A HINT OF SCANDAL excerpt on Eat Sleep Write

*This posted here yesterday, but I will post it below as well.

A Hint of Scandal - An Excerpt by Erica Sutherhome

September 29, 2013



Payton rounded the hospital bed.  Bruce lay back on the pillows, resting, his lashes like fans on his cheeks.  She shook her head at the weird sensation in her chest.  It was tight and it ached.  The press of tears came in the back of her throat.

“You look about as good as I feel.”

He was awake.  His dark hair was mussed attractively and his dark eyes were watching her closely.  She smiled at him.  “That may be the case.”

“Did someone look at that?”  He gestured to her head.

“Sure.  Nothing major.  It will heal.”

“No concussion?”

She shook her head, shrugged.  “Not yet.”

He frowned.  “You should be at home resting.”

“And you should stop telling me what to do.”

           He only chuckled, then held the bandage over his wound as if had pained him to laugh.

            Payton shook her head.  "I'm so sorry about this whole thing."

            "It's not your fault.  Everyone makes mistakes."  Bruce frowned slightly.  "Maybe you didn't realize how dangerous it was."

            "No.  I was too stubborn to realize I was in over my head."  She looked down at her hands, the smoke still settled on them.  "You risked your life for my stupidity.  I ruined your life.  You were shot.”

                "Payton, stop.  Stop all of this."  He sighed.  "You used to act rich and spoiled.  The minute I was shot, you were there for me.  You didn't care about yourself at all.  You're the one who risked your life.  To tell me that you'd fallen for me before I died.  To pull me from a burning building alone.  I was shot, yes.  I won't lie to you.  It hurts like hell.  But, I’m alive.  And wounds heal, you know.”



Excerpt on Eat Sleep Write

*This posted here originally, but I will post it below as well.




Her tear-numbed eyes adjusted, and she saw him in the doorway. It seemed he would not take no for an answer. 

“Shall I inquire to Pierre why he was not escorted to the library, why we were not informed of his presence? At this hour? Really it is not proper, mistress.”

“No, leave us,” she ordered her nursemaid. The woman left the room, frowning. Fara pulled her dressing sacque closer to her bosom and drew a hand across her eyes to stem the flow of tears. She took a deep breath, aware that her heart was hammering itself to death. 

“I am sorry to have caught you at a time like this. I know your uncle's death has been hard for you.”

Recovering from her emotional turmoil, she took a deep breath. “Oui.” She frowned. “Capitaine Hill, it is unlike you to enter a lady's boudoir uninvited.”

“But can you really know, chère, what I am capable of?”

“Perhaps not. Yet there are rumors of your bedside manner…”

“Perhaps they are only rumors then,” he said softly as he sat on a nearby chaise.

Oui.” Fara shook her head. “Why are you here, Grant?”

“That does not matter. What will you do now without an escort, Mademoiselle?”

Oui, her uncle was dead and she had no one to look after her. But, why should he care about that? “Are you to fill the position, Monsieur?” she countered with a grin.

“Perhaps with your permission. Is it so funny?”

“Only that you feel you must concern yourself with my affairs.”

“Have I not done so since that first night in the harbor?”

Oui,” she replied. “But you are still in my boudoir--”

“Would you have me leave then--”

“Without permission…” she finished.

“Ah,” he exclaimed softly. “Then, Mademoiselle, may I enter your boudoir?”

She considered it, but with a smile playing on her lips, she answered, “No, Monsieur. You may not.”

            He stood quickly and approached her, lifting a hand to gently touch her cheek. “You are a tease, Mademoiselle. You like playing with men, I think.” 


Great 4 star review for UPON YOUR RETURN on Amazon!


4.0 out of 5 stars "Love never dies.", September 27, 2013
By
nanamama -

This review is from: Upon Your Return (Kindle Edition)

I just finished reading 'Upon Your Return' by Marie Lavender. If you like romance, you'll love this. It also has twist and turns you don't see coming. It will have your heart pounding, wondering how Grant and Fara are going to get out of the corners they are backed into, stay alive, and keep the love going. Great read.
Joy Redmond.
 
