GuestBlog: “Blood and Dust” a New Story From Tara Vanflower

Harkening back to the glory days of gothic romance that had us up reading all night, Press Presents:

Haunts & Hellions edited by Emerian Rich

HHCoverPromo13 stories of horror, romance, and that perfect moment when the two worlds collide. Vengeful spirits attacking the living, undead lovers revealing their true nature, and supernatural monsters seeking love, await you. Pull the blinds closed, light your candle, and cuddle up in your reading nook for some chilling—and romantic—tales.

With stories by: Emily Blue, Lucy Blue, Kevin Ground, Rowan Hill, Naching T. Kassa, Emmy Z. Madrigal, R.L. Merrill, N.C. Northcott, Emerian Rich, Daniel R. Robichaud, Daphne Strasert, Tara Vanflower, and B.F. Vega.


An excerpt from Haunts & Hellions

 Blood and Dust

Tara Vanflower

1930, Oklahoma

The tents were empty, dust blowing through them, canvas flapping violently. Rosalyn huddled inside her wagon, daring not to move. Not yet. It was too quiet. All the voices had died down and the animals were silent. An elephant’s trumpeting sounded off in the distance.

Run, Eleanor. Be free.

She could picture Eleanor, her elephant friend, roaming across the vast duned plains looking for her lost sisters from another continent. Elephants never forget and so many times Rosalyn had been haunted by the pained look of sadness in the elephant’s teary eyes. How confused she must have been, taken from her home, only to be locked by chains and forced to perform for dolts who laughed at her dancing, not knowing, or caring, how she suffered.

I’m sorry.

Eleanor would survive better than any of the humans could. She had taken out quite a few of the bandits with her stomping feet and massive waving trunk. If only she’d had her tusks. That would have been a show.

Rosalyn’s wagon rocked with a burst of wind. The sound of the pelting sand outside grew deafening. When would it pass?

A moment of quiet was just enough to look out. Just enough to see if anyone had survived the attack.

It had been stupid to bring the carnival to Oklahoma. No one had any money there, but they were making their way toward California, the land of milk and honey. Rosalyn would never get there now, everyone was dead. Everyone. If it hadn’t been for her abilities and the cabinet in her wagon in which she hid, she might be dead, too.

She closed her eyes. Her heart ached. They had taken her in as family when her father sold her to the traveling band. She had been one of them. Now, they were all dead. And for what? A few measly coins? Some horses? Some wagons? Food? People were savages when they were hungry. She wondered if the bandits had even left the bodies behind. Perhaps they made a meal of them, too. At least some of them had also been killed.

Good job, Elenor. She looked down at her hands and squeezed them tightly.


 “Mama, Mama!” she cried out, her voice shrill in her ears, strangled by tears. “Mama! Wake up, Mama!”

“You took off the gloves! We told you to never take off the gloves!” Her father wept. “It’s all your fault, Rosy. We told you to never take off the gloves!”

“But Mama was sick. I was trying to help her,” she cried.

“She was sick because of you and now she’s dead!”

Rosalyn awoke with a start, her heart pounding like horse hooves in her chest. She sucked in a deep breath and held it, opening her eyes to peer out at blackness. It was nighttime, the winds had died down. She was still alive, still safe inside her cabinet. Dare she creep out? Dare she view the aftermath?

No. Not yet. Still too soon. They could be lingering nearby. She wasn’t ready to see the aftermath.

Sleep. She pulled her gloves up, tightening the leather against her fingers, and tucked her folded hands beneath her hot cheek. She closed her eyes. When the sun rose, she would try. She couldn’t stay inside this cabinet forever. No more dreams.

To read more, read Haunts and Hellions at:

“Left Behind” a New Story From Emerian Rich

Harkening back to the glory days of gothic romance that had us up reading all night, Press Presents:

Haunts & Hellions edited by Emerian Rich

HHCoverPromo13 stories of horror, romance, and that perfect moment when the two worlds collide. Vengeful spirits attacking the living, undead lovers revealing their true nature, and supernatural monsters seeking love, await you. Pull the blinds closed, light your candle, and cuddle up in your reading nook for some chilling—and romantic—tales.

With stories by: Emily Blue, Lucy Blue, Kevin Ground, Rowan Hill, Naching T. Kassa, Emmy Z. Madrigal, R.L. Merrill, N.C. Northcott, Emerian Rich, Daniel R. Robichaud, Daphne Strasert, Tara Vanflower, and B.F. Vega.


