Monday, April 21, 2014

Romance in the Jungle- Guest Author Marie Higgins!

Today I have the lovely Marie Higgins on The League of Rogues to talk about her upcoming release and the Amazon Jungle!



Romance in the Jungle





Katrina Landon’s life is about to change.  The wealthy father she has never known wants to meet her, but she has to travel from the slums of Boston through the Amazon rainforest to his plantation. As if that’s not bad enough, her guide is the handsome, self-assured, too confident for his own good, Mr. Knightly, who immediately stirs her temper.

Felix Knightly isn’t looking forward to escorting a spoiled rich girl through the jungle no matter how much her father pays. Yet when he meets her, he finds Katrina’s distracting innocence and charming demeanor unsettling. She makes it nearly impossible to concentrate on his job—a problem he’s never had around women. He’d rather fight off the fire ants, howler monkeys, and crocodiles than risk losing his heart to her, since he’s never met an honest wealthy woman.

As they delve deeper into the shadows of the rainforest, they discover they weren’t just wrong about each other, they were wrong about the dangers of the jungle. Someone wants them dead and they have to find out who and why before it’s too late.


My newest release, “Amazon Sunset” takes place in the Amazon Rainforest—during the late 1800’s.  I know what you’re thinking.  You’re wondering how a romance could possibly happen in the middle of a jungle, right?  Well, let me assure you, I had wondered the same thing when I first had an idea to write this story.  I wanted to write about something different, something unique.  I have never read a romance that has taken place in a jungle.  All I knew was that there were no paved roads, lots of plants and trees, many variations of animals / insects and other creatures, and let’s not forget…lots of rain!  So really…how could my characters fall in love at all?

Not only am I a romance writer, I enjoy writing suspense.  Not only does there have to be some kind of mystery between the characters, but in the plot itself.  I thrive on keeping my readers turning the pages to find out what really happens throughout my adventure of twists and turns.  While putting together the plot to “Amazon Sunset” in my head, I realized that the dangers of the jungle were the very key to bringing my hero and heroine together.

A line in my blurb states: He’d rather fight off the fire ants, howler monkeys, and crocodiles than risk losing his heart to her, since he’s never met an honest wealthy woman.  Which is exactly how the hero feels, but because of everything they share together, it brings them closer together.  (I’ll tell you a secret...there are more dangers than just ants, monkeys, and crocodiles.)

Researching what I needed for this story was very entertaining, and I realized one thing.  I am not the kind of girl who would enjoy traipsing through the jungle.  Not today…and certainly not in 1890.  I’m the type that doesn’t like to get dirty.  It’s a good thing my heroine’s not like this, or she would have never met the hero—the man of her dreams.

Here is a snippet of my new release –

“Mr. Knightly?” she whispered only for his ears. “What is wrong?”
He turned toward her and grasped her wrist. His hold wasn’t tight, but his actions still worried her.
“What you see in those trees are howler monkeys,” he spoke in a low tone.
His voice was calm, yet his expression didn’t match the tone. “Howler monkeys?” she asked. “That’s an odd name for them.”
Extremely hairy and mostly brown in color, they were odd looking primates, but it was their heads that had her really studying the creatures, because their faces appeared almost…orange. At first she wondered if they had all been slapped with orange paint, but then she realized that was what they were supposed to look like. Their tails were longer than their bodies, and were the very things keeping them attached to the tree branches, while their hands and feet clutched different branches—almost forming a spider web. Dozens of them filled one tree alone, yet all the trees held about the same amount of monkeys.
“I’ve never seen anything quite like it before,” she continued. “I suppose they are cute in an odd sort of way—”
“Listen closely,” he cut her off with a slow but steady voice. “Do not make any sudden movements. You might think they are cute, but they are easily irritated. Making them upset is not wise, because they have been known to attack.”
A surprised gasp stuck in her throat. They would attack? They looked harmless. But as she watched his crew cautiously prepare for the battle they thought could possibly happen, she realized she’d better follow Felix’s warning this time. “Attack?” her voice squeaked out.
“Mostly they will urinate or fling their um…waste…on us. However, there have been a few times I’ve witnessed them springing out of the trees and physically beating a person to death.”
“Oh, dear.”
He loosened his grip on her arm. “Stay by me and I’ll protect you. We don’t want to do anything to agitate these wild primates.”
“All right,” she whispered as fear slowly seeped into her body.
One of Felix’s crew members slowly approached him and passed him a machete. He gripped the handle and stepped closer to Katrina. All talking—and even whispering—on the small vessel stopped as the barge crept underneath the trees. Panic knotted in her throat as she switched her attention from one monkey to the next, trying to study their eyes. They all appeared to be watching her and the rest of the crew with great intent, and she prayed they could pass beneath the trees without any disturbance. Even the thought of them flinging their…unmentionables…on her or urinating made her want to gag.
Her heart hammered, and she tried not to get too frightened. Felix promised he’d protect her, so she must trust him.
He took careful steps, shifting even closer to her. “Katrina,” he whispered, “you’re breathing too loudly. Try to calm down.”
Silently she groaned. How in heaven’s name could she calm down when everyone around her was on guard for a battle to the death?
From one of the trees, a monkey rose higher than the others as if the animal was ready to pounce. She held her breath. Oh, please don’t! The grip Felix had on her wrist tightened. He, too, must be preparing for something to happen.
Without being able to stop it, a small peep escaped her throat as fear consumed her.
“Shh…” he said softly.
The barge inched its way underneath the watchful monkeys. They only needed to pass two more trees before they were out of harm’s way.
Her body shook, and for the life of her, she couldn’t control it. Felix released her wrist and gently slipped his arm around her waist, pulling her against his frame. The warmth from his body brought a strange sense of comfort to her.
“We’re almost there…” he said.

