Where in the World is Jenna Jaxon? Part 5 ~ Florence

Good afternoon from Florence, everyone!

Yesterday morning Ella and I did some last minute shopping in Naples, then took the train up to Florence.

This city is very different from Naples. The streets are just as narrow, but there are fewer restaurant tables on the sides of the streets. The traffic seems tamer, although it’s still quite hectic. But the buildings are still ancient, the streets made of cobblestones, and fountains appear on all manner of streetcorners.

STATUE OF NEPTUNE

Mostly today was about shopping. We walked down to the Ponte Vecchio and spent the morning window shopping in tons of jewelry stores. We also visited some ceramic stores (where I went a little crazy), and ended up at a nice little restaurant for lunch and then an aperitif.

More shopping (I said the day was about shopping), then back to the hotel for a little rest before dinner at Cino & Sons Restaurant, maybe my favorite restaurant in Florence right now. Their entire menu can be made gluten free and lactose free, which I rarely find in the states. I thoroughly enjoyed the plate of olives in olive oil and crunchy pizza bread with garlic sauce that they brought to the table, then ordered gnocchi for the first time in about 10 years. It was truly delicious. I know I will return there at least once before I leave.

ME ON THE POINTE VECCHIO

Ella and I are now relaxing, getting ready for bed, listening to the sounds of the street night life outside our window (sometimes LATE into the night!).

Tomorrow, still in Florence, I’ll be going to …

Come back tomorrow to find out my next place of adventure!

 

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Weekend Writing Warriors ~ 05/22/22 ~ As Long As You’re Mine ~ “You Fell Asleep?”

Welcome to Weekend Writing Warriors !

Today’s post is continuing snippets from one of my WIPs. It’s an historical romance I completed almost 10 years ago, queried and got rejected numerous times, and put away when I started writing the Widows’ Club series. I’m now dusting it off and revising it and thought I’d give you all first peek at it. If some of you have been around since the days of 6 Sentence Sunday, you might remember it:  As Long As You’re Mine. It’s set in the late Victorian era, which was fun to research. Enjoy!

EXCERPT:

The dim interior of the room, lit only by the cool moonlight spilling around the drapes at the single window, made Amanda pause as her eyes adjusted to the lack of light. She then crept to the foot of a massive four-poster bed that jutted into the center of the room. For a moment, she simply stood there, looking down at the shadowy lump under the coverlet. A gentle snore rumbled from the still figure.

“You fell asleep?” she murmured into the darkness. She would’ve thought the man would be wide-awake and eager to take her into his arms, into his bed. Disgusted by Raif’s lack of interest, she turned to go. It was one thing to want a man she could hold at arm’s length, but not one so weak-willed he had no spine, or enthusiasm, whatsoever.

In the silence, the ticking clock sounded a single note–quarter past two. Halfway to the door Amanda paused.

And a little more for good measure…

Perhaps Raif had waited in bed for her for hours. She’d lost sight of him after the company had broken up for the night around midnight. After waiting so long he might even have believed she’d decided against the plan at the last minute. That was fair. She was certainly committed to the scheme, but she had to admit she’d had doubts not long ago. Not only about this night but about Raif himself.

She sighed. It would be wonderful to marry a man who knew her, who understood her and would love her. A man she could love in return. But that was the fairytale her father had spun and a far cry from the reality of his own marriage. She shook off the thought. After tonight, Raif would at least understand the depth of her determination if nothing else.

She moved to the far side of the bed, careful not to make a noise. Another glance toward the closed door and her heart sped up at faint words audible in the hallway. Had her father come that quickly? She needed time to get into bed with Raif, time to wake him up so he could at least look like they had been in the throes of passion. She had to be thoroughly compromised for this to work, although she supposed just being in the room like this would assure her ruination. But she wanted to make certain.

She untied her robe and let it fall to the floor. Not giving herself a moment to doubt, she pulled the frilled nightgown over her head to join the robe at her feet. Gooseflesh raced across her body, but not from the cool air. A rush of foreboding made her shiver then she shook her head. If her father wanted her married, so be it. But on her terms.

