Monday 30 April 2012

excerpt from Reluctance

Peering around the door, she noted two large windows and followed the sunshine to a tray, bearing the gnawed remnants of a cube of cheese and a heel of a crusty loaf, balanced precariously half on and half off the ottoman at the end of the bed. An old rocking chair stood in the corner between the two windows.

Frances pushed the door wider, stepped forward, and gazed at the bed.

The Marquess lay flat on his back, one wrist across his brow, the other hung over the edge of the bed as if reaching toward the fallen wine bottle on the floor. He had kicked off his boots and abandoned them where they fell. It looked as if he had struggled to remove his shirt and fallen asleep with the task unfinished.

Torn between amused horror at the widespread disorder and relief he was safe, Frances choked back an urge to giggle. He was safe and unharmed, though without doubt he would have a prodigious headache when he awoke. Now she ought to leave at once. He would not be pleased to find her here. And she most certainly did not wish to be found sneaking into a gentleman’s chambers. The impropriety of what she had done struck her quite suddenly and made her catch her breath.

She stepped back and caught a spur in her skirt.

Off-balance, she toppled back against the door. The solid wood banged shut with a noise like thunder, and she fell against it.

Oh Lord!

Petrified, Frances glanced at the bed. Streatham’s wrist slid down, his lids lifted, and he gazed at the bed canopy above him.

Jack stared at the ceiling.

Frances did not dare move, hardly dared to breathe. The slightest movement would draw his attention to her. She held her breath and hoped he would drift off back to sleep.

He would be furious she had invaded his home, his privacy, his grief.

How had she ever thought coming here had been a sensible thing to do? Arriving alone at a gentleman’s house was the height of folly. As she stared at him, her reasons suddenly seemed specious indeed. His well-being was not her concern and never would be.

Her thigh muscles ached from holding her in such an awkward position against the door. Skin prickling with unease, heart thundering against her ribs, she waited. Oh, dear Lord, she was going to collapse to the floor if he did not shut his eyes soon. Her thighs burned and trembled. She had to breathe—

His hand flopped to the mattress, his head rolled on the pillow, and his wide, vacant gaze slowly focused on her. “Why, Lady Rathmere…”

Through the thunder of blood in her ears, his voice reached her as if from a great distance.

His brows drew together. “What the blazes are you doing here?”

Frances struggled upright and took a step away from the door. “To, er…see you got home safely. After last night. You know. You were drunk and probably don’t remember.” Frances shook out her skirts and tugged the jacket of her riding habit into place without looking in his direction. Her face burned and prickled as blood suffused her skin.

He groaned.

He sank back against the pillows, a fingertip pressed to each temple.

Clearly he had a monstrous headache. Her mouth twitched. There was a God after all. If she simply opened the door and retreated, he might not notice until too late.

Her hand closed on the door knob.


She glanced over her shoulder and sucked in a shocked breath. His hollowed cheeks, tangled hair, and shadowed eyes spoke of sleepless nights, misery, and deprivation. With a huge effort, he pushed to his feet and stood there swaying as if a huge wind roared through the room.

Her breath caught uncomfortably in her throat and forced her to swallow. Her gaze skimmed over his brown skin, traced the strong tendons of his throat, lingered on the spreading collarbones, and glimpsed the strong muscled chest revealed by the crumpled shirt falling away from his shoulder.

Frances coughed and looked away. She had visited museums and galleries and marvelled at works of art depicting man in extremis, but now, when the real thing stood before her, she did not know what to say or do. Cold white marble was all very well, but gleaming brown skin was much more shocking.

“What the devil are you doing here?” He hitched the drooping shirt back onto his shoulder, swayed, and grasped the bed post to prevent toppling onto the mattress. “Well?”

He scowled at her. No statue she had ever seen looked as angry as he did at this moment. Frances blinked, cleared her throat, and turned to the door once again.

His eyes narrowed. When he took a step toward her, Frances bit back a wheeze of fright and wrenched the door open.

