Earl’s Well that Ends Well by Jane Ashford – Spotlight and Giveaway

Long and Short Reviews welcomes Jane Ashford who is celebrating the recent release of Earl’s Well That Ends Well. Enter the Rafflecopter at the end of the post for a chance to win a set of books 1-4 of The Way to a Lord’s Heart series.

This beautiful, clean Regency romance from beloved author Jane Ashford takes you to a glittering world of revelations and romance, where a lonely earl can find love where he least expects it…

Arthur Shelton, Earl of Macklin, has helped four young noblemen recover from grief and find love, but he’s learned to live his own life as a widower. Yet when he returns home after traveling, his estate feels too empty, and he quickly heads to London. There, he encounters Teresa Alvarez de Granada, a charming Spanish noblewoman and is immediately entranced.

There is no room for earls in the quiet, safe life Teresa has finally found for herself. The earl might be charming and handsome, but she knows firsthand how dangerous attraction can be. The more determined Teresa is to discourage Arthur, the more entangled they get, and it’s only a matter of time before her respect for him starts to feel a lot like love.

Enjoy an Excerpt

It was a lovely spot. The carpet of blue blossoms wound back into the trees like rivulets of color, beckoning one deeper into the shade of branches in new leaf. A stream ran nearby, the gurgle of water blending with birdsong. The blossoms’ sweet scent filled the air.

Senora Alvarez turned in a circle to take it all in. “Maravilloso!” She held out her arms as if to embrace the landscape and laughed.

It was the first time Arthur had seen her really laugh, and he found it glorious – the musical sound, the flash of her dark eyes, the joyous gesture, the curve of her lips. She seemed lit from within, as if a shadow had been whisked away and the brilliance inside revealed. This was how she should always be, he thought, glowing, carefree. To be the thing that made her happy – that would be an achievement!

“I have been meaning to take up some cobbles behind my house and make a place for a garden,” she said. “Why have I put it off? I must do it at once. This is…comida para el alma. Food for the soul.”

Removing a few cobbles sounded meager. Arthur had gardens galore at his estates. He wished he could give her one. But a garden wasn’t like a jewel, to be handed over. Even if she would easily accept gifts, which she would not.

“I think Mr. Dolan would be glad to pull them out,” she went on as if the plan was unfolding in her mind.

“Dolan?”

Senora Alvarez turned as if she’d forgotten he was there. “One of my neighbors is a builder.”

“Ah. Friend of yours?” He was not, of course, jealous. That would be ridiculous.

The query seemed to arrest and then amuse her. “He is, along with others on my street, ever since we rid ourselves of Dilch. That canalla bullied Mr. Dolan’s son.”

And she had stopped it. Arthur had never known a woman so self-sufficient. She had a life he knew nothing of, a network of friends. He felt he wasn’t quite one of them, and this galled.

“People talk and do small favors for each other now. It is pleasant.” She walked deeper into the wood, looking right and left as if to drink everything in. She was enraptured, and Arthur found himself envying a swathe of flowers. The idea made him laugh.

Senora Alvarez looked over her shoulder at him. “You find this amusing? That people should be kind?”

“Not that.”

She raised dark eyebrows.

“I was laughing at myself.”

“You were?” She sounded surprised.

“Why shouldn’t I? In particular.”

“You are an earl.”

“And that means I cannot be ridiculous? The title conveys no such immunity. Alas.” He smiled at her.

For some reason, she looked uneasy.

“And I have found laughter the remedy for a great many ills,” Arthur added. Senora Alvarez seemed mystified, or…annoyed? That couldn’t be right. Why should she be? Just a moment ago she’d been delighted. “Is something wrong?”

“You puzzle me…sometimes.”

“But I am the most transparent of men,” he joked. He was so pleased to learn that she thought about him that he added, “What do you wish to know? I have no secrets.”

Her expression revealed his mistake. Senora Alvarez didn’t care to discuss secrets. She had too many of her own. “I ask nothing of you,” she replied, turning to walk on.

Disappointed, with her and himself, Arthur followed. Tom had wandered off, as he tended to do. There’d been no sign of him since they left the carriage. They were alone in a world of color and birdsong and scent. Perhaps the peaceful beauty of the place would soothe her temper, Arthur thought. But he didn’t know what would gain her confidence.

The gurgle of the stream grew louder, and then there it was, a thread of clear water tumbling over rocks. Bluebells, ferns, and mosses bent over the banks. Soft moisture wafted through the air. Senora Alvarez breathed it in. “Hermosa,” she said.

She was, but Arthur was not foolish enough to voice his opinion. He could not resist stepping closer.

A partridge erupted out of the bracken with a violent whirr of wings. Arthur started, twisted one boot heel on a stone, missed his footing with the other, and stumbled toward the stream.
She caught him with an arm about his waist, stopping his slide to a certain dunking. They teetered together on the bank. He held onto her shoulders to regain his balance. Though she was much smaller, her grip was strong, her footing solid. She could hold her own and more. Her body felt soft and supple against his as they came safely to rest.

