Everly Ryan

Historical Romance Author

"Ellora's Cave"

Available Now! Lover for Ransom by Debra Glass

"Civil War", "Debra Glass", "Ellora's Cave", "HIstorical Romance", "Kerry Freeman", "Romance Magicians", "Silken Sheets Blog", "Susana's Parlour", "civil war 150th anniversary", "civil war research", "civil war romance"Debra GlassComment

Release day has arrived! My new historical, Lover for Ransom, is available at Ellora’s Cave in all eReader formats. To celebrate, I’m blogging today, (March 20) with Kerry Freeman HERE and March 21, on Susana’s Parlour HERE. On March 22, I’ll be guest blogging on Silken Sheets and my Romance Writers of America chapter, Southern Magic’s Romance Magicians Blog. There’ll be chances to win a free download, character interviews, author interviews, and some tidbits about where I got my inspiration for my hero and heroine, oh, and my favorite secondary character in Lover for Ransom, an attitudinal horse named String Bean.

loverforransom_msrBlurb -

Lover for Ransom

Debra Glass

Ransom Byrne has been ravaged by guilt since an illness rendered his little sister blind. The former Confederate cavalry officer has resolved to make amends by hiring a Yankee tutor who’ll hopefully restore order to his sister’s life. Once that’s accomplished, he’ll be free to leave Byrne’s End.

From the moment she steps off the train in Tennessee, Cathleen Ryan makes a startling first impression. With her feminist ideas, the irrepressible Bostonian quickly outrages everyone—especially Ransom. He deems the bespectacled teacher too uptight and prim for his tastes. Appearances, however, are deceiving. She tenders decadent proposals that shock and intrigue him, and sultry nights spent submitting to his every illicit request offer them both love and redemption.

But when her steadfast convictions attract the attention of dangerous men, Cathleen risks losing her chance of becoming more than just a lover for Ransom.

Inside Scoop: This nineteenth-century tale contains mild violence, spanking, sloppy puppy kisses, more spanking, fiery suffragette speeches and an attitudinal horse named String Bean.

A Romantica® historical erotic romance from Ellora’s Cave

 

Click HERE to buy Lover for Ransom in all eReader format at Ellora’s Cave today!

Excerpt -

An Excerpt From: LOVER FOR RANSOM

Copyright © DEBRA GLASS, 2013

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

“Don’t you ever read anything for pleasure?”

She toyed with the earpieces of her glasses, her mind fixed on the way his velvety drawl had played havoc with the word pleasure. She cleared her throat. “There are far too many important things to read to waste my poor eyesight on frivolities, Mr. Byrne.”

He closed her book, set it on the table and stood. Cathleen flinched as his leg brushed hers when he passed on his way to the bookcase. He opened it and pressed his fingertip to his lips in thought as he perused its contents.

Cathleen studied his casual stance. His weight shifted to one leg and his head cocked to the side. He looked back at her, stared so long it made her insides quiver and then turned back to the collection and removed a slender book from the shelf.

“I shall read to you then,” he said with a smile and he returned to his chair. “To protect your poor eyesight from…frivolities.”

Cathleen gulped as his long fingers opened the book and he thumbed through the pages. It looked like a child’s volume in his hands and she couldn’t help but wonder what he’d chosen.

“Ah, here,” he said, placing his elbow casually on the armrest of his chair to hold the book at a comfortable height. “It was many and many a year ago, in a kingdom by the sea, that a maiden lived there that you may know by the name of Annabel Lee.”

Edgar Allan Poe. Of course she was familiar with the famed Baltimore author. But she’d read his works in braille, and certainly had never heard them read aloud by a man with such a hauntingly husky voice. This night—this moment, with the clock’s pendulum ticking off the seconds in time with the poem’s meter and the flickering glow of the lamp—seemed to be made for the dark, beautifully macabre poem about a woman who’d died before her time.

“For the moon never beams without bringing me dreams of the beautiful Annabel Lee,” Ransom continued.

Cathleen closed her eyes, picturing a pair of young lovers walking hand in hand on a stormy beach. Ransom’s voice transported her and she felt the anguish of the author who’d lost his love only to find himself frequented by her ghost.

“And so, all the night-tide, I lie down by the side, of my darling—my darling—my life and my bride, in the sepulcher there by the sea, in her tomb by the sounding sea.”

Eyes still closed, Cathleen sat in the stillness, absorbing the song contained in the words. When her lashes fluttered open, she was surprised at the tear that traced down her cheek. Blushing, she swept it away. “Very nice, Mr. Byrne.”

He raised his eyebrows in mock warning.

She giggled. She actually giggled. Closing her eyes for a split second, she struggled to compose herself. She was acting like a bashful schoolgirl. “Ransom,” she corrected, her voice but a breath.

In that instant, something had suddenly changed between them and she was at a loss to decipher it.

Staring, he inhaled. “With your hair loose, you reminded me of the woman in that poem.”

Her eyes widened. “Dead?”

He chuckled without mirth. “No. Wild and windswept.”

This time, Cathleen did begin to smooth her hair down.

“No,” he said. “No. Don’t touch it. It’s perfect the way it is.” He must have realized he’d said too much. “I mean, it’s only you and me. There’s no need for pretense.”

Cathleen nodded. Her gaze fell to the brown leather covered book in his hand. “Do you believe such love exists?”

He snorted and closed the book. “This was the fancy of a man who imbibed too much and who thought too much. Love like that is for the young and foolish—for people who haven’t experienced the things I have.”

Cathleen gnawed her bottom lip. “Are you referring to your time during the war?”

He suddenly looked uncomfortable. His big and masculine exterior seemed incongruous with his sudden unease. “Yeah,” he admitted. “I saw and did things no living human being should ever have to see or do. Things that’ll make you hate yourself.”

Cathleen didn’t know how to respond. Newspapers told of the hardships and combat. She’d seen soldiers boarding trains to join the fighting. She’d watched neighbors don their widow’s weeds. She herself had received a telegram informing her that her brother had been killed. But even when the war had come into her very home, it had always seemed a distant thing. But these Tennesseans had lived the war. This man had fought it. Federal troops had occupied their home. While on the train, she’d overheard tales about frightening guerilla raids from both sides, about men who didn’t live by any code of decency, who took what they wanted and killed indiscriminately. These families had lived day to day, wondering if their hard-earned food stores, their homes or even their very lives would be taken from them.

“No,” Ransom continued. “The war was anything but glory.”

Still, Cathleen remained uncharacteristically silent. While she pitied the plight of these people, in her eyes, the war had been a necessary evil, a vehicle through which an entire race had broken the bonds of slavery and declared themselves free. And yet, she didn’t feel free to admit her thoughts on the matter to Ransom Byrne. Not tonight.

“What about you, Cathleen?” he asked, his gaze finding and holding hers, daring her to correct him. “Do you believe in that kind of love?” His tone was almost mocking.

Realizing he’d shifted the conversation back to the poem, she let out a laugh. “Of course not. In fact, I don’t agree with marriage at all and I shall never marry.”

“How did you come to this conclusion?”

“Contrary to what you might think, I haven’t chosen a life of spinsterhood because I am bookish and outspoken, not to mention plain.” She straightened, confused at the way a belief she’d always maintained with pride, now hurt. “No. I simply do not accept as true that a woman should have to marry and live out her days in subjugation.”

“Subjugation?” he asked and then laughed. “I’ve always thought that was the other way around. All the married men I know are pretty beholden to their wives.”

“That’s but a puerile joke. We all know that marriage gives husbands rights to a woman’s livelihood and even her body, if he so chooses to claim them. For a woman, marriage is nothing but legalized…rape.”

This time, both his eyebrows shot up. “That’s a mighty strong word.”

“A married man can demand his rights anytime he chooses. Therefore, if a woman is forced into coitus with him, it is legalized rape.” Cathleen lifted her chin, awaiting an argument. It was a strong word. But he needed to know how she felt about subjugation. She needed him to know it.

