Category Archives: Excerpts

Romance book excerpts.

No Risk Refused by Cara Summers – Excerpt

Glen Loch, NY

Summer 2012

An affair to remember.

That had been the guarantee that Adair MacPherson had given to Rexie Maitland and her parents when they’d signed the contract to hold their daughter’s wedding and reception at Castle MacPherson.

And she intended to deliver. She had to. There were already two big X marks in the failure column of her life. She didn’t need a third one.

Adair pressed a firm hand to the nerves jittering in her stomach. The first step on her way to her goal, the wedding rehearsal scheduled for today, had gotten off to a rocky start. The high-strung bride had gone into a panic attack when the groom-to-be hadn’t arrived on time. But Adair’s aunt and business partner, Viola MacPherson, had warded off a full meltdown with a cup of herb tea. And the tardy Lawrence Banes, a suave, sort of George Cloo-ney lookalike with a good fifteen years on the bride, had finally arrived, full of apologies.

Pulling off the Maitland/Banes wedding on Saturday was crucial to the launch of her new business plan, one that would establish the reputation of Castle MacPherson as a premier wedding destination in the heart of New York’s Adirondacks. Adair swept her gaze around the garden.

The setting was perfect. The gray stone castle she and her sisters had grown up in stood on a rocky promontory at the far eastern end of Glen Loch Lake. Three stories high and rectangular in shape, it sat tucked between two mountains, boasted spectacular views, and its gardens, thanks to her Aunt Vi, had graced the pages of several gardening magazines.

The Maitland/Banes wedding would take place beneath the stone arch her several-times-great-grandfather Angus One had built for the stolen bride he’d brought here from Scotland. Now the tardy Mr. Banes was standing beneath it flanked by the minister and his best man. The maid of honor and the flower girl had lined up just behind the arbor that marked the entrance to the gardens. The mother of the bride, Bunny Maitland, had taken her seat in the first row of chairs, and just in front of the stone arch, Aunt Vi sat, her bow poised over her cello, ready to play on signal.

Everything was perfect, except that the bride-to-be was holding Adair’s hand in a death grip.

"I don’t know if I can do this," Rexie whispered.

Ignoring her plummeting stomach, Adair took a deep breath and spoke in her calmest voice. "This is only a rehearsal. You have to save those nerves for Saturday."

"I know." Rexie, a pretty twenty-two-year-old blonde and heir to the Maitland fortune, smiled tremulously. "I can’t seem to help it. I need to know that I’m doing the right thing. I have to know that the legend will work."

"It will." The power of the legend and the stones was the one thing in her life that she still had absolute faith in. She might be a bit shaky on her ability to keep this wedding on track, but she had no doubt that the stone arch her ancestor Angus One had built for Eleanor Campbell MacPherson had the power to bring true loves together.

This was the young woman’s second go at matrimony. A little over a year ago, her first husband had left her to return to his family’s horse farm in Montana. Then Rexie had met Lawrence and six months ago, after reading an article on the history of the MacPhersons and the legend in the New York Times, she’d contacted Viola to ask about scheduling her ceremony and reception at the castle because she wanted a guarantee of success this time around.

The Times article had created quite a buzz because it had dug up all the rumors that had circulated over the years about the missing sapphires that Eleanor MacPherson had worn in her wedding portrait. The writer had even reprinted an image of Mary Stuart wearing a similar necklace and earrings at her coronation and posed the theory that Eleanor’s dowry of jewels had been given to her by the Queen of Scots.

Adair could have kissed the Times writer for stirring everything up and giving her the idea for a new business plan.

She took Rexie’s other hand in hers. "You are not going to fail this time."

That was the mantra Adair recited to herself each morning. Not that she’d ever failed at marriage—she hadn’t had the chance. Six months ago she’d come home to Aunt Vi and the castle to lick her wounds, and they were still fresh. The five-year plan she’d so carefully crafted when she’d finished her MBA had gone south. One day she’d been on the fast track, and the next, the company she’d worked for had downsized and derailed her. Her pink slip had been quickly followed by an email from her boyfriend, Baxter DuBois, terminating their personal relationship, as well.