Don’t forget to check out the rest of the Warriors here. There are some fantastic snippets to be read.

 

Posted in Blog Hops, Historical Romance, On As Long As You're Mine, on Victorian Romance, On Weekend Writing Warriors, Promotion, Victorian romance, Weekend Writing Warriors, WIP | Tagged , , , , | 9 Comments

Where in the World is Jenna Jaxon? Part 4

Today was a pilgramage I’ve been wanting to take for a very long time–almost a lifetime in fact.

I went to the little town of Spigno in Italy where my uncle, Pvt. John Thomas Jackson, was killed in action on May 19, 1944, 78 years and two days ago today.

Private John T, Jackson, U.S. Army 351th Infantry, 88th Division

I’d always heard stories about my uncle, my father’s brother, who he called “Goof” and his other brothers and sisters called “Peepsie.” That he was killed in Italy was the first thing I learned. Later I found out more details: He was only 19 years old when he went overseas. He was in the 351st infantry, 88th Division. His division was asked to take a hill near Spigno, which no one wanted to do. My uncle, who had the reputation of being a daredevil, said, “Let’s do it,” and volunteered. A friend of his wrote to the family after his death and told them he’d been hit in the chest by a shell and killed instantly. The body was eventually returned to his home in Virginia and each season I put flowers on his grave.

After hearing these stories all my life, as soon as I began to plan this trip to Italy, I knew I had to go to Spigno, to see the place where my uncle fell. I’d always been told if I’d been a boy, I’d have been named John Thomas Jackson, after him. (I do have a cousin named John Thomas Garrett after this same uncle.) So I felt a special connection to him.

And today, I was there.

The landscape has changed drastically from when the 88th Division tried and succeeded to take that hill. The town was pretty much destroyed, but was built back over time. Now it is a quiet, sleepy little town that shows none of the ravages of war.

There were two plaques here, one commemorating the people who fled the invasion and survived, the second commemorating the soldiers from Spigno who had died in World War 1, World War 2, and the civilians who died during the battle. And a war memorial with the second plank and a piece of WW2 artillary.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And so this is where Jenna Jaxon was today, honoring my uncle and returning with pictures to share with my family members back home.

A pilgramage completed at last.

Tomorrow I’m off on another adventure with Ella Quinn. Check back in then to see where in the world Jenna is!

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Where in the World is Jenna Jaxon?

So sorry I’m just getting to post this, but I spent all day yesterday trying to stay awake in Heathrow airport waiting for my flight to

NAPLES

which is where Jenna Jaxon and Ella Quinn were today and will be for the next couple of days. We plan to make a couple of day trips, like the one I made today to

POMPEII

This is a place I’ve taught students about for years, but have always wanted to see for myself. Today that dream became a reality.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There are a huge amount of additional pictures I’ll be posting in the future. This was a fabulous adventure (that really wiped me out!)

Tomorrow is another adventure to… ?

 

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Where in the World is Jenna Jaxon?

Three years ago I went on a whirlwind tour of England, Belgium, and Germany, had a wonderful time and vowed to return. Then COVID hit and all traveling stopped. But restrictions have lifted and I’m starting on a new adventure.

So today I ask once again, “Where in the world is Jenna Jaxon?”

As you can perhaps tell, this is an airport. Where, do you ask?

Ok, I’ll fold. It’s London, Heathrow, sitting here waiting for my next flight. I arrived here from Baltimore at 6:00 this morning and now must wait until it’s 8:30 to board my next flight to—nope, if you want to know where I’m headed you have to read my blog tomorrow!

Until then, happy travels to all!

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Weekend Writing Warriors ~ 05/15/22 ~ As Long As You’re Mine ~ The Only Way

Welcome to Weekend Writing Warriors !

So sorry I was absent last Sunday, but I had to take my husband to the ER at 2:00 am on Sunday morning, with complications from the surgery he had the previous Wednesday. We got home around 7:30 am, and I went straight to bed and didn’t wake up until it was too late to sign up. My husband ended up going back to the ER twice on Monday as well, until they finally figured out what was happening. He’s on the mend now, so fingers crossed he’ll continue doing well.

