Sebastian Hastings, Viscount Wentworth, is captain of the Royal Guard by day and scandalous rake by night. To protect the royal family of Regelence from the plots of the Intergalactic Navy, Sebastian makes it his priority to personally oversee their safety.Prince Colton Townsend is done pining after the roguish viscount and focuses his attention on his second love—horses. Following his dream of owning a racehorse breeding farm distracts Colton from his heartache… until Sebastian begins shadowing him.When a good deed at a horse auction sparks public rumors, Colton just might get the man and the marriage he’s longed for. But Sebastian’s duties and secrets keep him walled off from those who would get close.To reach Sebastian, Colton takes one last risk that might break his heart…. Excerpt: Chapter One
September 13, 4830: Planet Regelence
Dinmore House, the Marquess of Crestview’s residence in Classige, Pruluce
His younger brother was right. Life was like a book, but instead of the romance novel Tarren professed it to be, it more closely resembled a Greek tragedy.
In all fairness it probably wasn’t as bad as that, but Colton was having a hard time seeing the good at the moment. He glanced out over the busy ballroom and zeroed in on the love of his life waltzing with that… that… light-trousers. What could Wentworth possibly see in Lord Biltmore’s second son? Eugene Collis might be of age, but he was a wanton. A wanton and a buffoon. No one had ever caught Eugene in flagrante delicto, but there were rumors, lots and lots of rumors, even before he’d turned twenty-five. Maybe that was the problem. Wentworth had a reputation for his attraction to easy men, and Colton wasn’t easy.
Colton sighed and absently lifted the crystal cup to his lips. Galaxy, Viscount Wentworth made his heart ache.
Wentworth’s sable hair looked windblown and elegant at the same time. No surprise—his hair always appeared as though he’d just come in from riding. His perfect jaw sported a beard shadow. Anyone else would’ve seemed scandalously unkempt, but not Wentworth. On him it represented an air of mystery and added to his rakish appeal. His breeches should be outlawed, the way they emphasized his muscular arse and thighs. Really only his legs, since his coattails covered his backside, but Colton knew the man had a splendid arse. Sebastian Hastings spent nearly as much time in the saddle as Colton himself. It was one of the many reasons Colton adored him.
“Are you going to actually drink that, or are you pretending?”
Colton lowered his glass and contemplated his brother’s stepson. “What?”
Trouble waved his hand absently and turned to watch the dancers. “You’ve put that cup to your lips at least three times in the last five minutes without taking a drink.”
They both stepped to the left to allow a couple to exit through the open patio doors. Couldn’t people go to one of the other open doors? Everything was getting on his nerves tonight it would seem.
Colton sipped his lemonade, then set it on the small table next to the door. “I don’t particularly like lemonade.”
Trouble chuckled. “It took you that long to decide?” He studied his glass, winced, and downed it in one gulp. “I don’t either, actually, but Hawk took the glass of champagne I filched.” He stepped past Colton, deposited his empty glass on the table, and situated himself back in front of the exit leading to the veranda. “Why are you hiding on the edge of the ballroom? I thought you liked these shindigs.”
Colton shrugged. Trouble wouldn’t understand; he was infatuated with his betrothed. All Trouble had to do was wait, and one day Rexley would be his. Although, why anyone would want Colton’s stuffy oldest brother completely boggled him. “I like them just fine, but I’m tired of dancing.” And tired of being fawned over by everyone but the one man he wanted to dote on him. If only Wentworth would notice him….
“Oh, speaking of dancing….” Trouble pulled his dance card from his waistcoat pocket and began looking around.
What Trouble was searching for, Colton had no clue, so he continued trying to locate Wentworth. Where was he? He’d been here only moments ago. Normally Wentworth stood out in the all-black evening wear he favored.
“You’ve got it bad.” Trouble shook his head and put his back to the ballroom to gaze out the french doors. “Come on, we need to go outside.”
“We can’t go outside. We don’t have a chaperone.”
Trouble growled and huffed out a breath. “Fine.” He cocked his arm and threw his dance card.
“Oh my stars.” Colton turned in time to see the black card sail over the veranda railing, past a strolling couple, and into the fountain.
A chuckle came from their right as Lord Bannon Thompson sidled up next to Trouble. “You definitely win for originality, Winstol.”