Reluctance by Jen Black available now from

Friday 27 April 2012

Guest Blogger

I am Kathy Rigg's guest blogger at:

Mind you, I've been suffering from a virus and am mortified because there are errors in the first few sentences of the extract from Tangled Love,

All the best,
Rosemary Morris
Historical Novelist

Tangled Love the tale of two great estates and their owners is set in England in Queen Anne's reign (1702 - 1714)

New Releases.
Sunday's Child in June 2012
False Pretences in October 2012

Thursday 26 April 2012

Guest Blog: K D Grace

When it comes to sex, let’s face it, the eyes have it. While it’s true that we do have four other senses, and no doubt sex is the best when all senses are engaged, there’s something outrageously hot about the idea of looking but not touching. I’ve always been a bit of a voyeur, and I love the idea of observing the act of passion, analysing it, playing it over inside one’s head from every angle. I’m also intrigued by the fact that being the outside observer means one can vicariously participate in the sex act of both partners, which is something those actually involved in can never do.  It’s almost like having sex twice at the same time. Or better yet, make that three times, once for each partner and once for the watcher. So, sex in the eyes of the observer is in some strange kinky way three times as powerful while being at the same time once removed. However, the watcher in this case is always the passive third party, only ever observing, only ever taking in and analysing the sex act of the couple being watched.

But, imagine how much more power the watcher would have if he or she were also the one calling the shots, still not participating, but telling the sex partners what to do to each other – especially if one of those involved is his mistress.

In my novella, Surrogates, even though he’s in love with his beautiful gardener, Francie Carter, Daniel Alexander III takes his marriage vows very seriously. Until he gets the nerve to ask his wife, Bel, for a divorce, watching each other masturbate is all he can offer Francie. Then Dan convinces Francie to allow his friend, Simon Paris, to be his surrogate – to have sex with her while Dan watches and supervises. It’s a win-win. Dan stays faithful to his wife, and with Simon’s help, he can keep Francie satisfied until he asks for a divorce.

With their yawner of a love life, Dan’s wife, Bel, is enjoying her own version of borderline fidelity with her massage therapist, Ellen. Bel can’t see the harm. After all, it's not proper sex if it's with another woman, is it?
Dan’s discovery of Ellen and Bel trysts strangely rekindles his passion for his wife. As sex with Bel gets kinkier and better, and sex between Francie and Simon gets ever more sizzling, Dan thinks he has the best of both worlds. But secrets don’t stay secret. Substitutes aren’t the real thing. And in the end there are no surrogates for matters of the heart.


DANIEL ALEXANDER III takes his marriage vows seriously. Until he gets the balls to ask his wife, BEL, for a divorce, watching each other masturbate is all he can offer his beautiful gardener, FRANCIE CARTER. But when Dan’s friend, SIMON PARIS, agrees to be his surrogate, affairs of the heart get complicated.

More info and buy links:


Dan wasn’t listening. ‘Francie, darling, I know how hard it is for you, with us not able to really be with each other. I promise that’ll end soon, and we can be together properly. But in the meantime, it’s not right me having Bel and you having no one. So I’ve come up with a solution for us. Simon will be my surrogate.’

‘What?’ Francie had pushed herself back against the sink as far as she could. Her heart raced in her throat and her face felt like it would burst into flame. ‘You want me to … You want us to …’ She nodded to Simon, then she glared up at him. ‘Is this why you’re here?’

But before Simon could do more than make a couple of fish gasps, Dan ploughed on. ‘Oh don’t you see, darling, it’s so perfect. If I can’t be with you, if I can’t give you what I know you so desperately need, then who better to help us both out that my dearest, most trusted friend, Simon.’

‘He’s a landscaper. He’s hired help just like I am.’ She sounded a lot more hysterical than she meant to. What she wanted to sound was outraged. What she wanted to sound was incensed.

‘No, sweetheart, no. Simon and I are old friends. We went to uni together. We spent a wild summer in Italy together. Darling, I’d trust Simon with my life.’ He shot Simon a meaningful glance, then his gaze came to rest on her. ‘I’d trust him with the person in my life I value most, the one I most want to make happy.’ He caught his breath, and his face softened. ‘Please, darling. This is a gift, something I can do for you. You can pretend he’s me. I can make love to you through Simon, and you, anything you’ve wanted to do to me you can do to him.’

‘Anything?’ She spoke around her racing heart, which felt like it would jump right out of her mouth.

‘Yes, anything, darling. Anything.’   

‘Good.’ Before she had time to consider what she was doing, she slapped Simon, hard, hard enough that he recoiled. Both men gasped, and her hand stung like fire. But she ignored the pain, squared her shoulders and looked Simon right in his now watering grey eyes. ‘Then you can give him that for me.’

To her total surprise, Simon did exactly as she said. He walked over to Dan and slapped him, slapped him hard enough to knock Dan up against the staging table, slapped him hard enough to draw blood where a tooth cut his lip.

