Friday, May 17, 2013

TARAH SCOTT



TARAH SCOTT




Award winning author Tarah Scott cut her teeth on authors such as Georgette Heyer, Zane Grey, and Amanda Quick. Her favorite book is a Tale of Two Cities, with Gone With the Wind as a close second. She writes modern classical romance, and paranormal and romantic suspense. Tarah grew up in Texas and currently resides in Westchester County, New York with her daughter.



MY HIGHLAND LORD


London Heiress kidnapped by the Marquess of Ashlund, read the headlines. Yet no one tried to save her.

Phoebe Wallington was seven years old when a mass assassination attempt rocked Regency England. Her father was the only accused traitor to elude capture. Now as a grown woman and a British spy, she is no closer to learning what really happened that day.

Phoebe's quest for the truth takes a sudden turn when she's kidnapped by a suspected traitor. But Kiernan MacGregor, the Marquess of Ashlund, may not live long enough to stand trial. Someone wants him dead. And Phoebe stands in the killer's way.


An interview with Tarah Scott

Was it hard for you to come up with characters and their descriptions? Coming up with characters and their descriptions is the easy part. Making that work toward the personalities is the real challenge.
 
What would you say is important to you, characters, plot, or intimacy? All three! Of course, for romance, characters are paramount and plot is what gets our characters into trouble. We must see our characters doing, being, and becoming more than what they were at the story’s beginning. But the plot must serve character, which of course involves intimacy. If any of these three elements falter, the story suffers.
Can you tell us, what you think makes a good writer? To be a good writer one must be willing to dig deep inside themselves. You can’t be afraid of making yourself vulnerable. Being vulnerable, being willing to expose the very heart of being human, is what being a writer is all about.
Generally, how long does it take you to write a book? Depends on the book. Longer, more complicated books can take a couple of years to write. Novellas, anywhere from 3-6 months.
What time of the day is more productive for you, to do your writing, morning or night? These days, mornings are more productive. If possible, I write before my daughter gets up, and before the worries of the day creep past my writer’s muse.
Can you tell us something about you that makes you unique? That’s a loaded question if ever I heard one! I’d say one of my most unique qualities is my sharp sense of humor. I've been told I’m a never ending source of amusement for my friends. Of course, that’s oftentimes by accident. Heh heh.
You are called upon at a school to tell those interested in becoming an author the ins and outs of good writing skills and getting published. Name three important elements in writing, publishing, and promoting that you would give them. Good writing skills are a result of practice, practice, practice. Whether traditionally published or indie published, publishing is about working with professionals and perseverance. Promotion is about understanding that readers feel an intimate connection with authors. If you let readers get to know you, and you keep writing good books, they’ll stay loyal to you for life. 
 
Do you have a favorite children’s story? Alice In Wonderland. I’ve always been fascinated with the idea of falling into another world or experiencing states of consciousness.
 
What is your favorite movie and who is your favorite actor? My favorite movie is It’s a Wonderful Life. Corny, I know, but I can’t resist that movie. Favorite actor, I have quite a few.  I'm a huge fan of Robert Downey Jr. Not surprising, I know, but I grew up watching him and have only grown to love him more and more over the years.

Name three things you look for in a companion or friend. Patience. Intelligence and, most important, a great sense of humor. They’ll need it to be friends with me.


Boy meets girl…boy kidnaps girl.

Edinburgh, Scotland

The criminal was alive and well. Yet, the one man who could have exposed him was dead. Phoebe stared at the clipping of the obituary notice printed in The Times five days ago. The knowledge of his death settled around her as black as the darkness surrounding her carriage. The lantern flickered with the sway of the carriage as she slid her gaze over the paragraph that extolled Bow Street Sheriff John Stafford’s criminal expertise, and past the mention of his involvement in The Cato Street Conspiracy. A man’s life reduced to two paragraphs. For the hundredth time since she'd first read the obituary, she settled her gaze on the final line.
September 1837, John Stafford died in his London home.
Phoebe refolded the clipping, set it on her lap, and pulled another document from her reticule. She ran her fingers along the age-yellowed edges of the only letter her father had written to her mother, the letter she had shown John Stafford when she'd visited him in his home five years ago. She unfolded the foolscap and, with a deep breath, began reading. Her lips moved in tandem with the words she'd long ago memorized.

