Something wicked this way comes….

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It’s finally here!!!

A Brush with Death is up for preorder!!

I know you’ve all waited an entire year for this. I just have to say, thank you so much for your patience and support. It means the world to me!


 

In 1888 London, Isabel Vanderton is facing down the society gossips with defiance and indifference. As the only child of Marcus Vanderton, she is the rightful heir to the Vanderton fortune, and whoever dares to marry her will inherit the lot, winner take all.

As rumors of her ill health circulate, Isabel finds herself encountering suitor after suitor, no doubt hoping to win her hand—and her inheritance—before she passes to an early grave.

An endless wave of greedy suitors is not the only thing Isabel has to contend with. Her legs are failing her, her body is weak, and she is being haunted by a man of such breathtaking beauty that he cannot possibly exist.

But exist he does. Terrified of slipping into madness, Isabel tries to ignore the pull he has over her mind and her body as she suffers through encounter after encounter with a man no one but she can see.

Death is impatient.

Since Isabel’s mother died thirteen years ago, he has watched her. He has haunted her for years, and now he has come to claim what is rightfully his. He will have Isabel at any cost.

Determined, Death sets out on a careful game of seduction that threatens Isabel’s very sanity. She will succumb to him, or she will suffer the consequences.

As Isabel bargains desperately for her soul, Jack the Ripper stalks the London streets, endangering everything and everyone Isabel holds dear.


 

Read the First Chapter here

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(Only until October 27th, 2017)


 

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Sarah-Jane

Sarah Jane


Sarah-Jane is perfect. She’s petite, and adorable and happy. There’s not a young woman in all of Manhattan that doesn’t envy her. But beneath the easy-going charade she displays, Sarah is desperate. Her life is full of a gentle complacency. She’s entirely dependent on the will and whims of others, and she also has a secret. A desire that takes hold of her when she’s least expecting it. A reckless, misguided need that she can never allow to surface.

When Carson Williamson stumbles across a fiery-tempered woman in the ruins of his great great grandfather’s mansion, he never once suspects that she would be the same well-bred, high-class lady he has arranged to meet the following week. Under the distinct impression that Sarah-Jane is hiding a myriad of insane emotions from her family, he sets about attempting to force her to show her true self to the world, and thereby have her committed.

But Sarah-Jane isn’t about to have that. She’s not insane. And now she has to prove it to Carson before he does something drastic.

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Signed Copies

While Supplies Last!

I wanted to offer you all the chance to purchase a signed paperback copy of any of the following titles. I’ve ordered about twenty of each! So this is a limited time offer for the moment.

Dianna

Book 1 in The Brittler Sisters Series

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Little Rose

Book Two in The Brittler Sisters Series

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Charlotte

Book 3 in The Brittler Sisters Series

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to purchase your signed copy of Charlotte


Sarah-Jane

Book 4 in The Brittler Sisters Series

Sarah Jane

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Miss Hadisham’s Perfect Apple Pie

To CELEBRATE the Release of My Valentine’s Day Novella, Two Hearts One Stone, I thought I’d take a second to bring you right into the story. This way, even if you can’t live it, you can at least taste it. 😉

When I wrote this piece, I pictured something so delectable, it was absolutely impossible for poor Henry to resist. Immediately after finishing the story, I had the strongest apple pie craving I have ever had. I have since been on the hunt for the perfect apple pie recipe. These are my findings, and I thought I would share.

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First: You need the perfect crust

To every pound of flour allow the yolk of one egg, the juice of one lemon, half a saltspoonful of salt, cold water, one pound of fresh butter.

Put the flour onto the paste-board; make a hole in the centre, into which put the yolk of the egg, the lemon juice and salt; mix the whole with cold water (this should be iced in summer if convenient) into a soft, flexible paste with the right hand, and handle it as little as possible; then squeeze all the buttermilk from the butter, wring it in a cloth and roll out the paste; place the butter on this and fold the edges of the paste over, so as to hide it; roll it out again to the thickness of a quarter of an inch; fold over one-third, over which again pass the rolling-pin; then fold over the other third, thus forming a square; place it with the ends, top and bottom before you, shaking a little flour both under and over, and repeat the rolls and turns twice again as before. Flour a baking-sheet, put the paste on this and let it remain on ice or in some cool place for half an hour; then roll twice more, turning it as before; place it again upon the ice for a quarter of an hour, give it two more rolls, making seven in all, and it is ready for use when required.

 

Then you need the perfect filling:

3 pounds apples

1 tablespoon fresh-squeezed lemon juice

1/4 teaspoon fresh lemon zest

1/2 cup white sugar

1/4 cup light molasses

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

pinch of salt

1 tablespoon cold unsalted butter (dot filling top)