Arthur looked down. Her face was inches away. Her dark eyes were wide, her lovely lips slightly parted, as if primed for a kiss. She raised her chin. He bent his head to touch them with his, an instant of exquisite pleasure.

She jerked away, nearly sending him reeling once again. Her expression had gone stark. All the beautiful animation had drained out of it. “Do not play such games with me,” she said.

“Games?”

“I told you that what I said at the theater meant nothing!”

“So you did,” replied Arthur, stung. “And I heard you.”

“Yet you try to take advantage.”

“The bird startled me. I tripped.”

“Into my lips.” Her tone was contemptuous.

“I beg your pardon. In the moment I thought you…”

“You know nothing about me. But I will tell you that I despise tricks like that.”

“It was no such thing.”

She made a derisive sound.

She had no grounds to address him with such disdain, to practically call him a liar. “Do you doubt my word?”

“I observe your actions,” she answered, moving away from him. “Where has Tom gone?”

“I have no idea.”

“Tom?” she called. “Where are you?”

“Here,” came the reply from downstream “Come and see. There’s a waterfall.”

Senora Alvarez walked away.

***

Excerpted from Earl’s Well That Ends Well by Jane Ashford. © 2020 by Jane Ashford. Used with permission of the publisher, Sourcebooks Casablanca, an imprint of Sourcebooks, Inc. All rights reserved.

About the Author: Jane Ashford, a beloved author of historical romances, has been published in Sweden, Italy, England, Denmark, France, Russia, Latvia, and Spain, as well as the United States. Jane has been nominated for a Career Achievement Award by RT Book Reviews. Visit her online at www.janeashford.com. She lives in Los Angeles, California.

Website
Buy the book at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, iBooks, Kobo, Bookshop, BAM, or Books2Read.

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A Duke Too Far by Jane Ashford – Spotlight and Giveaway

Long and Short Reviews welcomes Jane Ashford who is celebrating the recent release of A Duke Too Far. Enter the Rafflecopter at the end of the post for a chance to win one of three sets of Brave New Earl, A Lord Apart, and How to Cross a Marquess.

For fans of Mary Balogh and Lisa Klepyas comes a poignant Regency romance full of secrets to reveal and a love to fight for from bestselling author Jane Ashford

Peter Rathbone, Duke of Compton, is mourning the loss of his sister Delia, but the work of keeping his family’s deteriorating estate afloat is never done. When Miss Ada Grandison, a close friend of his sister, arrives with a mysterious letter that she claims holds the secret to saving the family home, Peter is skeptical to say the least…his life is about to get even more complicated.

Ada is eager to do whatever she can to help the Rathbones. She brings clues that Delia claimed would change everything for the family and that lead Ada and Peter on a hunt to unravel the past. But they’ll have to face their painful memories—and their true feelings for each other—to discover the truth.

Enjoy an Excerpt

That night, at last, Ada had a different dream. It was just as vivid as the disturbing ones, but the mood was something else entirely. She was at a wedding — her wedding. She was pacing down the church aisle alone. Where were her attendants? Why wasn’t her father at her side? She felt her gown frothing around her feet and wondered about the flowers on her bonnet. She’d always meant to have roses when she married. Were they there? Her hands were empty.

The aisle seemed very long. She walked and walked without seeming to make progress. And she couldn’t see who waited for her at the altar. Which was the most important part, wasn’t it?

She walked faster. The place must be the size of a cathedral. And who were all the shadowy figures filling it, stretching out on either side? She didn’t have nearly that many acquaintances, let alone friends. Multitudes watched her pass. She felt the weight of their attention and wished for a supporting arm. But there was only herself and the endless aisle.

Finally, finally, she reached the front of the church. But the two who waited there—the groom and the vicar presiding—remained vague, mere outlines. “Who are you?” she asked the former. It wasn’t fair. A dream shouldn’t leave out the crucial piece.

Her question had no effect. Though she peered and peered, she couldn’t see. The ceremony took place. Or maybe it didn’t. There were gestures and perhaps words, but Ada couldn’t hear them. She wasn’t certain whether she spoke. Her throat felt tight. The guests had vanished. Most of the church had as well. The edges of her view had gone misty. “Why can’t I see?” she complained.
In response, the two indistinct figures at the altar gradually faded.

Ada turned in a circle, searching, but they were gone. Everyone was. She was alone again. And so very tired. She lay down on the first pew, which was now empty. She folded her hands, closed her eyes. A little rest and then she would…

“Miss Ada?”

She wasn’t Miss anymore. Possibly. Or not.

There was a touch on her shoulder. Ada stirred. Ah, there was a gentleman kneeling beside her. Surely this was her bridegroom, solid at last. She reached out and laced her arms around his neck and pulled him close and kissed him. It was her very first kiss, though she wouldn’t have admitted that to anyone.

She touched his lips with hers, tender, experimental. More of an imagined kiss at first. She raised up a little, pressed closer.