The electric silence that followed was interrupted only by the heavy breathing of all three. The two men glared at each other for a moment, sizing one another up. Trembling all over, Francie grabbed the edge of the sink for support, just as Simon turned his back on Dan and came to stand in front of her. He stood so close his breath ruffled the hair that had come loose from the clasp she wore it up in, so close that the rise and fall of his chest beneath his T-shirt was impossible to ignore, so close the heat rising from his body felt magnetic.

‘Does that about sum it up?’ He asked.

For a second, she thought she might cry. But instead, she threw her arms around his neck and kissed him. She kissed him as hard as she had slapped him, like she wanted to eat him up, like she wanted to crawl up inside his warmth. And he kissed her back. Jesus, how he kissed her back! He kissed and nipped the hollow of her throat around to the sensitive place below her ear, then he whispered in between efforts to breathe. ‘If you want me to stop, tell me now before it’s too late.’

‘Don’t you dare, don’t you dare, don’t you dare,’ she gasped over and over again, guiding his hand to the knot tied below her right breast that held her wrap-around dress closed.

He yanked it hard, then he shoved and pushed until the dress slid from her shoulders and pooled on the floor around her gardening clogs. Somewhere in the periphery of her mind she heard Dan’s fly unzip, a sound she’d grown used to over the past few months, a sound that constantly taunted her with everything she could see yet never touch.

But there were other things to focus on today. Simon kissed his way down her sternum and cupped her breasts, cupped them and kneaded them until her nipples strained against the callouses of his stroking fingers. Then his mouth took over. What her breasts lacked in size, they made up for in sensitivity, and her whole body thrummed as he suckled and bit, nibbled and licked.

K D Grace was born with a writing obsession. It got worse once she actually learned HOW to write. There's no treatment for it. It's progressive and chronic and quite often interferes with normal, everyday functioning. She might actually be concerned if it wasn't so damned much fun most of the time.

K D's critically acclaimed erotic romance novels, The Initiation of Ms Holly, The Pet Shop and Lakeland Heatwave Book 1: Body Temperature and Rising are published by Xcite Books and are available from all good paperback and eBook retailers.

Her erotica has been published with Xcite Books, Mammoth, Cleis Press, Harper Collins Mischief Books, Black Lace, Erotic Review, Ravenous Romance, Sweetmeats Press and Scarlet Magazine.

Find out more about K D Grace on her website, She's also on Facebook and Twitter.


Win a $25 All Romance eBooks Gift Card!

As part of her Surrogates blog tour, K D Grace would like to give away a $25 All Romance eBooks Gift Card to one lucky winner. All you have to do is enter using the below Rafflecopter to be in with a chance of winning. Increase your chances of winning by visiting the other stops on the tour and leaving comments there, too! See where else K D Grace is visiting here: a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday 20 April 2012

New Release from Lucy Felthouse: Off the Shelf

Hi everyone,

I'm a new contributor to the British Romance Fiction blog, and I'm very happy to be here. I'm also very happy to announce the release of my first ever novella, Off the Shelf, which appears in Xcite Books anthology, The Secret Library: Silk Stockings. This erotic romance story was a learning curve for me, but once I got into it, I had such fun writing it and adore the finished product (not to mention having the biggest crush on the hero, Damien). Much of the action is set in East Midlands Airport, believe it or not! It's where the characters meet before travel writer Annalise heads off on another foreign assignment.

Silk StockingsHere's the blurb:

At 35, travel writer Annalise is fed up with insensitive comments about being left on the shelf. It’s not as if she doesn’t want a man, but her busy career doesn’t leave her much time for relationships. Sexy liaisons with passing acquaintances give Annalise physical satisfaction, but she needs more than that. She wants a man who will satisfy her mind as well as her body. But where will she find someone like that? It seems Annalise may be in luck when a new member of staff starts working in the bookshop at the airport she regularly travels through. Damien appears to tick all the boxes; he’s gorgeous, funny and intelligent, and he shares Annalise’s love of books and travel. The trouble is, Damien’s shy and Annalise is terrified of rejection. Can they overcome their fears and admit their feelings, or are they doomed to remain on the shelf?

