Earl Interrupted by Amanda Forester – Spotlight and Giveaway

Long and Short Reviews welcomes Amanda Forester who is celebrating the recent release of Earl Interrupted, the second book in her Daring Marriages series. Enter to win a copy of If the Earl Only Knew, the first book in Amanda Forester’s Daring Marriages series!

After restoring his fortune as a notorious privateer, Captain Robert Ashton, Earl of Darington, goes to London in search of a bride. Instead, he finds unexpected dangers and unknown assailants. He is shot and left for dead. Life on the high seas was far calmer.

Enter Miss Emma St. James. She may appear sweet and demure, but she quickly proves herself to be equal to any challenge, including saving Darington’s life. Just when Darington is sure he has found his perfect bride, she reveals she’s betrothed to another.

Now things REALLY start to get complicated…

Enjoy an Excerpt

Heroine takes a stand excerpt from Earl Interrupted by Amanda Forester

Emma watched in horror as her protector fell to the ground. She raced to him, kneeling in the mud beside him. She lifted his head out of the icy sludge and rested it in her lap. She drew back his greatcoat, searching for injuries. She did not have to go far before she found a large stain of dark-red blood on his waistcoat.

She put a hand to his chest and was relieved to find him still breathing. He appeared to have lost a good deal of blood, and Emma surmised the wound was not fresh. The man was a gentleman by the quality of his clothes. She surmised he must have fallen prey to her vile attackers earlier that day, though how he had come to be entangled with such company and what connection, if any, he had to her step-brother was a question for later. The most pressing need was to save his life.

“Sally, bring the luggage. My medicine kit is inside.” Emma glanced up at Sally, who appeared frozen in place—her eyes wide, her mouth open in horror. “Sally!” Emma repeated, allowing a rare sharpness into her tone. “Bring the luggage immediately.”
Sally blinked. “Yes, miss.” She ran around to the far side of the coach, where the luggage had been tied to the top.

Emma shuddered in the cold of the night. Their attackers’ coach remained on the road, the horses’ breath visible in the pale light of the coach lantern. She needed to get her injured protector inside and somehow drive them all to the next hamlet to get help. To do any of this, she first needed to revive the gentleman.

“Here, miss.” Sally returned with all the luggage, dragging Emma’s large trunk and carrying her own small bandbox.

“Thank you, that is very helpful.” Emma wasted no time in opening her father’s medical bag and finding a vial of smelling salts, waving it under the man’s nose. The man started and opened his eyes with a gasp.

“W-what? Who—?”

“I am Miss Emma St. James. A pleasure to meet you.”

“I am Dare…” murmured the man, his voice trailing off into something inaudible.

Emma smiled at the man. She was not sure what sort of name ‘Dare’ was, but it did seem an apt description. “I am sorry for the rude manner of your awakening, but you have been injured and we cannot tarry.” Emma spoke plainly and pleasantly, as she had found injured people needed hope and a calm presence.

“Go,” the man croaked. “You need to find safety.”

“I will not leave you.”

“You need to go!” said the man in a stronger voice, his dark eyes blazing with intensity. He had angular features with dark-brown hair tied back in a queue. She might have been afraid had she not been cradling his head in her lap.

“I will not leave you here to die in the road,” said Emma firmly. “What a poor way to repay your kindness. I could never live with myself. So we will either leave together or stay here together.” As she spoke, she grabbed some bandages from her bag and pressed them to his wound, wrapping a bandage around his blood-soaked clothes.

The man inhaled sharply through his teeth as she pressed hard against the wound. “Sorry,” she murmured. “This will stop some of the bleeding, but you need a doctor.”

“Your life is in danger,” the man croaked, rousing himself to a seated position beside her.

“My life? Did my brother send these men to kill me?” Emma gasped.

“Your brother? No, those men are after me.”

“After you? But why would my brother be after you?”

They stared at each other, his eyes mirroring the confusion she felt.

“Can we l-leave n-now?” asked a shivering Sally through chattering teeth.

“Yes, let us get Mr. Dare to his feet. If we can get him to the carriage, I can attempt to drive us to safety.”

