Thursday, September 25, 2014

Encore! by Jamie Salisbury

Mary Stuart and Daniel Kennedy have not seen each other since attending a prestigious performing arts school.
Now a world renowned violinist, and married to his career, Daniel stumbles across Mary through her images at a London gallery. He is in need of a photographer with vision - she is a photographer in need of clients.
Mary has all but given up the stage - or has she? Her photographs pay the bills far more than her fancy musical education. But Mary has secrets. . .secrets she dare not share with even the roguish Mr. Kennedy.
A roving paparazzi lens changes all that for them. . .
Can Daniel forgive Mary for hiding her past - and her present? Will their relationship break like a violin string - or will their love endure the chaos?

     It was there one night when I was up on stage in my latex cat suit…my gimmick, my platform a mask, a Venetian masque. Always in one of three colors, purple, hot pink or green. I was an entirely different person as I sang my gut out and played my violin. Yeah you heard me right - violin. That night he stood at the edge of the stage, looking up at me, with a mischievous grin on his face. Mr. Violin Virtuoso himself, Daniel Kennedy. I had noticed him at the club a time or two before.
     We had studied together in New York years ago. Only now, I could tell he was second guessing who I really was. Who is this woman who can make a violin weep, though not nearly as well as I can. She can, none the less, make the angels shed tears.
     About half way through my set, I happened to glance down at this dangerously striking man and noticed he was still smiling. He raised his drink. Was it in a mock salute, or was it more? I was too into what I was doing to tell, much less care.
     I never, ever mingled with the crowd after a show. Not that I wouldn't love to every now and then. No, I was afraid some young drunk jerk would pull off my mask, exposing my identity to the world. Then Archangel would be no more.
     My requirements for playing in the clubs was a cab ride home and for the owner to escort me to the waiting cab, just in case. Other than that, I played for free. Self promotion at its best.
      I was putting my violin away when I heard someone behind me. I immediately turned to see who it was. And Daniel Kennedy stood not three feet from me. In my personal space, again.
     "Where did you learn to play?" he asked.
     "Around," I replied smugly.
     "Hmmm, mysterious. I like that. Could I interest you in a drink Ms. Archangel?"
     "Thank you, but no. I make it a rule to never go out for drinks with clubbers."
     "Ah, is that what I am?"
     "Aren't you?"
     The club owner appeared out of the hallway. "Cab's here. You ready, babe?"
     I noted Daniel's grimace at the familiarity Jake had used with me. "Yeah, almost," I replied.
     "Well, Mr. Kennedy, I look forward to seeing you brighten up my audience again soon." I smiled and turned toward the hall.
     "Who are you?"
     "Archangel, kind sir." Oh, he was fun.
     "No, really, who are you? I feel we've met before."
     "Oh, I bet you say that to all the girl's you try to pick up." I teased, but he wasn't deterred.
     "What sort of name is Archangel, sweet?"
     "What sort of name is Kennedy?" I shot back. "I thought you were French. Kennedy is anything but French."
     "My mother's maiden name, if you must know. My father's name is much too hard for English speaking fans."
     "Scottish or Irish Kennedy's?" I taunted walking down the hall and towards the back door, my cab, and freedom from this inquisitive and delicious man.
     "Scottish, why?"
     "Just curious, that's all."
     As I reached the door Jake was holding open, I turned and looked down the hall. Daniel had stopped, his arms folded over his chest, his legs wide apart. He was quite a handsome thing with all his bling, tight jeans, T-shirt, and jacket. His face was rough with scruff. And that hair! My God what woman wouldn't die for a head of luscious hair like that?
     Rather than continue drooling, I blew a crimson-stained kiss in his direction. "This is for you, Mr. Daniel Kennedy."
     He played along, pretending to catch my kiss in his hand. He closed his hand and placed it over his heart. His smile made my body tingle in places-well in places that it hadn't tingled in quite a long time.
     Raising my arm as high as it would go, I waved then pivoted on the ball of my foot. "Until next time, Mr. Daniel Kennedy. Good night."

