Friday, November 29, 2013

On Tour with Bryan Taylor, Author of The Three Sisters.

Publisher: Dragon Tree Books (July 23, 2013)
Category/Genre: Humor, Literary Fiction, Inspirational, Satire, Philosophy
ISBN13: 9780988402478
Tour Date: Mid-October/November, 2013
Available in: Print & ebook, 401
Nuns just want to have fun! But when three former Catholic nuns, Coito GottTheodora Suora andRegina Grant have too much fun and get in trouble with the law, they become nuns on the run.
Driving back to Washington D.C. where they work at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Parts, the three sisters are arrested in Tennessee. After defeating the local deputy in strip poker, they escape from jail, and are pursued by the zealous Detective Schmuck Hole, who has personally offered a $10,000 reward for their capture on the 700 Club. Little do they know that when the three sisters visit the Washington Monument, their lives will change forever.
Set in 1979, The Three Sisters is a humorous, adult satire that skewers not only organized religion, but the government, the media, intellectuals, corporate greed and every other part of the establishment. Maybe not the greatest story ever told, but possibly the funniest.
“Blessed are they who read The Three Sisters, for they shall inherit eternal laughter.” — Matthew 5:66
Praise for The Three Sisters:
“This may sound odd but I never thought of myself as a big fan of religious satire…until I read this book. I was caught right away by the three sexy nuns on the cover. A friend recommended it to me and I didn’t think I would like it so I ventured to “skim” the first chapter. I must say that first chapter wowed me with excitement and I became so intrigued…I ended up with finishing it in two days.
If you’re looking for a serious study of religion or to explore the depths of the human condition, this book is probably not for you. The whole point of it was to be a roller-coaster of a ride – sexy naughty nuns running amok in 1970′s America and not looking back. Heavy on wordplay, allusions, and references to famous philosopher’s such as Voltaire, Taylor thumbs his nose at the common institutions and over-used plots.  So if you’re not afraid to ruffle some religious feathers, this might be the book for you.”Joshua Silverman, Author of  The Emerald Tablet (Legends of Amun Ra, #1)
“This book is a hysterical read–not for the faint hearted or the easily offended. I thoroughly enjoyed Taylor’s sense of humor, writing style, and his use of innuendos, pun, satire, etc. He is a master at intertwining historical events of the Bible, church history, and religious stereotypes along with history in the 1970s. More than half way through, the book has a great surprise that I cannot say more about without giving too much information. I can only say that I laughed for two days. The character development of each of the three sisters (and some of the other characters such as Victor) is superb.”Maureen Burton, Amazon Reviewer
“Reading The Three Sisters May Add to your Years in Purgatory, but It’s Worth It.  After reading The Three Sisters, I realize that Taylor has made the ultimate sacrifice. He is definitely going to Hell for writing this book, or if he is lucky, he’ll probably spend about five trillion years in Purgatory. But hey, his loss was my gain.
I really liked this book. It was witty in an Oscar Wilde or Mark Twain sort of way and made me laugh throughout. Not only is the main character highly sacrilegious, but the plot itself is about as sacrilegious as you’ll get. But the book is as much satire as sacrilege, and the sacrilege just lays the foundation for the rest of Taylor’s skewering of society.
The book is set in 1979, and only after you finish the book will you realize why (no spoiler here.  I found myself pulling for all the three sisters to overcome their predicament. Consequently, I couldn’t put the book down.”S. Zehntner, Amazon Reviewer
“I took one look at the cover and thought to myself, I don’t remember any nuns looking like that in Catholic School. So I decided to read the book and was glad that I did. Not only was the book very funny, but the plot went in directions I wasn’t expecting. As I read on, I didn’t want to put the book down until I found out what the final fate of the three sisters was.
Though the novel was set in 1979, all of the satire applies to today just as easily as it does to 1979. The book reminds us that the Catholic Church, self-righteous evangelicals, corporate greed, self-interested politicians, and the self-obsessed media haven’t changed all that much.
Few novels provide illustrations, but The Three Sisters includes several very funny illustrations, including ones for Virgin Mary Milk and The Spanish Inquisition Toy Set. Too funny.
Though the book is sacrilegious, the author doesn’t get heavy-handed about it. Taylor keeps the satire fun and rolling along until the very end. I only wish I could have attended the Festivities in person.
So if you want to see what happens when a pleasantly twisted mind writes a novel instead of going to therapy, read The Three Sisters.”So. Cal Book Worm, Amazon Reviewer
“Simply divine! The plot: naughty nuns conquer America! Set in a mythical past, this satire is truly one of a kind. The author has a wicked sense of humor and an imagination that defies description. The more offbeat your own sense of humor is, the more you’ll appreciate this book. I highly recommend this for anyone who’s looking for something unusual.”-Mari Trevelyan, Amazon Reviewer
About Bryan Taylor:
Bryan Taylor is a double PK, a preacher’s kid of a preacher’s kid. With that legacy he faced two destinies, being an unhappy triple PK (Jubilees 17:23, “He that is born unto the son of a preacher and himself preaches shall be miserable until his dying day and suffer eternal damnation.”), or being sacrilegious and happy.
He decided to forsake the Southern Baptists for Catholicism, but when he applied to join a convent, he was rejected (sex discrimination!), so he decided to do the next best thing: write a novel about the three nuns he would most like to meet.
Bryan Taylor was born in Louisiana, grew up in Michigan and Texas, went to school in Tennessee, South Carolina and California, taught in Switzerland for a year, and has traveled to 50 countries, more than any Pope except Saint John Paul II. He now lives in California, which is one of the few places with people crazier than him.
The Three Sisters Website: http://www.threesistersnovel.com/
Bryan Taylor Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BryanTaylorAuthor
Bryan Taylor Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/3sistersnovel/books/
Buy The Three Sisters:

My 4 Star Review

I received this book from the Touring Host for an honest review.
This is my first religious satire book and since I am not a Catholic many of the rituals within the book was foreign to me. It took me awhile to get past all the in-depth writing of the Catholic school and nunnery. It totally flew over my head and personally I found it boring. But once you get to the story of the three sisters it becomes more interesting.
Their experiences and rebellion was believable, and in many instances I could see myself in them. Fighting against the church, thinking that you are the one that will change the church within. I know it is a cliche, but I can honestly say: Been there, done that and burned the t-shirt.
The characters of the three sisters let you smile at times, even laugh out loud, their antics and honesty touching the very core of humanity. Their opinions so way out of base that it actually made sense. And the adventures they experienced simply unbelievable at times, but yet it worked within the plot.
If you are easily offended I would not recommend this book. You have to be open-minded and ready to explore to really enjoy the book. These three rebelled about everything and it unfolded in unusual comical scenes. Their energy and vibrancy has a way that draws you into the story so that you want to know what will happen on the next page. 
Thanks for the opportunity to read the book.



Follow the Tour:
So Many Precious Books Nov 8 Review, Interview & Giveaway
Joy Story Nov 12 Review
Carole Ramblings Nov 13 Review
Books, Books & More Books Nov 14 Review
Books, Books & More Books Nov 15 Guest Post
In This World of Books Nov 18 Review
A Chick Who Reads Nov 19 Review & Guest Post
Paperback Writer Nov 21 Guest Post
Most Happy Reader Nov 20 Review & Giveaway
Deal Sharing Aunt Nov 22 Review
Rose & Beps Blog Nov 25 Guest Post
Sweeps 4 Bloggers Nov 26 Guest Post & Giveaway
Romance & Inspiration Nov 30 Review      

Promo Blitz of The Christmas Bride By Sylvia McDaniel


Synopsis

A Western Romance Novella (Book 4, Burnett Brides Series)Eugenia Burnett has gotten what she wants. Her three sons are married and she has three grandchildren, with the fourth on the way. But she hasn’t given up her matchmaking ways. Now she’s moved on to the people she knows and she’s matching widows and widowers together. Until one widower, Wyatt Jones let’s her know in front of a crowded restaurant that he’s not interested in any of the women she keeps sending him except her. Sworn never to remarry, she doesn’t need a husband or want one. She’s a free spirit doing what she pleases and no one is going to boss her around. But Wyatt wants Eugenia and she says no.
In this western historical romance novella, come back to the old west and spend Christmas with the Burnett family. See Eugenia meet her match in cowboy Wyatt Jones.

