Through the ages, where there has been society there have always been norms and, conversely, scandals when love gets in the way of propriety.
From the ancient Celts to medieval Cornwall, from Regency and Victorian England to the American west after the War Between the States, eight stories by multi-published, bestselling authors explore the triumphs of love between a man and a woman—even scandalous love—over what’s considered “proper” in their time.
Wilder’s Thief, by USA Today bestseller, Josie Jax
Robbing a bank wasn’t what reformed pickpocket Rachel Conroy had in mind. Yet when the lyin’ banker entangles her in one helluva financial fix, she finds herself in the bank of Diamond Bluff, Missouri, disguised as a lad and holding a gun on an unfamiliar teller. But the handsome man is so distracting she can’t keep her sex-addled brain on the task at hand—until he threatens to turn her over to the authorities to be hanged if she doesn’t return the money.
When village newcomer and winery owner Dierck Wilder mans his uncle’s small-town bank for a few fateful moments, he’s suddenly staring down the barrel of a revolver. His life veers off on a tumultuous path after he pursues the robber and uncovers a sexy diamond in the rough. Now to unearth the truth and tame Wilder’s bandit…
Aphrodite’s Necklace, by Anh Leod
Exiled by her husband to staid, Victorian England, the goddess Aphrodite is determined to spice up life for a mortal couple by giving them a magic necklace that opens their minds and hearts to passion. Can she teach innocents to delight in sensual love?
Emily Rogers is in the marriage mart, but once the necklace is in her hands, she enlists William Coxe, her family butler, to help find its owner. As Aphrodite intended when she dropped the priceless piece at a ball held in Emily’s home, desire overwhelms Emily—and also William, whom Emily’s parents would never countenance her marrying.
Good sense prevails when the two return the necklace to the goddess, but by this time love has caught the lovers in what seems an impossible situation. Can improper love survive the loss of Aphrodite’s necklace? Only with the goddess’s help can they find a way toward lasting happiness.
Madamoiselle Makes a Match, by Kate Rothwell
An original novella, never before published!
Victorian virgins meet at an inn.
In a village where work is hard to find, virtuous Sally must at last “entertain men” or lose her job at the local inn. The young man she agrees to entertain is Jasper, a visiting gentleman who’s appalled that he’d accidentally forced Sally into this predicament. Yet despite their peculiar meeting and the enormous differences in class and education, the maid and gentleman discover passion and something even more precious, intimacy. Their lovely interlude is interrupted, reality intrudes, and Sally faces another choice…
Seducing Laura, a Regency novel by bestselling British author, Lynne Connolly
When a fortune hunter attempts to steal her niece’s heart, Laura Wickenham makes every effort to prevent the ill-fated match. But the appearance of charismatic Ross Stansfield, the fortune hunter’s handsome uncle, throws her off balance. Instantaneous and combustible, their attraction makes her question her decision never to love again. When the young couple elopes, Laura sets out in pursuit, and fearing for her safety, Ross loses no time chasing her. Thrown closely together, their attraction becomes impossible to resist.
Ordered to find a master spy in the maelstrom of Regency London, Ross finds duty is a distraction any time he’s near Laura. He can’t make his need for her real until he discovers which of her suitors is a threat to Britain. As desire flares between the two, a world of spies and family scandal threatened to thwart a lifetime of happiness.
The Brass Octopus, by Maeve Alpin
Spinster Librarian Piety Plunkett is happy alone with her books, until her sister transforms her with a bras octopus beautifying machine. With her new look, the librarian catches the lusty attentions of a notorious rogue. Blake Blackmore enjoys the favors of beautiful women from the brothels of London to high society’s most fashionable debutantes, but only the spinster librarian consumes his mind night and day. Piety insists she will not wed but devote her life to her position as head librarian.
Blake takes matters into his own hands. In three passion filled lessons, he tutors Piety in carnal pleasure. Now that she is sharing her body, instead of just her books, Piety is shocked yet pleased at how naughty she can be. But if anyone finds out about what goes on in the library after closing time her reputation would be ruined. Is that Blake’ ultimate plan?
Beneath a Cornish Moon, by Ann Jacobs
A dying man’s last wish: Protect Lea. Make her your bride.
