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Saving Grace, my erotic Victorian romance, is FREE today

 

By Beverley Oakley

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For the next day or so my erotic Victorian romance, Saving Grace, is Free.

I love this story. It’s set during the early years of photography, when a rich man’s hobby was a poor girl’s road to ruin, and it was published by Pan MacMillan Momentum as one of 14 in the Hot Down Under collection – all Aussie authors – a few months ago.

Here’s the premise, followed by the blurb of my Ellora’s Cave release, Her Gilded Prison, which is the first in a series. As book two – Dangerous Gentlemen – is about to be released, I’m offering  a giveaway of Her Gilded Prison to one person who comments on either of the covers.

First, a little about ‘Saving Grace’.

It’s 1878 and London’s most beautiful and hard-hearted prostitute, Grace Fortune, is preparing for her next job. She’s the special initiation ‘gift’ procured by a mother in fashionable Mayfair for her son’s twenty-first birthday.

When Grace discovers she is to be servicing the man whose secret she’d guarded at the cost of her once-secure position as a housemaid and whose betrayal has plunged her into this hated life, she wants revenge.

That is, until the re-emergence of malevolent forces that destroyed the couple’s young love. Now David and Grace must reconcile the past and fight for a different kind of justice to salvage their dignity and find happiness.

This story is rated “Medium Hot” (3 out of 5 flames) and contains F/M pairings.

…More

Customer Reviews

One Hot Wild Ride 
     

by Frocktastic

Ruined and turned out without a reference, Grace Fortune survives on the meager wage granted to her by selling her body. Told only from Grace’s perspective, we see he barrenness of her life and resignation for the next client she’s to service. That client changes everything. An engaging read that pulled me into the story completely and had me cheering at the end. Recommended.

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HER GILDED PRISON

Lady Sybil’s perfect life is a perfect lie. Her husband spends more time with his beloved mistress and illegitimate children than he does with her. Worse, since he no longer beds her, they’re left with only a distant cousin as heir. While her husband lives, Sybil knows no erotic touches, no passion. No love. If her husband dies, her home will be entailed to Stephen, a stranger.

When Stephen visits the property that will one day be his, he’s instantly ensnared in a web of lust, longing and lies. For how can he resist Lady Sybil, a woman so full of beauty and life? A woman who deserves to be loved and worshipped and set free from the gilded prison in which she’s trapped? Stephen is determined to show Lady Sybil every pleasure she’s been deprived of, even if it means being forever condemned in society’s eyes.

Inside Scoop: This erotic Regency romance features an intense, taboo relationship between an older woman and a younger man.

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.

Eikli wrote my 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.

END OF BIO

Thanks everyone for dropping by to celebrate this Christmas extravaganza of stories. I hope you enjoy Saving Grace. Here’s the link:

https://itunes.apple.com/au/book/saving-grace-hot-down-under/id581417133?mt=11

Amazon Author Page

Twitter: @BeverleyOakley

Facebook

 

 

Sixty Aussie Authors at the Australian Romance Readers Convention… plus more

BY BEVERLEY EIKLI aka BEVERLEY OAKLEY
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Sometimes I have to pinch myself to check that all these wonderful things are really happening to me. I’ve had such a good few months, first winning award-winning UK publisher Choc-Lit’s Search for an Australian Star competition, and then being shortlisted by Australian Romance Readers’ Association for Favourite Historical Romance in 2012 (for the second time in a row) for my wicked little Regency wtih a sting in the tale, Rake’s Honour.

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60 Aussie authors at ARRC. I’m in orange in back row.

I went to Brisbane for the convention and the awards dinner and it was just fantastic. Above is a picture of the 60 Aussie Authors. (I’m the one in the orange dress in the back row, left.)

My Racy Regency romp, Rake’s Honour, didn’t win – the award went to popular Aussie romance author Anna Campbell (for the fifth time), a deserving and long-time friend of mine – but I still had heaps of fun.

The weekend event was held at Brisbane’s Mercure Hotel and it was great to catch up with my fellow Total-e-Bound authors, my fellow Ellora’s Cave Authors and as the inaugural Choc-Lit author.

Anyway, below, I’ve included a couple of pictures, both of my ARRA shortlisted book, Rake’s Honour, written under my Beverley Oakley pseudonym and my Choc-Lit dramatic and sweeping romance, The Reluctant Bride, written under my Beverley Eikli name. (I’ve also had to include a little pic of my book which released yesterday, Her Gilded Prison, which I posted about earlier.)

THE RELUCTANT BRIDE

Can Honour and Action Banish the Shadow of Old Sins?

That’s the question posed in my upcoming September 2013 release, The Reluctant Bride, which won award-winning UK Publisher Choc-Lit’s Search for an Australian Star Competition.

For Emily Micklen, marriage to taciturn war hero Major Angus McCartney will salvage family honour.

But while Angus may have won his heart’s desire, the ghost of his dead mistress is only one of the secrets that may divide them forever.

 The Reluctant Bride is set between the French Revolution and four years after the 1809 Battle of Corunna, a pivotal event in the story.

I’ve written a very different story in Rake’s Honour where my heroine Fanny Brightwell is gripping onto the bottom rung of society’s social ladder, determined she’s not going to be flung to the wolves, ie, the lecherous Lord Slyther who wants her for his second wife. The story follows her adventures and her cunning and unusual plan to land herself the man of her dreams.

