Lady Elinor’s Escape: A Regency Cinderella #MFRWHooks #MFRWAuthor #99cents

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My Regency romance, Lady Elinor’s Escape, is a twist on the Cinderella story, which means there has to be a ballroom scene. In this case, Elinor has gone in disguise as Cinderella. Of course, the hero is there, too, dressed as William Shakespeare. Safely masked, she cannot resist flirting with him. Here’s an excerpt:

“Would you like to dance, mademoiselle?” Stephen asked.

She bit her lip in hesitation. “But I do not know how to waltz.”

His brows rose in surprise. “You have been tied to the hearth. However, all you need do is follow my lead. Shall we?”

Avec plaisir.” She allowed him to take her hand and lead her onto the floor. Her heart raced at the intimate feel of his hand at the small of her back. At first, he talked her through the steps, but after a few moments, she relaxed and gave herself up to the music and the pleasure of being twirled around the floor by the gentleman of her dreams.

He drew her far closer than was proper, but she didn’t resist. “Ah, mademoiselle, how am I to resist you?”

She smiled at him. “But, monsieur, you are not supposed to. For tonight, you are the handsome prince and you are required to fall in love with me.”

Woman in gold maskWhen the waltz ended, Stephen procured two more glasses of champagne. Elinor sipped it, letting the liquid cool her parched throat. Then, she let Stephen lead her downstairs and out into the moonlit garden for a breath of air. Her head was spinning, though whether from the champagne or the twirling motion of the dance, she did not know. She only knew she was behaving very badly tonight, drinking champagne, daring to dance the wicked waltz, and now this. Without the mask and costume, she would never have dared to act so. He must think her very fast, indeed.

They strolled along a path lined with rose bushes and stopped to drink in the fragrance scenting the air. The cool night air helped to clear her head, but made her shiver. Or was that caused by the warm look Stephen sent her way?

He ran a finger from her ear to her chin. “Will you remove your mask for me, Cendrillon? I long to know you better.”

Mais non, monsieur. It is forbidden.”

“Will you at least tell me your name?”

She smiled. He was her dear, inquisitive Stephen, but she had to find a way to avoid the question. She glanced around the garden and a line from Romeo and Juliet came to mind.

“My name is not important, monsieur. Was it not you who said, ‘What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.’”

He broke into laughter. “Hoisted by my own petard, I see. You are a clever minx.” He leaned closer to her. “Is a kiss forbidden also?”

The word non was on her lips, when she thought, why not? Had she not wanted him to kiss her at Hampstead? This might be her only opportunity to find out what it would be like to be kissed by him. “A kiss would be allowed,” she said, shocked at her own daring.

His mouth brushed hers, the mustache tickling a little. She let out a nervous giggle.

He drew back. “Do you find my kiss amusing?”

She touched his lips in apology. “No, but your mustache, it tickles me. It is not unpleasant, however.” In truth, it had been her very first kiss, but she doubted he would believe that after the way she was behaving tonight.

“Then perhaps we should try again.”

He drew her closer and she lifted her arms to his shoulders. Once more his mouth touched hers, more demanding this time. When she tentatively returned his kiss, he pulled her even closer until her breasts were crushed against his chest. Her heart pounded in rhythm with the music and her head spun as if they were still whirling around the dance floor.

Lady Elinors Escape coverA mysterious lady. An inquisitive gentleman. And a secret that could tear them apart.

Lady Elinor should be in London enjoying the season, not fearful and trapped in a country cottage with an unbalanced relative. When her aunt becomes violent, she flees straight into the path of a compassionate barrister. Desperate, she accepts his help, but will she be able to hide the truth from this inquisitive, intelligent man?

There are too many women in barrister Stephen Chaplin’s life, but he has never been able to turn his back on a woman in need. The reticent seamstress resists his every attempt to draw her out and remains a mystery he can’t solve.

