It's Valentine's Day and it's time to get Romantic! We have a feast of romance books. Take the tour, meet the authors, read excerpts from their featured books and win great prizes! All you have to do to enter is leave a comment! Here are the prizes:
A grand prize of a $20 Amazon Gift Card
Harcourt's Mountain by Elaine Dodge - historical romance, ebook (Kindle or pdf).
Dragonfly Moments by Kathy Bosman - contemporary romance, ebook (Kindle or PDF)
Brent's Law by Ylette Pearson - erotic romance, ebook ((Kindle, epub or PDF)
Taking Pleasure Seriously by Angelé Wells and Phoenix Kelly - erotic romance (epub or PDF)
The Broken Destiny (Signed copy - South Africa only) by Carlyle Labuschagne - science fiction romance
Dead of Night by Carylyle Labuschagne - science fiction romance, ebook.
The first blog on the tour is by Carylyle Labuschagne:
Romance on the Mountain - Finding Love in Unexpected Places
Our Blog Hop theme is "Finding Love in Unexpected Places" and that's just what Harcourt's Mountain is about. I'd always been fascinated by the concept of arranged marriages, although the Islamic child-bride arranged marriages appall me. But the concept of an arranged marriage between consenting adults, where either adult has the right and the opportunity to say no - that's the scene that had always intrigued me. How would you handle a situation like that? Especially if your choices were that or being forced to work as a prostitute.
I'd had the Bride Auction scene in my head for years. That, and the scene where Luke Harcourt and Hope Booker drive out of town in the wagon together. And I went from there.
I didn't indulge in the usual book choices most girls my age were reading when I was in high school. I could be found, more often than not, in the school library reading westerns. It defined the hero archetype for me. But the one thing that did get on my nerves after reading about 100 westerns was that the locations were always the same. A ranch, dusty, dry, with cattle somewhere, usually getting rustled. Or some flea-bitten town being held to some form of ransom by, you guessed it, a megalomaniac cattle rancher. The hero was always a gunslinger of some sort. Gets old after a bit. Not that that ever stopped me from reading them. One takes one's hero where one can find them.
So, when I sat down to write Harcourt's Mountain I turned it on its head. Not only is Luke Harcourt not a rancher, but he's a fruit farmer and a sailor as well. He only has one cow - Pinkerton, who can in no way be classed as 'cattle'. His home isn't some run down farmstead on a dusty prairie. Instead he lives in the mountains of British Columbia in a sturdy cabin with an unbelievable view. There were a couple of other reasons I set the story here. I'm not fond of heat and having to write about it for over 100 000 words would be a trial. And forests, well, they're part of my soul.
Excerpt From Harcourt's Mountain
They turned off the trail two days later and alone now, wound higher up the mountain, passing through meadows and parts of the forest. The tall pine spires stood quietly on the rocky slopes, the depths of the wood hidden behind ferns and underbrush. Soft shafts of sun glimmered softly down into the greenery, motes of dust wandering idly through the quiet, pale gold light. For a while Hope thought the forest was silent, but as they went further into its heart, she began to hear unseen birds calling to each other in muted tones and soft rustles in the undergrowth as the wagon passed by.
Hope, who had never been in this type of forest before, discovered she liked it better than the often windblown, open spaces they’d travelled through to get here. It wasn’t the same kind of forest that stood around…wherever it was she was from. She still couldn’t recall the town’s name.
That forest had been closer to a mangrove than anything else and much more humid than this one, which stood taller, reached higher, like pillars in a cathedral soaring to leafy, vaulted arches above. Its beauty was clean, the smell of the pines almost astringent. The ferns and underbrush softened its austerity, they brought a gentleness to the forest. In places, the trees grew straight out of the rock.
In some ways, the forest reminded her of Luke. It made her feel secure. Before she’d found herself on the ship, she would never have said that one of her greatest needs was to feel safe. But since then, she realised, it was the one thing she craved the most. Especially as she was desperately afraid of finding out who’d put her in that stinking, dark hold. And why.
The days had been surprisingly hot for early spring. The coolness of the forest was a welcome relief, even for the animals. Luke pulled up in a glade and set about preparing a meal. Later, sitting on a mossy rock, her empty plate on the ground at her feet, Hope lifted her face to the sun filtering slowly down through the trees, its softness lightly touching her skin. She closed her eyes and listened to the forest sounds. Filled with bird song, leaves rustling against each other in the breeze flitting through the tops of the branches, the gentle crackling of the small fire nestled among the circle of grey rocks…the sounds filled her soul. She sighed in contentment. It was so peaceful, she wished they could stay for longer than just this meal. She smiled at Luke.
“It’s almost like church in here,” she said.
Luke blinked. Her face was glowing, her skin luminous. Her green eyes sparkled. He’d never noticed the colour of her eyes before. Big, dark rimmed eyes the same colour as the ferns that framed her. Eyes like that drew a man. His gaze lingered on her face. He hadn’t really noticed it before, but she had a lovely mouth. When she wasn’t afraid or tense, her lips relaxed into soft curves, fuller and richer, slightly turned up at the corners as if she was about to smile. Like she was smiling at him now.
He wondered what it would be like to kiss...
He frowned and reached for the coffeepot without thinking. Instant white pain seared into one blistering moment of agony. He leaped up, dropping the pot with a yell, hot coffee flying everywhere as it hit the rocks. He swore mightily, shaking his hand, pacing up and down.
Hope raced for the wagon and dug out the salve Mrs Cuthbert had given her.
“Don’t fuss, Hope. I’m fine,” he growled. Dammit, it hurt like hell. What an idiot! Shit.
“Let me see.”
He wanted to cradle his hand against himself but she was standing in front of him. He’d just look childish if he refused.
She took his hand carefully. She must have hurt him, his hand jerked when she touched him. A wide, angry scorch mark crossed his palm. As she smoothed on the salve he hissed in pain. She glanced up anxiously.
“It’s fine.” It did feel a little better.
Hope tore a piece off the end of her shift and carefully wrapped it round his palm. She was standing close to him. Her hands were gentle and cool. When she lifted her face, those green eyes were filled with concern.
“Does that feel a bit better?” she asked, “I’m sorry if I hurt you.”
“You didn’t. Thank you.”
She was still holding his hand.
He stepped round her and said curtly, “We might as well get going. I’d like to make it through the forest today. Then tomorrow we’ll be at the cabin.”
That night, they camped in the fringe of the forest. Luke had been abrupt all afternoon and now, lying side by side in the wagon with Hope, he was restless and grumpy.
Where To Get a Copy of Harcourt's Mountain
Blog Hop Contest
Just leave a comment here on the blog post and you will be in the running to win a free copy.
The Blog Hop Authors