“I win first to dispose of that ghastly thing too.” Trouble snatched the dance card from Bannon’s hand and chucked it out the door as well. It too landed in the fountain pool.
Bannon laughed. “Why, thank you.”
“Quite welcome.” Trouble brushed his hands together. “Good riddance. I hate dancing.” He exaggerated a shudder. “Guh, there should be an age limit to the men who can ask you to dance.”
“I concur.” Bannon leaned forward past Trouble, making a hank of auburn hair fall into his eyes. “Colton? Don’t you usually dance?” Scrunching his face and rolling his eyes upward, Bannon blew at the hair.
Colton shrugged. “I don’t feel like it.”
“He’s pining away for Wentworth.” Trouble turned around, facing the dance floor again.
Discreetly, Colton elbowed Trouble in the ribs.
“Oof. Whaaat? I’m just saying….”
“You should join the DCDC,” Bannon said. “It will take your pining to a new level. Maybe it will make Wentworth notice you and do something about it.”
“What is the DCDC?” Colton studied the crowd. Wentworth nearly always came to events late and retired from them early.
“The Dance Card Destruction Crew.” Trouble grinned, showing off the charming dimples in his cheeks. Grins like that made it hard to remember why he was called Trouble.
“We lost Aiden and Payton, but we’re still going strong. Winstol is our newest member,” Bannon explained.
“Who are the other members?” Colton asked. Was that Wentwo—no. Colton’s shoulders slumped. Apparently the viscount had already quit the rout. What time was it? Shouldn’t they all be leaving soon?
“Just me and Winstol.” Bannon shrugged. “Rupert says he can’t flirt as well without dancing, so he still refuses to join.”
Colton chuckled. “Sure. Why not?” He didn’t want to dance with anyone but Wentworth anyway. He pulled his card out of his waistcoat pocket.
Trouble confiscated the card. “Bombs away.” He tossed it out the patio door just as he’d done the other two.
“Uh-oh.” Bannon touched Colton’s shoulder. “Is that the admiral coming this way?”
Colton squinted. It did look a bit like his brother-in-law headed toward them.
“What?” Trouble swiveled so fast he practically jumped around. “Nate will throttle me. He said I had to dance tonight. Let’s go.” He grabbed Colton’s arm and dragged him out the patio doors with Bannon laughing behind them.
“Trouble….” Stumbling down the steps toward the garden, Colton nearly plowed into Lord Girton. “Beg your pardon, Girton.”
“Sorry, Girton,” Bannon yelled and grabbed Colton’s other arm to help usher him away.
Caught as he was between Trouble and Bannon, Colton had no choice but to follow. They dodged around hedges and tall perennials, another fountain, and several benches. The garden was a maze of alcoves, faux Greek ruins, and plants. In the daylight it was probably beautiful, but at night it was a little spooky. Too many spots where people could hide.
They came to an arbor that resembled a cave with the mass of climbing vines and fairy lights strung over it. Trouble and Bannon flopped down on the bench, cackling like a couple of loons.
Trouble tugged at his cravat. “Do you think Hawk saw us?”
“I’m not even sure that was Nate.” Colton smiled and sat between Trouble and Bannon. That was fun. He couldn’t remember the last time he’d done something so carefree. Since Aiden and Trouble had been abducted at the end of last year, he and Tarren had been the very epitome of respectability. They’d been absolute angels. No more sneaking out, no more balancing on the edge of propriety only a hair away from scandal.
Speaking of propriety…. “Cut that out.” Colton knocked Trouble’s hands away from his cravat. The kid always fussed with them, complaining they were choking him.
Trouble growled but let go of his neckcloth. “Idiotic torture device,” he mumbled.
The weather was refreshingly cool with stars twinkling above. Nice for fall. Cool but not freezing. There were no flowers in bloom, but plenty of evergreen plants dotted the landscape. Best of all, no one stared at Colton.
Closing his eyes, Colton slouched back on the bench like Trouble and Bannon. The sway of leaves and the tinkling of water from the fountain made for a lovely lullaby. The tension riding him for the last three hours, since arriving at the ball, seeped out of him. A soft breeze tickled his face.
“What?” Colton frowned.
“What?” Bannon asked.
Colton cracked open one eye. “Why are you groaning?”