For one startled instant, there was no response. Then his lips softened under hers. His arms came around her and pulled her against him. He was very strong! The kiss deepened. A bolt of arousal shot through her. Passion, she thought. This was what people meant by it. Ada felt as if she was melting, and yet also newly vibrant. Her arms tightened around his neck. She clung to him and to the kiss.

And then he pulled away with a jerk and a wild look. He put his fingers to his lips as if hers had burnt him.

The Duke of Compton pushed Ada back onto a sofa in the Alberdene drawing room. On which she lay instead of her bed. And she had no memory at all of getting here.

Ada blinked, shaking off sleep and the lingering wisps of her dream. She’d kissed Delia’s brother. She’d often wondered during this last year what it would it be like to kiss him. She’d imagined scenes where a kiss might happen. Nothing like this one, of course. But now she knew that it was lovely. The sort of thing one would like to try again, when more than half-awake. She sat up. A candle burned on a low table nearby.

“What are you doing?” he asked. “Here.”

Was that one query or two? Ada looked around. The corners of the room faded into dimness—rather like, and unlike, her dream. “I suppose I was sleepwalking again?” The words were half a question. “I don’t remember.” She shook her head. The sleepwalking was a worry. “I dreamed of—” No, she wasn’t going to tell him about the wedding. The thin folds of her nightdress shifted around her, translucent in the light of the candle. She could see her knees through the cloth. One couldn’t get more improper than this. She ought to be mortified, but she felt curiously elated instead. In fact, a bubble of rapturous excitement rose in her chest.

“We must tell someone,” he said.

“That we kissed?”

“No! The sleepwalking. As for the other—”

“The kiss?”

“I didn’t mean… I had no notion—”

“I believe I kissed you,” Ada said. She savored the word. She liked saying kiss, the effect it had on him. She enjoyed flustering the duke, she realized. It was fun. Clearly he had no idea what to say next. “I won’t kiss you again if you don’t want me to.”

“It’s not a case of wanting.” He sounded hoarse.

“So you do want me to?” She longed to hear him say so.

His eyes burned into hers. The desire in them made her breath catch. “You know we can’t,” he said.
It was difficult to know anything at that moment. Ada felt like a child who’d inadvertently teased a tiger.

“This.” His gesture encompassed the dark, silent room, their nightclothes, the mere inches that separated them. “Is so far beyond the line.”

Ada knew the situation was scandalous, but she was still glad she’d kissed him. “You seemed to like it,” she couldn’t help saying.

He stood and stepped away from her. “What I like and what I can offer as a man of honor may not be the same. Most often they are not. I’ve known that since I was fifteen.”

***

Excerpted from A Duke Too Far by Jane Ashford. © 2020 by Jane Ashford. Used with permission of the publisher, Sourcebooks Casablanca, an imprint of Sourcebooks, Inc. All rights reserved.

About the Author: Jane Ashford discovered Georgette Heyer in junior high school and was captivated by the glittering world and witty language of Regency England. That delight was part of what led her to study English literature and travel widely. She’s written historical and contemporary romances, and her books have been published all over Europe as well as in the United States. Jane has been nominated for a Career Achievement Award by RT Book Reviews. Visit her website to sign up for her newsletter.

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Buy the book at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, iBook, Kobo, IndieBound, BAM, or Bookshop.

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How to Cross a Marquess by Jane Ashford – Spotlight and Giveaway

Long and Short Reviews welcomes Jane Ashford who is celebrating the recent release of How to Cross a Marquess, the third book in her The Way to a Lord’s Heart series. Enter the Rafflecopter at the end of the post for a chance to win a copy of A Lord Apart, the second book in the series.

The Marquess of Chatton and his neighbor Fenella Fairclough have known each other all their lives. They refused to marry each other years ago when their parents demanded it, and they won’t concede now—even if circumstances have brought these former enemies much closer than they ever could have anticipated…

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The warmth in his expression left Fenella shaken. She’d been braced for blame. She knew how to dismiss unjust accusations, taught by those her father had been tossing at her for as long as she could remember. But not to have to. That was another matter entirely. Relief was a pale word. Her throat thickened with tears.

She looked away to hide them, blinked them back. Their horses had ambled along at their own direction while their riders talked, and she saw that they’d veered closer to Clough House. Before them lay a dip in the land that was filled with bushes. “The raspberry thicket,” said Fenella. “I used to come here and pick berries whenever I could sneak away. How Mama scolded me for spoiling my dresses! But I couldn’t resist. I love raspberries.”

“I’ll pick some for you.”

“The thorns will tear your clothes.”

“No, they won’t. You can sit in the shade over there.” He turned his horse toward a cluster of saplings at the side of the thicket, grinning over his shoulder. An antic mood seemed to have overtaken him.

The breeze carried the scent of sun-warmed raspberries. Fenella’s mouth watered. “I could pick my own,” she said.

“Please allow me.”

He spoke like a knight offering some perilous feat of chivalry. She decided to let him.