May 20, 1820
My Dearest Amelia,
Please forgive this letter so long overdue. I am well and I have found safe haven—at least for the moment. You have, no doubt, heard the news that I am wanted for high treason, and now you know that my suspicions were correct. Amelia, you cannot know how my accusers make even the most abhorrent criminal look like one of God’s angels. I sorely underestimated the depth of their deceit. Fool that I am, I did not anticipate being branded a traitor in their stead.
I know your heart is heavy, my love, but no more so than mine. It is shocking to learn that one’s leaders are willing to sacrifice their countrymen for money and power. Ironically, had I known then what I now know, I would be guilty of their accusations. Do not shudder. I know I speak treason, but you cannot comprehend the fine line between reason and desperation when all choices have been eliminated.
Would it shock you to hear that I relish the day I shall destroy my accusers? They have taken all I hold dear: you, our darling Phoebe and, lastly, my freedom. While I cannot like Arthur Thistlewood—his motives are not pure as he would have us believe—in one thing he was right: those few rich and powerful men who rule supreme in our society have stolen our rights.
I have a plan, which, of course, I cannot elaborate upon here, but I must uncover the truth. Otherwise…well, otherwise, I am no better than Thistlewood—or those men who brought him to justice.
I do not know when I will have another opportunity to write. Give Phoebe my love, and do not despair. I have not.
Your loving husband,
Mason