Watch the book trailer – http://youtu.be/b4CtWmHz1Ic

Purchase on Kindle - http://amzn.com/B00JST2I0O

 


Marie Higgins is a best-selling, multi-published author of sweet romance; from refined bad-boy heroes who make your heart melt to the feisty heroines who somehow manage to love them regardless of their faults. Visit her website / blog to discover more about her – http://mariehiggins84302.blogspot.com
Find her on Facebook – facebook.com/marie.higgins.7543
And Twitter - @MarieHigginsXOX

Friday, April 4, 2014

An Exciting Next 2 Years to Look Forward to!

Hey Readers!

It's been a while since I've posted. I've had a happy and busy year so far (And its only April!) and wanted to stop and give a quick update as to what to expect in the coming couple of years.

If you haven't followed me on facebook, here's some of the highlights of what's to come.

This fall (2014) I'll have two books coming out:

His Wicked Seduction- The second installment in the League of Rogues historical series that I write for Samhain. For those of you familiar with the series and who read the first book Wicked Designs, you'll be happy to know that the second book is Lucien's story!

The other book coming out this fall is a modern gothic book by Entangled Publishing. I can't share too many details yet, but I can say it will be a perfect Halloween read! It will be the first in an awesome series (think Mary Stewart gothics with steamy scenes and ghosts!).

What's coming up for 2015?

*Fingers crossed, I'll have two more modern gothic books from Entangled coming out.

For Christmas 2015, I'm happy to announce my first ever paranormal menage story A Midnight Clear will be coming out from Samhain Publishing. It's a fun story and hot enough to warm up anyone's December. I can't wait to share more details as they become available.

If all goes well, there might be an exciting announcement with regard to my Gilded Cuff  (super steamy contemporary romance series).

Be sure to go to www.laurensmithbooks.com and sign up for my newsletter in order to get notifications of releases.


Friday, January 31, 2014

Happy Release day for Betrayal by Jenna Jaxon!

Dear Readers,
I'm excited to share a brand new release with you! Author Jenna Jaxon's book Betrayal is out today! The second in a stunning work of emotion, history and story. I can't say enough about how amazing Jenna's series is. Betrayal is going to be another fantastic book in her series!! Check out the details below.
Betrayal


Time Enough to Love Series
Book Two

Genre: Historical Romance
Tagline:  The worst betrayals come from within.
Book Description:
After a night of passion with her betrothed, Sir Geoffrey Longford, Lady Alyse de Courcy is eagerly looking forward to her wedding.  But when Geoffrey is forced to marry another, a heartbroken and possibly pregnant Alyse finds herself in her own private hell. She must either gamble with her reputation or marry someone she does not love.