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Rake’s Honour

 Here are a couple of reviews:

Just Erotic Romance Reviews 

Publisher: Total E Bound Reviewer: Barbara McCormick

Rating: 5 Stars
Heat Level: O

Fanny Brightwell must find a husband or be married off to the odious Lord Slyther. Her first attempt at doing so leads her into a compromising position, from which she is rescued by the dangerous rogue Viscount Fenton. Fenton discovers that the memory of Fanny’s kisses haunt him. The two meet at a ball and have an unexpectedly passionate encounter. Afterward, Fenton offers to set her up as his mistress. Since her family’s fortunes rest on her ability to marry well, Fanny must take control of the situation.

The characters in Rake’s Honour, a Regency romance, leap off the page and into the reader’s heart. Fanny is well aware of her obligations to her family, yet yearns to find a husband she can love. Fenton has outgrown his childish excesses and is ready to settle down with a wife. The heat between these two practically sets fire to the pages, a mean trick for an e-book! 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.

BookedUp Reviews gave me5 Stars

Reviewer: Dolce Amore

I usually don’t like to read too many historical books because I find them boring, unreal, or full of errors. But this one was wonderful! 

Miss Fanny Brightwell has to marry a rich man because her father lost everything before he died. When Alverley, the man Miss Fanny hoped to marry tells her that he wants her just as his mistress, she is devastated; that means that she’ll have to marry the pestilential Lord Slyther, but that night she meets Viscount Fenton. 

At first, Lord Fenton wants to marry her… however, after some lies by a jealous man and some misunderstandings he believes that Miss Fanny was a consummate lover and he offers carte blanche instead. 

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 Miss 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. 

Publisher: Total E-Bound

Review Courtesy Of: ManicReaders

Posted by Booked UP

Rachel Randall‘s review

Rake’s Honour takes the ballroom historical a naughty step further, reimagining the traditional scenario of the dutiful daughter saving her family through an unappealing marriage to appeal to readers who enjoy more smut as sweetener to their Almack’s lemonade.

 The characters are at the forefront of the story, and I soon found myself drawn into the extremes of their desires. Fanny is unrepentantly lusty, and likeable because of it. She’s torn between familial duty and her own raging hormones, something I think we can all sympathise with! Lord Slyther is fabulously odious as a pantomime villain, and the rapturous horror Fanny finds in him juxtaposes well against the desire she has her Rake.

 And ahhh, her Rake, the delectable Lord Fenton. Muscular, passionate, possessing of a good fortune and a healthy appreciation for Fanny’s breasts and creamy thighs. When he wants Fanny, you do too; and when they give in to their hunger for each other, well, let’s say there’s no question their marriage will have (many) happy endings. 

Rakes Honour gives good, rollicking historical.

You can buy Rake’s Honour here.

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You can buy Her Gilded Prison at Ellora’s Cave

and read more about everything else here:

 www.beverleyoakley.com

 www.beverleyeikli.com

 www.facebook/AuthorBeverleyOakley

 http://beverleyeikli.blogspot.com

 https://twitter.com/#!/BeverleyOakley

Thanks so much for visiting. I’d love it if you could ‘like’ my author page. Otherwise, just have fun browsing around.

Have a great day everyone!

Beverley

 

 

HER GILDED PRISON HAS *JUST* RELEASED

BY BEVERLEY OAKLEY

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Well, this is very exciting… my first Ellora’s Cave release has JUST released, as in minutes ago by the look of it.

Her Gilded Prison is an intense, passionate Regency Historical of forbidden love between an older woman and a younger man. I adored writing as it just seemed to write itself. My young hero, 24-year-old Stephen Cranbourne, is just like many randy young men when he sets off on his journey as heir apparent to Viscount Partington and his large estate.

En route he’s seduced by a scheming fortune hunter who tricks him into a wager over some mating spiders. It’s a wager that comes back to haunt him some time after he’s ensconced in his new life, setting the hearts aflutter of Lord and Lady Partington’s two daughters: vain and dazzling Araminta and plain, sweet-natured Hetty.

In the meantime, though, cabbage-headed Edgar, the former heir to the estate, returns from the battle-field. Presumed dead, he has in fact deserted.

Now Lord and Lady Partington will do anything to ensure that Edgar, their clodpole of a nephew, never inherits the estate.

In his wildest dreams, Stephen Cranbourne never imagined his duties would be so diverse.

Below I’ve included the first couple of pages as an excerpt. I hope you like it.

HER GILDED PRISON EXCERPT

The three men were on their knees, heads craned forward, eyes fixed with prurient interest on the amorous adventure playing out on the gossamer web before them.

“He’s launching in, for God’s sake! Dipping his wick—if you could only see it! Look at him.” The young Earl of Barston’s breath was hot on Stephen’s arm, his gaze rapt as he asked in an excited whispered, “She’ll kill him for it?”

Stephen’s host, Sir Archie Ledger, laughed coarsely. “You say he knows his reward is death?” The young baronet jostled his companions for a better look and his eyes bulged with excitement.  He twisted his head to dart a glance at his wife who sat calmly embroidering at the far end of the drawing room, before adding under his breath, “The fuck of eternal damnation, eh? I reckon that’s what I got.”

It was no secret Sir Archie had been pressured into marriage following an indiscretion with the lovely but sharp-tongued Miss Julia Preston.

Lady Julia raised her head at the commotion and her voice cut like scissors into the schoolboy game Stephen was orchestrating. “I say, gentlemen, what’s more interesting than paying some attention to the ladies? Mr. Cranbourne, I want you to please take a seat by me and tell me all about your new benefactor.”

The three young men huddled closer, eyes still fixed on the spider’s web just below the escritoire. “Take cover, gentlemen, here she comes.” Sir Archie’s tone soured. “No, it’s no good. She’s found us. Story of my life. Fun’s over.”

Stephen, still on his knees, blinked to see first Lady Julia’s well-turned ankle and then, as she bent down, her lovely face. As her lively green eyes locked with his he wondered at Archie’s discontent. She was a diamond of the first water.

