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The Maid of Milan – Regency Glitter & Grime + Giveaway

By Beverley Eikli

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A theme that I find fascinating to explore in an historical romance is about the power – or lack of – a woman had in her daily life.

In The Maid of Milan my once dazzling debutante believed she wielded enormous power as the men flocked to ask her to dance. But then she made a terrible error of judgement. One that continues to haunt her four years later after she’s happily married to a reformist MP, a kind and loving man.

Unfortunately it’s Adelaide’s mother who now wields the power. She’s the one who’s protected her daughter from the all-out scandal that would have destroyed her, but she’s done it at enormous cost. Adelaide will only find her HEA if she can navigate the treacherous currents her mother has whipped up to subdue her, and take a huge chance that the ultimate decision she makes is the right one.

Here’s the blurb and a short extract:

THE MAID OF MILAN

After five years of marriage, Adelaide has fallen in love with the handsome, honourable husband who nurtured her through her darkest hours.

Now Adelaide’s former lover, the passionate poet from whose arms she was torn by her family during their illicit liaison in Milan four years previously has returned, a celebrity due to the success of his book The Maid of Milan.

High society is as desperate to discover the identity of his ‘muse’ as Adelaide is to protect her newfound love and her husband’s political career.

 

EXTRACT:

The following scene takes place when Adelaide has discovered that not only is she in love with the husband she reluctantly consented to wed, but that she wants him to be in no doubt about her desire to take intimacy to a higher level. Adelaide’s mother has perpetuated a lie to hide her daughter’s sinful past, telling Tristan that Adelaide is an invalid who must be kept calm at all costs if she is not to succumb to hysteria.

‘Addy—?’

Tossing aside the bed covers, Adelaide shifted to make room

for him, snuggling against his chest when he yielded

slightly, nevertheless terrified of his reaction. She was

blatantly seducing – no, trying to seduce – her husband for

the first time in her life and she had no idea whether he’d be

horrified or delighted. She just knew she had to convey to

him her receptiveness for taking intimacy to a higher level.

So far so good. He was breathing more rapidly, she

noticed, as he carefully removed his boots. She willed him

to hurry. She was on fire. She closed her eyes in anticipation,

her mind whirling with all the possibilities of what she

might say, but the words with which she’d intended to

unburden her heart were lost in the passion of his kiss.

Scorching. It shocked her, as did the speed with which he

moved now as he caged her body with his, his hands roaming

over her as he trailed hot kisses along her jawline, down her

neck, across her décolletage. Adelaide arched with impatience,

resisting the urge to be the one to unbutton his trousers.

‘God, Addy, I love you,’ he muttered as he gripped the

hem of her shift to raise it, nuzzling her neck. ‘I’ve never

loved any woman as I love you. Are you sure you want—?’

Her reassurance that she’d never wanted anything so

much was truncated by a sharp rap on the door and her

mother’s nasal whine on the other side. ‘Addy? I’ve brought

you something to help you sleep. Can I come in?’

Horrified, she and Tristan bolted upright as the door

knob turned.

‘Wait, mother!’ Addy pulled the covers up to her chin

as Tristan leapt to the floor, straightening his cravat and

pulling on his boots with lightning speed.

‘Why, Tristan …?’ Mrs Henley’s cloying smile didn’t fool

Adelaide. ‘I didn’t know you were here. I’m so sorry to

interrupt.’

Adelaide felt like seizing the mug her mother carried with

such false solicitude and hurling it at the wall. Instead, she

hurled herself back down onto her bed with a sob as her

husband bowed before leaving the room.

[ends]

GIVEAWAY

And now for the competition side of things. I’d love to give away a copy of my Regency Romantic Intrigue – Lady Farquhar’s Butterfly – to someone who comments on what stands out most in the cover of The Maid of Milan.

Thanks so much for dropping by.

Please drop by and visit me at my website or blog

Or twitter: @BeverleyOakley

And you can buy The Maid of Milan here:

Amazon US - http://amzn.to/1kFGrcf

Amazon UK - http://amzn.to/MgXrHm

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Beverley Eikli with her loyal Rhodesian Ridgeback

Beverley Eikli is the author of eight historical romances, three of which have been shortlisted Favourite Historical by Australian Romance Readers Association.  

She has worked as a journalist, editor, airborne geophysical survey operator and embraced a life of adventure after meeting her  husband, a handsome Norwegian bush pilot around a camp fire in Botswana.  

Twenty years later, after exploring the world in the back of Cessna 404s and CASA 212s during low-level sorties over the French Guyanese jungle and Greenland’s ice cap, Beverley is back in Australia teaching in the Department of Professional Writing & Editing at Victoria University, in Melbourne.

You can see the Book Trailer Video here:

http://youtu.be/7s0K6D9hCnk

Rake’s Honour – a bold debutante with a cunning plans wins the day

By Beverley Oakley

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This story was shortlisted Favourite Historical in 2012 by Australian Romance Readers Association and since then I’ve got my rights back from the original publisher and republished it with a beautiful new cover.

I’ve been amazed that Rake’s Honour has remained so long with such excellent rankings in the Amazon Fiction Erotica Short Stories category. To be honest, I wouldn’t call it erotica since it’s a very sensual/erotic romance about a debutante who takes a gamble on love in order to avoid being married off by her mother to a completely repulsive libertine. This Lord Slyther is a piece of work, I can tell you, and he puts my poor heroine through the wringer as he lasciviously outlines what’s in store for her once she walks down the aisle with him two weeks hence. Talk about being motivated to find any alternative that will protect both her dignity and the family’s precarious finances.

Anyway, dear Fanny Brightwell never expected to find herself in a boat on the Thames during a masquerade at Vauxhall Gardens with a dashing piratical gentlemen who’s every bit her social equal but who assumes she’s a ‘light-skirt’ purely for the fact she’s slipped away from her chaperone. This is one man Fanny both wants, and needs, to get her out of a very sticky situation.

Rake’s Honour is all about honour and dignity and how a cunning debutante with a bold plan wins the day. 

Here are a few reviews.

Review

BookedUp Reviews:
Reviewer: Dolce Amore – 5 Stars

“What a splendid book! I loved every moment of it. Ms. Beverley Oakley created an original and amazing plot. She keeps our attention through the whole book. And the characters… what can I say? Outstanding! I loved Mis Fanny and adore Lord Fenton. I enjoyed their misunderstanding and I was delighted by their torrid and passionate meetings. And the end… made me burst out laughing. It rocks! 

5 stars for her and I can hardly wait to read her new release… Ms. Beverley Oakley, I’m not above begging for more! I expect I won’t have to wait too much longer for it, you are now one of my favorite writers.”

Just Erotic Romance Reviews
Reviewer: Barbara McCormick – 5 Stars

“…The characters in Rake’s Honour, a Regency romance, leap off the page and into the reader’s heart….Ms. Oakley brings the setting and time period to life without lengthy descriptions of society’s strict rules. The sex, oh my goodness, the sex is hot and in unusual settings as Fenton and Fanny must hide what they are up to from the eyes of judgmental society.

Supporting characters like Fanny’s younger sister and her friend and confidante, Lord Quamby, bring added life to a lush story. The pacing is just perfect, keeping you in your chair reading right through to the end. The “mamas” are ever present, placing demands on their children to marry well for family’s sake. In the end, Rake’s Honour is about satisfying society’s demands while still finding ways to remain true to oneself and one’s heart. For these reasons, Rake’s Honour earns an honored spot on my re-read stack.”

