Beverley Eikli's Blog

April 15, 2014

And now I'm back on Australian soil having had the most varied and interesting five weeks overseas. The first few weeks in Norway were a whirl (and will be covered in my next blog post) while the highlight of my final week in England was catching up with old friends, and attending my book launch at The Chocolate Museum, a lovely atmospheric venue (which served the best coffee with chocolate zest I've ever tasted) and which had an upstairs and downstairs where our book-loving guests could mingle with other writers, friends, bloggers and reviewers.

Waiting to begin... Me (Beverley Eikli), Janet Gover, Choc Lit MD Lyn Vernham, and The Chocolate Museum's Isabelle a Janet Gover reads an extract from Flight to Coorah Creek

Since I was a little girl in Australia and used to read aloud to my younger sisters the series of books I'd written entitled: The School for Witches", I'd dreamed of having a book launch in London. It took a long time to get the first book published (Lady Sarah's Redemption which was published by Robert Hale in 2009) and a few more years before I was actually in London with a book just released. This was my latest and favourite Regency-set drama and intrigue-filled romance, The Maid of Milan, published by the wonderful Choc Lit.
Now it was my turn to talk about The Reluctant Bride, my first book with Choc Lit, and The Maid of Milan,
that was being launched.
Choc Lit's enterprising Luke Roberts came up with the fabulous idea of having the launch at The Chocolate Museum and once I'd firmed up my travel arrangements, a date was set and the word was out. And a very popular event it proved to be, which is no wonder since so many Choc Lit authors were in attendance.
     My goodness, it was fantastic to see so many of them, as well as others from the writing world. Not to mention some old friends of mine whom I'd not seen for 30 years.
I sent my 8-year-old off with a camera. Naturally she wasn't interested in taking shots of people.Below, in yellow, is my old room mate, Jenny Latham with whom I shared a room at Ames House in Hampstead when we were 18 years old. My time at the old converted mansion at 26 Netherhall Gardens, Hampstead, is branded on my memory. Donated by its owner in 1901 to 'protect the morals of young working girls in London', it housed 24 of us, including a model who'd just made the cover of German Vogue magazine, to a range of young students including myself who was studying costume design during the day and working at Smiles Cafe in Picadilly at night. My Saturday job was to dress up as Smiles the Bear for children's parties. I've had a few odd jobs in my life but this was one of the most dangerous as I was really far too short for the enormous furry bear costume with the Big Bear boots I had to wear to stumble up and down the stairs from the kitchen to the entertainment room.    Well, I never expected to see Jenny at my launch! The last time we met was during our bicycle and youth hosteling trip around the south-west of England over 25 years ago! What a trooper! I'd been told she was too unwell to travel.     Also at the launch were my old friends from my childhood in Lesotho, the Chapmans, who'd also travelled a great distance to be at the launch. 
Catching up with old friends from when I was 18 in London (Jenny Latham in yellow) and old friends from Lesotho Days when I was a child, Mark and Pat Chapman and son Adrian Chapman

Janet in the foreground, while in the background Choc Lit publicist Holly La-Touche stands by the door and Luke Roberts looks after the books.

Jenny and me having a chat with Henri Gyland in the background Below are my other two friends from my old Hampstead days - both of whom I've not seen for 30 years, Hugh and Robert. It's amazing how easy it is to pick up where one left off when one's reuniting with friends from one's formative youth.
Eivind photographed the two of us while Hugh Jaeger and Robert Porch (friends from Hyelm in Hampstead days from when we were all 18) photographed him photographing us.
Yes, it's hard to believe it's been 30 years since we painted London red as 18-year-olds. Well, we actually didn't ever really paint the town red but we had a lot of fun. We were rather good 18-year-olds, although I do remember one night which put me off Dubonet and ever thinking about smoking for the rest of my life.