An excerpt from Haunts & Hellions


Left Behind

Emerian Rich


New York City

“Time for your tonic.”

Often Glorianna woke to her mother standing over her, bottle and spoon in hand.

“Take it.” Her mother’s voice was a combination of sandpaper and vinegar. Always irritated, always impatient.

“I just took some,” Glorianna’s voice didn’t sound like her own. Scratchy and unused, it croaked out like that of an older lady with consumption, not a seventeen-year-old Manhattan socialite.

“That was hours ago.”

“But I can’t eat. It’s giving me a sour stomach.”

Mother huffed. “It’s as if you don’t want to get well.”

“I do. I just—”

“Really? Because all I hear are complaints. Here’s your serum.” She slammed the bottle down on the bedside table. “Take it if you want, I don’t care anymore. Ungrateful little…”

“Mama, please. I’ll take it. I didn’t mean to…”

Mother threw the spoon back at her and it landed on Glorianna’s weakened legs. She barely felt it. Both Glorianna and her mother stared at the spoon, the action meaning so much more than a simple fight. It pointed a finger at the horrible illness they both had been dealing with for far too long.

Mother slowly picked up the spoon, took the bottle of tonic gingerly from the table, and uncapped it.

Glorianna obediently held open her mouth, wincing as the acrid taste hit her tongue. She closed her eyes and swallowed, taking the immediate glass of water offered and downing as much as she could, praying the acidic taste would fade with dowsing.

“I’ll have Pritchett bring you toast.” Mother slammed the decaying door to her room and left Glorianna alone in the dark.

Only after her mother left did Glorianna gag at the lingering taste of the pungent serum. She’d been taking the tonic for months. Would she ever be free from it?

Rain pattered the windows on another gloomy day in Manhattan. How she longed to go and sit to watch the storm pelt Fifth Avenue. Despite the downpour, Central Park still managed to raise her spirits. The trees reminded her of happier times when she and her friends would walk in the park. But her friends were gone.

They said the polio epidemic only hit the poor, but it had traveled through her ritzy club fast enough. Lila Billings had been the first to succumb to the disease.

At that time, Glorianna had been well enough to attend Lila’s funeral. The last memory of her friends was from Lila’s funeral, all lined up in mourning black, some hunched, and a few in chairs. With Lila in the ground, she could no longer bring Glorianna out of the doldrums with her bright smile.

Glorianna longed for her friends, for the excitement of normal life. She’d been asked to the fall dance by Tommy Opalson. He was the cutest boy at the club, but as the dance neared, a sympathy card from Mrs. Opalson to her mother had expressed their wish for Glorianna to return to health and to regret his cancellation. And that’s all. No visits from Tommy.

None of her friends, even the sick ones, had visited or written. In fact, if the club hadn’t sent the circular every month, she’d not even know which of her friends still survived. She wasn’t sure which was worse, the announcement of recovery or death? If they were dead, it was sad and she’d never see them again. But if they recovered, it just marked one more person who had overcome what she could not.

Quickly approaching her eighteenth year, Glorianna still had yet to share a kiss or even receive an amorous note, flowers, or chocolates. She was crippled and barely able to stay awake. When she was awake, she would spend most of her time nauseous. Were she able to find an appropriate and willing suitor, she doubted she’d inspire enamored feelings once he witnessed her constant regurgitations.

She sat alone in her high gloomy tower, in a deteriorating house, watching the world recover outside. Others happily went about their days, bright electrics from inside showing her a world she could only dream of. Stuck in a world of dim light, old furnishings, and spooky corridors she could no longer walk, Glorianna longed to be away from the wretched house.

To read more, read Haunts and Hellions at:

Press Release: Fang Me Three Times by R.L. Merrill

My friend R.L. Merrill has a new book out!
New Paranormal Romance Release
Fang Me Three Times: Magic and Mayhem Universe
The Miscreants #1 By R.L. Merrill 

Three kisses will break the curse, but what if your Prince Charming can’t hold back the fang?

Cursed witch Wilma Wetter is proud to represent her magical Germanic ancestors as a weather forecaster, even if it means taking a job in a town called Assjacket, West Virginia. While tracking the weather before a historic lunar eclipse, she and her trusty camerawoman Jules come across three ridiculously attractive rock stars wandering in the woods.