Between the two of them and the man’s own efforts, they were able to raise him to his feet. He was a tall man, muscular but thin, which was fortunate in getting him back upright.

“Let us get you to the coach and—”

The man lying near them let out a long, low groan. At the same time, a man cried out from the coach with a string of curses. “That bastard stuck me. Help! I’m bleeding like a stuck pig. Where are you lubbers?”

Emma’s heart pounded in her throat. There was another man in the coach. The man in black, the one she thought her rescuer had shot dead, also groaned and moved on the ground. Sally let out a short shriek that was silenced by Dare, who clamped a hand over her mouth. He looked back at the hedgerows. Emma nodded in understanding. Crouching to avoid being seen, they crept off the road and into the bushes.

About the Author:AMANDA FORESTER holds a PhD and worked for many years in academia before discovering that writing novels was decidedly more fun. Whether in the rugged Highlands of medieval Scotland or the decadent ballrooms of Regency England, her novels offer fast-paced adventures filled with wit, intrigue, and romance. Amanda lives near Seattle, WA.

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Buy the book at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iBooks, Kobo, or IndieBound.

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Character Interview from The Highlander’s Bride by Amanda Forester

This post is part of a virtual book tour to celebrate the release of Amanda Forester’s newest book The Highlander’s Bride, the first book in her new series Highland Trouble. Enter the Rafflecopter at the end of the post to win a print copy of the book.

Interview with Lady Marie Colette Baudin from The Highlander’s Bride

Full Name: Lady Marie Colette Baudin
Nickname (if applicable): Colette
Height: 5’5”
Hair Color: Dark mahogany
Eye Color: Green
Age: 21
Originally from: born in 1338 and raised in the duchy of Bergerac, France, where her father is the duke

Describe yourself in 200 words or less: Greeting, mes amis. I am pleased to meet you all. I am the humble daughter of the duc de Bergerac. [humble, snort] (If you please, Lady Agnes, to hold your tongue while I am speaking to these nice people.) As I said, I am the daughter of the duc de Bergerac and it is my pleasure to serve the duchy by accepting my arranged marriage to a Highland chief, who will assist our people in their most desperate fight against the English oppressors. [Gasp! How can you accept such a fate?] (Do you think I wish to be banished to some frozen wasteland with a barbarian husband? No! But we must sacrifice ourselves for our people.) Ahem. Thank you for visiting today. Please forgive the short interview for myself and my ladies are preparing to undertake a journey most arduous for the good of our people.

What matters the most to you in your life? I have been trained since I was in leading strings to serve my father and the duchy. People look to me for encouragement, so I must remain calm and serene in all circumstances. It is what is expected of me…but sometimes I wish to make my own decisions, to reject the path my father has for me, even if it means to stay in France and fight myself against the English dogs. Ah, forgive me, that is but nonsense. I shall go to Scotland as I must.

What is your favorite way to pass the time? Do come close. I shall tell you, but I cannot have my ladies hear this or they will put a stop to it tout suite. Before she died, my mother she taught me to…to read. I confess, I have read through all of my father’s book collection most priceless. The only thing my ladies will allow me to read is the Book of Hours, for they believe books would overcome my delicate sensibilities. My sensibilities, they must not be so delicate, for I adore reading the Greek myths, the stories of adventure and…oh, here they come. Please not a word to my ladies-in-waiting!

If money was no object and you had 3 weeks free of responsibility what would you do with your time? Oh, but that is a question burns in my heart. If I could do anything, I would remain here in France. I confess, I am most anxious by the thought of leaving everything behind and traveling with this large Highlander, this Sir Gavin, who will be my guide to meet my affianced husband. He has a kind face, but everyone knows Highlanders are barbaric creatures. I fear my fate, but I must do my duty to my family, to the people of my land, even if it means never seeing them again.

9_7 Amanda ForesterTheir attraction is forbidden

All Highland warrior Gavin Patrick wants is to get back to his native Scotland. But before he can leave the battlefield, he’s given a final mission—escort Lady Marie Colette to her fiancé. Under no circumstances is he to lay hands on the beautiful, clever-tongued heiress…no matter how desperate the temptation.