It wasn't until her mother's death ten years ago that Phoebe learned her father sent this letter.  The letter, hidden amongst her mother's personal correspondence, had been folded with a newspaper clipping dated February 24, 1820, the day after the Spencean Society's planned assassination of the Cabinet. The newspaper clipping, a statement made by Lord Sidmouth to the London Gazette concerning the charge of high treason against Thistlewood and his murder of bow street runner Richard Smithers, also mentioned the bounty on Thistlewood's head. The paragraphs were framed by a note written in her father's hand on the sides.
Sidmouth could not have yet known that Thistlewood killed Smithers. Here is proof positive the noose had been put around Thistlewood's neck before he even planned the assassinations.
"Why?" Phoebe whispered. Why had her father been falsely accused and why had he cared that the government ensured Thistlewood's capture? Thistlewood was a known murderer, a man—a sharp sideways jostle yanked Phoebe back to the present.
“What in—”
Another jolt cut short the exclamation.
Phoebe yanked back the curtain and peered into the darkness. No lights dotted the countryside as they should have and the moonlit sky revealed open fields beyond the road.
She quickly refolded the letter and clipping, stuffed them into her reticule, then opened the door an inch and called, “Where are we, Calders? I don’t recognize this road.”
“Taking a shortcut, Miss,” came the muffled reply.
“Wha—" The coach listed, and she slammed the door with the force of the movement, tumbling back against the cushion. "By heavens."
Phoebe seized the handle again. The door was yanked from her grasp and flung open. A man filled the doorway. Phoebe jerked back as a rush of air guttered the lantern flame. Her heart jumped when she lost sight of the intruder for an instant, then the light flared to life again. The man gripped the side of the open doorway of the slowing carriage, one leg braced on the floor. She took in eyes bluer than any she'd ever seen, an angled face, and a fit body leaning forward on one powerful leg—a leg clad in finely cut trousers. Thievery paid well these days!
She cut her gaze to his and he grinned. Phoebe pooled her strength. Understanding flickered in his eyes the instant before she kicked his shoulder with a slippered foot. With a loud grunt, he toppled from the coach. She lunged forward, caught hold of the flapping door, and hung her head out the doorway, scanning the road behind for the brigand. The coach was slowing even more, and her heart leapt higher in her throat when he jumped to his feet and starting toward them.
“Calders,” she yelled, “lay whip to the horses. Quickly!”
The coach halted and she tumbled through the door, and landed on her side. A dull pain throbbed deep in her shoulder. She pushed onto an elbow and fingered the tender place on her arm. No blood. Thank God she'd worn a cloak.
The carriage creaked and Phoebe looked up to see the murky form of her coachman as he dropped to the ground. She scrambled to her feet and turned in the direction of the highwayman. He wasn’t hastening to them as expected, but strolled forward while dusting off his trousers. She turned on unsteady feet to face Calders and her eyes came into sharp focus upon the face of a stranger.
She recoiled, then narrowed her eyes on him. “Where's Calders. What have you done with him? If you harmed him—”
"Never fear, madam, he is unharmed."
Phoebe whirled at the sound of the velvet, deep voice belonging to the highwayman.
"I promise," he said, "Calders was simply delayed.”
A sudden pounding of hooves riveted her attention onto the distant shadowy forms of four approaching horsemen.
“There!” one of the newcomers shouted. “There she is.”
She looked back at the highwayman in time to see him step toward her. He seized her arm. She tried to yank free, but he began dragging her toward the carriage.
“Mather,” he said in a low voice, “get this coach underway. Now."
Phoebe dug her heels into the ground and was abruptly hauled over his shoulder. She cried out, but he didn't slow his pace.
“Release me, you fool!" she shouted. His shoulder dug into her stomach with each long, hurried stride he took. Phoebe kicked, despite the pain.
"Be still" he ordered, and clamped his arm down on her legs.
She thrashed harder. A shot rang out. She jerked her head up, but found herself tossed onto the cushions of the carriage.
The highwayman jumped into the carriage after her. “Damnation.” He slammed the door shut. “They mean to put a ball through me.”
He pounded on the coach roof and it lurched into motion. Phoebe clutched at the door handle, but pitched forward despite the effort. Her captor shoved her back against the cushions, holding her firm as he pulled back the curtain and peered out the window.
“Bloody hell.” He looked at her. “Fine time for shenanigans.”
She frowned. “Perhaps you should keep a tighter hand on your band.”
“They are not my band, madam.” His gaze was still fixed out the window. “They are, however, a persistent band and will reach us momentarily.” He twisted to look in the direction they were headed, then pounded on the carriage roof and shouted, “Mather, make for that abandoned farm up ahead.”
The carriage veered and Phoebe bounced left and right despite his hold on her. Stories of runaway carriages conjured pictures of broken necks and twisted bodies, and she envisioned herself pitching forward head first into the opposite seat. The arm pinning her to the cushions suddenly encircled her waist. Another jolt of the carriage, and her unwanted companion yanked her tight against his chest.
Her senses flooded with the aroma of wool and musky sandalwood. They listed when the carriage swayed perilously to one side. Phoebe seized his lapel and buried her face deeper in his chest. If there was a God in heaven, she would land on the brigand when the carriage rolled and he would break his neck while saving hers.
The carriage halted. He threw back the door and jumped to the ground, dragging her with him. The farmhouse stood a few feet away. Phoebe scanned the distance. The riders approached at a gallop and would soon reach the barn that sat sixty feet from the house. The highwayman grabbed her hand and started around the side of the ramshackle farmhouse. She started to yank free, but hesitated. Two bands of extortionists? Why—and which was the more dangerous?
They rounded the building, then he pushed her against the wall, and demanded, “Which of your other admirers am I dealing with?”
Other admirers? Phoebe flushed. Adam.



Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Sinful Sirens #BlogHop #Giveaway




Howdy all you sinful sirens! I'm so thrilled to be hopping with Guilty Pleasures and Under the Covers Book Blog. I'm giving away a Sephora beauty gift set and a copy of one of my ebooks (US winners only for the gift set). I thought I'd give you a taste of my latest sinful siren coming soon to Ellora's Cave.