Today’s post is changing to snippets from one of my WIPs. It’s an historical romance I completed almost 10 years ago, queried and got rejected numerous times, and put away when I started writing the Widows’ Club series. I’m now dusting it off and revising it and thought I’d give you all first peek at it. If some of you have been around since the days of 6 Sentence Sunday, you might remember it:  As Long As You’re Mine. It’s set in the late Victorian era, which was fun to research. Enjoy!

 

EXCERPT:

The clock on the mantel chimed two. Lady Amanda Easton started up from her seat in the frilly pink and cream bedroom at Monk’s Copse. If she was going through with this desperate plan, it was time to put it into action. She closed her eyes briefly, took a deep breath and slipped to the door. Pressing her ear against it, she hoped to catch the sound of Sara returning. The stillness of the corridor concerned her and she opened it a crack.

Gaslights flickered down the hallway at intervals, but no one stirred. Good. But where was Sara? Her plan couldn’t work without the maid. She didn’t want to ring the bell again. It might draw unwanted attention to her. Should she go in search of her instead?

Just as she was about to slip out of the door, Sara appeared around the corner, her cap askew, her cheeks a hectic pink.

With a sigh of relief, Amanda eased out of her room, closed the door with a soft click and beckoned the maid to follow her down the passageway.

“Where are you going, my lady?” Puzzlement fought with exhaustion in Sara’s face.

“I need you to come with me, please Sara. I need you to help me with something.” She started down the corridor, gaze darting hither and yon to detect any other movement.

“Help you with what, my lady?” The maid’s tone was suspicious, but the well-trained girl followed Amanda nonetheless.

“Just come with me.” Amanda’s heart beat a wild tattoo at every imagined sound as she wound her way through the corridors, but no actual danger materialized. At last, she turned into the hall she sought—the gentlemen’s wing—and headed for the last chamber on the right where her soon-to-be lover awaited her. The flutter in her stomach escalated at the thought.

And a little more for good measure…

With her hand on the handle, a creak behind Amanda made her whirl around, certain she’d been discovered, but the hallway remained empty save for the maid and the weak yellow light of the oil sconces. “Sara, I need you to find my father and Lord Armstrong, and fetch them to this room.”

“This room, Lady Amanda?” The frown on Sara’s face showed only her incomprehension of the task given her. “Whatever for?”

“I believe there is someone desperately ill inside.” It was the only excuse she could think of that would bring her father and Lord Armstrong at this time of night. “It’s one of my cousins, Lord Abercrombie, who I dined with tonight. He said he wasn’t feeling well and I should come check on him before I retired.”

“But you shouldn’t be here, my lady. This is the gentlemen’s wing.” According to the scandalized tone of her voice, Sara’s fatigue had given way to ingrained propriety.

“Yes, I know. And I’ll leave as soon as my father arrives. Lord Armstrong should be summoned as well, in case he thinks the doctor should be summoned.” That should satisfy Sara. “You wouldn’t want anything to happen to Lord Abercrombie, would you?”

“Oh, no, my lady.” Sara squared her shoulders. “I’ll go straight away.”

“They were both in the library when I last left them.”

“Very good, my lady. I’ll be back in three ticks.” The young maid spun around and took off at a brisk pace.

Amanda stayed completely still until Sara turned the corner, then she let out the breath she’d been holding. Leaning gently against the door, she paused as the enormity of what she was about to do sank in. It was the only way. If she wanted Raiford Tolbert, wanted this struggle to be over, she had to seize her chance. She straightened her shoulders, shook back her hair and, with a determined nod, turned the handle.

Don’t forget to check out the rest of the Warriors here. There are some fantastic snippets to be read.

 

Posted in Blog Hops, Historical Romance, On As Long As You're Mine, on Victorian Romance, On Weekend Writing Warriors, Promotion, Victorian romance, Weekend Writing Warriors, WIP | Tagged , , , , | 14 Comments

Weekend Writing Warriors ~ 05/01/22 ~ A Countess of Convenience~ “Is That You?”

Welcome to Weekend Writing Warriors !