“What is so fascinating, gentlemen?” Her intimate murmur sounded as if it were just for him. Her gaze was certainly focused on him as her mouth curved in a secret, knowing smile.

Stephen sucked in a breath and found he was quite unable to answer. Since he’d come back from war he was unused to mixing in such elite company, though he remembered frequenting houses like this when he was a boy before his mother’s decline.

Just when he assumed she’d solicit her husband for information, she brushed his hand with hers, the smile that was just for him still in place.

Good God, he thought he’d imagined it before. Now, with Sir Archie still on his haunches to her right, reluctantly in the process of rising, Stephen was quite clearly being conveyed a secret message. Lady Julia admired him. He forced himself to breathe evenly as his cock sprang to attention. He could not rise now, for God’s sake. He must keep them watching at least a few seconds longer.

“She’s going to devour him.” The urgency in his voice that had nothing to do with the mating spiders.

“Nothing happening.” Archie sounded bored as he groaned and gripped the table leg to heave himself up. Stephen had wondered at a match between the spindly-legged, chinless baronet and the ravishing debutante conducted in such haste the season before. He’d not thought about the lovely Miss Julia again until news spread that the couple had been blessed with twin boys within a barely timely eight and a half months of their nuptials.

Now Lady Julia looked as dewy fresh and desirable as she had when Stephen had admired her in the ballroom as a young man experienced in battle but completely unprepared for London society. His mother had left him little of the vast fortune she’d frittered away through drink and gambling but enough to at least deport himself like the gentleman he’d been born.

He managed. Just.

“No, nothing happening,” muttered Barston, rising unsteadily. “I’ll wager a thousand monkeys you’re all hot air, Cranbourne.”

Lady Julia, who’d straightened, bent at the waist to peer again at the scene that had so excited the gentlemen. “Oh, my goodness, the spider jumped!” she squeaked, twisting round so suddenly she tripped over her husband’s arm and fell full length upon Stephen.

For a second he just lay beneath her, eyes wide with shock as her soft curves molded his hard—very hard—contours, not all of them his bones.

“Get up, Julia. Cranbourne, do you accept the wager?” Archie, who sounded as if these were everyday occurrences, took his wife’s elbow and hauled her to her feet. But not before Julia had slanted a knowing and very provocative look at Stephen.

“What? Er, yes,” Stephen mumbled, paying only half a mind. He rarely gambled these days. He had only to recall his wretched, fatherless youth and the antics of his feckless, beloved, wager-mad mama.

“Good fellow!” A hearty handshake followed as Stephen rose. He took refuge behind the back of the Egyptian sofa and forced a strained smile at his hosts.

“I do love an unusual wager.” Lady Julia adopted a pose of rare solidarity beside her husband. “So this big, bold, female spider—obviously a prime article in the arachnid world—has just suffered the amorous attentions of her tiny, boring, timid, ineffectual husband.” Her knowing smile broadened and her words were heavy with emphasis as she enunciated each one. It was impossible to miss her meaning and Stephen could only wonder that Archie didn’t bristle at the obvious allusion to their own marital situation. She stroked Archie’s arm while asking Stephen in silky tones, “You’re the celebrated man of science in the room, Mr. Cranbourne. Please explain in…explicit terms…the courting rituals of the spider world.”

Stephen flicked a glance at Archie. Fortunately he appeared to be his usual good-humored self—and just as keen for information as his wife.

He cleared his throat. “The male spider will court the female and…and then after he…”

“Impregnates her?” Lady Julia supplied with an inquiring smile.

“That’s correct, yes, the female will devour him.” Stephen let out his breath in a low whistle as his erection finally subsided. God, he hoped Archie hadn’t noticed. Lady Julia was a diamond of the first water but she was dangerous and Stephen wasn’t in a position to alienate the few advantageous connections he’d made since his unexpected elevation in the world.

“Nonsense!” Archie let out a guffaw. “The male of every species is infinitely superior in every respect and I’ll wager the insect world is no exception. Cranbourne, if this pretty boy spider is still safely in his love lair, gazing raptly at his lady love in two hours, then I’ve won the wager.”

Stephen quirked an eyebrow, the fog which clouded his brain finally clearing. He’d not realisedrealized what he’d agreed to. Honesty and fair play won over though the temptation to take advantage of Sir Archie was great. “I’m happy to call off the wager, old chap. It was foolishly done in the heat of the moment, for one can’t bet against the laws of nature. The study of spiders was my childhood hobby. As sure as the sun rises in the east this puny male will have been devoured by his mate by 2amtwo a.m.”

“The wager stands.” Archie grinned. “I’m willing to bet that a female is no match for a male— – in any arena.” He glanced at his wife. “Don’t I prove that time and time again, dearest?”

Lady Julia’s smile for her husband was limpid but when she slid her eyes across to Stephen he read calculation in their depths. Arousal slammed through him and he lowered his head to hide the guilt that burned his cheeks. If Archie were to intercept the silent messages she was sending him, the young baronet would go wild. Particularly if he knew the effect they were having on Stephen.

Stephen had drunk more than usual yet he was not addle witted. When he rose from his bow, his three companions were looking at him. He shrugged helplessly. Tomorrow he was to meet Lord Partington, his new benefactor. He wanted to be in top form. On the other hand, he’d need to stay to see his wager translate into a thousand pounds, an enormous sum but one that seemed neither here nor there to Archie.

Archie was now bending over again, peering at the web beneath the table. “Can’t say the housemaids are up to snuff in this place but it’s good for a lark. Nothing’s happening. Reckon the old boy’s going to turn tail and run in a sec. Now, ’nother drink, old chap?”

