Category Archives: Moving Countries

Release day for Melynda Price!! Passing His Guard!

Please join me in congratulating my lovely friend Melynda Price on the release of this wonderful novel! I had the honour of an ARC and I LOVED it!! If you love an MMA romance with steam, suspense and passion then you NEED to read this book!! 

Melynda PHG

Warning:

17+ sexual content and profanity

When a MMA fighter clashes wills with a sexy private investigator, the gloves come off…

Aiden “Disco Stick” Kruze walked away from it all—money, family, friends, and a successful career as a lawyer in Manhattan—to pursue his dream of being an MMA fighter. When a sexy private investigator shows up at Aiden’s gym, he mistakenly assumes she’s a cage-banging groupie.

Ryann is determined to haul Aiden back home. She’s desperate to claim the reward money that will pay off her father’s creditors before the man who killed her father comes to collect from her.

Aiden is done living his life under the microscope of being a senator’s son. He’s not going back to New York—ever—and there’s nothing this tenacious redhead can do about it. Or is there?

When the demons of Aiden’s past catch up with him, he realizes the lies, deception, and betrayal run deeper than he ever imagined. Aiden must put his career and his life on the line to save the woman who’s stolen his heart.

Melynda PHG teaser

Series Description:

Against The Cage:

The gritty, rough, and hot-as-hell MMA men of the Cage Fighting Association never surrender. Each has his own battle-scarred past, and each has a reason to resist the biggest takedown of all: love. But when these fighters meet their matches, the battles in the cage pale in comparison with the sparks that fly outside of it. Against the Cage, Melynda Price’s MMA romance series, is big on action and high on heat, with alpha males who are just as unforgettable as they are irresistible.

  • Win By Submission (book 1)
  • Passing His Guard (book 2)
  • Grappling For Position (book 3) coming 4/

Melynda PHG teaser 2

Bio:

Melynda Price is the author of several contemporary and paranormal romance titles, including Win by Submission and Passing His Guard in the mixed martial arts–themed Against the Cage series. Price writes for ardent readers who want to fall in love over and over again. She makes the unbelievable believable while taking her characters to the limit with tales full of passion, heart, and unexpected twists. Salting stories with undertones of history whenever possible, Price adds immeasurable depth to her well-crafted books. She lives with her husband and two children in northern Minnesota, where there are plenty of snow-filled days to curl up in front of the fireplace with a hot cup of coffee and write.

Melynda on Facebook

Melynda on Twitter

Melynda’s website

Melynda on Amazon

Excerpt

What are you doing?”

Ryann didn’t even try to disguise the alarm in her voice when Aiden came swaggering out of the bathroom towel drying his hair in nothing but his underwear. The boxer briefs rode low on his waist, clinging to his thighs and hugging his ass. Hanes never looked so good. The black cotton stretched taut over an impressive piece of male flesh hanging between his thighs, the detailed outline leaving nothing to the imagination.

His arms were up, displaying a roadmap of muscled abs and sculpted obliques. Not a spare ounce of flesh adorned this man’s body, a body he clearly had no shame in putting on display. Then again, why should he?—he was absolutely gorgeous.

Aiden froze at her alarmed outburst and canted his head, looking at her from beneath the towel. “What’s it look like I’m doing? I’m getting ready for bed.”

Wearing that?”

His brow arched, more in amusement than in question she suspected. “What do you propose I wear, Ryann? I don’t suppose you happened to grab my duffel bag when you were abducting me.”

No. No, she did not.

I didn’t think so,” he grumbled, tossing the damp towel on the chair as he walked past her side of the bed. Unable to tear her eyes from his incredibly hard body, she watched as he ambled to his side of the bed and flopped down, hands laced behind his head, long legs crossed at the ankle. The unforgiving mattress bounced like a trampoline, throwing Ryann into him. Her hand shot out to stop her trajectory and landed solidly on his chest. Eyes remaining closed, he chuckled. A low throaty rumble vibrated beneath her fingers, traveling up her arm like a seductive shockwave.

Aiden cracked open an eye, pinning her with that heart-stopping amber stare. “Not tonight, honey. I have a headache.”

She gasped. Shock and outrage made her impulsive and reckless. Without thinking better of it, she grabbed the flat disc of his masculine nipple and pinched him—hard. Aiden flinched, barking out a surprised curse.

You’re going to have a lot more than a headache,” she snapped, refusing to let go, and taking sadistic pleasure in wiping that arrogant smirk off his too handsome face. But her win was a short victory, at that. Perhaps she should have considered the wisdom of taking on a MMA fighter because in less than two seconds she was on her back, arms pinned above her head as his body pressed her into the rock hard mattress.

Not so funny now, is it?” he growled.

She couldn’t tell if he was angry or playing—perhaps a little of both. “Let me up,” she bucked her hips, a pathetic attempt to displace one-hundred and eighty-five pounds of hard muscled fighter.

He didn’t budge. She struggled beneath him, trying to work herself free, but his grip only tightened, his body hardening to stone as a low growl tore from his throat. “Fuck, Ryann, quit moving.”

Then let me up!”

Not until you tap.”

What? You’re insane. I’m not tapping for you.”

Then get comfortable, sweetheart, because until you do, I’m not moving.”

For good measure, Aiden ground his hips between her parted thighs, letting her feel the full force of his arousal against the sensitive bead of her sex. A jolt of heat arrowed into her core, releasing a floodgate of desire she’d been fighting like hell to hold back. Damn him. The thin cotton of her pajama pants provided little barrier to his Hanes-covered cock, and soon her body’s moisture would betray her aching need for this man.

Pride and principal warred with self-preservation.

Tap,” he mocked, arching his pierced brow, daring her to push him further.

Never.”

Aiden chuckled, a deep throaty rumble she felt all the way to her toes. With eyes locked on hers, he lowered his head, stopping just before his lips would brush against hers. Seconds ticked by. Her breath stalled in her lungs. He wouldn’t…would he?

Tap,” he growled. The moist heat of his minty breath kissed her lips but his flesh did not. He was bluffing…right? Did she really know him well enough to take that risk? By the unwavering intensity of his amber stare the answer to that would be a “no.” Apparently sleep deprivation was skewing her good judgment because the insane impulse to see how far this fighter was prepared to go in order to win was too tempting to resist.

He thought he had her all figured out, did he?—thought that he could intimidate her with his body, bully her into submission. Well, he had another thing coming. Someone should really teach this guy a lesson, and Ryann was just daring enough to volunteer.

You want me to tap?” she whispered, smiling sweetly. “You first.” She closed the scant distance separating them and kissed him. Aiden froze. For a moment, she thought he was going to pull back. When he didn’t, she couldn’t help but smile against his lips—another win. He didn’t move, nor did he kiss her back, holding himself stone-still as if not certain he trusted her motives. Smart man.