And, just because you're all so awesome, here's a snippet from the beginning (warning, it's HOT):

Pushing the ‘on’ button, Annalise moved the vibrator down between her parted legs and eased it inside her eager pussy. As the ears of the Rampant Rabbit slid into position on her clit, she groaned with pleasure and rolled her hips, desperate to get more delicious friction. Then she pressed another button on the toy’s control panel to ramp up the power another notch. As much as she’d prefer a slower build-up to her orgasm, she just didn’t have the time. She had to leave for the airport in a couple of hours, and she hadn’t even packed her case. A quick knee-trembler would have to suffice.

As the vibrator buzzed away between her thighs, Annalise closed her eyes and tried to empty her mind of anything but the pleasure she was experiencing. After a brief flirtation with the thought that she’d much prefer a hot man between her legs bringing her to orgasm, Annalise simply enjoyed the feeling of her impending climax. The busily-vibrating bunny ears pressed tightly against her sensitive flesh soon had her pussy fluttering. Then, without warning, Annalise was quickly yanked onto her pleasure plateau and immediately pushed off, leaving her writhing and shouting on the bed as a powerful orgasm overtook her body.

Annalise arched her back as waves of pleasure crashed over her, and her cunt clenched and grabbed at the toy buried deep inside. Her swollen clit throbbed, quickly becoming too sensitive for the unrelenting stimulation from the vibrator. Switching it off and pulling out, Annalise dropped the toy onto the mattress by her side and gave a satisfied moan as she rode out the remainder of her climax. Finally, when the twitches and spasms had abated and her heart rate and breathing were almost back to normal, Annalise grabbed the Rabbit and rolled across to the side of her bed where the toy box was kept. She made short but thorough work of cleaning it, then reluctantly put it in its case, popped it into the small bedside cupboard and shut the door.

Annalise hated leaving her favourite toy behind when she went away, but she just wasn’t brave enough to take it with her. She usually only took carry-on luggage, and the very thought of the distinctive shape of the Rampant Rabbit popping up on the screen of the airport scanners made her shudder. It would be bad enough for the staff to see it on their monitors, knowing what it was and giving her knowing looks; imagine what would happen if they decided to check inside her bags! She would want to curl up and die of embarrassment, she just knew it.

No, it was much better off staying here. She could make do with her right hand for a few days. Even better, she might even meet someone. Annalise smiled. She’d had some pretty steamy encounters on her travels. The desk clerk in Dubai, the gym manager in Turkey, the waiter in Corfu…

Annalise shook herself. This wasn’t the time to let her mind wander down that path and get herself all worked up. She had to go and get ready now. There’d be plenty of time for daydreaming later, when she was in long and boring queues, and on the flight.

It may start off filthy, but it's a romance through and through, so if you love erotic romance, check out The Secret Library: Silk Stockings, which also contains novellas from Constance Munday and Jenna Bright. I can't wait to hear what you think of my first novella! :)


Lucy is a graduate of the University of Derby, where she studied Creative Writing. During her first year, she was dared to write an erotic story - so she did. It went down a storm and she's never looked back. Lucy has had stories published by Cleis Press, Constable and Robinson, House of Erotica, Noble Romance, Ravenous Romance, Resplendence Publishing, Summerhouse Publishing, Sweetmeats Press and Xcite Books. She is also the editor of Uniform Behaviour and Seducing the Myth. Find out more at Join her on Facebook and Twitter, and subscribe to her newsletter at:

Thursday 19 April 2012

Erin O'Quinn: 'Storm Maker'

