Well, some of you might have seen this floating around the cybersphere, but I thought I'd post this with a little something extra for readers! I haven't talked too much about this series, mostly because I've been busy writing and promoting releases that come before it. But, when I received this from my editor a few days ago, I just couldn't resist showing it off.
Well, without further adieu, here is the GORGEOUS, not to mention STUNNING cover for book 2 of The Brethren Guardian's...Pride and Passion!
Here's the back cover copy!
They each have their secrets. But what they share is Passion
Lucy Ashton had long ago given up her quest for true love. In the rarified society of Victorian England, Lucy plays the game--flirting, dancing and dabbling in the newly fashionable spiritualism. Even marrying when--and who--she's supposed to. If the stuffy Duke of Sussex cannot spark the passion she craves, he can at least give her a family, a home of her own,and a place to belong. But when her polite marriage reveals a caring and sensual man, Lucy begins to wonder if she can indeed have it all.
But Lord Sussex is not the man the London ton has come to admire. And Lucy has some ghosts of her own, as well. Thus, when a blackmail scheme turns to threats of danger, the newfound peace of the Sussex marriage is cast upon the rocks. Passion has a price, Lucy learns. And not all ghosts stay buried.
Phew! I'm loving the back blurb, too! lol! So, this is the second book of The Brethren Guardian series, and will release December 2011. The first book, Seduction and Scandal will release in July. Lots more to come about this series, but for now, I thought I'd tease you with the cover, the blurb, and this little snippet from the book (the book is being written now, so please remember that this is undedited, and may change or be deleted during the editorial/revision stage)
“When have you ever done anything against the grain, your grace?” she demanded. “When have you ever broken mould, or gone outside your unbearably proper and stuffy organized little world to risk anything?”
Oh, how she felt like railing at him, and the world and the future that loomed heavy and lonely before her. She was filled with anger--and rage. The injustice of it all, the pain of having her life managed for her as if she were too weak and feeble minded to manage it for herself. And while the anger she felt seethed and grew and all but consumed her thoughts and body, the duke stood there, towering over her with his implacable granite-like countenance that betrayed nothing of what he felt--if indeed he even felt at all.
“What do you know what it is to live, to take a risk? You can have no understanding, no comprehension because you live your life ordered and distant and controlled. You’re nothing but a title,” she taunted, baiting him, waiting for some flicker of something from those glacial eyes of his. When he would not rise and meet her challenge, she jumped from the settee and took a step toward him, the anger inside now a living, breathing thing, making her restless and destructive. But she must obey it. From childhood, she had ignored the pain, the heartache, hoping it would go away, but it hadn’t, and now…now her heart was shattering into a million little shards while her new husband looked on--remote, unfeeling. Not giving a damn, only caring that he had secured himself a rich, blue blooded bride.
“You can have no idea what it is to risk all for happiness.” She took another step, and then another, heedless of the fact her body was trembling, and her bottom lip quivering, and her eyes--how they misted with the scalding heat of tears. One slipped down her cheek and she tasted it, the
bitterness of betrayal and pain, and the engulfing melancholy and despair that filled every fibre of her being. Another fell, unchecked, a testament to her sorrow, the pain of having every last one of her hopes and dreams dashed by one negligent, selfish wave of both her father and the duke’s hand.
"What,” she demanded, taking another step toward him, until her burnished golden bustled gown brushed over his trousers, and shoes, and she was forced to tilt her head back to glare up at him. “Damn you, Sussex, what do you know of risking all for the one thing you want most?”
The seconds ticked by, marked by the delicate clicking of the mantle clock. Between them, the air which had been settled, seemed to change. It was a subtle thing at first, but then it seemed to crackle, to take on new life, to hum between them as Sussex lowered his gaze to her face, letting it travel over her tear stained cheeks, then to her mouth, where it lingered, robbing Lucy of breath.