Gustavo “Gus Valens” Valenzuela comes from a rock ‘n’ roll family and has been living the dream since joining his cousins in forming The Miscreants, but a hazy meeting with insistent groupies leaves The Miscreants forever changed. And hungry.

Gus holds the key to awakening Wilma’s latent powers, held in check by an ancient family curse. Can he help her break it without changing her life forever? And would change necessarily be a bad thing?

Please Visit for buy links!

About the Author:

R.L. Merrill brings you stories of Hope, Love, and Rock ‘n’ Roll featuring quirky and relatable characters. Whether she’s writing about contemporary issues that affect us all or diving deep into the paranormal and supernatural to give readers a shiver, she loves creating compelling stories that will stay with readers long after. Winner of the Kathryn Hayes “When Sparks Fly” Best Contemporary award for Hurricane Reese. Ro spends every spare moment improving her writing craft and striving to find that perfect balance between real-life and happily ever after. She writes diverse and inclusive romance, contributes paranormal hilarity to Robyn Peterman’s Magic and Mayhem Universe, and works on various other writing and mentoring projects that tickle her fancy or benefit a worthy cause. You can find her connecting with readers on social media, educating America’s youth, raising two brilliant teenagers, trying desperately to get that back piece finished in the tattoo chair, or headbanging at a rock show near her home in the San Francisco Bay Area! Stay Tuned for more Rock ‘n’ Romance.

Facebook, Instagram and Twitter @rlmerrillauthor

“The Pocket Watch” by Emerian Rich in Dark Divinations Press Presents:

Dark Divinations edited by Naching T. Kassa

It’s the height of Queen Victoria’s rule. Fog swirls in the gas-lit streets, while in the parlor, hands are linked. Pale and expectant faces gaze upon a woman, her eyes closed and shoulders slumped. The medium speaks, her tone hollow and inhuman. The séance has begun.

Can the reading of tea leaves influence the future? Can dreams keep a soldier from death in the Crimea? Can a pocket watch foretell a deadly family curse? From entrail reading and fortune-telling machines to prophetic spiders and voodoo spells, sometimes the future is better left unknown.

Choose your fate.


An excerpt from Dark Divinations

 The Pocket Watch

Emerian Rich

Northern England 1883

Gretchen Windemere stood tall in her sapphire taffeta bustle dress, her neck and vermillion hair adorned with sapphire velvet ribbons and pearls. She smiled and nodded as her new husband gave her a tour of his family estate in Northern England. She’d never been inside such an antique home in her life. Growing up in Manhattan, she was no stranger to glamor but her family mansion was no older than 1780. Harrison’s estate had been built in the 1500s, seen kings and queens, lords and dukes, and at least eleven Lady Windermeres in its time. She was the newest and most unlikely mistress of the house being American and “new money.”

“Gretchen? Did you hear me?”

“I’m sorry?” She turned, taking in her new husband, Harrison. He was bright and trim and easy-on-the-eyes. All the things young girls like Gretchen looked for in a mate.

“This is to be your private study.” He smiled, wrapping his arm around her waist. “Would you like to stay here while I attend to some business?” Harrison’s butler, Prescott, stood by inspecting her with almost a sneer. She supposed the right answer would be yes.


“I’ll return for you at luncheon.” Harrison kissed her once on the cheek and left with his butler in tow.

Gretchen removed her traveling gloves and took in the room, admiring the antiques and placement of all the furniture. The color scheme of the room was very last-century, harkening back to the white and gold of Versailles. The desk sat in the middle of the room, facing the two front windows that looked out over the gardens to the right or left of a dainty golden mirror. A luxurious settee sat in front of the massive gold-encrusted fireplace mantle. A toasty roost if she were chilled. The chaise lounge near the closest window looked a sublime place for an afternoon nap. Everything seemed to be in the precise place it should be.

How very efficient the last Lady Windermere had been. So efficient, Gretchen felt the need to adjust the chaise ever so slightly askew just to break up the perfection.

Gretchen’s life in Manhattan had been too perfect. Her mother had groomed her from birth to be the prettiest, the most refined, the classiest girl in all of New York City. Her friends were Vanderbilts and Astors. Their pastimes were tea parties and cotillions.  She’d been taught the manners, the traditions, and the tastes of the extremely wealthy. But after fulfilling her mother’s purpose for her—marrying a titled man—she was of no use to her anymore. It was her sister’s turn to catch a lord, duke, or count. It was all so cold, Gretchen could barely stand it.