Blurb:

BDSM curious, Georgia aka Red attends a lunch meeting of the Rocky Road Social Club where she meets a man who introduces himself as Black. Tall, caramel-skinned and truly gorgeous, Black draws in Red with his commanding presence.


After one dinner together, Red agrees to explore a weekend as Black’s sub. He pushes her to the limits of pain, pleasure and beyond. Though she delights in his firm hand and even firmer lash, when Black proposes a more permanent arrangement, Red wonders if she’s ready to submit―body and soul―to the man who dominates her blackest desires.

Excerpt:
For our first play session, I arrived early, reciting, “Scarlet, slow. Midnight, stop,” as I parked in his driveway. Once I’d inspected my makeup and smoothed my black skirt and spaghetti top blouse, I propelled myself out of the car. The humid night air threatened to kink up my hair. A smile on my lips, I hoped my hair wouldn’t be the only thing kinked up that night. My stomach did flipflops at the thought of what Black had in store for me.
At 8:55, I knocked on his door. I heard him moving inside the house, but he didn’t answer.
A couple minutes passed and still I stood on his porch, the crickets chirping in the cooling night air. Maybe he hadn’t heard my knock. I rang the doorbell.
Another minute or so passed and every second that ticked by left me feeling foolish. Why was he making me wait? Finally out of patience, I fished my cell phone out of my purse and hit the auto-dial for his number.
As soon as Black jerked open the door, I knew I’d made a mistake. His lips down-turned, his eyes narrowed, he folded his arms over his chest.
The intensity of his stare unnerved me.
Fixing my gaze on the ground, I offered an explanation though he hadn’t demanded one, “I wanted to be sure I was on time.”
“But you aren’t on time, you’re early. Nine o’clock means nine o’clock.”
“Oh. I’m sorry.”
“Go into the dining room and sit.” He moved aside to let me pass. “To your left.”
Hurrying to do as instructed, I didn’t have much time to take in the decor of the house. Once I’d taken a seat, I studied the austerity of the mission style dining table, chairs and china cabinet. One massive photo―at least four feet by six feet―hung on an otherwise bare wall. It depicted a close up of a fig sliced in half. So suggestive was the imagery of female genitalia that I found myself averting my eyes, sneaking furtive glances. Every time I dared to look at it for more than a couple of seconds, my cheeks burned and butterflies flitted around my stomach.
The door clicked shut and I heard his footsteps head in the opposite direction. Then he returned, his cell phone in hand. Drawing his finger across the screen, he turned it so I could read. The glowing display showed his call log.
“Read the most recent entry,” he said.
“It says, ‘Red’.”
“And is it an incoming call or an outgoing one?”
“Incoming,” I mumbled. I knew exactly what I’d done wrong.
“I said never to call me.” He grabbed me by the hair and I flinched more out of surprise than pain. He wasn’t pulling all that hard…yet.
“I’m sorry.” I looked at him out of the corner of my eye, excited by the control he exerted over me.
Setting the phone aside, he moved behind me. Leaning down, he let his lips brush past my ear. I could feel his breath on my cheek and neck. Inhaling his cologne, I closed my eyes, my heartbeat quickening.
“You don’t listen.” He tightened his grasp, shaking me a little. I gasped, the pain sharper now, the throbbing of my pussy radiating throughout my body.
I didn’t reply, struggling to suppress a smile though I couldn’t figure out just why I felt like grinning.
“What’s funny?” He tugged at my hair.
The tug hurt so much my eyes watered. “Nothing.”
“Say it. Say, ‘I don’t listen’.” His held my head held back, forcing me to make eye contact.
“I―” My voice cracked, arousal and agony gripping my throat. “I don’t listen.”
“Do you need me to make you?”
“Yes…please.” My legs trembled, my pussy quivering at the thought of what he would do to punish me.
Bending me over the table, he pressed my cheek to the cool surface, hand still tangled in my hair, but he’d eased up on the agonizing hold.
The skirt I’d taken so much care to pick out wound up crumpled around my waist. He ripped off my panties then caressed the swell of my ass. I heard the jangle of his belt buckle and the woosh of it sliding out of his belt loops. Oh God, he was going to―
Crack!
I cried out and squirmed, the initial sting so intense I could hardly stand it, but he held me down.
Crack!
The belt smacked against my ass, heat spreading over the entire cheek. I yelped and whimpered. A sharp burning sensation ran along the junction of my buttock and my thigh and I was sure he’d given me a welt. The thought turned me on to no end. I was bare-assed, splayed out across a table and one of the most gorgeous men I’d ever met was punishing me. Oh yes, I wanted more.
 