Instead, he surprised her. “Don’t you ever feel desire?”

Yes, I’m feeling it this very instant.

Lover for Ransom–Available March 20, 2013

"American Civil War", "Debra Glass", "Ellora's Cave", "HIstorical Romance", "Lover for Ransom", "civil war romance"Debra GlassComment
loverforransom_msr

Lover for Ransom

Debra Glass
Ransom Byrne has been ravaged by guilt since an illness rendered his little sister blind. The former Confederate cavalry officer has resolved to make amends by hiring a Yankee tutor who’ll hopefully restore order to his sister’s life. Once accomplished, he’ll be free to leave Byrne’s End.
From the moment she steps off the train in Tennessee, Cathleen Ryan makes a startling first impression. With her feminist ideas, the irrepressible Bostonian quickly outrages everyone—especially Ransom. He deems the bespectacled teacher too uptight and prim for his tastes. Appearances, however, are deceiving. She tenders decadent proposals that shock and intrigue him, and sultry nights spent submitting to his every illicit request offer them both love and redemption.
But when her steadfast convictions attract the attention of dangerous men, Cathleen risks losing her chance of becoming more than just a lover for Ransom.
A Romantica® historical erotic romance from Ellora’s Cave
Buy Ebook March 20
Excerpt ~
An Excerpt From: LOVER FOR RANSOM
Copyright © DEBRA GLASS, 2013
All Rights Reserved, Ellora's Cave Publishing, Inc.
“Don’t you ever read anything for pleasure?”
She toyed with the earpieces of her glasses, her mind fixed on the way his velvety drawl had played havoc with the word pleasure. She cleared her throat. “There are far too many important things to read to waste my poor eyesight on frivolities, Mr. Byrne.”
He closed her book, set it on the table and stood. Cathleen flinched as his leg brushed hers when he passed on his way to the bookcase. He opened it and pressed his fingertip to his lips in thought as he perused its contents.
Cathleen studied his casual stance. His weight shifted to one leg and his head cocked to the side. He looked back at her, stared so long it made her insides quiver and then turned back to the collection and removed a slender book from the shelf.
“I shall read to you then,” he said with a smile and he returned to his chair. “To protect your poor eyesight from…frivolities.”
Cathleen gulped as his long fingers opened the book and he thumbed through the pages. It looked like a child’s volume in his hands and she couldn’t help but wonder what he’d chosen.
“Ah, here,” he said, placing his elbow casually on the armrest of his chair to hold the book at a comfortable height. “It was many and many a year ago, in a kingdom by the sea, that a maiden lived there that you may know by the name of Annabel Lee.”
Edgar Allan Poe. Of course she was familiar with the famed Baltimore author. But she’d read his works in braille, and certainly had never heard them read aloud by a man with such a hauntingly husky voice. This night—this moment, with the clock’s pendulum ticking off the seconds in time with the poem’s meter and the flickering glow of the lamp—seemed to be made for the dark, beautifully macabre poem about a woman who’d died before her time.
“For the moon never beams without bringing me dreams of the beautiful Annabel Lee,” Ransom continued.
Cathleen closed her eyes, picturing a pair of young lovers walking hand in hand on a stormy beach. Ransom’s voice transported her and she felt the anguish of the author who’d lost his love only to find himself frequented by her ghost.
“And so, all the night-tide, I lie down by the side, of my darling—my darling—my life and my bride, in the sepulcher there by the sea, in her tomb by the sounding sea.”
Eyes still closed, Cathleen sat in the stillness, absorbing the song contained in the words. When her lashes fluttered open, she was surprised at the tear that traced down her cheek. Blushing, she swept it away. “Very nice, Mr. Byrne.”
He raised his eyebrows in mock warning.
She giggled. She actually giggled. Closing her eyes for a split second, she struggled to compose herself. She was acting like a bashful schoolgirl. “Ransom,” she corrected, her voice but a breath.
In that instant, something had suddenly changed between them and she was at a loss to decipher it.
Staring, he inhaled. “With your hair loose, you reminded me of the woman in that poem.”
Her eyes widened. “Dead?”
He chuckled without mirth. “No. Wild and windswept.”
This time, Cathleen did begin to smooth her hair down.
“No,” he said. “No. Don’t touch it. It’s perfect the way it is.” He must have realized he’d said too much. “I mean, it’s only you and me. There’s no need for pretense.”
Cathleen nodded. Her gaze fell to the brown leather covered book in his hand. “Do you believe such love exists?”
He snorted and closed the book. “This was the fancy of a man who imbibed too much and who thought too much. Love like that is for the young and foolish—for people who haven’t experienced the things I have.”
Cathleen gnawed her bottom lip. “Are you referring to your time during the war?”
He suddenly looked uncomfortable. His big and masculine exterior seemed incongruous with his sudden unease. “Yeah,” he admitted. “I saw and did things no living human being should ever have to see or do. Things that’ll make you hate yourself.”
Cathleen didn’t know how to respond. Newspapers told of the hardships and combat. She’d seen soldiers boarding trains to join the fighting. She’d watched neighbors don their widow’s weeds. She herself had received a telegram informing her that her brother had been killed. But even when the war had come into her very home, it had always seemed a distant thing. But these Tennesseans had lived the war. This man had fought it. Federal troops had occupied their home. While on the train, she’d overheard tales about frightening guerilla raids from both sides, about men who didn’t live by any code of decency, who took what they wanted and killed indiscriminately. These families had lived day to day, wondering if their hard-earned food stores, their homes or even their very lives would be taken from them.
“No,” Ransom continued. “The war was anything but glory.”
Still, Cathleen remained uncharacteristically silent. While she pitied the plight of these people, in her eyes, the war had been a necessary evil, a vehicle through which an entire race had broken the bonds of slavery and declared themselves free. And yet, she didn’t feel free to admit her thoughts on the matter to Ransom Byrne. Not tonight.
“What about you, Cathleen?” he asked, his gaze finding and holding hers, daring her to correct him. “Do you believe in that kind of love?” His tone was almost mocking.
Realizing he’d shifted the conversation back to the poem, she let out a laugh. “Of course not. In fact, I don’t agree with marriage at all and I shall never marry.”
“How did you come to this conclusion?”
“Contrary to what you might think, I haven’t chosen a life of spinsterhood because I am bookish and outspoken, not to mention plain.” She straightened, confused at the way a belief she’d always maintained with pride, now hurt. “No. I simply do not accept as true that a woman should have to marry and live out her days in subjugation.”
“Subjugation?” he asked and then laughed. “I’ve always thought that was the other way around. All the married men I know are pretty beholden to their wives.”
“That’s but a puerile joke. We all know that marriage gives husbands rights to a woman’s livelihood and even her body, if he so chooses to claim them. For a woman, marriage is nothing but legalized…rape.”
This time, both his eyebrows shot up. “That’s a mighty strong word.”
“A married man can demand his rights anytime he chooses. Therefore, if a woman is forced into coitus with him, it is legalized rape.” Cathleen lifted her chin, awaiting an argument. It was a strong word. But he needed to know how she felt about subjugation. She needed him to know it.
Instead, he surprised her. “Don’t you ever feel desire?”
Yes, I’m feeling it this very instant.

Happy Birthday to my Favorite Hero–Thomas Benton Smith

"20th Tennesee Infantry Regiment", "American Civil War", "Debra Glass", "Ellora's Cave", "Gatekeeper", "HIstorical Romance", "Rebel Rose", "Scarlet Belles", "Scarlet Widow", "Scarlet", "Shadowkeeper", "Thomas Benton Smith", "civil war romance", "paranormal romance"Debra GlassComment
 


"First romance, first love, is something so special to all of us, both emotionally and physically, that it touches our lives and enriches them forever." ~ Rosemary Rogers
 
Gatekeeper featured Benton Smith, the ghostly hero in my first published romance and first Phantom Lovers series book. The character of Benton Smith was based on the real Thomas Benton Smith who was born in 1838, near Triune, Tennessee. Smith, who showed promise as an inventor, attended Western Military Institute in Nashville, and when his state seceded from the Union, he enlisted in Company B of the 20th Tennessee Infantry. His cool head in battle and sharp intelligence propelled him higher in rank until he was commissioned Brigadier General of the 20th TN Infantry – making him the youngest brigadier in the Army of Tennessee. Sadly, Smith was struck down in a cowardly attack by Union Colonel Wm. L. McMillen, after Smith surrendered at the Battle of Nashville. Smith suffered 3 blows to the head which rendered him mentally incapacitate for the rest of his life. In 1876, he was committed to the Central State Hospital for the Insane in Nashville. When he died in 1923, he was the last remaining brigadier general of the Army of the Tennessee. But did you know the hauntingly handsome Confederate General Smith has made cameo appearances in several of my books?
 