What the hell was she doing? Which seemed to be his mirroring thought when he tensed as her tongue traced his bottom lip, teasing over the loop piercing. His breath passed his parted lips in shortened pants. He seemed to be at war with himself, the energy coiled inside him stringing his muscles ripcord tight.

If she was honest, she’d admit to using this game to sate her wicked curiosity. Did he really taste as good as she remembered, kiss with enough skill and passion to wipe all reason from her mind? What would it take to break this fighter?—to make him tap?

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Welcome New Client: Lisa Hobman

So this has happened!

The Trace Literary Agency Blog

Lisa Hobman, born 1972 in Yorkshire, England is a bestselling contemporary romance author based in Scotland.

Throughout her adult life Lisa has worked in administration, assisted the running of a Homeless Charity and spent time working as a singer. But after relocating with her family to Southern Scotland in 2012 she began to write her Scotland based debut novel Bridge Over the Atlantic (published 2013). In 2014 the novel was shortlisted in the Contemporary Romance category of the Romantic Novelists Association RoNAs. This meant a trip to London for an awards ceremony where she had the opportunity to meet some of her favourite authors—some of whom were also shortlisted in the same category.

Three years after beginning her writing career, Lisa now has a total of seven contemporary romance novels published—several of which have become bestsellers on Amazon, iTunes and Barnes & Noble—and one erotic romance under the pen name Lissa…

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Release Day for 5 Prince Publishing!

Available from 5 Prince
Publishing www.5princebooks.com  books@5princebooks.com
Genre: FICTION / Westerns
Release Date: November 6, 2014
Digital ISBN 13: 978-1-63112-077-0 ISBN 10: 1631120778
Print ISBN 13: 978-1-63112-078-7  ISBN 10: 1631120786

Purchase link : http://www.5princebooks.com/buy-links.html

Sheriff Luke Atwell, a religious man, doubts his occupation after
accidentally shooting a female bystander during a gunfight. The violent
deaths of lawmen and criminals that follow heighten his questioning and he
joins the priesthood to counter evil as a man of peace. However, his
lawman instincts remain as he deals with crime in his inner-city parish.
Temporarily relieved of his priestly obligations, Atwell returns as sheriff to
the changed, now crime-ridden Kansas town to rethink his calling, joined by
unlikely reinforcements—an experienced but alcoholic deputy and a youthful
banjo player. The team, often outnumbered, confronts thieves and killers in a
series of gun battles. As Atwell fights lawlessness, he struggles with his
feelings toward a recent widow. Eventually he must decide:  keep the badge or again wear the clerical
collar.

 
 
Available from 5 Prince
Publishing www.5princebooks.com  books@5princebooks.com
Genre: FICTION / African American / Contemporary Women
Release Date: November 6, 2014
Digital ISBN 13: 978-1-63112-075-6 ISBN 10:1631120751
Print ISBN 13: 978-1-63112-076-3 ISBN 10:163112076X

 Sydnee Garrett has a lot on her
to-do list. Wrangle her young and rambunctious twin boys.
Check. Get her life back in order since her husband decided to leave her for a
much younger woman. Check. And buy a Christmas tree. Check.

What she wasn’t expecting was
adding one more thing to her list. A young, sexy personal trainer. Check.
Quinn Masters is a man who knows what he wants and doesnt take no for an answer. He isnt fazed by age or race differences and he does
everything in his power to win Sydnee over.
Will Sydnee continue to fight
for her orderly life or welcome in the chaos that’s threatening to change her
entire world?
 
 
 

Available from 5 Prince
Publishing www.5princebooks.com  books@5princebooks.com
Genre: Fiction, Romance,
Historical, Alternative History
Release Date: March 13, 2014
Digital ISBN 13: 978-1-63112-082-4 ISBN 10: 1631120824
Print ISBN 13: 978-1-63112-079-4 ISBN 10: 1631120794

Living abroad, Adela
Tilden has avoided the worst of the rebellion. But now that King William
has ordered her back on risk of disinheritance, it doesn’t seem she’ll be able
to stay out of the tumult. Of course, Adela has never abided being a pawn.

With two men ahead of
her, and one left behind, she has to hope she can control this game–or else she
might lose her life.

Between books 1 and 2
of the Broken Line series, The Copper Rebellion is a
glimpse into Antony and Adela’s lost years after The Copper Witch

Available from 5 Prince
Publishing www.5princebooks.com  books@5princebooks.com

Genre: FICTION / Historical /Thrillers
Release Date: November 6, 2014
Digital ISBN 13: 978-1-63112-069-5 ISBN 10:1631120697
Print ISBN 13: 978-1-63112-070-1 ISBN 10:1631120700

 On
Orders Of The Commandant
is an historical novel, set
inside a 1940’s concentration camp in Auschwitz, Poland.

It
is the story of four men who are imprisoned.
In their
afterwards struggle, they deal with several issues-desolation, losing their
family and freedom-but more importantly are confronted with the knowledge of a
machinated plot intended by an SS First Commandant right
under their noses.
A
plan is conceived, after having an underground exit pointed out to them,
to escape the concentration camp itself…
Available from 5 Prince
Publishing www.5princebooks.com  books@5princebooks.com
Genre: FICTION / Romance / Contemporary / Ghost / Paranormal
Release Date: November 6, 2014
Digital ISBN 13: 978-1-63112-073-2 ISBN 10:1631120735
Print ISBN 13: 978-1-63112-074-9 ISBN 10:1631120743

Purchase link : http://www.5princebooks.com/buy-links.html
This novella follows on from Bridge Over the Atlantic and Bridge of Hope and should not be read as a stand alone
Mallory got her happily ever after,
but haunting loss in the past has her running scared that she will lose her
beloved yet again. Can anything…or anyone make her realise she needs
to let go of the past and live for today?

 
 
 
Available from 5 Prince
Publishing www.5princebooks.com  books@5princebooks.com
Genre: FICTION / Romance / Contemporary
Release Date: November 6, 2014
Digital ISBN 13: 978-1-63112-067-1 ISBN 10:1631120670
Print ISBN 13: 978-1-63112-068-8 ISBN 10:1631120689

Purchase link : http://www.5princebooks.com/buy-links.html

Johnny, an IT geek still lives at home with his parents. When
his brother and sister-in-law help a sick friend, he gets coerced into babysitting
his two year old niece, Zoe, on a weekly basis. Johnny reluctantly takes on the
challenge with humourous and often near-disastrous results. Over time, Zoe’s
independence-seeking and outgoing personality inspires Johnny to try to improve
his health, his fashion sense and even his love life. However, after a couple
of setbacks, Johnny wonders if it’s worth the effort and retreats to his former
habits. Can Zoe show him the way to true love?

Jocktoberfest 2014 – Rain, Red Kites and Ray Bans… An author’s weekend off!

 

 

 

 

Blue skies

My Facebook author page is here.