He buried his face in his hands, and I fell to my knees. “Please, please,” I prayed before the altar of our humble church. “Let Liam be safe.” I was not sure who I was praying to, for I had always thought that the Lord had better things to do than hear my juvenile pleading. The last time I prayed, I had directed my words to Father Patrick, for he would know how to ask the Lord on my behalf. “Please, Father Patrick, tell the Lord that his new son is missing and to keep him safe.”
I got to my feet. “Brother,” I said. “Do not blame yourself. You had no way of knowing. I am on my way now. I promise you—I will find him, and I will bring him home.”
I ran from the church and leapt astride Macha, turning her toward home. First I would gather my weapons, and then I would seek Jay Feather. I did not have the same confidence inside as I had expressed to the monk, for I had no idea who had taken Liam or what direction they had gone.
When I arrived at my teach, I stood inside the door trying to control my ragged breath. I was almost paralyzed with a fear that crept from my stomach to my arms and legs, and I could hardly stand on my own. I walked toward my little bunch of weapons leaning against the wall, and my hand went to Liam’s shillelagh, glowing darkly next to my own.
I would use my own magic to talk with Liam. 
I knelt, holding the burnished, knobby piece of blackthorn, almost feeling Liam’s warm hand on the swollen hand grip. I lowered my head and willed my heaving chest to slow its breathing, slow, slower, until a calmness descended from my mind to my heart and deep into my stomach. 
I let the moment itself dissipate like water spreading itself on a flat rock, until the very flatness caused it to turn into vapor and disappear into the air. This moment was no time, and this house was no place. My breath was nonexistent. But my hand on the shillelagh was Liam’s own hand, and I saw it clenched. And then I saw his arms. They were bound with harsh ropes, and his muscles were straining against the tarred cord, twisting and bunching in pain.
His legs—my own legs—were bent and bound behind me. My mind felt numbed, as if drugged with an opiate, and I could barely see my opponent. But I heard his voice, coming closer and closer. It was cold and harsh, crisp and articulate. “I will have my revenge. And I am in no hurry at all.”
And then the body itself rose before me—really half a body. I saw the dark, sleek hair and hollow, pale face of Owen Sweeney. I saw his huge arms and chest, but the rest of his body was a twisted lump beneath a dark blanket. And he was rolling closer and closer, using his massive, bulging arms on the wheels to roll his invalid’s chair over Liam’s still body again and again and again.
I heard a high, anguished scream that seemed to hang in the air for long moments, and then I heard it again. It took me a long time to realize that the voice was my own.

Storm Maker, coming April 17, can be pre-ordered at a discount @

Wednesday 11 April 2012

Excerpt from Reluctance by Jen Black

Reluctance by Jen Black 

Blurb: Frances Bowes, the richest young widow in England, saves Jack Slade from drowning, but Jack, living in his own private hell after the death of his wife, isn’t at all grateful. Newcomer Holbrook dazzles the neighborhood in his glorious regimentals and Frances’s mother, match-making hat firmly in place, claims that he’s admirable husband material. Frances isn’t impressed, but when the newspaper publishes an ugly letter questioning her reputation, she realizes someone is trying to force her into something she definitely does not want.

 An absorbing tangle of emotions and a heart-rending denouement.


Jack could not breathe. A heavy weight pressed on his chest. A spasm clenched his body. He rolled to his side and vomited water onto the grass. Wheezing, he drew in a painful gulp of air, and got rid of more water. The pressure eased. He sprawled on his back.

“As if I am not wet enough,” a feminine voice remarked. “But I forgive you, for I thought you had left this world for a better place.”

Jack frowned. Who the blazes… Dizzy, half-conscious, he thought of Eleanor and opened his eyes. A blaze of sunlight made him close them again. Squinting, he made out a kneeling figure with a cloud of honey-coloured curls surrounding a pale face. His frown deepened. It was not Eleanor.

“Who are you?” he croaked. Lord, his throat was sore.

“How do you feel?”

Idiotic question, but he gave it thought. “Cold, bloody cold. My throat hurts. And my head aches. Who are you?”

The breeze struck the wet cloth of his shirt and plastered it against his skin. He shivered and saw his feet were in the river. He drew them back and found it took far more effort than he expected. No wonder he was cold. His shirt was naught but wet rags, his hair dripped water, and he suspected half of the river sloshed around inside his boots. He looked back at the young woman. The sun shone through her hair and gave her a halo of gold. He shivered again.

It was not Eleanor.

Pain hollowed his body as it always did when memory struck without warning. Struggling to hide his feelings and gain control of his muscles, he turned from the stranger and stared at the sky above the distant tree tops.

This was not London, but Streatham. He had come to the old house in the middle of May, and already a fortnight or more must have gone by. This morning he had set out to ride to Chopwell, and, lost in memories of his wife, had taken a wrong turn. He remembered riding like the devil. Something had unhorsed him.

“Where’s my horse?” He got an elbow beneath him and tried to rise.

Moving had been a mistake. The world whirled around him. When everything steadied, he glared at the dog, red and glossy as a conker, crouched beside him on the opposite side to the young lady. It whined and inched closer. “That damned dog unseated me.” He blocked its affectionate approach. “Stupid dog.”

“Stay, Gyp.” The dog looked at its mistress as if acknowledging her words, and then transferred its attention back to him. “Sir, have a little gratitude.” Her voice had turned frosty. “That noble creature helped save you from drowning.”

Jack glared at the dog. It was wet. Soaked, in fact. “It was your damned dog that put me in the water in the first place. It deserves all my displeasure and more. The animal is no more than a bloody nuisance. Get off!” He pushed away the beast’s probing muzzle.