“It wasn’t me.”
“Shhh….” Trouble sat up.
Colton and Bannon leaned forward.
Cocking his head, Trouble raised one platinum brow.
The groan, or rather moan, came again.
With eyes wide, Trouble bit his bottom lip and grinned.
Bannon slapped a hand over his mouth and pointed toward their right. The back of a vine-covered arbor, like the one they sat under, lay beyond a large grouping of bushes. The perfect spot for a lovers’ tryst.
Hopping to his feet, Trouble put a finger to his lips.
“Oh no. Get back here,” Colton whispered and made a grab for the scamp, but Trouble evaded him.
Trouble tiptoed, which was ridiculous because he was on grass, toward the moans. He disappeared from sight for all of thirty seconds before he returned with a blank look on his face.
Uh-oh. A lump settled in Colton’s stomach.
“Who was it?” Bannon wanted to know.
Trouble shrugged and sat on the bench. “Just a couple of lords.”
Normally Trouble would be smiling and cracking jokes or encouraging them to go check it out themselves. It must be someone they all knew, participating in a clandestine meeting. Was it one of their friends? Or perhaps family? No, it couldn’t be. Father and Cony were one hundred percent devoted to each other, as were Aiden and Nate. Rexley would never do something so careless. And Tarren—
Colton shot to his feet. Tarren was reckless and a hopeless romantic.
“No!” Bolting from his seat, Trouble shook his head. “It’s nothing. Come on. We should all go back. It’s getting chilly. Aren’t you getting cold?” Taking Colton by the arm, Trouble motioned for Bannon to get up. “I’m cold. Bannon? How about you?”
Colton freed himself and started around the bushes.
Trouble darted in front of Colton, placing a hand in the middle of his chest.
“Jeremy, if it’s Tarren—”
Trouble sighed. “If it were Tarren, I’d have told you. Let’s just go back to the ball. Please?” He gave Colton a weak smile.
Colton should’ve been relieved, but instead his heart raced and the hair on the back of his arms stood on end. He walked around Trouble.
Behind him, Trouble began whispering to Bannon.
Colton crept past tall ornamental grasses and a knot garden. The alcove appeared completely concealed from the back. Surely Trouble had not gone around to the front or parted the vines. He’d have been noticed if he had.
Slurping noises and deeper but quieter moans filtered through the greenery.
There, in the right corner of the mass of foliage, halfway toward the bottom, was a clear space. Colton bent and peered through the hole in the spindly branches and leaves. He wasn’t going to like what he saw. Nervous flutters tickled his insides, but he forced himself to look.
A man reclined on the bench with his head thrown back. The angle concealed his face, and the night hid the color of his clothes, but his hair appeared to be dark. Colton let his gaze drift down the long, toned body. The man’s evening coat was undone and his shirt untucked. Oh. His trousers were open. There was a nest of dark hair and—
Colton gulped. The man’s prick was in the mouth of—
No! It couldn’t be….
Colton’s gaze shot back to the man’s head. Still, he was unable to make out the man’s features, but he didn’t need to. Turning away with his heart in his throat, he took a deep breath and then another. When he brought his hand to his face, it shook, so he lowered it.
Bannon caught his wrist. When had Bannon gotten so close? He pulled Colton away from the arbor and down the aisle.
Trouble kept pace beside them.
Colton couldn’t look at either of them… not yet. He stared at the ground, focusing on putting one foot in front of the other. His composure was fleeting, trying to abandon him altogether. But he wouldn’t let it. He couldn’t.
They walked for several seconds, and Bannon came to a halt. He turned Colton and pushed him down on a bench.
Trouble sat next to him, grabbed his hand, and squeezed. “I tried to keep you from looking.”
“It’s quite all right.” He patted Trouble’s hand and gave him a weak smile. Glancing up at Bannon’s concerned gaze was almost Colton’s undoing. “Seriously, everything is fine.” He’d never get the image of Eugene Collis’s lips stretched around Wentworth’s thick cock out of his head, but he would not break down over it.
Wentworth was nothing to him, not really, and this was probably for the best. It was the eye-opener he needed. All the flirting he’d done over the years had never amounted to anything. Wentworth was not interested in him. Colton had always known it, but he’d hoped one day….