They dismounted, leaving their mounts to the rich grass on the side of the hill. Fenella settled in the shade and watched Roger plunge into the raspberry bushes. He pulled out his handkerchief and began to fill it with ripe berries. Stains spread over the linen as he added to his haul. She saw the thorns catch at his coat sleeves and riding breeches. They scratched his glossy boots as well. His valet wouldn’t appreciate that. But Roger didn’t appear to care. He moved deeper into the thicket, until only his hat was visible above the arching canes. And then that too vanished. “Are you all right?” called Fenella.

“Dashed briars snatched my hat,” he replied. “Just a… Got it.” The crown of his hat reappeared above the branches. He was near the center of the thicket, at the bottom of the dip. It was much harder to get out of that little valley than to go in, Fenella remembered. The slant of the bushes seemed to push one back down.

Roger’s face showed above the vegetation. He must be standing on tiptoe. “There you are,” he said. “I got turned around.”

He moved slowly toward her, obviously having to fight his way out. His head, and then his broad shoulders, came into view. He held one arm in front of his face to stave off the thorns.

“Hotter in there,” he said when he finally emerged. Sweat gleamed on his face. He came over to her, bowed, and set his bundle of berries beside her as if they were indeed the result of a knight’s quest. Fenella noted an angry scratch across the back of his right hand. At least it wasn’t bleeding. She took a raspberry and ate it. The fruit was warm from the sun, sweet and tart at the same time. It melted on her tongue, utterly delicious. “Berries picked here are always better than any others,” she said.

Roger sat down in the grass beside her.

“You must have some, too. You did all the work.”

He ate one. “Very good.”

“Better than that,” Fenella said. “Luscious.” She held out a berry. He bent a little forward and took it, his lips brushing her fingertips, light as a butterfly’s wing, and still it stirred her.

“Luscious,” he agreed.

The word vibrated between them, expanding out to encompass far more than berries. The air was heavy with the hum of bees and the scent of fruit under the heat of the August sun.

They were hidden from the world here, Fenella noted. Even the horses would not be easily visible, due to the dip in the land and the height of bushes. They might have stepped outside of time. Her everyday life seemed far away.

Roger took a raspberry and held it out to her. Fenella leaned forward and opened her lips. He put the berry on her tongue. She bit into it, the intense flavor filling her mouth—piquant, delicious, another dart of pleasure. She held out a berry. He followed her example, bending toward her. She set the crimson fruit in his mouth without touching him. He held her gaze as he bit down.

The sultry atmosphere went to her head—the languorous warmth, the rustle of leaves overhead, the soft grass beneath her, Roger’s lips red with berry juice. Hers must be as well, Fenella thought. The same hue, the same taste. The idea seemed to pull her forward, and the next time he held out a berry, she leaned past it and kissed him.

He did taste of raspberries. But the kiss was so much more than that. The sweet taste of the fruit slid slowly into a melting of her whole body.

Strong arms came around her and pulled her close. She put hers around his neck and let herself sink with him onto the grass. The world contracted into a kernel of dizzying sensation.

What kisses, she thought. She’d known she was drawn to Roger, but she hadn’t realized it would be like this. His touch set her vibrating with desire. She wanted to give him all he could ask, to take everything he could offer. She pressed up against him. Their kisses wove a tapestry of longing, begging to be unraveled. He murmured her name.

“It went this way,” shouted a boy’s voice from other side of the thicket.

“Into the brambles?” replied another.

“Right under, the cunning little devil.”

“I ain’t desperate keen to crawl in there.”

“It’s John and Tom,” whispered Fenella.

“Deuce take them,” replied Roger.

“Perhaps it will come out the other side,” said John. “We can go around.” Footsteps pounded along the edge of the thicket.

Roger pulled her closer as if to protect her from this intrusion. But his instinct was wrong in this case. They couldn’t be found embracing. Fenella pulled away and sat up. Her hat had fallen off. She retrieved it and set it on her head, plucking and pinning stray strands of hair into place.

“Must speak to you,” Roger whispered.

“Shh. Not now.”

“Must.” He couldn’t stay silent. He had to tell her. This was the tricky bit, where he could win her, or lose everything. If only he could make his damnable tongue form the right phrases, and in a hurried whisper, no less.

***

Excerpted from How to Cross a Marquess by Jane Ashford. © 2019 by Jane Ashford. Used with permission of the publisher, Sourcebooks Casablanca, an imprint of Sourcebooks, Inc. All rights reserved.

