Abducted by Saxon outlaws, Constance Arnaud comes face-to-face with Aelric, a Saxon boy she once loved. He’s now her enemy, but Constance must reach out to this rebel and persuade him to save her life as she once saved his…
Aelric is determined to seek vengeance on the Normans who destroyed his family. Believing Constance deserted him, he can never trust her again. Yet, as they are thrown together and their longing for each other reignites, will Aelric discover that love is stronger than revenge?
I’ll be honest and say the cover doesn’t show the Aelric I had in my head because he’s a Saxon so really should be much blonder than reddish and with longer hair (he’s been living wild in the forests of Cheshire for years after all). I’d used Tom Hiddleston and Tom Felton as inspiration. Having said that, I love the pose and his brooding intensity. He does look like someone who might seriously consider whether to sacrifice the woman he loved to get his revenge on the man he hates.
The original cover was slightly different and I emailed my editor and asked if the hair colour could be changed and the art department worked their magic. The original and new covers are here for comparison.
It’s a December release so will be alongside Christmas books on the shelves so I think the candles give it a festive touch too.
With less than a week to go until the release of The Blacksmith’s Wife I thought I’d share a snippet. This is the first meeting between Hal and Joanna. Joanna has talked her way into the tournament grounds, hoping to find Sir Roger, the knight she is in love with.
Joanna made her way to the courtyard where makeshift stables and workshops had been assembled. She had given up hope of finding Sir Roger when, through a sudden parting in the crowd, she saw familiar black curls and glimpsed the line of his jaw just as he turned away.
A thrill of anticipation rippled through Joanna as she eased her way towards him. It had been six months since Sir Roger had last been in York. Despite the urge to run to his arms Joanna stood back and watched in admiration.
Sir Roger was facing away from her, sharpening a sword with slow, sure strokes. He had removed his armour and padded woollen tunic, but instead of the customary fitted doublet of fine wool he favoured, he was dressed in britches and a shapeless tunic drawn in at the waist with a thick belt. As Joanna watched he laid the sword on a trestle table, rolled his head from side to side and stretched his arms high.
Intending to surprise him Joanna crept behind him. She reached on tiptoe to whisper in his ear, her lips close enough to brush against his hair.
‘Greetings, my lord, I’ve been searching for you.’
He stiffened and turned to face her. Joanna found herself gazing up into Sir Roger’s eyes.
In the face of a stranger.
Her mouth fell open and she stumbled backwards away from the man, dropping her bag. Explanations and apologies tumbled unintelligibly from her lips.
‘I didn’t know… I thought you were… I mean… I’m sorry!’
The man folded his arms across his broad chest. His lips curled into an amused smile. Joanna took another step back, her mind whirling with confusion and embarrassment. Her voice tailed off. Her heart was pounding so loudly she would swear it must be audible. She covered her face with her hands in an attempt to conceal the blush that was turning her pale complexion scarlet and peered through her fingers.
It was little wonder she had mistaken the man for Sir Roger. From behind they shared the same build and unruly curls. Facing her there was still a resemblance. She noticed for the first time that what she had taken for a belt was a long leather apron tied about his waist. Whoever he was, the stranger was no knight.
‘I beg your forgiveness!’ Joanna said, wincing with embarrassment.
The man ran a hand through the tangle of black curls that fell to just below his ears. He eyed Joanna with an open interest that made her heart thump.
‘No forgiveness needed. I thought Lady Fortune was finally smiling on me but alas it seems not,’ he said with an exaggerated note of regret. ‘It’s been so long since I have had such a greeting that I believe I should be thanking you for the experience! Perhaps I will do as a companion?’ he suggested.
If that has whetted your appetite then the book is available at Amazon, B&N, Kobo and other online retailers. Preorder now
I also have an Amazon giveaway running until May 2nd which is open to readers in the US Enter here
I’ve got two covers now and I don’t know whether or not it was intentional on the part of the art department but they’re very similar. Both feature lovely heroines in green with moody skies in the background. As much as I would have loved to see who they chose to play the heroes (one dark, one blonde – who would you choose?) I really like my ladies.
Which cover do you prefer? Do you go for the covers with couples or heroes rather than heroines? Let me know in the comments or over on Twitter @elisabethhobbes or Facebook ElisabethHobbesAuthor
I’ve used one of the American Harlequin branded ones and a UK Mills & Boon as the logos are different but both books are available on Amazon.com and co.uk and other online sites. Clicking on the cover pictures should take you right there if the cover has whetted your appetite.
I’m going to be visiting other blogs closer to release date and will post links here. I’m also going to be interviewed on BBC Radio Manchester on 22nd June so if you’re in the area have a listen to Becky Want’s show around 2.15.
I’m excited to reveal the cover for my July release, A Wager for the Widow. Although I’d been not-too-secretly hoping for my gorgeous hero Will (looking like a cross between Alexander Skasgard and Chris Hemsworth) I’m really pleased with the result.