Me, Jenny and Jenny's daughter, the lovely, pro-active Camilla, who organised the surprise reunion. I wish the book launch could have gone on a good deal longer so that I could have talked to more people. There were so many I felt I really knew through long email correspondence though we'd not met, and others I'd not seen in years whom I'd have loved to have really caught up with, and still others whose names I knew and wanted to meet properly.
     All in all, it was a great evening, and Luke and Lyn and Holly and The Chocolate Museum's Isabelle and Alessandra did a fantastic job to make it one that will remain a wonderful memory forever.

And after an enormously fun evening, Eivind and I took the tube home - and the inevitable selfie.
During the launch Lyn gave me the audiobook of The Reluctant Bride. My first audio book!
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Published on April 15, 2014 03:34 • 51 views

March 27, 2014

Today was certainly a day of contrasts. We spent last night at cabin at Trysil on the lake, and had a beautiful morning playing on the snow and ice. Then we drove back to Hamar in time for the ice hockey match where we were interviewed as the Australian family who'd travelled the longest to see the Storhamar Dragons beat Vaalerenga 3:2 in the last 23 seconds. (Of course, my five minutes of fame would be the only day this trip I  hadn't brushed my hair or put on make-up but as my daughter says, 'When you're as old as you are, mummy, does it really matter?' 

Twenty years ago Eivind took me to my first ice hockey match at the  then newly built stadium, just after we'd just left living in Botswana and he was introducing me to his Norwegian family before we took up our year's flying survey contract in Namibia.

Tonight was lots of fun. It's wonderful to be part of such a large, welcoming family.
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Published on March 27, 2014 15:44 • 28 views

March 20, 2014

I'm delighted with this Review from It's Raining Books on The Maid of Milan:

"I began reading this story expecting it to be another typical Regency romance. Wrong. This was certainly not a typical story of any kind. 

Addy is married to Tristan and loves him dearly. However, he doesn’t really allow himself to get very close to her. Her mother appears to actually hate her, and does everything in her power to disrupt her marriage. In spite of this, Addy is beginning to get closer to Tristan and her to her.

Then Tristan’s best friend, James, comes to town with his very young fiancé, Beatrice. Unknown to Tristan and Beatrice, James and Addy had been involved years before, and she had become pregnant with his child. Upon his return, he spends most of his time neglecting his young fiancé, and chases after Addy. She now wants nothing to do with him, realizing what a mistake she had made in the first place. 

She spends so much time trying to avoid him, while her husband keeps trying to encourage her be more friendly to him. I really began to love both Tristan and Addy, and hoped that they could work out their difficulties. It was almost impossible, however, as her mother kept putting everything possible in the way of her happiness.

I kept reading and hoping for a happy conclusion, but couldn’t figure out how it could possibly end happily. This author was wonderful and managed to surprise me with the ending and the result was not what I expected but even better. 

I highly recommend this story to anyone who is not looking for a typical romance. This is even better. I give it 4 flowers."

Here is the blog belonging to the three lovely lovely book addicts who liked my book :)
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Published on March 20, 2014 06:28 • 30 views

March 9, 2014

Recently I was tagged by Australian rural romance writer, Heather Garside, whom I'm very much looking forward to meeting at the Romance Writers of Australia conference in Sydney in August. Below, is Heather's Bio, followed by four questions I've answered, and then my three tagged authors. I hope you're excited to learn a bit about all these talented writers and the wonderful stories they write.