That’s when she’d moved back to the castle. Now with her aunt’s help and the power of Angus One’s stone arch, she was determined to turn her family home into the wedding destination spot in upstate New York.

And the success of Rexie’s wedding was key. Mr. and Mrs. Winston Maitland III resided on Long Island but also owned homes in Boca Raton, Florida, and Vail, Colorado. They had the kind of social contacts that could make the reputation of Castle MacPherson.

Or break it.

"I’ve seen proof of the stones’ power in my own father’s life," Adair said. "He’s kissed two women beneath the stone arch, and if he were here, he’d tell you it was the stones that gave him two chances of finding his true loves. He considers himself a very fortunate man."

Adair held back a little on the details. Her father had taken the loss of her mother so hard that even after he fell in love with Professor Beth Sutherland, it had been a dozen years before he married her. But seven years ago she and her sisters, along with Beth’s three triplet sons, had stood beneath the arch while her father, A.D., and Beth had exchanged vows.

"And your father’s happy?" Rexie asked.

"Yes. There’s real power in the stones. When we were growing up, my sisters and I believed in it so much that we used to write down our dreams and goals and bury them in a metal box beneath some of the loose stones. It was my mother’s old jewelry box so it had three different compartments and we all used different colors of paper."

She’d nearly forgotten about that box, Adair realized. On the night of her father’s wedding, she’d even written down a particularly erotic fantasy involving Cam Sutherland and buried that, too. She hadn’t thought of it in years. And she hadn’t seen Cam or his brothers since the wedding. They’d been finishing college that year and each had been focused on career plans that kept them very busy. Last she’d heard, Cam was working overseas for the CIA. For an instant his image flashed brightly into her mind and she could see him just as he’d looked that day—the dark, unruly hair, the blue eyes that had always held a dare.

And Cam Sutherland was the last thing she needed to be thinking about right now. If she didn’t get this wedding rehearsal on track, an "affair to remember" was going to take on a whole new, horrible meaning.

She focused on the hint of panic in Rexie’s eyes. And a solution suddenly occurred to her. "Look, why don’t we tap into the power of the legend right now?"

"How?"

"This is just a rehearsal and you won’t actually say your vows, but why don’t you kiss Lawrence? If you do that today while you’re beneath the stone arch, then you should be all set. In the legend, it’s the kiss that does the trick."

"Really?" Rexie shifted her gaze to where her groom-to-be waited. He was on his cell phone.

"It’s guaranteed," Adair assured her. "Why don’t we start? Everyone is in place."

"Except for my father," Rexie said, her lip trembling. "He’s taking another call on his cell."

"Mr. Maitland?" Adair spoke in a low tone, but she kept Rexie’s hand firmly gripped in hers.

The bride-to-be’s father held up one finger, but he never stopped talking into his phone. Winston Maitland, a tall stocky man with thinning gray hair, had pretty much had his cell glued to his ear since he’d arrived. So had the groom-to-be for that matter. The jerks. Adair wanted to shake both of them.

That was when she heard it…read more.

Shadow’s Stand by Sarah McCarty

image Good news for Sarah McCarty fans out there! Sarah’s book, Shadows’s Stand, has hit both the NYT and USA TODAY extended lists! This is great news for Sarah, but also really good news for her romance readers. With hitting these lists, she’s bound to be more widely read and with that comes an almost insatiable demand for more books from both readers and her publisher alike. 😉

If you haven’t bought your copy of Shadow’s Stand yet, you’ve still got time. Most HQN books stay on the shelves longer than traditional category romance novels. But just in case, be sure to buy now!

A bit about the book…

  • HQN Books
  • January 31, 2012
  • ISBN-10: 0373777051

Shadow Ochoa is lying low in the western Kansas Territory, waiting for his fellow Texas Rangers—the Hell’s Eight brotherhood—to clear his name. That is, until he’s unjustly strung up for horse thieving…and pretty Fei Yen intervenes. Invoking a seldom-used law, the exotic lady prospector claims Shadow as her husband and rides off with the bridegroom shackled to her buckboard.