 

From the Author

I loved William Thackeray’s famous Vanity Fair anti-heroine, the feisty, ambitious Becky Sharp much more than his heroine, the passive, naïve Amelia Sedley. I therefore thought it would be fun to write a book set in the Regency period with a heroine who had all the characteristics essential for survival but which were the antithesis of the womanly virtues upheld by the era.
Thus Fanny Brightwell was born.
 

Please drop by and visit me at my website or blog

Or twitter: @BeverleyOakley

And you can buy Rake’s Honour  at Amazon.com here: http://amzn.to/1cA5zsL

or Amazon (UK) here: http://amzn.to/1dp0Deh

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Beverley Oakley and her Rhodesian Ridgeback, Homer

Beverley Eikli is the author of eight historical romances, three of which have been shortlisted Favourite Historical by Australian Romance Readers Association.  

She has worked as a journalist, editor, airborne geophysical survey operator and embraced a life of adventure after meeting her  husband, a handsome Norwegian bush pilot around a camp fire in Botswana.  

Twenty years later, after exploring the world in the back of Cessna 404s and CASA 212s during low-level sorties over the French Guyanese jungle and Greenland’s ice cap, Beverley is back in Australia teaching in the Department of Professional Writing & Editing at Victoria University, in Melbourne.

 

Regency drama – stolen child and vengeance from the grave – Lady Farquhar’s Butterfly

By Beverley Eikli

I’m hopeless at remembering birthdays and special occasions, so weeks ago I bought a very special Valentine’s Day card with lots of vouchers for massages and nice things for my darling hubby. Feeling very proud of myself I presented it to him this morning – and got a very blank look in response. Of course, I’m only a day early!

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My excuse is that it’s a very hectic time with bush fires raging (it’s charcoal black around us after last week’s fire) and that I have two books to promote – The Maid of Milan, written under my Beverley Eikli name; and Dangerous Gentlemen, my Ellora’s Cave release written under my Beverley Oakley name. I just saw that my gorgeous husband has promoted it on Facebook under ‘Hot Author’. Naturally I told the world that he was my inspiration ;)

In other exciting news, my recent Napoleonic espionage romantic suspense The Reluctant Bride is in Amazon’s Valentine’s Day Top 100 Best sellers. It’s also just gone to Audio Book and Large Print. You can find it here: http://amzn.to/1iKisWf

Anyway, here I’m going to post about my very beloved Regency romance, a drama full of angst and pain, called Lady Farquhar’s Butterfly. It’s about a beautiful viscount’s wife called Olivia and the story begins seven years after she’s waltzed off with the catch of the season, the enigmatic Lord Lucien Farquhar. Unfortunately Lord Farquhar turns out to have been a brutal wife-abuser. Now he’s dead  and Olivia is  a shell of her once-vibrant self, after having had her infant child removed from her custody through the terms of her late husband’s will.

I loved exploring the social and legal difficulties a woman of that time faced. Her late husband has branded her a whore and unfit mother, so society will not accept her, meaning she believes the only way to reclaim her little boy is through a grand deception. So when she finds love with her child’s new guardian, she’s at first floating on air until she realises telling him the truth is more than simply saying who she really is. Her deception has had huge ramifications for the new man of her life, Max, and she doesn’t know how to admit her culpability. Add to this a bit of blackmail and a mystery that’s at the core of the story, and that’s the book.

Here’s an excerpt:

This scene takes place when Olivia’s actions to save her cousin have been misinterpreted by the man she loves.

 

The empty silence stung her ears.

Shocked, she whispered, “I had no idea you hated me so much.”

“Not as much as I love you.“ He gave a shuddering sigh and his voice cracked as he added, “But self-preservation prevents me from succumbing to the lust that consumes me as we speak. For it is lust, only, Olivia. Tonight you proved there is nothing in you to love.” Raising himself he glared at her. Never had he looked so like Lucien. “Besides, you are going to marry Kirkman. You know there is no other path open to you.”

Stung to indignation she wiped her eyes. “Should I be compelled to atone the rest of my life for compromising myself before him?” Hunched into the corner, the anger built within her. “I can’t do it. I won’t,” she flung at him after a moment’s silence.

“And Julian?”

“He is Lucien’s heir and as long as the world believes that he will be fine.”

“Is this a threat?” Max spoke quietly. After a moment he let out a humourless laugh. “So you would tell the world the truth if I only had been prepared to wed you and conveniently dismiss what stood between us?”

He was looking at her as if he could not believe it.

“I can manage very well without Mr Kirkman and if you choose to deny me my son on account of it, you are within your rights,” she said coldly.

“And I can manage very well without you!”

The anger drained from her. Sorrow took its place. They had once loved each other. It could have been so wonderful.

“Olivia.” There was so much pain invested in the word she nearly wept. She kept her head averted.

After a silence he shrugged and there was a distance to his tone as he said, “A boy needs a father.”

“Mr Petersham would have done just as well.”

Max gave a sardonic chuckle. “You really are trying to live up to your reputation.”

She made her tone deliberately careless. “Since it was only you I wanted—yet clearly it is impossible for us to live with the uncomfortable truth between us—I no longer care what becomes of me. I shall make a point of enjoying my road to eternal damnation.” She smiled sweetly. “When your worthy Miss Hepworth becomes too tiresome you can look to The Tatler for some diverting scandal about the latest exploits of the brazen Lady Farquhar.”

Clearly he did not share her self-deprecating humour for he said with a narrow look, “The future Viscount Farquhar will not be brought up in such a manner. If you want to keep Julian, you forget yourself, Olivia.”

She tensed as she registered his words exhaled on a shuddering breath.

 “At the end of the week you shall marry Reverend Kirkman. He has been … good … to you. You deserve each other.”

“Oh God,” she whispered, covering her face with her hands. “Would you really condemn me to torment by forcing me to marry the reverend? Just because he knows the worst of me? I am not so far beyond redemption?”

“I have discovered too much, Olivia, to know what alternative you have.”

She nearly choked on her anger. “You self-righteous beast!” she cried, lunging at him with flailing fists. “You’re no better than Lucien! I hate you!”

Caught by surprise as the glancing blow struck his jaw, he gripped her wrists while pain tore behind his eyes.

“You hate me?” he repeated.

He could not believe it of her. What did she expect? To allow her carte blanche to continue her reckless, ill-chosen path, dragging Julian along with her?”

Wincing, he acknowledged his love for the boy. How could he not? For more than a year they had been as close as father and son.

Her eyes were like blue thunder, her skin flushed and her creamy flesh tantalisingly bared by her sumptuous, scandalous dress; he thought he’d never wanted her so much.

But the price was too high. She would forever revel in the power she had over him. He did not think his manhood could sustain a lifetime of it.

She was straining across his lap as he caught her wrists. Holding them above her head caused her body to sag into his. He closed his eyes against the desire to place a kiss upon the flesh that swelled above her low cut bodice; fought the raging impulses that rushed through his body as anger faded beneath his yearning. Her hot breath on his cheek as he parried her blows quickly fanned the flames into full blown desire.

For an instant she stilled. He opened his eyes in the startled silence and saw that she felt it, too. She wilted in his embrace, her face inches from his, her eyes dark pools of need.

The thread that connected their two hearts from the moment they’d met tugged tighter. He was devastatingly aware of the soft contours of her body and for a second he almost yielded.

Of all the women he’d known, none had the power to stir his senses as the fascinating, faithless creature before him. 

Common sense returned and he jerked back as if stung.

