Tuesday, 3 January 2017

For the Love of a Prince

Had he left me to starve I would never have uttered a word to his disadvantage!’

Loyal words from a courageous woman, but she paid a high price for loving a prince. Dora Jordan had no desire to be an actress, forced into it out of poverty and an ambitious ex-actress mother. Her career began at Crowe street Theatre in Dublin where she suffered such dreadful stage fright on her first night that she fled to the dressing room and had to be coaxed back on stage by the manager, Thomas Ryder.

Despite seeing herself as Irish, she was in fact born in London near Covent Garden in 1761, where her stage-struck parents were seeking work at the time, and where she was baptized Dorothy Bland. Not considered to be a classic beauty, her nose and chin being somewhat prominent, she nevertheless had the sweetest smile and the most alluring dark eyes, cupid’s bow mouth and rosy cheeks that gave off a healthy glow. Her expressive face was perfect for comic roles, as was her mop of brown curls.

After suffering a sexual assault from Richard Daly, the manager of Smock Alley Theatre, which left her pregnant, Dora fled to Yorkshire where she went on the circuit to learn her craft. Known as Dolly by her family she chose Dora as her stage name, becoming their sole source of income from the age of sixteen. The name Jordan was chosen because she’d crossed the Irish sea, likening it to the River Jordan. She endured considerable jealousy from her fellow actors, but was then accepted by Drury Lane where she soon became known as one of the most famous comedic actresses of her day.

She ultimately became mistress to the Duke of Clarence, later William IV, with whom she lived in happy domesticity for nearly twenty years. She presented him with ten children while striving to balance both career and ‘marriage’, very much the ‘modern’ woman.

An observer at the time remarked: ‘So unostentatious and truly domestic were her habits, after her new and exalted connection, that we have frequently witnessed her arrival, in a plain yellow chariot, at Miss Turing’s, a milliner in St. James’s Street, when she would alight with an infant in her arms, and during her stay frequently change the linen of the little one in the shop, while freely conversing with the person in attendance to wait upon customers.’

The Duke had been something of a rake as a young man, but clearly adored her, and enjoyed their domestic idyll at Bushy House, saying to a friend: ‘Mrs. Jordan is a very good creature, very domestic and careful of her children. To be sure she is absurd sometimes and has her humours. But there are such things more or less in all families.’

In every respect but name William looked upon her as his wife. Dora was not extravagant herself, considering actresses were expected to provide their own costumes, but her life was blighted by a weak father, a dependent mother, inadequate siblings, selfish children, and more than one man who betrayed her trust. Her flaw was that she was far too caring and eager to help those she loved, generous to a fault, which proved to be her downfall. Certainly William greatly depended upon the fortune she earned from her acting.

When it became apparent that the only heir to the throne after George IV was his daughter Charlotte, the Duke was ordered to find himself a wife, Dora not considered to be an appropriate candidate for that regal role. Sadly, he did not treat her as kindly as he should at the end, being perhaps something of a coward, but she bore her troubles with astonishing good will. She was a woman of great courage and independence, feisty, warm-hearted and a devoted mother, who never said a word against him. She died penniless in France, but following their separation the Duke collected as many portraits of her as he could find, so perhaps he did still love her after all.


Published by Severn House

Passion, jealousy, scandal and betrayal - a true-life Regency Romance of the rise and fall of an extraordinary woman born into extraordinary times. Growing up in a poverty-stricken, fatherless household, Dorothy Jordan overcame her humble beginnings to become the most famous comic actress of her day. It was while performing on Drury Lane that Dorothy caught the eye of the Duke of Clarence, later to become King William IV. Her twenty-year relationship with the Duke was one of great happiness and domesticity, producing ten children. But ultimately, Dorothy's generous nature was her undoing and she was to be cruelly betrayed by the man she loved.

Amazon UK

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Sunday, 11 December 2016

LORD LOVELY is here!


LORD LOVELY, Book 2 of The Feather Fables, is here!

Ladies adore him. Gentlemen despise him. But everyone is dying to learn the identity of the anonymous male romance author known as LORD LOVELY.