Directions
  1. Prepare the pastry: Roll the pastry and line a 9-inch pie plate with the bottom crust. Roll out the remaining dough for the top crust. Chill the pastry.
  2. Preheat the oven to 400° F.
  3. Prepare the filling: Pour the fresh-squeezed lemon juice in the bottom of a large bowl. Add your lemon zest to the bowl. Peel, halve and core the apples. Be sure to remove seeds. Slice them evenly and slim into the bowl, coating them with the lemon juice as you go.
  4. In a separate bowl, mix together the sugars, molasses and spices. Add them to the apples just before you want to bake the pie, mix gently. Adjust sugar to taste as needed.
  5. Scrape the filling into the bottom crust, dot with butter and cover it with the second crust. Trim and crimp the crust; chill the pie for about 10 minutes in the refrigerator. Cut vent slits in the top crust. It is your option to sprinkle it with sugar or brush the top with egg wash.
  6. Bake the pie on a baking sheet for 10 minutes at 400° F or until the crust looks dry, blistered, and blonde. Turner the oven down to 375°F, and bake for at least 45 minutes more or until the crust is golden brown, and visible juices are thickened and bubble slowly through the slits in the top crust. Check if the bottom crust has darkened. If not bake a little more and cover the top crust, so it does not burn.
  7. Cool the pie completely before cutting at least a few hours or warm in an hour. Store the pie uncovered in a cool place up to three days.

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Henry Moscow doesn’t believe in love. At least, not anymore. Not in the crude sense of hearts, flowers, ribbons and bows. But in the small town of Churchgrove, love is one of the things they LOVE to celebrate the most.
Caught up amidst the chaos of Churchgrove’s annual Valentine’s Celebration, Henry bids on the company of a woman at the Annual Courtship Auction to save her from embarrassment, and wins.
Now he’s saddled with a boisterous companion that he does not want, Churchgrove’s notorious Miss Hadisham.

Miss Emily Hadisham owns Churchgrove’s only dress shop. She works her fingers to the bone to design beautiful gowns for young women who think, like their parents before them, that she is a witch. Emily makes use of herself in the only way she can and tries to stay out of the public eye. That is, until February the 14th. Sick of her life of utter and complete loneliness, Emily throws caution to the winds and takes a chance to find her happiness.

Henry Moscow isn’t what you would call the ideal partner, but Emily is determined to make him into one, whether he likes it or not.


Two Hearts One Stone

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About the Author

Read a Sneak Peek of Josephine Blake’s Debut

THIS IS THE ONE

Two Hearts One Stone

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Henry Moscow doesn’t believe in love. At least, not anymore. Not in the crude sense of hearts, flowers, ribbons and bows. But in the small town of Churchgrove, love is one of the things they LOVE to celebrate the most.
Caught up amidst the chaos of Churchgrove’s annual Valentine’s Celebration, Henry bids on the company of a woman at the Annual Courtship Auction to save her from embarrassment, and wins.
Now he’s saddled with a boisterous companion that he does not want, Churchgrove’s notorious Miss Hadisham.

Miss Emily Hadisham owns Churchgrove’s only dress shop. She works her fingers to the bone to design beautiful gowns for young women who think, like their parents before them, that she is a witch. Emily makes use of herself in the only way she can and tries to stay out of the public eye. That is, until February the 14th. Sick of her life of utter and complete loneliness, Emily throws caution to the winds and takes a chance to find her happiness.

Henry Moscow isn’t what you would call the ideal partner, but Emily is determined to make him into one, whether he likes it or not.

 


Two Hearts One Stone

A Valentine’s Day Novella

Now Available!


 

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Be one of the first 30 to Preorder Josephine Blake’s upcoming release, Charlotte, and leave your order number in the comments below to receive your free copy of Two Hearts One Stone on the 25th of February!

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Read the first chapter of Charlotte

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THIS IS THE ONE

 

Sneak Peek of Charlotte: Book 3 in The Brittler Sisters Series

Dear reader,

Charlotte was a ton of fun to write. A little quirky, a little different, but also managing to hold onto that characteristic Brittler stubbornness that we all know and love. I hope you all enjoy her as much as I did!
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Charlotte Brittler is content. Unlike her elder sister, Dianna, who headed west in search of a life of adventure, Charlotte thrives in the bustling, overcrowded Manhattan streets. If she could only find a husband, her life would be complete.
When the son of a local oil baron captures Charlotte’s hard-won interest, her most basic instincts come into play, and Charlotte is swept away down a path full of secrets and intrigue, in a twisting game that threatens her very heart.

Logan Drexel is the son of a professional con man. Nothing more and nothing less. His father has gambled away his grandfather’s company, wasting any funds they bring in on maintaining an appearance of exuberant wealth to the Manhattan society.
Charlotte Brittler is his only chance.
Logan knows that if he is to recover his dignity—and his family’s good name—he needs money, and a lot of it. So, he promises himself one more con. One last time, he will seek to deceive someone for monetary gain. If he can marry Charlotte, every debt collector can be safely swept under the rug, and he can escape the clutches of a father that has used him time and time again.

But Charlotte is not a prize to be won. She’s a furious, flame-driven storm that will stop at nothing to get what she wants, and Logan quickly realizes that the tables have turned. When he set out to steal Charlotte Brittler’s heart, he never banked on losing his own.


 

 

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Charlotte

Chapter One

She couldn’t breathe. Charlotte held onto the bedpost for dear life as her mother cinched her stays even tighter than she had the day before.

“There,” she said, at last, tying off the ends and stepping back to admire the effect she had created. “You look perfect. Where’s your gown?”

“Mother,” gasped Charlotte, turning on the spot to face the woman with her hand pressed to her ribs. “I’ll be passed out in the middle of the dance floor within the hour. My toes are tingling.”