The dog obeyed her with such a reproachful glance Jack might have laughed if he felt less like heaving his guts up again.

“Now, sir, tell me how you do.”

Her air of calm confidence rattled him. Jack contemplated the calm hazel eyes, pointed chin, and the swirling cloud of hair. An image of the long, slow, sinuous coils of honey falling from his breakfast spoon filled his mind.

He shook his head to clear it. Only Eleanor’s long black hair and laughing eyes would do for him.

She put out a swift hand to shield herself from cold water drops.

“Sorry,” he muttered. “God, I am soaked.” He plucked at the sodden tatters of his shirt and then gave up. It was beyond repair.

He smelled a faint flower perfume. It must come from her. Strong enough to survive the overpowering scents of grass, river water, and mud; it awoke memories of long, love-laden nights with Eleanor. Such things had ended with Eleanor’s death. He schooled his expression before looking up to meet the searching gaze of his companion. Her fichu had been knocked awry and a generous amount of bosom crowded into the neckline of her round gown. The kind of dress Eleanor favoured for a day at home when she expected no visitors; plain light cotton with double sleeves and silk ribbons, now wet and bedraggled, dangling from beneath her bosom.

Her voice broke in on his thoughts. “Sir, you must tell me how you feel.”

“As you might expect,” he snapped. “Cold, wet, and none too happy.”

She sat back on her heels. “There is no cause to be rude.”

“Your wretched dog was the reason for my upset.”

The woman raised one eyebrow. “Perhaps she did surprise your horse by leaping up the bank as she did, but really, sir, part of the blame must lie with you.”

“How the hell do you make that out?”

She smiled sweetly. “Because this is private land, and you should not be riding across it.”
Reluctance is available on Amazon Kindle, from
plus other formats and outlets. why not pop over to Jen's blog at link

Tuesday 10 April 2012

Inspiration on Holiday

On Saturday, I returned from a week's holiday in North Devon with my daughter and her three children.

My father's paternal family had strong links with the West Country, and I have happy memories of childhood holidays in Somerset and Devonshire.

As soon as we crossed the border in Somerset and saw the sign Welcome to Somerset I felt as though I was coming home. In Devonshire, daffodils and primroses bloomed in the banks on either side of narrow, twisting country roads. The gorse was ablaze with golden blooms. As we travelled vibrant geen fields dotted with ewes and lambs or cattle spread as far as my eyes could see.

The villages, stately homes and the varied coastline awakened many happy memories and stirred my imagination. By the time we returned home at the end of the week I had a plot and theme for a new novel in mind and had already written the first paragraphs.

Due to the edits of my novels of my novel Sunday's Child to be published in June, and False Pretences to be published in October as well as other writing projects I don't know when I'll begin the novel; but that's all right because the characters will have time to to develop before I begin it.

All the best,

Rosemary Morris

Saturday 7 April 2012

Guest Blog: Mary Nichols - 'The Kirilov Star'

Mary Nichols

The Civil War is raging in Russia and Count Kirilov, a distant relative of the Tsar, decides to take his wife and two children, Andrea and Lydia, to Yalta and see them safely onto a ship to England. He and the Countess set out in the carriage and the children and their nurse go in the droshky, driven by Ivan Ivanov. The droshky is held up by bandits and Andrea and the nurse are killed. Ivan takes Lydia to the rendez-vous but her parents never arrive. She is taken to Sir Edward Stoneleigh, a British diplomat who has been instructed to oversee the evacuation of the refugees and then leave himself.  He is left with a dilemma of what to do with her. She is too young and too traumatised to tell anyone what happened and where she comes from. She knows her name but the only other clue to her identity is a fabulous jewel sewn into her petticoat. He refuses to send her to a Russian orphanage, which are notoriously dreadful places, especially for someone who appears to be of aristocratic stock.
He and his wife are childless, something they both regret, could Lydia fill that gap? He could give her a good life, but would his wife accept her?  Would Lydia later blame him for taking her from her homeland? He decides to risk it.
Lydia grows up in the privileged background of a stately home and seems content. But is she? Kolya, another Russian émigré, reminds her of her roots. He sows the seeds of her discontent and persuades her to marry him and go back to Russia with him to look for her real parents. It is the biggest mistake of her life. She finds herself in Russia at the start of the Second World War with a husband who is only interested in searching for more jewels and who is unfaithful to her.