Luckily, she just happened to be in love with Harrison. They had met at the Vanderbilt Ball that spring, she in a forest sprite costume and he dressed as a matador. He made her laugh before she knew his title. His quirky disposition and a promise of a life away from the New York City social scene sealed the deal. By September they were wed and as October drew to a close, they’d returned to his country estate to settle in for the winter.

Satisfied with her private study furniture arrangement being “not-quite-perfect” Gretchen set to the arduous task of writing her family. First, she’d write to her mother—saying all the things she’d been taught to say—then shortly to her father, and finally to her sister.

At half-past eleven, Harrison strolled into the room, catching Gretchen as she stared out into the garden.

“Love, I have come to take you to lunch, but first, a surprise.”

“You’re going to spoil me with all the gifts,” Gretchen said, turning to find him holding out a red velvet box.

“You deserve all this and more. I can’t believe I convinced you to come overseas. To leave your family…”

“My family is nothing to me, you know that. Though, I do miss my beloved Annie.”

“There is a reason I fell in love with you. A woman who loves her horse more than her family. How am I so lucky?”

She smiled. “I do love riding.”

“But this gift isn’t from me, it’s from my mother.”

“Oh.” Gretchen’s heart pulled when he spoke of his family. Both his father and mother were deceased. They’d left him only a few years apart and the wounds were still very close to the surface. “I’m honored.” She took the box from him and opened it.

Inside was a golden pocket watch, by its appearance very old, but shined to the hilt.

“It was my mother’s. I’m only sorry she couldn’t give it to you herself.”

“It’s stunning.”

The pocket watch was rather large for a lady to carry, but had evidently been repurposed for Lady Windermere. A golden chain enabled the owner to wear it as a necklace and Gretchen looped it over her neck, admiring the impression of the Windermere crest on the front. Gretchen pushed the crown and the door flipped open, displaying the hands of the clock inching forward. On the inside of the door, a mirror had been inlaid at its base. Although the brilliancy of the glass was faded with age, Gretchen could see her Josephine curls and velvet choker in the reflection. She closed the watch with a click and hugged Harrison.

“Thank you. It’s beautiful. I feel so honored to have something of your mother’s.”

Harrison smiled sadly, taking her hand.

To read more, go to: or order the special edition, signed copy with hand-painted tarot cards at

New Book from Emerian Rich: The War Letters of Henry C. Brewer

The War Letters of Henry C. Brewer
Now available from

Henry C. Brewer is my grandfather-in-law, but I never met him. Neither did my husband or his mother. We only know him through this book of letters and what we’ve been able to glean from public record.

Henry Carroll Brewer, was born in 1918 in Simpson, Louisiana. Henry was a Sgt. in the 30th Infantry for the USA in WWII and died in 1944 in France fighting for his country. Henry fell in love with an Oakland girl, Madeline Aguiar, about 1940. These letters not only tell of their love affair, but of the life he wanted to have with her that was unfortunately cut short due to war.

~An excerpt from a letter just after he was told they were going overseas to war.~

January 19, 1942

My Darling,

I will write although I haven’t got any letter but I can always write the one I love. I know it’s hard for you to pass away these lonely Sundays. God only knows how much I would like to see you.

Madeline, gosh, they are killing themselves around here. Two soldiers killed themselves last night. Too bad. I may be crazy, but Darling, you need not worry about that. Long as you are waiting for me, Darling. If only I could hold you in my arms. Little Bit, kiss me. If I could only see your hair when it’s combed out.

Just think, Madeline, our little curly-headed boy. Darling, life wouldn’t be worth living without you. I go to sleep

praying that we can be together. Darling, they say by the last of this month we can get off. So be ready because I’m sending after you.

Love always, Mannie

PS. I will send for you so don’t worry and be sweet as ever and keep your chin up for me, will you, Darling?


Experience Henry and Madeline’s lives through their letters in The War Letters of Henry C. Brewer. Book includes letters, postcards, and other correspondence from 1941-1944, a timeline for easy reference, pictures, and hand-drawn maps.