“Tosh,” said Samantha Brittler. She waved her hand dismissively, and moved to the wardrobe. Charlotte glared at her, already feeling light-headed.

“I’m quite serious, Mother,” grumbled Charlotte as she tottered over to the dressing table and began running her fingers through the rigidly fashionable curls her mother had wound about her head. “I won’t be dancing at all if you insist I go like this.”

Samantha ignored her. She was good at that. “This one will do perfectly,” she said, removing a blue silk gown from the wardrobe and laying it out on the bed. Charlotte sighed.

“Slide that on at once. I’ll send for Penny in a moment to help do up the buttons.”

Charlotte frowned after her mother as she exited the room, then she listened to her enter her sister’s room next door,

Her chest was already heaving as she struggled to take in enough tiny puffs of air to keep her body functioning.

“This is ridiculous,” she muttered to herself, eyeing her reflection. Her waist was pulled in so tightly that she could encircle it with her hands and her elegant fingers would touch on both ends. Her long red hair dangled down her back as she turned in the mirror to gaze at the laces of her stays. Her fingers were white and bloodless. She gasped and began fumbling with the ties behind her back.

She heard the bedroom door open and her hands dropped to her sides as she looked up to see who had entered. Noelle slunk into the room, looking quite as uncomfortable as Charlotte.

“I’ll loosen yours if you loosen mine,” she whispered.

Charlotte smiled in relief and waved her sister over to her, hardly having the breath left to speak.

Noelle let out a tiny gasp as Charlotte worked her fingers expertly over her sister’s laces. They fell loose at once, and Noelle’s face flooded with color.

“She’s been so much worse since Di left,” she said, turning around and nudging Charlotte’s shoulder, still breathing like a wounded horse. Charlotte spun her back to her sister and held her breath so that Noelle would have room to maneuver the strings.

At last, they came free, and she sucked in great lungfuls of air while her head spun dizzily. Charlotte made her way over to the bed and collapsed next to her blue dress. Noelle followed her.

“She’s worried,” said Charlotte, rubbing her temples and gazing at the face of her wardrobe without seeing it. “She thinks if she doesn’t get us married off, we’ll leave her, like Di.”

“Dianna didn’t abandon us,” said Noelle, a dreamy look coming over her face. “She left to find love.” Charlotte snorted and Noelle glared at her. “She did!” she insisted.

“We haven’t heard from her weeks, ‘Elle.”

“She said she would write when she came into town. She said Greyson was very pleasant, but that she wouldn’t be able to write much,” Noelle quoted stubbornly.

“She’s glossing it over. You know as well as I do Dianna was searching for an adventure. She’d be happy with or without this man.”

“They’re going to fall in love,” muttered Noelle. “Just you wait.”

Charlotte rolled her eyes as her sister headed for the door and opened it a crack. She peered out into the hallway beyond and then looked back over her shoulder.

“Mother’s in Sarah’s room.”

“You go in and rescue her once mother sends for Penny.”

Noelle nodded to show she understood and then slithered back through the door, closing it softly behind her.

A few moments later, Charlotte heard a bell ring in the downstairs kitchen. Penny, the housemaid, entered her room.

“She’s got you trussed up like a thanksgiving turkey, she has,” giggled the girl as she deftly tugged Charlotte’s gown onto her shoulders and began buttoning the back of the bodice. “How are your stays?”

“Noelle loosened them a bit,” responded Charlotte with a grimace. Penny nodded and moved out of the room. Charlotte was left alone with nothing to distract her but her very irritable thoughts. She listened to the sounds of her mother readying her sisters for the night’s event and a spark of anger lit in her chest.

It was a few moments before she realized what had infuriated her. Dianna. Stubborn, wonderful Dianna. Her eldest sister. If only she were here, she would be able to calm their mother’s anxieties.

Thomas and Samantha Brittler had four daughters. Four, stubborn, idealistic daughters with enough will to flatten a mountain range. Dianna had been the first, and so, she was also the first to go. She had left them. Quite of her own volition.

Left her mother and father and three sisters behind in Manhattan to travel across the country and marry a man she had never met. Well. Noelle might find that romantic. She, Charlotte, found it tasteless. And though she would rather bite off her tongue than admit it, a small part of her agreed with their mother’s blatant opinion on the matter.

Of course, she knew why Dianna had left them. She knew it as surely as she knew that the sun would come in the morning. Dianna had left, not out of selfishness or spite, but out of need.

Charlotte understood that Dianna had needed something more. She’d never been happy with their way of living. With the day-to-day calls and charity work and sewing. She had wanted to live, and Charlotte couldn’t blame her, but it didn’t stop her being angry with her.

Dianna was the only one of the four girls who could ever manage to curb their mother’s overzealous nature. Samantha Brittler was a former debutant with a taste for the social aspect of Manhattan. She liked to see and be seen, and she did not approve of Dianna’s decision to travel westward, not in the slightest. Dianna had been the only one of the Brittler sisters with enough of Samantha’s own genes to contradict her ridiculousness.

She had been logical, to the point of being irritating, but then there were times when some whim or feeling had taken hold of her and she would throw her logic to the wind. Her personality was a kaleidoscope of contradictions. Next to her eldest sister, Charlotte always felt robustly sane. She knew what she wanted, and she knew how to get it. She did it quietly and without fuss. If Dianna had been logical, but reckless, Charlotte was clever and fierce. She liked that about herself. She liked the ability to see past dreams and frivolities. She did not ache for change. No. If she could only find a husband, she would be content with life in Manhattan. Or in some closely related facsimile.