“Why should I care what he does?” Standing, he wiped his sweaty hands on his breeches. “We have to return to the ballroom before anyone notices we’re gone.”
Bannon frowned and cut his attention to Trouble, who returned the gesture.
Colton took both of their arms and led them toward the mansion. If they didn’t believe he was over Wentworth, he couldn’t blame them. He wasn’t so sure he believed it himself, but he was determined for it to be the truth.
One of the things I love Christmas is…DECORATIONS! Yup, I’m one of those people. My kids have a running joke that by the time I’m 50 I’ll go straight from Halloween decorations to Christmas decorations. I admit they might be right, I seem to put Christmas decorations up earlier and earlier every year and leave them up later. When I first got married I took my Christmas decorations down on Christmas day. Now? They don’t come down till New Years Day. This year I do believe I’m going to put them up the Monday before Thanksgiving. I’m seriously considering putting Christmas lights up this weekend. Now to decide what type I want. I haven’t had lights for the outside in quite some time and there are so many to choose from now.
Christmas time also means awesome weather. I can practically my northern friends giving me the evil eye, but I can’t help it. It’s the perfect writing weather and let’s face it, living in Texas, I have way too much hot. So, I love the cold! I admit to having a bit of an infatuation with snow. Sadly, I don’t get snow. As I said…Texas. Not that I’m complaining;I do love my state. Now if I could just have perpetual cloud cover in winter…
I love Christmas music. I’ve already started listening to it while I write and in my car. Country Christmas and Traditional Christmas are my favorites, but Mannheim Steamroller and Elvis Presley hold a special place in my heart as well. I think I have four different Christmas music stations on my Pandora.
Christmas stories are one of the things I look forward to every year. I love Christmas romance. Especially Regency Romance. Every year about October I scour Amazon and Barnes & Noble for Christmas Stories. I’ve already read nine this year and have nine more to go.
And let's not forget cookies! As you may have figured out if you've read many of my blogs. I'm quite the cookie baker. Not only do I love to bake cookies and am darn good at it if I do say so myself, ;) I love to eat them!
So my friends, when you go to the store and see all the Christmas decorations and think, Ugh! they get earlier every year…think of me :).
Psst… Did I mention that I even made Hiccup and Astrid Christmas dog collars? Yup, I’m definitely one of those people.
As some of you may know by now, or at least have guessed, I dislike social media. Nothing against those who love it, it just isn’t for me. While I do attempt to use it for my lovely readers who so love it, I find it eats up too much of my time and is a general distraction when I should be doing other things…like writing. As such, the absolute best place to get news on my books, recent releases and upcoming, is my website and blog. I also have a mailing list for New Releases. The best way to contact me is still through email because I tend to miss a lot of Twitter posts and Facebook messages, so please don’t think I’m ignoring you if you message me on one of the social media platforms; chances are I just didn’t see it. In light of this information, I vow to keep my website and blog updated and I hope you enjoy the contents.
The Ranch series has a new home! I will be rereleasing The Tin Star, The Broken H, and also be adding a final book to the series. The final book will be called, The Quad J, and will be about John. Look for the series in the summer of 2019.
Sorry, it's been so long since I've posted. The Sci-Regency series is keeping my busy. And though my mind is filled with Regency edict, dreamy gentlemen, and a rough highlander at the moment, there is always time for cookies! I love to bake. So, with the holiday season coming up, I thought I'd share a new favorite cookie. Oddly enough this is a bit healthier than most cookies. Oh sure it still has sugar, but lets face it baked deserts without sugar are...well they aren't good. Sorry, they just aren't! Everything in moderation, right? Well that is my philosophy anyway. Enjoy!
Coconut Chocolate Chip Cookies
¾ cup Coconut Oil
1 cup Brown Sugar
½ cups Granulated Sugar
2 Large Eggs
1 tsp Vanilla
½ tsp Salt
2 cups White Whole Wheat Flour
1 tsp Baking Soda
1 cup Chocolate Chips
1 cup Unsweetened Coconut Flakes
½ cup pecans
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cream together coconut oil, eggs, vanilla, and sugars. Mix in dry ingredients. Bake for 8 minutes.
*This is an post from 2011 from my old blog, but the information is still good and I hope it may be some help to others, so I’ve included it in this blog.