Then a Bow Street Runner hired by her aunt comes asking questions. Elinor again turns to Stephen for help. But when circumstances reveal the truth about her background, will Stephen and Elinor lose their chance at happiness?

Lady Elinor’s escape is a Cinderella-inspired traditional Regency romance. If you like noble gentlemen, independent ladies and sweet romance, this book is for you!

Best of all, Lady Elinor’s Escape is on sale for 99 cents through March 27th or read free on Kindle Unlimited.

Click on the linky list below for more great #MFRWHooks excerpts.

Linda

Lily and the Gambler on Sale for #99cents Plus Newsletter #giveaway

Lily and the Gambler cover

To welcome spring, Lily and the Gambler will be on sale for 99 cents at Amazon.com. And use the Rafflecopter below to sign up for my upcoming newsletter and for a chance to win a $10 Amazon gift card!

A mail order bride sets out for a new life in California only to be tempted by a charming gambler. Can he convince her to pass up a sober businessman for a foot-loose card sharp?

After the death of her lover, Lily Penhallow reinvents herself as the widow Albright and travels to California as a mail order bride. On the riverboat from San Francisco, she meets ‘King’ Callaway, a professional gambler, just the kind of man she should avoid. Against her better judgment, she finds herself drawn to the handsome, charming gambler.

King believes that since life is a gamble, there’s no point in planning for the future. After meeting Lily, he suspects he has found his Queen of Hearts. But she’s engaged to his uncle, a man King respects. He should stay far away from her, but doesn’t.

Can King convince her to pass up a sober businessman for a foot-loose card sharp? Will Lily choose respectability or love?

Lily and the Gambler is a Second Chance at Love western historical romance. If you like mail order brides, charming scoundrels and sensual romance, don’t wait. Grab your copy today.

Excerpt:

Lily entered her private cabin, removed her hat, sat at the marble-topped dressing table, and studied her reflection in the mirror. She hoped this wasn’t a mistake. A proper widow would have refused Mr. Callaway’s suggestion outright, but Lily had rarely done anything proper in her life.

And, at this point, she was weary of her own company. On the long journey, she’d forced herself to remain aloof from the mostly male passengers. From the start, she’d seen the speculative glances cast her way and decided it best not to encourage any of them. Her image as a respectable widow was at stake. So she was left with only her maid, Molly, who had shared her Spartan cabin, for company. She would have dispensed with a maid to save a bit of money, but Uncle Arthur had insisted, even sending some money to help with her expenses.

Since Molly abandoned her for a fast-talking sailor, Lily had to be more cautious of her reputation than ever. She couldn’t let herself be taken in by a charming and handsome man. And Creighton Callaway qualified in both categories with his dark curly hair, hazel eyes and a ready smile. Though he dressed like a gentleman, in a black suit and frilled white shirt, she suspected he was a rogue at heart.

Outwardly, he appeared to be the complete opposite of Nigel. He was dark, the shadow of his beard giving him a manly aura, whereas Nigel had been fair and blue-eyed with a light beard. But like Nigel, Callaway had the devil dancing in his green-gold eyes. She should stay in her cabin, but she didn’t want to be alone, and a few minutes of flirting should cause no harm.

Leaving her hat behind, Lily slowly strolled from her small cabin on the texas deck on her way to meet Creighton Callaway. He was waiting for her at the bottom of the stairway to the main deck. He smiled and offered his arm.

Lily placed her hand in the crook of his arm, enjoying the feel of his strong muscles. As they began to stroll along the deck, she caught a whiff of bay rum, and felt a twinge of sadness. She had always identified that scent with Nigel. It had been a long time since she’d been this close to an attractive man, and she felt both giddy and guilty. After all, it had only been ten months since his death. Was it so wrong for her to enjoy some masculine company? He certainly would not have waited had she been the one to die.

What about the man I’m now supposed to marry? What would he think of my behavior? With that disconcerting thought, she slipped her hand from his arm.

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Linda