Here's a description from Gatekeeper ~
 
 
Jillian froze. She could not move. She could not breathe. The ghost she had seen in her vision stood before her. Dressed in a worn and double-breasted cadet gray, thigh-length frock coat, he was nearly opaque and looked as real as a flesh-and-blood man with the exception of appearing somewhat faded. Jillian gaped. The only thing separating them was the flimsy old card table and she doubted that would stop him if it occurred to him to come any closer. Her pulse pounded relentlessly.

“What’s the matter? Cat got your tongue?” He came closer, his boots resounding on the wood floor. Spurs jingled with each step.

Jillian’s back flattened against the chair. Her breath left her lungs in an audible rush. She had glimpsed ghosts many times before but never had one been this present, this alive. She stared. But it wasn’t because of his devastatingly rakish appearance—the roughly chiseled cheekbones, straight nose and curve of his sensual lips—it was because he looked so real and because she felt a very odd sense of recognition. Still, the static charge of energy emanating from him left her with no doubt he was a ghost.
 

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Benton Smith reappears in the second Phantom Lovers book, Shadowkeeper ~
 
Jillian stood in the bathroom drying her hair with a fluffy white towel. She heard the water shut off and watched as the shower door opened and Benton stepped out, dripping and naked, onto the beige bathmat.

His dark, wavy hair was tousled carelessly about his head. Rivulets of water beaded and ran down his corded neck and muscular chest. Jillian’s breath froze when her gaze landed on the scar marring his left shoulder. He’d taken a bullet during the battle of Murfreesboro—where his brother had died. The wound had followed him even into death.
 
 
 
 

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My short story, Extra Sensual Perception, is included in the Flavors of Ecstasy I anthology. Set in Nashville, the hero lives on Benton Smith Road, a street named after the real Thomas Benton Smith. The road encircles Shy's Hill where Smith was captured during the Battle of Nashville.
 
Nashville traffic on a Friday afternoon was a bitch and when Iris finally turned onto Harding Place, she was thwarted by a long line of slow-moving drivers. Even switching on her hazard lights and honking her horn didn’t yield results.

When she ultimately arrived at Benton Smith Road, she turned and raced around the circle until she found the address. The driveway wound downward and when Iris saw a silver BMW in the garage, her heart sank.

The house looked sickeningly familiar. She’d seen it before—in her vision of his death.

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Benton Smith also makes a cameo appearance in Rebel Rose, a historical set in my home town of Florence, Alabama.
 
In October 1864, Confederate General John Bell Hood moved his twenty thousand strong Army of Tennessee through Florence Alabama on his way north to fight the battles of Franklin and Nashville.
 
Benton Smith's brigade was among them ~
 
Panic unfurled through her limbs and Rose tried to sit up but Dr. Roberts urged her back down on the pillows. “You’re not ready to get up just yet, Mrs. O’Kelley. Be still.”

Another Confederate appeared in the doorway. He looked to be about the same age as the young doctor and also surprised to see her awake. “How’s your patient?”

“She’s giving me more trouble than one of the boys, General Smith.”

The boy general’s dimples deepened with his handsome smile. “Mind the doctor, missy. He’s a good doctor. My only complaint is that he’s a little too fond of being at front for my taste.”

Digital Edition

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scarletwidow_msrHis cameo in Scarlet Widow is a bit more subtle.
 

A handsome, young officer on horseback drew up alongside the fencing. He tipped his weathered hat. “Good day, ma’am. Is this about where Major Barksdale lives?”

“Yes sir, it is,” Athena said, boldly stepping between Molly and the officer.

He nodded in polite deference to Athena. “Thank you, ma’am.”

Molly shielded her eyes from the sun as she looked up at him.

He slid out of the saddle and gave his gray horse a pat on the muzzle. “I’m Brigadier General T. B. Smith.”

“Oh yes, you’re Major Barksdale’s commanding officer,” Molly said, recognizing the name. She stopped short of mentioning the general’s youth. Everyone knew of the Twentieth Tennessee Regiment’s boy general, the youngest in the entire Army of Tennessee. In spite of his moustache and spade beard, he looked far too boyish for his command.

“At least this’un has manners,” Athena groused. She’d always been one easily swayed by a handsome face.

“Have you any word of my brother-in-law, Major Greer Barks—” Molly began, but another horse broke through the column. Greer flew out of the saddle and flung his arms around Molly.

Joyful tears sprang to her eyes, flowing freely down her cheeks and onto Greer’s tattered coat. She wanted to let loose everything she’d been holding in. Her brain tried to remind her this was temporary but she would not heed it. Not now. Not while she felt safe and protected if only for a moment.

Years of hardship, the horrors of that night the Yankees came to her house and then the gut-wrenching pain of Witt’s death poured out of her all at once. Greer held her close, apologizing for the odor of his coat, of his body. Molly didn’t care. She’d grown accustomed to the musk of damp wool, of gunpowder and unwashed bodies. At times, she wondered if life would ever go back to the way it was before the war. Then, everyone had seemed so carefree and relaxed. So genteel.

Finally she lifted her face from Greer’s chest and gazed into his hazel eyes. “Where’s…where’s Hardin?”

Greer’s expression turned grim. He glanced at his father and then at Smith.

The boy general stepped forward. His good-natured smile faded. “I regret to inform you both that Lieutenant Barksdale deserted.”

Molly gasped. “Not Hardin.”

Athena’s bottom lip protruded. “He wouldn’t dare.”

“Goddamn coward,” Hamish muttered, his words slurred.

Greer stared at his father for a moment before he bleakly shook his head. “Hardin has disgraced us all.”

“That don’t sound like my Hardin,” Athena argued. “He ain’t the easiest of you three but he ain’t no coward, neither.” Hardin had always been her favorite, despite his surly attitude.

He was difficult and obstinate. But there was no better judge of character in Maury County than Athena, and Molly had to agree with her assessment. Darkly, Molly’s thoughts turned to the last time she’d seen him. He’d sat on her bed. He’d nearly kissed her. And then he’d left her to the mercy of the most uncouth band of men she’d ever had the misfortune to meet. Damn him. “When did he desert?”

“During the summer,” Greer said.

“Smack-dab in the middle of the Atlanta campaign,” Smith added. Under his breath, he confessed, “Of course, when Johnston was replaced with Hood, we had a good many deserters.”

No wonder Hardin hadn’t wanted her to mention to anyone that she’d seen him. Still, she couldn’t wrap her brain around it. Hardin? A deserter?

Maybe he’d realized what Molly now knew. It was foolish for men to continue to die for the cause.

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For more information about the real Thomas Benton Smith, click HERE
 
 

Lover for Ransom by Debra Glass

"Civil War", "Debra Glass", "Ellora's Cave", "Erotic Romance", "HIstorical Romance", "Lover for Ransom", "civil war romance", "erotic historical romance", "erotic"Debra GlassComment

A New  Historical Romance Coming Soon!

Lover for Ransom

Ransom Byrne has been ravaged by guilt since an illness rendered his little sister blind. The former Confederate cavalry officer has resolved to make amends by hiring a Yankee tutor who’ll hopefully restore order to his sister’s life. Once accomplished, he’ll be free to leave Byrne’s End.