A husband who would care for her, and most importantly, love her. She’d seen examples of loveless marriages. She’d had friends who had been matched with wealthy men so that their families could profit. They were lonely.

If Charlotte was sure about anything, she was sure about this. She would marry one day, and she would marry for love. She wouldn’t take a chance on a stranger. No. She would love the man she married, and she would be absolutely certain that he loved her in return.

A knock sounded on her bedroom door once more and her mother entered without waiting for a response.

“Are you ready?”

Charlotte stood up. She was within an inch of her mother’s height, but while Samantha was slender, Charlotte’s silhouette was full of curves. She was shapely, with long legs. Her waist dipped in pleasantly, and her long red hair was rich and thick in texture.

She looked very little like the rest of her family. It wasn’t just her brilliantly red hair, it was in her facial structure, and in the way she moved and talked. She was different.

“I just need my necklace,” she said dispassionately. She retrieved it from her vanity and allowed her mother to fasten it about her neck.

“There,” said Samantha, bestowing a rare smile on her. “You look lovely. Let’s be off then.”

Charlotte rode in the carriage next to the window. It was another dreary Manhattan evening. Their weather had been abysmal as of late. Noelle and Sarah chatted amicably, but Charlotte couldn’t even muster the energy to feign interest in their conversation.

“How do you think he’ll do it?” asked Noelle from the other side of the carriage.

“I don’t even know that he will, ‘Elle,” giggled Sarah. She blushed.

“You do too. He’s absolutely smitten with you. He’s bound to ask you to marry him.”

Samantha Brittler cast Sarah-Jane an approving look. Sarah had recently managed to capture the attention of Fredrick Carson Williamson. The son of a wealthy coal merchant from England, whose father their mother had been acquainted with in childhood. Carson had traveled to America on business and now seemed quite taken with Sarah. Their mother could not have been more pleased to make the introduction, or to take the credit for their running courtship.

“He’s wonderful, isn’t he?” sighed Sarah, her breath steaming against the window. Her eyes were wide and dreamy. Charlotte had the impression that Carson Williamson could have been a pauper in the street and Sarah-Jane would have fallen for him in a heartbeat.

“Oh, good. We’re here,” said Thomas Brittler as the carriage drew to a halt in front of a large manor house. The gardens surrounding the vast dwelling were magnificent, even given the season. Neatly manicured hedges, leaves swaying in the cool evening breeze, lined a stone walkway. The house it led to was ablaze with lights, and Charlotte caught the sound of string music echoing out over the lawn. It was a captivating atmosphere, and she followed her sisters from the carriage, thinking that perhaps the party would not be a complete waste of time after all.

The house belonged to a man called Berkley Drexel. A man whom her father heartily disliked. He was an oil baron with, she had come to understand, considerable ingenuity in swindling others out of their money. Charlotte had never met him, of course, but she had listened to her father rage against him at the dinner table enough times to know that, had it not been for her mother’s insistence, they would not be attending this gathering at all.

“Think of the people that will be in attendance,” she had pleaded. “Think how it will look if we do not make an appearance. Everyone shall assume that you do not approve of Mr. Drexel. That you think he is beneath you.”

“They would be right,” Thomas had huffed, his great mustache blowing hither and thither in his agitation. “That man is a thief. His company is built on the backs of his unwilling and unknowing investors. He hasn’t a cent to his own name.”

You would never know it, thought Charlotte as she mounted the front steps of the manor. The foyer was decorated with marble and gilded gold. It was a rather ostentatious display. Her family had wealth, thanks to her father’s sound investments and intelligent business decisions. His steel mills were flourishing, but their home did not display such a dramatic exhibition of their means. She could tell that the Drexel estate was designed to inspire envy in those less fortunate, and the thought made a hard lump rise in her throat. Whoever this Mr. Drexel was, he was bound to be a pretentious snot.

As they entered the lavish ballroom, Charlotte caught sight of a black-jacketed band in the corner. She hummed quietly under her breath along with the familiar notes of the 1812 Overture that emanated from their beautiful instruments. How she loved music.

A few onlookers milled around a crowded dance floor in the center of the room. Ornate gold and crystal chandeliers decorated the ceiling.

“Look,” hissed Sarah in her ear as they made their way around the room, “He’s here.” She was indicating the tall, black-haired gentleman in the corner that was eyeing their party with every appearance of delight on his face.

“You knew he would be,” said Charlotte, a crooked grin sliding over her lips as she took note of the excitement in her sister’s voice. She didn’t think Sarah heard her though as she strode forward to greet her suitor with their father by her side. Thomas Brittler made no secret of his approval for Sarah’s beau. He received Carson enthusiastically, clasping his proffered hand in both of his own.

“Mr. Williamson. A pleasure to see you again.”