This was our THIRD visit to Jocktoberfest since relocating to Scotland in 2012 and we were rather giddy in the weeks leading up to the event. I say giddy…that could possibly be an understatement! I’ve spent the last few months editing several books and publishing my fourth contemporary romance novel Bridge of Hope and so this was going to be a escape for a wee while before the whole process started again! All of my books take place in the Highlands and it was so good to be back there!

After spending a rather romantic Thursday at a superb B & B in Inverness we set off to the Black Isle with great excitement. You see, this festival has led us to the discovery of some amazing music. Every year we find a new favourite band! Our first Jocktoberfest back in 2012 was where we discovered The Lafontaines, Washington Irving, Toby Michaels and the Rolling Damned and the magnificently talented mind blowing Esperi. Knowing that Esperi was going to be performing again was simply the cherry on top of the chocolate frosting on top of the worlds best cake…EVER!

The inclement weather of the few days prior to the event made us a tad nervous. No one like to put up a tent in the pouring rain after all! But thankfully we arrived to bright sunshine and erected our little blue tent with big smiles. And who could complain at the setting?

View from our tent

The thing that never ceases to amaze me about Jocktoberfest is how friendly everyone is. Within five minutes of sitting down when the venue opened on Friday – me in my Sons’s of Anarchy T-shirt and hubby in his Washington Irving one – a lovely young woman began chatting to us about our taste in TV and music! And she even said “Hi” and chatted again when we saw her later in the weekend. I love the fact that the event brings people of all ages and musical tastes together and that the atmosphere is buzzing from the get go. We have never encountered trouble and come away each year looking forward to the next time.

It was great to see Dr. Wook of The Whiskeys performing on Friday evening and we hope all is well with his wife as she was about to give birth at any second! The evening was lively and Tweed had us jigging around with silly grins on our faces.

The weather overnight on Friday was sooo cold! But we still woke with determination to make the most of the festivities on Saturday. We donned our checked shirts and cowboy hats and went down to the Wild West themed venue wondering what other crazy costumes we would encounter! We were NOT disappointed! Surrounded by horses, cowboys, Mexicans and even cacti – yes you read it right – we wandered around clutching our favourite beer – a Blonde for the blonde and a Red Kite for the Hombre 😉 And we sat to enjoy our first act of the day.

Yeeeeehaw!

I’m not going to review each individual band as I’m no reviewer and I know little about music other than what I like but all I will say is that we hardly stood still the whole time. There was a lot of smiling and joining in when the bands requested audience participation. But one of the highlights for me was a band called Gabbro.  I honestly never thought I would see the day when a spontaneous Ceilidh would break out at four in the afternoon when I was surrounded by cowboys/girls! You couldn’t help but tap your feet and clap along to this lively bunch of talented people. Absolutely loved them and I’m sure we will be hearing much more from them in the future.

Afternoon Ceilidh

The other thing we love about Jocktoberfest is the way that the bands seem to be like a family! You will spot a bass player from one band standing in for another…a drummer will pop up somewhere you didn’t expect and so on. It’s fantastic that there is a willingness to support each other. Just how it should be.

Now I will have to wax lyrical about one particular artist. I may be his number one fan 😉 Esperi was back at Jocktoberfest! Woohooo! AND I got to have my photo taken with him! I may have fangirled a little. We met Chris at our very first Jocktoberfest and were completely wowed by his unique way of producing music. Add that to his multifaceted talent and you have a recipe for amazing music. I was so excited when he finished his set with my all time fave Esperi song ‘Silo the Fire’. I absolutely LOVE the way the song builds and builds until the crescendo of Chris drumming live to a track of sounds he has looped from all manner of items – kids toys to a Melodica (if that’s what you call the thingy with the keys and the long tube!) This guy is lovely and after chatting to him he may just be making an appearance in one of my upcoming books. His new CD became the soundtrack to our journey home 🙂

eSPERI

At lunch time on Saturday we went back to the tent to chill for a while and let some of the yummy beer soak in. We sat outside the tent eating our noodles and listening to ‘Hallelujah’ by Jeff Buckley being played a couple of tents away on someones portable MP3. See we even had music at the camp site!

Now I will briefly chat about our new favourite bands for this year. It happens every year like I said before. This year was no different. We discovered the fabulous Verona. Wow! Heart meltingly good tunes. Great stage presence. A band to watch for sure.

This year we were also BLOWN AWAY by Red Kites and I don’t just mean the delicious Black Isle beer – oh my word! The guitarist was AMAZING! Such a massive amount of talent and enthusiasm. His grin was infectious. The band were all VERY talented and musically – wow – like I said, I’m no reviewer but I will most definitely be buying some of this bands music without a doubt. My phone battery had died by this time so I will update with pics when hubs gets home as I think he took some. 

Now you may be wondering why Ray Bans are mentioned in the title of this blog? Well… During Saturday evening we went to sit on one the straw bales in the Dutch barn and were approached by the people who had been sitting there before. They asked if we had seen a pair of sunglasses when we had sat down. Unfortunately we hadn’t. We had a good search of the area but the glasses were nowhere to be seen. The friends walked away looking very dejected. In a bid not to give up, hubs and I began rummaging through the piles of straw and my foot caught something. Hubs bent to see what it was and it turned out to be the lost glasses! He went running after the friends and handed over them over to their rightful owner. The reaction he got almost knocked him off his feet! To say they were happy would be an understatement!  He was enveloped in a bear hug and thanked over and over. The woman kissed him and then rushed over to apologise to me 😀 I got hugs too. We realised why the poor guy had been so gutted about losing them when it turned out what brand they were. So we made a couple of new friends too!

The weather wasn’t the best we had experienced at the festival but sadly no one can book the good stuff where that’s concerned. And in any case the weather didn’t spoil our fun! The beer was scrummy the staff were fantastic (as they always are) and the only thing that we were sad about was the lack of the Churros cart!

If you haven’t been to Jocktoberfest then you really should give it a go next year. It is well worth sleeping in a tent for!

It's all about the beer 

Simply CAN NOT WAIT for next year! Well done Black Isle Brewery and Jocktoberfest!

My facebook page can be found here.

 

 

It’s here!! Bridge of Hope by me – Lisa J Hobman is released! Yay!