The REAL Women Writers of Romance #REALWomenWriters

Welcome back to the blog series #REALWomenWriters to explore #REALWomenWriters who toil in the day-to-day, soul-crushing, confidence-demolishing, existence that is the life of a REAL Woman Writer. We hope you enjoy this inside look and if you are a REAL Woman Writer, email us to share your story.

Name: Lea Kirk
Genres: Sci-fi Romance and Paranormal Romance

Favorite story you’ve written and why. You know, this is like asking me, “Which of your kids is your favorite?” Lol. I’ve loved writing all my stories, they each have such different personalities. The best answer I can give you is Collision. It’s the book where I finally felt like I was understanding my own writing style, and it was flowing better.
Favorite character you’ve ever written and why? Oh boy, this is just as difficult to answer as the last question…for the same reasons! How can I pick just one? All right, I’m going to say…Graig Roble (pronounced Robe-lay), one of my secondary characters. He’s a gruff, ruff, hard-ass alien on the outside, with a gooey inside for his loved ones.
What is one thing everyone thinks about you that isn’t true? That I have my poop together. I really don’t.
What is one thing about writing you didn’t know before you started? That it’d take so dang long to write a book! Honestly, I’m lucky to finish one a year, yet I know authors who can crank out three or more annually. And excellent stories, too! I’m pretty sure this comes back to them having their poop together.
What is the hardest kind of scene for you to write? Sex scenes (says the mother of five). On the positive, the more I write them, the easier they’re coming. Practice, practice, practice!
Did you go to college? What was your major? Yes. My major was Travel and Tourism. You can see how well that worked out.
What did you think you’d be “when you grew up?” An author. And, I wanted to be a mom too. This plan worked out a little better than my major.
What is the best event you’ve ever been to? Oh, this is an easy one. The Literacy Signing at RWA Nationals in Denver last year. It. Was. Amazing!
What is something hurtful you’ve had to endure at an event? Apparently, I haven’t been to enough events to have a bad experience yet.
How did you recover from experiencing this hurtful thing? n/a
What is something hurtful you’ve witness another #WomanAuthor experience? (No names please.) A good friend got trolled by a guy on social media. It was shocking. She’s the sweetest person imaginable, and the guy attacked her. It was nasty. I was one of many who rallied around her, raised her up. Most of us outed the guy on our social media as a warning to others. Turned out at least two of my friends were friends with him. They immediately unfriended, reported, and blocked him. It was an amazing showing of women joining forces against someone who thought one of our own was an easy target.
If you could give that woman or any other #WomanAuthor a pep talk, what would you say? She and I did text privately. Without going into details, I made it clear that she is a wonderful person, she is loved, and what happened was in no way her fault. The only thing I’d change about this is to do it in person and accompany it with a hug. Unfortunately, we live a couple thousand miles apart.
What is your favorite form of social media? Where can we follow you? Facebook, at the moment. I have a Twitter page, but I’m not very proficient with that platform. I’m trying to figure out MeWe as well, but have a bad feeling it’s not going to last long, which is a shame.
What is the biggest challenge of social media? Facebook. That’s probably not what you meant, though.

The disconnect between people that gives an artificial buffer in which people forget their manners and show zero empathy to the feelings of others. For some, social media is a place to voice their opinions and viciously attack anyone who doesn’t agree with them.

Have you ever been abused or shamed on social media because of your sex, skin color, views, etc..? And how do you deal with that? Not exactly. I do purposely avoid politics online as much as possible so I don’t get slammed for my political party, or that I didn’t vote party line last election. I voted for who I thought was the best candidate, which is my right. No one gets to tell me I should’ve voted differently.
Have you ever seen another #WomanAuthor shamed? Were you able to help? Believe it or not, I haven’t. Unfortunately, I suspect that I will at some point, and probably more than once.
What should readers know about your social media presence? I love promoting other authors in my genre. If I see someone has a new book out, you bet I’ll share their post. (I limit it mostly to SFR and PNR because those are the readers who follow me.)

I also love funny memes, gifs, etc. And if you share my books, I will love you forever!

What is the message you try to convey with your writing? Is there any keyword you want all of your work to convey? That we’re stronger when we support each other.

The best keyword I can think of is Hope.

Check in next time when Loren Rhoads

will tell us about her journey.