The Way to a Lord’s Heart
Brave New Earl (Book 1)
A Lord Apart (Book 2)
How to Cross a Marquess (Book 3)

Praise for Jane Ashford:
“Absolutely delightful…strong characters and interesting obstacles… a must read.”—Night Owl Reviews for Brave New Earl
“Wonderfully diverting…I give Last Gentleman Standing an enthusiastic recommendation.”—Fresh Fiction for Last Gentleman Standing
“Expertly crafted…another triumph of nuanced characterization and sparkling wit.”—Booklist for Nothing Like a Duke
“Vivid characters and lively plots . . . Conveyed with warmth and tenderness.”—Publishers Weekly for Lord Sebastian’s Secret

About the Author: Jane Ashford discovered Georgette Heyer in junior high school and was captivated by the glittering world and witty language of Regency England. That delight was part of what led her to study English literature and travel widely. She’s written historical and contemporary romances, and her books have been published all over Europe as well as in the United States. Jane has been nominated for a Career Achievement Award by RT Book Reviews. Find her on the web at her website and on Facebook. If you’d like to receive her monthly newsletter, you can sign up at either of those sites.

Facebook | Website

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

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A Lord Apart by Jane Ashford – Spotlight and Giveaway


Long and Short Reviews welcomes Jane Ashford who is celebrating the upcoming release of the newest book in her The Way to a Lord’s Heart series, A Lord Apart. Enter the Rafflecopter at the end of the post for a chance to win The Happily Ever Organized gift set. The giveaway runs through 11:59 p.m. on April 20th. This super cute gift set includes a pack of Bloom floral file folders, three pretty gold pens, a Lemome Original notebook (it has pockets!), and two lovely floral teacups. What better prize to honor the two loveable nerds in this Regency Romance?!

Family secrets, an unlikely alliance—and a love neither expected…

After his parents’ sudden death, Daniel Frith, Viscount Whitfield, is struggling to unravel a web of chaotic family records. He is astonished to learn his father’s will contains a mysterious legacy: a house left to a complete stranger. He knows nothing about the beautiful Penelope Pendleton and he’s not sure he wants to…until she turns out to be a whiz at all those nasty tasks involved in estate administration…

Penelope has no idea why Rose Cottage was left to her. But it’s a godsend after her brother’s reckless actions disgraced her family. She had planned to stay out of Viscount Whitfield’s way, not grow ever closer to him. But when they discover how entwined their families really are, Daniel and Penelope must collaborate to avoid a scandal that reaches much higher than they could have guessed…

Enjoy an Excerpt

Penelope found a man dismounting a fine blood horse on her doorstep. Stocky, brown-haired, with blunt features and a square jaw, he wasn’t classically handsome. But somehow he didn’t need to be. He held one’s attention by the sheer force of his presence. His expression suggested that he was accustomed to deference and obedience. Penelope took a step back. The last year had made her wary of such men.

The visitor looked her up and down. Was that disapproval? It couldn’t be hostility. Unless he’d somehow received word…no. Not yet. Impossible. Penelope wondered if she’d rubbed dust on her face. Her gown was crushed and wrinkled from hours in the post chaise, but it had once been expensive.

“I’m Whitfield,” he said.

The name was unfamiliar. Penelope relaxed a little. He must be a neighbor. “Hello, Mr. Whitfield. I am—”

“Not mister.”

“I beg your pardon?”

“Rose Cottage was part of my estate until my father willed it to you,” he went on. “I’d like to know why.”

“Your father?” Penelope forgot all else as she latched onto this piece of information. The solicitor who’d tracked her down and told her about the legacy had refused to give her benefactor’s name. The bequest was anonymous, he insisted. If she wanted the cottage she wouldn’t ask. And really, wasn’t gratitude rather more appropriate than questions? He’d been even more arrogant than this man. “Your father,” she repeated. “Not Mr. Whitfield.”

“My father John Frith, Viscount Whitfield,” he replied impatiently.

He was a viscount, and he was glaring at her.

Kitty appeared in the doorway. “There’s spiders in the wood pile, miss,” she said. “Big ones.” She spread her hands four inches apart as she gazed at their visitor with open curiosity.

The tickle of a cough began in the back of Penelope’s throat. Not now, not now, she thought, swallowing frantically. But she couldn’t stop it. The spasm came. The hacking shook her.

Their visitor looked startled, then concerned. “For God’s sake get her some water,” he said.

Kitty spread her hands. “We ain’t got so much as a bucket, sir.”

The truculent viscount put an arm around Penelope’s shoulders and urged her inside. By this time she could think of nothing but her heaving chest and streaming eyes.

“Pump some water,” the man said to Kitty when they reached the kitchen. “Hurry up!”

Kitty jumped to obey. The man examined the stream as it began to flow. Seemingly satisfied, he held cupped hands below the spout and let them fill, then brought the water to Penelope. “Here. Drink!”

Despite her plight, she hesitated.

“The water’s good,” he added. “It’s a deep well.”

It wasn’t the water, Penelope thought; it was the curiously intimate service. But she was desperate. She bent and slurped liquid from his palms. Her lips brushed his skin as she drank. His fingertips touched her cheek, leaving a startling tingle behind. Finally, somewhat recovered, she croaked, “Flask.”

Kitty struck her forehead with one hand and ran upstairs to fetch the item. When she returned Penelope took a deeper drink.

“You take brandy for your cough?” asked their visitor. He sounded amused and a bit scandalized.