 
Well the day of book number four is finally here! This book means such a lot to me seeing as I wrote it on the request of the people who read and loved Bridge Over the Atlantic. Greg struck a chord with them (pardon the pun 😉 ) and they wanted more. I was happy to oblige. This is a companion novel which tells Greg’s own story from his POV. You will find out how he became the man he is in Bridge Over the Atlantic and you will see everything through his eyes whilst experiencing his emotions. I sincerely hope you enjoy it ❤
 
NB: This book is for ages 18+ only
 
 
 
 
 
 
Available from 5 Prince Publishing www.5princebooks.com  books@5princebooks.com
Genre: FICTION / Romance / Contemporary
Release Date: August 21, 2014
Digital ISBN 10:163112062X ISBN 13:978-1-63112-062-6
Print ISBN-10:1631120638 ISBN-13:978-1-63112-063-3
 
 
 
 
 
 
Love is like a snowflake; beautiful but fleeting in its presence…
I’ve been in love. But I’ve also been lied to, betrayed by those closest to me and I’ve suffered loss. Sadly it’s those last three things that stick with me the most. The only real constants in my life are music, Angus my dog and Rhiannon;
my guitar.
 
But things changed when she walked into my place of work. All blue eyes, curves and a warmth that could
melt even my hardened heart. I was taken over by feelings that I didn’t expect so soon. Guilt plagued me and I
took my anger out on her.
 
On Mallory.
 
But I fell fast and hard and there was nothing I could do to stop it. When she too became the victim of heartbreak I was the only one who understood her pain but I was the last person she wanted help from.
 
Would I ever convince her that we could be friends? And would I ever accept that she couldn’t love me back?
 
 
About Lisa J Hobman
Lisa is a happily married Mum of one with two crazy
dogs.  Originally from Yorkshire, England, Lisa now resides in Scotland – her favourite place in the world.
Writing has always been something Lisa has enjoyed, although
in the past it has centered on poetry and song lyrics.  The story in her debut novel had been building in her mind for a long while but until the relocation, she never had the time to put it down in black and white; working full time and studying swallowed up any spare time she had.  Making the move north of the border to Scotland has given Lisa the opportunity to spread her wings and fulfill her dream.  Writing is now a deep passion and she has enjoyed every minute of working towards being published.
 
How to contact Lisa J Hobman:
 
 
Excerpt of Bridge of Hope:

Chapter One

January 2011
It had been the same damned nightmare again.
I’d been experiencing what the doctor called night terrors ever since receiving the news that Mairi had been
declared dead. The love of my fucking life… dead.
There were no words to describe the physical pain knotting my insides every
time I realised it was true and not just a cruel dream.
There had been no body to bury. But apparently that’s not uncommon when
people are lost up the side of a mountain like K2. People can lie undiscovered
for years up there, so I’m told.
Sobering thought.
The stupid thing was that I wasn’t even there when it happened, but for
some bizarre reason my psyche had built up its own series of events and
insisted on torturing me with the movie of Mairi’s death every time I closed my
eyes.
What I wouldn’t give
for a peaceful night’s sleep.
I’d taken on extra work whenever I wasn’t on the water. The boat was
only a seasonal thing anyway. And although tourists loved the area surrounding
the bridge over the Atlantic, taking a trip out on Little Blue on choppy water wasn’t for fainthearted, unseasoned
sailors. So I’d taken on work as a handyman. I was fixing taps, sealing sinks,
unblocking drains. Oddly, all the jobs seemed to be water related. Maybe that
was because I had a combination of water and single malt running through ma veins.
Who knows?
Keeping busy was my intention. Being occupied was the only thing
stopping me from slipping into a deep depression, and I knew all too well how
easy it would’ve been just to let go and fall into the abyss like Mairi did in
my nightmares.
I’d met her when I was out walking. I’d pretty much given up hope of
ever falling in love for real. I’d had a shot at it before—Alice was her name,
but the less said about her right now the better. But life likes to throw in
curveballs every so often. And so there I was up by the Buckle, taking in the
scenery and fresh air, when this fiery-haired girl tripped over her laces and
into my arms. She had the most stunning smile I’d ever seen. And her eyes…
Let’s just say when she gazed up at me she melted my heart. We chatted for ages
and it was just… so natural.
I was never going to be the same again.
Our relationship progressed quickly and was very physical. I was a fair few years older than her but I had no
trouble keeping up, if you know what I mean. I loved every inch of her body
with a passion I’d never experienced before. It was raw and real. I’d sit
watching her as she studied maps and reference books about climbing. Every so
often she’d glance up and catch me staring and she’d just smile, climb into my
lap, and kiss me.
After Alice and I split—I won’t bore you with the details just yet,
let’s just say that she was a nasty piece of work who messed with my head and
broke my heart, more than once—I swore off love and all it entailed. I didn’t need a woman in my life. Or so I
thought. But when I lost Mairi, it was like someone had ripped out ma heart and
stamped on it whilst I watched. The pain was excruciating.
Physical, gut-twisting pain.
I felt sure they’d gotten it wrong. She went to K2 with experienced
climbers. She was an experienced mountaineer too. It’d been her dream for so long. I wasn’t about to stand in
her way, and the thought that she may not come back never even entered my head.
Not being able to say goodbye was the worst thing. The small memorial
service we held was devoid of emotion. It was as if her friends and family were
in some kind of denial.
I think I was too.
Thinking back to the morning she left for the trip broke my heart, but I
couldn’t stop myself.
June 2010
Her long, titian curls fanned out on the pillow beside me and she smiled
as she slept. She was exposed to me from the waist up and I lay there on my
side, willing her to awaken. I wasn’t going to see her for months and I wanted
to get my fill whilst I still could. I gently stroked her chin, down between
her creamy bare breasts to her navel. It was cruel but I wanted her to open her
eyes. Instead she whacked my hand away and muttered expletives. I burst out
laughing, trying my best to do it quietly but failing miserably.
She picked up one of the spare pillows and hit me on the head with it,
making me chuckle again. “Gregory McBradden, you’re a total shit. I was having
a really sexy dream,” she whined, eyes still closed.
I leaned in. With my mouth next to her ear, I whispered, “Open your eyes
and let’s make your dream come true, love.” That got her every time. Goose
bumps pricked her skin and she moaned. Her eyes sprang open and she pounced on
me, pushing me onto my back and straddling my waist.
God, she was so beautiful.
I gazed up at her. Her pert breasts begging for my touch. I was already
hard, but seeing her like this did something to my insides and brought out the
animalistic side of me. I gripped her hips as I inhaled a deep breath, trying
my best to calm the furnace raging beneath my skin. As she bent to take my
mouth in a deep, sensual kiss, her hair cascaded to my chest. Our tongues
slipped and slid together in an erotic dance, and every nerve in my body sprang
to life just for her. Every fibre of my being was drawn to her; needed her.
I swept the hair back from her face and fixed my eyes on hers.
“Do you know how much I love you, Mairi? Do you know how much I’m going
to miss you when you’re gone? It doesn’t matter how far apart we are. You’re
still in here,” I said, touching my head. “And in here.” I touched my chest
over my heart. She stared silently at me for a moment and then closed her eyes.
A tear slipped down her cheek and I caught it with my thumb. “Hey, what’s
wrong?”
She inhaled deeply. “Nothing. I’m just… really nervous about the whole
trip. K2 has been my dream for so long, but now… I’m terrified. What if I’m not
fit enough? What if I can’t do it, Greg?”
I slid my calloused hands up her smooth, taut thighs where they gripped
me, to the dip between her hip and waist as my eyes followed the journey of my
fingers. I swallowed hard at the feel of her muscles tightening under my
caress, and my breath caught in my throat as I replied, “Come on, love, you are fit enough and strong enough. You’ve
been working towards this for so long, how could you not be? You’re bound to be
nervous. But you’re fulfilling a dream, and there’s not many folk can say
they’ve done that. You’ll be fine. Absolutely fine. But I might not be.” I
stuck out my bottom lip, trying to lighten the mood. “My heart might break into
a million pieces when I’m left here by mysel’. What will I do?”
She bent and kissed my nose. And then with a sexy smile, she smoothed
her hands down my chest and it was my turn to shiver.
“You’ll have to dream of me naked on top of you like this, and that’ll
cheer you up.” She rolled her hips, making me bite my lip.
I inhaled deeply. “Aye, I suppose it will. But having you back here
again so I can do this again…” In one sweep of my arms I had her beneath me, my
body between her silky thighs. I sank into her, pleasure radiating from where
we were joined. “… is what I’ll be looking forward to.”
A breathy moan escaped through her full lips. She closed her eyes as she
welcomed me in and slipped her arms around my neck. I kissed her everywhere I
could reach, taking each nipple into my mouth slowly and nibbling on the little
buds as they tightened. Gasping, she fixed her eyes on mine as I moved deep
within her.
Overwhelming emotions ripped through me as I made love to her. My Mairi.
I took in every sensation and every look; my heart aching at the thought of
being apart from her for so long. As she pulsed around me and her orgasm took
her soaring off into the stratosphere, I kept my gaze locked on hers, hoping I
was conveying everything through my eyes that I couldn’t put into words, and I
followed soon after.
Afterwards, we lay there in each other’s arms for what felt like hours.
I was unwilling to let her go, telling myself I’d hold her for a few minutes
more. When she eventually withdrew from my embrace, I lay back and fought the
fears niggling deep within me.
Stupid fears.
What if she meets someone who’s more her age? What if she meets someone
who loves climbing the way she does? What if she doesn’t miss me as much as I
miss her? What if she loves it so much out there that she decides to stay? What
if? What if? What fucking if?
A couple of hours later we set off to the airport, and for the first
part of the journey we both sat in silent contemplation. There were so many
things I wanted to say, but the words never came and I cursed myself for being
so fucking useless at expressing myself.
Luckily, she knew what I was like. I’d spent the day before looking for
songs to express how I felt and I’d made a CD. The silence in the car was
deafening and so I reached over and hit play. I made eye contact with her for a
few moments as the opening chords to “I Will Remember You” by Ryan Cabrera
filled the small space between us. Turning my eyes back to the road, I saw her
in my peripheral vision, wiping her eyes as her lip trembled.
At the airport I pulled her into my arms and held her against my chest.
I knew she must have felt the rapid pounding of my heart as we stood inside the
terminal. Tears threatened. My eyes were desperate to give them up, but I tried
so hard not to make the situation more difficult than it already was.
Swallowing the lump in my throat, I pulled away and gazed into her emerald eyes
one last time.
My voice wavered as I told her, “I’m not going to say goodbye because I
hate that word and we’ll be back together before you know it anyway. So I’m
going to say have a great time and stay safe. And know that I’ll be thinking of
you every moment whilst you’re gone.”
Pulling me toward her, she kissed me with a ferocity that took my breath
away. I fisted my hands in her hair and returned the kiss with equal passion.
When I eventually pulled away, I cupped her face in my hands and stroked the
apples of her cheeks with my thumbs. “It’s just a few months, love. Go and show
’em what you’re made of, eh?”
She nodded and gripped my hands where they lay on her skin. Relentless
tears spilled from her eyes as she let go and turned to walk away. All my fears
bubbled to the surface once again and I couldn’t hold back. “I love you, Mairi.
And one day I want to marry you!” I shouted.
As soon as the words left my mouth I clamped it shut.
Fuckfuckfuckfuck!
We’d never discussed marriage before. But I have a tendency to say
what’s on my mind without thinking about the consequences, and this was one of
those times. I was filled with dread. Had I just given her a ticket to
Get-Out-Ville? Again, fuck! My heart hammered like it was trying to do a
fucking runner and my mouth went dry.
The people around us stopped and stared.
Mairi halted in her tracks and I froze. She turned to face me, her mouth
open in what I can only describe as utter, mind-frying shock. I swallowed hard,
my mind racing to find something to say to take the words back. But a beautiful
smile appeared on her face. She ran toward me and flung her arms around my
neck, her legs around my waist. Everyone around us applauded as I hugged her
into my body before letting her go and setting her down again. With one last
heart-melting smile she stroked my cheek, turned, and walked away.
 