He turned his head away before the hurt and surprise on her face could weave their spell upon his all too susceptible heart.

“We’re here,” he said as the horses turned into the stable yard. With enormous effort he kept his voice neutral. “Kirkman is waiting for you.”

She did not want to go. He knew he forced her against her will; that he was abusing his power in this act of spite and self-righteousness.

He didn’t care. If she hated him for it, all the better. He didn’t know if he had the fortitude to hold out if it was any other way.

Smoothing her dress she sat back in her seat, glaring at him. “I had not known such a fine line existed between the affection you’ve always extended towards me and” — she nearly choked on the words — “the disgust you clearly feel for me now.”

When he didn’t answer she whispered after a silence, “Could I change your mind?” Then, more desperately, “I do not wish to marry Reverend Kirkman. Since I have made that plain, perhaps you’d like to know my reasons.”

“I’m not interested in your reasons.” He knew he was being childish and pig-headed but he wanted to hurt her. Humiliate her.

The carriage jerked to a halt and Max rose over her in the small space. It was not a comforting thought that his domination and angry snarl: “Perhaps confessing tonight’s little dalliance might ease your conscience” could only remind her of Lucien. Yet perhaps Lucien’s behaviour was not so reprehensible given all he had learned of Olivia.  Opening the door and jumping out onto the hay-strewn cobblestones he added, “If you have one.”

[ends]

So thanks for staying the distance. I’ve had a few lovely reviews, below. And now it’s time to write a post on the most important book of the day – Dangerous Gentlemen (though of course I have to slip into my alter ego, Beverley Oakley, a far more mysterious, sensual and enigmatic creature who writes about viscount’s daughters having to pretend to be prostitutes to save their lives from wicked blackguards).

Editorial Reviews

Review

BOOKS MONTHLY  – “Charming Regency romance that rivals Georgette Heyer, although it has a slightly more serious tone than Heyer’s romances. Olivia is a perfect heroine, and the plot is dizzyingly simple but effective.”

 

Long and Short Reviews – 4 1/2 Stars

“Sweet with heat and hard to beat, Lady Farquhar’s Butterfly gains momentum as it builds to a terrifying climax….

 

Beverley Eikli’s concise, smooth, and subtle writing reveals characters and their motivations with a style that makes Lady Farquhar’s Butterfly fascinating–a thoroughly enjoyable, page-turner of a tale.”

 

RED ROSES FOR AUTHORS – 5 Stars and a Red Roses for Authors award

And you can see the book trailer here: http://bit.ly/1kwZkwr

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Author Beverley Eikli

Bio:

Beverley Eikli is the author of eight historical romances, three of which have been shortlisted in the ‘Favourite Historical Romance’ category by Australian Romance Readers Association.

She has worked as a journalist, editor, airborne geophysical survey operator and embraced a life of adventure after meeting her future husband, a handsome Norwegian bush pilot around a camp fire in Botswana while she was running a luxury safari lodge in the Okavango.

Twenty years later, after exploring the world in the back of Cessna 404s and CASA 212s during low-level sorties over the French Guyanese jungle and Greenland’s ice cap, Beverley is back in Australia teaching in the Department of Professional Writing & Editing at Victoria University.

She lives with her husband and two daughters in a pretty country town north of Melbourne, Australia.

You can drop by and visit her  website or blog

Or twitter: @BeverleyOakley

And you can buy Lady Farquhar’s Butterfly here: http://bit.ly/1kwZkwr

Amazon Valentine’s Day Bestsellers – The Reluctant Bride makes the Top 100

By Beverley Eikli

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It was a real thrill to see last night my Napoleonic espionage romantic suspense, The Reluctant Bride, had made the Amazon Valentine Day’s Best sellers Top 100. When I first looked it was #87 and today it’s #72. Hopefully it’ll just get better :)

Recently The Reluctant Bride was made into an audio book, and it’s about to be produced as a Large Print. It’s had a pretty interesting history and won a number of competitions, including Choc Lit’s Search for an Australian Star, which was based on recommendations from a reader ‘tasting’ panel with members located around the world.

The Reluctant Bride is a poignant but action-filled romance about the ‘darker side of the Regency’ as one reviewer put it; and ‘a slow-boil romance that turns into a page-turning action thriller’ as another puts it.

Here’s the blurb, followed by an extract.

Can honour and action banish the shadows of old sins?


Emily Micklen has no option after the death of her loving fiancé, Jack, but to marry the scarred, taciturn, soldier who represents her only escape from destitution.

Major Angus McCartney is tormented by the reproachful slate-grey eyes of two strikingly similar women: Jessamine, his dead mistress, and Emily, the unobtainable beauty who is now his reluctant bride.

Emily’s loyalty to Jack’s memory is matched only by Angus’s determination to atone for the past and win his wife with honour and action. As Napoleon cuts a swathe across Europe, Angus is sent to France on a mission of national security, forcing Emily to confront both her allegiance to Jack and her traitorous half-French family. 

Angus and Emily may find love, but will the secrets they uncover divide them forever?

And here’s an extract:

In this scene Angus has just proposed to Emily his plan of inviting Emily’s father to visit.

 

‘If you think he’ll forgive me you know nothing of my father!’ She jerked forward in the bed. ‘Reconciliation is not possible!’

 

Instead of declaring roundly, as Jack might have done, that he’d make sure it all came to pass, Angus took a while to gather his thoughts. ‘You are respectably married,’ he said slowly. ‘The child will be born legitimate. You’ve brought no shame upon your family. Restoring ties between you and your father is important.’

 

‘No, you don’t understand.’ She was close to tears as she gripped his hands which were suddenly clasping hers. ‘Papa is vengeful. I sinned. If he could find another way to compound my suffering, my shame, he’d do it.’

 

Angus hunkered down to take her in his arms and as she was squeezed gently but firmly she felt a strange sensation in the pit of her stomach. Not the movement of the baby and something that was quite definitely more than just gratitude for his concern.

 

‘You belong to me now, not your father,’ he soothed.

 

With her ear pressed against his bare chest once again, Emily could hear the strong staccato beat of his heart. The strength of his arms around her was strangely comforting, for indeed the domineering spectre of Bartholomew Micklen did seem diluted.

 

Gently he lay her back down on the pillow and for a long moment she stared at him as if he were not the husband forced upon her whom she despised.

 

Still, it was important Angus understand. She clasped her hands and pleaded, ‘Don’t petition my father for forgiveness. It will only give him another focus for his dissatisfaction with me.’ She turned her head away.

 

‘Then I want to be the means by which you are reconciled. I can do that, Emily.’

 

She sucked in a quavering breath. ‘I don’t know why you’re so concerned that I mend ties with my father. It’s not as if I came with a dowry dependent upon his goodwill.’

 

Almost viciously she added, ‘And it’s not as if you married for love.’

 

In the lengthening silence she regretted her words, but it was too late. Miserably she stared at the wall.

 

Angus stroked her hands which plucked at the bedcovers. Then, leaning over her, he kissed her brow, his murmured words filling her with immediate warmth only to be swept away by fear of her own failings. ‘My dear Emily, I married where I thought I might find it.’

[ends]

I’d love it if you dropped by my blog – http://www.beverleyeikli.blogspot.com.au

or my website – http://www.beverleyeikli.com

And you can buy The Reluctant Bride here: http://www.amazon.com/Reluctant-Bride-Choc-Lit-ebook/dp/B00E9ZVJOS/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1392172198&sr=1-1&keywords=the+reluctant+bride+beverley+eikli

 

The Reluctant Bride makes Amazon’s Top 100 Bestsellers for Valentine’s Day.