 

Book promo for UPON YOUR RETURN on Chris Weigand's blog today!

*This originally posted here, but I will post it below as well.


Marie Lavender Visits

Marie Lavender is returning to the Dragon’s Lair for another visit to talk about another book: Upon Your Return.

Author Bio  
 
Marie Lavender lives in the Midwest with her family and three cats. She has been writing for over twenty years. She has more works in progress than she can count on two hands.

At the tender age of nine, she began writing stories. Her imagination fueled a lot of her early child’s play. Even growing up, she entered writing contests and received a certificate for achieving the second round in one. She majored in Creative Writing in college because that was all she ever wanted – to be a writer. While there, she published two works in a university publication, and was a copy editor on the staff of an online student journal. After graduating from college, she sought out her dream to publish a book.

Since then, Marie has published sixteen books. Marie Lavender’s real love is writing romances, but she has also written mysteries, literary fiction and dabbled a little in paranormal stories. Most of her works have a romantic element involved in them. Upon Your Return is her first historical romance novel. Feel free to visit her website at http://marielavender.webs.com/ for further information about her books and her life. Marie is also on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

A list of her books and pen names are as follows:

Marie Lavender: Upon Your Return

Erica Sutherhome: Hard to GetMemoriesA Hint of ScandalWithout YouStrange HeatTerror in the NightHauntedPursuitPerfect GameA Touch of DawnRansom

Kathryn Layne: A Misplaced Life

Heather Crouse: Express Café and Other RamblingsRamblings, Musings and Other ThingsSoulful Ramblings and Other Worldly Things

Author Links 
  Book Blurb  

UponYourReturn_E-bookCover - 626

Fara Bellamont has been back in society for a year after leaving Cluny Abbey, where her uncle sent her long ago. When he chooses a suitor for her for marriage, she fears that she will be forced to marry a stranger and live a miserable life. But, Fara finds herself thrust into an adventure of a lifetime when unforeseen circumstances cause her to place her trust in a strange man for protection. His intervention not only saves her, but puts her in an even more compromising position. Grant Hill, a trading captain, is enchanted by the young heiress not only because of her beauty, but because she is hardly conventional. Underneath her ladylike exterior lies a tigress. Grant cannot help but offer his protection as she is in need and he is far from immune from her charms. Fara just never bargained on the passion that she feels for Grant Hill. As events unfold, she must decide whether her desires and the dictates of her heart should trump the rules of society…

Purchase Links 
 
 
Excerpt 
 
Fara fought the darkness to the coming light. It was so easy to stay in the dark. It was comforting like a warm blanket. But, the light held such possibilities. She knew she must rouse, as if something significant lay there in wakefulness. She stirred and felt a pair of arms holding her. Then she heard a heartbeat beneath a rough fabric, felt a coarse texture of chest hair. It was so secure within that embrace.
 When she finally realized it was a man who held her, she gasped and tried to retreat from the cord of muscles. She glanced up to be temporarily blinded by the lamplight to her left.

“Don’t move,” said a soft but deep voice.

He spoke with the assurance of authority, and she could tell he was used to ordering people around. Well, he wouldn’t order her. She lifted her heavy head and whimpered as a stab of agony sliced through her skull. Fara squeezed her eyes shut tight. It was so much easier to be left in the dark for it was as if her head was being cut with so many knives.

“I will have you more comfortable in a moment. Please do not move.”

How could she possibly move with all this pain and that large man rendering her limbs useless?

Suddenly, she felt a light cushion beneath her. The glare from the lantern came into her vision again when she opened her eyes and was then replaced by the outline of a man towering above her. She gasped and crawled away from him, but his hold on her waist hauled her back. Her head hurt so as he studied her face.“Madame, the pain will be less if you stay still. I promise I did not bring you here to harm you in any way.”