Plagiarism. It’s an ugly word and an ever uglier act. I know some of you are aware that I was plagiarized a few years ago. I’ve yet to tell my side of things, and I’d like to do so now in hopes of informing other authors how to protect themselves.
I received an email from a concerned reader asking me to check out an upcoming author’s excerpt on the author’s website. The reader said that she had not checked the excerpt side by side with my novella With Love, but she could swear just by reading it that it was very similar. I went to the site and checked out the excerpt and from just a quick glance it did seem familiar. More than the actual story, the flow and voice felt like mine. So, I sent off a note to my friend Kris and asked her opinion, then I pulled up my final copy of With Love. Before I got through the first paragraph of With Love, Kris had already emailed me back. She wrote only: Contact Samhain immediately because this IS your story. I read a few more lines and realized that it was indeed With Love. Only the names were changed with a few original sentences thrown in. The plagiarist didn’t even bother to change the color of the character’s clothes, only their names. It was quite shocking because it wasn’t even paraphrased. It was word for word. My words. And it was set to be published the next week.
I contacted my editor who sent an email off to Christina Brashear, the owner of Samhain. Crissy sent an email, to the publishing company, set to publish this story. She asked for a copy of the entire manuscript for comparison and offered a copy of With Love, so they might compare as well. Crissy then sent me, my editor and some of the office staff copies of the book from the other publisher asking us to dig in and see what we could find. I pulled up With Love in .pdf and the manuscript from the other author in .doc form and compared them side by side. I was amazed, with the exception of the names, the sex of one character and the addition of a few sentences here and there, the manuscript was nearly word for word With Love. Shortly after I received a phone call from Crissy asking me if I was seeing what she was seeing? We were both in shock at the blatant plagiarism as were the others comparing the two works with us.
The other publishing house pulled the story from their line-up immediately, but that wasn’t the end of it. They called Crissy later after talking to the other author. The other author alleged that I had stolen it from her. She told her publisher that she had posted it on a blog back in 2000. Crissy, without even talking to me, told the publisher, “That is not true. Because of what I know of the work and the author that is not going to fly.” She pointed out that the author had used my edited, final manuscript to copy. The other publishing house agreed and indicated that they would be going after the author for breach of contract and the money they had already put out for edits (though there weren’t any that I could see other than my editor’s) and cover art.
When next Crissy and I talked, I told her I could prove it was my story, because I had all my notes from conception to completion as well as my rough drafts and the testimony of my critique partners who witnessed With Love from the beginning. Apparently, the other author didn’t realize that With Love, was a collaboration with Ally Blue and Willa Okati for the anthology Hearts From the Ashes. The very concept of the anthology and the individual stories were discussed in length by Ally, Willa, our editor Sasha, and myself. Crissy assured me she knew it was my work and would do whatever necessary to support me. I have to take a moment here and praise Crissy, not only for her faith in me, but also for her involvement with her authors. Had she not known me and my work as well, she would not have been able to support me so thoroughly.
Nothing else came of the situation. The other publishing house was very cooperative and satisfied that I was indeed the author of the story.
Now all that said, I’d like to point out a few things and issue some advice to my fellow authors. Some good has definitely come out of the whole situation because it has been a learning experience and helped, not only myself, but those close to me be prepared should this happen again.
Number one, and most importantly, keep all your notes, rough drafts and edits even after a manuscript is published. I did not need this, but it was very comforting knowing I had them. I know the plagiarist’s accusation against me was made in a panic, but she would have been in sad shape had she persisted because of the overwhelming evidence. So, keep your notes, rough drafts and edits in a file where you know where they are. I deleted them all after the manuscript was published and had to scramble around looking through my back ups to find them. I now keep everything pertaining to a manuscript in one file after the manuscript is completed and back it up on a drive as well. This way should the need ever arise again, I have all the things to prove my case right at hand.
Number two, this is another function of a critique group that we all overlook. Not only can they provide character witness, they see your work from conception to publication. If you use a group on Yahoo or Google you also have group archives discussing ideas, brainstorming and critiquing at your disposal. My critique partners and I make a point to post every scene in our group. We also save copies of one another’s works and our critiques even after the manuscript is published. If you do not use a group, save your critiques and important emails pertaining to your work. Not only is it good evidence in a court case, but it’s very amusing to go back and see some of the harebrained ideas you discarded. It will give you a good chuckle.