The model’s shade of hair is exactly right for my feisty widow Eleanor. It’s a little redder on the UK cover so that’s the one I’m sharing here. She also gives the impression she isn’t going to be easily tricked into giving the hero what he’s after.
Along with the cover I thought I’d share an excerpt from an early chapter. Will has accepted his wager and is trying to find ways to win a kiss from Eleanor.
‘As Will glanced down his eye fell on the book on Lady Peyton’s lap. Her sleeve obscured the title and he grinned, sensing an opportunity.
‘You read,’ he remarked.
Lady Peyton nodded. ‘Does that surprise you? I could hardly have understood your note if I did not.’
‘For pleasure, I mean.’ Will settled back into his chair. He stretched his legs out until they were almost touching the folds of her skirts. ‘I’ll wager I can guess what you have been reading,’ he suggested. ‘Not the title, but the subject at least.’
‘What would the stake be?’ Lady Peyton asked suspiciously. She leant back against the wall and folded her arms across her body, hugging the book to her chest. Will tried not to stare too noticeably at the soft mounds of her breasts, pushed up and just visible over the edge of the volume.
‘The same thing I asked for before.’ Will grinned. ‘A single kiss.’
Lady Peyton rolled her eyes to the ceiling and huffed. The gesture was so unexpected from a high-born lady that Will burst out laughing. She glared at him.
‘I decline your terms,’ she said. ‘Why are you so insistent?’
‘Because you are beautiful and I’d like to kiss you. Why does the thought scare you?’ Will countered.
Lady Peyton sat upright. She kept the title hidden, Will noticed with delight. ‘It doesn’t scare me,’ she said firmly.
Will leant forward. So close that he could see the flecks of green that danced in her eyes.
‘Then accept the wager,’ he breathed.
He lifted his cup, holding her gaze, and took a deep draught of wine. He waited, letting silence sit between them. Lady Peyton frowned and bit her bottom lip. Will pictured himself slowly tasting it and his heart quickened.
‘Not for that prize. Name another, Master Rudhale,’ Lady Peyton insisted.
‘I see you no longer have your crutch so I judge your ankle must be healing. For a dance then,’ Will said. ‘If I win, you promise the first dance at the midwinter feast will be with me. And call me by my name,’ he added on impulse.
‘Very well. And if I win, you will not ask me again to kiss you,’ Lady Peyton replied.
A ripple of triumph stirred in Will’s belly. A dance invariably led to so much more. He nodded and raised his cup in salute to her. She did the same and they both drank, eyes meeting over the top of their cups.
‘You were reading poetry,’ he announced. ‘Some tale of love and trials of knighthood. Of advances spurned and hearts broken. All women love poetry and I have yet to meet one who can resist the prospect of love triumphant.’
Lady Peyton’s face froze. ‘All the women you have known?’ she asked icily.
‘Very few,’ Will assured her hastily. And fewer still who mattered. The thought took him by surprise. He held his hand out. ‘The book, if you please.’
Without speaking, Lady Peyton held the book towards him obediently. He opened the hidebound volume and read the title aloud.
‘Geoffrey of Monmouth. Historia Regum Britanniae.’
‘Not all women have time for foolish love stories, Master Rudhale,’ Lady Peyton said softly.
Will laughed gently through his disappointment. ‘I shall leave you to your kings, my lady,’ he said, handing the book back. He bowed, picked up his bag and left the hall. Lady Peyton had appeared pleased to see him and his spirits were high even though he had lost the wager.
Will knew nothing of Sir Baldwin, but the man must have been a very paragon of manhood for his widow to be grieving so deeply still, but surely by now she must be craving another man’s touch. He had promised not to ask her for a kiss, but what did that matter? There were so many ways of asking that did not require words after all.’
If that has whetted your appetite, A Wager for the Widow is available for pre-order in ebook and paperback and will be released on July 1st
This time last year I was reeling from The Call. Feeling nostalgic I decided to look back through this blog to reminisce and discovered I never wrote about it.
So here it is:
Have you ever wondered how writers feel when they finally get The Call? I know I have. Whenever I fantasised about it I imagined whooping with delight and grabbing devastatingly attractive strangers in spontaneous hugs (because one should never pass up the chance to grab an attractive stranger if the opportunity arises).
I certainly didn’t imagine the main sensation would be all encompassing queasiness. Not because I wasn’t completely over the moon, but because my call came after a 5am start, on a cross-channel ferry in February -remember those storms last year?- with the White Cliffs of Dover coming into view.
I had two further calls. One telling me I was through to the final 10 which came while I was cooking dinner and almost resulted in me burning it, then another telling me I had finished third in the competition (yippee) but that the manuscript wasn’t quite right for the Harlequin guidelines (sob). Fortunately the editors saw promise so sent me revision notes and I set to work revising and redrafting.