She gradually settled back on the pillows and looked at her keeper. He was an attractive man, if one liked the rough, indignant kind. Dark layers of soft waves covered his head and ended at the nape of his neck. He was large, but slim in the right places…it spoke of years of hard physical labor.

His eyes captivated her as she studied him in such proximity. The shade of his eyes…a charcoal color; they were the most intense and unreadable eyes she’d ever seen. It was an odd, yet strikingly beautiful color for a man.

Oh, you silly girl, she thought. Really…how ridiculous for her to be wooed by only a pair of eyes. “May I ask you a question?”

“I insist you do, if you are not too unwell.” He gestured to her jaw.

Fara nodded, acknowledging the wound provided by the man named Bernard. She imagined what he referred to must indeed be a hideous sight. She looked around the room. It appeared to be a cabin of sorts. “Monsieur…how did I get here? Are we on a yacht?”

“A ship. My ship, La Voyageur,” he announced firmly with a lifted brow.

She faltered at the damning tone in his voice. It gave the impression that he was accustomed to some ridicule, but she could not fathom the reason for it. “You are a captain?”

OuiMadame.”

Mademoiselle.” She blushed.

“Ah. I knew you were too young to be saddled to one man, but thought it safer to say you were.”

Monsieur…how long will I be here?”

He pointed to her throbbing jaw. “As soon as that is healed nicely, I will escort you to your home.”

Why, that could be days! Did he really mean to let her go, or was his intention to ask for a ransom? He had rescued her, but what if his motives were for reasons other than valor? “My uncle…he will be concerned for me. I insist you take me home now.” She realized her voice was too soft to sound commanding.

He shook his head. “I will have a message sent to him. What is his name?”

She sighed. “Michel de Bellamont.” She began to protest, “Monsieur, surely you do not intend to keep me here? That would not be right.”

“I do though. You fainted twice. I must be certain it won’t happen again. That bastard hit you. I would be surprised if you didn’t feel unwell. I will send the message to your uncle, informing him that his niece is in good hands. You will probably be better tomorrow. You may leave then if you wish.”

“All right, MonsieurMerci.” He seemed to be concerned about her enough to care for her here. She still felt unsure about spending time alone with a complete stranger, especially a man, but she did not know how to convince him otherwise. He did not seem like the kind of man one questioned. And despite the fact that she’d thought he could be trusted, she still must be on her guard. She had no idea what he really intended.


Character Interview from UPON YOUR RETURN on Mariana Thorn's site

*This interview posted here originally, but I will post it below as well.


 
Picture
Mariana: let’s start off with you telling us a little about yourself?

Fara: My name is Fara Bellamont.  I am 18 years old.  I was born in Marseille, France, but I moved to La Rochelle after my parents died.  I have been the ward of my uncle ever since.  Last year, I returned from Cluny Abbey, where I spent the better part of my childhood.

Mariana: Here’s a fun one. What was the first thought you had when you woke up today?

Fara: I woke up hoping for adventure or some kind of change in my life.

Mariana: What did your calendar for the past two weeks look like?

Fara: I have spent the past two weeks helping my uncle entertain his business associates and running the household.

Mariana: Who was the last person you spoke to?

 Fara: My nursemaid Rosalie is very close to me.  And aside from her, I spoke to my good friend Helene recently.  I would have liked to have seen my uncle, but has been occupied with business dealings.

Mariana: What did you talk about?

Fara:With Rosalie?  She is always trying to keep me from worrying.  We talked of the future, of the day when I would be married.  But, that day is far from now.  I am hardly prepared for such a thing.

Mariana: What would a typical evening look like to you?

I spend most evenings quietly, reading a novel I found in my uncle’s library or knitting.  I quite enjoy the pianoforte as well.  Unless I have to entertain as mistress of the household and then I, of course, do my duty.