“It’s water.” Her brother had used this flask for brandy. She drank again. At last the cough subsided. Penelope sagged, worn out by the paroxysm.

The unexpected viscount took her arm and led her out to the low stone wall that surrounded the front garden. “Sit. You’re ill.”

“I’m not. That is, I have a lingering cold, which will soon disappear.”

“You can’t stay here,” he said, looking around as if he hadn’t heard her.

“Yes I can.”

“I beg to differ—”

“Beg all you like, I’m not leaving.” It was rude, but Penelope wouldn’t be ordered about by this stranger. And no one would tear her away from her new home and sanctuary now that she had it.

“Who are you?”

“My name is Penelope Pendleton.” She waited for a sign of recognition. He showed none.

“Why you were left a house by my father?”

“I don’t know.”

“How can you not know?”

“Well, apparently you don’t know, and he was your father.”

This made him stiffen. “Tell me about your family. Where do you come from? Who are your people?”

Penelope went still, hearing similar demands, in harsher voices, echoing in her memory. Freely offering information had not done her much good since the killings in Manchester. “Must you loom over me?” she said to gain time.

But that was a mistake because he sat down beside her on the wall, bringing those dark probing eyes much closer.

A cough threatened. This time, Penelope let it come, aware that her struggles made her unwanted visitor uncomfortable. By the time the spasm was over, she’d decided that she wasn’t going to tell him anything. Not until she knew a great deal more. She sipped from her flask. “You really must excuse me,” she rasped. “I’m not prepared to receive callers.” This was her house. She had the right to refuse visitors, for the first time in endless months. A privilege she hadn’t appreciated properly until she lost it.

The irritating young woman gazed at Daniel from watering eyes. Miss Penelope Pendleton was pale. Her oval face was undeniably pretty, surrounded by blades of blond hair. Her blue eyes were large and clear, and they had the steady, stubborn resolve of a woman with something to hide. Daniel was the local magistrate; he knew that look.

She coughed weakly into her hand. Now she was being piteous on purpose, to make him feel like a bully. There were twisty corners to this young lady. Daniel felt a brush of the astonishing sensation that had run through him when she drank from his hands. Her lips had been so delicate on his palms. He had to find out more about her, for a variety of reasons.

“I really think I must rest,” she said.

He was betrayed into an exasperated laugh “On what? The bare floorboards?”

“I have quilts—”

“You can’t stay here alone,” he interrupted. The thought of her curled up in a nest of bedding was all too vivid.

“I’m not alone. I have Kitty.”

“And she is what, fifteen?”

“Sixteen,” said the skinny young maid, who had not effaced herself but loitered in the open doorway of the house watching them with frank curiosity. “Do you think the gentleman might see about the spiders?” she asked her mistress.

Daniel was beginning to like this girl. “Happy to,” he replied before Miss Pendleton could object.

About the Author: Jane Ashford discovered Georgette Heyer in junior high school and was entranced by the glittering world and witty language of Regency England. That delight was part of what led her to study English literature and travel widely in Britain and Europe. She has lived in New York, Boston and LA. Today, she is somewhat nomadic.

Jane has written historical and contemporary romances. Her books have been published in England, Spain, France, Italy, Sweden, Slovakia, Denmark, Russia, and Latvia, Croatia and Slovenia as well as the U.S. She has been nominated for a Career Achievement Award by RT Book Reviews.

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

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Brave New Earl by Jane Ashford – Spotlight and Giveaway


Long and Short Reviews welcomes Jane Ashford who is visiting with us to celebrate the recent release of Brave New Earl. Enter the Rafflecopter at the end of the post for a chance to win a copy of The Duke Knows Best.

An Earl mired in melancholy is no match for a determined woman…

Widower Benjamin Romilly, Earl of Furness, has given up hope of finding happiness. His wife died in childbirth five years ago, leaving him with a broken heart and a child who only reminds him of his loss.

Miss Jean Saunders is a cousin by marriage. She doted on Benjamin’s late Countess, and can’t bear it when she hears rumors that the Earl is too bereaved to care for his young son. She arrives on the scene to evaluate his fitness as a father, and if necessary, to take his son away.

Jean’s sudden eruption into the Earl’s household simultaneously infuriates and invigorates him. She may be the only person who can breathe life into his neglected home—and his aching heart…

Enjoy an Excerpt:

Jean searched the parlors on either side of front hall, calling softly and beginning to feel foolish. This was obviously a futile quest. She had given up and turned back when she noticed a line of light under the library door. She went in, finding the chamber still warm, the coals of a fire still glowing. “Tab?” she said.

“I beg your pardon?”

Jean started so violently that a drop of hot wax splattered from the candle to the back of her hand. The pain made her breath catch.

Lord Furness rose from the chair by the hearth. “What are you doing here?” she asked. “With no lights?” In her fright, she sounded accusing.

“I don’t sleep well,” he replied. “I often come down. And you?”

“I was looking for my kitten.”