“What do I know of risk?” he murmured, his voice deep and velvety, as luring as the nap of expensive velvet against her fingertips. “What do I know,” he repeated, this time his voice was darker, more compelling, and when he stepped closer, and the heat from his body, and the scent of his cologne washed over her, he seemed to take the air straight out of her lungs--the room--possibly the very Earth.
“I know risk,” he said, and she heard the rustle of her gown swishing around his legs as he moved closer. “I’ve tasted it. Felt its heady call.”
“You’ve never heeded the call,” she accused.
“Oh, but I have. I know what it is to take the greatest risk of my life, for the one thing I want most.”
He had backed her up against the wall, and the marble pillar that stood on either side of the salon door pressed cool and unyielding against her shoulders.
“The greatest risk of my life, was today, when I made you my wife. When I vowed to love and protect, and stay faithful to you. When I vowed to worship you with my body.”
As to remind her of that, he brushed against her, his body melding and pressing against hers in an erotic reminder of what would happen between them. Another brush, another waft of his skin, and hair, and everything that made a man a man told her that he would use this body against her--to subdue her, break her--worship her. The whispered reminder--in his voice--made her skin grow warm and taut, her breasts swell as her body seemed to grow weak and willing beneath the subtle erotic pressure of his.
He was crowding her, his tall, big body encompassing her short one. Surely that was the reason she had suddenly reached out and grabbed the lapels of his jacket; why his hand was wrapped around her waist, his strong fingers squeezing, pressing into the bodice of her gown.
“Today, I tasted that risk when I made you my wife, knowing that you might never feel the way about me as I feel about you.”
His hand, so hot and strong was sliding up her midriff, his fingers, gliding over her ribs, the tip of his index finger lingering beneath her breast. Their gazes were locked, and she felt some inexplicable force pull her to him. But she would not give in to that power.
“I am but a pawn in the game of powerful men. A possession to be bought and placed on the shelf for your friends to admire.”
“No.” The word was a masculine whisper against her flesh as he lowered his head to hers.
“A duchess to play hostess for you. A wife to see to the running of your household, and your social and political ambitions.”
“A..a..” she floundered, trying to find another analogy for his purpose in marrying her but he stopped her when she felt the delicate brush of his mouth above her jaw.
“A friend. A companion. A beautiful, passionate lover to spend the day and nights with. A woman to carry my children, a life partner to share the ups and downs of life. A woman I can share my dreams with, and who will share hers with me. A woman who I can comfort and hold in times of need, and who will hold me when I am weak, and sorrowful, and in need of the sort of succour only a woman can give to her husband. A woman who I want so desperately to make love to. You, Lucy, you are that woman.”
Their gazes met, and she could not resist asking him the question that burned in her mind. “H..How,” she wet her lips, tried to speak again. “How do you feel about me?”
His eyes, those cold, mysterious eyes stared down at her, haunting her with their ghosts and mysteries. But they were not the eyes of the duke, she thought in wonder as they grew warmer--almost silver. These were the haunted, troubled eyes of Adrian York, the man behind the title, the man who had known pain and coldness. The man who was her husband and who held troubling secrets deep within.
“How do I feel for you?” he asked, his gaze never wavering from hers. “I would die for you.”
I am seriously lovin me some Duke of Sussex! In the series, he's known throughout the ton as The Duke of Delicousness. I cannot take credit for that exquisite nick name. But have to give kudos to my friend Aly who provided the gem! Thanks Aly! And boy, does the name for work him--perfectly. He's very kind, very sensual, but he has that sexual intensity that most of my heroes have. And he's patient. Oh, boy he could be a virtue, he has so much patience. And he uses it, making Lucy wait to taste the passion he's kept hidden for her. So, stay tuned. More little bread crumbs to come about this book, and all the other books releasing, too!
As well, I have another friend who has a fantastic blog (well, two friends, but that blog is for another post) who has an exclusive excerpt of Seduction and Scandal on her blog. Lord Black, the hero of the book is dark and brooding and myterious. I love him. Just go to to Lovin Me Some Romance to read the excerpt!
Okay, well, I'm back to writing.
Till next time...
happily forever after
10 months ago