Their desire, undeniable

Forced to pose as a married couple to make their escape from France, Gavin and Marie Colette find themselves thrown into peril…and each other’s arms. As the danger mounts, so does their forbidden passion. But it isn’t until Marie Colette is taken from him that Gavin is forced to decide—is he willing to lose the woman who stole his heart, or will he jeopardize his honor, defy his promise, and steal her in return?

Enjoy an excerpt:

France, 1359

Lady Marie Colette had one chance. She needed to secure the Highlander’s agreement to decline marrying her, and she needed to do it quickly, before her father returned. She had never before defied her father, but if he thought he could protect her by arranging a marriage with a Highland warrior and send her far away to Scotland of all places, he was much confused.

In truth, Sir Gavin was a fine specimen of a man. She was fair enough to admit it. He was a young man and built on a large scale, towering over most men. He had broad shoulders and a muscular chest, well-defined beneath the formfitting surcoat. His dark brown hair hung down to his square jaw and had a bit of a thick wave to it. He was clean shaven, a surprise considering he was a barbaric Highlander.

“I have heard rumors o’ yer beauty, but ye’re bonnier than anything I heard described.” Sir Gavin spoke in a rich tone with a lyrical accent, pleasing to her ears. However, if he thought he could win her over with compliments, he was much mistaken. She had been told so often she was beautiful that the words no longer had meaning.

“Please understand. It is impossible for me to marry you. But if you make an arrangement with me now, you will not leave empty-handed. Name your weight in gold to walk away.” Her heard pounded to make such a blunt offer. In truth, she would never have made such a crass offer to a French knight, whose honor would have been greatly impinged, but Sir Gavin was a foreigner. A Highlander. Were they not only here in France to profit off of the long war?

Sir Gavin’s eyebrows rose for a moment before falling back down in resignation. “I will no’ take the fortune of a lady, nor will I force anyone to marry me.” He spoke in a careless manner, as if what she offered was nothing to him.

Colette released a breath she had not realized she was holding. Had he just agreed not to marry her? Would he simply walk away? “So you will tell my father you will not marry me?”

A wry smile played about his lips and she had the distinct impression he was not taking the situation as seriously as she thought it deserved. “I am yers to command. If ye wish me to leave, I will go.”

Relief washed over her. She would not be banished to the wilds of Scotland with some strange, albeit attractive, man. “Thank you, Sir Knight. My father, he wished to protect me by sending me far, but I cannot see myself in such a wild, foreign place. We would be most unequally yoked.”

Gavin leaned a shoulder against the stone wall and stared out the dark window into the night. “The Highlands are a rugged place and my home is no’ nearly as grand as this fine castle. ’Tis a wild place, but in the evening, when the sun’s rays touch the high peaks, setting them aglow with the fiery light, ’tis so beautiful it robs yer breath. No finely decorated hall could ever compare.”

Colette opened her mouth but no words came.

He turned back to her, appraising her finery with a critical eye. “Someday, God willing, I shall take my bride there, a bride who chooses me above all men. We will no’ be surrounded by courtiers or pageantry or fancy clothes or ridiculous pointed shoes.”

Colette swallowed, heat creeping up the back of her neck. Had he seen the points of her shoes?

He stepped close to her, moving with a fluid grace that made her heart beat faster. “In the Highlands we dinna have all yer comforts, but what we do have we fiercely defend.”

“What do you have?” she asked in a voice barely above a whisper.

“Freedom. In the Highlands, m’lady, ye would be free.”

Free? She stared up at him. He dangled before her the one thing all her riches could never buy. He offered her freedom.

He leaned nearer and her eyes fell to his lips, which inexplicably appeared soft. She could not help but respond to the irresistible pull of his inviting mouth. He moved slowly, bending down so that their lips drew dangerously close. She breathed in the scent of him, an intoxicating mix of wood smoke, fine wine, and pure man.

The door creaked and her father strode back in the room as both Colette and Gavin jumped away from each other. The duc de Bergerac spread a scroll out on a table. “This is the marriage accord I have made with the Baron of Kintail.”