“How lovely” sigh the ladies of Regency London as they read Lord Lovely’s books, thus giving the gentleman his popular (and somewhat annoying) name. Who is this gentleman who writes such splendid stories of love? He has to be young, handsome, witty and able to fulfill any woman’s sexual fantasies.

No! Say the gentlemen. Any man who writes about love affairs must be too unattractive to have one of his own. He’s probably old, fat, bald and missing a few teeth. At least they hope he is.

Ladies in a tizzy, gentlemen ready to commit murder, London aquiver with controversy. Lord Lovely’s fame and book sales increase by the hour.

The gentleman known as Lord Lovely scratches his head. How could his books touch off such a conflagration? Granted, male romance authors are a rare breed, but not entirely unknown.

The problem is how to reveal himself. Or should he? He welcomes his books’ earnings, but the disclosure of his identity could destroy his non-book career.

The widowed Bel, forced to marry another, hasn’t seen the gentleman in question in ten years. The best of friends in their childhood, they might have become more, but her father forced her to wed another. Perhaps they’ll pick up where they left off.

But not if a scheming temptress who has her eye on Lord Lovely has her way. And not if a mysterious, unknown nobleman puts an end to both the author and the man.

Sweet Regency historical fiction with romantic comedy and mystery. 119,000 words.

EXCERPT:

Wheels scraped on the street, the telltale sound of a carriage slowing and then stopping.
Heart pounding, she dashed to the window once more, but the dark shrouded everything except the hackney lamps and the movement of people and horses. Then the doorknocker rapped, and the front door scraped open. Sara’s lilt and her husband’s lower tones drifted up the stairway, along with an unfamiliar baritone rumble.
Footsteps trod on the steps and finally reached the entrance. Rogers stepped inside. “Mr. and Mrs. Edgar Barnett, and Mr. William Borland.”
Sara, lovely in a jonquil gown that set off her fair hair, rushed in and hugged her. “Bel, we are so happy to see you.” She pulled forward the tall, dark-haired man beside her. “You know my husband, Edgar.”
“Your servant, your ladyship.” Mr. Barnett bowed and kissed her hand.
They matched well, her husband’s dark good looks the perfect foil for Sara’s blonde beauty. “Please, since you are Sara’s husband, call me Bel.”
“If you will call me Edgar.” He stepped away.
And there, framed in the doorway, he stood.
Bel’s breath stuttered.
Broad of shoulder and narrow of hip, this tall, long-legged man bore scant resemblance to the lanky youth, all elbows and knees, of her memory. The planes of his face had sharpened, a more chiseled, mature version of the good-looking boy’s visage. His blond hair, unstylishly long and tied back with a ribbon, still shone as bright as the sun, although his lashes and eyebrows had darkened to a sootier shade.
But his eyes were the same—a deep, liquid blue so intense, his gaze glued her in place.
His blue frock coat, frayed at the cuffs, had greyed with age, and his coat, breeches, and buckled shoes were as outmoded as her dress.
Not that it signified. He was splendid.
She held out a hand that trembled slightly. Would he still be angry after their last day together? Please not. “I am so glad to see you.”


Available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, iTunes, Kobo, Inktera and other retailers:


 

SALE ON GOOSED! OR A FOWL CHRISTMAS ON SMASHWORDS!

Lord Lovely may be read as a standalone, but if you're like me and dislike coming in on the middle of a series, I'm offering Goosed! or A Fowl Christmas, Book 1 of The Feather Fables at 25% off (that's $3.74) on Smashwords only with coupon code VB24U

Coupon expires December 14, 2016. All formats are available on Smashwords.

Goosed! or A Fowl Christmas on Smashwords:

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/494775



Thank you all and Merry Christmas,
Linda Banche






Thursday, 27 October 2016

The Gybford Affair by Jen Black

The Gybford Affair: the heiress and the fortune hunter

The quiet life of Frances, Lady Rathmere, is disrupted forever the day Jack, 4th Marquess of Streatham, arrives from London and almost rides her down. At the same time a stranger arrives in the locality, makes a play for her young cousin and scandalous letters accusing Frances of an illicit liaison appear in the national press. Is Jack their author? Frances is convinced he is, and has no idea the trouble those letters are going to bring in their wake.