Lydia’s fury was so great it dried her tears and she set about pummelling Kolya with her fists. ‘I knew you were a liar,’ she shouted between thumps. ‘But I never realised you were also an adulterer.  I hate you!  I hate you!’
He laughed, grabbing her hands and holding them to her sides.  ‘Good because I can’t say I have any use for your affection.  Terrible disappointment you’ve turned out to be.’
 ‘Because I lost the Star and cannot tell you the hiding place of the jewels.  Well, I’m sorry about that, but you should ask Grigori Stefanovich what happened to them.  I bet he knows.  Give me back my money and my papers and let me go home.’  She was calmer now; the storm had passed and left her cold.  Very cold.
‘You can go where you like,’ he said.  ‘but if you think I’m going to help you, you are mistaken.  I’ve got plans of my own.’
‘To go back to England?’
‘No, to Minsk.  Olga has been given a job in a munitions factory.  I’m going with her.’
She slumped into a chair and stared up at him.  ‘You are going to abandon me without any means of support?’
‘You can work, can’t you?’
‘But what about Yuri?’
‘What about him?’
‘How can I work when I have to look after him?’
‘I’m sure you’ll manage.  When we go, I’ll leave your passport and enough money to get you to Odessa.  You can throw yourself on the mercy of the British consul there, though if war is declared, he isn’t likely to have much time for a runaway.’
‘When are you going?’
He shrugged.  ‘When Olga’s travel papers come through.’
Wearily she rose and went to take her things from their room.  She would not sleep there again.  She took her belongings to the old part of the house where the windows were missing and the plaster was falling off the ceilings and walls, where rats and mice scurried, huge spiders built their webs and where the birds nested in the remains of the chimneys.  There were even weeds growing up between the tiles on the floor.  She made several trips, piling her belongings in a corner, went back for Yuri’s crib and then poked about for something to use as a mattress for herself.  A sack and some straw was all she could find.
When she had added that to the rest, she went back to the kitchen to fetch Yuri.  Kolya and Olga had gone and so had the baby.  She searched frantically for them in the house, running into every room that hadn’t been locked by its occupants.  She rushed outside and ran into all the outbuildings but there was no sign of them.  They were having a game with her and it made her angry.  Returning indoors, she met Svetlana who had just come back from shopping.  ‘Have you seen Kolya and Olga?’ she asked her.
‘Yes, I met them in Petrovsk, going to catch a train they said.  Olga’s got promotion to a factory in Minsk.’
‘Did they have Yuri with them?’
‘Yes.  I thought it was strange but they said you had given him to them….’
Lydia heard no more; she had fallen to the ground in a faint.
When she recovered she was lying on the tiled floor and Svetlana was squatting beside her, fanning her with a newspaper.  ‘You gave me a fright.’
It was a moment or two before Lydia’s brain cleared and she remembered.  She sat up.  ‘How long ago since you saw them?  What time does the train go?  Was Yuri crying?’
‘He wasn’t crying, why should he?  He knows Olga Denisovna as well as he knows you.  And the train has gone.  I heard it’s whistle as I was walking home.’
Lydia struggled to her feet.  ‘I must go after them.  What time is the next train?’
‘There isn’t another until tomorrow, not one that goes to Kiev and connects with a train going north.’
‘No.  Oh no.  It can’t be.  It can’t be.’  She sank to the floor again, but Svetlana hauled her up and, putting her arm about her, led her to the kitchen where she sat her down at the table and put a kettle on the stove.  ‘A glass of tea, isn’t that the English cure-all?’
‘It won’t cure this, will it?’  She put her arms about herself and rocked to and fro.  ‘Yuri, Yuri, my baby.  They have stolen him.  Why?  Why?’
‘I should think because Olga cannot have children of her own.’   Svetlana busied herself brewing tea, while Lydia watched, her mind on a train steaming north.  ‘She was married once, you know, but when her husband found she could not have children, he divorced her.  It has been her shame ever since.’
‘I didn’t know that, but it’s no excuse for taking Yuri from me.  He is all I have, my whole life.  I have to go after them and get him back.’  She stood up and began pacing the room.  Was this her punishment for not wanting him?  But she hadn’t known then what it was like to be a mother, had she?  Now she would willingly have died for him.
‘It won’t be easy.  Even if you catch them up, Yuri is Kolya’s son and he won’t give him up.’
‘Do you think I’m going to stand by and do nothing? What sort of mother would that make me?  I’m going after them.  Kolya promised to leave me my passport and a little money.’  She ran from the room and up the stairs to the room she had shared with Kolya.  Lying on the crumpled bed was an envelope.  She snatched it up.  It held her passport and a few roubles but no travel permit.  She didn’t want to stay in that room a moment longer than necessary and returned to the kitchen.  Svetlana put a glass of tea on the table in front of her.  ‘Sit down and drink that.  I put some vodka in it.  When Grigori comes home, we’ll ask him what he can do to help.’
She was still shaking with a mixture of fear and fury when Grigori came in about eight o’clock.  The summer had been hot and dry and the wheat harvest was better than it had been the year before and it looked as though they might meet their quota with a little to spare.  He was dusty and tired and had little advice to offer.  It was not in his power to arrange travel documents, he said, but he did know the name of factory to which Olga had been posted.  ‘You won’t get anywhere near it,’ he added.
‘I’ve got to try.  I can’t let them get away with kidnapping my son.’
‘He is Nikolay Nikolayevich’s son too, you know.  He will claim him and as he is a good party man and you are who you are, they will give him custody.’
She hadn’t thought of that.  ‘I don’t care.  I’ll get on the train and hope for the best.  Perhaps in Kiev, I can obtain the necessary permits.’
‘I’ll give you the name of the man to ask for.’  He was evidently as anxious to be rid of her as she was to go.  
‘Thank you.’
The train left at five-thirty the next morning.  Afraid she would oversleep and miss it, she packed a few belongings in a bag and went to Ivan’s izba where she told him of the latest developments and asked him to fetch the Star; she would need every penny she could raise on it.  He was shocked but not surprised by what had happened but refrained from saying I told you so.  ‘Stay here tonight,’ he said.  ‘I’ll make sure you wake in time to catch the train.’
But she would not because if it was discovered he had helped her, he would be in trouble himself and it was best he went on with his quiet life and let her go.  They embraced, both of them in tears, and then she left him and walked to the station to spend the night in the waiting room.