“Wait…who?” Colette tried to gather together her swirling thoughts in order to form speech. She glanced at Sir Gavin. The careless smile was gone. They had both made the wrong assumption.

Gavin wasn’t meant for Colette at all.

About the Author: Amanda Forester holds a PhD in psychology and worked many years in academia before discovering that writing historical romance was way more fun. A Publishers Weekly Top Ten author, her books have been given starred reviews from Booklist, Publishers Weekly, and a Top Pick from RT Book Reviews. Whether in the rugged Highlands of medieval Scotland or the decadent ballrooms of Regency England, her novels offer fast-paced adventures filled with wit, intrigue, and romance. You can visit her at www.amandaforester.com.

Buy the book at Amazon, Apple, BAM, Barnes and Noble, Chapters, or Indiebound.

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Interview with the Duke of Marchford from A Winter Wedding by Amanda Forester – Guest Blog and Giveaway

Welcome to Amanda Forester who has brought the Duke of Marchford to Long and Short Reviews as part of a virtual book tour organized by the publisher.  Leave a comment for a chance to win a copy of the book (US/Canada only).

For readers out there that may not know you, can you briefly tell us about yourself?

Thank you for inviting me here today. I am the Duke of Marchford, inheriting the title after my elder brother died. It is no secret that I was never intended for this position. I was sent out of the country to work for the Foreign Office, a respectable way to dispose of the unwanted second son. Unfortunately for all concerned, I was called back when I unexpectantly inherited the title. To my mind, however, my work for the Foreign Office will always take precedence, particularly during these difficult times in our struggle against that crafty foe, Napoleon.

Did you give Amanda Forester a hard time while writing A Winter Wedding, or was it more the Miss Penelope Rose causing trouble?

I am certain I never give anyone any trouble, though I beg you would apply to my grandmother for support of such a claim. Miss Forester was always asking about my feelings or some such rot. I am currently involved in some potentially dangerous affairs of state and cannot be bothered by irrelevant questions about the affairs of the heart, which in my experience are more treacherous than a horde of foreign spies.

What are some of your favorite qualities of Miss Penelope Rose that made her irresistible?

Irresistible? Miss Penelope Rose is a capable person but I assure you, I can resist her without difficulty. Her main attribute is that she is of practical assistance to me. She is a sensible person, intelligent, brave, capable, and utterly trustworthy. In truth, I have found her assistance invaluable to me in my work for the Foreign Office. This is why I have decided she must remain in London to assist me…whether she wishes to or not.

Why is it important to you to keep Miss Rose in London?

Miss Rose has been exceedingly helpful in my investigations, which are of the greatest import for the security of our great empire. I have come to depend on her quite a bit in my work. So it is for these reasons, and these reasons alone, that I have decided we must be wed. It has nothing to do with how her figure has lately been shown to advantage in her new Town gowns, nor the way her hair falls in loose curls, nor the stolen kiss that nearly took my breath away. No, it has nothing to do with any of those irrelevant things that I cannot get out of my mind. Unfortunately, Miss Rose has decided not to wed without a firm declaration of love. Thus, she has forced me to do something against my natural inclination as a gentleman. She leaves me this one choice…I must trap her into marriage.

 *****

Read more about Penelope and Marchford, in A Winter Wedding now available. To get you started in the series, the first book in the trilogy, Wedding in Springtime is being offered FREE for a limited time, and Midsummer Bride is currently only $1.99. Amanda loves to hear from readers so visit her at her website, facebook, or twitter.

Amanda Forester holds a Ph.D. in psychology and worked for many years in academia before discovering that writing historical romance novels was decidedly more fun. Whether in the Highland hills or a Regency ballroom, Forester’s critically acclaimed novels offer fast-paced adventures filled with wit, intrigue, and romance. She lives with her supportive husband and naturally brilliant children in the Pacific Northwest.Visit her at www.amandaforester.com.