BlogI grew up on a cattle property of 47,000 acres in Central Queensland,  Australia.  As a child I loved horses, books and the bush.  Not a lot has changed although I have also grown to appreciate the finer things in life, especially good food!My husband and I now have a cattle and grain farm close to where I grew up.  We have two grown children. My daughter lives in the Adelaide Hills, South Australia, with her husband.  Our son has set up a metal fabrication workshop on our farm.Many years ago I published a historical romance with a local setting. Having a family interrupted the flow and I didn’t seriously get back to writing until the children were older.  I finally sold an historical novel, The Cornstalk,  to Wings ePress and a few months later they purchased its sequel, A Hidden Legacy.In May this year my rural romance, Breakaway Creek, was published by Clan Destine Press. The eBook is selling well and it is now available in paperback.As well as being a member of the Romance Writers of Australia, I belong to a local writers’ group which meets once a month.  We’ve published three books of short stories, Boots At The Door, A Taste Of Fear and Pot Luck: Stories of the Central Highlands. I’ve had several short stories and a couple of poems included in these anthologies.In 2008 I helped compile a book to commemorate my home town’s 125th anniversary. I’m also one of a group of volunteers who once a month put together a newsletter of the happenings around our town.
In between farm duties, volunteer work and writing, I also work part-time at the local library – a writer’s dream job!And now for my four questions, which each author answers before they tag another three authors.

 Q1 What am I working on?
I’m on a final polish of a 1960s illegal diamond-buying romantic suspense (working title Lammergeier Rock) set in the African mountain kingdom of Lesotho where I spent my early years and where my father was a District Commissioner in Mokhotlong, the most remote outpost of the British Empire.

Dad prosecuted a number of illegal diamond buying and medicine murder cases, which feature in my story, against a backdrop of the final years of the Colonial Administration. The hero of my story is a bush pilot, based on my own handsome Norwegian bush pilot husband whom I met when I was running a luxury safari camp in Botswana. There’s lots of drama, angst, envy and passion as my pilot risks his career (when he’s on the cusp of getting his dream job on a South African Airways 707) to save the District Commissioner’s daughter from political and social ruin.
Q2 How does my work differ from others in the genre?

Although my last two books were Regencies, they focus more on the grit rather than the glitter of an era better known for its glamour. More and more, reviewers have described them as historicals with romantic elements, rather than straight historical romances - and definitely not 'fluffy' as one reviewer was recently at pains to point out.
So, Regency grit, rather than Regency glitter would sum it up.
Q3 Why do I write what I write?
I'm inspired by how a woman might wield power when she lives in an era with no political and few legal rights, and is dependent upon her closest male relative for financial support; in other words for survival. In my newly released book The Maid of Milan (described as 'Dynasty' written in a style reminiscent of Anthony Trollope's 'The Pallisers'), my heroine, Adelaide, has made a life-changing error of judgment as a naïve and impressionable debutante. I wanted to explore how ‘the folly of youth’ could impact on the rest of a woman’s life.
Q4 How does my writing process work?
I’m a morning person which is when I prefer to write, but it depends on how easy it was to get kids to bed the night before, and how quick it was to clean the house or prepare for the next day, as to how tired I am to write at 5.30am or 6am. My husband now is a long-haul pilot on the 777 so away for days at a time, so I have a very two-tiered schedule.
I'm able to throw down a rough and dirty draft amidst noise and chaos, but I prefer absolute silence for subsequent edits. Usually I have two or three stories on the go at various stages of completion. I might write one to half way, brainstorm the ending, but not write the second half for some months as I edit the other two.
And now I shall tag my three authors. The first are two fellow Choc Lit Authors, Liz Harris from the UK and Zana Bell, from New Zealand. The third is fellow Ellora's Cave author, Susana Ellis, from the US. A very multicultural bunch, I'm sure you'd agree :)
So, to begin, here is Susana Ellis...
Susana Ellis

A former teacher, Susana is finally living her dream of being a full-time writer. She loves all genres of romance, but historical—Regency in particular—is her favorite. There's just something about dashing heroes and spunky heroines waltzing in ballrooms and driving through Hyde Park that appeals to her imagination.In real life, Susana is a lifelong resident of northwest Ohio, although she has lived in Ecuador and studied in Spain, France, and Mexico. More recently, she was able to travel around England and visit many of the places she's read about for years. . . and it was awesome! She is a member of the Maumee Valley and Beau Monde chapters of Romance Writers of America.You can find her here:Web site • Email • Facebook • Twitter • Linked In • Pinterest • Google+ Susana’s Parlour (Regency Blog) • Susana’s Morning Room (Romance Blog)