By Beverley Eikli

Amazing! My recent release The Reluctant Bride is in Amazon.co.uk’s Top 100 Best Sellers for Valentine’s Day. Here’s the proof ;) http://amzn.to/1ky6Bxp

I loved this story, which had such an interesting history (bearing in mind it took me 23 years to get published in fiction, though I was a journalist and magazine editor for many years). It won numerous competitions as I honed the multilayered plot and it was requested by Avon and Berkley then published by Choc Lit after it won their Search for An Australian Star competition. Now it’s just been shortlisted by Australian Romance Readers Association for Favourite Historical of 2013 while Amazon has just selected it for one of their promotions. Recently I sold the audio rights and production has just been completed, and it’s about to go to Large Print.

All of which has prompted me to do a special post about it (despite having posted a few hours ago about my two other releases of the past few days – Dangerous Gentlemen and The Maid of Milan).

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So here’s the blurb:

Product Description

Review

“Eikli creates a enchanting sense of time and place, real emotional conflict and lots of drama.”
 

Product Description

Can honour and action banish the shadows of old sins?
Emily Micklen has no option after the death of her loving fiancé, Jack, but to marry the scarred, taciturn, soldier who represents her only escape from destitution.

Major Angus McCartney is tormented by the reproachful slate-grey eyes of two strikingly similar women: Jessamine, his dead mistress, and Emily, the unobtainable beauty who is now his reluctant bride.

Emily’s loyalty to Jack’s memory is matched only by Angus’s determination to atone for the past and win his wife with honour and action. As Napoleon cuts a swathe across Europe, Angus is sent to France on a mission of national security, forcing Emily to confront both her allegiance to Jack and her traitorous half-French family. 

Angus and Emily may find love, but will the secrets they uncover divide them forever?

 

Angus and Emily, newly married, have just been visited unexpectedly by Angus’s brother and his unsuitable consort. Emily, embarrassed by her highly pregnant state and knowing it will cause gossip amongst Angus’s family, reacts in this scene to her husband’s apologies for the situation Emily has just confronted.

 START OF EXCERPT: 

With deliberate care Emily set down the plates once more and turned to look at her husband through narrowed eyes.

 

‘For contaminating me with a lady of dubious repute? But Angus, how much worse a contaminant would I have been had you not married me?’ She patted her swollen belly. ‘You’d be apologising to your brother. A fallen woman—’

 

‘Don’t speak like that.’ His wide-set eyes burned with undeserved defence of her. ‘Men’s impulses can be ungovernable, but ladies do not suffer such … urges … You

were … taken advantage of.’

 

Emily stared at him. She sucked in a long, quavering breath as her simmering anger came finally to the boil. Is that what he believed? That she was insensible to passion? And that was a good thing?

 

‘What would you say if I told you that my impulses were every bit as ungovernable as Jack’s?’ She could barely control her anger sufficiently to speak. For days she had forced her

feelings into the background, using the same emotional device against her unwanted husband as she had when her father insulted her, shutting out the hurt by erecting a barrier

as impenetrable as steel.

 

Now, feeling surged through her, blackening her vision and causing her to sway. She put her hand on the back of the sofa to steady herself.

 

Angus stood awkwardly by the door, as if unsure whether to move closer to support her, or beat a tactful retreat.

 

Emily glared at him. ‘What if I told you that I was so consumed by passion in Jack’s arms I would not have heeded the Blessed Virgin Mary cautioning me against the temptations of the flesh?’ She tried to regulate her breathing, but the rage was clawing its way further up her body, threatening to make her its puppet. She, who never lost her temper. ‘I loved Jack. I was his slave in passion, every bit as culpable as he. If you are so concerned for virtue, spare your condemnation of innocent Miss Galway. You need only cast your eyes upon your wife to be singed by my sin. There! I have confessed my true nature. Whatever you thought of me before, you cannot but think worse of me now.’ She registered the horror in his eyes and was glad for it. Much better that she banish any pretence between them.

 

She’d never expressed anger as poisonous as this. At first it frightened her, then it sent exhilaration pulsing through her. Her love for Jack had been cut off at the root. Now hatred filled her veins, making her feel alive again. ‘And so you know, I care nothing for your opinion,’ she added.

 

She managed to remain upright, though her vision came in waves. She could feel her strength leaving her, but she had to spit out the truth so he’d have no illusions as to the kind of woman he’d married. A woman no good man deserved.

 

‘You married me because you needed a wife. I married you so I could keep my child. We made a contract. My body is yours to do with as you please, but that is all you will ever have. My thoughts, my feelings, my love will be forever out of bounds to you.’

[Ends]

I’d absolutely love it if you dropped by my blog – http://www.beverleyeikli.blogspot.com.au and said hello, or visited my website at http://www.beverleyeikli.com

And you can buy it here: 

Amazon.com- http://www.amazon.com/The-Reluctant-Bride-Choc-Lit-ebook/dp/B00E9ZVJOS/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1392118153&sr=1-1&keywords=the+reluctant+bride

Amazon.co.uk: http://amzn.to/1gCY7DI

Barnes & Noble – http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-reluctant-bride-beverley-eikli/1114869375?ean=9781781890868

Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Beverley-Eikli/e/B0034Q44E0

 Amazon.com

Amazon.co.uk 

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Amazon Author Page

 

There’s a high price to pay for a life of deception – The Maid of Milan

By Beverley Eikli

Yesterday, from my dad’s house in South Australia, I watched the awful television footage of the Victorian fires encroach on my home town of Gisborne and I saw the house round the corner go up in flames. At the time I didn’t know where my kids or husband were, so it was very frightening. Especially since I had no wifi or phone connection.

Anyway, all was well when I flew in, though the sky was thick with smoke and as I drove from the airport I could see both sides of the Calder Freeway disappear into fields of charcoal, a desolate wasteland as I drew closer to my home. Many people had evacuated but fortunately, unlike Black Saturday’s fires of 5 years ago, when 173 people burned to death, no one was caught by surprise. 

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So now, here’s what’s occupying me right now. I have two book releases under two different names. I’ve just posted an extract from my erotic Regency Intrigue under my Beverley Oakley name but I’m also extremely excited about the ebook release of my Choc Lit release, The Maid of Milan, published by Choc Lit and written under my Beverley Eikli name. It’s just come out in ebook with the paperback due out on March 7 and the audio and Large Print shortly after that.

I was interested in the psychological torture endured by a young woman who’s forced by her mother to live a lie in order to protect her reputation. Yet though she rails against the deception, my heroine believes revealing the truth of her past will surely kill the love and respect of the husband she reluctantly married but whom she now adores.

Here’s the blurb:

The Maid of Milan

After five years of marriage, Adelaide has fallen in love with the handsome, honourable husband who nurtured her through her darkest hours.

 

Now Adelaide’s former lover, the passionate poet from whose arms she was torn by her family during their illicit liaison in Milan four years previously has returned, a celebrity due to the success of his book The Maid of Milan.

 

High society is as desperate to discover the identity of his ‘muse’ as Adelaide is to protect her newfound love and her husband’s political career.

  And here’s an extract:

Chapter One

It was not the name by which she knew him. Since inheriting

the title, he’d won celebrity as a poet and become the

darling of the gossip columnists. Adelaide’s mother couldn’t

keep those snippets of the real world from her, though she

tried.