EXCERPT:
Frances loved Cloverdale with its odd shaped windows and the ill-matched gargoyles perched at each corner of the roof almost as much as her beloved Gybford. Most of the furniture in the drawing room had been removed to show off the wide polished oak floorboards, the small square Turkey carpet in the centre of the room and allow guests space to circulate. The sight of a tall gentleman whose bright red uniform dominated the soft grey stone fireplace and clashed with the pale gold curtains made Frances wince.

“Is he not handsome?” Mary whispered.
The stranger did not lack for admirers. Mama stood to one side, Uncle William, his navy jacket stretched tight across his broad chest, to the other. Aunt Jane, in an elegant high-waisted gown, was there with her son Charles and his wife, Catherine.
“I cannot see his face,” Frances said, amused by Mary’s obvious partiality for the stranger. “He is certainly tall and men always look well in uniform.”

Mary’s attention was fixed on the soldier in a most obvious way. Catherine’s glance flickered to Mary and, with a slight shake of the head, on to Frances. Everyone, it seemed, was aware of Mary’s feelings.

The stranger turned and smiled. His boots gleamed black against the pale hue of his breeches, and the scarlet jacket, white waistcoat and gold buttons seemed over bright in her eyes. Military uniforms brought back uncomfortable memories of Rathmere for Frances.

Charles touched her arm. “Allow me to introduce my friend Mr Andrew Holbrook, late of Cambridge and as you see, currently an officer with the 30th Regiment of Foot. Andrew, this is my cousin Frances, Lady Rathmere.”

Holbrook exhibited not a trace of shyness, but bowed with style and revealed excellent teeth. At close quarters, his height and breadth made Frances feel small and dainty. Lines bracketed his mouth, though Frances imagined he could not be more than thirty years of age. Black hair waved back from his broad brow, sharp blue eyes examined her, and then he favoured her with a delightful smile. He was certainly attractive. Well aware of the fact, too, Frances decided.

“I am happy indeed to make your acquaintance, Lady Rathmere.”
Frances dipped a slight curtsy. “I am delighted to meet a friend of my cousin, sir.”
Holbrook turned toward her. “I understand you live at Gybford Hall, no more than three miles from here.”

By turning he had cut Mary out of the conversation, and seemed unaware of any misdemeanour. Mary’s fine skin flushed and, crestfallen, she retreated from the circle, turned and hurried to the window at the far side of the room.

Though everyone in the district knew Gybford Hall was her home, Frances found she resented him knowing it. He would soon be asking if she had plans to marry and what her annual income might be. She chided herself for being silly, for no one would be so abominably rude.

Friday, 14 October 2016

Going to be published in Nowray!

It is with great excitement that I can now reveal I am going to be published in Norway with my split era novel, Where Dragonflies Hover.

The translation rights have been bought for Where Dragonflies Hover by Norwegian publisher Cappelen Damm AS. https://www.cappelendamm.no/
This is an excellent opportunity for one of my books to reach an ever wider audience by being translated into another language.
I am so thrilled with this new development and am looking forward to seeing this new partnership grow.

More information about the trade deal can be found here. http://www.booktrade.info/index.php/showarticle/66293


Sometimes a glimpse into the past can help make sense of the future …Everyone thinks Lexi is crazy when she falls in love with Hollingsworth House – a crumbling old Georgian mansion in Yorkshire – and nobody more so than her husband, Dylan. But there’s something very special about the place, and Lexi can sense it.

Whilst exploring the grounds she stumbles across an old diary and, within its pages, she meets Allie – an Australian nurse working in France during the First World War.

Lexi finally realises her dream of buying Hollingsworth but her obsession with the house leaves her marriage in tatters. In the lonely nights that follow, Allie’s diary becomes Lexi’s companion, comforting her in moments of darkness and pain. And as Lexi reads, the nurse’s scandalous connection to the house is revealed …

Amazon UK

Amazon USA

Amazon Australia

Monday, 19 September 2016

Rock Starz by Lily Harlem


OUT NOW, Lily Harlem's ROCK STARZ trilogy set in London. Three short stories that will heat your ereader and get your heart beating to a super-sexy tune.

Rock band Manic Machines have taken over the globe with their funky, sassy tunes, yet these rock stars are all missing one thing in their lives - love. But you don't get to be as successful as they are without steely determination and off-the-scale passion, so when these musicians decide which girl they want, there's no escape and they'll go to any length to reach that high.