And buy the book here:  Ellora’s Cave • Amazon • Barnes & Noble • AllRomance eBooks • Kobo • Sony
My next tagged author is Liz Harris

Fellow Choc Lit author Liz Harris
website Liz Harris: Biography
Liz was born in London. After graduating from university with a Law degree, she moved to California for six years where she led a varied life, from waitressing on Sunset Strip to working as secretary to the CEO of a large Japanese trading company.
Returning to Britain, she completed a London University degree in English and taught for a number of years, contributing weekly articles on education to a local newspaper for almost six of those years.
Her novels published to date: THE ROAD BACK (2012) and A BARGAIN STRUCK (2013) were published in paperback by Choc Lit. EVIE UNDERCOVER (2012) and THE ART OF DECEPTION (2013) have been published by Choc Lit Lite as ebooks.
In addition to her novels, Liz has written several short stories which have been published in anthologies. A member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association, she’s the organiser of the RNA’s Oxford Chapter. She’s also a member of the Historical Novel Society and of the Oxford Writers’ Group.
Liz’s two sons live in London, while she and her husband now live in South Oxfordshire. 

Mail Order Bride romance
set in 1880s Wyoming
BUY Amazon UK
Amazon US

My third tagged author is

Zana Bell writes in a variety of genre, her novels covering YA, historical, and contemporary and historical romance. Her second novel, Forbidden Frontier (Mira) based on Charlotte Badger, Australian convict and pirate and New Zealand’s first known English woman migrant won the Cataromance Single Title’s 10 Best Books of 2008.  She won the Cataromance Reviewers’ Award 2010 for Tempting the Negotiator (Harlequin Superromance). In 2012 she was shortlisted for the New Zealand Society of Authors Mid-Careers Grant.Her most recent book is a New Zealand historical, romantic adventure Close to the Wind (ChocLit)  

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Published on March 09, 2014 10:20 • 40 views
Monday is a busy day. I shall have the first five stops of my book tour and in between checking in to say hello I'll be making a chocolate cake for my darling father-in-law's funeral. He was a much-loved man who lived a rich and event-filled life, and there will be few dry eyes on Tuesday.
March 10:
1: Laurie's Thoughts and Reviews
2: The Simple Things in Life
3: Ms.Stuart Requests the Pleasure of Your Company
4: Books on Silver Wings
5: Christine Young author

March 11:

1: Andi's Book Reviews
2: Queen of the Night Reviews
3: Wickedly Wanton Tales
4: Nickie's Views and Interviews
5: A to Z Reviews
6: Beckstar Reviews

March 12:

1: Deal Sharing Aunt
2: Stories of Romance
3: Sandra's Blog
4: Christine Elaine Black

March 13:

1: Reading, Writing and Roses
2: Sexy Adventures Passionate Tales
3: The eBook Promotions
4: Donna Gallagher Romance
5: Charlene Raddon's Chatterblog
6: Blue Rose Romance

March 14:

1: Rachel Brimble Romance
2: Margay Leah Justice
3: Straight from the Library
4: Bookgirl Knitting

March 17:

1: Brooke Blogs
2: My Devotional Thoughts
3: Welcome to My World of Dreams

March 18:

1: Rose and Beps Blog
2: Romance Novel Giveaways
3: Long and Short Reviews
4: Two Ends of the Pen

March 19:

1: Doing Some Reading
2: Cynthia Gail
3: Imagine a World
4: Punya Reviews...