James. Fifth Viscount Dewhurst. Adelaide closed her

eyes against the afternoon sun and tried to block her last

memory of him: desperate, pleading. Not the James she

knew – the irrepressible charmer who knew no woman

could resist him, least of all Adelaide.

Tristan must have misinterpreted her shocked silence for

memory failure, for he squeezed her hand and repeated,

‘Lord Dewhurst. I’m talking about my old friend, James.’

Very gently he added, ‘He and his wife were very good to

you, if you remember.’

If you remember…

Her husband’s reference to her previous life was almost

more painful than the reference to James, though panic

quickly succeeded shock at his next remark.

‘James is coming to visit us? Here?’ She gripped Tristan’s

arm tighter and concentrated on the path. One foot in front

of the other, head down so she didn’t stumble on the stones

that bordered the hydrangeas from the neat gravel walkway.

Tristan continued to talk in the measured, comforting

tone he used when her equilibrium was unsettled. In the past

he’d sought her reassurances that she was comfortable with

his plans; that there was nothing he’d neglected to facilitate

her comfort. Always Tristan put Adelaide’s feelings first.

Not today.

Tristan was too excited at the prospect of seeing his

boyhood friend to recognise her horror, assuming Adelaide

would be delighted to play hostess since she’d foolishly

voiced the desire just last week to entertain more often.

She remained silent as she walked at his side,

contemplating her own strategy if this visit was a fait

accompli. She just needed to know when, so she could

prepare.

‘At the end of the week!’ She repeated Tristan’s calmly

delivered answer to her question in the tone Black Jack,

the South American parrot she’d owned in Vienna, used to

mimic the death throes of a man at the end of the gallows.

A good thing her husband considered Adelaide an invalid,

that he’d misconstrue the flare in her eyes, the gasp as she

pressed against the pain in her side – her heart?

‘Adelaide, you are discomposed. Perhaps I should not

have invited James without consulting you, but I thought

since…’ Concern clouded his kind blue eyes as he trailed

off.

‘He was very good to me.’ She whispered the old litany.

It’s what Tristan liked to believe.

‘He was. Shall we go back to the house?’ He stooped to

cup her face in his hands, as tender with her as if she were

another of his rare hothouse blooms. As if she might wilt at

the suggestion of anything beyond the ordinary, the mindnumbingly

mundane.

And yet today she more than wilted as she stumbled on

the smooth, carefully raked gravel path. Her heart was in

danger of tearing in half. James. Here, at Deer Park …?

She pushed away the fear, straightening of her own

accord. Adelaide could be a good deal stronger than Tristan

believed her. Than her mother painted her.

‘So silly of me,’ she murmured, smiling as she tucked her

hand once more into the crook of her husband’s arm, firming

her step, indicating with a nod that they continue their usual

morning walk. Minutely managed and predictable. Around

the path that bordered the maze, over the little bridge and

across the lawn, skirting the deer park beyond the iron

gated border to the dower house where her mother would

be waiting. Keeping up the pretence of recovery in response

to his troubled gaze, she added, ‘Really, I’m perfectly fine.’

How many times had she made similar reassurances?

Of course, she hadn’t been fine when Tristan had made her

mistress of Deer Park three years before; a marriage offer

she’d only accepted because she believed she’d be dead of

grief within the twelvemonth. And if not dead, then at least

free of her mother. Neither had happened.

‘So James has left Milan.’ She forced herself to say his

name. It came out as a faint thread of sound.

James. He needed to stay far across sea and land if she

were to have any peace in this life.

‘James’s father died three months ago so of course he must

return from the Continent and take up his responsibilities

at Dingley Hall.’ Tristan stopped and put his hands on her

shoulders to study her more closely. ‘Darling, you’re very

pale. Perhaps we should call Dr Stanhope—’

‘No!’ She truncated the hysteria in her response, adding

with commendable calm, ‘Please, let us carry on.’

Tristan was clearly not convinced by her assurances, but

he returned to his commentary as they walked sedately

through Deer Park’s beautiful gardens. ‘James’s standing

has changed with his father’s death, and now that his book

has become a sensation so have his fortunes. He’ll be able

to put to rights all that his father almost destroyed through

his love of gaming.’ He gave a half laugh. ‘I’m told my old

friend is nearly as famous as those fellows up in the Lakes. I

daresay I should read The Maid of Milan before he arrives.

Perhaps you’d enjoy it, Addy.’

The Maid of Milan. Dear God! An image of herself and

James, naked limbs entwined upon a vast expanse of white

linen tablecloth in the Villa Cosi after the guests had gone,

seared her brain.

No, she was getting beyond herself. James had continued

living in Milan with Hortense, the wife he despised. Of

course there’d have been other women after Adelaide had

been dragged, screaming, from James’s arms. Adelaide could

not be James’s Maid of Milan. Not after the terrible finale to

their affair. In three years Adelaide had heard nothing from

him. Nothing, except that one terrible, terrible letter …

[ENDS]

I’d absolutely love it if you dropped by my blog to leave a comment, or visited my website.

You can find me here:

Buy The Maid of Milan here:

Amazon (US) http://amzn.to/1lygf4v

Amazon (UK) http://amzn.to/LuoWw7

Kobo: http://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/the-maid-of-milan

 

Website: http://www.beverleyoakley.com/Beverley_Oakley/Welcome.html

 

Amazon Profile: http://www.amazon.com/Beverley-Eikli/e/B0034Q44E0/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1

 

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/beverley.eikli

 

Twitter: @BeverleyOakley.com

 

 

Dangerous Gentlemen (Regency Glittler and Grime) Release Day

By Beverley Oakley

Hi everyone,

I’m very excited that my story of a viscount’s daughter who poses as a prostitute in order to save her life has just released.

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I love stories of mistaken identities, and there are plenty in this story. Hetty believes her life depends on pretending to be someone else, my hero is mistakenly believed to be a villain, while Hetty’s sister has her own little scheme up her sleeve, based on her own deception.

Here’s the blurb followed by an extract:

Sequel to Her Gilded Prison

Shy, self-effacing Henrietta knows her place—in her dazzling older sister’s shadow. She’s a little brown peahen to Araminta’s bird of paradise. But when Hetty mistakenly becomes embroiled in the Regency underworld, the innocent debutante finds herself shockingly compromised by the dashing, dangerous Sir Aubrey, the very gentleman her heart desires. And the man Araminta has in her cold, calculating sights.

Branded an enemy of the Crown, bitter over the loss of his wife, Sir Aubrey wants only to lose himself in the warm, willing body of the young “prostitute” Hetty. As he tutors her in the art of lovemaking, Aubrey is pleased to find Hetty not only an ardent student, but a bright, witty and charming companion.

Despite a spoiled Araminta plotting for a marriage offer and a powerful political enemy damaging his reputation, Aubrey may suffer the greatest betrayal at the hands of the little “concubine” who’s managed to breach the stony exterior of his heart.

A Romantica® historical Regency erotic romance from Ellora’s Cave

And here’s the extract:

By reading any further, you are stating that you are at least 18 years of age. If you are under the age of 18, please exit this site.

An Excerpt From: DANGEROUS GENTLEMEN

Copyright © BEVERLEY OAKLEY, 2014

All Rights Reserved, Ellora’s Cave Publishing, Inc.

Miss Hoskings, who declared she was not going to emerge from the mending room until the night was over, bade Hetty a gloomy farewell once Hetty’s skirt was mended but Hetty wasn’t sure she felt like reentering the ballroom either. The only person of any interest had left and she had no wish to endure Araminta’s preening self-satisfaction as she recounted her success with Sir Aubrey who, if he really were such a dangerous man, would consequently be of even greater interest to her sister, she supposed. No, Hetty had no chance.