Each book is fine as a standalone read, but in order you'll get to enjoy each band member's journey to happily ever after. Please note, previously published with different cover art, the content remains the same.


Is it possible to lose one’s ability to orgasm? Nina has. Lately, her fun weekend hook-ups have been more ho-hum than hot damn! It doesn’t help that she has three flatmates and is forced to play loud music to mask the sounds of her lovemaking. Talk about distracting! Of course, there’s another reason Nina’s less than satisfied these days...she’s just having a hard time admitting it. 

It’s a good thing she’s met Ian, then. Not content to be a weekend hook-up, Ian is set on giving Nina what she’s been missing while making her admit what she needs. His talented fingers—and other body parts—are up to the task. But Ian’s not admitting a few things himself. Turns out his fingers can do more than make Nina’s body sing. 

When she discovers his secret, it’s time for both of them to face the music. 







As Robbie Harding belts out hit song ‘Jenny’ to a packed Wembley Stadium, my heart tears, my mind spins and my insides heat to a lusty, pulsing boiling point.

Why me more than the other 90,000 screaming fans?

Because I’m Jenny—he’s singing about me.

The guy is sex on legs with a voice to match and has starred in all my hot dreams since the day boys became interesting and for three precious years, it was more than hot dreams. Turns out he wants me back in his life and his bed. How can I resist?

So with lots of naked, sweaty and downright dirty time to make up for, I wield my backstage pass, hunt him down and refuse to be starstruck by the boy next door. Seems Robbie agrees, as he insists on tuning in to my needs and rediscovering our rhythm in a very unusual bedroom.




Most women would think themselves eternally lucky to have a hot, sinfully sexy rock star giving them the serious come-on—so imagine how I felt to find not one but two giving me the eye! Phew! I was turning somersaults.

But of course this led to a massive and, quite honestly, unenviable dilemma. How the heck do you choose between two rock gods who want nothing more than to give you pleasure of the extremely intense variety?

Lucky for me these global superstars were brothers who knew just how to share the same toy—sorry, I mean woman. That left me free to take a break from managing the band and let their experienced, talented hands manage me.





Find out more about Lily and her many sexy stories on her website and sign up to her newsletter to get a FREE erotic romance novel.

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Wednesday, 10 August 2016

New Release from Jen Black : QUEEN'S COURIER

Against a background of political intrigue and Tudor violence, love was not easy to find or sustain. The Queen Dowager of Scotland repudiates it and for Matho and Meg the struggle is made more difficult by an outbreak of war between England and Scotland. Disaster looms for them all.....

EXCERPT

Sir Thomas Wharton, spare and lean still in his early fifties, sat behind a heavy oak table with a three-armed candle holder at his elbow. The pool of light illuminated the litter of papers and parchment that stood witness to King Henry Tudor’s constant demands, but left the rest of the room in shadow.
“Glad to see you looking well, Spirston.” The candle flames sent Wharton’s shadow streaking up the limewashed walls as he reached for a jug of ale at the table’s edge. “Harry said you had a wound rapidly going rotten when he found you at Aydon.”
Mon Dieu!” The voice, thick with outrage, came from the shadowy corner where the tiny lattice window overlooked the town.
Matho squinted into the gloom. The voice had a familiar and unwelcome ring to it. Candlelight caught blue velvet and pale hair as the third person in the chamber strode forward. Every muscle in Matho’s body tightened, for he recognised the man who had been the cause of his recent misfortune in Scotland. Jarred by the unexpectedness of the meeting, he said flatly, “Lord Lennox.”


Available on Kindle:

Monday, 1 August 2016

‘Perdita’ - Fashion icon.

Mary Robinson would never have been seen out looking anything but at her most elegant, although her style, at least in her early years, was less flamboyant than most. On her first visit to Ranelagh she wore a simple Quaker gown which ensured that she stood out. It was of light brown lustring with close round cuffs. She left her auburn curls unpowdered, upon which she pinned a plain round cap and white chip hat, without any ornament.