“Got out, did he?” Still half in his broken reverie, Benjamin eyed his guest. The lines of her body were beautifully revealed by her thin wool dressing gown and gossamer nightdress. Her hair had been braided down her back, but soft tendrils had escaped all around her face. He imagined what that hair would look like loose—what a wild riot of curls.

“I don’t see how,” she said, her tone oddly defensive. “But he’s not in my room.” The candle wavered in her hand. “Oh, what if he’s in the kitchen when your cook gets up.”

“The cook will cope.” Miss Saunders’s unexpected appearance was like a dream, yet so different from the ones that usually disturbed his nights.

“Why must everything I do go wrong? I had this one small creature to care for—”

“And tomorrow we will find him,” Benjamin interrupted. “There’s no sense looking in the dark. Too easy for him to hide. We’ll turn out the staff in the morning. By then, he’ll be hungry and come looking for food.”

“Yes.” Miss Saunders startled suddenly, setting the light of her candle dancing over the walls. “The portrait seemed to move.”

Benjamin looked up at Alice’s likeness above the mantel. “Yes, when it’s dim like this, she does. Seem to.”

“You loved her very much,” said Miss Saunders softly.

“We met at a ball in London, fell in love, married, and were parted by death all in a year. Such a short time to encompass so much.”

“A life sliced in half,” she replied. Her tone was contemplative and…bitter?

“Yes.” Benjamin sank back into his chair. “You understand that?”

About the Author: Jane Ashford discovered Georgette Heyer in junior high school and was captivated by the glittering world and witty language of Regency England. That delight was part of what led her to study English literature and travel widely. She’s written historical and contemporary romances, and her books have been published all over Europe as well as in the United States. Jane has been nominated for a Career Achievement Award by RT Book Reviews. She lives in Los Angeles, California.

Website | Facebook | Goodreads

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

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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The Duke Knows Best by Jane Ashford

Long and Short Reviews welcomes Jane Ashford who is celebrating the upcoming release of The Duke Knows Best, the 5th book in her The Duke’s Sons series.

Lord Randolph Gresham has an up and coming career in the Church, and has come to London for the season to find a wife. A feisty and dangerously attractive young woman who insists she’d never marry a clergyman keeps distracting him. This shouldn’t be a problem—they’ll just avoid each other. When they’re forced to sing together, though, the duet is a deeply sensual experience. Verity Sinclair, daughter of the Dean of Chester Cathedral, hasn’t changed her mind about the future. But Randolph proves hard to resist, and when they finally give in to their passion, there’s only one option left: marriage.

About the Author: Jane Ashford discovered Georgette Heyer in junior high school and was entranced by the glittering world and witty language of Regency England. That delight was part of what led her to study English literature and travel widely in Britain and Europe. She has lived in New York, Boston and LA. Today, she is somewhat nomadic.

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Buy the book at Amazon or Barnes and Noble.

Last Gentleman Standing by Jane Ashford – Spotlight and Giveaway

Long and Short Reviews welcomes Jane Ashford who is celebrating the release of Last Gentleman Standing. After enjoying this classic romance, dive into Jane Ashford’s current series, The Dukes Sons! Enter the Rafflecopter at the end of the post to win a copy of Heir to the Duke by Jane Ashford.

A fortune hunter’s dream…
Miss Elisabeth Elham is an unlikely heiress. She never knew the curmudgeonly uncle who died suddenly and left her a fortune. She’s proud, outspoken and independent—a definite challenge for London’s fortune hunting suitors.

As various determined gentlemen vie for her attention at balls, routs, picnics and parties, Elisabeth finds herself embroiled with a charming rake, a mysterious nabob, and an elegant neighbor. This would all be great fun, if only she wasn’t so fascinated by the one man in London who’s not trying to woo her…

Rediscover this classic Regency romance! Originally titled Bluestocking, this classic story has been unavailable for over 25 years and is now returning from the vault!

Enjoy an Excerpt

Elisabeth had recrossed a stile and was traversing an open field when she heard hoofbeats behind her. Turning, she was just in time to see the rider urge his magnificent chestnut up and over the fence she had just climbed. The form of both was flawless, and she forgot herself in her admiration of the jump, watching unself-consciously, as the horseman approached her.

The chestnut had white feet and was one of the most beautiful and spirited animals she’d ever seen. He moved with the ease and power of a true thoroughbred and might have made almost any rider appear insignificant, but the man on his back matched his quality. He looked to be tall, and his figure was well-molded and athletic. His buckskin breeches fitted him to perfection, and his coat fairly cried out its fashionable origin in the workrooms of a Weston or a Stultz. Elisabeth had seen a few gentlemen of the haut ton in Bath, and she knew enough to recognize that the deceptive simplicity of the folds of his cravat and the carefully casual arrangement of his hair were the signs of a veritable tulip, a top-of-the-trees corinthian. At that moment, she met his slightly mocking gaze and looked down in confusion, recalling herself with annoyance. She had been gaping like a schoolgirl, she thought.

