Marguerite Ceniza dies on the London stage each night, but her own life has barely begun. The ingénue is on the prowl for a lover, but while she burns with desire for Sophie, a confession could ruin their decade-long friendship. In the meantime there are always men vying to be her patron, and square-jawed, broad-shouldered James Glover can’t help but catch her eye.
Sophie Armand has been a lady’s maid for too long, and she’s sick of keeping secrets. Her hidden scripts and the story of her birth are only the beginning. Her nights are haunted by desperate thoughts of the beguiling Marguerite, and of James, the handsome tradesman who whispers promises of forever into her ear.
James has the kind of problem a lot of men would kill for—two women, both beautiful, both sensual, and both willing. Sophie wants marriage, while Marguerite’s only in it for fun, and choosing between them isn’t easy.
What’s the worst that could happen if he secretly courts them both?
Their romantic triangle is complicated in the most delicious way, until a shadowy figure from Marguerite’s past threatens to destroy the budding relationship—and their lives.
Product Warnings: Contains a lady’s maid with secret desires, a corset-maker who knows his way around a woman’s body, and an actress who never has to fake it. Rated for adult audiences only.
**James has been courting Sophie and Meg at the same time. When Sophie seems distant, he receives a letter from his other love with an invitation that he has to accept.
Her letter had come at the right time, after the sharp disappointment from Miss Armand’s hesitation had settled. James had set aside his shears and the fine leather he’d been cutting for Lady Horlock’s stays binding and popped the plain wax seal with nerves as shaky as a schoolboy trying for his first kiss.
Darling man, it had read. How can I thank you enough? Do come and call for tea on Tuesday, if you can spare the time. Half past four would suit. I so long to see you!
– M. Ceniza
“Pardon, guv.” A slick and oily tough jostled him as he turned into the stairs to Miss Ceniza’s lodgings, but a quick pat proved that James’s money and watch were where they were supposed to be. James glanced up, ready to accept the apology, but stopped short. The man had stopped and was staring at him, looking him up and down as though carefully memorizing his face and form. Then, with a touch to the brim of his hat, he moved away.
What had that been about? Other than how much James stuck out in these surroundings—it was obvious that he did not belong here.
The wooden stairs creaked when he stepped up onto them, a faint hint of rot spreading on the end of the risers. A pack of screaming children ran down the street behind him after a rolling hoop, vanishing around a corner only to reappear a moment later, chased by a woman with a broom.
Enough lollygagging about—the anticipation built within him with every moment he spent standing at her door. Miss Ceniza would ask him in, take his hand, permit him a kiss? Perhaps more? He could bring her to such heights of pleasure that she would forget every one of her previous lovers. Her plump hips would yield to his mouth, her skin tasting of sugar and honey.
Those red lips of hers would part and she would breathe out his name in hushed abandon--
“Mr. Glover!” The door opened in front of him, his hand still poised to knock, and the warm rush to his groin threatening to become something immodest. Miss Ceniza stood there, the door half closed and blocking his view of the room beyond. She wore her hair loosely pinned, black curls tumbling down to brush her shoulders, and a delicate yellow dress that turned her lithe form into a beam of purest gold. When she smiled, her eyes flashed. “I thought that was you lingering on my stoop. Will you not come inside?”
“Miss Ceniza.” James bowed and smiled. “You take my breath away, every time we meet. I swear you grow lovelier by the minute.”
She stepped aside and held the do or for him. He stood blinded for a moment in the dim light, following the bright afternoon sun. “You have a silver tongue, Mr. Glover,” Miss Ceniza teased.
“Indeed he does,” said another, equally familiar voice, one that should not have been there.
Oh. Oh, no. No, no, no.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Tess Bowery lives near the ocean, which sounds lovely, except when it snows. An historian by training and a theater person by passion, she’s parleyed her Masters degree in English history into something that would give her former professors something of a surprise.