 

9_29 forresterThis adventurous duke…

The Duke of Marchford requires a suitable bride, but catching spies for the Foreign Office takes up most of his time. Not wanting to face another London season as an eligible man, he employs the notorious Madame X to find him a match.

Has met his match

Miss Penelope Rose knows the rules of marriage among members of the ton better than most. Her own unsuccessful attempts at matrimony did not stop her from becoming London’s most exclusive matchmaker. Marchford proves to be a difficult client, but as he draws on her social expertise to help him flush out a dangerous traitor, they find that falling in love may be the riskiest adventure of all.

 

Buy Links:

Amazon: http://amzn.to/1vcjPpL

Apple: http://bit.ly/1orV3bN

BAM: http://bit.ly/1sxRhDC

B&N: http://bit.ly/1qXa08Q

Chapters: http://bit.ly/1pXOdMo

IndieBound: http://bit.ly/1ntyXVW

Kobo: http://bit.ly/1vckp71

 

Using History to Create Unique Characters by Amanda Forester – guest blog and giveaway

Using History to Create Unique Characters
by Amanda Forester

I enjoy unique characters, although when I read historical fiction I do want my characters to reflect the time period in which they lived. And yet, reading about a heroine who always did everything that was expected of her and got married at sixteen to the person chosen by her parents may not make the most exciting read. Thus, in creating characters I try to find ways to have unique, interesting characters who still fit within their historical timeframe.

To do this, I find reading history to be not only interesting but also quite entertaining. There are times when I discover the most amazing things that are historically accurate, but sound like pure fiction. For example, in researching for my next Regency novel, I found that the Royal Navy had the right to seize vessels at sea and press any English sailors into service. At this time, British warships were prowling American waters, seizing ships, and since England did not recognize American citizenship (and hardly cared about other nationalities), American sailors were being taken from their ships at sea and pressed into service. This practice was one of the reasons for the war of 1812 between America and England, and also became the exciting beginning for MIDSUMMER BRIDE.

Although all my Regency characters until now had been English, I began to wonder what would happen to an American heiress who was on an American ship seized by a British warship and brought back to England. Voila! The idea for Harriet Redgrave was born. Harriet is not just any American. She is an amateur scientist, wealthy heiress, and the granddaughter of the Earl of Langley. When she is returned to her grandfather, he is determined to see her properly wed. She, naturally, has no such inclinations…until she meets the Earl of Thornton!

I enjoyed writing this story of an unconventional heroine who gets suddenly plucked out of her comfort zone and immersed into polite London society…which is anything but polite!

What is more important to you when you read historical fiction: historical accuracy or a fabulous romance? Comment for a chance to win a copy of MIDSUMMER BRIDE!

Writing is Writing is Writing by Amanda Forester

Writing is Writing is Writing 

by Amanda Forester

 

Hello and thank you for inviting me today!  I started my writing career in a bit of a different way. I began in academia, writing grants and research papers. If I were to tell you I learned to write romance novels by writing grants you might cross my book off your TBR list.  But while the topics are surely different (they’re different, I swear, it’s safe to put my book back on your list), I did learn a few things from academic writing that have helped my fiction career.

1. The discipline of writing.  Granted, sitting in a chair might not seem like the most taxing of career choices, but actually it takes discipline to sit your tushy in the chair and keep it there to actually write.  One of the things about writing that is so difficult is that it is so easy to do something else.  It would be easy to only write when the muse was singing and the words were flowing like melted chocolate all over the page in a cascade of romantic deliciousness… but most of the time it’s a slow slog.  Academic writing trained me to sit and power through it.

2.  Make the deadline.  Grants are due at a certain time, and if you are on contract, so are manuscripts.  Miss a grant deadline and you will no longer be considered for funding.  Miss a manuscript deadline with your publisher and you could lose your sale.  Bad news either way.  Perfectionism is the enemy of creativity.  Magic happens when you allow yourself to not be perfect.  Strange as it may sound, making the deadline forced me to trust in my internal voice and let the creativity flow.

