As always, tremendous thanks for this GORGEOUS cover has to go to my designer, Shaela Kay at Blue Water Books. I cannot recommend Shaela highly enough. She's wonderful at listening to her authors to design covers that not only fit a budget, but they look absolutely STUNNING. I love this cover and I cannot wait to share the story that goes with it.
Would you like to read more about this Sweet Regency Romance?
Authors read, too! And we read a lot. Well. I do. And I read a LOT of "kissing books." What's a kissing book, you ask? It's a book in which two people fall in love, and eventually they lock lips!
(Click on the covers to go to the Amazon Kindle *page!)
Here are the SIX Kissing Books I've enjoyed the most (so far) this year!
From the Timeless Regency Collection, An Evening at Almack's
The Heart's Choice, by Sally Britton
“Do stop dawdling, Matilda.”
One would think, given her sister’s tone, that Mattie was a delinquent child rather than the elder of the two and quite firmly the more responsible sister.
“Stopping to greet our neighbors, especially those of respectable age and rank, is not dawdling,” Mattie corrected, attempting to keep up with her younger sister.
“It is when we have better things to do.” Beatrice sniffed but finally slowed her rather unladylike stride. “And when the person you stop to speak to is that horrid Lady Fenlock. You know she delights in spreading rumors about me.”
Rumors that were, Mattie knew, very well founded. Beatrice had something of a reputation for being a flirt.
“She is also someone we need if we hope to be invited anywhere this Season.” Mattie looked at her younger sister from the corner of her eye, studying the artful way Beatrice’s sun-gold hair escaped her bonnet in playful ringlets. Her sister truly was lovely as Aphrodite and a contrast to Mattie in almost every way.
Mattie was older by four years, and at age twenty-six didn’t mind being considered on the shelf. Her hair was darker, her eyes muddier, and her complexion not so faultlessly pale as her sister’s. Beatrice was tall and willowy, Mattie of an average height and shape. Beatrice could command a room with ease and Mattie much preferred being an observer on the edges of most parties.
“As long as we have vouchers, we will do well enough,” Beatrice argued. “We do not need old gossipy geese to beg us invitations, Matilda. We are attractive young ladies, daughters of nobility.” She narrowed her eyes. “Our family has commanded respect for generations.” Beatrice tilted her nose into the air and walked at a faster clip again.
It took a firm hold on her tongue to keep Mattie from replying to that remark. Managing her family’s estate was far easier than managing Beatrice. The Granthorne barony had meant something for nearly a hundred years, but Mattie knew that in a single generation it could crumble like the ruins of their ancestors’ castle. And should people discover their father’s ailment, Bridget would not even be completely to blame.
Mattie’s steps on the walk slowed as she considered her father’s condition, one for which his doctor could give them no cure. Her heart ached at the thought of losing the man who had been her hero all her life. Her sister didn’t seem to notice when Mattie fell behind.
If Mattie could persuade Beatrice to focus long enough to marry her off, she just might salvage the family name, her father’s dignity, and her mother’s pride. Beatrice must stop being so stubborn about everything to do with marriage. Many of her worthier callers had disappeared after the previous year. Her sister, at twenty-two, didn’t command the devotees she had at eighteen and nineteen. But there was one man who might do.
Mr. Arthur Redhurst, a gentleman of means if not in possession of a title, would make a fine husband for Miss Beatrice Rayment, younger daughter of the sixth Baron Granthorne. They would do well together. Both mothers—and Mattie—thought so.
While Mattie had been thinking, Beatrice walked ahead of her by nearly twenty yards, but Mattie refused to run to catch up. They were on the street of their townhouse, after all, and she could at least see her sister well enough to stop any real trouble from happening. Or so she thought, until she saw a gentleman had stopped on the walk, doffing his hat to speak with Beatrice.
Narrowing her eyes, Mattie maintained her even speed and tried to determine who the man was. He was tall and dark haired, and his words carried to her clearly in the air, in a voice as unexpected as it was familiar.
“Miss Beatrice, good afternoon. It is a pleasure to see you after so long.”
It cannot be. Mattie’s heart lightened, a feeling suspiciously like hope stealing into her heart. But that was ridiculous. Seeing an old acquaintance, even if it was him, ought not cause such sensations.
Beatrice curtsied and Mattie slowed her step, only a few feet away now, waiting for her sister to identify the gentleman.
“Good afternoon,” Beatrice said as she returned to her full height. “Pardon me, but how do you know my name? I do not believe we have met.”
Beatrice raised a hand to her cheek, batting her eyelashes in her most coquettish manner. Mattie ground her teeth together. No. Beatrice must not be allowed to toy with this man’s feelings, innocent flirtation or not.