From the moment she steps off the train in Tennessee, Cathleen Ryan makes a startling first impression. With her feminist ideas, the irrepressible Bostonian quickly outrages everyone—especially Ransom. He deems the bespectacled teacher too uptight and prim for his tastes. Appearances, however, are deceiving. She tenders decadent proposals that shock and intrigue him, and sultry nights spent submitting to his every illicit request offer them both love and redemption.

But when her steadfast convictions attract the attention of dangerous men, Cathleen risks losing her chance of becoming more than just a lover for Ransom.

A Romantica® historical erotic romance from Ellora’s Cave

Read my favorite scene HERE by clicking the magnifying glass at the top right corner of the cover.

*Available March 20, 2013 wherever Ellora’s Cave Ebooks are sold

Ellora’s Cave | Amazon | B&N | ARE

Coming Soon! Lover for Ransom by Debra Glass

"Bought and Paid For", "Debra Glass", "Ellora's Cave", "HIstorical Romance", "Scarlet Belles", "Scarlet Widow", "civil war romance", "erotic historical romance"Debra GlassComment

I’m excited to announce that I’ve contracted a new historical romance with Ellora’s Cave. Lover for Ransom will be released wherever EC books are sold Spring 2013. **whispering** Scarlet Belles containing Bought and Paid For and Scarlet Widow might also appear in print this Spring.

Lover for Ransom

Ransom Byrne has been ravaged with guilt ever since an illness rendered his little sister blind. The former Confederate cavalry officer has resolved to make amends by hiring a tutor from up North who’ll hopefully restore order to his sister’s life. After that’s accomplished, he’ll be free to leave Byrne’s End.

From the moment she steps off the train in Thompson’s Station, Tennessee, Cathleen Ryan makes a startling first impression. With her feminist ideas, the irrepressible Bostonian quickly outrages everyone—especially Ransom. At first glimpse he deems the bespectacled teacher too uptight and prim for his tastes. Appearances, however, are deceiving. She tenders decadent proposals that shock and intrigue him, and sultry nights spent submitting to his every illicit request offer them both love and redemption. But when her steadfast convictions attract the attention of dangerous men she risks losing her chance of ever becoming more than just a lover for Ransom.

Guest Blog–Naima Simone is in the House to Treat Us to an Interview with Hippogryph Shifter Hero, Nicolai Abioud

"Ellora's Cave", "Naima Simone", "Southern Magic RWA", "Under His Wings", "paranormal romance", "shifter romance"Debra Glass23 Comments

It is my utmost pleasure to host my best writer friend, the wonderfully talented, Naima Simone, whose new paranormal romance, Under His Wings, releases today.

I first met Naima when I was asked to speak at the Southern Magic Chapter of Romance Writers of America. After she and I talked, I invited her to send a partial of one of her works in progress and told her I’d see if I thought my publisher might be interested.

Needless to say, I was impressed by Naima’s emotionally charged, beautiful writing. Her characters reach off the page to grab you by the heart. A word of warning: They never let go.

This past year, she announced to me that she was stepping out on a limb and trying her hand at paranormal romance. I’ll just say this. I loved Naima’s contemporary suspense romances. I REALLY REALLY LOVE her paranormals, featuring a clutch of sexy hippogryph (yes, like Buckbeak!) shifting bad asses known as Dimios. Think Navy Seals who can sprout wings and talons and fly.

I got to proof and critique this novel as she wrote it and it’s one of the best – scratch that – THE BEST – paranormal romance I’ve read in a long, long time. It’s safe to say it’s the best shifter romance I’ve ever read. Under His Wings is charged with gripping characters, emotion, a villain to rival Loki, sexy love scenes, and imagery that will stick with you long after you read the last word. Lucky us, because she’s got another in this series slated to release sometime later this year!

 

Oh, and guess what? One lucky commenter is going to get a digital copy of this fantastic book! So be sure to let Ms. Simone know how much you loved the interview.

So without further adieu, ladies and gentlemen, put your hands together for Ms. Naima Simone as she treats you to a character interview with her head hippogryph, Nicolai Abioud ~

 

Under_His_Wings_CoverAt the behest of her king, Zora Leandros has travelled to Grace Crossings, Massachusetts to interview hippogryph Dimios, Nicolai Abioud. She waits for the warrior at a local pub he “suggested”.

Check. Check mic one. Check mic two.

This recorder better work.

I’m sitting in a pub located in some unknown point on the globe called Grace Crossings at the order, er, request of King Janus to meet with his son, Nicolai Abioud. Yes, that Nicolai. The Dimios, Nicolai. The judge, jury, executioner of our race, Nicolai. The “I am the laaaw” Nicolai.

So let this mandated interview also serve as my last will and testament. If I’m not back home in Patros within the next twenty-four hours, I have not decided to take a sudden vacation in Bermuda. I haven’t met a ripped, delicious male who has whisked me away to a secret hide-away for days filled with lust and debauchery. Sigh. As much as I wish a hot, able-bodied slice of—cough! Anyway, as I was saying. Don’t be fooled! Come look for me! I’m most likely scattered across the eastern starboard in itty-bitty mini-me pieces because the Dimios disapproved of a question I asked and now I’m swimming with the fishes!

Oh damn, let me make it outta here alive—

Deep, Rumbling Voice: Are you the interviewer my father sent?

My head jerks up. Holy shikeys! Where’s the freakin’ beer? My fingers graze the cold glass, and I snatch it up, gulp down the bitter alcohol. Zeus-on-a-crapper, he is HUGE. Feet encased in the largest black boots I’ve ever seen. Thighs that rival the columns of the Parthenon. Hands like the paws of a lion. A chest and shoulders that blocks out the entire stinkin’ bar and hot damn! That face. Adonis in the flesh with angles and planes like the mountains we both hail from. And that hair. I downed another mouthful of beer. If he was a woman I’d snark about him behind his back even as I hunted down his hairstylist with the ferocity of a PMS-ing harpy!

He arches a golden eyebrow.

Me: (clearing my throat) Uh, yes. I’m sorry. That’s me. Zora Leandros.

My knees slam against the underside of the table as I start to rise without sliding out of the booth first. Fire races up my neck and flares in my cheeks. Hell.

Nicolai: (waving a hand at me as he slips into the booth into the booth across from me) Please. Sit. The sooner we get started the sooner this fluff piece is over with.

Me: I wouldn’t call it a fluff piece…

Nicolai: (snorts) Oh really? Then tell me, Ms. Leandros, what is the purpose of this interview?

I try not to squirm in my chair but damn, with him leaning forward, looming like a cat about to pounce…screw it. I’m squirming.

Me: King Janus thought it would be beneficial to allow our people a glimpse into the Dimios, the man, the protector. He wanted to show a, um, more human side of you…so to speak.

Nicolai: (snorting again) A fluff piece.

Me: (a little peeved now) Not at—

Nicolai: Let’s get to it. What’s your first question?

Offended and a tad bit flustered, I flip my notepad open to the list of questions King Janus’ publicist provided me with—Hera’s Girdle! His hands are gi-normous! I mean, if the size of a man’s hands determines the length of his…manly bits, he must make a centaur look like a eunuch… And his eyes. Sweet Zeus, he has the most amazing lavender eyes…

Nicolai: (a low growl) Excuse me? What did you say?

Oh shit.

Me: Lies. A cadaver can’t tell lies. That’s what I said. *cough* And since most people who encounter you end up y’know, a cadaver, your father wants someone…alive to report back…

He crosses his arms and cocks his head to the side, studying me.

Me: Right, right. Let’s see. That first question. What do you like to do on a...uh…relaxing…evening. Oh hell.

Nicolai falls back against the booth, a smirk riding the sensual, slightly cruel curve of his mouth.

Nicolai: Zora, you think I don’t know what my father is up to? I’m the Dimios. I hunt and kill those of our people who go rogue. I may be the justice of the hippogryph but I’m also the one mothers warn their young about when they misbehave. I’m the thing that goes bump in the night. So I really don’t believe a cute article about how I prefer to kick back on a night off is going to change anything. You think I didn’t smell your fear? That it doesn’t reach me now?