March 20:

1: Hope. Dreams. Life... Love
2: The Book Review
3: Tamaria Soana
4: It's Raining Books
5: Paranormal Romance and Authors That Rock
6: Sharing Links and Wisdom

March 21:

1: Buried Under Romance
2: Reviews By Molly
3: Romantic Historical Reviews
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Published on March 09, 2014 09:04 • 17 views

February 21, 2014

Goodness, but it's nerve-wracking waiting for the very first review of one's new book to come out in print.
And below, here it is and I couldn't be more thrilled. I love Robyn's review and how she describes The Maid of Milan as a 'Regency version of Dynasty'.
I did so much rewriting in the final edits that it's nothing like my critique partners and family and anyone else who'd ever read it in draft form would remember. I'd been fired up by some of the thoughts of the Choc Lit 'Tasting Panel' which my fantastic editor, Rachel Skinner, had sent off to me. There were about six pages of 'thoughts' and issues, I suppose you could call them.
First off was that my heroine, Adelaide, needed to be made more sympathetic. That happens in just about every one of my stories. Redemption themes feature in most of my books so in order for my main character to be redeemed they need to start off in a less than flattering light. And I know I load the brush too thickly so that it takes a few 'goes' at chipping away at the too-thick layer of prickliness, or arrogance, so that hopefully, even if my reader doesn't exactly like my heroine straight away, they understand why she is this way - and love her by the end. That's always the plan, anyway.
So, without further ado, here's Robyn's review.
And now it's back to writing my 1960's illegal diamond buying/medicine murder romance set in the African mountain kingdom of Lesotho where I spent my early years.

Robyn Koshel's review
Feb 19, 14
4 of 5 starsRead in February, 2014
I have to be honest, when I got this book I thought it was going to be another fluffy Regency bodice ripper romance with some rake in mole skin trousers. Was I wrong! This book is nothing like you would expect. The only way I can describe it, is as a Regency version of Dynasty. It has everything, secrets, lies, blackmail, love triangles, death, drug addiction, jealousy, affairs, scandals, oh and some bodice ripping too- the only thing it is missing is Joan Collins. However, I think Mrs. Henley, Adelaide's mother runs a close second.
Mrs. Henley forces Adelaide to go along with the story that she created in order to save Adelaide, but all it does is eats her away from the inside. She is later put in a position that the only way to get out of one lie is to tell more.
No one is who they seem in this book, except for Tristan. Tristan is truly honourable man with a moral compass who repeatedly saves Adelaide.
Adelaide's only real crime is being young and in love and obeying her mother. Time after time, her loyalty to her mother and her husband are tested. In the end, you learn who the true villain is and why.
The book has a genteel opulence of Anthony Trollope's The Palliser's but underneath the waving fans it is all gritty intrigue.
This is the first book I read by Beverley Eikli and I can say I am now a fan.
The Maid of Milan gripped me from the start and kept me there. I read it in a day, I just couldn't put it down. I highly recommend this unique book.
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Published on February 21, 2014 18:08 • 29 views

February 12, 2014

What a lot of promo there is to do today. I've had two releases out - under my two names - within a very short time. Today is Release Day for Dangerous Gentlemen, my Ellora's Cave Regency Underworld story of a debutante who delves into London's Underworld in order to save her life and ends up facing a moral dilemma as her 'protector' with whom she's fallen in love, is accused of treason.
In the meantime I'm organising - or rather, Goddess Fish is - my Book Tour for The Maid of Milan. 'There's a high price to pay for a life of deception' is the premise, as the beautiful wife of a reformist MP fears her dark past will be revealed with the arrival of her former lover whose lurid poetry has London Society desperate to learn the identity of his 'muse'.
So thanks so much Alison Brideson Alison Stuart - Writer and Helene Young for being hosts on this Tour of my new Choc Lit release. I'd be delighted if anyone else would like to host a post with excerpt. (Some nice prizes to win  ). You can sign up here:
And now it's back to writing my Lesotho story....  Photo: Thanks so much Alison Brideson Alison Stuart - Writer and Helene Young for being hosts on this Tour of my new Choc Lit release. I'd be delighted if anyone else would like to host a post with excerpt. (Some nice prizes to win :) ). You can sign up here:
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Published on February 12, 2014 16:52 • 32 views