Today’s post is changing to snippets from A Countess of Convenience, which has just been nominated for LR Cafe’s Best of 2021 in the Historical/Regency/Victorian category! I was flabbergasted as I never get nominated for anything. So I’m thrilled, so I thought I’d give you a little snippet from A Countess of Convenience. Enjoy!

 

BLURB:

Following a tragic accident, an unconscious Judith Harper is returned to her childhood home to die. Miraculously, she awakens but to a horribly changed world in which she finds her husband dead and her world upended. Judith must regain her strength, not only to reclaim her life but also to right a terrible wrong–a feat which may require her to marry again, and quickly. But not only is Judith not ready for another husband, a marriage before her year of mourning is up will ruin her in London society. Still, if she hopes to have her life back, she may have to risk the scandal and make a marriage of convenience…but to whom?

John, Lord Haxby has loved Judith since childhood, and because of that he stood aside while she married another eight years ago. Now she is free of her odious husband, he hopes he can persuade her that he is the only man who can make her truly happy. However, he discovers Judith is more than interested in Lord Farringdon, the man who saved her life. Can he stand aside once more and watch the love of his life make a grave mistake, or will he step up and show the woman he loves he is not a convenient solution to her problem, but the perfect one?

EXCERPT:

“Lord Haxby, ma’am.”

Judith frowned at her mother asking, “I don’t believe I know a Lord Haxby, do you, Mamma?”

Her mother smothered a smile. “Please show him in here, Inman,” she turned to Judith, “I believe you will recognize him when you see him, my dear.”

Curious, Judith straightened her gown–black was not her best color, but she’d need to wear it for at least another three months before moving on to the lighter purples, browns, and grays of half mourning unless she wanted to be thought scandalous. Raising her chin, she smiled pleasantly as the door opened, admitting a tall, long-limbed gentleman with dark hair and eyes, a straight, narrow nose, and a firm jaw that seemed very familiar indeed.

“Mrs. Harper,” he bowed and smiled, “I was told just this morning you were home once more so I could not wait a moment longer to come call upon you.”

“John?” Judith had known him the moment he spoke her name, a feeling of warmth and homecoming speeding through her. “Is that you?”

And a little more for good measure…

“It is indeed.” His smile broadened. “So good of you to remember me after these eight years.”

“Do sit down, John. Miss Harper, may I make known Lord Haxby?” Mamma fairly beamed when she introduced their long-time neighbor. “He was, until lately—”

“Lord Donningham!” Dora’s grin stretched ear to ear. “Although I gather it is now Lord Haxby?” She turned to Judith. “I made the viscount’s acquaintance during the round of autumn parties and balls, Judith. Just after you were taken ill.”

“You were taken ill during the fall, Mrs. Harper?” The earl’s jovial face was suddenly lined with concern.

“John, do not be ridiculous. Please call me Judith, as you have always done.” The fact that he wished to be circumspect about their relationship spoke well of him, but then John had ever been kind and thoughtful. And a stickler for the correct forms. “Yes, I apparently fell and was knocked insensible in November. I have only just regained my faculties a day or so ago.”

Her long-time friend frowned. “I cannot believe you were ill, and I did not hear a word of it.” Gesturing toward Dora with one hand, he took up the cup of tea with the other. “I danced with Miss Harper at Christmas, and she did not mention it at all.” He sent a stern look to Dora. “I assumed you had simply chosen not come to Town for the holiday.”

A Countess of Convenience is available in print and e-book format on Amazon, and in e-book format only on Kobo, Apple, and B&N.

Don’t forget to check out the rest of the Warriors here. There’s some fantastic snippets to be read.

Captivating Countesses series

 

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Weekend Writing Warriors ~ 04/24/22 ~ Only Pleasure Will Do ~ “Can I Help You?”

Welcome to Weekend Writing Warriors !

IN MEMORIAM

I have a sad note for all those who are regulars here on Weekend Writing Warriors. I saw on Facebook this week that one of our regular writers, Ed Hoornaert, passed away on April 10, 2022. I’d noticed that Ed had suddenly stopped participating in our blog hop about six months or so ago. I’d seen that he’d had surgery and assumed he’d be back once he felt better. But as the weeks went by, I began to fear the worst. Apparently, there were several maladies after the surgery, one illness after another according to his son. I sorely miss Ed’s dry sense of humor and pithy comments on our posts. I am certain he will be missed by all our WWW family. RIP, Ed.