Her love for the Regency era began as they always do, with Jane Austen, and took a sharp left turn into LBGT biographies and microhistory. Now she indulges in both of her passions, telling the stories of her community in the time periods that fire the human imagination. Her first foray into contemporary M/M fiction, High Contrast, releases in 2016.
Along with writing, Tess splits her time between teaching, backstage work, LBGT activism and her family. She spends far too much money on comic books, loves superheroes and ghost stories, and still can’t figure out how to use Twitter properly.
Get updates and book information at http://www.tessbowery.com, or hang out with Tess athttp://tessbowery.tumblr.com, or @tessbowery on Twitter.
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Title: Under Strange Suns
Author: Ken Lizzi
Publisher: Twilight Times Books
Amazon / B&N / OmniLit / Twilight Times Books
About the Book:
In the tradition of Edgar Rice Burroughs’ John Carter of Mars,Under Strange Suns brings the sword-and-planet novel to the twenty-first century. War is a constant, and marooned on a distant world, former Special Forces soldier Aidan Carson learns there is nothing new Under Strange Suns.
This was going to change the world.
The realization was stunning, almost blinding. Doctor Brennan Yuschenkov stared vacantly at his vanity wall. He did not register the BS from Stanford, or the Master’s and PhD from M.I.T. The award certificates and the grip-and-grin photographs of his smiling mug matching the formulaic toothy expression of whatever politician or astronaut or CEO he was posing with were so much static. He didn’t realize it, but the grin now stretching his leonine features out-classed every framed example he was failing to notice.
When he snapped out of his fugue he finger-stabbed a speed dial button on his desktop telephone. “Azziz, got a minute? If not, make one. Bring your notebook, this is big.”
Yuschenkov rose from his chair, surprised at how stiff his body was. He paced his office, waiting for his graduate assistant, Mehmet Azziz, to reach the faculty offices. Yuschenkov had to share this, and immediately. He could feel a creeping fear that he’d forget a piece of the puzzle. Or that he was wrong about some aspect. And who better to ask than Azziz, the man with the best grasp of particle physics on campus? Next to his own, of course. Yuschenkov muttered to himself, gesticulating, pausing on occasion to allow the Cheshire Cat grin to reoccupy his face as the beauty of the idea reasserted itself over the fear.
“Doctor Yuschenkov?” Azziz said, having stood unnoticed in Yuschenkov’s office for several seconds.
“Azziz, didn’t hear you there. Damn, you’re a sneaky one.” Yuschenkov wrapped his research assistant in a bear hug, his face pressed against the narrow chest of Azziz’s lanky frame, the young man’s beard bushing atop the physicist’s head. They broke apart, Azziz stepping back with evident discomfort. “Sit, sit.” He dropped back into his desk chair while Azziz took one of the guest chairs.
“I won’t say it turned out to be surprisingly simple, because it’s not,” Yuschenkov said. “It’s complex, very complex, as you’d expect. But I think it will be surprisingly inexpensive. And that…well, that is going to make a difference.”
“Yes, sir,” Azziz said. “If you don’t mind my asking, Doctor Yuschenkov, what is very complex, surprisingly inexpensive, and going to make a difference?”
“What? Oh, of course. FTL, Azziz. FTL. Faster. Than. Light. A propulsion system. A spaceship drive. FT-fucking-L.”
“Sir? Is this another prank? It took me a week to get my car disassembled and out of my apartment last time.”
“No joke, Azziz. I’ve cracked it. Now take down some notes. I don’t want to lose this. See, we weren’t considering quantum entanglement as it pertains to gravitons…”
Azziz wrote as Doctor Yuschenkov spilled out the pieces of his theory in a disjointed, haphazard fashion: the controlled entanglement of gravitons, the directed acceleration of one half of the pair, the attraction/feedback reaction shifting phase to the tachyonic at just faster than light, the pulsing incremental increases beyond. Theoretical upper limits. Imaginary mass. Relativistic effects. The impressive size of the quantum-field bubble the drive was likely to generate. Azziz took it all down, assembling the jumbled pieces into a coherent picture as he did so, his handwriting growing sketchier as increasing comprehension burgeoned into excitement.