Like what you read? Read more here: https://www.ellorascave.com/index.php/authors/index/author/slug/cindy-jacks/

Don't forget to keep on hopping! There are lots of great prizes :)
http://www.underthecoversbookblog.com/2013/03/heat-up-your-summer-sinful-sirens-giveaway-hop-sign-up-now-2.html

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Cowboys and Lawmen Blog Hop - #Giveaway

Welcome to the Cowboys and Lawmen Blog Hop! Be sure to leave a comment for a chance to win a copy of LANDLOCKED, a PIRATES AT HEART poster and some bath time goodies. Winner will be drawn at random from entries.

My series, Pirates at Heart features a hero who's  part cowboy, part pirate and all alpha male. Captain Brett Logan Jr. is a privateer working for the Texan government in an alternate future. He's always outrunning and outgunning the invaders who have taken over what once was the USA and that doesn't leave him much time to fall in love...until he meets Kate. Logan and Kate's romance begins with book one titled LANDLOCKED.

Blurb:
For ten years, Kathryn has struggled to survive in a war-torn region that used to be part of the United States. Her country ripped apart and her husband presumed dead, she and her son need a miracle to find safe passage to the West. She’s not expecting that miracle to come in the form of Captain Brett Logan when he stumbles, injured, onto her front porch.
A privateer for the Republic of Texas, Logan keeps one eye on the horizon and one hand on his sidearm, knowing the life of a modern-day pirate is often short. When an enemy bomb nearly ends him, Kathryn nurses him back to health. Against her better judgment, she’s drawn to the enigmatic man with his tattoos and battle scars.
Kate finds shelter in Logan’s arms—and his bed. The captain navigates her body with the same skill that he sails the seven seas. The heat of their passion gives way to deeper currents. But with danger surrounding them, they must struggle to stay together and survive.

Excerpt:
Copyright © CINDY JACKS, 2011

All Rights Reserved, Ellora's Cave Publishing, Inc.

No matter how many times she corrected herself, her gaze returned to his taut torso. In the light of day, the tattoos stood out against his tanned skin. Something about the tats intrigued her, made him seem more dangerous. Exciting. She’d never been with a man like that. Then she noticed another woman’s name scrawled across his chest.

He’s already spoken for, she reminded herself.

Wetting his hair, she brushed the fine strands away from his face. She lathered her hands again and set about scrubbing his scalp. Locks of hair slipped through her fingers like silk and more than once she smoothed them across her hand just because she liked the feel.

“Mm, that’s nice.” He looked up at her.

Her throat tight, she didn’t know how to reply. Ignoring the hammering of her heart, which echoed between her legs, she finished rinsing his hair with a few dipperfuls of water.

“Okay, you’re done.” She wiped her hands on her apron again.

“Thank you.” He sat up and blotted at rivulets of water that streamed down his sculpted neck.

“No big deal.”

He gave an impish grin. “It’s been awhile since a woman has touched me like that.”

Her cheeks grew hot and she tamped down the impulse to rake her fingers through his wet locks. Before she could stop herself, she asked, “Who’s Blanca?”

“What?”

“On your chest,” she pointed at the tat. “Who is she?”