3.  What’s the point?  Both academic writing and fiction writing tell a story.  One might be a little more dry than the other, but both have a point and message they are trying to convey. The challenge with academic writing is to take complex, dry material and present it in a way that is compelling.  There are always lots of data that can be reported, but the important question is “why does this matter?”  This is an important question in fiction writing too.  Every scene should serve a purpose. What is the point?  Why am I writing about this?  These are essential questions in every style of writing.

See now—there are more similarities between academia and fiction than you thought, including nice numbered sections with bolded titles for ease of reading. Despite the similarities, I greatly enjoy writing fiction because I don’t have to worry about getting it “right” and I can let my imagination fly.

5_24 9781402271786-PRMy newest release, A WEDDING IN SPRINGTIME, is the first book in a new series set in Regency England.  I am thrilled these characters, who have haunted me incessantly, are finally getting their chance to see their stories in print.

 

Here’s the blurb for A WEDDING IN SPRINGTIME :

 

Five minutes into Miss Eugenia Talbot’s presentation at court, notorious rogue Mr. William Grant makes her laugh before the queen, ruining her debut. To hush up the scandal, Genie needs to make a brilliant marriage, and fast.  Genie’s aunt hires a matchmaker to find a suitor—anyone except the infamous William Grant—but amiable Genie shows a disturbing tendency to follow her heart.  When a traitor creeps closer, threatening to ruin more than just her reputation, Genie and Grant are drawn into a dangerous world of deceit and intrigue, where losing their hearts could mean their ultimate undoing.

I hope you will enjoy reading A WEDDING IN SPRINGTIME.  I love to hear from readers so come visit me at my website, facebook, or twitter.

 

 

 

 

GUEST BLOG: AMANDA FORESTER

The Highlands – Home of the Half Naked Man
by
Amanda Forester

Thank you for inviting me today at Long and Short Reviews! So what is my favorite reason for writing about the Highlands? It has got to be the Highlanders! What’s not to like? You have big burly, manly men, wearing kilts and (be still my heart) speaking with a Scottish accent. That about does it for me!

With the release of True Highland Spirit I now have a trilogy of books set in the 14th century Scottish Highlands.

In my most recent release, True Highland Spirit, Morrigan McNab learned to survive with a sword in her hand. Taking command, she is determined to protect her impoverished clan, no matter the cost. When an elusive French knight offers gold to fight against England, she joins the call to arms. Sparks fly on the battlefield as a forbidden passion smolders between Morrigan and Sir Dragonet. Yet Sir Dragonet holds a secret that will destroy the hope for a life together, and will make them rivals on a dangerous quest for a mysterious relic. As they fight beside each other against the English, and against each other to find the treasure, their love becomes a greater force than either can control.

In The Highlander’s Sword Lady Aila Graham is destined for the convent until her brother’s death leaves her an heiress. Soon she is caught in the conflict between the hastily arranged marriage with a Highland warrior, the Abbot’s insistence that she take her vows, the Scottish Laird who kidnaps her, and the traitor from within who betrays them all. Her new husband, Padyn MacLaren, is a battle-hardened knight, scarred by betrayal, who seeks Aila’s fortune to save his clan. Yet the outwardly shy Aila is nothing he expected… and everything he needs.

In The Highlander’s Heart Lady Isabelle escapes her murderous English husband only to be abducted by a Highland warrior and held for ransom. Her determination to break free from captivity is exceeded only by the passion growing between her and the Highland Laird. David Campbell plans to hold Isabelle for ransom as an easy way to line his pockets and return her back where she belongs, but he is unprepared for a feisty English lass with a penchant for finding trouble. Caught between rival clans bent on claiming the throne of Scotland, Campbell must choose a side, and a bride. Standing on the brink of war, Isabelle may be his only hope to save his clan, and his heart.

Don’t you love all my book covers? They highlight my favorite thing about the Highlands – men in kilts! I’m sure men in the 14th Century ran around shirtless all the time. After all, it is so tropical in the Highlands, wandering about without a shirt makes total sense. And as for waxing their chests, what medieval man didn’t do that pray tell?

What do you like to see on your romance covers? Men? Women? Scenery? Chest hair?? I want to know! Visit me also on Facebook, Twitter, or my website.

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