February 10, 2014

Hi everyone,I’m very excited that my story of a viscount’s daughter who poses as a prostitute in order to save her life has just released. I started this story about a year ago but a year of delays in edits and various other things happening has delayed the release - which I'm more than ready to see, especially as I'm half way through the third book in my Viscount Partington Series. Each book follows the life of one of the viscount's legitimate children, as well as illegitimate brood. As you can imagine, they have very different experiences depending on what side of the blanket they were born. Book 1 kicks off the series with the viscount's lovely, unloved wife, Sybil, and her passionate liaison with a younger man. ImageI love stories of mistaken identities, and there are plenty in this story. Hetty believes her life depends on pretending to be someone else, my hero is mistakenly believed to be a villain, while Hetty’s sister has her own little scheme up her sleeve, based on her own deception.Here’s the blurb followed by an extract:Sequel to Her Gilded PrisonShy, self-effacing Henrietta knows her place—in her dazzling older sister’s shadow. She’s a little brown peahen to Araminta’s bird of paradise. But when Hetty mistakenly becomes embroiled in the Regency underworld, the innocent debutante finds herself shockingly compromised by the dashing, dangerous Sir Aubrey, the very gentleman her heart desires. And the man Araminta has in her cold, calculating sights.Branded an enemy of the Crown, bitter over the loss of his wife, Sir Aubrey wants only to lose himself in the warm, willing body of the young “prostitute” Hetty. As he tutors her in the art of lovemaking, Aubrey is pleased to find Hetty not only an ardent student, but a bright, witty and charming companion.Despite a spoiled Araminta plotting for a marriage offer and a powerful political enemy damaging his reputation, Aubrey may suffer the greatest betrayal at the hands of the little “concubine” who’s managed to breach the stony exterior of his heart.A Romantica® historical Regency erotic romance from Ellora’s CaveAnd here’s the extract:By reading any further, you are stating that you are at least 18 years of age. If you are under the age of 18, please exit this site.An Excerpt From: DANGEROUS GENTLEMENCopyright © BEVERLEY OAKLEY, 2014All Rights Reserved, Ellora’s Cave Publishing, Inc.Miss Hoskings, who declared she was not going to emerge from the mending room until the night was over, bade Hetty a gloomy farewell once Hetty’s skirt was mended but Hetty wasn’t sure she felt like reentering the ballroom either. The only person of any interest had left and she had no wish to endure Araminta’s preening self-satisfaction as she recounted her success with Sir Aubrey who, if he really were such a dangerous man, would consequently be of even greater interest to her sister, she supposed. No, Hetty had no chance.“Make sure you turn the right way. The ’ouse is a fair rabbit warren of rooms and the gennulmen’s quarters that way.” The old crone stabbed a finger up the stairs to the left. “Even that Sir Aubrey what’s staying ’ere got hisself lost. Put ’is head in ’ere just afore you came to inquire as to which way was the lobby so he could order hisself a carriage.”Miss Hoskings straightened, her look suddenly interested. “Sir Aubrey is a houseguest, I believe,” she said with a sharp look at Hetty. “Handsome gentleman, don’t you think? And with that unusual hair.”Just the mere mention of him made Hetty’s heart leap. So Sir Aubrey’s room was just down the passage and up the stairs? She hesitated as the old seamstress closed the door behind her, plunging her into the gloom of the dimly lit corridor.The stairs beckoned a short distance away.What would be the harm in a quick look? No one would see her and she could always claim she’d lost her way. She’d be believed and besides, all the chambers would be empty since everyone was at the ball. The night was still young and no one would be returning yet.Hetty, curious by nature, found this too tantalizing an opportunity to resist. With a furtive look around her, she hurried left and up the stairs, at which point two corridors at right angles disappeared into darkness. Choosing the one to the right, she found herself face-to-face with a series of closed doors.Foolish, she chided herself. Of course they were closed and she could hardly open them. As she turned back toward the ballroom, a faint light shining from the crack beneath a door that was slightly ajar gleamed beckoningly.With a furtive look over her shoulder, she approached it, and when she gave the door a little nudge with her foot, it swung open.Excitement rippled through her.