Charlotte let her eyes wander over the crowd while they exchanged pleasantries. Her eyes fell on a young man that was sitting apart from the rest against the far wall. His eyes were closed and, for a moment, Charlotte thought he was asleep, but then she realized that he was listening to the music. He was on the shorter side, with a beard to rival her father’s. Charlotte could tell that when he stood, he would only be an inch or two taller than her five feet and six inches. He was olive-skinned and gave an impression of great warmth, but he looked drawn, weary even. His broad, muscled shoulders were slumped. She cocked her head to the side, wondering if someone should attend to him, as he obviously wasn’t well. Then his eyes opened, and they pierced her where she stood. They were the coldest shade of blue she had ever seen, almost colorless. His gaze stole the breath from her lungs, and she felt an eruption of sorts take place in her stomach.

The young man looked away from her to take a sip of his drink and Charlotte could breathe again. Her corset was feeling uncomfortably tight once more. She lifted her fan and spread the lace wide as a dull flush crept into her cheeks. She couldn’t take her eyes from him. Who was he? She’d never seen him before.

Noelle nudged her gently with her elbow. “What are you staring at?” she asked. Her voice was low so as to not draw the attention of the others.

“Nothing,” snapped Charlotte, recovering her senses. She turned her mind back to the conversation taking place before her, but she could feel the man’s presence like a cold breath on the back of her neck.

They moved on after Sarah had promised a dance to Carson and the sisters made their way to a set of vacant seats against the far wall. Charlotte, embarrassed by her reaction to the blue-eyed stranger, did not look around for him again. Although, strangely, she sensed he was trying to catch her eye.

The music drifted over her and the evening made its own slow progress toward the dawn. Two hours later found Charlotte quite at her ease. She was conversing with an old acquaintance about the lessons she had been taking on the pianoforte when a shout of anger drew her attention across the room. She spotted the source of the disturbance at once and recognized the speaker with a jolt.

“I certainly do not take kindly to the idea you are suggesting, sir, and I would thank you to check your facts before leveling such accusatory contention in my family’s direction.” Blue-eyes turned from his adversary in a huff and straightened his waistcoat with a flourish. Then his gaze found Charlotte’s once more. To her absolute shock, he made a beeline straight for her.

Charlotte could do nothing but watch him as he crossed the room to take hold of her gloved fingers and bow over her hand.

“Miss Brittler, might you favor me with this dance?”

After his none-too-quiet disagreement, every eye was upon them. Charlotte looked around for her mother or her father, wondering what on earth she should do. She was not acquainted with this man. They had never been introduced, and yet he spoke to her in the most familiar of tones, as though this dance he was asking for was a long-standing arrangement between the pair of them.

She hesitated for as long as she could whilst saving him from further embarrassment. “Yes, Mister-?” she prompted, rising to her feet as a soft violin began to play just behind her.

“Drexel, Miss. Logan Drexel.”

Charlotte felt her eyes go wide as he led her onto the floor. She swallowed uncomfortably as Logan Drexel’s arm encircled her waist and he pulled her into a flawless waltz. She blinked rapidly as those icy blue eyes found her, suddenly feeling like a mouse caught in the eyes of a snake.

“Have we-?”

“We have not been acquainted, miss. No. But I must admit, you caught my eye the moment you entered my father’s home.”

She felt her face color at his complement and she narrowed her gaze at him. “Is that so?” she asked suspiciously.

“It is,” he said. He lowered his voice conspiratorially so that his warm breath brushed her ear and his lips quirked up delightfully in the corner. “I’ve an eye for beautiful things, you see.”

“And an ear,” said Charlotte. His hand was cold on her back. She could feel his touch through her many layers, and she felt gooseflesh rise up her arms. “I’ve noticed you seem to have a fondness for music.”

He nodded as they spun in time with the fluid pace of the Gran Duo. “As I said,” he responded. “Beautiful things.”

Charlotte: Now Available for Preorder!

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The Heart of Hope

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The Heart of Hope is a companion short story to Josephine Blake’s debut novel, Dianna. It tells the story of Parker Jameson, a ranch hand with an uncommon devotion to his employer, Greyson Crowley.
Parker is floundering. After a disastrous confrontation with the son of his current employer, he has been ousted out of every position he has applied for. Angry, and more than a little desperate, Parker hastily accepts an offer of work from Phillip Crowley, unaware of the dangers he will be faced with on the Crowley Ranch.
His story unfolds in a heart-wrenching fashion. Friendships blossom and love wanders unexpectedly into Parker’s path.
Love, loss, faith and friendship. The Heart of Hope offers a glimpse into the life of a character whose story wasn’t ready to end.

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Wish Upon a Snowflake

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Clara Cartwright is not beautiful. She is small of stature and childlike in appearance. She is also nearly eighteen years of age, a fact never fails to amaze the ladies of Firbranch, Montana, where she has lived for as long as she can remember.

Tucked in the foothills of hulking Mount Blackmore, Firbranch is home to an assortment of tradesmen and businessmen alike. Many of these men are set on marrying, but Clara is not the ideal candidate for a wife.

Resigned to the fact that her elder sister, Greta, can catch the eye of any man she fancies, while Clara herself is often still mistaken as a schoolgirl, she hides from the people of the town. Rarely venturing out for social functions and finding solace in the pages of her many books—Each beautifully bound edition, a gift from her father.

A tough and intelligent man, Clara’s father, Patrick Cartwright, works as a lapidary, collecting precious gems and selling them to the highest bidder. In Clara’s mind, however, her father is an adventurer.