COVER REVEAL – LISA J HOBMAN – BRIDGE OF HOPE :-D

Oh my WORD!!! I am sooooo excited to share this with you all!!

Genre: FICTION / Romance / Contemporary
Release Date: August 21, 2014
Digital ISBN 10:163112062X ISBN 13:978-1-63112-062-6
Print ISBN-10:1631120638 ISBN-13:978-1-63112-063-3
Love is like a snowflake; beautiful but fleeting in its presence…
I’ve been in love. But I’ve also been lied to, betrayed by those closest to me and I’ve suffered loss. Sadly it’s those last three things that stick with me the most. The only real constants in my life are music, Angus my dog and Rhiannon; my guitar.
But things changed when she walked into my place of work. All blue eyes, curves and a warmth that could melt even my hardened heart. I was taken over by feelings that I didn’t expect so soon. Guilt plagued me and I took my anger out on her.
On Mallory.
But I fell fast and hard and there was nothing I could do to stop it. When she too became the victim of heartbreak I was the only one who understood her pain but I was the last person she wanted help from.

Would I ever convince her that we could be friends? And would I ever accept that she couldn’t love me back?

One Year On – The Rollercoaster Ride Continues!

Today marks the one year anniversary of the publishing of my debut novel Bridge Over the Atlantic. They say ‘Time flies when you’re having fun’ and I guess that, seeing as it feels like only yesterday, it must be true!  This year has seen some dramatic changes in my life. I became a full time writer firstly. That was something I never expected. But it has been an amazing experience.