The bald, ugly truth of his words slam into my chest, snatching the breath from my lungs. Shame slinks into my stomach to curl and curdle like spoiled milk. He’s right. We depend on him. Yet…we fear him.

Me: Does that bother you?

His eyebrows slam down in a dark scowl and I know he’s caught my whispered question.

Nicolai: Does what bother me?

Me: Being the boogey man of our race.

Nicolai: (loosening his arms and splaying his long fingers across the table top) I do what needs to be done. I have no illusions about my role in the hippogryph’s existence.

Me: (swallowing hard) But it sounds so…lonely. Don’t you get tired of being alone?

His fingers curl into the scarred wood the slightest bit but immediately straighten. Something flashes in his violet eyes but that imperceptible thing is gone behind a flinty amethyst gaze.

Nicolai: Like I said, I have no illusions about my role. Sacrifices must be made. And besides, the costs… (He pauses and his jaw hardens until I’m almost afraid it will crack under the pressure) The costs are high.

Oh sweet Zeus. How could I forget? Pria…

Me: Nicolai, I’m sor—

He thrusts up a hand, halting the inadequate and feeble apology waiting to spill from my lips

Nicolai: Hold on. (His wheat-colored brows arrow down into a deep frown.) I have to go.

The Dimios leaps from the booth and strides from the bar. I stare after him, my mouth hanging open like a gaping fish. As I’m gawking at his rigid spine it hits me he must’ve received a telepathic message from someone…and I’m being ditched. Finally, my brain slams into “Get a grip!” mode, and I tumble from the booth hot on Nicolai’s heels.

Me: Wait! Nicolai!

He wheels around and in that moment I’m staring up into the formidable mask of the Dimios—the judge and executioner of our people. I stumble back a step.

Nicolai: Interview is over, Ms. Leandros. While this has been…entertaining, I have a job to do. A rogue to eliminate. It’s been a pleasure.

He shoves out of the pub, leaving me to stare blankly after him. In a matter of seconds he’s gone. My heart pounds in my chest even as his wild heather-and-wind scent teases my nose before it, too, disappears. Funny. My entire existence I’ve feared the dark, menacing shadow of the Dimios, our people’s dark judgment. But in the ten minutes I’ve spent in his presence, I know there’s much more to Nicolai Abioud…much, much more…

Read Nicolai’s story in Under His Wings, Book One of the Dark Judgment series available from Ellora’s Cave Publishing today! I’m giving away a copy of Under His Wings! Just leave a comment to enter!

Blurb:

Warrior, lover…savior. A winged avenger with chocolate feathers and lavender eyes haunts Tamar Ridgeway’s dreams—her erotic escape after surviving a horrible plane crash and enduring years of painful physical therapy. But fantasy becomes terrifying reality when she’s attacked by a mythical creature from her darkest nightmares. Now her sexy warrior is vowing to save her, whether she wants his protection or not.

Nicolai Abioud, judge and executioner of the hippogryph, is stunned when the woman he rescues is the same who submits to him nightly in his dreams…and a replica of his dead wife. He’s fascinated by her beauty and spirit, consumed by the craving to touch…to take. Yet he lost his one true bondmate five-hundred years ago. And falling for a human—no matter how beautiful—is a foolish risNaima_Simone_web_pick. But the choice to love may be snatched away. Danger is closing in. They must conquer their enemy and fears. Or be doomed to lose the love of a millennium.

Buy here.

Read an Excerpt here.

Naima Simone is a multi-published author in contemporary and erotic romance. She’s a member of RWA’s Southern Magic chapter, mother of the Dynamic Duo, lover of everything Vin Diesel and wife to the fabulous husband who tolerates this affair. Come visit Naima at www.naimasimone.com.

Scarlet Widow by Debra Glass Receives Nod as Best Historical by TRS

"Ariana Overton Award", "CAPA", "Dar Albert", "Debra Glass", "Ellora's Cave", "HIstorical Romance", "Scarlet Widow", "The Romance Studio", "best historical romance", "ellor"Debra GlassComment

I am pleased to announce that The Romance Studio has nominated Scarlet Widow in the Best Historical category in the tenth annual Cupid and Psyche Awards. Scarlet Widow’s cover artist, Dar Albert is also nominated for the Ari for best cover art.

What are the CAPA's? They are awards given by The Romance Studio for excellence in romantic fiction. Categories include inspirational, contemporary, fantasy, historical, paranormal, romantic suspense, young adult, sci-fi, anthology, BDSM, and the Ariana Overton Award for Best Cover Art or the Ari.

The final awards will be announced on February 14, 2013.

For a list of all the nominees, visit The Romance Studio CAPA Awards

 

Scarlet Widow

scarletwidow_msr Tough…or tender? If she follows her heart, she won’t have to choose.

Molly has forever lusted for all three Barksdale brothers, but could never choose. Instead, scandal chose for her, and she married the youngest of the three. Then the brothers go to war, and Molly finds herself a grieving widow when her husband is murdered by a merciless band of Union soldiers.

Hardin Barksdale is hell-bent on avenging his brother. Greer Barksdale is honor-bound to protect his home. They both want Molly—and this time, they’re willing to share. The temptation is seductive, the passion sizzling. In harsh, post-war Tennessee, their nightly forbidden trysts wield the power to heal them all—if they can escape the twisted desires of a man bent on seeing all three of them dead.

Buy Scarlet Widow

Ellora’s Cave | ARE | Amazon | B&N

 

TRS Review of Scarlet Widow

Molly has always lusted after all three Barksdale brothers, never being quite able to choose one over the other until her scandalous actions and vengeful gossip chooses for her and she marries the youngest brother.  With the war raging, all three brothers go to protect what they believe in, never realizing the price they will each have to pay.  Molly finds herself a widow when her husband is murdered by a band of Union soldiers. 

Greer and Hardin Barksdale both have always been in love with Molly.  Both brothers will do whatever is necessary to protect and love her even if that includes sharing her with each other.  Nightly Molly and her lovers blaze a trail of desire and love that tempts even as it heals the anguish and destruction that the war has caused them.  But a mad man stalks them, hell-bent on seeing all of them dead.

The strength of Ms. Glass’s writing draws the reader into her deeply emotional and moving love stories time and time again and her latest, Scarlet Widow is no exception.  By intertwining passion and history overlaid with a great depth of emotion and laced with a relentless increasing level of sensuality between Greer, Molly and Hardin the reader is treated to dark and utterly seductive story that pulls-at-the-heartstrings!  Set during the Civil War, Scarlet Widow gives the reader a gripping, detailed and vividly descriptive look at the heartache, hardships and cruelties of war, Molly and the Barksdale brothers experienced that forever changed their lives.  The historically filled pages are brimming with tension, hope and courage, richly portrayed in such a way that the reader will have a difficult time putting this story down.

Greer, Molly and Hardin are bold and endearing characters that demand the attention of the reader from the very first time they are introduced.  Greer and Hardin each believably struggle for different reasons to face their fears and their love for Molly trying to do right by her.  The realistic anguish and fiery passion Molly struggles with in her love of both Hardin and Greer is mesmerizing.  These characters are incredibly alive and ones the reader will come to care for deeply.  The sexual desire is deliciously decadent and erotically satisfying, heating up the pages to explosive levels! 