“Hello?” she asked in a low voice. She took another step into the room. “Is anyone in here?”Silence greeted her. A low fire burned in the grate before which was a table, against which were propped several items, including a familiar silver-topped cane. Her breath caught in her throat. The last time she’d seen that cane was when Sir Aubrey had exchanged several words with Araminta in the street as Hetty had been bringing up the rear with Mrs. Monks. Of course Sir Aubrey had not looked twice at her, excusing himself before having to be introduced to the younger sister and the chaperone who’d nearly closed the gap.Heart hammering, Hetty closed the door behind her and went to pick up the cane.How fortunate to have stumbled into Sir Aubrey’s room, she thought when she observed the fine coat lying upon the bed, apparently discarded in favor of what he was wearing tonight.He really was a nonpareil, wearing his clothes as if they were an extension of his athletic physique.Yet he was dangerous, she had to remind herself. Meaning she should not be here, which of course she shouldn’t, regardless of whether he was dangerous or not.But how such a scion of good breeding and genteel society could be guilty of such a heinous crime as treason, Hetty could not imagine. And surely the story of the runaway wife was a gilded one. It was all the stuff of make-believe and Cousin Stephen was only telling Hetty he was dangerous to curb her schoolroom daydreams.Turning, she saw half protruding from beneath the suit of clothes what appeared to be the edge of a silver, filigreed box. It was partly obscured by the overhang of the counterpane, as if it hadn’t properly been returned to its hiding place.A moment’s indecision made her pause but soon Hetty was crouching on the floor, closing clammy fingers around the box. Might it contain secrets? Ones that would reveal, conclusively, what Cousin Stephen claimed was true?Alternatively, proof that would exonerate Sir Aubrey?Hetty fumbled for the catch. Dear Lord, this was too exciting for words. Perhaps Sir Aubrey was a secret agent working for the English, and Stephen had no idea.Perhaps he was—Protesting door hinges made her squeal as the door was flung wide. Hetty let the lid of the box fall and retreated into the shadows as Sir Aubrey strode into the room.He was breathing heavily as he shrugged off his jacket with a curse, raindrops spattering into the hissing fire as he raked his fingers through his hair. A curious stillness overtook him and he froze, obviously sensing all was not as he left it.He sniffed the air. “Orange flower water,” he muttered, stepping closer to the fire, fumbling for the tinderbox on the mantelpiece to light a candle.Immediately he was thrown into sharp relief and as he stared at Hetty, it was not his look of shock and suspicion that made her scream—but the copious amounts of blood that stained his shirtsleeves and once snowy linen cravat.“God Almighty, who are you?” he demanded as his gaze raked her finery. “You’re no parlor maid, that’s for certain.”Gaping, unable to formulate a sensible answer, Hetty finally managed, “What happened to your arm, Sir Aubrey? Are you injured?”“Sir Aubrey, is it? So you know who I am but you still haven’t told me who you are?” He grunted as he looked down at his arm, the bloodied linen shredded over the long graze. “It’s not as bad as it looks and I assure you, I gave a good account of myself.” His laugh was more a sneer. “Indeed, my assailant lies dead in the gutter.”Hetty gasped. “Dueling?” Myriad questions crowded her mind. Could this be to do with Araminta? Had Sir Aubrey left Araminta in the middle of the ball to fight some other contender for her affections?“Dueling?” he repeated. He shook his head and Hetty drew back at the coldness in his eyes. “There was nothing noble about my activities this evening. I was set upon in a dark alley. A short scuffle ensued, I drew my knife, then…” With his hand, he made a gesture like the slitting of his throat, adding, “I am slightly wounded but as I said, my attacker does not live to repeat the insult.”Her horror clearly amused him, for his eyes narrowed while his generous mouth quirked. He looked like an incarnation of the most handsome demon she’d ever seen depicted in the fairy stories she loved to read.“We all have enemies, madam. Enemies who must be eliminated if we are to breathe freely.”