A reputed connoisseur of women, Thomas, Lord Braeton, has dallied with many ladies of King Edward’s court, although he has favored none.  However, as Geoffrey’s best friend, Thomas has sworn to serve and protect Alyse, an oath now sorely tested when he agrees to marry her—in name only—to guard her reputation. Yet, as they grow closer, and Thomas discovers Alyse’s sweet but spirited nature, he comes to desire a marriage in truth.  Can he overcome her memory of Geoffrey or is Thomas doomed to burn with passion for a woman he can never possess?
If you would like to purchase the first part of the trilogy, Betrothal, it is available at Amazon  and Smashwords  

Excerpt #5:
Uncertain how to distract him from his obvious goal, she strove to reply lightly. “I am sure whatever they have in the kitchen will be fine.” Her words emerged rather higher pitched than normal, drawing a laugh from her husband.
“Then I will send word to say we will be down directly.” He brushed a brief kiss over her lips and left the bed to don his clothes, giving her a clear look at the well-muscled back and wonderfully taut buttocks.
Oh yes, she remembered those.
Her sharp intake of breath must have reminded him of his nakedness, for he turned his head to her. “Look your fill, my sweet. Turnabout is fair play.”
The silence grew while she reasoned out his words. Then her squeal rent the air. “Thomas! You did not!”
Clad only in his braies and hose, he turned to face her. “You are quite beautiful, Alyse. All of you, I might add.” He looked hungrily at her. “I am a man who has had the pleasure of seeing many women in his life, and I must confess, you are one of the loveliest. You should not be ashamed to take such a compliment from your husband.” He winked at her. “Of course, your husband is the only one who will give you such compliments from now on.” He continued his leisurely dressing.
“I could say the same thing for you, my dear.” Her words caught Thomas by surprise, as she had intended, and his brows rose. She sensed his question and hurried to make sure he understood. “That you too are quite beautiful.” Then a devilish idea took root. “Unfortunately, I have little experience of other men to judge you by, which makes my judgment worth much less.” She pretended to think, one finger propping up her cheek. “Unless, of course, you will allow me to gather some knowledge of other men’s bodies. If not, I fear I will have to remain a poor judge of you.”
Thomas’s head popped through his tunic as she uttered that sentiment. His startled expression sent Alyse into a fit of laughing. He began to stalk her, a roguish smile playing about his lips. “You want experience of other men’s bodies while you have little enough of your own husband’s? Come, sweet goose, let us become better acquainted.” He leaped for her as she shrieked and dove across the bed.
About the Author:
Jenna Jaxon is a multi-published author of historical and contemporary romance.  Her historical romance, Only Scandal Will Do, the first in a series of five interconnecting novels, was released in July 2012. Her contemporary works include Hog Wild, Almost Perfect, and 7 Days of Seduction.  She is a PAN member of Romance Writers of America as well as a member of Chesapeake Romance Writers. Her medieval romance, Time Enough to Love, is being published as a series of three novellas.  The first book, Betrothal, released on April 19th.  The second novella, Betrayal, will release at the end of January.
Jenna has been reading and writing historical romance since she was a teenager.  A romantic herself, she has always loved a dark side to the genre, a twist, suspense, a surprise.  She tries to incorporate all of these elements into her own stories. She lives in Virginia with her family and a small menagerie of pets.  When not reading or writing, she indulges her passion for the theatre, working with local theatres as a director.  She often feels she is directing her characters on their own private stage.
She has equated her writing to an addiction to chocolate because once she starts she just can’t stop.
Find Jenna online at:

Other Books by Jenna Jaxon:
Betrothal--Historical Romance
Only Scandal Will Do--Historical Romance
7 Days of Seduction--Contemporary Erotic Romance
Almost Perfect--Contemporary Erotic Romance
Hog Wild--Contemporary Erotic Romance

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

RELEASE DAY IS HERE!! Wicked Designs is Out! GIVEAWAY OPP!

After five long years of writing, editing, submissions, contracting, more editing...

AT LAST! My first novel Wicked Designs is out in the world for you wonderful readers to enjoy! I'm so excited to share it with you and I hope the story and the characters will move you!


Today is a day for Celebrations!  I want to share so much about my book with all of you! 

So what's Wicked Designs all about?

Here's the scoop:


The League of Rogues takes what they want—but have they taken on too much?

For too long Miss Emily Parr has been subject to the whims of her indebted uncle and the lecherous advances of his repulsive business partner. Her plan to be done with dominating men forever is simple—find herself a kind husband who will leave her to her books.