Overall rating:

Civil War Mourning Customs

"Bought and Paid For", "Civil War", "Debra Glass", "Ellora's Cave", "HIstorical Romance", "Rebel Rose", "Scarlet Widow", "civil war mourning customs", "civil war romance", "ellor", "mourning"Debra Glass3 Comments
weeping_veilDeath in the Victorian era was a complicated thing with complex rituals, and clothing. Strict protocols were observed that required mourners to wear certain items of clothing, colors, and to abstain from particular activities.
Today, we can scarcely imagine the rigid rules and rituals that were brought about by living conditions in the 19th century. Disease was rampant. Sterility was not understood. Diets, lack of vitamins, and nutrients resulted in illness and death. Doctors did not receive the medical training they do today and often, treatments consisted of blistering, bleeding, and poisonous herbal cures that sometimes resulted in fatalities. Germs and antibiotics were unheard of. Many died from simple cuts and childbirth claimed so many lives, that it was customary for a woman to make arrangements for the care of her child should she not survive.
Infections, pneumonia, TB, typhoid, malaria, yellow fever, small pox, and whooping cough could wipe out entire families. Remedies tended toward bizarre superstitions. Burning gun powder in sick rooms, sprinkling houses with vinegar, or placing an ax under the bed to “cut the pain in two” were common practices.
Superstition surrounded death, and in the American South, many of those customs survived into the twentieth century. Some of those beliefs included:
  • Covering Mirrors – During the 19th Century, most funerals were held in the home. Victorians believed that when there was a corpse in the house, all mirrors had to be covered with a black cloth. The Barton Upon Humber Family History Aid website explains that this ensured "that the soul of the departed would not get trapped behind the glass and be prevented from passing to 'the other side,'" Similar to the ancient superstitions, the Victorians also believed that "if you saw your own reflection in a room where someone had just died, then you would soon die yourself."
  • Stopping of Clocks – Pendulums on clocks were stopped at the hour of the deceased’s death to prevent the living family members from having bad luck. Victorians believed that when a person died, time stood still for them in the afterlife and a new period of existence began where the concept of time did not exist. To permit the clock to continue marking time was synonymous with inviting the spirit of the deceased to haunt the home. Stopping time allowed the deceased to ascend to heaven and eternity which is timeless.
  • Carrying the Body Out Feet First – The custom of removing a corpse from a home feet first was derived from the superstition that if removed head first, the deceased could look back into the home and beckon those remaining into death.
  • Photographs of the Deceased – All family photographs were sometimes turned face-down to prevent any of the close relatives and friends of the deceased from being possessed by the spirit of the dead.
  • Wearing Black - The wearing of black is a custom that has been observed for centuries. It was thought to make mourners draw less attention to themselves so that Death would not claim them as its next victim.
Socially, strict and elaborate dress and behavior codes were imposed, sometimes that lasted for several years. Mourning customs have been observed since the 1600s, but it wasn’t until the 1830s and 40s that bereavement became an art form. Scads of books were published on the proper course of mourning and Prince Albert’s death in 1861, and Queen Victoria’s mourning made the practice “fashionable.” Queen Victoria’s impact on mourning customs set the stage for the rest of Western Civilization. She continued wearing her "widow's weeds" until her death in 1901.
That same time period saw the onset of the American Civil War. At least 618,000 died or were killed during the Civil War. Some experts believe the actual death toll reached 700,000. According to Jane Peters Estes, an authority on death customs in Civil War-era America, in the state of Alabama alone, there were over 80,000 widows.
A Victorian woman donned what was known as "widow's weeds" within twenty-four hours of her husband's death. For a year and a day, she wore full mourning which consisted of dull black clothing trimmed with crepe, and a weeping veil.
Mourning women wore a veil in public to shield their tears from onlookers. Estes also stated that, “they believed that spirits of the departed would hover around those they loved. And if a passerby looked directly on the mourner's face, that spirit might attach itself to that person. So, the veil was a protection for the wearer as well as a protection for others.”
Mourning attire became some of the first store-bought clothing items during a time when most clothes were handmade at home. Death could come unexpectedly and the bereaved had to be prepared. Those who could not afford to buy ready-made items paid to have their own clothing dyed or dyed it themselves at home, in the back yard because of the dye's pungent odor. An 1864 diary from Virginia related 'the entire town smells of the dye pots.”
Men wore black or dark colored suits to a funeral and black or white silk hat bands, depending on who had died. If the deceased was a young girl, white silk was worn. They donned a black armband for a few months to a year as a sign of respect. Widowers were permitted to remarry after the wearing of the armband.
Women observed three stages of mourning:  heavy/deep mourning, full mourning, and half mourning.
Mourning observations lasted different lengths depending on the deceased:
  • Spouse: One to 2 1/2 years
  • Parent: 6 months to a year
  • Children over 10 yrs old: 6 months to a year
  • Children under 10 yrs: 3 to 6 months
  • Infants: 6 weeks and up
  • Siblings: 6 to 8 months
  • Aunts and uncles: 3 to 6 months
  • Cousins: 6 weeks to 3 months
  • Aunts or uncles related by marriage: 6 weeks to 3 months
  • Grandparents: 6 months
  • Distant relatives and friends: 3 weeks and up
Deep mourning lasted a minimum of a year and a day but could extend as long as 2 ½ years, in which black clothing, jewelry, veils, bonnets, outer wear, and crepe were worn exclusively. Bonnets and outer wear were covered in crepe for a year and a day, and could after that time be removed. Often the dyes used to color the crepe would run when wet, thus widows did not venture far from home. Mourning fabric was somewhat shiny. Much work went into keeping the black from fading. Among the ingredients used were: ox gall, fuller’s earth, and even egg yolks. Heavy mourning collars and cuffs were black, and marking the second year, a woman could add lace. Hats were forbidden for mourning and instead crepe covered bonnets were worn. Long veils were worn the first year and shortened by the second. Very little, or no adornment was worn.
Underclothes remained the standard of the time, but a black band was sewn to the hem of the outermost petticoat in the event it became visible. Jewelry was not worn for the first few months and thereafter, jet jewelry was permitted. Black glass and India rubber was also used to make mourning jewelry which consisted of rings, broaches, bracelets, lockets, and earrings. Mourning rings served as keepsakes and were provided by the deceased’s family.
During full mourning, gold, silver, jet, pearls, and other stones could be worn. White collars and cuffs replaced black crepe.
Half mourning colors included various somber colors of lilac, lavender, violet, mauve, and gray. Bonnets were also allowed in these colors as well as straw hats.
Time periods were observed where a widow was not permitted to leave her home or receive visitors. After that time, she distributed black edged calling cards to let friends and family know her heavy mourning was over and she could receive visitors. Those in mourning were not allowed to attend parties, weddings, or other social events.
It was considered unlucky to throw one’s mourning attire away after the mourning period was over. The clothes were put away and kept should they be needed again.
Author Sally Painter offers another mourning tradition of the time. “My grandmother had several death announcements that were used before and during this era. They were made out of very thick cardstock that was about 1/8" thick, maybe a bit thicker. The background was black with gold print and a gold ribbon border. Usually a gold cross was centered at the top, but these varied in design.  Included on the card were the name of the deceased, date of birth and death and details about the funeral arrangements. A messenger (usually a young boy) was sent from house to house with the announcement for people to read and then return to him so he could carry it to the next house.”
People during this time feared they would not be mourned properly.
A practice that seems macabre in the modern era is post mortem photography which became popular during the 1860’s. Burial was often delayed for days or weeks waiting for the photographer to arrive. Often this was the only photographic image a family had of a person. Sometimes, these images included painted-on clouds to indicate the picture is of a deceased person. Wreaths of hair from the deceased, called mourning wreathes, were crocheted and laid by the portraits.
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Widows would often use black bed linens. They were not permitted to marry for at least a year, the thinking being that it took a year for the complete decay of deceased husband.
Older widows tended to mourn longer than their younger counterparts.
To this day, many women consider it disrespectful to wear anything other than black to a funeral or memorial service.
Widows serve as characters in several of my historical romance novels set during the Civil War.