The rider pulled up before her. “I almost feel I’ve been in a competition,” he said. His voice was deep and resonant. “I hope you gave me full points for that jump.”

Elisabeth looked up. His eyes were pale blue, she noted, in spite of his black hair and rather dark complexion. “I was staring quite rudely, I know,” she replied. “I beg your pardon. But I was transfixed by the way your horse took that fence.”

The man patted the chestnut’s neck, “He’s wonderful, is Tristram.”

“Tristram?” repeated Elisabeth, smiling. “That’s an uncommon name for a horse. Do you take it from Tristram Shandy?”

The rider looked at her with much more interest than he’d first shown. “Yes, I’m fond of Sterne.”

“Oh, it is my favorite of all books. I thought hardly anyone read it now.”

He smiled back at her somewhat quizzically. “And I should hardly have thought it fit reading for young ladies.” He surveyed her. He was the despair of his mother and several aunts, who had all at one time or another introduced to him dazzling debutantes calculated to urge him into marriage. But though he’d treated them politely, he’d been extremely bored in their company and really had very little notion of what to say to conventional young women. Seeing that Elisabeth was a bit uncomfortable under his gaze, he continued, “But then I rarely find young ladies wandering about my land unattended. So I can’t quite make you out. Are you someone’s governess, perhaps? Do you teach your pupils from Sterne?” His amused smile faded as he went on before she could answer. “No, that doesn’t seem right.”

Looking down at her drab garments, Elisabeth laughed. “I’m sure I don’t know why you say so. I do look very like a governess. In fact, until a few weeks ago, I was a teacher at a seminary for young ladies. Now that my uncle has obligingly left me his fortune, I shall have to change my style of dress.”

“Uncle?” he asked. His eyes narrowed. “You can’t mean old Anthony Elham? I heard of his death.”

“Yes. I am Elisabeth Elham. Though it is not at all the thing to go about introducing oneself to strange men,” she told herself reflectively.

The rider laughed. “I hope I’m not strange. But I beg pardon. I should have made myself known to you immediately. I am your neighbor, Derek Wincannon. Do you mean to say that old Elham has left you Willowmere?”

Elisabeth shrugged. “It is part of the estate. And a very ramshackle part, I must say. I have never seen so neglected a house.”

“It’s the scandal of the neighborhood,” said Mr. Wincannon. “Your uncle was a shocking landlord and a worse neighbor.”

“From what I heard of him,” answered Elisabeth, “he was uniformly shocking. I’m rather sorry I never met him.” The man laughed again. “But in any case, you may inform the neighborhood that I shall be putting the place to rights as soon as I may.”

“That’s good news. Will you be settling there?”

“No. At least, not immediately. I shall live in London for a time, at Elham House.”

“For the season, I assume.”

“Yes, I’ll be bringing out my cousin.”

“You are bringing out someone? I’d have thought it would be the other way about.”

“Oh, no,” Elisabeth smiled. “I’m beyond that sort of thing. Quite on the shelf, in fact,” she added lightly.

“I see it now,” he responded dryly, “a veritable antique. How can I have mistaken you for girl in her twenties?”

She laughed. “Well, I daresay I shall attend a few parties also, if I’m asked.”

He smiled. “There can be little doubt of that, I should think. You’ll wish to sample the gaities of the season and attend the assemblies at Almack’s.”

“Almack’s? Oh, no, I shouldn’t think so.”

He raised his eyebrows.

“My father used to tell me stories about London, and he was most severe on Almack’s. He called it the Marriage Mart and painted such a vivid picture of the trials young girls undergo as they are catalogued and labeled according to their faces and fortunes that he gave me quite a horror of the place. I don’t at all wish to go there now.”

Mr. Wincannon’s interest was definitely caught. “Now?”

“Well, of course I might have done so some years ago had I been offered the opportunity,” Elisabeth explained obligingly. “When one is thrown penniless upon the world at the age of nineteen, one is willing to try any shift to come about again. I was very willing then to marry to make my fortune. But I wasn’t given the chance, and how fortunate that was, really. For now, you see, there is no need.”

Derek Wincannon laughed. “You are a most unusual girl,” he said.

“Because I prefer to order my own life now that I have the means to do so?” asked Elisabeth. “I’m persuaded you can’t really think so. Would you give up your independence without need? No indeed. When I was desperate and might have married, no one dared offer for me. I certainly won’t encourage anyone to do so now that I have an income.”

“Much good that will do you, I should say.”

About the Author: Jane Ashford discovered Georgette Heyer in junior high school and was captivated by the glittering world and witty language of Regency England. That delight led her to study English literature and travel widely in Britain and Europe. Her historical and contemporary romances have been published in Sweden, Italy, England, Denmark, France, Russia, Latvia, Slovenia, and Spain, as well as the US. Jane has been nominated for a Career Achievement Award by RT Book Reviews. She lives in Beverly Hills, CA.

Website | Facebook | Goodreads

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

a Rafflecopter giveaway
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