It seems an easy enough plan, until she is unexpectedly abducted by an incorrigible duke who hides a wounded spirit behind flashing green eyes.

Godric St. Laurent, Duke of Essex, spends countless nights at the club with his four best friends, and relishes the rakish reputation society has branded him with. He has no plans to marry anytime soon—if ever. But when he kidnaps an embezzler’s niece, the difficult debutante’s blend of sweetness and sharp tongue make him desperate for the one thing he swears he never wanted: love.

Yet as they surrender to passion, danger lurks in Godric’s shadowed past, waiting for him to drop his guard—and rob him of the woman he can’t live without.

Warning: This novel includes a lady who refuses to stay kidnapped, a devilish duke with a dark past, and an assortment of charming rogues who have no idea what they’ve gotten themselves into.

  
Here's a little taste of the story...



Godric St. Laurent, the twelfth Duke of Essex, leaned back in his saddle watching the abduction he’d orchestrated unfold. Covering his mouth with a gloved hand, he stifled a yawn. Things were going smoothly. In fact, this entire kidnapping bordered on the point of tedious. They’d intercepted the coach ten minutes before it reached Chessley House. No one witnessed the escort of riders or the driver changing his route. Oddly enough, the young woman hadn’t shown any signs of resistance or concern from inside the coach. Wouldn’t she have made some protestations when she realized what was happening? A thought stopped him dead. Had she somehow slipped out of the coach when they’d slowed on a corner before they’d left town? Surely not, they would have seen her. Most likely she was too terrified to do anything, hence the silence from inside. Not that she had anything to fear, she would not be harmed.
He nodded to his friend Charles who was perched next to the driver. A bag of coins jingled as Charles dropped it into the jarvey’s waiting hands.
They had reached halfway point between London and Godric’s ancestral estate. They would go the rest of the way on horseback, with the girl sharing a horse with either him or one of his friends. The driver would return to London with a message for Albert Parr and a wild story that exonerated himself from blame.
“Ashton, stay here with me.” Godric waved his friend over while the others rode the horses a good distance away to wait for his signal. Abductions were tricky things, and having only himself and one other man take hold of the girl would be better. She might have a fit of hysterics if she saw the other three men too close.
He rode up to the coach, curious to see whether the woman inside matched his memory. He’d seen her once before from a window overlooking the gardens when he’d visited her uncle. She’d been kneeling in the flowerbeds, her dress soiled as she weeded. A job more suited to a servant than a lady of quality. He’d been ready to dismiss her from his mind when she’d turned and glanced about the garden, a smudge of dirt on the tip of her upturned nose. A butterfly from a nearby flower had fluttered above her head. She hadn’t noticed it, even as it settled on her long, coiling auburn hair. Something in his chest gave a funny little flip, and his body had stirred with desire. Any other woman so innocent would not have caught his interest, but he’d glimpsed a keenness in her eyes, a hidden intelligence as she dug into the soil. Miss Emily Parr was different. And different was intriguing.
Ashton handed the driver the ransom letter for Parr and took up a position near the front of the coach. Taking hold of the door, Godric opened it up, waiting for the screaming to start.
None came.
“My deepest apologies, Miss Parr—” Still no screaming. “Miss Parr?” Godric thrust his head into the coach.
It was empty. Not even a fire-breathing dragon of a chaperone, not that he’d expected one. His sources had assured him she would be alone tonight.
Godric looked over his shoulder. “Ash? You’re sure this is Parr’s coach?”
“Of course. Why?” Ashton jumped off his horse, marched over and thrust his head into the empty coach. He was silent a long moment before he withdrew. Ashton put his finger against his lips and motioned to the inside. A tuft of pink muslin peeped out from the wooden seat. He gestured for Godric to step away from the coach.
Ashton lowered his voice. “It seems that our little rabbit chase has turned into a fox hunt. She’s hidden in the hollow space of the seat, clever girl.”
“Hiding under the seat?” Godric shook his head, bewildered. He didn’t know one woman of his acquaintance who would do something so clever. Perhaps Evangeline, but then if anything could be said of that woman, it was that she was far from ordinary. A prickling of excitement coursed through his veins, into his chest. He loved a challenge.
“Let’s wait a few minutes and see if she emerges.”
Godric looked back at the coach, impatience prickling inside him. “I don’t want to wait here all night.”
“She’ll come out soon enough. Allow me.” Ashton walked back to the coach and called out to Godric in a carrying voice. “Blast and damnation! She must have slipped out before we took charge of the coach. Just leave it. We’ll take the driver back to London tomorrow.” Ashton shut the door with a loud slam and motioned for Godric to join him.
“Now we wait,” Ashton whispered. He indicated that he would guard the left coach door while Godric stationed himself at the right.