Buy Links:


Excerpt

The Christmas Bride
By Sylvia McDaniel

The door to the café opened, the cold wind slamming it against the wall. The restaurant grew quiet with the sudden entrance, and Eugenia turned to see who was making such a racket.
Wyatt Jones stood in the doorway, his muscular frame filling the opening. His cowboy hat sat at an angle on top of his head, and his large brown eyes scanned the room.
In his hand, he carried a duffle bag.
Eugenia tried to ignore the big man as he strolled through the doorway and removed his Stetson.
Their gazes locked across the room, and he smiled, his full lips turning up in a grin that made her body soften and her heart give an extra little ca-thunk. He spoke to the waitress, but his gaze never wavered from Eugenia.
Uh-oh. A tingle of nerves zinged through her bones. This couldn’t be good.
His boots made a rhythmic thump, thump, thump on the wooden floor as he walked with a determined stride straight toward her, his bag in hand, his spurs jingling. Nervously, she licked her lips.
Myrtle’s back faced the door, and she continued to blather about something. But Eugenia couldn’t seem to focus on the words. All she could see was this handsome cowboy walking her way. She couldn’t stop staring at him. She knew he was coming for her.
She’d already sent several women his way, and she didn’t think he was here to thank her for curing his loneliness.
Wyatt stopped at their table, touching the rim of his hat as he glanced at Myrtle. “Morning Mrs. Sanders. Nice to see you.”
He pivoted to Eugenia, his brown eyes dancing with merriment. Staring into those earthy eyes, a warm flush settled over her like a blanket. He opened the bag, withdrew a casserole dish, and laid it on the table. He took a second dish out and placed it alongside the first one, and then another, and another.
Oh dear.
When he finished, six clean, empty casserole dishes sat in front of her.
His mouth turned up in that slow, lazy grin that burned a sizzle along her spine. Why did this man make her feel like she’d raced her grandchildren around the yard and couldn’t catch her breath? Why did this man make her more nervous than a virgin on her wedding day? Why did this man have her wondering how his lips would feel against her own?
“Eugenia,” he said in that deep drawl that sent shivers skittering over her. “You’ve been mighty busy, sending women out to my house. You’ve kept me and my men well fed the last couple of weeks.”
“Glad I could help,” she said, her voice sounding breathy and soft.
He leaned in close and put his hands on either side of her, effectively pinning her in the chair. She felt the urge to jump up and run, but resisted. She sat there, stared him in the eye and refused to back down. No longer would she back down to any man. Never again.
“While I appreciate the effort, I’m not taking the bait. There’s only one woman in this town that I’m interested in pursuing to become my wife.” The deep timbre of his voice was low and commanding.
“And pray tell, who would that be?” she asked, knowing she would have him hitched as soon as possible.
“You, Eugenia Burnett. You.”