“Thank you,” Stephen replied, though his bladder was full to bursting. He moved to the door. “Call of nature,” he mumbled. “Please excuse me.”

He drew in a lungful of air as he headed up the passageway to the privy. He’d have to return in the next few minutes to keep an eye on his booty though he’d much rather have gone to bed. Still, he couldn’t afford to lose the wager. It would be some time before he became the next Viscount Partington, with all that came with it.

He was just issuing into the corridor, bending to adjust his breeches, when a whiff of familiar orange-water scent assailed his nostrils.

“Good Lord, I beg your pardon.” He stepped back as if stung from the connection of his forehead connecting with Lady Julia’s pert breasts as he straightened. Half expecting an outraged slap, he was astonished by the warmth of her expression as she raised her candle.

“You are a very handsome man, Stephen.” There was no mistaking the intention, conveyed by the calculating gleam in her eye and husky whisper.

Her delicate fingers curved around his wrist and she gave a gentle tuck. Obediently followed her, not knowing what to expect.

And certainly not expecting the door of a small closet to be closed behind him, plunging them into almost total darkness save for the candle she set upon the windowsill.

“Lady Julia—”

 

You can buy Her Gilded Prison at Ellora’s Cave

and read more here:

 

www.beverleyoakley.com

 

www.beverleyeikli.com

 

www.facebook/AuthorBeverleyOakley

 

http://beverleyeikli.blogspot.com

 

https://twitter.com/#!/BeverleyOakley


 

 

Her Gilded Prison has a Release Date

Imageby Beverley Oakley

I was so excited to have two wonderful pieces of good news this last week. The first was that Her Gilded Prison, the first in my erotic Regency Romance series, now has a release date of March 15. That means it’ll be available by the time I go to the Romantic Times Convention in Kansas City in May.

The second piece of good news was getting my new cover for my September release with Choc-Lit, The Reluctant Bride, written under my Beverley Eikli name. In my next post I’ll reveal the beautiful, winsome heroine against a lovely background that hints at the pull of loyalties she’s battling.

So, below is an extract of Her Gilded Prison, which is about an older woman and a younger man who form an unusual alliance to protect the family heritage falling into the wrong hands.

It will be released by Ellora’s Cave on March 15. Or did I already say that? Well, it’s late here in Australian and Valentine’s Day has had to be postponed until the stars are aligned and DH is on the same continent so I can be forgiven for not being as sharp as usual.

Chapter Two

 Sybil, Lady Partington, clasped her hands in her rabbit-fur muff as she watched the congregation file into their pews.

With her fortieth birthday looming, she felt old, as she watched proceedings through clouds of frosted breath. Particularly today. Old and superfluous. A failed wife. A failed mother.

Araminta had been dismissive of her well-meaning attempts to reassure her that the disgrace of her curtailed London season would not dash her chances of a good match. No, Araminta already had her mind up in that regard. She knew exactly who she was going to marry, and had done since she was twelve.

There’d been an exchange of words before they’d walked to church. Or rather, Araminta had flounced off ahead while good-natured Hetty had stayed back to keep her mother company.

Sybil slanted a sideways look at the two girls now, neatly turned out in the family pew beside her. Araminta looked proud. Expectant. Sybil repressed a sigh. That’s all she’d been doing lately. But perhaps everything would all work out.

Beside her, Hetty smiled at several new arrivals.

Nobody noticed her.

On her other side, her husband made a remark about the floral arrangement. Too flamboyant, he thought.

Sybil nodded distractedly. Nothing seemed to please Humphry unless he was with his beloved mistress, she thought bitterly, slanting a surreptitious glance across the aisle to see if Mrs. Hazlett and her family had arrived yet.

They had. She snapped her attention back to her neat rabbit-fur muff.

At least Humphry had pledged to play the dutiful host and mentor when Cousin Stephen arrived.

The heir apparent.

Not that young Mr. Stephen Cranbourne’s imminent arrival was anything to get excited over. It merely reinforced Sybil’s sense of superfluity through her failure to provide Humphry with an heir. Or rather, a spare, since the death of their darling boy, George, from the measles four years ago.

In those interim four years, Humphry’s nephew Edgar had been next in line. Humphry had refused to recognize him. Edgar was a clodpoll, he said, and the mere fact he was Humphry’s heir was incentive for Humphry to live to one hundred so he could outlive his cork-brained nephew.

Sybil supposed the bullet that had knocked poor Edgar out of the succession was rather fortunate for everyone, not least this unknown Mr. Cranbourne. But really, it changed nothing for her. She was still the unwanted wife and, as far as Araminta was concerned, the superfluous mother.

Thank goodness Hetty still needed and appreciated her.

A rustle went through the congregation. Sybil opened her hymn book and stared unseeingly at the lines designed to bolster her joy in God’s world. Once again she tried telling herself everything would work out. Humphry would take a liking to young Stephen, young Stephen would be the perfect match for Araminta, and wedding bells would ring out by the end of the year, a lusty son cementing the succession nine months later.

On painful joints, Reverend Bicklefield climbed the steps to the pulpit while old Mrs. Henshaw shuffled in on her handsome nephew’s arm. Sybil glanced up at the whiff of camphor and glimpsed the flare of interest Hetty sent the young man from beneath her sandy lashes as she focused attention upon her hymn book. Poor Hetty, for it was Araminta, sitting beside her, who caught his eye.

Araminta. Sybil sighed. Araminta was, without doubt, the most arresting young woman in the region. She’d turn anyone’s head, however the man who won her would have a tussle on his hands from the outset. Araminta was only happy when she had her own way.

