughters of the Confederacy, the International Women’s Writing Guild, Pikes Peak Writers, and Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers. She is also an artist and singer/songwriter. She is currently working on a nonfiction book about the War Between the States, as well as another sequel for the Renegade Series.
After David Summers enlists with the Confederate cavalry, his delusion of chivalry is soon crushed when he witnesses the horrors of battle. Shot by a Union picket, he winds up at a stranger’s farm. Four girls compassionately nurse him back to health. David learns his comrades have deserted him in Pennsylvania following the Battle of Gettysburg, but his dilemma becomes much worse. He falls in love with the older sister, Anna, who entices him with a proposition. To his dismay, he must make a decision. Should he stay and help Anna with her underhanded plan, or return to the army and risk capture?
Arvenig: Tell us a little about yourself and your background! J.D.R. Hawkins: I am an award-winning author, and have written for various publications. My series about the Civil War, the Renegade Series, includes A Beautiful Glittering Lie, winner of the John Esten Cooke Fiction Award and the B.R.A.G. Medallion, A Beckoning Hellfire, slated for re-publication this fall, and A Rebel Among Us, recipient of the 2017 John Esten Cooke Fiction Award. I am a member of the United Daughters of the Confederacy, the International Women’s Writing Guild, Pikes Peak Writers, and Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers. I am also a singer and songwriter. My nonfiction book, Horses in Gray: Famous Confederate Warhorses, will be released this July.
A.: When did you first realise you wanted to be a writer?
J.: I have been writing since I was little, and started out with songs and poetry. From there, I graduated to short stories, children’s books, young adult novels, and finally, full-length books. Being a writer wasn’t a realization in my case. I just evolved into one.
A.: Is there a message in your book that you want readers to grasp? J.: Primarily that love conquers all, even when things couldn’t be any worse.
A.: What are you working on at the moment? J.: I am working on the fourth novel in the Renegade Series as well as a young adult novel about Prohibition.
A.: Any last thoughts for our readers? J.: I would love to hear from your readers! I am always looking for people interested in reviewing my books (I will provide free e-books). Please feel free to contact me about any questions you might have via my website. Also, please follow my blog, and my Patreon page.
Click on the link below to enter the giveaway and win a free ebook of A Rebel Among Us!
THE DEVIL’S GIFT by best-selling author Laura Landon is one of twenty-five titles—all historical romance—that all carry the Union Jack Heart. Featured authors also include Christina McKnight, Ava Stone, Deb Marlowe, Meara Platt, Julie Johnstone, and more!Romance, deception, murder…happily ever afters you won’t want to miss. Look for titles that carry the Union Jack Heart.
Publication date: June 25th, 2017
Genre: Victorian Romance
ABOUT THE DEVIL’S GIFT:
Jackson Rafferty, second son of the eleventh Earl of Devlin, held his dying brother in his arms and swore he’d avenge his murder. That pact made in blood led him to the back halls of Kingston Manor and the woman who would stand between him and pursuing the man Jack knew had killed his brother. That man was her father. Miss Jenevieve Kingston has a secret. Keeping it is the only thing keeping her father alive. When a rogue by the name of Jack Dawson comes dangerously close to spoiling everything, Jenna forces him from her home. But not before he has worked his way into her heart. Now he’s back, proving he is not who she thought he was. But how can she trust him after weeks of deception?
THE DEVIL’S GIFT EXCERPTS & TEASERS:
“It’s rather funny, don’t you think?” the Earl of Devlin said as he continued to make his way down the street. “Father thought if you were gone, I would step in to take your place. He thought your absence would make me assume some responsibility in running Devlin Downs. Instead…”
“Instead, what?” Jack asked, feeling more uncomfortable by the second.
When Sheridan stopped on the sidewalk and turned, Jack felt a cold chill race down his spine. The color left his brother’s bronzed face and a haunted look filled his eyes.
“Refusing to marry Kingston’s daughter is probably the first selfless act I’ve ever committed.”
“How can you say that?”
Shad paused and Jack knew his brother was weighing how much he should reveal.
“How much do you know about Kingston?”
“Very little. I only know about the agreement he made with Father for you to marry his daughter.”
“A pact made in blood,” Shad said barely loud enough to be heard. “Marrying into that family would have condemned us all. Or worse.”
“What are you talking about? If there’s something we should go to the authorities with—“
Shad dropped his head back and laughed. “The authorities. Oh, that’s rich, Jack. You’ve been in government service too long. The authorities are the last ones you can trust.”
“That’s not true, Shad. I have connections that have nothing to do with the local authorities. Tell me what you know and I’ll figure out what to do.”
The Earl of Devlin smiled sadly at his brother. “You always could fix everything. I should have known to come to you right away.”
“Yes, you should have. Now, what do you know?”