Author Bio 

Sylvia McDaniel is a best-selling, award-winning author of historical romance and contemporary romance novels.  Known for her sweet, funny, family-oriented romances,  Sylvia is the author of The Burnett Brides a western historical western series, The Cuvier Widows, a Louisiana historical series, and several short contemporary romances.
Former President of the Dallas Area Romance Authors, a member of the Romance Writers of America®, and a member of Novelists Inc, her novel, A Hero’s Heart was a 1996 Golden Heart Finalist. Several other books have placed or won in the San Antonio Romance Authors Contest, LERA Contest, and she was a Golden Network Finalist.
Married for nearly twenty years to her best friend, they have two dachshunds that are beyond spoiled and a good-looking, grown son who thinks there’s no place like home. She loves gardening, shopping, knitting and football (Cowboys and Bronco’s fan), but not necessarily in that order.
Currently she’s written sixteen novels and is hard at work on number seventeen. Look for her the first Tuesday of every month at the Plotting Princesses blogspot http://plottingprincesses.blogspot.com/.
Be sure to sign up for her newsletter to learn about new releases, contests and every month a new subscriber is entered into a drawing for a free book.


You can write to Sylvia at P.O. Box 2542, Coppell, TX 75019 or visit her web site:

Author Links:

Giveaway:
2 ebook copies (one to each winner) 
of The Christmas Bride




Promo Blitz Schedule for The Christmas Bride

By Sylvia McDaniel

November 29 – 30

LNBook Promos

November 29


November 30
Harlie's Books - review
Brooke Blogs - review




Thursday, November 28, 2013

Betting It All Blog Tour By: Cate Masters. Giveaway, Excerpt and 5 Star Review are available.


Title: Betting It All 
Author: Cate Masters
Genres: Historical Romance
Publisher: Decadent Publishing


Blurb:

Can the daughter of a well-known prostitute start a new life where no one knows her family history? Norah Hawkins is sure going to try. When a letter arrives deeding her property in San Francisco, she packs her bags.

Irishman Gerard MacKenzie likes his life free and easy, but is tired of the snobbish East Coast folk. San Francisco has enough vice and folly to suit his needs. Meeting Norah gives him the opportunity to bartend in her saloon. Maybe he can convince her to let him play the piano. She’s a shrewd businesswoman, and negotiating with her makes his blood boil. Damn if she doesn’t make his blood boil in other ways, too.

The morning of April 18, 1906, a terrible earthquake buries their dreams beneath the city’s ruins. Can Norah and Mac rebuild their lives? Will rebuilding their dreams bond them forever, or tear them apart?


Buy Links:






Excerpt 1:

Guilt filled her as she sealed the envelope. Her first letter should have been to her mother. Estelle probably forgot I left. More likely, she bought a bottle and forgot everything, period.
Downstairs in the hotel lobby, Mac stepped around the corner into her path. “A letter to your beau?”
She bristled. “No.”
Leering, he nodded. “Ah. You left him behind.”
“Certainly not.” My, but he cleaned up nicely. The electric wall sconce gave his black hair a sheen like raven’s feathers in the sun. His smooth-shaved skin accentuated the whites of his eyes, rimmed with thick dark lashes. Curled in a teasing smile, his lips appeared soft, not weather-worn like some men.
He cocked a brow. “He’s joining you later?”
“I don’t see how it’s any of your concern.” Unless he still hoped for employment. His long, smooth fingers might be handy for more than cards. Still, if she wanted music, she could buy a player piano and not have to pay it a weekly salary. Though it wouldn’t be nearly as nice to look at as Mac.
He shrugged. “It isn’t. Unless you run into debt playing poker. I want to be assured someone will back you up.”
“You needn’t worry. I never get in over my head.” In anything.
He tipped his cap. “Smart woman.”
Not enough to fool him. Last night, Norah had imitated her drunken mother to perfection, another skill that came in handy. Believing her vulnerable, the men made themselves moreso. Not Mac. He’d grown more careful, as if he guessed at her intent.
“What are you doing here?” She wondered what sort of a racket he ran. Everyone had one. Uppity ladies in their lace-edged gowns and mansions excelled at scamming men into marriage, but only succeeded in trapping themselves in the bargain. She preferred a prison with bars.
“Renting a room,” he said, “the same as you.”
Coincidence? Or had he followed her? “I’m curious. Do you possess other skills?”
Smiling, he tugged at his jacket lapels. “I’m a man of many talents. Why do you ask?”
Lo, his ego reared again. “Have you no real trade to ply?”
“Playing the piano is a ‘real’ trade, Miss Hawkins. However, I can work at almost anything, from carpenter to barkeep.”
Like Dan. All her stinging retorts vanished. “Oh.”
He grimaced. “You disapprove?”
“Not at all. Those are honorable trades.” Why should she feel relieved?
“As honorable as your own?”
What was he hinting at? Did he know about Estelle? Her face flushed hot. Pointedly, she said, “Yes, as honorable as owning a saloon.”
“Saloon,” he repeated, as if unsure. “I thought it was a gentleman’s club.”
Did he mean to imply she’d employ herself in some other occupation, such as her mother’s? In defiance, she curbed her tongue, unwilling to satisfy him with an answer.