Thank you for joining us for

Summer of Hush by R.L. Merrill

Summer of Hush by R.L. Merrill

A rocker with a crush

An intern with a secret

A meet-cute

A band attempting to make a comeback after a tragedy occurred

A group of metalcore musicians who are all awkward and adorable and a supporting cast of bands and crew who will make you laugh, swoon, and maybe even tear up a time or two.

Hush is back… and it’s about to get loud.

After two years grieving the death of his best friend, Silas Franklin is back on the road with his metalcore band, Hush. With a new member, a brilliant new album, and a headlining spot on the last cross-country Warped Tour, life couldn’t be better—unless Silas could meet the intriguing music blogger known only as the Guru. Silas has followed his blog for years and feels the Guru might be the only person who “gets” him.

For years Krishnan Guruvayoor has reported on the metal scene as an anonymous blogger, and he’s just landed an internship on the Warped Tour as well as a potential position with a well-respected music magazine. His best friend arranges for him to meet singer Silas Franklin—but only as Krish the Intern. Their chemistry is instant, and Krish is thrilled to get to know the man behind the music.

The rock star and blogger quickly go from meet-cute to cuddle session, but secrets, overprotective bandmates, meddling media, and a terrible accident all conspire against them. Can their romance survive the summer of Hush?

New Reading and a Raffle!

Meant to Be…KISSED is available as an ebook on Amazon.

Meant to Be Press announces the release of Meant to Be…KISSED (Love Notes Book 2). This is the second collection of sweet of stories from Meant to Be Press authors. This heartwarming collection is themed around winter kisses. The two primary stories are historical romances, with a bonus contemporary flash fiction piece from Meant to Be Press’s newest author, M. M. Genet.

“Miss Montague’s Winter Kiss” by Emmy Z. Madrigal turns sadness into hope. Grayson is a man who has lost everything, but Cecelia saves his life and rekindles his belief in love. Broken ice and traumatic losses give way to the start of something new, if only the hero can give up past hurts. As Emmy writes, “It was more of a feeling that, if the flame between them was fanned, they could be happy for the rest of their lives. He’d endured so much grief, she longed to bring him joy.”

Meant to Be Press is celebrating the release with sales and raffles!

November 22-25th: For five days only, Tempo of Temptations by Lela Bay and Lord Harrington’s Lost Doe by Emmy Z. Madrigal will be on sale for $0.99 each!

November 19-30th enter to win free Meant to Be Press ebooks. Prizes include the Meant to Be…MINEanthology, Tempo of Temptations by Lela Bay, Lord Harrington’s Lost Doe by Emmy Z. Madrigal, and The Harpist by M. M. Genet and Michele Roger.

Enter the raffle!

About Meant to Be…KISSED

Love sweet romance? Meant to Be…KISSED is a collection of short stories to sample Meant to Be Press romance authors.

“The Grand Gesture” by Lela Bay, takes a public humiliation and turns it into an act of heroism. Rosamund Windham, daughter to the duke, literally drops herself into a pool of filth to save an innocent and in the process befriends the girl’s brother. His sister quotes him as saying, “You can’t just throw two people together and expect sparks. It takes the right sorts, like flint and steel. They may not look like they go together until they hit up against each other. Then, sparks.”

“Miss Montague’s Winter Kiss” by Emmy Z. Madrigal turns sadness into hope. Grayson is a man who has lost everything, but Cecelia saves his life and rekindles his belief in love. Broken ice and traumatic losses give way to the start of something new, if only the hero can give up past hurts. As Emmy writes, “It was more of a feeling that, if the flame between them was fanned, they could be happy for the rest of their lives. He’d endured so much grief, she longed to bring him joy.”

Finally, as a bonus, check out the contemporary romance flash fiction from Meant to Be Press’s newest author M. M. Genet, “A Year and a Day.” Behold of the promise of the future.

Like the seasons, love has many variations, so let these stories inspire you to discard what holds you back and welcome new opportunities.

Meant to Be…KISSED is available as an ebook on Amazon.

Read it for free through Kindle Unlimited, and remember to enter the raffle for other Meant to Be Press romances!

Guest Blog: Meet the Hero of Virtue’s Temptation by Lela Bay

Guest Blog- Meet the Hero of Virtue’s Temptation  by Lela Bay

Thank you for having me on your blog, Emerian Rich. I admire your range and how you’re not afraid to try anything.