He excels at his chosen profession, traveling far and wide across the country, but always home for Christmas.

Then comes the telegram. From far across the snow-covered Mount Blackmore, Clara’s father has sent word that the mountain pass has been snowed shut. He’s staying with a friend until the pass clears, but he will miss Christmas.

Heartbroken at the news, Clara resolves to do anything she can to help bring her father back home in time for the Holidays. Even if that means enlisting the help of the deplorable local fur-trapper, Charles Donahue.

Charles isn’t interested in guiding persistent little Clara over Mount Blackmore in the dead of winter, but when the stubborn young woman ventures out on her own, he is forced to follow.

Reckless, irritating, and sarcastic, Charles can understand why Clara Cartwright has not yet found a husband. She has a spark of defiance and stubbornness that most men would find off-putting. Charles, however, sees it as a challenge. An attractive little challenge indeed.

 


Wish Upon a Snowflake

A Christmas Time Novella

Coming to you on Dec. 2nd, 2016

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THIS IS THE ONE

Sneak Peek of Book Two in The Brittler Sisters Series

Due out this November, the second book in the series finds Dianna encumbered and irritable, but looking forward to the birth of their first child. Having been constantly on the watch for any signs of Tiponi’s vengeful tribesmen for over a year, both Shiye and Dianna are convinced of their safety.

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Here’s a quick peek of the very first chapter.

Little Rose

Book Two in The Brittler Sisters Series

Chapter One

For My Loved Ones,


I miss you. It’s been a long time since I left Manhattan, and I am anxious for news. Tell me what has happened in your lives. Spare no details in your response, and I will spare none as I tell you what has been happening in mine. 
Dianna paused to run the tip of her fountain pen over her bottom lip as she thought. She sat at the scrub kitchen table. Her ankles crossed beneath her faded brown skirts.
She’d been out of touch with her family for the past year and could only imagine their anxiety for her. It wasn’t as though Dianna had had any choice. It wasn’t easy to mail regular correspondence when you were on the run from murderous natives.
Dianna exhaled violently, her blonde curls blowing away from her face as she did so, and looked around the tiny cabin. It was comprised of one room. The kitchen sat to the left of her. The bed: a few paces away on her right. Between the dining area— where Dianna now sat— and the bed, was a small stone fireplace. Within it sat a char black pot, hung from an iron peg.
It was a small space, but it was home, and it had been for nearly an entire year. The quilt on the bed was handmade and bore a embroidered pattern of leaves across its brown and gray surface.

Dianna heaved another sigh and then smiled as her eyes fell onto the cradle that sat at the end of the bed. It was comprised of sturdy wood and a deep red-brown in color. Shiye, Dianna’s husband, had carved intricate pictures on both the head and footboard. Two crossed feathers, surrounded by a twisting garland of oak leaves, decorated the head. A single feather surrounded by a garland of pine branches sat upon the foot.
“You see?” Shiye had told her, tracing his finger over one of the feathers. “One is for you, one is for me. The other is for our child.”
Her husband’s words seemed to echo to her for a moment, and Dianna sent up a silent prayer for his safe return. Shiye had gone on one of his frequent trips. Hunting and scouting the area for signs of danger. He was likely on his way home now; he’d been gone for several days.
Dianna laid a hand over her stomach to feel the reassuringly warm fumblings of her baby.

“You’ll be as warm blooded as your papa, sweetheart,” she whispered to her belly. Then she stood with a groan and strode over to the window to pull open the shutters. Sweat was beading on her forehead, though the spring night was relatively mild. Stars twinkled on the surface of the nearby river, making it look as though thousands of fireflies lay trapped beneath the rippling water.
She was on the point of turning back to her letter when a movement out of the corner of her eye caught her attention, and she stopped, staring hard at the shadows of the surrounding trees. Nothing moved, but Dianna’s spine itched with discomfort.
“Shiye?” she called hesitantly into the night. Her right hand wandered over the back of her waistband and she pulled a small throwing knife from its sheath there. “Who’s there?” she called again. A delicate fawn slipped out of the undergrowth a few feet away and Dianna let out a sigh of relief. Replacing the knife Shiye had given her in its leather scabbard, she turned away from the window and sat back down at the table to continue her letter.
Greyson Crowley and I were not meant to be. I must confess that I was too blinded by the excitement of my journey to note that the man was an obvious drunkard, a liar and a scoundrel. Fortunately for me, we were unable to marry upon my arrival in Cheyenne, and I was still unattached to him upon my discovery of his true nature. 


I spent some time recovering from a head injury inflicted upon me by the wretched man, and it was during this time that I met my new husband. His name is Shiye, and it was he who found me after Greyson Crowley’s drunken antics nearly ended my life. Shiye saved me and aided me in my recovery. Soon after, we were married in Cheyenne. 


I cannot tell you where I am now, for fear of this letter falling into the wrong hands. For Shiye has been falsely accused of a terrible crime by his people and we are, to the best of my knowledge, still being pursued by them. 


I will tell you that I am happy. For not only have I discovered a wonderful and loving husband, I am also with child. I hope someday soon, that we can arrange to meet, so that I might get to see you all. I miss you more than words can say. 
I am so sorry that I lost touch with you over the course of my ventures. I hope you will forgive me. I desire nothing more than to see your smiling faces, and I think of you always. 