My debut novel which was shortlisted in the contemporary romance category at The RoNAs

My debut novel which was shortlisted in the contemporary romance category at The RoNAs

I have appeared in national and local press and been featured on lots of blogs by fabulous bloggers who share my passion for books. It’s so wonderful to receive such positive support from people and I always try to reciprocate that support. I have made some really good friends out there in the writing world too, authors and readers alike and I love that I have so many people to communicate with about my passion. To be shortlisted for a national award by The Romantic Novelists Association was just astounding! I think after overcoming the shock I cried for an hour solid! The event that took place in London on March 17th was fantastic and I got to meet one of my favourite authors of all time – Lisa Jewell

Official pic of contemporary romance category shortlisted authors courtesy of The RNA

Official pic of contemporary romance category shortlisted authors courtesy of The RNA

Bridge Over the Atlantic will always be my novel ‘baby’. It was the first attempt I made at writing a book. I had no clue how it would go or if anyone would be in the slightest bit interested in what I had to say. But a year on and the response to the book—especially to Greg—has blown me away!

Quote from Greg - Bridge Over the Atlantic

Quote from Greg – Bridge Over the Atlantic

He probably should have his own fan club! When I wrote the book I always pictured Gerard Butler as Greg and it still is a dream of mine to one day see the book turned into a movie. I wonder if I could convince Mister Butler to play the part 😉 I suppose I have to be realistic though as I think every author probably shares that dream and it happens to so few books when you look at the great scheme of things. But I can still dream!

I have had some wonderful messages over this past year from people who have read Bridge Over the Atlantic and have fallen in love with Scotland and the Highlands as a result. It touches my heart to hear people telling me how my book reached them emotionally too as that was one of the things I was most nervous about; would the emotion come across?

The reviews—good and bad—have taught me so much and although it’s hard to read the more negative ones they have helped me to realise that I can’t please everyone. All I can do is try my best and write from the heart.

Editing has begun on the companion novel now and this will be out in October. That feels like such a long time away but I think we all know it will be here before we know it and so I won’t go wishing the time away.

Tag line pic from Bridge of Hope

Tag line pic from Bridge of Hope

What I will say finally is a HUGE thank you to my family, my friends and my publishing company 5 Prince Publishing for the continued encouragement and support.

Here are some of the images from this last year that tell the story of my journey as an author.

My debut novel which was shortlisted in the contemporary romance category at The RoNAs

My debut novel which was shortlisted in the contemporary romance category at The RoNAs

My first publicity shot taken by Craig at Craig Photography Studio

My first publicity shot taken by Craig at Craig Photography Studio

The stunning updated cover for my second novel

The stunning updated cover for my second novel

Me with Lisa Jewell

Me with Lisa Jewell at The RoNAs

RNA Awards Contemporary Romance Category 2014

RNA Awards Contemporary Romance Category 2014

Celebrating publishing

Celebrating publishing

My first book signing event!

My first book signing event!

Quote from Greg - Bridge Over the Atlantic

Quote from Greg – Bridge Over the Atlantic

Me and the fab cake I had at my launch party

Me and the fab cake I had at my launch party

My third novel The Girl Before Eve

My third novel The Girl Before Eve

The wonderful publishers who gave me a chance

The wonderful publishers who gave me a chance

The actual Bridge Over the Atlantic in the Highlands that inspired my debut novel

The actual Bridge Over the Atlantic in the Highlands that inspired my debut novel

Cover Reveal! Bernadette Marie – The Acceptance

Once again it is my absolute pleasure to be a part of the Cover Reveal for my dear friend Bernadette Marie and the next installment in the Keller Family Series! The book is out on May 29th. More info below!

Genre: Fiction, Romance, Contemporary
Release Date: May 29, 2014
Digital ISBN-10: 1631120360 ISBN-13: 978-1-63112-036-7
Print ISBN-10: 1631120379 ISBN-13: 978-1-63112-037-4
The Acceptance:
Tyler Benson’s world was shaken with the news that he had a
sister—one he never knew he had. Though he loves his sister, and his family
remains a tightly woven unit, he simply can’t shake the feeling of betrayal
from his mother. After a sabbatical from his family to find himself it is time
to head back home and try to pick up the pieces of his life.
Courtney Fields has learned to deal with many tragedies.
Losing her sight at eight-years-old was only a challenge that gave her many
other skills. Now dealing with the loss of her brother in combat will no doubt
teach her new lessons in life.
When Tyler meets Courtney on a South bound flight to
Nashville he couldn’t possibly have expected that she’d be his lesson in
accepting the things he cannot change or control. But can he reciprocate in
helping her accept the loss of her brother when she learns the truth of his
death?

 

Cover Reveal! Bernadette Marie – Indomitable Spirit

Today I’m delighted to share with you all the new cover for my friend and fellow author’s upcoming novel. Bernadette Marie is soon to be releasing Indomitable Spirit the next novel in her Aspen Creek series…

Genre: Fiction, Romance, Contemporary
Release Date: April 24, 2014
Digital ISBN 13: 978-1-63112-034-3 ISBN: 10: 1631120344
Print ISBN-10: 1631120352 ISBN-13: 978-1-63112-035-0
Indomitable Spirit:
Caught between the traditional Korean culture of her mother and the fun-loving Irish heritage of her father, Kym O’Byrne has never felt truly at home … until she inherits the O’Byrne Karate School in the sleepy Colorado town of Aspen Creek. Staying focused and disciplined is her game, but something buried deep within the eyes of the grouchy handyman, John Larson—father of some of her most promising students—threatens to turn her strict world on its end …