“Make sure you turn the right way. The ’ouse is a fair rabbit warren of rooms and the gennulmen’s quarters that way.” The old crone stabbed a finger up the stairs to the left. “Even that Sir Aubrey what’s staying ’ere got hisself lost. Put ’is head in ’ere just afore you came to inquire as to which way was the lobby so he could order hisself a carriage.”

Miss Hoskings straightened, her look suddenly interested. “Sir Aubrey is a houseguest, I believe,” she said with a sharp look at Hetty. “Handsome gentleman, don’t you think? And with that unusual hair.”

Just the mere mention of him made Hetty’s heart leap. So Sir Aubrey’s room was just down the passage and up the stairs? She hesitated as the old seamstress closed the door behind her, plunging her into the gloom of the dimly lit corridor.

The stairs beckoned a short distance away.

What would be the harm in a quick look? No one would see her and she could always claim she’d lost her way. She’d be believed and besides, all the chambers would be empty since everyone was at the ball. The night was still young and no one would be returning yet.

Hetty, curious by nature, found this too tantalizing an opportunity to resist. With a furtive look around her, she hurried left and up the stairs, at which point two corridors at right angles disappeared into darkness. Choosing the one to the right, she found herself face-to-face with a series of closed doors.

Foolish, she chided herself. Of course they were closed and she could hardly open them. As she turned back toward the ballroom, a faint light shining from the crack beneath a door that was slightly ajar gleamed beckoningly.

With a furtive look over her shoulder, she approached it, and when she gave the door a little nudge with her foot, it swung open.

Excitement rippled through her.

“Hello?” she asked in a low voice. She took another step into the room. “Is anyone in here?”

Silence greeted her. A low fire burned in the grate before which was a table, against which were propped several items, including a familiar silver-topped cane. Her breath caught in her throat. The last time she’d seen that cane was when Sir Aubrey had exchanged several words with Araminta in the street as Hetty had been bringing up the rear with Mrs. Monks. Of course Sir Aubrey had not looked twice at her, excusing himself before having to be introduced to the younger sister and the chaperone who’d nearly closed the gap.

Heart hammering, Hetty closed the door behind her and went to pick up the cane.

How fortunate to have stumbled into Sir Aubrey’s room, she thought when she observed the fine coat lying upon the bed, apparently discarded in favor of what he was wearing tonight.

He really was a nonpareil, wearing his clothes as if they were an extension of his athletic physique.

Yet he was dangerous, she had to remind herself. Meaning she should not be here, which of course she shouldn’t, regardless of whether he was dangerous or not.

But how such a scion of good breeding and genteel society could be guilty of such a heinous crime as treason, Hetty could not imagine. And surely the story of the runaway wife was a gilded one. It was all the stuff of make-believe and Cousin Stephen was only telling Hetty he was dangerous to curb her schoolroom daydreams.

Turning, she saw half protruding from beneath the suit of clothes what appeared to be the edge of a silver, filigreed box. It was partly obscured by the overhang of the counterpane, as if it hadn’t properly been returned to its hiding place.

A moment’s indecision made her pause but soon Hetty was crouching on the floor, closing clammy fingers around the box. Might it contain secrets? Ones that would reveal, conclusively, what Cousin Stephen claimed was true?

Alternatively, proof that would exonerate Sir Aubrey?

Hetty fumbled for the catch. Dear Lord, this was too exciting for words. Perhaps Sir Aubrey was a secret agent working for the English, and Stephen had no idea.

Perhaps he was—

Protesting door hinges made her squeal as the door was flung wide. Hetty let the lid of the box fall and retreated into the shadows as Sir Aubrey strode into the room.

He was breathing heavily as he shrugged off his jacket with a curse, raindrops spattering into the hissing fire as he raked his fingers through his hair. A curious stillness overtook him and he froze, obviously sensing all was not as he left it.

He sniffed the air. “Orange flower water,” he muttered, stepping closer to the fire, fumbling for the tinderbox on the mantelpiece to light a candle.

Immediately he was thrown into sharp relief and as he stared at Hetty, it was not his look of shock and suspicion that made her scream—but the copious amounts of blood that stained his shirtsleeves and once snowy linen cravat.

“God Almighty, who are you?” he demanded as his gaze raked her finery. “You’re no parlor maid, that’s for certain.”

Gaping, unable to formulate a sensible answer, Hetty finally managed, “What happened to your arm, Sir Aubrey? Are you injured?”

“Sir Aubrey, is it? So you know who I am but you still haven’t told me who you are?” He grunted as he looked down at his arm, the bloodied linen shredded over the long graze. “It’s not as bad as it looks and I assure you, I gave a good account of myself.” His laugh was more a sneer. “Indeed, my assailant lies dead in the gutter.”

Hetty gasped. “Dueling?” Myriad questions crowded her mind. Could this be to do with Araminta? Had Sir Aubrey left Araminta in the middle of the ball to fight some other contender for her affections?

“Dueling?” he repeated. He shook his head and Hetty drew back at the coldness in his eyes. “There was nothing noble about my activities this evening. I was set upon in a dark alley. A short scuffle ensued, I drew my knife, then…” With his hand, he made a gesture like the slitting of his throat, adding, “I am slightly wounded but as I said, my attacker does not live to repeat the insult.”

Her horror clearly amused him, for his eyes narrowed while his generous mouth quirked. He looked like an incarnation of the most handsome demon she’d ever seen depicted in the fairy stories she loved to read.

“We all have enemies, madam. Enemies who must be eliminated if we are to breathe freely.”

 

Aubrey was enjoying the girl’s wide-eyed terror. No doubt she imagined he’d sliced the throat of a footpad, not the snarling, mangy cur who had leapt upon him as he’d been returning from his brief assignation to settle a gaming debt incurred by his favorite reprobate nephew.

Taking pity on her, he said reassuringly, “Don’t worry. I won’t hurt you.’ Her wide-eyed look as he removed first his jacket, then the bloodied shirt he tossed upon the bed before he rose to his full height, bare chested, afforded him the most amusement he’d had in a long time. “So, you’re the girl Madame Chambon sent?”

She simply stared at him and he nodded appraisingly as he sat on the bed and pulled off his boots. “You had me fooled for a moment. I thought you really were some innocent who’d lost her way in these catacombs.” Had he not been so jaded he might have been ashamed at the assessment in his tone when he added, “My faithful procuress threatened to one day surprise me—and that I’d not be able to tell the difference.” He chuckled and put out his hand. “Well, come into the light so I can see you better. After the god-awful night I’ve had, you might be just what I need. The retiring sort—for I’m sick to death of women who like to play games.”

Like that Miss Araminta Partington, he thought. Now didn’t she like to play games, with her speaking looks and half-whispered promises? Which wasn’t to say he hadn’t enjoyed his brief assignation with her in an antechamber behind the supper room. He’d been on his way out to settle his nephew’s wager when Miss Partington had waylaid him before proving extremely amenable to a kiss and a fondle. But of course that was as far as it could go and the throbbing of his engorged cock after that little encounter had been one good reason to slip unnoticed out of Lady Knox’s townhouse.

Unsatisfied desire had made him restless in every sense, and while he’d imagined a feisty coupling with whichever ladybird sent to him, this young lady’s contrived innocence was having a curious effect upon him. It would seem Madame Chambon had read him correctly, for even he hadn’t realized how tired he was of worldly sophistication.