Author Bio: 

Multipublished, award-winning author Cate Masters has made beautiful central Pennsylvania her home, but she’ll always be a Jersey girl at heart. When not spending time with her dear hubby, she can be found in her lair, concocting a magical brew of contemporary, historical, and fantasy/paranormal stories with her cat Chairman Maiow and dog Lily as company. 

Look for her at http://catemasters.blogspot.com  and in strange nooks and far-flung corners of the web.

Contact Links
Catch up to Cate: Blog:

Author Newsletter: 
Sign up through my blog! 
Exclusive goodies for subscribers. http://catemasters.blogspot.com

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/CateMasters



My 5 Star Review

I received this book from the Touring Host for an honest review.
The story started slowly and developed on its own pace as the writer was setting the plot. The reader had a good understanding as things happened and where it originated from.
We met Norah, a Lady who had the desire to be independent and left the place where she grew up in the east of the country to settle in San Francisco. A city on the west coast where she had the opportunity to make a new life for herself, not associated with her mother.
We met Mac, who from a distance admired Norah. They ended up on the same train to their destiny. From there things started to move faster as the story continued. They both had a past they wanted to forget and start anew. Here they found that they needed each other more and soon a romance developed between them. The rest I would leave for the reader to discover on their own.
A fast pace, short historical romance set during the time of the great earth quake in San Francisco.

A very well written book with a good storyline and strong, believable characters. 
A very enjoyable read by Cate Masters

Book Trailer:

Embed code
 

Giveaway: 
Ebook of Betting It All 



Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Cover Reveal for Chasing the Storm by Martin Molsted



Title: Chasing the Storm
ISBN (mobi): 978-82-93316-03-9.
Amazon ASIN: B00FY7NCPO
Author: Martin Molsted
Genre: Thriller (with a hint of mystery and a tiny dash of romance).
Publisher: EdgeRunner Publishing - Publisher 978-82-93316.
Publication date (eBook - Amazon world-wide): November 27th 2013. Hardcover and Paperbacks also coming 2014.




Be Social:

Twitter @molsted

A gripping, high-octane, thriller from debut author Martin Molsted! 

What do you get when you take one dose of high-level gangsters, one dose of corrupted politicians, add to the cocktail a missing ship and then blend it with an unstoppable Russian journalist, an awesome hacker and a former elite soldier who’s become an alcoholic, fed-up, office rat? 

You get Chasing the Storm

While in Hamburg, lawyer and former elite soldier, Torgrim Rygg, witnesses the assassination attempt on Marko Marin, a Russian journalist investigating the disappearance of a ship ostensibly carrying timber bound for Algiers. He gets drawn into a world of conspiracies, cover-ups and the relentless search for a missing ship. Disenchanted with his mundane office-life he agrees to help Mr. Marin, and together with Marin’s girlfriend, Lena, and their hacker, Sasha, he sets out on a journey to discover the truth about the missing ship. 

Their truth seeking kicks off a series of life-threatening events and a relentless race against time to foil whoever is behind the disappearance of the ship, The Alpensturm. Their revelation puts not only their own lives at risk but the safety of the whole world … 

…Great characters, Exotic locations, a dash of Mystery, a tad of Romance and a lot of Thrilling high-octane action! 