Ruined Reputations is my first romance novella, and contains two very different stories. In the first, “The Unusual Manners of Mr. Aarons,” the hero is unconcerned with propriety. He has larger matters to deal with. Others cannot so easily overlook convention, however, especially when it leads to ridiculous scenes such as him grabbing the fake fruit off the top of a woman’s hat.

In contrast, the hero of “Virtue’s Temptation” is concerned with weightier matters and his arrival is not nearly as humorous.

When we first meet Mr. Stinson Eleanor has already rescued a naive girl on the threshold of a hotel room with an unsuitable man. Taking charge, Eleanor is determined to chaperone her youthful charge home, but Bitsy is uncooperative. Forced to wait for someone to come after the girl and reveal where she lives, Eleanor spends an uncomfortable afternoon in the lobby with the innkeeper who had so easily turned a blind eye to Bitsy’s predicament.

She hears someone arriving in the courtyard.

“Will ye be sitting there until the devil comes for me soul? Are you sent to see justice done?” The innkeeper squawked, unable to bear her gaze a moment longer.

Eleanor did not deign to answer. Straightening her narrow skirts, she checked the angle of her cocked hat and walked toward the desk.

The innkeeper shied back, as if she really were an agent of infernal retribution. Rather pleased that he might consider his immortal soul, and perhaps improve his conduct in future interactions, she measured her steps with the wavering shadow outside. She arrived at the desk at the same moment the door slammed open, smashing into the wall. A long-legged force of nature swept into the room.

The innkeeper cried out and crouched away from Eleanor, who turned toward the stormy gentleman. At the sight of him, her own heart leapt, for he more greatly resembled an avenging angel than she could ever hope to. His hair, mussed from the ride, swept back in golden waves from a tanned forehead and gleaming brown eyes. The greatcoat made black wings on his back, giving him an ethereal magnitude that blotted out the rest of the room as he bore down on them.

Eleanor stepped back, a hand rising to her throat. Yet she squared her shoulders, standing in his way and sending him to a jarring halt that threatened to squash her as his mass wavered and the layers of fabric around him snapped toward her with a final clap like an animal’s jaws.

She held out a hand and placed a smile across her smooth lips. Eyes meeting his, searching, she spoke as if they chatted in an elegant ballroom. “I believe we are acquainted.”

He took her in with one incredulous sweep of brown eyes, jaw tightening, prepared to dismiss her like an ant before an elephant, but his eye returned to her, a faint frown flirting with the golden sweep of his eyebrows as he reevaluated.

She tilted her head, trying to convey with her body all she dared not say.

The first story, “The Unusual Manners of Mr. Aarons,” is a sweet and lighthearted story. “Virtue’s Temptation” is darker and full of Eleanor’s longing to get to know Mr. Stinson yet adhere to the rules of propriety. In contrast to Eleanor, the girl she is attempting to save runs into trouble and Eleanor and Mr. Stinson become allies attempting to save her.


Lela lives in a modest house with her husband, children, and pets. Despite living in the far north, she requires a certain amount of sunshine each day or she gets grumpy. When she isn’t writing, she enjoys strolling, gardening, reading, and tea time with friends.

She enjoys stories with intimacy and humor.

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“A tantalizing pair of Regency tales.” ~Emmy Z. Madrigal

“Ruined Reputations is a love letter to high romance of the Brontes with the meticulous eye for detail that readers crave like oxygen itself.” ~MJ Sherry-author of the Back Page Babylon series

–The Unusual Manners of Mr. Aarons–

Rumors of Mr. Aarons unconventional ways are confirmed when he nearly yanks the bonnet off Emmaline’s cousin’s head. Drawn by his charm and good looks, Emmaline finds herself assisting him in his mysterious mission.

His obscure search appears to lead to her cousin, beautiful Catherine Connersfield. She is the more sensible choice, but will she have him? More to the point, will Emmaline let her?

–Virtue’s Temptation–

Experience has taught Eleanor it’s better to be practical than passionate.

When she discovers Bitsy eloping with her French tutor, scandal threatens to ruin the girl.

To keep her reputation intact, Eleanor reluctantly chaperones the rebellious heiress.

Eleanor’s spotless character protects Bitsy, but behaving respectably proves difficult when tempted by the dangerously attractive Mr. Stinson.

If she fails it will end with … Ruined Reputations.