 

Moving on to today’s post, I’m back with snippets from the final book of my House of Pleasure series, book 5, Only Pleasure Will Do. Enjoy!

 

BLURB:

The pleasure is all hers…

Amorina Vestry, madam of the House of Pleasure for six long years, has wrested a living out the establishment by devising a variety of ways to give men pleasure. But behind the persona of the ruthless businesswoman, schooled in the erotic arts, lurks another woman with a secret she dares tell no one. Now, in vengeance for thwarting a dastardly plan, Amorina is kidnapped and forced to commit murder to save the one person she loves unconditionally…unless the man she secretly yearns for can rescue her before it’s too late.

When Amorina Vestry goes missing, Sir Reginald Matthews, former Runner now magistrate at Bow Street, agrees to search for the very provocative woman he met a year ago and cannot seem to forget. He manages to track her down, only to be captured by the same madman who took her. Their close proximity in a make-shift prison leads inexorably to a night of passion in which Amorina lowers her guard to reveal a shocking truth. Spurred by his growing attraction to her, Reginald is determined to free them before she commits the most heinous crime imaginable.

As Reginald races to save Amorina, he comes to fear another foe as well. He may very well save his love only to find he must give her up or risk the censure of a society that will condemn her.

In this snippet, Amorina Vestry has been kidnapped and Bow Street Magistrate, Reginald Matthews has found her, then is locked in the same dungeon as her. They have been trying to pick the door’s lock, but Amorina is much more interested in Reginald at the moment. We are in Reginald’s POV. Enjoy!

EXCERPT:

“Can I help you in any way?”

“No.” Stifling a groan, he tried to concentrate on the lock, but the knife slipped out of his sweaty fingers, clattering to the wooden floor. He snatched it up and stood, wincing as his cock brushed the rough material of his pants. Stiffly, he turned to go down the steps and was met with the frank stare and smiling lips of Madam Vestry.

“I actually believe I can help you, Sir Reginald.” Her gaze shifted from his face to his crotch.

“I don’t think so, madam.” He hurried down the steps, determined to rush past the temptress at the bottom, but when he set his foot on the dirt floor once more, she seized his arm in a strong grip.

“You protest vigorously for one so obviously in need.”

And a little more for good measure…

A confident smile lit her face. “It may not be the most comfortable of surroundings, but I promise you, that will matter little in the end.” She peered up at him, dropping the smile and facing him with a seriousness in her eyes that surprised him. “If Tommy Redmond is indeed behind this scheme, we may need to face the fact that he likely wishes me dead. And you as well if it will keep my death secret. For myself, if these are to be my last hours on earth, I wish them to be spent in pleasure rather than fear.”

The woman had courage, he’d give her that. Most women would be crying and shaking with fear if they believed they were facing death. Well, save for his cousin Katarina, who, he was sure, would meet it with the same fortitude as the woman who stood before him. Despite his admiration, however, he would not take her offer. “A bold attitude, Madam Vestry, and one whose validity I cannot deny. Still, even in these extreme circumstances, I will not allow myself to take advantage of you.”

Her throaty laugh sent a shiver of renewed desire down his spine.

“Do not fear on that account, Sir Reginald. No one takes advantage of me. I make certain of that.”

 

Only Pleasure Will Do is available in print and e-book format on Amazon, and in e-book format only on Kobo, Apple, and B&N.

Don’t forget to check out the rest of the Warriors here. There’s some fantastic snippets to be read.

The House of Pleasure series

Posted in Blog Hops, Historical Romance, House of Pleasure Series, On Weekend Writing Warriors, Only Pleasure Will Do, Promotion, Regency Romance, Weekend Writing Warriors | Tagged , , , , | 11 Comments

Weekend Writing Warriors ~ 04/17/22 ~ Only Seduction Will Do ~ Trust

Welcome to Weekend Writing Warriors !