She wondered what kind of man Mr. Stephen Cranbourne was. She knew nothing of him and had had little time to prepare for his arrival.

Reverend Bicklefield cleared his throat and hymn book pages rustled. Glancing at her youngest daughter, Sybil did not miss the smile Hetty flashed at Thomas Hazlett in the pew almost directly across from them. He nodded briefly in acknowledgement before his stern young countenance refocused on his own hymn book.

As far as Sybil knew, the young people had never spoken, although they crossed paths each Sunday.

A chill of foreboding made her shiver and she touched her knee to Humphry’s.

Could Hetty…know?

Yet when her husband glanced across at her, she could not put into words her fears.

Thomas and his two sisters were Humphry’s children by his mistress Elizabeth Hazlett. That made Thomas Hetty’s half-brother yet surely Hetty had no idea the Hazletts, who sat quietly and modestly through Rev. Bicklefield’s sermon every Sunday, were her father’s “other” family.

Further study of Hetty reassured Sybil, even after Thomas, looking up and locking eyes with the girl, grinned self-consciously.

Thomas Hazlett would know, of course. Perhaps he was consumed by impotent rage, knowing Hetty and Araminta, his half-sisters, enjoyed an easy, privileged life while he and his sisters, as Lord Partington’s side-slips, must navigate a hurdle-strewn path, denied social acceptance. He’d be especially outraged if he knew—as he presumably did—the reason he was not Lord Partington’s heir. His mother would surely have told Thomas that his father had buckled under family pressure and reneged on his marriage proposal to her. Shortly after Humphry had unexpectedly inherited the title he’d reluctantly married the much more “suitable” Miss Sybil Green. Yet even after such betrayal and after all these years Humphry and Lizzy Hazlett remained desperately in love.

Two generations had suffered the unhappy consequences—and always would. It was of no account that Humphry had regretted his marriage almost immediately, or consolation to Sybil that he’d told her it was not her fault.

She glanced at her husband’s impassive profile. Hard to believe they’d been married twenty years and produced four children, two of whom had died. Both sons. One stillborn, the other, George, only fourteen.  Four years had passed but the pain still sliced through her with the rawness of lemon in a fresh cut.

It had taken Humphry another three years before he’d come to her bed. For so long she’ been half expecting it, for of course dear George’s death meant that without a direct heir The Grange and the fortune that went with it would go to Edgar.

Detested Edgar.

The memory of Humphry’s visit to her bedchamber made her cringe with shame. What a debacle it had been—Humphry plied with drink, mumbling that he felt like an adulterer as he tried to coax his unresponsive nether regions to perform.

It didn’t work. Nothing did, including Sybil’s extensive efforts to entice him with her dubious charms before she’d resorted to some crass pumping of Humphry’s flaccid member.

Oh God, this was not a reflection for church, but the embarrassment of being woken by her husband’s drunken snoring just as her maid had come in to draw the curtains still burned.

She looked at Araminta. Perhaps it helped to have no heart, she thought, immediately chastising herself for her uncharitable thoughts. Araminta was still so young. She’d learn.

Besides, Sybil had everything she could wish for. Except love.

Humphry didn’t love Sybil but he’d been kind in his way and he’d always tried to spare her discomfort. Not pain, for nothing could quite erase the hopelessness of knowing one would never know the love of a man.

Nor could she hate Lizzy Hazlett although on more than one occasion she’d wished her dead, wondering if perhaps then Humphry might be able to form for Sybil some small affection.

As the years passed, Sybil realized Humphry would never love anyone but Lizzy Hazlett, who had returned Humphry’s love by eschewing the respectable marriage she might have made as a solicitor’s daughter in order to become Humphry’s mistress. Her punishment had been social ostracism and she’d condemned her children to a dubious future. For what future was there for a bastard?

No, Sybil wasn’t the only one to suffer.

A ripple of interest stirred the congregation and Sybil turned her head as the door blew open to admit a new arrival. He was a stranger, she realized, taking in his large bulk, a dark, faceless cut-out against the sun, which lit him from behind.

As he progressed down the aisle, he paused as if suddenly uncertain, and a shaft of sunlight from one of the side stained windows lit up his face.

It was a handsome face, sensitive and finely rendered rather than rugged. Although young he had creases near his eyes denoting both good humor and experience. Active service perhaps. That turned a boy into a man, and this young man seemed both as his mouth, which had been pressed into a diffident straight line, curved up in recognition upon seeing Humphry.

She stiffened.

Stephen. It could be no other.

The young man bowed, his broad shoulders filling out his sober dark coat nicely; certainly in Araminta’s opinion, it would seem. Sybil registered the girl’s sudden awareness, the flare in her eye as she locked glances with the stranger, who was now looking directly at them, the first family of the district sitting according to their station in the front pew.

And at the expectation in his eye Sybil’s heart began to beat rapidly while her breath caught in her throat. Humphry was staring, a wary smile of welcome softening his features. It was impossible to determine his thoughts, even though he’d invited the newcomer here.

Stephen Cranbourne, Humphry’s heir, had finally arrived, having been summoned from the other side of the country after much searching.

And on first impressions he did not disappoint.

END OF EXTRACT

Thanks everyone for sta
ying this long. If you’d like to say hi, I’d be very happy. If you’d like to look out for my other books and see what else I’m doing, here are my links:

You can find this by visiting my website at:

www.beverleyoakley.com

www.beverleyeikli.com

www.facebook/AuthorBeverleyOakley

http://beverleyeikli.blogspot.com

https://twitter.com/#!/BeverleyOakley

http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/13548628-rake-s-honour

The Cavalier, an English Civil War Romance

By Beverley Oakley

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I love the intensity that comes with star-crossed lovers whose loyalties clash on the battlefield, due to family ties, but whose hearts are in harmony.