Savvy, fearless Fei is single-mindedly devoted to her hidden claim and all it promises: wealth, security and freedom. A husband is just a necessary inconvenience and a name on paper to hold the claim she cannot.

Shadow isn’t a man to take orders from anyone, especially from lovely Fei—except that the daily friction between them ignites into nightly blazes of all-consuming passion. Soon Shadow is dreaming a little himself: of the life they could have if only Fei could see past the lure of independence. If only bounty hunters weren’t closing in on him.

Some of what reviewers on the web are saying…

"Intense, edgy and passionate, this is old-school historical romance at its finest."

-RT Book Reviews

"Caine’s Reckoning is a can’t-put-it-down adventure story…This exceptional first-in-series book has this reader eagerly anticipating future stories. A hands-down winning tale that is not to be missed."

-Named Best Historical Romance by Romance Reviews Today

You can find an excerpt of Shadow’s Stand here.

The Seduction of Scandal by Cathy Maxwell – Excerpt

 

The Seduction of Scandal released today!!! In case you aren’t a fan yet, you should check out this little sneak peek Ms. Maxwell’s provided us for you to savor…

THE SEDUCTION OF SCANDAL

Cathy Maxwell

He turned, ready to eat her up alive with his tongue. If it hadn’t been for her foolishness, he wouldn’t have had to spend the night traipsing back and forth fetching bandages, worrying if he was doing the right thing, worrying if she’d stay alive.

The tongue lashing he’d wanted to deliver evaporated from his mind at the sight of Lady Corrine standing in the narrow doorway between the two rooms wearing little more than one of his shirts.

Dear God. He leaned forward onto his knees. He remembered too clearly how soft her skin was and how full, how perfect, how luscious her breasts were.

It had been his penance to undress her, to keep his hands off of her.

And it didn’t help his sorry state to have her standing there as proud and demanding as a Teutonic goddess. Her pale blonde hair caught the beams of sun coming in from the back room, creating a halo of light around her. The backlight also delineated the shape of her amazingly long legs, which could be seen clearly beneath the sheer, fine material of her petticoats.

Her feet were bare and as perfectly formed as the rest of her.

She was The One. The Incomparable.

The Unattainable … and whoever had christened her such had named her right. The lure of a siren mixed with the scorn of a harpy in the duke of Banfield’s willful daughter.

Will came to his feet, needing his extra height to keep her, and his lust, at bay.

Her intelligent blue eyes swept his person.

“You appear the worse for wear, Reverend.”

He was conscious that he needed a shave. His beard was such that he looked quite vicious if he didn’t keep it under control. And there were probably circles under his eyes that matched the weariness in his bones. Yesterday had been a very demanding day before he’d made an appearance at his foster father’s dinner table. Certainly his hair must have been going every which way now.

In contrast, she appeared well rested and amazingly fresh and lovely.

“I needed to see to your welfare, my lady. You are lucky I discovered you injured on the side of the road on my way home last night.” If there was a chance she didn’t remember anything after being shot, Will was going to play it.

“And my undressing?”

“Necessary for attending your wound.”

“So you didn’t believe Major Ashcroft would return for me?”

There was an edge to her voice. “You remember,” he said. He might as well lay it all on the table. He had to remember how willful she was, how bold. Dislike and distrust were good foils for lust.

“Not the undressing,” she said. She crossed her arms as if protecting her breasts from view. The movement caused her to wince, but she bravely, stubbornly kept her hands where she’d placed them. “But I remember everything else.”

“I feared you would.” He tucked the flint and stone in his pocket. “So what happens now? Are you going to go running to Freddie with your discovery of who I am? I don’t believe so. There was a reason you were stowed away in that coach last night.”

There, straight talk for straight talk – and it worked. A small frown appeared between her brows.

“You saw me?” she asked.

“You came from somewhere, and Ashcroft was obviously surprised at your presence. I had been inside the coach, and you hadn’t been there. I was very careful to ensure I’d accounted for everyone present.”