Happy Easter!

Wishing everyone who celebrates it, a Blessed Easter.

I’m returning to snippets from my House of Pleasure series and moving to book 4. Only Seduction Will Do. Enjoy!

 

BLURB:

Alethea Forsythe has been desperately in love with the Earl of Manning since they first met last summer and although the earl has made it clear he doesn’t return her regard, Alethea fights to keep her dreams of him alive. However, in a moment of despair, she is seduced by a married man and, when she discovers she is with child, fears she is now undone. With her reputation about to be ruined, she has the choice of accepting an arranged marriage to a stranger or taking matters into her own capable hands.

Jack Fitzwilliam, the Earl of Manning, is out enjoying a little Christmas revelry with friends—which ends in a visit to The House of Pleasure. After an unusual encounter there, he winds his way home to discover a late night summons to Miss Forsythe’s home. His evening becomes even more bizarre when the lady in question throws herself on his mercy and begs he take her to wife. At twenty-three, Jack has many more wild oats to sow, but his innate sense of honor will not allow him to shirk the duty of a gentleman.

Radiantly happy, Alethea vows to be an exemplary wife to Jack, however, his acceptance of her proposal comes with its own set of unexpected conditions. In exchange for the protection of his name, Jack vows his marriage to Alethea will be in name only. Desperate to touch her husband’s heart, Alethea battles to win his trust and love. When a trial by fire tests her love and Jack’s honor, will the passion that suddenly blazes between them temper their love or consume them?

In this snippet, Alethea has just asked Jack to marry her and has explained why she has made this remarkable request: she is pregnant with the child of a married man.

EXCERPT:

“Have you informed this man of the consequences of your weakness? He is as much if not more at fault for these wretched circumstances. Perhaps he might take the child after it is born.”

“No,” Miss Forsythe shook her head vehemently, “I have no intention of telling him anything, now or ever. I will bear this shame as best I can myself.” She eyed Jack, a sliver of hope in her face. “Unless you can find it in your heart to keep me from it, my lord; that is why I begged my cousin to allow me to present my plea myself.” She hung her head, her voice low. “Ever since we met you have been kind to me and more than any other gentleman of my acquaintance have shown me respect and compassion,” she said, dropping her voice to the barest of whispers. “I would be a good wife to you, I promise.”

And a little more for good measure…

Jack sank back into the chair, his head reeling with Miss Forsythe’s confidences. Trust him she must, implicitly, to have confessed so much to a man she barely knew outside the ballroom. Yet even on such short acquaintance she had read him right. He could no more divulge her story than he could his sister’s disgrace in March. This woman’s secret was safe with him. Regrettably, he could do little more than offer his sympathy and silence. “I am aware of the great trust you have placed in me, Miss Forsythe, and you may be assured my silence on this matter will be absolute. Unfortunately, I will be unable to assist you further than offering my sword in revenge or swearing my complete silence on the matter.”

Her face paled to the sickly color of new cheese. She clutched the chair once more to steady herself. “You will not marry me?”

Sadly, he shook his head, suddenly touched by her drooping countenance as hope fled. “I cannot. I am already betrothed to another.”

 

 

Only Seduction Will Do is available in print and e-book format on Amazon, and in e-book format only on Kobo, Apple, and B&N.

Don’t forget to check out the rest of the Warriors here. There’s some fantastic snippets to be read.

The House of Pleasure series

Posted in Blog Hops, Historical Romance, House of Pleasure Series, On Weekend Writing Warriors, Only Seduction Will Do, Promotion, Regency Romance, Weekend Writing Warriors | Tagged , , , , | 10 Comments

Medieval Romance and Fantasy Novel Extravaganza

If you love tales of knights and ladies, of romantic quests, of treachery and conquest all set in Medieval Times, you need to check out this collection of books that spans two genres–Romance and Fantasy and find your next great Medieval read!

Click this link to discover which medieval romance you’ll disappear into next!

My Time Enough to Love complete series is part of this promotion, along with more than a dozen other novels or collections set in the Middle Ages. Why not browse through them today?

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