Later, notebook pages scattered across Yuschenkov’s desk, the whiteboard opposite the vanity wall inked near black with scrawled calculations, the two men slumped again in their respective chairs.
“This will change everything,” Azziz said.
“Bet your ass it will. How things will change, that’s the question. I mean, this would be big even if building a drive was so monstrously expensive and difficult that it would require the combined gross national product of half the First World. But it’s going to be cheap. Relatively. Corporation level cheap, and not only multi-nationals. Think about that.”
“Yes, sir. The prospect raises any number of possibilities.”
Azziz’s words held a positive ring, but a frown briefly marred Azziz’s forehead. He considered Azziz, wondering if this was the man to assist in the birth of this brave new wonder. The man was acquiescent to a fault. Always “yes sir” and “glad to help sir.” He wasn’t precisely obsequious, not an ass-kisser, but nonetheless quick to comply. Very much the opposite of Yuschenkov’s demeanor back during his own sentence as a graduate assistant – “Hotheaded” he discarded as hyperbole, but “willful” perhaps captured it. Funny, so much of his work was solitary. Lonely contemplation. The “eureka” moment a completely individual achievement. Yet to proceed beyond that was going to require interaction with others, each step of development creating a widening circle of involvement. So if he wanted his work to expand beyond the confines of his own skull he’d have to start making allowances for individual differences.
The FTL was important, more so than he could comprehend at the moment. Shouldn’t he ensure a smooth working relationship with his assistant? Still, the nagging doubt lingered. Would he jeopardize the theoretical and developmental work by yoking himself to such a diametrically opposite personality? On the other hand, maybe that is precisely what he needed to do. Yin and yang and all that.
“What sort of possibilities hit you first, Azziz?” he asked, reclining his chair and interlocking his fingers behind his head.
“Well, broadly: mining, exploration. Colonization.”
“Colonization? That assumes exploration locates a habitable rock. Can you imagine that? ‘Homestead Planet X, new headquarters of the Nabisco Corporation.’”
“Yes, sir, though I presume state actors would be preeminent. Perhaps easing population pressure might ease geopolitical tensions?”
“What, convince North Korea to emigrate en masse, settle Planet North Korea? Or a moon. People always seem to ignore the habitable possibilities of satellites. The twin Marxist-Maoist Moons of Mu Cephei?”
“Planet Kim, Worker’s Paradise, Antares Local 501.”
Yuschenkov laughed. Azziz essaying a joke was so unexpected that the surprise elicited laughter even though the joke hardly deserved it. “Well, why not. I think the drive is going to be cheap enough for even a starving gangster regime to slap together a ship. And the Norks do have basic heavy lift capabilities. Even if they didn’t, the rest of the world would probably be happy to chip in, buy ‘em a one-way ticket. But I don’t know. Geopolitical tension, as you put it, is chronic. You can’t just alleviate a symptom. Reduce the population by half, the remainder are still going to be at each other’s throats.”
Azziz didn’t reply. Yuschenkov eyed him, momentarily considering letting the subject drop, but tact as a virtue adhered only lightly to him. “And what about your – what’s the polite way to phrase it now – co-religionists? The misconstruers of the Religion of Peace as the doctrine is properly understood by wiser heads such as yours. Will they be founding New Mecca, facing east five times a day – toward Betelgeuse?”
Azziz flushed, seeming to shrink within his buttoned-up Oxford shirt and ill-fitting blue blazer. “Did you miss the sensitivity seminar again this year, Doctor Yuschenkov?” He cleared his throat. “I cannot speak for every member of a vast, scattered, and divided community, sir. Still, I would hazard a guess that those more violently zealous in their beliefs would be unlikely to leave.”
“Sorry, Azziz. Wrong of me to put you on the spot like that. I don’t always weigh my words before I let them drop. Right. Shall we pick this up in the morning, or shall we start sketching in how to mount the drive to a spaceship?”