Mariana: What was your last nightmare? 

I am not sure when I had it.  I often dream about a man with dark eyes and shadowed features.  I cannot tell who he is, but he is there.  I know he means me no harm, but I want more than anything to identify him.  Perhaps I should not be frightened and yet, I am because I cannot recall where I have seen him before.

Mariana: What do you do to relax after a bad day?

Rosalie will make me a tisane from time to time if I have a headache.  A cold compress helps as well.

Mariana: If you could have two whole weeks for vacation and go and do anything you wanted money not a problem what would it be where would you go and why?

Oh, how I’d love to have adventures!  I have often wanted to go far away from here and see the world.  I do not care where.  I just want to know what’s beyond La Rochelle.

Mariana: Where would you go to hang out if you wanted to feel comfortable?

Such strange words, Mariana, but I will try to answer if I can.  I suppose my bedchamber is the place where I feel I can truly be myself.  I do not have to put on airs or pretend I am something I am not.

Mariana: In an emergency who is the first person you call?

My uncle should be contacted, of course, if anything is wrong.  If he is unavailable, I am certain Rosalie or Pierre, my uncle’s driver, can go for help.

Mariana: Your house is on fire, you have less than a minute to grab 5 things what are they?

My locket with the pictures of my parents, the family portrait, my mother’s two gowns she left behind, a book and perhaps a hairbrush.

Mariana: If you could bring one person back to life and spend a full day with him or her, who would it be and what would you do?

Mon Dieu.  I would give anything to see my mother alive again.  We could go out in town and shop at the milliner’s.  But really, it would not matter to me what we did together as long as I could see her again.

For the author: Marie Lavender

Mariana: Here would be a great place to add an excerpt and/or blub:

Blurb: 

Fara Bellamont has been back in society for a year after leaving Cluny Abbey, where her uncle sent her long ago. When he chooses a suitor for her for marriage, she fears that she will be forced to marry a stranger and live a miserable life. But, Fara finds herself thrust into an adventure of a lifetime when unforeseen circumstances cause her to place her trust in a strange man for protection. His intervention not only saves her, but puts her in an even more compromising position. Grant Hill, a trading captain, is enchanted by the young heiress not only because of her beauty, but because she is hardly conventional. Underneath her ladylike exterior lies a tigress. Grant cannot help but offer his protection as she is in need and he is far from immune from her charms. Fara just never bargained on the passion that she feels for Grant Hill. As events unfold, she must decide whether her desires and the dictates of her heart should trump the rules of society…

Excerpt:

Fara fought the darkness to the coming light. It was so easy to stay in the dark. It was comforting like a warm blanket. But, the light held such possibilities. She knew she must rouse, as if something significant lay there in wakefulness. She stirred and felt a pair of arms holding her. Then she heard a heartbeat beneath a rough fabric, felt a coarse texture of chest hair. It was so secure within that embrace.

When she finally realized it was a man who held her, she gasped and tried to retreat from the cord of muscles. She glanced up to be temporarily blinded by the lamplight to her left.

“Don't move,” said a soft but deep voice.

He spoke with the assurance of authority, and she could tell he was used to ordering people around. Well, he wouldn't order her. She lifted her heavy head and whimpered as a stab of agony sliced through her skull. Fara squeezed her eyes shut tight. It was so much easier to be left in the dark for it was as if her head was being cut with so many knives.

“I will have you more comfortable in a moment. Please do not move.”

How could she possibly move with all this pain and that large man rendering her limbs useless?

Suddenly, she felt a light cushion beneath her. The glare from the lantern came into her vision again when she opened her eyes and was then replaced by the outline of a man towering above her. She gasped and crawled away from him, but his hold on her waist hauled her back. Her head hurt so as he studied her face.

Madame, the pain will be less if you stay still. I promise I did not bring you here to harm you in any way.”