Number three, if your publisher does not register your copyrights, you need to do so yourself. Yes, it is true that a work is copyright protected from the moment you put words to paper (or screen), but without that registration you cannot go to court. And the sooner the registration is done the better. If you don’t file your copyright until you need it, you cannot sue for court costs. Not to mention, those certificates are neat to have as a sort of a final accomplishment; they make a nice THE END. As a side note, a lot of small presses do not register copyrights. It is left up to the author, so please make certain that your publisher registers the copyright. Just saying they do is not enough. You need that piece of paper.
Number four, be good to your readers. Readers are so very important. If it hadn’t been for a faithful reader that book might have been published, and it would have caused a lot more problems for not only me but the two publishers involved.
As for the emotional side of things, plagiarism hurts. I, as all the authors I know personally, give their everything to their work. With me it seems like every manuscript is an emotional ride. There is the excitement, of course, but there is also the worry of getting it right, the anger when things aren’t working, and the endless hours of research and pondering plot problems. Writing a book is an emotional rollercoaster—overall a very positive and wonderful feeling—but it’s a long journey. It’s very distressing to think someone would claim your hard work as their own and really has nothing to do with the loss of money. Although the thought of someone getting paid when you’ve been the one to do the job is not a nice one. I feel I’ve earned the right to claim credit for that work be it a fine piece of fiction or a complete failure. I cannot even describe the rage one has at being wronged and then being accused of wrong doing. It would have been easy to try and make the other party involved pay dearly, but at the end of the day, is it worth it? Should her family have to pay for her mistake? Her lack of judgment has probably cost her dearly if she held any dreams of being a published author because her name has been tarnished. It’s a big business but word gets around. I think this has been a bad experience for everyone one involved. In the end, I hope it’s also been a learning experience. If I can help others and impart some wisdom on how to handle the situation then it hasn’t been all bad.
I love Regency romance and one day I will write a true Regency era romance, but I have become quite found of the freedom I have with Sci-Regency. I’ve talked before about how I ended up with the Sci-Regency because gay relationships were punishable by death at the time and I did not like the bittersweetness of death looming over my characters. Though its always good to know history, sometimes it doesn’t make for the best reading especially where romance is concerned.
History while extremely important to know—I am a firm believer in that saying about being doomed to repeat history if we don’t learn it—is not always glamorous. Take the lack of air conditioning? Can you imagine all those sweaty bodies packed into a ballroom? Or how about the lack of electricity. I don’t know about you but losing electricity puts my family in a murderous rage. Well not really, but close enough, you certainly don’t want to be around any of us for more than a minute if we don’t have simple things like lights, cool air (we do live in Texas), and refrigerated food, not to mention computers, video games and TV. Oh and don’t for get...this is a BIG one: indoor plumbing! I think we can all agree on that one. Then there are all the medical advancements and transportation. But those things are even the hardest to remember. No there are other things to consider, like social customs, word choice, and legalities (ie: women’s rights, property rights, things like freedom of speech that all of us Americans take for granted).
Are you getting an idea why I haven’t written a true Regency and hopefully gaining respect for authors who are brave enough to tackle historical romance?
In my Sci-Regency, I try to use some of the things we all love about the era, but I’m not a stickler. I definitely use my own liberties. It was never meant to be a true reflection of the Regency, but a dabbling, a taste, a modern version with technology. I pick and choose what to use and what not to. The customs of my Sci-Regency and the social mandates are no where near as strict as they were in 1811. The things that could actually ruin a ladies reputation were insane by our standards. My gentlemen have some of that, but not nearly as strict. The lack of rights? Well, I certainly didn’t use that. My gentlemen can own property and are not in essence property themselves, but I did give them the restriction of age as they are not considered of age until twenty-five. Technology? Well, my guys have everything from space travel, to horses and traditional carriages, to hover vehicles. It’s really too bad we can all do in life what I get to do in stories: pick the things we like.
I don’t write true Regency romance I do love and respect it and I keep saying... “one day.” If you have not read a true Regency romance, I urge you to do so. I have tons of recommendations for awesome authors, or check out my RWA chapter, The Beau Monde or for other historical genres go to Hearts Through History.