Last week I got a lovely review from Two Lips Reviews of The Cavalier, my English Civil War erotic romance in which Elizabeth, my Puritan woman is confronted with the man she once loves when he storms her castle. He’s the second in command of the enemy Cavalier forces.

Elizabeth’s husband, a cold and driven Puritan whom she’d been forced to marry after giving up her true love, now wants to use his wife to entrap the Cavalier leader.

The trouble is, with war and past hurt entering the equation no one can trust anyone, and it’s all complicated by passion, poison and power.

Here’s what Two Lips had to say. 

Title: The Cavalier
Author: Beverley Oakley
Publisher: Total-E-Bound Publishing 
Genre: Historical Romance
Publication date: July 16, 2012
ISBN: 1-781840-42-9
Pages: 73
Series: Bodices and Boudoirs
Reviewer: Icy Snow

 4 Stars

Eight years before, Elizabeth suffered numerous beatings by her father because she wished to marry Cavalier Charles Threthveyan. At last, when she realizes her suitor has given up and abandoned her, she marries the man her father has chosen, Puritan Silas Drummond, who has long lusted after her, though he’d never admit it. Now, Drummond is besieged by Royalist forces and Elizabeth and her husband are captives of Captain Reynolds, the King’s Man, and his second-in-command, her former suitor.

Striking a bargain with Reynolds to spend the night with both men in return for her husband’s safe release, Elizabeth doesn’t count on the response she has to Charles’ nearness. He swears he still loves her, asking for a charade of seduction to save her honor. Elizabeth agrees but can’t hide her own desire and soon their pretended lust becomes all too real. Or has it? Before his commander, Charles becomes the callous seducer. In private, he’s the protective lover she once knew. Elizabeth has been charged by her husband to poison both Charles and his commander. She goes to an arranged meeting bearing the vial containing the fatal dose, but will she use it on Charles and Reynolds, or on herself? Can she free her husband though it would mean losing forever the man she really loves, or will she once more try to fight for the chance for happiness?

Beverley Oakley has created in The Cavalier a short but intriguing historical piece, giving a great deal of insight into the war in which the Cavaliers and the Puritans participated. Even for such a limited length, the characters are well-delineated, and their aims and desires equally explained. Elizabeth is torn between wanting to believe Charles and keep her original assessment of him intact in spite of how she sees him now conducting himself.

Charles has to redefine his ideas of why Elizabeth jilted him in light of what he was told and what he now learns. The contrasts between the beliefs of the Cavaliers and the Puritans and the war they fought is defined and explained, and Elizabeth’s dilemma in meeting again her lost love, of whether to believe him or accept the public face he shows of the callous libertine is well set up. I’d definitely like to read a longer work by this author.

End of Review

Thank you for dropping by and I hope you have a lovely evening.

If you’d like to know more, you can visit my website.

It’d also be nice if you ‘liked’ me on FB. I’m also on Goodreads.

And you can buy the book at All Romance e-books here or, for the best price of all, here.

A Curious Wager -Excerpt #2 from Her Gilded Prison (warning: Adult content)

By Beverley OakleyImage

Still working through these edits and glad not to pick up too many things – though I’m sure my editor will:)

Earlier today I posted the extract from the start of the book. Now I pick up a short while later, just as my hero, Stephen, agrees to an unlikely wager. Stephen is a lovely young man who’s been summoned by a distant cousin to be looked over as the new heir to The Grange, a large, rich estate in Wiltshire, England.

There’s a lot of subterfuge going on in the background, so if you like intrigue in your erotic historicals, and over-confident rakes or arrogant upstarts getting their just desserts, you might like this.

There was certainly a lot of intrigue and a sting in the tail of my first erotic Regency Historical, Rake’s Honour, which has just been shortlisted Favourite Historical in 2012 by Australian Romance Writers Association.

EXCERPT FROM HER GILDED PRISON

“I do love an unusual wager.” Lady Julia adopted a pose of rare solidarity beside her husband. “So this big, bold, female spider—obviously a prime article in the arachnid world—has just suffered the amorous attentions of her tiny, boring, timid, ineffectual husband.” Her knowing smile broadened and her words were heavy with emphasis as she enunciated each one. It was impossible to miss her meaning and Stephen could only wonder that Archie didn’t bristle at the obvious allusion to their own marital situation. She stroked Archie’s arm while asking Stephen in silky tones, “You’re the celebrated man of science in the room, Mr. Cranbourne. Please explain in…explicit terms…the courting rituals of the spider world.”

Stephen flicked a glance at Archie. Fortunately he appeared to be his usual good-humored selfand just as keen for information as his wife.

He cleared his throat. “The male spider will court the female and…and then after he…”

“Impregnates her?” Lady Julia supplied with an inquiring smile.

“That’s correct, yes, the female will devour him.” Stephen let out his breath in a low whistle as his erection finally subsided. God, he hoped Archie hadn’t noticed. Lady Julia was a diamond of the first water but she was dangerous and Stephen wasn’t in a position to alienate the few advantageous connections he’d made since his unexpected elevation in the world.

“Nonsense!” Archie let out a guffaw. “The male of every species is infinitely superior in every respect and I’ll wager the insect world is no exception. Cranbourne, if this pretty boy spider is still safely in his love lair, gazing raptly at his lady love in two hours, then I’ve won the wager.”

Stephen quirked an eyebrow, the fog which clouded his brain finally clearing. He’d not realized what he’d agreed to. Honesty and fair play won over though the temptation to take advantage of Sir Archie was great. “I’m happy to call off the wager, old chap.