Sheridan hesitated as if knowing what he was about to do was the same as stepping off a ledge. Once you took the first step, there was no going back.
“Promise you’ll be careful, Jack. I don’t know all the details. In fact, I’m confused on some of them, but somehow the Kingston name is behind it.”
A nondescript carriage clattered noisily by on the far side of the street. A few yards further on a drunken trio assaulted a familiar tune. Shad’s words halted abruptly. At the same moment Jack saw the surprised look on Shad’s face he heard a muffled pop and knew instantly what was happening. In horror he saw Shad’s features sag as he crumpled to the ground in front of him.
Jack threw his body over Shad but no second shot came. Jack cautiously lifted his head and looked around. In the faint light he focused on the area from which he felt the shot had come. All was quiet. The street was empty.
Jack knew that even if he left his brother to race after the assassin, he wouldn’t find anyone. Whoever had shot Shad was long gone.
“Shad, how badly are you hit?” Jack asked, kneeling beside his brother. “Can you—”
Jack stopped. He was going to ask if he was able to stand, or if Jack should send for a doctor. But he knew the answer. Shad couldn’t stand. And it was already too late to send for a doctor.
Shad was dying.
“Hold on, Shad. I’ll take care of you.”
Shad lifted his trembling hand and pulled Jack down to whisper.
Shad coughed through the rattle in his throat.
“How old were you when your father remarried?”
“He married so soon after your mother died?”
Her expression changed—and the look on her face turned to marble. Whatever was to be read in the look on her face was significant.
“Are you always so inquisitive?” she finally said, her voice tinged with an icy clip.
“I am when I’m with someone about whom I’m curious.”
Jack wanted to take the words back the second he spoke them. What was wrong with him? He was behaving as if he were in a London ballroom and he’d just met a debutante he was interested in getting to know.
The look on her face told him he couldn’t have made a bigger blunder if he’d tried. The sharpness in her words told him the same.
“It would behoove you to learn your place, Mr. Hawkins. A servant—especially one who intends to achieve the exalted and trustworthy station of butler—is still nothing more than a servant. No servant, you will quickly discover, has the right to make inquiries of his master.”
“You are right, of course,” he said with a subservient nod of respect. “I overstepped my bounds.”
“Yes, you did.”
She walked away from him and made her way to the other side of the table. When she reached a place directly across from him, she stopped and motioned to the array of beautiful china and silver set out for his lessons. “You’d best learn the skills you’ll need to serve dinner before you’re expected to use them. You will find Benton a demanding overseer.”
Jack motioned to her from the other side of the table and listened with half an ear while she explained which fork was used for what. What he concentrated on more than anything though, was the husky tone of every word. Even though she remained very stern and proper, the timbre of her voice wrapped around him like the warm blanket he’d often wished for in countless battlefield trenches.
What impressed him even more was her strength and determination. In the beginning he may have mistakenly thought her to be naïve, and perhaps that would be the case in certain matters, but she sure as hell wasn’t weak. She was one of the strongest, most determined young ladies he’d chanced to meet.
And the battle he was most desperate to win, yet knew he was already losing, was his determination not to allow her to affect him.
In truth, she moved him in ways he’d not experienced before. If she thought his questions indicated he didn’t know his place, she’d be shocked at the place his thoughts were taking him.
She started to rush through the narrow crack as he held the door slightly ajar, but Jack stopped her and peeked through the opening to make sure the hallway was clear. It wasn’t.
A yawning footman slowly made his way toward them, his eyes not yet open wide.
Jack pushed Jenna back into the room and silently closed the door. To keep her from alerting the footman to their presence, Jack placed his finger over her lips and pulled her against him.
She stiffened as if afraid, then quieted when he whispered a warning in her ear. The second she realized their danger, she relaxed in his arms and let him hold her.
Jack waited for the footman to make his way past the door, wishing the lad would hurry so he could release her and end the torture, and at the same time praying the listless footman would take forever so the ecstasy of having her in his arms would never end.
They waited. At last the soft scuffing sounds of a sleepy servant faded as he walked away from them.
They were safe. It was a near call, but they hadn’t been discovered.
Jack looked down to whisper how fortunate they were that the footman hadn’t been completely awake or he might have noticed the faint light from the candle beneath the door, but any word he might have said escaped him the second he saw her face.
She looked up at him in wondered awe, as if she realized the same as he that something monumental had happened between them.
Perhaps she heard the thundering of his heart inside his chest. Perhaps she felt the desperation with which he held her. Whatever the reason, he knew she was equally as confused by their attraction to each other as was he.
She looked at him with a pleading in her eyes and opened her mouth as if intending to speak.
Jack didn’t want to talk. They’d talked enough already tonight.
Before any sound she made could break the charged atmosphere in the candlelit room, Jack lowered his head and kissed her.