The Kirilov Star is out in paperback published by Alison & Busby. ISBN 9780749009496. Also available as an ebook download.

Tuesday 3 April 2012

My first co-author

HI, I am Lily Harlem, I live in the UK and predominantly set my erotic romance novels in Britain - London/Cardiff/The Cotswolds to name a few - and my most recent release That Filthy Book is no different.

It is also my first co-author and was enormous fun to write. It started off with a few pages Natalie (aka Emmy Ellis) had written about a married couple on a weekend away. She asked me to read it, unsure of what she was going to do with the story. Instantly I adored the characters Karen and Jacob, they just spoke to me.

Karen is desperate to re-discover who she was before children and domesticity and find what it was that made her feel alive and sexy. Jacob is just wonderful, his strength, both physical and emotional, literally seep from the page. (We would both happily admit we fell head over heels in love with him!!)

I asked Nat if I could write the next chapter. "Go for it," she said. And that was it, we were off. Writing a scene, passing it back and forth, letting Karen and Jacob go on the wild ride they begged us for. Nothing was too raunchy for them, too daring, and because they have such a wonderful, solid marriage, they could really explore the very deepest, darkest parts of their souls.

Writing with Natalie was an amazing experience, I learnt so much, was inspired by her parts of the story and then felt safe to let my imagination soar when it was my turn. Not only that she designed the cover for the book and captured the characters perfectly, not just their physical attributes but also their expressions - I couldn't stop staring at it when it first appeared in my in-box!

I hope readers enjoy Karen and Jacob's adventures as much as we enjoyed writing them. It is very erotic, it does push boundaries, but all within a loving, committed relationship. Here is a little more about the book.


Out of sight, out of mind. Or so I thought, but it turns out an old, dog-eared book with contents so filthy and so depraved that I’d been forced to hide it after reading, has sank deeper into my erotic subconscious than I’d ever imagined. Luckily though, Jacob is up for exploring the new side of me that has risen to the surface after all these years.

In a whirlwind of wanton adventures that push us to the limits of our sexuality, we begin to re-discover what it once was that had us screaming with pleasure and how to accept that nothing will ever be the same again between us.

Reader Advisory: This book contains bondage, BDSM and an element of dubious consent within a consensually acted out rape scenario. 

If you would like to read an excerpt (18+) then head over to my blog, you can also win a copy.

Have a great day.

Lily Harlem x
Winner of the 2009 LoveHoney Award for Erotic Fiction

Natalie Dae