Marrying the lovely, sensual Lea will be no hardship for Alain, Earl of St. Vincent. Keeping her safe may be another matter, for a curse lies upon the St. Vincent lands.
Unless Alain can convince Lea to join with him in the fertility rites of the Winter Solstice, her life and his lands may be forfeit.
Alain’s dark passions seduce Lea’s heart and body, but it will take more than passion to bring St. Vincent back from the dark side of the moon.
Timeless Voyage, by Cornelia Amiri
As the pirate Anwen, presses her dagger against the throat of, Kaeso, her Roman captive, he s captivated by dreams of a woman he loved in a previous life, the mirror image of Anwen. Can Anwen and Kaeso steer their timeless voyage to a happy destiny or will they be robbed of love again?
As the Celtic pirate, Anwen, presses her hard iron dagger against a Roman’s throat, memories of fated lovers, druids and sacrifice, stay her hand.
Wooing the Librarian, by Jane Leopold Quinn
After a spectacularly failed romance left her devastated, all Isis Garrett wants is to start her library in this California town. The last thing she wants is another man, not even the handsome preacher who offers his church for her books.
Pres MacKay is starting a new life as a preacher. He can’t hide his attraction to the sweetly rounded new librarian even as she pushes him away. Can he discover the way into her closed heart and prove to her he’s one of the good guys?
Pres isn’t about to give up on Isis, though. The question is can she forget the pain of the past and see a future with him?
Long ago and far away…
As a fledgling author, I binged on Virginia Henley and Anita Mills–Johanna Lindsey and Jude Deveraux, too—especially their tales of medieval castles, intrigue, love…and treachery. I’m talking years ago, during the nineties when these authors’ names were household words. Hence, when asked to write an historical, erotic story, I focused in on the mysteries of Cornwall, full of peskies and giants and fertility rituals…not to mention a cursed earldom and its wicked, vampire countess. (No, I don’t know where the idea for that came from, but it seemed to me an original element—and appropriate for the hero’s mother who was the embodiment of evil.)
Thus, DARK SIDE OF THE MOON was born in the waning months of 2003—in the personae of an innocent maiden (Lea) forced into the protection of Alain, a young, decent earl tainted by the stain of his father and half-brother’s suspicious demise—and the fact his mother is the evil countess Ciara, so wicked that Alain is forced to lock her away in his castle’s most secure tower, perched on a cliff above the sea.
The Celtic rituals I’d read about seemed perfect to spice up what was basically a love story growing from a promise of protection made between Lea and Alain’s fathers years ago. Because of the coming holiday season, I found it convenient to invent these kinky rituals as part of fertility rites attendant upon the Winter Solstice. Thus, in December 2003, this story came to life.
Twelve years later, I rewrote the story, lightening up on the kink and beefing up the emotional journey Alain took with Lea toward their happily-ever-after. The result: BENEATH A CORNISH MOON, a medieval fantasy for lovers of historical romance everywhere. I hope readers will enjoy this resurrected, sanitized novella, available now in a boxed set, SCANDALOUSLY YOURS, along with seven awesome steps back into a past that’s often scandalous for its time, yet the scandals are ultimately in pursuit of a forever sort of love!
Muffled beats of a horse’s hooves echoed off the huge stones, ever louder. The ground wind intensified. Lea fancied she could see the stones shift ever so slightly in their places around the ancient circle as though, like her, they feared an unknown intruder. “Should we seek safety?”
Alain tightened his grip on Lea’s waist. “Nay. No danger lurks here. We have been upon St. Vincent lands since we passed the monastery some distance back.”
The rider drew near, his mount’s hooves pounding ever louder against the rocky ground. Then Lea saw him. He was but a man with a sullen visage, smaller yet darker than Alain. The nondescript brown beast he rode was bigger than her palfrey, yet not nearly as substantial as a knight’s warhorse. His raiment branded him less than noble, more than a villein.
Alain strode to the man and bade him welcome ere he alighted from his horse. ‘Twas then Lea noticed a small device sewn upon his homespun tunic. It was like Alain’s, yet different. A lion rampant, dull gold rather than bright, was slashed diagonally to show the black background and create the illusion of a bar sinister.