Yours forever, 

Dianna

There. That sounded alright. Although there was no guarantee that her family would respond to her letter, Dianna was desperate to make contact with them. She felt horrible about leaving them without any information or means of reaching her, and could only hope that they would find it in their hearts to forgive her and write back quickly.

An ever-present feeling of guilt threatened to overwhelm Dianna for a moment. It swelled inside her like some noxious gas, making it hard to breathe. She flattened her palms against the table, fighting for control.

There came a steady crunch of footsteps outside the cabin and Dianna tensed again, reaching for her knife. The footsteps stopped and Dianna heard a grunt, followed by the thud of something large being tossed to the ground. She smiled, her body relaxed, and she stood quickly to open the front door.
Shiye was bent double, his hands busy in a small bag of supplies at his feet. Next to him, bloody and gutted, lay a string of rabbits, a few featherless birds, his hunting knife and his bow. At the sound of the door opening, he straightened and opened his arms just in time. For Dianna had flown at him with enough force to nearly knock him flat. Without giving him a moment to catch his breath, she kissed him.
Shiye chuckled beneath her lips and his arms encircled her. “I have missed you as well,” he said pleasantly. Dianna clung to him fiercely. Feeling such a powerful wave of happiness that, for a moment, she couldn’t speak. Shiye’s welcome heat radiated into her skin, warming parts of her soul that always grew cold in his absence. Before her pregnancy, Dianna had always gone on these short expeditions with him. Now though, the idea was quite out of the question.
“I expected you back days ago,” she said angrily, pulling away from her husband to confront him with a furious stare. “What happened?” He was only thirty and two to Dianna’s twenty-nine years, but his dark eyes were ringed with an age that only terrible trials can bring. Over the last year or so, this look had lessened slightly. He had grown content and —Dianna hoped— he had begun to forgive himself for the terrifying events in his past that had truly been out of his control.
Shiye’s high brow fell in a look of irritation. “I found signs of passing and tracked them over the mountains. It was likely only a traveler, but I needed to be certain. They were close to us, but they seem to have left the area.”
Dianna felt a distinct sense of unease grow in her belly. The baby squirmed. She lay a protective hand over the wiggling in her stomach and bit her lip. “Are you sure? We haven’t had anyone come this way for a long time, should we…?”
“We’re safe,” Shiye cut her off. His hands came to rest over her’s, and he smiled down at her. “I tracked them a long time, whoever it was headed East, away from Cheyenne. If it were a tracker, they would have headed back to the village to bring the others. Not East.”
Dianna felt her shoulders relax, and she smiled up at Shiye as the baby gave another firm kick to their joined hands. Shiye crouched down in the dirt to press a kiss to Dianna’s belly. “I missed you both,” he whispered, wrapping his hands around Dianna’s lower back and pressing his ear to her stomach. Dianna giggled as she felt the baby jolt once more, pressing against Shiye’s cheek.
“Welcome home,” she whispered.

Little Rose

Now available for Preorder!!

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Watch for Josephine Blake’s Little Rose coming in

November of 2016


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For a sneak peek of Josephine Blake’s debut click HERE

THIS IS THE ONE

Exclusive Interview with THE AMAZING Linda Lael Miller

I met Linda at the Historical Romance Retreat in Spokane, WA this year. I was a little starstruck, a little nervous and crazy excited to be in the presence of such a fantastic pillar of Western Romance. I mean, she has written and published over one hundred historical and contemporary novels, she’s phenomenal. And here I am, this awkward little blonde chick swimming through the sea of authors and readers, just trying to poke my head out and catch her attention. I bobbed along for a bit and finally, it was my turn.

I think I might have cried a little.

(Sorry, Linda! 😉

Linda Lael Miller is just as warm and friendly in person as you would imagine from reading her amazing work. She was full of advice, energy and pizzazz!

I fumbled, I stumbled and, to no one’s surprise, I blushed but I finally managed to ask her if she wouldn’t mind taking a moment to answer a few questions for my blog. I couldn’t believe she agreed!!

So, let’s get right down to it and learn a little something extra about a woman who is, for many of us, a heroine herself.

The first thing I did when I sat down to write an interview was ask a fantastic group of individuals (Pioneer Hearts. You read Westerns? Join us.) whose opinions I deeply respect, what sort of questions they would ask Linda if they had the chance.

The first couple questions are from them.

Q #1: With such an extensive list of books, do you ever re-read any of your books from days gone by and wonder where that story came from or wish you could retell the story knowing what you know now? If so, have you ever done so or ever considered it?

Linda said: I never have time to re-read old books, though I sometimes listen on audio—Jack Garrett reads all my Recorded Book versions, and he does such a great job as a narrator!  Sounds a lot like Sam Elliott.  🙂  I’d like to think I’ve grown as a writer over these many years at the keyboard, but I’m all about the book I’m writing now, and the ones I’m planning in the future.

Q #2: Will your books every be on Kindle Unlimited?

Linda said: I don’t know.  These decisions are made by the Amazon people in the case of Kindle, and the process is probably similar with Nook, etc.

Q #3: Where does your inspiration come from? Each one of your books is distinctly different, and I know that is hard to do.