“Yes, here.” He patted his knees. “No need to carry the pretense to quite such extremes. That’s right. I want you to sit on my lap so I can…observe you better.”

“Sit on your lap?” she squeaked as he tugged at her hand and her rounded bottom landed on his thighs.

He ran his hands over her contours appreciatively. She was rather a nice little thing with a familiarity that tugged at his memory. Plump and almost pretty. Not quite, but with that slightly gawkish look about her that indicated she was in transition to womanhood and might go either way—turn into a swan. Or not.

He rather fancied she had the makings of a beauty, though that didn’t concern him now since he had her only for one night. Madame Chambon would have sent her on approval. She seemed vaguely familiar. It was quite possible he’d seen the chit at the brothel and unconsciously dismissed her on account of the very reasons Madame Chambon had sent her—for her innocence and youth.

He ran his fingers through her fine light-brown curls and contoured her neck appreciatively, amused that she tensed as if this had never happened to her before. Well, if he liked her, he’d see her as often as he wished over the following month. By the time the abbess presented him with one of her exorbitant accounts, he’d know whether the girl gave value enough to continue the arrangement.

If she pleased him as much as his former mistress Jezebel had, Aubrey would indeed be seeing more of her. The next hour or so would tell.

“Oh sir!” she cried, jumping up as his hand came into contact with her breast. “What are you doing?”

He grinned as he tugged her back down and resettled her across his knees. “Madame Chambon has trained you well. Now I suppose you’ll tell me you’re a virgin.”

She nodded vigorously. “I am, sir. Indeed I am and—”

His scowl made her stiffen with apparent terror. Oh, she was good.

“Really?” He reached for the cutlass that had fallen from his belt and now lay at his feet. Idly he stroked the blade, stained with the dead dog’s blood, while he contemplated her. She was indulging in the charade perhaps a little too enthusiastically but then, as he narrowed his gaze and saw how frightened she really seemed, it occurred to him that every whore had to be broken in sometime and perhaps Madame Chambon had decided to play a little trick on him.

She’d told him he needed softening. That the effects of the opprobrium directed at him since poor Margaret’s death had stripped him of his humanity. Perhaps tonight was the time to cultivate his more tender side.

“A virgin?” Before, he’d spoken with blatant skepticism. Now he would allow that she could be telling the truth.

She nodded, her eyes riveted on the blade he was now using to clean his fingernails.

“So this will be your first time with a man?”

She drew in a trembling breath and repeated stupidly, “First time with a man?”

He tried not to sound irritated. There was only so much of the play-acting he could take. “Madame Chambon obviously selected you on account of your innocence. She knows my proclivities and that experience is my preference but I can be gentle. I won’t hurt you.” He grinned as he was struck by the responsibility of breaking in a virgin. One who would always remember her first time with him, no matter how many paying customers she serviced in her working life.

He licked his lips as he watched understanding dawn, adding as he traced the edge of her décolletage with his right forefinger, “In fact, I promise that you’ll quite enjoy the experience. God knows, you’re going to endure enough during your career, so you might as well start off on a good note. Now, shall we begin?”

AND NOW FOR THE VIDEO WHICH YOU CAN SEE HERE

Please drop by and visit me at my website or blog

Or twitter: @BeverleyOakley

And you can buy Dangerous Gentlemen here.

A Regency romance about reclaiming one’s reputation and child – with a pot of gold and a rainbow at the end

By Beverley Eikli

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For the next few days my Regency romance (with an unusual mystery at its core) is on sale at only 99c. 

My heroine, Olivia, was once the Regency’s most glittering debutante but her marriage seven years previously to a womanising drunkard has sapped her of her spirit, stripped her of her infant child (through the terms of her brutal late husband’s will) and destroyed her reputation.

Ironically, the man into whose custody her child has been given, is a distant cousin to Olivia’s late husband. Brave, honourable and kind Max Atherton had been fighting the Napoleonic wars before returning to take up his wardship of Olivia’s child. He has never met Olivia but has no reason to disbelieve his cousins’ assessment, and society’s general belief that Olivia was a faithless wife and an unfit mother.

It’s Olivia’s interfering aunt who forces Olivia into a desperate charade to reclaim her son, but when Olivia finds herself falling for Max she realises there’s more than just the secret of her identity that stands between them.

Furthermore, her late husband’s religious confessor, the obsequious, conniving Reverend Kirkman, who dealt with many of his master’s affairs in his final days, has his own reasons for wanting to claim Olivia for his own.

And he’s going to make sure Olivia is unable to follow her heart.

Here’s a short extract:

AVAILABLE FROM:

Read an Excerpt from Lady Farquhar’s Butterfly

 

The following takes places when Max finds Olivia in the arms of another man. He does not know she has reluctantly agreed to a charade to entrap her young cousin’s fortune-hunting suitor.

A furious Max decides Olivia must marry the unctuous Reverend Kirkman, after all!

  

He could not believe it of her. What did she expect? To allow her carte blanche to continue her reckless, ill-chosen path, dragging Julian along with her?”

Wincing, Max acknowledged his love for the boy. How could he not? For more than a year they had been as close as father and son.

Her eyes were like blue thunder, her skin flushed and her creamy flesh tantalisingly bared by her sumptuous, scandalous dress; he thought he’d never wanted her so much.

But the price was too high. She would forever revel in the power she had over him. He did not think his manhood could sustain a lifetime of it.

She was straining across his lap as he caught her wrists. Holding them above her head caused her body to sag into his. He closed his eyes against the desire to place a kiss upon the flesh that swelled above her low cut bodice; fought the raging impulses that rushed through his body as anger faded beneath his yearning. Her hot breath on his cheek as he parried her blows quickly fanned the flames into full blown desire.

For an instant she stilled. He opened his eyes in the startled silence and saw that she felt it, too. She wilted in his embrace, her face inches from his, her eyes dark pools of need.

The thread that connected their two hearts from the moment they’d met tugged tighter. He was devastatingly aware of the soft contours of her body and for a second he almost yielded.

Of all the women he’d known, none had the power to stir his senses…

…as the fascinating, faithless creature before him.

Common sense returned and he jerked back as if stung.

He turned his head away before the hurt and surprise on her face could weave their spell upon his all too susceptible heart.

“We’re here,” he said as the horses turned into the stable yard. With enormous effort he kept his voice neutral. “The reverend is waiting for you.”

She did not want to go. He knew he forced her against her will; that he was abusing his power in this act of spite and self righteousness.

He didn’t care. If she hated him for it, all the better. He didn’t know if he had the fortitude to hold out if it was any other way.

Smoothing her dress she sat back in her seat, glaring at him. “I had not known such a fine line existed between the affection you’ve always extended towards me and—” she seemed nearly to choke on the words, “the disgust you clearly feel for me now.”

When he didn’t answer she whispered after a silence, “Could I change your mind?” Then, more desperately, “I do not wish to marry Reverend Kirkman. Since I have made that plain, perhaps you’d like to know my reasons.”

“I’m not interested in your reasons.” He knew he was being childish and pig headed but he wanted to hurt her. Humiliate her.

The carriage jerked to a halt and Max rose over her in the small space. It was not a comforting thought that his domination and angry snarl: “Perhaps confessing tonight’s little dalliance might ease your conscience” could only remind her of Lucien. Yet perhaps Lucien’s behaviour was not so reprehensible given all he had learned of Olivia.  Opening the door and jumping out onto the hay-strewn cobblestones he added, “If you have one.”