He obviously noticed her staring. “You wonder, do you not, why I display my device upon a field of black while Alain wears his on a dark blue tabard?” The man settled his gaze not upon Lea but on Alain’s velvet surcoat. “Blue dye and cloth of velvet is far too rich for a bastard’s purse.”
Alain? Not “my lord earl” or some other address befitting one of Alain’s station in life? Who was this intruder who wore a mockery of the St. Vincent device? Hostility crackled in the air and swirled about them in the fierce, cold wind. Lea drew Alain’s cloak closer around her and remained silent.
A pained expression on his face, Alain looked first at their visitor, then at her. “Lea, I would have you meet Daffyd of Bodmin Moor. My sire’s by-blow, or so we’ve both been told. Daffyd, may I present Lady Eleanore of Whitehurst, who is to become my bride.”
How Lea managed the civilities she knew not, but she soon found herself riding between Alain and Daffyd, while Gemma and the knights who made up Alain’s escort followed some distance back.
“Danger lurks in these lands, my lady. It was in some ancient ruins beyond that rise that the Lady Jeanne perished not long ago. Sad it was, for her to die on the eve of her marriage.” Daffyd gestured toward their left, but Lea saw naught but rugged land and craggy hills far in the distance. Her imagination churning, she murmured a meaningless platitude.
He turned to Alain. “So I see you have quickly replaced one intended bride with another.” Daffyd’s laugh mingled in the wind, creating an eerie sound that chilled Lea more than the coldest of winter winds.
Alain shrugged, as though unaffected by Daffyd’s words, but the tight set of his jaw provided Lea a strong hint that his half-brother’s words disturbed him. ‘Twas Daffyd’s own audacity and Alain’s seeming indifference that plagued Lea, especially when Daffyd addressed her directly.
“Some say my noble brother won his earldom by treachery, that our elder brother’s fall was no accident at all. Others whisper that Alain’s was the hand that loosened the stone and crushed the lady Jeanne on the eve of their wedding. Practically every man on St. Vincent lands believe he did in one or the other, but ‘tis my belief he slew them both.
“Think, demoiselle, If Brian had lived, Alain would not have had to take his place as the fair Jeanne’s betrothed, ‘tis true, but then Alain would not now be earl if Brian still lived.” Dafydd’s cackle rang out over sounds of wind and sea.
Lea gasped. The picture Daffyd painted was much like what Richard had told her, yet very different from the impression she herself had formed of Alain during their journey. Surely he would speak up, refute his brother’s allegations. When Alain nudged his destrier close to her palfrey and took the reins from her, she held her breath.
“Daffyd, if you wish to keep your tongue, still it now,” he spat out. “And be gone with you.”
Then he met Lea’s gaze. “Listen not to idle prattle. ‘Tis but my bastard brother spouting venom. He’s naught but bitter that St. Vincent can never come to him. Look,” he said, clearly intent upon distracting her. “There in the distance you can see the towers of Castle St. Vincent. Your new home.”
Daffyd spurred his horse, then shouted as he rode away. “Castle St. Vincent is but a house of death, fair Lea. Let not my young brother’s comely face and manly form entice you to let down your guard. Listen. And heed what you hear and see.” The murderous look on his face before he disappeared into the mist chilled Lea’s soul.
“Did Daffyd not share my flesh and blood, I’d have him hanged. Pay his rambling no mind. Come, I’d hasten now. The comforts of home await us.”
About Ann Jacobs:
First published by Berkley in 1997, Ann Jacobs is the author of over a hundred novels and novellas, all romances. Some are mainstream sensual romances, while others explore erotic themes. All of the books, as they revert to her, have been completely rewritten or very heavily revised to reflect her own view of what constitutes good taste in romance, however erotic they may be.
In other words, the excessively crude language embraced by a former publisher has been deleted, as has repetitious and salacious description of human body parts. She has endeavored to make these books’ content so that nothing in them will offend the average lover of sensual, mainstream romance. Some titles, because of their content (BDSM and ménage themes, for instance) retain their classification as erotic romance at Ann’s website. Others, whose story lines are strictly about the love stories of one man and one woman, are classified there as “romance.”
Ann hopes you will enjoy these reverted stories, as well as her new, never-before-published books and novellas that will be coming along beginning early 2016.
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Books will also be available at barnesandnoble.com and iTunes (Apple), but buy links are not yet available for them.
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