It was foolishly done in the heat of the moment, for one can’t bet against the laws of nature. The study of spiders was my childhood hobby. As sure as the sun rises in the east this puny male will have been devoured by his mate by two a.m.”

“The wager stands.” Archie grinned. “I’m willing to bet that a female is no match for a malein any arena.” He glanced at his wife. “Don’t I prove that time and time again, dearest?”

Lady Julia’s smile for her husband was limpid but when she slid her eyes across to Stephen he read calculation in their depths. Arousal slammed through him and he lowered his head to hide the guilt that burned his cheeks. If Archie were to intercept the silent messages she was sending him, the young baronet would go wild. Particularly if he knew the effect they were having on Stephen.

Stephen had drunk more than usual yet he was not addle witted. When he rose from his bow, his three companions were looking at him. He shrugged helplessly. Tomorrow he was to meet Lord Partington, his new benefactor. He wanted to be in top form.

On the other hand, he’d need to stay to see his wager translate into a thousand pounds, an enormous sum but one that seemed neither here nor there to Archie.

Archie was now bending over again, peering at the web beneath the table. “Can’t say the housemaids are up to snuff in this place but it’s good for a lark. Nothing’s happening. Reckon the old boy’s going to turn tail and run in a sec. Now, ’nother drink, old chap?”

“Thank you,” Stephen replied, though his bladder was full to bursting. He moved to the door. “Call of nature,” he mumbled. “Please excuse me.”

He drew in a lungful of air as he headed up the passageway to the privy. He’d have to return in the next few minutes to keep an eye on his booty though he’d much rather have gone to bed. Still, he couldn’t afford to lose the wager. It would be some time before he became the next Viscount Partington, with all that came with it.

He was just returning, issuing into the corridor and bending to adjust his breeches, when a whiff of familiar orange-water scent assailed his nostrils.

“Good Lord, I beg your pardon.” He stepped back as if stung from the connection of his forehead with Lady Julia’s pert breasts as he straightened. 

Half expecting an outraged slap, he was astonished by the warmth of her expression as she raised her candle.

“You are a very handsome man, Stephen.” There was no mistaking the intention, conveyed by the calculating gleam in her eye and husky whisper.

Her delicate fingers curved around his wrist and she gave a gentle tug. Obediently he followed her, not knowing what to expect.

And certainly not expecting the door of a small closet to be closed behind him, plunging them into almost total darkness save for the candle she set upon the windowsill.

“Lady Julia

His words were cut short by the touch of her lips, soft yet demanding as they covered his half-open mouth. Surprise coalesced into desire, fierce and potent as her deft little fingers fumbled with the buttons of his breeches and closed around his pulsing cock.

End of Extract

I don’t have a release date but I expect it’ll be in April and just in time for the Romantic Times Convention where I’ll be meeting with my three wonderful publishers, Ellora’s Cave, Total-e-Bound and Choc-Lit.

If you’d like to know more, you can visit my website.

It’d also be nice if you ‘liked’ me on FB. I’m also on Goodreads. In addition to writing erotic historicals as Beverley Oakley, I write historical romantic intrigues as Beverley Eikli.

 

 

Sweet Erotic Regency by Beverley Oakley

Lady Lovett’s Little Dilemma

On Monday the big announcement went out that I’d won UK Publishing Company Choc-Lit’s ‘Search for an Australian Star’ competition for a Regency Romance written under my Beverley Eikli name.

I also write erotic historicals as Beverley Oakley and in the next two posts will contrast the reviews of my ‘sweet’ erotic Regency, Lady Lovett’s Little Dilemma, with the much raunchier erotic historical, Rake’s Honour.

Here  is the review from Joyfully Reviewed:

Cressida, Lady Lovett, still desires her husband, Justin, Lord Lovett, very much. However, she is frightened of the consequences that a night of pleasure may bring. She doesn’t know how to speak of it with her patient husband, but she continues to find excuses for not fulfilling her wifely duties. Only now she has heard the rumors that Lord Lovett has returned to the arms of his former mistress. What’s a naïve wife to do?

Justin doesn’t know why his wife has suddenly gone from hot to cold since the birth of their last child several months ago. He’s not sure how to broach the subject with the former parson’s daughter, but he feels that she may eventually come around. The appearance of his former friend/mistress has given Justin something else to work on in the interim though. Ever the loyal friend, Justin will seek to satisfy her, too!

Lady Lovett’s Little Dilemma was a charmingly tame short story. The dilemma that Cressida was dealing with was thoroughly explained, but it helped to realize that her knowledge was completely different from today’s standards. Justin was an excellent hero, but he could only take so much of what Cressida was dishing out to him. It was the norm for his peers to stray back then, after all. I’m not sure that Lady Lovett’s Little Dilemma was completely, historically accurate, but is sure was a sweet story!

Lady Lovett’s Little Dilemma even showed that someone who has become bitter over their lot in life can continue to be nasty and not change. It was also quite lovely that so many enjoyed a HEA in Lady Lovett’s Little Dilemma without sacrificing too much for their bit of happiness. I wouldn’t have minded if Beverley Oakley had wanted to push the limits a bit more in Lady Lovett’s Little Dilemma, but I did find this a sweet refreshing story.

End of Review

I’d like to thank Vanessa for the review. My other erotic Regency, Rake’s Honour, is certainly not tame. As a writer, I like to sometimes write sweet. It all depends on the characters and their dilemmas. Lady Lovett’s Little Dilemma is for those who’ve been married a few years to a man they truly love, but until they can tackle a fundamental problem neither wants to discuss, they’ll never find true happiness.