 

Scarlet Widow

scarletwidow_msr Tough…or tender? If she follows her heart, she won’t have to choose.
Molly has forever lusted for all three Barksdale brothers, but could never choose. Instead, scandal chose for her, and she married the youngest of the three. Then the brothers go to war, and Molly finds herself a grieving widow when her husband is murdered by a merciless band of Union soldiers.
Hardin Barksdale is hell-bent on avenging his brother. Greer Barksdale is honor-bound to protect his home. They both want Molly—and this time, they’re willing to share. The temptation is seductive, the passion sizzling. In harsh, post-war Tennessee, their nightly forbidden trysts wield the power to heal them all—if they can escape the twisted desires of a man bent on seeing all three of them dead.
Digital Ebook
 

Bought and Paid For


Unable to support herself and her beloved servants, Widow Carrie Hatcher contemplates the unthinkable—offering her services for money. Forced to board wounded Colonel Wesley McEwen, Carrie vows to make the striking Confederate soldier her first “client”.
But Carrie gets more than she bargained for when she agrees to comply with Wesley’s every illicit request for one week. Throughout long, sultry nights, Wesley tutors Carrie in every position, every skill, of her illicit new trade. From dark taboos to pleasurable punishments, Carrie becomes his willing pupil. Passions inflamed, the couple becomes more scandalously intimate but Carrie realizes she wants to give him far more than just her body. The colonel, however, may be too haunted by his past to risk accepting more than he’s bought and paid for.
Digital Edition
 

Rebel Rose


They say she’s a Rebel spy…
Widow, Rosalie O’Kelley, is not above using her feminine wiles to secure much needed supplies for her fellow townspeople. But when Union Colonel Eric Skaarsberg is put in charge, Rose’s usual tactics fail miserably. In exchange for supplies, she comes to a scandalous arrangement with him. She agrees to become his willing plaything—to fulfill his every physical need…eagerly and without hesitation.
Eric Skaarsberg is duty bound to ferret out the spy who has been leaking information to the Confederates. All evidence points to the passionate belle who readily responds to every touch and taste he metes out to her. One by one, he strips away Rose’s secrets, but Eric is not satisfied with owning the she-Rebel’s luscious body. At any cost, he must uncover her vulnerable and perilous past—even if it means the destruction of them both.
Digital Edition









































Witty Banter in Romance Fiction

"Debra Glass", "Ell", "Ellora's Cave", "HIstorical Romance", "His Girl Friday", "Slave to Fashion", "You've Got Mail", "erotic historical romance", "romantic banter", "romantic comedy", "scottish hero", "witty banter"Debra GlassComment
The magic ingredient of a romantic comedy is the witty banter between the characters. From Hepburn and Tracey to Timberlake and Kunis, audiences enjoy the clever, romantic sparring between characters.
From His Girl Friday (1940) starring Cary Grant and Rosalind Russell
Walter Burns: Look, Hildy, I only acted like any husband that didn't want to see his home broken up.
Hildy Johnson: What home?
Walter Burns: "What home"? Don't you remember the home I promised you?
Here’s an example from You’ve Got Mail (1998) starring Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan
Joe Fox: You know, sometimes I wonder...
Kathleen Kelly: What?
Joe Fox: Well... if I hadn't been Fox Books and you hadn't been The Shop Around the Corner, and you and I had just, well, met...
Kathleen Kelly: I know.
Joe Fox: Yeah. I would have asked for your number, and I wouldn't have been able to wait twenty-four hours before calling you and saying, "Hey, how about... oh, how about some coffee or, you know, drinks or dinner or a movie... for as long as we both shall live?"
Creating that same spark between characters in romance fiction, brings those characters alive on the page. Sometimes, the writer creates playful banter, at other times, it’s seductive, and sparingly, banter can be aggressive. When such banter is employed in romance, the reader automatically knows the characters are not only intensely interested in each other but also overwhelmingly irritated by an attraction over which they have no control. Witty banter can keep a plot moving forward and if done well, take readers on a fun-filled ride to the promise of a happily ever after.
Most of my friends know I’m quick with a response, a trait both my daughters have unfortunately inherited. Although my sharp retorts create much laughter around my house, I’d never incorporated my sense of humor into a romance until Slave to Fashion. My romances are inherently character driven. Georgiana and Blane are no exception. However, because their goals are at odds (Georgiana wants her sister to marry a certain wealthy mill owner, and Blane needs Georgiana’s business to keep his mill afloat) witty banter between them flows naturally. Add in a Scottish accent for the hero and … sigh …
Here’s an excerpt from Slave to Fashion illustrating the banter between Georgiana and Blane.
“I accept your proposal.”
Blane coughed and sputtered.
After having time to think about what he’d done, he realized marrying this woman would be a foolhardy venture. Even if it did mean his linens would grace the backs and tables of every member of the ton.
She lifted that pert chin of hers and leveled her gaze. All business. Even now. A wild urge rose in him to pluck the pins from her perfectly coiffed hair, strip her bare and take her right here on the parlor floor.
He blinked to drive the torrid fantasy away. “Ye what?”
Her little pink tongue darted out to moisten her lips. Everything about the innocent gesture brought back not so innocent memories. Kissing her. Crushing her in his arms. Blane cleared his throat. “Mademoiselle Talbot, I thought we decided that—”
“Not for real, of course. What do you think I am? An imbecile?” Her tone was tart.
Blane shook his head, still uncertain if he’d understood her correctly. “We canna marry. I blurted that proposal as a scheme to coerce ye to buy my linen instead of Griffin’s.”
“That’s precisely it,” she told him. “Your linen is the best. It’s of far better quality than Griffin’s.”
Pride swelled in Blane’s chest.
“But there’s the problem of my sister.”
“What does yer sister have to do with anything?”
“My sister is very much in love with Lord Griffin,” Georgiana continued.
“For the life of me, I canna see how I fit into this,” Blane said. “Are ye asking me to offer for yer sister?”
She heaved a sigh and rolled her eyes—much as his governess had often done when he was a child. “No.” She took a step toward him and he struggled against the instinct to take a step back to maintain the distance between them.
“Really, Lord Lockerbie, your failure to grasp subtle nuance is astounding.”
His brows knitted together. She’d just insulted him! “Now wait just a minute—”
She cut him off. “If I must explain it in painstaking detail, I will. We announce our engagement.”
“Whoa—”
She held up a finger to silence him. “Hear me out.”
Blane crossed his arms over his chest. He didn’t like where this was going. Not at all.
“We announce our engagement at the affair being held by Lord and Lady Compton this weekend. If I am betrothed, Lord Griffin’s tenuous relationship with Elizabeth can become more than friendship and you can supply some of my linen.”
Blane’s world tilted slightly off-kilter. This was happening all too quickly. He put his fingertips on a nearby table to steady his balance. “Mademoiselle, as much as I am honored that ye desire my linen, I’d be a fool to enter into such a…a…plot as this.”
As it was, he wanted to kick himself for ever putting the idiot notion in her head in the first place.
Georgiana’s lips parted in surprise. “Plot? Heavens, Lord Lockerbie. It’s a brilliant plan. Don’t you see? As soon as Griffin offers for my sister, I will end our engagement and you can go merrily back to wherever it is you come from.”
“Loch Dungeon.”
“Sounds dismal.”
“Hardly,” he said tersely.
She waved her hand at him in dismissal. “However you need it to be. I’m sure it’s a lovely, rugged, pastoral sort of place but it has very little to do with the matter at hand.”
“There is no matter at hand.”
With feline speed, she shot to the parcel and snatched a fistful of the handkerchiefs. “Do you want me to make you the premier supplier of linen in London or not, Lord Lockerbie?”
He opened his mouth to speak but no words sprang from his lips. Instead, he gave her a hesitant nod.
“Very well,” she said and smoothed the handkerchiefs back out on top of the shirts. “We’ll announce our engagement this weekend.”
With that, she started toward the door.
Move. Say something. This is impossible! She’s impossible.
“Wait!” Blane finally made his mouth work.
She turned and stared—as if daring him to deny her.
Diah! She was infuriating and stubborn and…and incredibly alluring right now. A bevy of emotions warred for prominence. He wanted to shake some semblance of sense into her, to throw her over his knee and spank her arse. Worse, to gather her in his arms and claim her rouged lips until she whimpered for more.
He did none of those.
“How can I be assured ye willna decide to go through with the marriage?” he asked. “I mean, as a man, I canna break the engagement. ’Twould ruin your chances for ever making a match in the future and—”
Pealing laughter rang from the diabhal’s red lips. Taunting, uncontainable laughter.
Blane’s face heated with a mixture of anger and mortification. Would marriage to him be that ludicrous? That unimaginable? He tugged at his neck cloth.
A sideways grin claimed her lips when her guffaws finally stopped. “Rest assured, Lord Lockerbie, I have no intention of going through with a marriage to you or anyone else. Why would I have to?”
“Slave to Fashion allows the reader to go on a raw and erotic journey of sensual exploration while spending time with two fun and spirited characters.” ~ TOP PICK ~ Night Owl Reviews
“Debra Glass is one of the premiere names in erotic historical romance as far as I’m concerned and it was with great delight that I picked up Slave to Fashion. I love that Georgiana is different from the typical Georgian era heroine – it adds spice to the tale. Also adding spice to Slave to Fashion is the dynamic between Georgiana and Blane. They don’t always like each other…at least not at first…but the sparks that fly between them are undeniably hot. Ms. Glass’s talent for writing melting sexual tension and decadent eroticism is showcased beautifully in Slave to Fashion.” ~ Joyfully Reviewed
“I’ll be dreaming of highlander men with swarthy good looks and the decadent brogue that accompanies it. I can’t wait to travel back through time with another story by Debra Glass.” ~ Siren Book Reviews
Blurb ~
A taste of the forbidden…
Georgiana Talbot intends to remain a spinster in order to ensure her younger sisters debut and find husbands. But when she encounters a devilish Scot who ignites a searing fire within her, Georgiana realizes just how much she has denied herself regarding the pleasures of the flesh. Determined to learn more, she concocts a daring scheme.
A touch of the taboo…
Seducing the haute ton’s premier modiste into buying linen from his mills is foremost on Blane MacLaren’s mind. Until his need to bend the brash beauty to his will drives him to enter into a scandalous agreement—Georgiana will purchase his linens if he will tutor her in an array of dark delights and forbidden pleasures. Yet nothing could have prepared him for the effect his very willing student will have on him—or how far a harmless lesson in lust can go.
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Once Upon a Midnight Dreary–Gatekeeper by Debra Glass