Release Day! Jessica Dall – The Copper Witch

Available from 5 Prince
Publishing www.5princebooks.com  books@5princebooks.com
Genre: Fiction, Romance,
Historical, Alternative History
Release Date: March 13, 2014
Digital ISBN 10: 1631120093 ISBN-13:978-1-63112-009-1
Print ISBN 10:1631120107 ISBN-13:978-1-63112-010-7
The Copper Witch:
“Ambition or Love”
Adela Tilden has always been more ambitious than her station
in life might allow. A minor nobleman’s daughter on a failing barony, Adela’s
prospects seem dire outside of marrying well-off. When Adela catches the eye of
the crown prince, Edward, however, well-off doesn’t seem to be a problem.
Thrown into a world of politics and intrigue, Adela might have found all the
excitement she ever wanted—if she can manage to leave her past behind.
About Jessica Dall:
Jessica Dall finished her first novel at age 15 and been writing ever sense. She is the author of such novels as Grey Areas and The Bleeding Crowd and a number of short stories which have appeared in both literary magazines and anthologies. When not writing, she works as a freelance editor and creative writing teacher in Washington, DC.
How to find Jessica Dall:
Website/blog: www.jessicadall.com
Twitter: @JessicaDall
Excerpt of The Copper Witch:
Adela Tilden held as still as she could force herself to be, her eyes sliding over every now and again to study the man sitting in front of her.
Antony looked up from the easel and released a breath through his nose. “Hold still.”
“I am,” she said, barely moving her mouth.
He gave her a dark look.
Adela exaggerated a sigh, dropping her eyes again to the side, staring at the same patch of grey stone as she had been for what felt like years. “I want to see what you’re doing.”
“You’ll see when I’m done.”
She fidgeted, glancing at her dress. “Can’t we make the neckline just a little lower?”
“Your grandmother doesn’t like it as it is,” Antony droned, the same answer yet again.
“Well, of course she doesn’t,” Adela said, barely refraining from rolling her eyes and getting yelled at again.
“Drop your shoulder a little,” he directed, “and hold still.”
So she’d get yelled at either way, it seemed. Adela shifted, still attempted to freeze.
Antony shook his head, running a frustrated hand through his brown hair. “No, drop…not… You know what?” He moved to her.
Adela watched him carefully, making no effort to help as he straightened the line of the dress where it stopped around her shoulders. If a little too thin to be called well built, she had to admit Antony was an attractive man with his dark eyes and square jaw. It was a shame he had staged her looking away. She wouldn’t have minded the excuse to spend
her time studying him right back. 
He pressed her shoulder down lightly with the end of his paintbrush. “Can you hold that now?”
Her eyes remained on his face. “It’s hardly acrobatics.”
Antony’s eyes flicked up as he offered a weak smile, sliding away just as quickly as he adjusted the oblong pearl in the headpiece Adela’s grandmother had pulled out just for the occasion. He paused, finally moved a strand of the hair that had been left out of the braids at her crown and placed it over her shoulder. He stepped back, looking at her just a
little bit too long, starting when he met her eyes. “There. Much better.”
The way he backed away, almost making it look like a retreat, made Adela smile. She watched Antony settle himself before tilting her head back the way it had been. “I don’t understand why Grandmamma wants a portrait of me anyway. It’s not as if anyone is going to see it. No one ever comes out here, you know. I’m surprised you’re here and you’re paid to be.”
“She’s trying to make sure that no one gets any funny ideas about your financial situation, I believe, Miss Tilden.” Antony didn’t look away from the easel.
“Even if they’re completely correct.” Adela heaved a sigh.
“Stop moving.”
She couldn’t help glancing again, looking away when he glared. “How old are you, Antony?”
He paused momentarily. “Does that matter?”
“I was just curious,” she said. “You’re much younger than the painters we used to have come here.”
“I’m not as well-seasoned as them, I would think,” he said. “And I imagine I’m quite a bit cheaper.”
“Oh.” She fought away a smile. “So I shouldn’t be surprised when my nose comprises the better part of my face, then?”
“I think I’m skilled enough to keep that from happening,” Antony answered, continuing under his breath, “Anyway, if I were going to make a feature too large it would much more likely be your eyes.”
Her eyes slid over to him again. 
He met them for a second before looking away sharply. “Stay still.”
“You just started painting, then?” She looked down and away again.
“I’ve been painting my entire life,” he said, seeming relieved. “Just finished my apprenticeship a year or so ago.”
“So you’re what then?” Adela did the math in her head. “Twenty? Twenty-One?”
“Something like that.”
She smiled. “You don’t know which one?”
“Relax your face.”
She took a breath, forced off the smile. “Is it a secret?”
Exasperation leeched into his voice. “Is what?”
“Your age.”
He released a breath. “I just don’t see how it’s relevant.”
“I asked,” she said. “That doesn’t make it relevant enough?”
“I don’t believe that’s the way it works, Miss Tilden.”
She shifted. “Can I please move? I’m going to freeze in this position if
I have to keep it up much longer.”
Antony set down his brush, holding his hands up, motioning his surrender. “We can take a break.”
Adela rolled her shoulders, standing quickly to stretch her legs. She turned. “Can I see now?”
He looked up from straightening his paints.
“I’d like to see how you’re painting me,” she continued at his silence.
Antony hesitated. “I prefer people not to see what I’m painting until I’m done.”
She moved closer. “I’m paying for it. I’d think you’d want to know if I’m unsatisfied in any way.”
He opened his mouth, cleared his throat before starting. “Your grandmother’s paying for it, Miss Tilden. Maybe I should show her.”
Adela pouted. “Please?”
He looked at her for another moment. Finally, sighing, he backed up for her to take a look. Adela moved quickly, her soft slippers barely making a sound on the stone floor. And the painting slid into view.
Unlike the other china-doll portraits in the manor—with every inch of the women
in them softened, pale—the picture in front of her looked as though he had
taken her reflection and pressed it onto the canvas.  She studied herself, fascinated for a moment before collecting herself. She pulled herself straight. “You’re using a lot of
red in my hair.”
His eyes lifted to her scalp. “Well, there is a lot of red in your hair, Miss Tilden.”
She twirled a strand absentmindedly around her finger, and didn’t dispute it.
“Satisfied?” he finally asked.
“You are quite talented,” she said, looked from the painting to him. “I don’t think you have my lips quite right, though.”
“No?”
She picked up the mirror on the mantel, studying her face before looking back at him. “Don’t you think? My bottom lip is fuller.”
He looked at her lips for a moment, slid his eyes away, nodding. “I’ll fix it when you sit back down.”
She looked at her reflection for another moment before tilting the mirror down to fix the neckline of her dress. “This was the dress I wore to my mother’s funeral, you know.”
Antony started, mouth working as he searched for something to say. “Oh.”
“It’s been altered, of course.” She played with the gold thread that had been used to embroider the swirling pattern along the bodice. “But Grandmamma insisted that black was the proper color for a portrait, and I doubt we would have been able to get new silk, so she recycled this one.”
“Oh,” Antony repeated.
“I have to say, I like it better this way.” She leaned back against the wall sliding her hands down the skirt.
Antony coughed, looked at the windows. “We’re not going to have the light much longer. As soon as the sun…we’ll have to stop for the night.”
Adela sighed dramatically, looking at the high windows around the gaping hall. “How much longer do you think it’s going to be?”
“Not long. I’m almost done with what I need you for. I can do the background alone.”
She nodded slowly, studying him.
He met her eyes before once again looking away. “What?”