************************ 
BASED ON REAL EVENTS! 
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Pre-Release Praise for Chasing The Storm: 

"I think this is the best eBook I've ever read! […] THE END!!!! Oh I could never have predicted something like that. Brilliant. Really!!! Excellent book! Really well written…"
-Niyati. 

"Martin Mölsted’s CHASING THE STORM is a thriller that grabs you from the first sentence in the book. It is a formidable work of fiction full of rage, great humour and definitely packed with energy. The pace is murderous, and that over four continents." 
-Akinyi Yimbo. 


[…]I left characterisation ‘till last because it is one of the deepest I’ve read in the last couple of years. I’m talking about the layers upon layers of understanding that come from not missing one beat to add to the characters’ dimensions. In addition to the usual physical and emotional tiers, you get the ethnic diversity, and within it the class, origin, background, and all these elements are beautifully interwoven. […]Five shiny stars from me." 
-Ella Medler. 



Based on Real Events: 

In 2009 the ship MV Arctic Sea was hijacked in the Baltic Sea. Following intense media scrutiny, Russian commandos seized the ship a month later. Though Russia still claims that the ship carried timber destined for Algeria, many observers assume that the actual cargo was military-related, and that the mission was thwarted by Israeli forces. 

… But what did really happen? 

Chasing The Storm is a thriller about the hijacking of a Russian ship in the Baltic, and the search by a Russian journalist and a Norwegian oilman for the truth. The events have been fictionalized but may be closer to what really happened in the Baltic than any speculative journalism. 

With its timely subject matter and intricate storyline, Chasing The Storm is reminiscent of recent Scandinavian Crime Fiction and popular international conspiracy thrillers. 

Release Blitz: A Dead Man's Debt by Grace Elliot


Blurb
After publicly humiliating a suitor, Celeste Armitage is sent from the ton in disgrace. Exiled to the country she discovers a sketch book of nude studies and is shaken to discover the artist is her hostess’s eldest son, Ranulf Charing, Lord Cadnum. This darkly cynical lord is exactly the sort of dissipated rogue she most despises – and yet her blood heats at the thought of him!
Ranulf Charing, Lord Cadnum is being blackmailed over his late brother’s debts. Whilst visiting his mother, he discovers her new companion, Miss Celeste Armitage, to be a woman of unusual perception and starts to fall in love. But then the jealous fury of the blackmailer is unleashed and Cadnum must cast Celeste aside in order to protect her. However, in underestimating her resolve to clear his name – Cadnum places his true love in mortal danger…