He looked down at the rose on his chest. “An amazing woman who will never be mine. I’d had a bit too much tequila the night I got that tattoo, thought it might impress her. It didn’t.”

“You still have a relationship with her?”

“Not so much a relationship as an arrangement—her word, not mine.”

“Hmph. Should’ve known.”

Still toweling his hair, he asked, “What’s that mean?”

“Nothing.” Her cheeks burned hotter, anger replacing chagrin.

“It meant something.” He crossed his arms over his chest, arching an eyebrow.

“You’re just that kind of man. A girl in every port, a flagrant disregard for social standards. It’s that devil-may-care attitude that lets you stretch the limits of decency.”

“Oh yeah? How so?” His posture stiffened, he towered over her, leaning forward, his scent flooding her nostrils.

“Well, you know.” She dropped his gaze and busied herself cleaning up. “Roy says you run heroin for the Mexican cartels.”

“Heroin?” Furrowing his brow, he shook his head. “No. Hell no. I’ve never smuggled hard drugs like that.”

“‘Hard drugs’? Am I correct in assuming you’ve run what you’d consider ‘soft drugs’?”

Again he advanced on her, too close for comfort. “Sometimes during the course of a business deal, I have to be flexible. I do favors for powerful men and they procure the medical supplies and munitions I need. But it’s only marijuana or generic Viagra, maybe counterfeit painkillers. Nothing that would ever hurt anyone.”

“It could hurt me and my son, having a drug smuggler in the house.”

He narrowed his eyes. “But when I was just a gun-running pirate, that was okay?”

Kathryn slammed her hand on the counter. “As soon as you’re stable to travel, I want you out of my house.”

“What’s with you? First you don’t like me because I’m a Texan and Texans didn’t do enough to keep the Union together. Now you don’t like me because I’m willing to go too far for a cause I believe in. You’re an awfully hard woman to please.”

“Why on earth are you trying to please me in the first place?”

His gaze locked with hers and he sighed, but gave her no answer.

Of all the stubborn, skirt-chasing, infuriating men. Kathryn ground her teeth. He talked about casual sex and smuggling dope as if these activities were as normal as eating breakfast. A man who tattooed himself with a woman’s name on a drunken whim? Had he no respect, no boundaries?

Throwing her hands in the air, she headed for her bedroom, but Logan stepped in front of her. At first she thought it an act of aggression, but instead of malice or annoyance on his face, she saw something else flame in his eyes. One large, work-calloused hand glanced over her cheek and he brushed away a stray lock of hair.

“What do you think—?” she began to object. He put a finger to her lips and caught her around the waist. More barbed indignation sprang to mind but her mouth refused to cooperate. In fact her whole body had turned mutinous at the feel of his warm skin. Visions of her dream flashed through her mind.

His lips pressed to hers. Not a peck or a whisper of a kiss, but a full measure of passion. His tongue sought out hers, hot breath against her cheek, strong arms bound her torso to his. She gripped his shoulders, struggling to resist the fire raging between her thighs.

How long their embrace lasted, she couldn’t say, but when they parted she had to fight the urge to draw him in again.

Her eyelids heavy, she opened them halfway to see his look of amused satisfaction.

“Sorry, I interrupted you,” he murmured. “You were saying?”

Damned if she could remember. She touched her fingertips to her chin, her lips still tingling. Without another thought, she grabbed his neck and pulled him into a deep kiss. The scent of his skin freshly shaven with her lavender soap filled her nostrils. Mixed with his body chemistry, the fragrance took on a woodsy musk. She inhaled again, unable to get enough.

Backing her against the table, he sent a few books and a pan of silverware clattering to the floor, not that either of them noticed. Her ears rang with the blood pounding through them, the same throb manifesting between her thighs. He moved his hands down to her backside, hitched up her skirt and scooped her up. Wrapping her legs around his hips, she clung to his neck, mouth hungry, their tongues intertwined.

Buy-it link: http://www.ellorascave.com/landlocked.html

Check out the entire series at Ellora's Cave!