“Where did you learn to paint?”
He shook his head. “I told you, I’ve always painted.”
“Was your father a painter?”
Antony pressed his lips together. “Soldier, actually.”
“Ah,” Adela said. “Second son?” Antony shrugged. “What’s your last name?”
“I don’t think I was hired to help you figure out my life story, Miss Tilden.” Antony finally looked back at her.
“I’m just curious.” Adela shrugged innocently. “If you were able to apprentice as a painter obviously you aren’t from a farming family.”
He shook his head, straightening his brushes awkwardly. “Fletcher.”
Adela tilted her head. “Any relation to Thurston Fletcher?”
“None,” he said, voice curt. “Think you’ve stretched out enough to let me finish?”
She smiled at the joke he didn’t seem to catch. “Maybe.”
He motioned to the stool. “Whenever you’re ready, Miss Tilden.”
All business once again, Adela’s smile dropped as she settled on her stool. “You could call me Adela, you realize. No need for all the formality.”
“I’m more comfortable with ‘Miss Tilden’ if it’s all the same to you,” he said, jaw tight. “I wouldn’t presume the familiarity.”
“You wouldn’t be presuming anything. I said you could,” she said. “I call you Antony. I didn’t even know your last name until a few moments ago.”
“Your family is quite a bit more important than mine, Miss Tilden.” He took his seat. “There’s no reason for you to know my family.”
She scoffed. “I’m living in the middle of nowhere, alone, save my grandmother who hasn’t been further than our front gates since my mother passed.” Adela looked up at the ceiling. “God rest her soul. I’m surprised anyone remembers us at all.”
“You do own Penrith,” he said.
“Also known as the entirety of three-dozen people and five-thousand sheep.” She let out an exasperated sigh when he didn’t answer. “Am I sitting properly?”
“Turn a little towards me,” he directed, finally looking up. “Relax your hand.”
“Like this?”
He nodded. “Head down. Right there. You can hold that?”
She rolled her eyes. “I have been for two days.”
He didn’t answer, returning to the painting.
“Whom have you painted before?” she asked.
“Mostly models,” Antony said.
“Were they pretty?” Adela asked.
Antony’s cheek twitched. “If you want me to get your mouth right you’re going to have to stop moving it, Miss Tilden.”
She released a breath, froze, staying still as long as she could stand the silence. Her eyes flicked toward him. “Well, were they?”
“Miss Tilden,” he snapped.
“It’s just a question, Antony.”
He groaned, the sound coming from the back of his throat before he finally answered in a more civilized, if still strained, tone, “Were they what?”
“Pretty,” she said. “The models.”
He painted a few more strokes. “I suppose. Some of them.”
“Only some?” she asked.
“Well, we need to know how to paint non-pretty people too.”
“That can’t be fun.” Her nose crinkled. “Staring at ugly people for days on end.”
“Hold still.”
She sighed, complying for barely a second before continuing, “Do you think I’m
pretty?”
He frowned. “I hardly think I’m qualified to judge, Miss Tilden.”
“You’ve seen plenty of both, I’m sure,” she said. “Am I closer to the pretty models or the ugly ones?”
He released a slow breath. “You are attractive, in my opinion, Miss Tilden.”
She smiled.
“Miss Tilden,” he snapped.
The smile dropped without having to be told. She tapped her foot under her dress for a moment. “What’s it like having a job, Antony?”
He let out a loud, exasperated sigh, resting his pallet in his lap. “What?”
“I’ve never worked,” she said.
“You’re young.” He waited, only continuing when she didn’t speak again. “And I doubt you need to.”
“It probably wouldn’t hurt around here.” She puffed out her cheeks, stopping before he could snap again. “Though my grandmother would rather die in the poorhouse than let me work, I’m sure.”
He hummed, eyes back on the painting.
“And I’m not that young,” she added.
“Young enough,” he said.
She studied him out of the corner of her eyes, glancing away each time he looked up. The brush moved quickly, Antony barely seeming to think before he made the next line. She half wanted to be on the other side of the easel watching how he painted rather than stuck on her stool across the room. The silence stretched on, every movement of the brush seeming amplified as he refused to speak. “You’re rather boring, you know
that?”
“I’m not paid to be entertaining,” Antony answered quickly.
“Obviously.”
The silence returned, long enough this time Adela began to doubt he would answer at all, then the sound of brushes being set on his small table. Adela turned her head to look at him.
He didn’t look back. “I think I have what I need.”
She frowned. “You’re sure?”
“Very.”
She stood, looking at him for a long moment. “Do I make you uncomfortable, Antony?”
He glanced up, then away. “No. Why?”
“You never look me in the eyes.” 
“That’s a sign of respect, isn’t it?”
“Maybe a hundred years ago.” She scoffed. “Seems dishonest to me.”
He looked at her, straight on, nearly seeming to squirm. “You have very…interesting eyes, Miss Tilden.”
She smiled. “Runs in my family, don’t you know? My mother’s side.”
“I know, in…” he led off.
“You can say it,” she said. “Just because we’re far enough removed that they forget about us doesn’t mean we don’t talk about our dear royal family.”
“Your mother,” he said. “From a long line of mothers.”
“Yes, it’s all very maternal,” Adela droned. “And why I’m out here on a small tract of nothing rather than in Carby.”
“You’re still nobility,” Antony said quietly.
“But not noble enough to even be called ‘Lady’.” Adela pouted. “I’m just ‘The Honorable Miss Tilden’.”
“Most people would be thrilled at being able to put ‘honorable’ in front of their name,” Antony said.
“In all due respect Antony.” She crossed her arms. “I’m not most people.”
He looked at her, finally managing to hold her eyes with some degree of fortitude.  “So what’s your plan then, Miss Tilden? Find yourself a prince to marry?”
Her smile returned. “I’d be happy with a marquess. Maybe an earl in a pinch. No need for a prince.”
“Well, you have that royal blood. You have that going for you.” He looked at the portrait.
“True.” She looked at her wrists, studying the blue veins just under the skin. “Just not nearly enough of it to be of any use to me.”
Antony tilted his head to the side, looking at the painting from another angle before looking back up at her. “I mean no offense, Miss Tilden, but I don’t think I’m the one to whom you should be complaining about your family.”
“You could always claim you’re related to Thurston Fletcher,” Adela said. “He was knighted recently.”
“I’m sure he’d love that.”
“Or you could make friends with someone important and see if they could get you
knighted,” she suggested.
“I have no desire to be Sir Antony Fletcher, Miss Tilden” Antony said. “I’ll leave such ambitions to you.”
“I don’t want to be a knight.” Adela smirked. “That would be a step down.”
He frowned. “You know what I meant, Miss Tilden.”
She still smirked, looking him over. “You have no ambition then, Antony?”
He shook his head, wiping off one of his brushes.
“None whatsoever?”
“I’m quite content as I am, Miss Tilden.”
“Would you turn it down if someone offered it?”
“There are already two Sir Fletchers in my family.” He gave a tight smile. “I believe my father and brother have that title more than covered.”
“You can’t seriously tell me you would turn down the chance for the title,”
Adela insisted.
“You don’t need to sit around here, Miss Tilden.” He went to straightening his paints, not looking at her. “I can finish this simply enough.”
“I don’t have anywhere better to go,” Adela said. “Sadly you’re some of the most interesting human interaction to be had around here.”
“Lucky me,” he said, sarcasm breaking through. He quickly reined himself back in. “You really don’t have anything better to do?”
“I’d just be in my room, reading or sewing more than likely.” Adela picked at a piece of lint on her hip. “And as much as I do love Lettice, there’s only so long one can talk to the same person before everything becomes a chore.”
“Lettice?” he asked
“My chambermaid,” she said. “Though these days she’s somewhere between a lady’s maid and chambermaid. She’s the one who did my hair.”
Antony nodded, silent.