“Oh, we’ve met, Miss Beatrice. In fact, I’ve known you for years. You do not know me?” He spoke with a lilt to his voice Mattie had always found rather charming. What on earth was he doing here, on their street? And how could Beatrice not recognize the man who had grown up practically on their doorstep?
Beatrice shook her head, tilting her head coyly. “Sir, I would remember meeting someone such as you. I never forget a handsome gentleman, and it is really too bad of you to pretend to know me. We must be properly introduced or there will be gossip.”
A Christmas Collection of Sweet Regency Romances
I have been waiting for this day for quite a while. I am honored, privileged, and excited to share the work of this very talented author with you. Heidi Kimball is a talented author, with incredible attention to detail and a gift for making the big picture a masterpiece.
I love Heidi’s work, and I love Heidi. She’s one of my critique partners, which means I owe some of the loveliest scenes in my stories to her suggestions.
We’re going to be asking Heidi about her newest release, Second Chance Christmas, is a novella in the holiday collection A Christmas Courting.
Heidi, your stories are always lovely. What can you tell us about this one?
I love this story, much more than I expected to. When my publisher reached out and asked me to write it, it was early February and my story was due in April. The thought of writing a Christmas regency story at that time of year was a little strange. Not only that, but at the time I was in the throes of terrible morning sickness and spending most of my time in bed. Happily, Francie and Gerard’s story served as a lovely escape. It’s the friends to lovers trope, and I loved how they had a history together, it made their relationship so much fun to write. But poor Gerard - he goes through quite the ride before he gets his happy ending.
Your heroine, Francie, is sweet and fun. Do you see any of yourself in her?
I just loved Francie from the very opening scene. She has just a bit of a passionate personality, has very strong emotions, and a strong competitive streak. It’s hard to say exactly how simliar we are, but I can confirm that I am a VERY competitive person. When my husband and I play games together . . . watch out! :)
What about Gerard? What inspired his character?
Gerard is handsome and sweet and hardly realizes how wonderful he is. One thing I really see in him that makes him so lovable is his loyalty. Once he falls in love with Francie, there was never anyone else for him. I think that’s what inspired his character - Francie really needed someone who would love her no matter what, who wouldn’t give up hope.
I really love a good Christmas story. During the Regency, Christmas celebrations were a little different from today. What can you tell us about Regency era holidays?
Regency era holidays are quite toned down from what we have today. Everything was on a much smaller scale. In my story I showcase two of them - one is the gathering of greenery to put around the house on Christmas Eve. This was usually a tradition that the entire household took part in. The other is the lighting of the yule log. My family celebrates with its more modern counterpart - making and eating chocolate roll. Yum!
This is your second published title. Your first, An Unlikely Courtship, was an independently published novella. It’s also set in the Regency. What draws you to that time period?
Oh my goodness, there is so much to love in the regency era! I love the strict parameters of society, because it makes for such an interesting story. Every little thing between the love interests has to mean so much. There’s something fun about telling a story under such stringent rules, yet still making readers feel the depth of the emotions as the characters fall in love.
What are your future plans? Do you have anything in the works?
My first full-length novel, A Guarded Heart, will be released on March 1st, 2019. And right now I am currently just a few thousand words away from finishing my second full-length book, I, Juliet. Of course there will be a whole lot of editing and a round of beta readers, but it’s an exciting feeling to finish a book! I’m hoping if I can get things rolling with my publisher, that it will be released Fall 2019.
We both know writing can be as difficult as it is exhilarating. What inspired you to take the step to publish your work?
You are right about that! For me, it was a bucket list item. I am an AVID reader and always have been. I love losing myself in a wonderful story and just forgetting everything going on around me. Publishing my books is my way of trying to provide that little escape for someone else <3
What would you like your readers to know about you?
I’m just a normal person. I’ve got a pile of laundry the size of Mount Everest, I eat my brownies straight from the pan, and there are trails of goldfish crackers all over my house. As a mom of four, I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Thank you, Sally! It is seriously my pleasure to work with you. I may be your critique partner, but I consider myself one of your biggest fans! And watch out everyone, because we’re attending a writer’s retreat together the first weekend in November, so there will be lots of regency nerdiness taking place . . . and there may be photo evidence. :)
Absolutely my pleasure. And I really, really can't wait for our retreat!
Heidi's Social Media Links
Five Authors. Five Romances. One Unforgettable Party.
I am excited to be doing another interview with one of the incredible authors behind the Regency House Party (RHP). It’s my privilege to interview Sara Cardon and share an up-and-coming author with my readership. If you love Regency, if you love stories where the romance is sweet and clean, then the books in this series are for you.
