When I was growing up, my family lived a distance from town—out in the sticks, not to put too fine a point on it. A trip into town usually meant shopping of one sort or another, but it always included a stop at the library.
My parents were both avid readers, and they passed that love of stories on to me, at first through bedtime stories. Later when I could read for myself, I got to pick out my own books. School library or town library, I always had a book going. It was at the library that I first discovered some of my favorite series that I still might pick up today when I’m feeling particularly nostalgic. I read and re-read the Little House series, the Black Stallion books, and that gateway into high fantasy, The Chronicles of Prydain.
The library was like a vast room, packed floor to ceiling with the keys to all these worlds and more. Each new book held the promise of unexplored vistas, or a reunion with old friends. An escape, of sorts, from the real world.
I still use books as an escape, whether I’m reading them or, now, writing my own. When I visited the library as a child, I never imagined that one day I might find one of my books housed on those shelves. One of my good friends is a librarian, and from time to time, she lets me know if my books are in demand. I can only hope to give back a few hours of pleasurable escape to compensate for the time I spent living inside a book myself.
USA Today bestseller Ashlyn Macnamara writes Regency with a dash of wit and a hint of wicked. She also writes fantasy romances she considers fairy tales of the grown-up sort. She lives in the wilds of suburbia outside Montreal with her husband and a loudmouth cat. Though her fiction is rooted in the past, Ashlyn can be found in such newfangled places as her website, Twitter, and Facebook.
When Lady Elizabeth Wilde and her sisters are summoned once again to their chronically anxious father’s deathbed, she’s shocked to find that his worries are at last justified. He’s terribly ill, and Lizzie suspects poison. But when she seeks help from the Bow Street Runners, her request is answered by a rough-hewn rogue known only as Dysart. Though his irreverent charm by turns shocks and captivates her, a man of Dysart’s background is an altogether inappropriate choice for a duke’s daughter—isn’t he?
Although Dysart has his reasons to disdain polite society, the promise of supplemental income from a noble’s coffers is too tempting to deny. But if Dysart means to apprehend the culprit who poisoned the duke, he’ll need to avoid any and all distractions—like the delicious swish of Lady Elizabeth’s hips. Yet as the investigation begins to unearth secrets he’d rather remain hidden, Dysart must decide at a moment’s notice whether to hold Elizabeth at arm’s length . . . or pull her dangerously close.
Though she is intended for the king himself, Calista Thorne picks up a crossbow to defend her ancestral home, Blackbriar Keep, from a gang of landless knights. She even manages to sink a poison-tipped arrow into their commander—who survives long enough to conquer the Keep and claim Calista for his own. Now, with her father’s life at stake, Calista must nurse the brigand back to health, and the strangest thing happens: She finds herself fascinated by his tautly muscled body, and enthralled by his hotly whispered demands.
Ever since his father’s death, the fearsome warrior they call Torch has been consumed by his quest for revenge. Taking Blackbriar Keep is the first step in that plan, and—by the three gods—it won’t be the last. But after taking one look into Calista’s smoldering gray eyes, Torch discovers a passion nobler than retribution. He will fulfill his destiny and take her from the usurper king, even in his weakened state. For with Calista’s love, no man has ever felt more powerful.
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