     So here I am - going over images from a photo shoot the day before when I hear the front door bell chime. Looking up I see the most perfect man, hell the most beautiful man I had laid eyes on in - oh hell I don't know - years perhaps. Oh h-e-l-l! It was him! 
     "Mary Stuart?" He asked as the door shut behind him. The sunlight caught his light brown hair as he stepped inside. His hair was long, though pulled up in some sort of knot in the back. The rest was pulled away from his face, showing off just how handsome he really was. He had the most expressive brown eyes I think I'd ever seen on a man, and that smile would melt your heart. 
     "That'd be me," I cockily replied. "Mary Stuart at your service. And you would be?"
     "Daniel. Daniel Kennedy." His brown eyes bore through me, but somehow didn't make me uncomfortable. "Forgive me for staring, but you look familiar."
     "I was just about to say the same thing. Why don't you tell me what I can do for you and perhaps it'll come to one of us." Yeah I could think of a few things I'd like to do with this man and none of it had to do with taking his picture either.
     "I saw some of your work at a gallery and thought you do amazing work. I'm looking for someone to shoot new images for me, and I think you may be that person."
     His voice was soft. The cadence in the manner in which he spoke entranced me. He had a hint of an underlying accent, which I'd always found sexy. His voice, his mannerisms...
     "Could I get you something to drink, Daniel? A coffee or some tea? I even have water if you'd like. We can sit down and you can tell me exactly what you're looking for." I pointed to a small floral sofa and chair in a corner of the studio. 
     "Water would be fine."
     "I'll be right back. Feel free to look around."
     I turned and walked towards the back room where we kept the refrigerator. I opened the door and pulled out two waters and returned to the gallery. Suck it up! He has no idea it was you he's seen at the clubs. Just act as though you're both trying to figure out where you know each other from.
     Daniel, mister tall, dark and definitely handsome, not to mention trouble, was standing in front of a grouping of photos I had taken of an elderly duchess on her eightieth birthday. Hearing my footsteps, he turned and proceeded towards the sofa.
     I paused in front of him and handed him the bottle of cold water before proceeding to the sofa where I sat across from him. "Tell me something about yourself Daniel. What you do for a living, that sort of thing." I lied.
     As I waited for his reply I couldn't help but make note of the heavy silver rings he wore. I instantly recognized one as a skull. He certainly didn't look the part of a Goth. He was dressed nicely enough in a pair of form fitting black jeans, some sort of graphic t-shirt underneath a dark grey pin stripe jacket. He popped the cap off the bottle and took a long swig before closing it again and setting the bottle on the floor.
     "I am a violinist…" he began.


Author Bio:
Since Jamie Salisbury began publishing her Romance stories, she has seen her books soar to #1 on Amazon. Her novella Tudor Rubato was a finalist in the 2012 RONE (Reward of Novel Excellence) award, and the cover won for Best Contemporary Cover. Now in 2014, her novel Life and Lies was been nominated for a RONE in the Erotica category. She has expanded her audience to include several now published by Secret Cravings Publishing.
Her previous career in public relations in and around the entertainment field has afforded her with a treasure trove of endless story ideas.

Author Link:
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Scandal at Almack's by Gloria Gay

AUTHOR – Gloria Gay
GENRE – Regency Historical Romance Novella, ebook only 
PUBLICATION DATE –April 25, 2014 
LENGTH (Pages/# Words) – 36,000 words

Beautiful Jenny Longtree was expected to do her duty and accept the marriage proposal of a man she abhorred, Calvin Hazeldeck, an old and rich mortician whose offer of a marriage settlement would save her family from destitution brought about by her father’s bad shipping investments.

Then unexpectedly, Jenny’s dear uncle, Sir Roger Addington, who had been informed of the family’s dilemma, offered his favorite niece a London social season as a last chance to find a husband on her own.

But in the whirl of the London season, Jenny realizes that without a dowry her chances of obtaining a marriage proposal are practically non-existent.

Then on the last ball of Almack’s, and when Jenny feels that time is slipping away, Lady Jersey, the head patroness of Almack’s, introduces her to Sebastian Billington, Lord Corville. As they dance the waltz, Jenny realizes she has fallen in love at first sight with a man she is likely never to see again.

And during the seductive dance with Lord Corville, something happens that has Jenny lying on the floor at Lord Corville’s feet, having momentarily passed out. When she comes to, she finds a sea of faces staring down at her and scandal exploding all around her.