Available from

Excerpt

So be it.  Cadnum gritted his teeth as he grasped the leading leg and pushed.  It was like fighting against a brick wall, the calf barely moving.  A lamb was difficult enough; how much more so a calf?  Just as he was wondering if one man was strong enough, a shower of pebbles rattled down the bank.  Concentrating on the calf, he barked to whomever approached, “Don’t just stand there.  Get down here!”
            “I beg your pardon!” a woman’s voice answered.
            With a flash of annoyance, he glanced upward.
            A wide-eyed young woman wearing a straw bonnet peered down.  “I say, is everything all right?”
            “Does it look all right?” he muttered under his breath.  All he needed was some sensitive miss fainting on him.  “Go!  Fetch help from the house.”
            He saw her hesitate, biting her top lip.  “But you need help now.”
            A contraction clamped around his arm as the cow’s tail switched across his face, stinging his eyes like a cat-o-nine-tails.
            In a flurry of muslin and lace, the miss slid down the bank, landing with a thud in the ditch.
            “Ouch.”  She rubbed her ankle.
            Cadnum glared back, dark eyes flashing.  “You should have gone to the house.”  Damn it all, she could make herself useful then.  “Hold the tail aside.”
            Pulling a face, she limped over.  His gaze lingered; up close, she merited a second glance.  Of middle height with a tidy waist and curves where God intended them, she appeared quick-witted and bright-eyed.  Without further ado, she stripped off her gloves, throwing them onto a bramble bush.  Long, sensitive fingers grasped the muddy tail.
            Practical, he thought, silently impressed.  “Why didn’t you go for help?”
            “There isn’t time.”  Her bonnet slipped backwards, revealing a quirky face with a pointed chin, her lips finely drawn with an arched cupid’s bow.  The sort of face an artist could lose himself in; all shades of the sea were found in deep emerald eyes framed by a tangle of chestnut hair.
            Cadnum tightened his grasp and pushed.  Sweat beading his brow.  The calf retreated an inch.
            “What are you doing?”  Her voice was gentle and calm, if somewhat deep for a woman.
            He guessed it would be husky in bed, whispering over a pillow after a night of passion.  Her eyes were on him, deep green eyes, lively and entrancing.  He suddenly remembered that he was undressed to the waist, her curious gaze on his skin as he imagined those lily-white hands gliding over his naked chest, her almond shaped nails digging into his skin.  He shook away the thought, trying to remember her question.
            She watched with innocence and interest, blushing faintly in a charming way; and yet, he realized, she was no wilting flower.  He shook his head.  The woman had asked a question; damn it, he would answer.
            “The calf is breech,” he grunted. “I need to push her back into the womb to turn her.”  He wanted to shock this stranger, to test how bold she truly was.
            She stared back, biting her top lip, exaggerating her snub nose.  “Ah!”  Her gaze met his.
            “Think of the calf as a carriage in a narrow driveway.  To turn it around, you push it back into the stable yard.”
            “What can I do to help?”
            “Nothing,” he growled.
            Throwing him an angry look, she anchored the tail with a log and scrambled around to the beast’s head.  After a moment’s thought, she placed her pelisse under the cow’s head, stroking the broad nose and crooning words of comfort.
            “She’s relaxing.”  Cadnum’s arm was numb from the contractions.  He fell forward as the first leg finally slid back into the womb.  “That helps.”  His hair had come free from the ribbon, falling thickly about his shoulders.  He glanced at the woman.  She was leaning forward, her bosom straining a tight bodice, a satisfying cleavage between her breasts.  He swallowed hard.  She was odd looking, he decided, not exactly beautiful but eye catching nonetheless.  Her face showed character and determination.  Her complexion was too healthy to be fashionable, all rosy cheeked and peppered with freckles.
            The woman glared at him now, her skin glowing bright pink.  Had he been staring?  His heart raced as he returned to the calving.
            Timing his efforts, he used all his strength to push the second leg back.  His shoulder felt as if it were being ripped from the socket.  With gritted teeth, he found a slippery hoof and clung to it, guiding it from the womb into the birth passage.  Grimacing with the effort, he found the other foreleg, dragging it forward to match its mate.  Pulling first one leg, then the other, he inched them forward.
            The muscles of his back burned as he braced, digging his heels into the damp earth.  He pulled in time to the cow’s weakening contractions, but as her effort became more feeble, even that assistance was lost.  The beast lay stretched on her side, head extended, breathing erratically and growing weaker by the second.  It was going to be a close thing; all the effort would be for naught if he couldn’t pull the calf out soon.