A week or so before going on my annual child free skiing holiday (bad mother) I sent my revised manuscript to Sarah at Harlequin and kept everything crossed that the changes I’d made were enough to make the grade.
And then I got The Big Call. The one that mattered, and the one I never really believed I would get.
A week skiing almost managed to take my mind off things and the drive back from the Alps to Calais finished me off so all I cared about at that point was getting home in one piece. There I was, settled on a lumpy chair with a cardboard cup of lukewarm lemon and ginger tea, trying to ignore the way the horizon kept lurching, when the phone rang showing a number I didn’t recognise.
“Hi, it’s Sarah from Harlequin…”
Yes, she liked the changes. Yes, the manuscript fitted much better with Harlequin Historical’s reader promise. Yes, the emotional conflict between Aline and Hugh worked much better (which I gather readers agree with from the feedback I’ve had).
I tried to sound intelligent and sophisticated, but who am I kidding? I know I apologised for sounding vague, burbled about crossing half of France before breakfast, almost spilled my drink and tried to resist saying ‘please tell me if you want it before the ferry sinks!*’
Which of course, she did.
Cue huge grins and self-conscious glances at the other passengers in case they wondered why I was acting so strangely. Then Sarah mentioned the words ‘two book deal’ and I wished I’d ordered something a little stronger than tea!
As fate had it we were heading back to pick up our children from my in-laws so it was lovely to be able to turn up with such exciting news and a few bottles of Breton cider to celebrate.
I still can’t quite believe that from the first call in Cornwall to seeing my words in print was less than a year and that a year after getting The Big Call I’ve finished a second book and been offered a further contract for another two.
It’s been an amazing year since I sent off that first chapter, and with my second book, A Wager for the Widow, coming out in July and the third in progress the fun is still going on.
Yesterday I was gloomy owing to my day job. Today I’m not so I want to share the title for my next book.
It’s the story of Eleanor and Will and is called A Wager for the Widow which I think has a great alliterative ring to it. It comes out in July (just in time for my 40th birthday so that should take the sting out a bit) and it’s being released electronically and mass market paperback in North America and the UK and as a paperback duo in Australia.
Here’s the blurb:
“I suppose a kiss of gratitude is out of the question?”
Widowed Lady Eleanor Peyton has chosen a life of independence. Living alone on her rocky coastal outcrop, she’s cut herself off from the world of men — until William Rudhale saves her life and demands a kiss!
As steward to Lady Eleanor’s father, Will knows the desire he burns with is futile — but he’ll still wager he can claim Eleanor’s kiss by midwinter. Yet when the tide turns Will realizes vulnerable Eleanor is far too precious to gamble with. Can he win his lady before it’s too late?
I don’t have a cover yet as I’ve got all the fun of describing characters and settings still to come, but I’ll be sharing that as soon as I do. In the meantime, if anyone wants to be super organised and order it the link is here.
Falling for Her Captor has been out for a month now and I’d like to say a huge than you to everyone who has taken the time to review or let me know what you think if the book.
It’s been a busy month with guest blog posts, interviews and trying to keep on top of reviews and suchlike. I finally feel like I’m coming up for air.
I told myself I wouldn’t read reviews but I couldn’t resist in the end and I’m ecstatic to say that almost all the ones I’ve found (Amazon and Goodreads) have been amazingly positive.
Comments such as ‘I thought i would just read the first chapter before bed at 10:30 last night… 3:00 in the morning i finished it!‘ and ‘kept me gripped right til the end and I really cared about the main characters…I’d love to know what happened after the last chapter for Aline and Hugh.‘ and ‘A feisty heroine, a drop-dead gorgeous hero, a nastier-than-real-life villain, and sweeping scenery make this a must-read for all historical romance readers‘ are a joy to read. If reviews are the author’s Performance Management then I think I’m doing ok.
It’s such a thrill to know people like the story and characters. If you’ve spotted a review somewhere else please link me to it.
So what’s up next?
Tomorrow I’ll be taking part in The historical Romance Network’s Fall Back in Time event on Twitter https://www.facebook.com/events/512905705479257/?ref_dashboard_filter=upcoming and posting a pic of me with the first Historical I read (and maybe a couple of other favourites for good measure). Why not join in the fun and tweet a selfie of yourself reading historical fiction using the hashtag #fallbackintime and maybe win one of the great prizes offered by authors taking part.
I’ll also be working hard on revisions to get my second manuscript back to my editor within the next couple of weeks.
NaNoWriMo starts tomorrow of course. Last year I wrote the first two chapters of manuscript 2 then got caught up in SYTYCW and revisions of FFHC so it took a lot longer before I picked the story up again. I’ve started on my third story and hopefully I’ll get time to get a little further with that.
Right now though the kids are in bed after a fun evening trick or treating, I’ve just finished a large glass of ginger beer (alcoholic of course) and there’s a bubble bath with my name on it.