“I’ll order some pizza, sir. No pepperoni, sorry.”
Most people would agree that ducklings are cute. If you’re an alligator, you also think they look delicious.
Will the mean alligator feast on the baby ducks or will the animals and townspeople stop him?
Read this timeless tale of bullying and nature to find out.
PURCHASE OR BORROW
My Review: Overall I think this was a decent children's book. For the kind of story, I was surprised it was as long as it was. I guess I was expecting it to be shorter, one sentence pages, so maybe reading to ages 6+ is best, so as not to lose their attention. It was informative at times, teaching the reader about the ducks, while still following a storyline. There were spots where it could've probably been condensed a bit, but overall, decent children's book.
Embark on a baking adventure with Mimi where she will measure, mix, and bake her way to the perfect batch of gingerbread men. If Mimi can do it, so can you!
Mimi's Adventures in Baking Gingerbread Men is the third book in the Mimis Adventures in Baking series.
MY REVIEW: I was honored for the opportunity to read and review the first book in this series, Mimi's Adventures in Baking Chocolate Chip Cookies, and I was lucky enough to be presented with the opportunity again for this one, the third book in the series. I absolutely LOVED this book. It's a little longer than the first, which makes it great as a book to read to your children, or to have your first or second grader read themselves!! My children loved it. The illustrations are so cute and fun and it definitely put us in the Christmas mood. This time I didn't try to bake the cookies with the kids as we read, not only because gingerbread takes longer because of the decorating, but because I discovered last time that multitasking in this instance is not my friend. lol! I absolutely am going to use the author's recipe though and bought molasses yesterday so my kids and I can try it out this weekend! Mimi's Adventures is a wonderful book! I love the concept, the illustrations, and the recipe and the fact that this is a book that I truly enjoyed reading with my kids. I highly recommend it.
5 of 5 stars!
Alyssa’s Website / Twitter / Facebook
Chef Alyssa has been baking since she was a little girl in her grandmother's kitchen. Since graduating from the Culinary Institute of America she has worked for famous chefs and elite companies such as the Ritz Carlton, Tom Colicchio, Norman Van Aken and Gray Kunz. She currently is the Executive Chef at Riverwalk Bar and Grill on the Historic nook of New York City, Roosevelt Island. She also has a boutique custom cake company called AllyCakesNYC where she creates cakes to appease the imagination. Through her journey of baking she developed Mimi, her very own miniature version of herself.
As a child she loved baking and everything that came with it. As an adult and food lover she realized there was something missing when she frequented bookstores. A interactive children's cookbook. And we are not talking about a boring old cookbook for kids with lots and lots of recipes, and some pictures. Children these days have just as much interest in the kitchen as there parents do, but the ordinary cookbook is just not going to cut it. She created Mimi's Adventures in Baking to give children and adults a way to get into the kitchen and allow the child to become the chef and the adult the assistant. With each book has one recipe and an interactive storyline the child can read, and at the end go into the kitchen and do what Mimi did! And for the "non-baking" parent, these elite pastry chef recipes are tested and ready for even the most inexperienced baker! Impress other moms with Mimi's creations!
Mimi's Adventures in Baking will also teach children how to measure, mix and bake their way through the kitchen while also giving safety tips along the way. No more boring cookbooks! Now there is a fun, exciting and educational way to learn how to bake!
About the Author: Multi award-winning children’s author, Donna McDine’s creative side laid dormant for many years until her desire to write sparked in 2007. Her latest release Dee and Deb Off They Go Kindergarten First Day Jitters joins the four early reader children’s picture books, A Sandy Grave(January 2014), Powder Monkey (May 2013), Hockey Agony (January 2013) and The Golden Pathway (August 2010) all with Guardian Angel Publishing. Join McDine as her adventures continue as she ignites the curiosity of children through reading. She writes and moms from her home in the historical hamlet Tappan, NY. McDine is a member of the SCBWI.
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