As a quick recap, the Regency House Party started as a weekly serial event taking place across social media platforms. Five talented romance authors worked together to tell love stories set in the beautiful English countryside. They built a good, strong fan base as they took turns posting chapters about their wonderful characters.
After the stories came to an end, these five authors went to work turning the online content into novellas, now available for order and pre-order on Amazon.
Sara Cardon participated in this event and her story, The Stable Master’s Daughter, will be available on September 25, 2018. I’m really looking forward to grabbing my ebook copy, but if you can’t wait, the paperback is available now!
Sara, what did you think about the idea for RHP when it was presented to you? Were you excited to work with other authors to create this Regency world?
I thought it was a totally cool idea. It was fun to brainstorm characters, setting, and possibilities. We swapped all kinds of ideas and jokes. We had an inkling it might be something great, but we kept saying, “If we have 25 engaged readers, we’ll count this a success!” It’s incredible to see how it came together!
What about the Regency era appeals to you?
There are a lot of contradictions to play with within this time frame. The manners are beautiful, but could be stifling. Britain was at war with France, but the upper class went on with high living. I love the contrasts.
Your story is called The Stable Master’s Daughter. That’s an unusual sort of person to be at a proper house party.
It’s completely crazy to have a person born into the working class among the elite. Marjorie knows it too. The invitation comes from the Countess, who is acquainted with Marjorie’s well-to-do aunt. Marjorie doesn’t usually brush shoulders with such an elite group, but the Countess thinks outside the box and is a scheming matchmaker.
What can you tell us about your heroine, Marjorie? What’s something you love about her?
Marjorie is whimsical, gracious, and resilient. She pours her heart into her art. She believes the lie that her worth is diminished because of her birth. At the house party, she confronts her beliefs, battles to align dreams with reality, and of course, falls in love with the wrong brother.
What about your hero? Miles is described as a man of “unyielding” principles. What sort of principles is he fighting to maintain?
Miles has things pretty well figured out—for himself and everyone he cares about. He has a template for life and rejects everything that doesn’t match up, making him quite judgmental. He believes to his core in being a gentleman. When Marjorie touches a place in his heart no one else has, he wrestles with what society wants and what he wants. He reexamines what being a true gentleman means.
I asked Jen what one of her favorite “extras” in the series was. What’s something “extra” you enjoyed while y’all were putting this series together?
The “extra” for me would have to be Thomas Webb. I have a love/hate relationship with him, since his part in the story came about out of necessity. One of the pitfalls of trying to incorporate other authors’ characters into my story is when I use them in a way someone doesn’t agree with, because it affects their story. I had a gaping hole where a bad boy character was removed. Jen offered one of her sweet brothers for the role, but I couldn’t do that. I also didn’t want a placeholder or a cardboard character to fill the role. So I felt as aggravated with creating Mr. Webb as the Countess probably was with having him show up at her house party, uninvited. Webb ended up being an interesting character and a great addition. It stretched me.
What are your future writing plans? Any more books in the works?
I have a couple books I’m working on. I have a captain in the British Royal Navy trying to woo a jilted woman. I just finished some research into the Napoleonic Wars and the details will bring it into sharp focus. And of course, I have a zillion other book ideas because creating is fun.
As a romance author, I take it you’re a romance reader too.
I’m a huge reader. About ten years ago, all I read was nonfiction and literary fiction. I was always drawn to a romance subplot, if there was one. The summer I discovered clean and sweet romances was the best summer of my life!
What is one of your favorite romances you would love people to discover?
Elizabeth Camden’s Against the Tide is a favorite. I love Kathleen Baldwin’s School for Unusual Girls series. Karen Witemeyer, Regina Jennings, Kasie West—there are so many great authors, and new authors I’m discovering all the time! I especially love authors who write smart women and good men—that’s what inspires me.
Thank you so much for your time, Sara! Links to the Regency House Party sites and books by all five authors are listed below. Check out these fabulous stories and make sure you follow the Regency House Party accounts for deals on their books and other great Regency reads!
I write clean and sweet Historical Romance Novels, I live in the desert, I'm a mom of four, madly in love with my husband, and I love to read!
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Sally Britton's books on Goodreads
His Bluestocking Bride (Branches of Love #3)
ratings: 1062 (avg rating 4.21)
The Earl and His Lady (Branches of Love #4)
ratings: 1008 (avg rating 4.36)
The Gentleman Physician (Branches of Love #2)
ratings: 680 (avg rating 4.20)
The Social Tutor (Branches of Love #1)
ratings: 656 (avg rating 4.11)
Miss Devon's Choice (Branches of Love #5)
ratings: 517 (avg rating 4.45)