Emily listened to the drum of retreating hooves and silently counted to one hundred. Her heart jolted in her chest as she considered what the men would do if they caught her. Highwaymen could be cruel and murderous, especially if their quarry offered little. She had no access to her father’s fortune, which left only her body.
Icy dread gripped Emily’s spine, paralyzing her limbs. She drew a breath as anxiety spiraled through her.
I must be brave. Fight them until I can fight no more. With trembling hands, she pushed at the roof of the seat, wincing as it popped open. Once she climbed out, she brushed dirt from her gown, noticing some tears from the rough wood on the inside of the seat. But the tears held no importance. All that mattered was survival.
Emily looked out the coach window. Nothing stood out in the darkness. Only the faint glimmer of moonlight touched the road with milky tendrils. Stars winked and flickered overhead, pale lights, distant and cold. A shudder wracked her frame, and Emily hugged herself, wanting so much to be at home. She missed her warm bed and her parents’ murmurs from down the hall. It was a comfort she’d taken for granted. But she couldn’t afford to think about them, not when she was in danger.
Were the men truly gone? Could it really be this easy?
She opened the coach door, and stepped down onto the dirt road. Strong arms locked about her waist and yanked her backward. The collision with a hard body knocked the breath from her lungs. Terror spiked her blood as she struggled against the arms that held her.
“Good evening, my darling,” a low voice murmured.
Emily screamed once, before she bit down on the hand that covered her mouth. She tasted the smooth leather of fine riding gloves.
The man roared and nearly dropped her. “Damn!”
Emily rammed an elbow backwards into her attacker’s stomach and began to wrestle free until he grabbed her arm. She swung about, striking him across the face with a balled fist. The man staggered back, leaving her free to dive inside the coach.
If she could get to the other side and run, she might stand a chance. She scrabbled towards the door, but never made it. The devil surged into the coach after her. Turning to face him, she was knocked flat onto her back.
She screamed again as his body settled over hers.
The dim moonlight revealed his bright eyes and strong features.
He caught her flailing wrists, pinning them above her head. “Quiet!”
Emily wanted to rake his eyes out, but the man was relentless. His hips ground against hers and panic drove her to a new level of terror. Her fears of being forcibly taken surfaced as his warm breath fanned over her face and neck. She shrieked, and he reared back away from her, as though the sound confused him.
“I’m not going to hurt you.” His voice vibrated with a low growl, ruining any promise his words might carry.
“You’re hurting me now!” She yanked her arms uselessly against his hold.
The man eased off her somewhat, and Emily took her chance. She tucked her knees up, and with all the power she could summon, she kicked. Her attacker stumbled out the open door and fell onto his back. Emily barely registered that he was winded before she turned and exited the other side of the coach.
The moment she emerged, another man lunged for her. To escape him, Emily fell back against the side of the coach. Rather than grab her, he held his arms wide to keep her from slipping by him, like he was corralling livestock.
“Easy, easy,” he purred.
Emily whipped her head to the left and pleaded with her mind to think, but the man she’d bitten rounded the corner and pounced, pinning her against the coach, his arms caging her in. His solid muscular body towered over her. His jaw clenched as though one move from her would trigger something dark and wild. Emily’s breath caught, and her heart pounded violently against her ribs.
The man was panting and angry. The intensity of his eyes mesmerized her, but the second he blinked, the spell broke and she fought with every bit of strength she could muster.



I hope you enjoyed this excerpt! If you want to know what happens, then get your copy today at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or Itunes 

GIVEAWAY OPPORTUNITY!! I'm so excited about Wicked Designs coming out that I'm offering three free books to three lucky people who subscribe to my newsletter!  Go to my website http://www.laurensmithbooks.com  and sign up for my newsletter. You'll be instantly entered for the drawing to win one of the three copies of Wicked Designs