Below are my links. And feel free to ‘like’ me:) And thank you so much for visiting. This was a refreshing story that I’d been wanting to write for a long time.

Website

Blog

Facebook

Twitter

Buy the book here

Amazon

My Winner – and Thank you!

I’m very happy to announce that Barbara is the randomly picked winner of my prize, Lady Farquhar’s Butterfly, which is now winging its way to her.

Thank you, Barbara, and everyone else who dropped by with wonderful comments.

It was a lovely festive atmosphere and I thoroughly enjoyed the party!

All the best,

Beverley Eikli / Beverley Oakley

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

Erotic Regency – Her Gilded Prison Excerpt #2

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By Beverley Oakley

Hi Everyone, I hope you’re enjoying the party. Our lovely November day here in Victoria, Australia, has suddenly turned cold so here, at the computer, is the place to be, weaving my intrigues about love, duty and desire.

Earlier I posted an extract about my January release from Ellora’s Cave, Her Gilded Prison.

 I’ve now posting another excerpt which I hope you enjoy.

The lovely Lady Sybil’s 20-year marriage has not produced an heir – which is hardly surprising since her husband cannot bear to be parted from his long-term mistress.

 When heir-apparent, handsome cousin Stephen arrives at Grange Hall to be briefed on his duties as the next Viscount Partington, he sets many feminine hearts a-flutter, including those of Sybil’s two daughters: plain, dumpy Hetty and fiery, exquisite Araminta.

 Then a unwelcome contender for the viscountancy emerges. Presumed dead, Edgar turns out not to have died on the battlefield – but nor has he distinguished himself there, either.

 In order that mutton-headed Edgar never inherit what her husband has spent his lifetime creating, Lady Sybil devises an extraordinary plan…

 In his wildest dreams, Cousin Stephen never expected his duties would be so diverse.

 

This scene takes place in Sybil’s bedroom after Stephen has climbed between the sheets.

  

She knew it was wrong.

And yet, the wicked sensations were like nothing she’d ever experienced before.

“Mama…”

Heady desire turned instantly to horror at the sound of Araminta’s voice, filtering in through the doorway with the light of the candle she held. Sybil froze and held her breath as she silently demanded her breathing become more regular.

Araminta. She’d never thought…

Araminta placed her candle onto her mother’s dressing table at the far end of the room and lowered herself onto the little seat.

“You didn’t knock?” It was all Sybil could say. Thank God Stephen was beneath the covers, albeit also between her legs.

The heavy carved post of the bed and three yards of floor space diluted visuals. Fortunately, Araminta didn’t seem particularly concerned about her mother who knew that her complete nakedness, including lack of nightcap, and disordered hair might ring alarm bells. That is, if Araminta were not so self- absorbed.

“I was afraid you wouldn’t hear,” Araminta excused herself, adding with a sigh, “Oh mama, I do so want to marry Stephen.”

“What!” It was a croak at best. Sybil registered Stephen’s horror too, somewhere in the darkness beneath the bed covers and yes, between Araminta’s own mother’s legs.

“Yet how can I, now that Edgar has returned and is heir? Stephen is handsome and charming and he makes my heart beat faster and I know he is madly in love with me but-” She gave another gusty sigh, “with Edgar alive, Stephen has nothing. Does he, mama?” She spoke as if desperate for her mother to refute it.

“I…I don’t know very much about Stephen’s situation, my dear.” Sybil shifted, careful to keep the sheet up around her neck – and not to smother Stephen. Lord, she’d never felt so desperately cornered. “Araminta, it’s very late. Perhaps we should have this talk in the morning.”

“Mama, what do you think about Stephen?” Araminta clearly felt her mother’s desire to talk in the morning of no account.

“What do I think of him?” It was all Sybil could do just to repeat the sentence. She didn’t know if she could possibly answer it in such a situation.

“Yes, what do you really think about him? Do you think he’s handsome?”

“Yes, he’s very handsome Araminta but-”

“And do you think he’d make a good husband?”

Sybil swallowed. “I think he’s a very kind man. I didn’t think that at first. I thought he was young and callow and very much like so many other young blades who like to sow their wild oats and behave badly.”

“So you don’t think he’s the kind of young man to sow his wild oats and behave badly? I think I know what you mean.”

Sow his wild oats? Isn’t that what he was doing right at this moment? At Sybil’s behest? Right here in Sybil’s bedchamber? Oh Lord, she had to get Araminta out of here.

“I think Stephen understands matters more than you think, Araminta. He knows you won’t – can’t – marry him now that Edgar has returned.”

“Do you think he will forgive me?” Araminta sniffed. “After all, I’ve broken his heart, mama. He barely caught my eye this afternoon and I was all but begging him to understand that we must be forever rent asunder by the tragedy of this altered situation.”

“The tragedy being that Edgar survived that bullet, after all.” Sybil’s tone was dry. She was fast losing patience.

Of course, Araminta had never understood irony. Now she said, dolefully, “I daresay Edgar’s the only one who’s really pleased about the situation but the rest of us must make the best of it. I tried to explain that to Hetty but she refused to speak to me. She’s being awfully churlish. Please will you talk to her, mama, and tell her not to be so selfish?”

A muffled, choking noise emanated from beneath the covers. Araminta looked up, her brow wrinkled and Sybil coughed violently. “It’s late, Araminta, and I was in a deep sleep. We can take a stroll in the morning and talk about it then, if you like.”

END OF EXTRACT

The book won’t be out until January but if you enjoy erotic Regencies or Historical Intrigues I’d love you to visit my website at: http://www.beverleyoakley.com

or like my FB author page at https://www.facebook.com/AuthorBeverleyOakley

 And there’s always news and fun happening at my blog.

 

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