Later, when she became famous as mistress to the Prince of Wales, she set tongues wagging by entertaining lavishly, and sending female hearts beating with envy. Every new gown she wore, the very latest Paris had to offer, was imitated and emulated to the smallest degree. And ever the actress, she loved to drive about Hyde Park in her new blue and silver phaeton, drawn by milk-white ponies, playing to the crowds. Sometimes she would be very simply attired wearing a straw hat tied at the back of her head in the style of a paysanne, at others painted, powdered, patched and rouged to perfection as any fashionable leader of the ton should be.

A courtesan, demi-rep, or member of the Cyprian corps, as they were sometimes known, was expected to dress at the height of fashion, own at least two carriages, and live in the most fashionable part of town. In the eighteenth century they were rather looked upon as celebrities. But this hedonistic lifestyle required high finance, supplied by a man of considerable wealth in return for her exclusive attention.

Unfortunately, Mary Robinson never did succeed in finding a man rich enough to afford her, and as a consequence of her love of spending she quickly fell into debt. Not that her concerns over lack of money ever taught her prudence. She considered her high living standards as necessary for her status. The £5,000 that she managed to squeeze out of the young Prince George after their brief affair ended, helped a little. She believed this allowance to be well deserved as she had given up her career on the stage for him. And, of course, credit was easily available in anticipation of more from the Prince once he came of age.

Money sometimes came her way if her husband had a win at cards at Brooks’s. And famous artists such as Hoppner, Sir Joshua Reynolds and George Romney would paint portraits of her without charging a fee as they could sell print copies to the masses because of her beauty and status as a fashion icon.

But a new love came into her life and Mary and Tarleton were very much the celebrity couple. Banistre Tarleton, a hero of the American War of Independence, with his famously cropped hair, looked exceedingly handsome in his hussar uniform of blue jacket, waistcoat and leather boots that fitted as tight as silk stockings. Mary was proclaimed as a fashion icon by Lady’s Magazine, who even named a hat after her. ‘The Perdita’, as it became known, was a chip hat with a bow tied under the chin and pink ribbons puffed around the crown. It proved to be immensely popular.

On her return from France in January 1782, Mary wore one of her Paris gowns of white satin with purple breast-bows for the opera. Her head-dress was a cap composed of white and purple feathers entwined with flowers and festooned with diamond pins. According to the Herald she looked supremely beautiful, so lovely that the audience lingered to watch as she stayed to select a box to rent following the performance. Later, her decoration of the box caused a flurry of gossip in the newssheets as she upholstered the chairs in pink satin, and lined the walls with mirrors.

Mary became famous for her gold clocked stockings and a cataract muff. This was also French with long-hairs that hung down like a waterfall. And then there were her gold-clocked stockings for which she was dubbed ‘Lark-heeled Perdita’. She caused a sensation by wearing the Chemise de la Reine to the opera. This was a simple muslin gown adapted from that worn by Marie-Antoinette. It had three-quarter length puffed sleeves and frills around the neck. Falling simply and gracefully it clung deliciously to the figure without hindrance of hoops or pads. It soon became all the rage among aristocratic ladies, not just with the Cyprian Corps, including Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire. It did, however, result in some criticism from the press, as it made it much more difficult to judge a lady’s status by her appearance.

Despite the fact that Mary considered herself to be intellectually superior to most courtesans, and infinitely more sensitive, she was considered to be very much the leader of the Cyprian corps. But no one, not courtesan nor aristocrat could rival her beauty or style. Her life might have been considered utterly scandalous, but in her prime she remained very much the centre of attention.


A beautiful and talented actress, poet and fashion icon, Mary Robinson was one of the most famous women of her time. But Mary was destined always to be betrayed by the men she loved: by her father, a prosperous Bristol merchant who abandoned his family for a life of adventure – and another woman; by her husband, a weak and foolish man who bankrupted the family with his inveterate gambling and humiliated his young wife with his numerous affairs; and by the Prince of Wales, later King George IV. Mary gave up everything for her prince – her career, her husband and her independence – only to be cruelly abandoned when his affections turned elsewhere. And then she met the love of her life. Could she hope this time it would be different? 

Against the turbulent background of the American War of Independence and the French Revolution, this is the enthralling story of a remarkable woman: a tale of ambition, passion, scandal and heartbreak.

Published by Severn House

Amazon