She dropped her arms, reached up, and placed a hand on her left shoulder, as if the bit of pressure relieved the pain. “You truly are frightening as the Thorn.”

“I try to be, my lady,” he said. “Although you don’t seem frightened now, and perhaps you should be.”

She cocked her head at his warning, considered him, then shook her head. “You won’t hurt me.”

“Don’t be so certain.”

~~~

Copyright by Cathy Maxwell. All rights reserved.

 

Order The Seduction of Scandal now!

SPECIAL NOTE: You can also enter to win a copy of one of Cathy’s backlist titles to help her celebrate THE SEDUCTION OF SCANDAL’S release at WeWriteRomance.com’s Blog! Hurry, deadline to enter is September 5th!

Vacation with a Vampire and Other Immortals by Maggie Shayne & Maureen Child

imageBook Details:

  • Harlequin
  • June 21, 2011
  • ISBN-10: 037361862X

Buy Vacation with a Vampire and Other Immortals now!

Book Description:

Let’s face it—vacation is great! We could all use a warm summer night on a beach, the sand still hot from the sun, with the moon rising on the horizon. If it could be paired with a handsome, sexy man—an immortal man—wouldn’t that be the icing on the cake? Nothing says holiday quite like a walk in paradise with a gorgeous vampire…or spending a twilight eve with a charismatic Highlander. And the best part? While you may get a sexy bite or two, it’s guaranteed that you won’t get a sunburn!

Don’t be afraid to dip your toes into these two seductive and enthralling stories from Maggie Shayne and Maureen Child.

Come on in and leave your cares behind….

Book Excerpt:

“I’m sorry, Anna, but there is no cure.” Continue reading

Cowboy Up (Sons of Chance) by Vicki Lewis Thompson

image

Book Details:

  • Harlequin Blaze
  • Jul 1, 2011
  • Sons of Chance

Buy Cowboy Up now!

Book Description:

“Never fall in love with a cowboy.” These words were drilled into Emily Sterling’s head since her parents divorced over twenty years ago. But now Emily has returned to her father’s ranch…only to find herself face-to-face with jaw-droppingly hot rancher Clay Whitaker.

Clay is the resident stud expert at the Last Chance Ranch and isn’t so keen on “spoiled” city slickers…until Emily arrives. Now he’s showing Emily just what a ranch—and a cowboy—has to offer. And luckily for him, it’s an offer Emily can’t refuse…

Book Excerpt:

July, present day

The stallion’s scream of sexual frustration ricocheted off the walls of a shed that smelled like fresh lumber and honest sweat, both human and horse. The Last Chance Ranch baked under a sun that shone with uncharacteristic ferocity. Clay Whitaker, who’d recently been put in charge of the ranch’s stud program, wiped his face on his sleeve.

The new shed could use an air-conditioning unit— humans would appreciate it, at least. The horses probably wouldn’t care, judging from the ardor of Bandit, the black-and-white paint that claimed a higher stud fee than any other stallion in the Last Chance Ranch.

Despite the heat, Bandit seemed desperate to mount the mare contained in a small pen only a few feet away. He would never get the chance. The pretty little chocolate-and-white paint named Cookie Dough was a decoy.

Instead of mating the old-fashioned way Continue reading

Mine Until Morning by Samantha Hunter

image Book Details:

Buy Mine Until Morning now!

Book Description:

Tessa Rose is intoxicating to bodyguard Jonas Berringer. But not simply because she has an intimate knowledge of aphrodisiac scents. Nor is it because she’s forbidden fruit: a client, the boss’s daughter. Though both things help….

But Jonas thinks he has nothing to offer Tessa, not after a moment of lost focus costs Jonas his sight. But when Tessa and Jonas find themselves alone during a blackout, they discover endless temptations in the dark. Until morning, they’ll just have to trust their other, heightened senses to see them through….

Excerpt:

1:00 p.m.

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Jonas Berringer flipped the Closed sign on the door of the soap shop, Au Naturel. For the ten hours that the shop was open, all he could think about was being alone with the owner, Tessa Rose.

It was a swelteringly hot Continue reading