     Lord Corville was surprised that Lady Jersey had led him directly into a vision of lovely youth. Usually wallflower duty was how it sounded, giving an opportunity to dance a few sets to girls who were in their first season and not likely to obtain dancing partners on their own because they lacked pedigree or were pretty enough but lacked an attractive dowry. The Almack’s patronesses took their duty to young girls in their first or second season very seriously, and in every ball the two in charge could be seen walking about, matching young ladies to reluctant young men.
     Sebastian seldom if ever glanced toward the wallflower area, but now he regretted it. The moment he gave his gloved hand to this girl and led her to the dance floor, it was all he could do to keep his balance until they began their waltz.
     Her touch was so sensual, he felt her hand not on his but directly on his groin. A hot frisson coursed along his nerve endings, and his whole body shuddered in anticipation. If he felt so much with only the soft touch of her hand on his, what would he feel with her in his arms?
     Suddenly realizing where his mind was going, he shook off such outlandish thoughts. He was a bit foxed and couldn’t even remember what Lady Jersey said the girl’s name was during the introduction. He should have skipped that stop at Rothyn’s townhouse, as they’d dipped into bottles of claret before coming here.
     Of course, it was turning out amazingly easy to keep his promise to his sister Camie. One dance with a wallflower debutante? Why this beautiful girl lacked dance partners was beyond his understanding. She was as lovely and as rare as an orchid, and her scent intoxicated him even more than the claret.
     He had never felt such jumping sensations as he was now feeling while waltzing with her. Her eyes as she looked at him were sparkling blue aquamarines, and the tingling ripple the mere touch of her hand had started now throbbed along his groin so that his hand tightened on hers even as his breeches tightened. He quickly forced his eyes away from her lithe form, for just a quick glance at her curves unhinged him.
     They swayed around the vast ballroom, and the lights from a thousand candles and the twirling couples confused him. The lovely girl in his arms became three identical girls who twirled round and round like the racing dials of a mad clock. He heard the waning notes of the waltz as it was coming to its end and felt so dizzy that, had he not held her, he would have lost his balance. He looked into the girl’s beautiful eyes and his gaze drifted downward. Her breasts, the tops of them peeking alluringly from her filmy gown, were so fetching that he wondered when he had ever seen a better pair. There was a small dark mole on her left breast, and a tiny rosebud by it, and so compelling was the tiny beauty mark that he was hypnotized.
     The music had stopped. He looked into the girl’s lovely blue eyes and wondered why they were wide with alarm, and her voice was loud and clear in the silence that followed the conclusion of the waltz.
     “Oh!” she exclaimed.
     Her hand on his shoulder slipped away as she fell to the floor, her crumpling body settling softly on his feet. Sebastian leaned down toward her prone body.
     After a few seconds, the girl opened her eyes. A crowd had rushed forward, and there was a large circle of people around her and Sebastian, three or four deep, looking down with concern. And silence, as everyone just stared.
     The girl was helped up by two gentlemen while Lord Corville continued to stare, speechless.
     Lady Jersey broke the silence. “What happened to you, my dear?”
     A twittering of exclamations rose like a deafening wave, and then sudden silence fell again as the crowd waited in suspense for the girl’s reply.
     The girl spoke slowly but clearly, so that everyone heard her words. She looked directly into Lord Corville’s eyes and said, “Lord Corville touched me inappropriately.”


Author Bio:
Gloria Gay has lived in San Diego, California the greater part of her life, where she worked as a legal secretary for twenty-five years and as a stringer for a local newspaper. Her heart, though, has always been with art and literature and it was one of the happiest days of her life when she wrote her first book.
Boroughs Publishing Group recently published her fifth Regency romance, Lovely Little Liar.  Scandal at Almack’s, with the same publisher is Gloria’s sixth Regency romance. Her debut novel, First Season, earned a four-star review from Romantic Times Book Reviews. She is also the author of Forced Offer, Canceled Courtship and Known to All.
She lives with her husband, Enrique, an architect, in San Diego, California, and couldn’t be happier that their children and grand-children live nearby.

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Amazon US  /  Amazon CA  /  Amazon UK  /  Barnes&Noble  

2 eCopies (mobi, epub, pdf) of Scandal at Almack's

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