Kathy from I Am a Reader, Not a Writer, and Tristi Pinkston are hosting another great giveaway! We all have things we’re thankful for, and we all have goodies to give away too.
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For this international giveaway, enter to win one of TWO romance e-books:
1) Historical Romance: A Love By Any Measure by Killian McRae. 11/8/11 is the official release date for this angsty Irish bodice-ripper! You can read an excerpt at the end of this post.
2) Romantic Suspense: Bad Behavior, book two of The Conduct Series by Jennifer Lane. (Book one, With Good Behavior, is on sale for $.99 the month of November.)
You can also enter to win a Kindle Fire on the right side of my blog. (No joke—I’m joining other authors to offer a brand spankin’ new Kindle Fire to one lucky reader, and this giveaway is international).
Entries now closed. Stay tuned for the winners’ names!
From “A Love by Any Measure,” by Killian McRae
Tulipe Noire Press, 2011
Accusatory, hostile glares traced Maeve’s every step. Two options lay before her: be apologetic and claim this was only business and nothing was going on between she and August – an effort which Maeve knew would fail, as the truth of her conflict would be evident on her face; or she could bluff and take on an air of authority. In this second scenario, the other workers would at least fear losing their position for saying anything, if they believed she was indeed Grayson’s girl.
“We open in thirty minutes, and I don’t see a single loaf in the window,” she barked with false confidence. “Hop to it, eh?”
Maeve drew her eyes to the most fidgety of the shop girls, Clara, whom she knew would be all too eager to please and not dare speak a cross word. With a flex of her arm and pointing of a finger, Clara’s petite frame practically sprang to the back room. As Maeve turned to exit the shop to follow August, a cacophony of banging pans near the ovens arose and baked loaves were shoved in to the display glass.
The stairs to the manager’s apartment lay behind a cast iron gate on the side of the building. Maeve waited for August to exit and lead to the quarters that must have been the previous owner’s. August’s green eyes twinkled in fervent delight. He still had not understood what he had wrought, making her believe that his intentions had been benevolent despite the dreadful consequences they were likely to bring.
Maeve passed through the door. He followed and waited to be lauded and thanked for his keen plan and humble generosity.
“How could you be so daft?!” Her arms flew up as her balled fist walloped his chest.
He attempted to stutter a response, but she cut him to the quick.
“What did you expect they would think? I’ve been only a shop girl, and that only for a short time. And then some bloody Englishman sweeps into town, puts me up at his place, buys the bakery, and makes me manager?”
“Don’t you see what this does? Brand me a whore, is what. And for what? Just to have a place where you could continue this arrangement in private with me now that your sister and middleman are privy? Has a fortnight without driven you to insanity?”
Without courage, or perhaps, will to look at her, August shook his head wildly and sat on a stout wooden stool next to the door.
“I never …. It wasn’t my intention…..” He paused, collecting his thoughts before finally making a better retort. “Oh, Maeve, I didn’t think. I… I … I was only thinking about… you. This wasn’t what I meant to happen.”
She scoffed with a cackling grunt. “Aye? And just what did you intend to accomplish by this maneuver then?”
August finally chanced an upward glance on the heel of his sincere admission. Maeve shrank back, perplexed.
“You are asked far beyond what should be of someone who’s already given so much. You went as far as to broker a deal with me that nearly cost you your chastity. I don’t want you to have to choose between having a home and having a choice. And if it’s just a question of money —”
“I never asked you for money. I never asked you for … this.”
He gave a weak half-smile. “I know. You’d rather rent your innocence to me than sacrifice your pride for a penny. If I could have simply given you money, I would have. But I could, at least, have seen the ramifications of that action. Instead, I decided to create an opportunity for you to earn your security. I thought, if I gave you the bakery…”
Maeve’s frame eased a little as she began to understand. Crossing the room, she kept her body turned away, yet laid a hand tenderly on his shoulder. She was surprised to feel a twinge of sadness.
“And you would… What about our contract? I still want the cottage, even if I’m living in town. What would I need to do? Would you have to come to town, or would I have come to…?”
“You’d still do that? Just to keep the cottage? Even with this apartment, you’d do anything to still have… the cottage?”
He turned toward her and gazed hopefully into her eyes, as though his very ability to breathe depended on the answer to his query. “Would you not want to be with me, Maeve?”
Brown eyes darted wildly around the room, looking to focus on anything but the optimism etched in his every feature. Yes, she’d want to be with him, but what did it matter? In the end, there was no way of being with August, there was only being under him. If there was a sliver of possibility, a minute modicum of chance that they might ever be together, she’d throw herself at it full force. But wishing simply couldn’t make it so.
Thank you for the excerpt, Killian McRae! Check out A Love By Any Measure.