Their kiss didn’t last long. In fact, it was a very short kiss in comparison to some of the others he’d shared with women he’d been known to favor. But he’d never experienced such an explosive kiss. He’d never experienced a kiss that had shaken him to his very core as this kiss did.
Bloody hell! What was happening to him?
Jack pulled away from Miss Kingston and warned himself not to look at her. He knew better than to look into her eyes, to see the expression on her face. But he did it anyway.
He absorbed her confused expression, studied the dazed look in her eyes. Was struck by an emotion that contained the power of a lightning bolt when he considered the ramifications of what he’d done.
The last thing he intended was to care for Jenna Kingston to the point that his feelings for her overshadowed his desire for justice. Jack knew he wouldn’t be able to live with himself if he allowed Shad’s killer to go unpunished because he’d come to care for the killer’s daughter.
A cloud skittered over the moon, casting the place where he’d been hiding in eerie shadows. Though he still had a few minutes, it was the perfect time to go. With the moon hidden behind the cloud cover, he would be hard to spot as he made his way across the open meadow.
Jack stood, then took his first step away from Kingston Manor. His worn boots hadn’t touched down to take his second step when a muffled scream stopped him short.
The sound came from inside the house, and Jack knew he never would have heard it had he not been concentrating on every sound around him.
He spun around and listened. Another indistinct sound followed the first.
As he raced back to the manor, he was aware of only one fact.
Laura Landon is a Prairie Muse Platinum, Kindle Press, and Amazon Montlake bestselling author. Laura enjoyed ten years as a high school teacher and nine years making sundaes and malts in her very own ice cream shop, but once she penned her first novel, she closed up shop to spend every free minute writing. Now she enjoys creating her very own heroes and heroines, and making sure they find their happily ever after. A vital member of her rural community, Laura directed the town’s Quasquicentennial, organized funding for an exercise center for the town, and serves on the hospital board.
Laura lives in the Midwest, surrounded by her family and friends. She has written nearly two dozen Victorian historicals, thirteen of which have been published by Prairie Muse Publishing and are selling worldwide in English, one in Japanese, and several in German. Two are Scottish historicals. In October 2012, Laura experienced an amazing day when Amazon’s Montlake Romance published not one but three of her newest novels. Two of these have been optioned for publication in Russia and Turkey. Several are also available in German. To date Montlake had published seven of Laura’s Victorian historicals and Kindle Press three. Always beautifully set and with a mysterious twist or bit of suspense, Laura’s books average over a million and a half pages a month read by her loyal readers.
Now that the holidays are over, it’s time for me to take a deep breath, delve in, and get back to work! I was crazy busy up until Christmas, what with all the blog posts, tours, contests, and giveaways I was participating in. Now that I’ve completed all of those projects, I am beginning several new ones. My nonfiction book is in the works and should be coming out later this year. I also plan to re-publish the first two books in the Renegade Series with the publisher of my new novel, A Rebel Among Us.
And, I plan to publish the fourth book in the Renegade Series this year as well. What a workload! Of course, there will be many more exciting opportunities to win great prizes and have fun, so stay tuned. Thanks again for your support!
Please join me this evening from 9:00 – 9:30 p.m. for an author takeover. The occasion is a book launch party for “The Silent Treatment,” written by Melanie Surani. Melanie is a fellow Booktrope author (our publisher). Here is the link to the party:
I will be taking over the page, discussing my books and authorship in general, and interacting with other participants. I will also be holding a giveaway! So please check it out. See y’all there!
Here is a blurb for the book:
Twenty-eight year old Katrina Jaitley is rebuilding her life after escaping an abusive boyfriend. The last thing she needs is the mystery she stumbles on during a bout of retail therapy. But she can’t ignore the coil of film — a piece of movie history — she finds hidden inside her purchase. Unfortunately, Peter, the handsome host of the estate sale, disappears before Kat has a chance to return it to him. Curious, Kat watches the strip and is shocked to witness the brutal murder of a famous 1920’s silent film star by a fellow actor. When a news article cites Kat as the film’s owner, her already complicated life goes from bad to worse. Someone is stalking her. Are they trying to silence her or what she has discovered?
It’s getting down to the wire! Don’t let this opportunity pass you by! Now is your chance to enter my book giveaway. All you have to do is answer the following questions and email them to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. The contest runs through February 21, after which I will announce the two winners on my blog. Good luck!
Describe your perfect Civil War soul mate:
What is their name?
Where are they from?
What is their occupation?
What is their age/gender?
What are some of your soul mate’s personality traits?
Please specify if you would like a PDF copy of A Beautiful Glittering Lie or A Beckoning Hellfire.
Thanks for participating! I can’t wait to read what you send me. Stay tuned – winners will be announced on February 22!