Linda said: My writing is organic, by which I mean, it grows from the characters, situation and setting, but especially the characters.  I see the stories in my mind as I write them, and really get involved.  Often, they show me things I hadn’t expected, which is one of the many reasons I love this job.

Q #4: Will you ever do another vampire series?

Linda said: Probably not.  Publishing, alas, is a business, and the vampire books were embraced by a much smaller audience, however loyal.  My publishers aren’t willing to go there because of lower sales.  I did enjoy writing those stories enormously, but there’s no getting around the economics.  Also, I think there have been so many wonderful books in that genre since that I would have a very hard time coming up with anything original.

Q #5: When will Kate Mckittrick get her story?

Linda said: At this point, I have no plans to write another Mckittrick book, but you never know when inspiration will strike!

 

The following questions were to satisfy my own curiosity!

 

Q #6:  I think it’s absolutely wonderful that you established the Linda Lael Miller Scholarships for Women Foundation. What inspired you to do that?

Linda said: Well, thank you.  I helped over 50 women while the scholarships were in force.  They are on hiatus at the moment, unfortunately, though I do hope to bring them up.  Again, the problem was economic.  The administration costs were 3 times what the scholarship recipients received, and that just doesn’t make sense.  I looked into forming a foundation, but that involved so many rules, which would negate my purpose of giving women the help they needed—a lap top, gas money, child-care in addition to tuition and books.

Q #7: Tell us about your father. He was a town marshal. Did he inspire any of the characters from your books?

Linda said: My dad will always be my favorite cowboy!  I did draw on his courage, his integrity and his willingness to work hard.

Q #8: Why do you think the West is such a fantastic setting for Romances? What qualities about that setting make it so wonderfully exciting to read?

Linda said: I love the West, partly because I’ve lived in it all my life, except for brief stints in London, Florence and Venice.  I believe it appeals to many readers because of the wide open spaces, the breathtaking scenery, and the courage of those who settled it back in the day.

Q #9: What are some of your favorite reviews from your readers? 

Linda said: The truth?  I rarely read my own reviews.  The really good ones might give me a swelled head, and the bad ones hurt my feelings.

(Linda, that answer inspired me!)

Q #10: What is the very first book you ever published? Where can we get ahold of a copy?

Linda said: My first published book was “Fletcher’s Woman”, and I’m sure it’s in print, therefore available wherever books are sold.

Q #11: Can you tell us your favorite author?

Linda said: I have so MANY favorite authors: Dorothy Dunnett, Taylor Caldwell, and others who wrote big historical sagas I could sink my teeth into.  I also love suspense—I will buy a book by Joy Fielding or Linwood Barclay, to name just two, without even reading the blurb.  🙂  I also read an enormous amount of nonfiction—especially the American Civil War, since I’m in the process of writing a series set in that era.  I love all of David McCullough’s books.  I read a lot of psychology, too, being a student of human nature—what writer isn’t?—and at the moment I’m particularly fascinated by the Enneagram.

Q #12: What is the top item on your grocery list this week?
Linda said:  🙂  Dog and cat food!  I’m a MAJOR animal lover.

Q #13: What is your ideal birthday gift?
Linda said: To receive?  Send over Rob Lowe, please.  🙂

Q #14: What are you working on now? Can we have a sneak peek???
Linda said:  I’m working on “NORTH OF EDEN”, a sprawling story set in the Gettysburg, PA area (mostly) and centering around the famous battle of July 1, 2, and 3, of 1863.  There are some battle scenes, but my story is mostly about the way the ordinary people coped with having a war fought just down the road, or even in their front yard.  In other words, while some of the characters are soldiers, the novel is mainly about women like my heroine, Caroline Hammond, who helped take care of the wounded in the aftermath of the battle.

Q #15: (We’ll round off with this real hard-hitting question. One that everyone is dying to know, I’m sure 😉 Linda, can you tell us what breakfast you would have if you could have anything in the world? And where would you eat it if you could eat it anywhere you wanted to?

Linda said: I’m so boring!  My favorite breakfast is crisp bacon, hash brown potatoes and eggs over-medium, with wheat toast.  I guess if I could choose the place too, I’d pick the White House dining room.  🙂  (Doesn’t matter who’s President.)

That concludes our interview with Linda Lael Miller. 
I’d like to personally thank Linda for joining us today and tell her, yet again, what an absolute delight it was to meet her at the HRR. I hope to see you there next year as well!
 The daughter of a town marshal, Linda Lael Miller is a #1 New York Times bestselling author of more than 100 historical and contemporary novels, most of which reflect her love of the West. The “First Lady of the West” lives outside Spokane, Washington, where her rescued horses, dogs and cats live the high life.
Published since 1983, Linda was awarded the prestigious Nora Roberts Lifetime Achievement Award in 2007 by the Romance Writers of America. She was recently inducted into the Wild West Heritage Foundation’s Walk of Fame for her dedication to preserving the heritage of the Wild West.
Hallmark Channel is developing a series based on Miller’s Big Sky Country novels published by HQN Books. In addition to writing more contemporary cowboy romances, she is working furiously on a big book Civil War series for Harlequin. When not writing, Linda loves to focus her creativity on a wide variety of art projects.
More information about Linda and her novels is available at http://www.lindalaelmiller.com and on Facebook.