"Debra Glass", "Edgar Allan Poe", "Ellora's Cave", "Gatekeeper", "Phantom Lovers", "Premature Burial", "The Raven", "erotic paranormal romance"Debra Glass1 Comment

As as youngster, reading tales and poems penned by the incomparable master of murder most foul, madmen, premature burials, and mysterious women who return from the dead, once upon a midnight dreary spoke to me far more deeply than once upon a time.

I adored the old Vincent Price renditions of Poe’s macabre tales, which brought to life such horror classics as The Cask of Amontillado and The Pit and the Pendulum. One reason Poe connects with every reader is that he touches on our darkest fears and carefully hidden inner secrets.

When I began writing Gatekeeper, the first of my Phantom Lovers series, I decided to use Poe’s stories to tie them together. Seeing The Raven, starring John Cusack as Edgar Allan Poe, reminded me of how I’d tortured poor Amy, the sister of Gatekeeper’s heroine, Jillian.

Amy’s childhood nightmares had been haunted by Poe’s Premature Burial. The villain in Gatekeeper knew this and took full advantage of it in order to manipulate Jillian.

Image From The Raven (2012) Starring John Cusack

Here’s the chilling prologue from Gatekeeper:

Prologue

“The boundaries which divide Life from Death are, at best, shadowy and vague. Who shall say where the one ends and the other begins?”

Amy Drew blinked against the bright light shining in her face. Blinding pain throbbed in the back of her head. Where was she? Why couldn’t she move? Was that a flashlight? Consciousness crept slowly back. She’d been at Shy’s Hill. That’s right. At the Civil War site. She’d been helping an earthbound spirit find the Light. Yes. It was coming back now.

“‘It may be asserted, without hesitation’,” a raspy voice droned, “‘that no event is so terribly well adapted to inspire the supremeness of bodily and of mental distress, as is burial before death.’”

Amy struggled. Panic seized her as she fought to remain conscious. Someone had hit her! Someone had hit her on the back of the head. The ghost had tried to warn her.

But who? Why?

She tried to speak but something prevented her mouth from moving. Tape?

Terrified, she writhed furiously against ropes binding her wrists and ankles. Her screams were muffled by the tape.

“Do you remember the story, Amy? Do you remember the nightmares?”

Whose voice was that? She recognized it but couldn’t place it. She squinted against the bright light.

If only she could calm down and use her psychic ability to…to what? Terror surged. She thrashed against her bonds. Her breaths were rapid and shallow, hindered by the gag.

Something landed on the damp grass next to her face. She jolted. A flash lit up the surrounding area. Someone was taking pictures! She blinked furiously and twisted in the bursts of light.

Her gaze riveted to a tattered copy of Edgar Allan Poe’s Premature Burial. Her heart slammed relentlessly against her rib cage. The tape muffled her screams.

A hand reached down and yanked out a lock of her hair. Searing pain burned her scalp. Amy twisted and fought at the bonds until every muscle in her body blazed.

“That’s just in case the photos aren’t enough proof.” And then the gloved hand took up the Poe book once more. “Shall I continue?

“‘The unendurable oppression of the lungs—the stifling fumes from the damp earth—the clinging to the death garments—the rigid embrace of the narrow house—the blackness of the absolute Night—the silence like a sea that overwhelms—the unseen but palpable presence of the Conqueror Worm—these things, with the thoughts of the air and grass above, with memory of dear friends who would fly to save us if but informed of our fate, and with consciousness that of this fate they can never be informed.’” Amy’s captor laughed without mirth. “You’re thinking about your little sister now aren’t you, Amy? You’re hoping—no, praying—she will find you in time. But Jillian doesn’t have your gift, does she? No. Is she still afraid of it? Does she still wake up during the night screaming the boogeyman is going to get her?”

Tears streamed from the corners of Amy’s eyes. This person was insane. Why was this happening? What had she done? What had Jillian done? It didn’t make sense.

The hoarse voice continued. “This is my favorite part… ‘That our hopeless portion is that of the really dead—these considerations, I say, carry into the heart, which still palpitates, a degree of appalling and intolerable horror from which the most daring imagination must recoil.’”

A foot pressed into her side and gave her a cruel shove. She was falling! Then with a solid thud, she landed on her back. The breath rushed out of her lungs from the impact.

Standing above her, just a black silhouette against the midnight blue sky—above the freshly dug grave—was her captor. Amy’s heart thudded explosively. Why was this happening? Why? The nightmare she’d had all her life was coming true. She was being buried alive!

“You should never have tried to release him, Amy.” A bone-chilling laugh erupted from her captor. “We know of nothing so agonizing upon Earth—we can dream of nothing half so hideous in the realms of the nethermost Hell.”

And then, everything went black.

About Gatekeeper:

Book one in the Phantom Lovers series.


Evil shadow ghosts known as soul collectors haunted her childhood nightmares, so Nashville PD criminal profiler Jillian Drew did everything possible to turn her back on her psychic abilities. But now her eccentric sister has been abducted and nothing in her criminology background has prepared Jillian for that tragedy — or for Benton Smith, the powerful and devastatingly attractive ghost of a Civil War officer and the only witness to Amy's abduction.


Fearful of the brazen specter, Jillian nevertheless needs him. Benton is her Gatekeeper, a spirit sworn to protect her from the soul collectors, who attack each time she unleashes her long-dormant psychic senses in an attempt to find her sister.


Yet she must somehow keep the devilishly seductive spirit at arm's length, for Benton's soul is at stake — and succumbing to his desires could have dangerous consequences for them both.

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Praise for Gatekeeper

Top 13 Paranormal Romances

~ Redlines And Deadlines

“If you love ghost love stories, I would rush out and get Gatekeeper to add to your own library today.”

~ Simply Romance Reviews