            After minutes of heaving, two small cream hooves presented themselves.  Cadnum sat back on his heels, sweat dripping into his eyes.  So intense had been his concentration that he’d completely forgotten the woman.  But there she was, slightly pale but watching him intently.
            “I need your help…” It wasn’t so very difficult to say.  The woman nodded silently, her face so serious he almost laughed.  “The cow’s spent, she can’t push any more.  I need you to pull with me.”
            Licking her lips she nodded weakly.
            “Come here.  Grasp my waist.  Pull when I say.”
            She stood and, with a whisper of skirts, was at his side.  As her arms wound hesitantly around his waist, he suppressed a shiver of excitement.  Her hands where peach soft and cool.  She smelled of lemongrass.
            “Hold tight.”
            The thin feminine arms around the hard plain of his belly made his body ache unexpectedly.
            “Pull as hard as you can, when I say,” he barked more gruffly than he intended.  “Now.”
            Digging his heels into the dirt, his muscles strained as he struggled to keep hold of the slippery hooves.  But his attention was not wholly on the calf as he became aware of the press of her breasts against his bare back, of her sweet warm breath against his neck.  If he wasn’t mistaken, he could feel her heart hammering against his ribs.
            With a desperate heave, he pulled the calf and the woman pulled him.  The calf moved another few inches, the forelegs exposed to the wrist joint.
            “Again,” he urged.
            Another pull and half the forelegs were out.
            “Stop.  I need to check if the calf’s head is coming nose forward.”
            The woman released him.  Glancing over his shoulder, he noticed her pink tongue darted out of her mouth to moisten her dry lips.
            Turning back to the cow, he knelt, feeling inside, satisfied that he could feel a muzzle lined neatly along the forelegs.
            “Nearly there.”
            The woman’s arms circled back around his waist, wiry with feminine strength.  This time they fitted snugly, her cheek against his back.  A ringlet had broken free of her chignon, brushing his skin.  His groin tightened—much to his annoyance.
            “Ready?  Heave!”  Never had he been more glad of the distraction from a woman’s unnerving affect on his body.  He noticed her soft mossy eyes and sweetly tempting curves, yet her bravery and determination excited him most.  Innocent, yet bold.
            The calf slithered free with a slippery suck, sliding to the ground in a flood of fluid and membranes.  Man and woman rolled backwards.  Cadnum landed on her skirts, pinning her down.  Her face was flushed, her pupils large.  He stared into her eyes, which were framed with thick dark lashes now modestly brushing her cheek.  He noticed her breathing heavily, a sheen of sweat on her neck, chest heaving.
            Neither moved.
            The temptation to lean forward and claim a kiss was dizzying.  It was like looking up at a high church tower against scudding clouds, making him giddy.
            Scowling, he turned away.  When had he become such a cad that he’d consider taking advantage of an innocent stranger?  He deserved to be horse whipped.  It didn’t help that the throb in his groin reminded him of his weakness.
            “The calf?” a small clear voice questioned.
            It was a bull calf, steaming slightly in the cool morning air.  Hooking a finger in the calf’s mouth, he cleared away the mucus.
            “The cord.  I need to tie off the cord.  Quick, find me something.”
            With a whisper of satin, she held out the ribbon from her bonnet.
            “Will this do?”
            When she didn’t immediately release it, it occurred to him that she was waiting for him to say thank you.  He acquiesced.  With a humph she handed over the ribbon.
            As he worked, she stood, regarding the newborn with wonder.  For some inexplicable reason he wanted to hold her tightly in his arms and smooth her hair, to kiss that perfect oval of a mouth.  Damn her for distracting him!
            Cadnum rounded on her, squaring his bare chest.  She recoiled, threatened by his unabashed maleness.  She shrank back, making Cadnum angry at himself for frightening her.
            “Well don’t just stand there, now go and fetch help!  Tell them to send men to the ditch between the five acre field and the hazel copse.”  Her presence had become intolerable, eating away at his self-control.  “Look sharp about it!”
            She jumped and scrambled up the bank with a flash of neat ankle, but not before giving him on last angry glare. 
            A wave of heat washed over Ranulf, who silently gave thanks that her back was turned.  It was not his habit to ravish complete strangers, especially those so obviously gently born.  But for some reason that was exactly what he wanted to do to this mysterious chestnut haired stranger.  Only as she disappeared over the brow of the hill did it occur to him to inquire who this practical Miss was and what she was doing on his land.



Author Bio
Grace Elliot leads a double life as a veterinarian by day and author of historical romance by night. She is housekeeping staff to five cats, two teenage sons, one husband and a bearded dragon (not in order of importance)

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