END OF EXCERPT 

 Long and Short Reviews – 4 1/2 Stars

 “Sweet with heat and hard to beat, Lady Farquhar’s Butterfly gains momentum as it builds to a terrifying climax…. Beverley Eikli’s concise, smooth, and subtle writing reveals characters and their motivations with a style that makes Lady Farquhar’s Butterfly fascinating—a thoroughly enjoyable, page-turner of a tale.”

AUTHOR BIO

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Beverley Eikli the author of eight historical romances published by Pan Macmillan Momentum, Robert Hale, Ellora’s Cave and Total-e-Bound. Recently she won UK Women’s Fiction publisher Choc-Lit’s Search for An Australia Star competition with her suspenseful, Regency espionage Romance The Reluctant Bride.

 She’s been shortlisted twice for a Romance Readers of Australia Award in the Favourite Historical category — in 2011 for A Little Deception, and in 2012 for her racy Regency Romp, Rake’s Honour, written under her Beverley Oakley pseudonym.

Beverley wrote her first romance when she was seventeen. However, drowning the heroine on the last page was, she discovered, not in the spirit of the genre so her romance-writing career ground to a halt and she became a journalist.

 After throwing in her job on South Australia’s metropolitan daily The Advertiser to manage a luxury safari lodge in the Okavango Delta, in Botswana, she discovered a new world of romance and adventure in a thatched cottage in the middle of a mopane forest with the handsome Norwegian bush pilot she met around a camp fire.

Twenty years later, after exploring the world in the back of Cessna 404s and CASA 212s as an airborne geophysical survey operator during low-level sorties over the French Guyanese jungle and Greenland’s ice cap, Eikli is back in Australia teaching in the Department of Professional Writing & Editing at Victoria University, as well as teaching Short Courses for the Centre of Adult Education and Macedon Ranges Further Education.

Lady Farquhar’s Butterfly is available from:

THE BOOK DEPOSITORY (free worldwide shipping)

 AMAZON

SMASHWORDS

Another Regency – but this time the ‘darker’ side

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By Beverley Eikli

I’ve written a few Regencies now, but the only one I can think of that had a ‘lighter’ theme was A Little Deception.

Most of them feature a heroine who is a woman of her times, trapped by convention and without the legal or financial resources we take for granted, to get justice.

In my latest release – The Reluctant Bride – (which spent 3 days at #2 on Amazon – Regency (yay!!) – my heroine is pressured into marriage in order to keep her unborn child.

Though she doesn’t appreciate it at the time, her new husband adores her, and has done for years. Sadly, he’s told her a lie to spare her the truth surrounding the death of her unworthy fiancé, the man whose child she’s carrying. So Emily spends a few months believing her husband has made a bargain with her family to protect their honour in taking her off their hands. Meanwhile, she continues to worship the late, unworthy Jack Noble, at the expense of allowing herself to accept her new husband’s loving overtures.

This is all set against a backdrop of espionage and betrayal, and when Emily is detained as a suspect in a plot to thwart the English effort to neutralise Napoleon, a great number of family secrets are exposed. Now Emily must decide where her loyalties truly lie.

I loved writing The Reluctant Bride. I’ve been thrilled by the many reviews that have called my self-controlled and buttoned-up (but passionate, inside) hero, Angus. And not just the number of reviews but the fact I have an average of 4.3 stars for this book.

It has won many competitions at many stages of its life, and I’m happy that it’s my most recent book. If my upcoming March release – The Maid of Milan – does just as well, I’ll be very happy.

You can find all my links here:

And you can buy The Reluctant Bride here:

Buy from: Kindle UK, Kindle US, Apple UK, Apple US, Kobo Books

Guilt, lies and redemption in The Maid of Milan

By Beverley Eikli

I had a lovely afternoon being interviewed by author Bernadette Walsh on Blogtalk Radio’s Nice Girls Reading Naughty Books - http://bit.ly/1cpHjeV

It was more a conversation than an interview, really, and Bernadette was a great host. She writes contemporary and paranormal romances and I’m about to check out her Devlin Legacy series.

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During our chat I talked about my two new releases (one under each of my writing names) and the fact I like to write more than one book at a time.

Excitingly (great word, that!), I’ve got an Ellora’s Cave release in late January for Dangerous Gentlemen (written under my Beverley Eikli name) and then The Maid of Milan (which is my new Choc Lit release, under my Beverley Eikli name) to look forward to in early March. 

In The Maid of Milan, my heroine’s name is Adelaide. Now, I grew up in South Australia, in the capital, Adelaide, which was named after Queen Adelaide who married the Duke of Clarence who became king after the death of George IV. Queen Adelaide’s portrait hangs in many public places in Adelaide, and I was inspired by the oil paintings of a woman who hadn’t married for love but who strove to do good in her new position of importance… just like my heroine, Adelaide. However, my Adelaide in The Maid of Milan has a past that returns to haunt her whereas Queen Adelaide, as a protected German princess, didn’t have any skeletons in her closet. But just imagine if she did…  
 
The main action in my story occurs in the few months preceding the Battle of Peterloo, which took place in August 1819. It was a time of great political turbulence with prices rising after the Napoleonic wars. I’d already researched the repercussions of Peterloo for my very first book, Lady Sarah’s Redemption – yes, another redemption theme, I know! But a very different book. However, I was familiar with the political thinking of the time, as a result of my earlier research, so I felt comfortable setting a story then.
 
Tarnished women feature strongly in my stories. I’ve always been fascinated, both by the changes in moral values throughout the decades, but also the hypocrisy surrounding the fact that certain behaviour was acceptable provided it wasn’t discovered, but also by the different standard men’s behaviour was judged, as opposed to women’s.
 
So while many of my books feature tarnished or ‘fallen’ women and have a strong redemption theme,  the stories themselves focus on the battles these women have with their own consciences in the face of society’s harsh judgement. Their situation, however, is usually caused initially by their powerlessness as women in a society which afforded them no rights – not the right to bring up their children (as in my second book Lady Farquhar’s Butterfly) or to choose who they are to marry (as in Lady Sarah’s Redemption) or to keep a child born out of wedlock (as in The Reluctant Bride).
 
In The Maid of Milan my particular focus was guilt. Throughout the entire story the real bogeyman is Adelaide’s guilt, even though she has been entirely faithful and totally honest about her feelings towards her husband from the day she married him. In other words, she’s told him plainly she does not love him. He, on the other hand, hopes to win her love – and he does. However, that’s when her life starts to unravel, with the arrival of her former lover. The irony is that the foundation of Adelaide’s and Tristan’s marriage is based on the fiction created by Adelaide’s mother and the lie by which her mother forces Adelaide to live – if Adelaide wants to keep the respect of the husband she’s grown to love.
 
Here’s the blurb:
 

After five years of marriage, Adelaide has fallen in love with the handsome, honourable husband who nurtured her through her darkest hours.

Now Adelaide’s former lover, the passionate poet from whose arms she was torn by her family during their illicit liaison in Milan six years previously has returned, a celebrity due to the success of his book The Maid of Milan.

High society is as desperate to discover the identity of his ‘muse’ as Adelaide is to protect her newfound love and her husband’s political career.

END OF BLURB

Thanks everyone, for dropping by. I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and New year.

And please feel free to drop by on FB or say hi on Twitter (@BeverleyOakley).

Here are my links:

website | Twitter | Blog |

And you can buy the book here.

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