She gradually settled back on the pillows and looked at her keeper. He was an attractive man, if one liked the rough, indignant kind. Dark layers of soft waves covered his head and ended at the nape of his neck. He was large, but slim in the right places...it spoke of years of hard physical labor.

His eyes captivated her as she studied him in such proximity. The shade of his eyes...a charcoal color; they were the most intense and unreadable eyes she'd ever seen. It was an odd, yet strikingly beautiful color for a man.

Oh, you silly girl, she thought. Really...how ridiculous for her to be wooed by only a pair of eyes.

Mariana: Anything you would like to add?

Marie: Anyone who likes a good love story should like Upon Your Return.

Mariana: Well give us some links so we can stalk, I mean, find you:

http://www.marielavender.webs.com/
http://marielavenderbooks.blogspot.com/
http://marielavender.blogspot.com/
https://www.facebook.com/MarieAnnLavender
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Upon-Your-Return/221212331354873
https://twitter.com/marielavender1
https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6938764.Marie_Lavender
http://www.amazon.com/Marie-Lavender/e/B00C10Q94I/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1
http://www.linkedin.com/pub/marie-lavender/27/187/10a


Awesome review by Serenity Jones!

*This review originally posted here on S.A. Jone's site, but I will post it below as well.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Upon Your Return by Marie Lavender

Some of you may recall last month when Marie Lavender stopped by for an interview! If you're a new reader, or just want a refresher, you can find the interview HERE. At that time, Lavender shared about her latest release, Upon Your Return, and I'm here to review that novel today!

~*~

Review of Upon Your Return by Marie Lavender

Our novel opens with Fara Bellamont, a little girl, with some very grown-up thoughts. After losing her parents to tragedy, Fara is sent to live with her uncle who, frankly, I don't like. That's kind of the point, though. He's a retched man who believe rather firmly that women should be seen and not heard, as they are merely objects designated to serve men. It's not said in so many words in the novel, but you get the point.

Young Fara doesn't spend much time in the novel, and for that, I'm rather grateful. Not because I didn't like her, but because the author gets the ball rolling and doesn't waste time on events that could have possibly lost readers. Fara's uncle sends her off to a convent, and we don't see her again until she emerges a stunning, young woman.

There's so much more I'd like to add about the novel right here, especially after Fara meets our leading male, Grant. This is the first time I'm sharing these, but I feel it's the best way to avoid spoilers. I'm going to jump ahead here, and just share some of my personal notes that I make while reading:

Who doesn't love a hero? Fara right of the bat, that's who. You go girl.
Sexy kiss say whaaat? Marry him! (Totally contradicts a couple notes ago, whatever.)
Oh, Grant, you little rebel you.
I would not have made it in 1800s.
That moment when you're not sure if he ran... or was murdered.
One thing that never fails--the French can SO throw a party.
PLOT TWIST!
Still not convinced he's not dead.

Yes, I really wrote all this down. And that doesn't even cover the first hundred pages of the novel. Upon Your Return had me flicking through the pages faster than you can imagine, eager to see what happens next the whole way through the novel. Fara is not your typical female, and while she might be attracted to the leading male, she is not desperately clinging to his every word and action. Likewise, Grant, equally attracted to Fara, may try to win her affections, but his every waking moment is not dedicated to wooing her.

Upon Your Return is everything I had hoped it would be, and more. An excellent piece of historical fiction, with plenty of plot twists and intrigue, making the reader desperate to devour every last bit!

~*~

Buy Your Copy of Upon Your Return


Find Marie Lavender

 



New Sensual Poem...A Passionate Embrace



A Passionate Embrace



My breath catches as your lips whisper over my neck.  

My eyelashes close automatically.

The slip of clothes falling off only heightens anticipation.

You draw me close, put your mouth against mine.

Tongues dance, hands grasp, breaths become labored.

Oh, the bare scrape of your skin on mine.

The wonder we find in each other.

Pull me closer; it’s never close enough.




Your lips drift over my body, full of worship.

Will I ever get used to this much pleasure?

My hands clench into the sheets,

The inferno comes.

Take me,

Your body roaring over mine.

I gaze up into your lovely eyes.

Kiss me, move against me.

My eyes go blind…I see nothing but you and these feelings.

Make me yours.  

Once, twice, over again until our breaths level off,

Until we kiss slow and hands claim gently.

This is bliss.

I love you.


Have You Cradled Your Muse Today?

Writers never have a day off.  Between promotion and revisions and tackling new projects, there isn't really a free moment.  Keep in mind, I'm not complaining here.  I have my moments where I try to unwind.

I take a day off occasionally.  I spend time with my fiancé.  I watch a movie now and then.  I will watch one of my favorite shows, like Bones, The Mentalist or Castle...even this new show I just started, Elementary. 

But, the writer's mind is always working.  The creative brain needs fuel to live.  


Instead of food like the body needs, it thrives on experiences, environment and, most definitely, conversation.  Our experiences make us who we are, of course.  Without them, we would be different.  They also shape our characters because we can draw from those experiences, sometimes without even realizing it.  Where you write or where you go can make an impact as well.  And don't even get me started on dialogue or at least eavesdropping on people's conversations, on the inflections in someone's tone or how people actually talk to each other in real life.  You can also people watch, which I have been guilty of occasionally.  

I still recall once incident so clearly.  I had to go through physical therapy once and as I was walking out of the building and going to the car, there was a couple just holding each other.  The man ignored the fact that I was watching.  I tried not to, but what can a writer do?  

So, why was I so drawn to these people?  Because I couldn't hear them.  I couldn't tell what they said or what they were going through.  I just knew it was very significant in their lives.   As a writer, you make up your own story when you don't know.  I couldn't tell if it was a goodbye hug or a GOODBYE hug.  I just know I'll never forget the clear emotion on that man's face.  He truly loved the woman he held.  And doesn't that make a romantic's heart melt a little?

Well, anyway, where was I?  Oh, yes.

I am a firm believer in the fact that as writers, we store a lot of information derived from books, movies, our lives, even people we've met.  We stew on it for awhile and then spit it back out in a jumble.  Why a jumble, you might ask.  I simply cannot be the only writer in the universe with a million ideas in her head. 

Maybe one day, your hero is a cowboy who meets a lawyer from the city.  The next day, a witch is talking to you.  Where did she come from?  She has nothing to do with the original story idea, unless you want to figure out a way to merge them together.  That's not easy at all.  So, why bother?  They're separate ideas.  Treat them that way.  There's no reason to make Miss Stuffy lawyer from the city a witch.  Unless that's where you're going with it, of course.  

I stumbled across a question on Facebook today.  A writer asked, "How do you know which story you should work on?"  Well, you don't.  In most cases, you just work on the one that drives you most, the one that your heart can't ignore.  A wise writer commented in that post, "Pay attention to the one that won't shut up!"

That is funny.  It is also very true.  For my fans who aren't writers, there are characters that won't stay quiet.  And they will want to run the show.  We fight this as writers.  Hey, who's holding the reins here?  Me!  I'm the writer.  Well, that may be correct.  But, a lot of the time, those characters have something to say.  And to ignore it would be idiocy.  That character may hold a missing piece to the puzzle you were looking for.  Maybe you've heard writers talk about how the story wrote itself.  Sometimes the muse grabs you by the shoulders, shakes you and shoves your nose into a page or a screen.  Sometimes the story must be told and the only way to get peace is to let the lion roam free for awhile.



In revision, we can exercise some control.  We can look at things from a different perspective and decide if we want to change anything.

During the creative process, however, the muse is precious.  Who knows how long that period of writing will last?  We should probably respect that.  I know I will.  :)

Taking a Break from MLB

Yes, readers, that's right. I'm on hiatus for a while. I know I haven't posted for a bit, and that's really the reason why I...