Aubrey was enjoying the girl’s wide-eyed terror. No doubt she imagined he’d sliced the throat of a footpad, not the snarling, mangy cur who had leapt upon him as he’d been returning from his brief assignation to settle a gaming debt incurred by his favorite reprobate nephew.Taking pity on her, he said reassuringly, “Don’t worry. I won’t hurt you.’ Her wide-eyed look as he removed first his jacket, then the bloodied shirt he tossed upon the bed before he rose to his full height, bare chested, afforded him the most amusement he’d had in a long time. “So, you’re the girl Madame Chambon sent?”She simply stared at him and he nodded appraisingly as he sat on the bed and pulled off his boots. “You had me fooled for a moment. I thought you really were some innocent who’d lost her way in these catacombs.” Had he not been so jaded he might have been ashamed at the assessment in his tone when he added, “My faithful procuress threatened to one day surprise me—and that I’d not be able to tell the difference.” He chuckled and put out his hand. “Well, come into the light so I can see you better. After the god-awful night I’ve had, you might be just what I need. The retiring sort—for I’m sick to death of women who like to play games.”Like that Miss Araminta Partington, he thought. Now didn’t she like to play games, with her speaking looks and half-whispered promises? Which wasn’t to say he hadn’t enjoyed his brief assignation with her in an antechamber behind the supper room. He’d been on his way out to settle his nephew’s wager when Miss Partington had waylaid him before proving extremely amenable to a kiss and a fondle. But of course that was as far as it could go and the throbbing of his engorged cock after that little encounter had been one good reason to slip unnoticed out of Lady Knox’s townhouse.Unsatisfied desire had made him restless in every sense, and while he’d imagined a feisty coupling with whichever ladybird sent to him, this young lady’s contrived innocence was having a curious effect upon him. It would seem Madame Chambon had read him correctly, for even he hadn’t realized how tired he was of worldly sophistication.“Yes, here.” He patted his knees. “No need to carry the pretense to quite such extremes. That’s right. I want you to sit on my lap so I can…observe you better.”“Sit on your lap?” she squeaked as he tugged at her hand and her rounded bottom landed on his thighs.He ran his hands over her contours appreciatively. She was rather a nice little thing with a familiarity that tugged at his memory. Plump and almost pretty. Not quite, but with that slightly gawkish look about her that indicated she was in transition to womanhood and might go either way—turn into a swan. Or not.He rather fancied she had the makings of a beauty, though that didn’t concern him now since he had her only for one night. Madame Chambon would have sent her on approval. She seemed vaguely familiar. It was quite possible he’d seen the chit at the brothel and unconsciously dismissed her on account of the very reasons Madame Chambon had sent her—for her innocence and youth.He ran his fingers through her fine light-brown curls and contoured her neck appreciatively, amused that she tensed as if this had never happened to her before. Well, if he liked her, he’d see her as often as he wished over the following month. By the time the abbess presented him with one of her exorbitant accounts, he’d know whether the girl gave value enough to continue the arrangement.If she pleased him as much as his former mistress Jezebel had, Aubrey would indeed be seeing more of her. The next hour or so would tell.“Oh sir!” she cried, jumping up as his hand came into contact with her breast. “What are you doing?”He grinned as he tugged her back down and resettled her across his knees. “Madame Chambon has trained you well. Now I suppose you’ll tell me you’re a virgin.”She nodded vigorously. “I am, sir. Indeed I am and—”His scowl made her stiffen with apparent terror. Oh, she was good.“Really?” He reached for the cutlass that had fallen from his belt and now lay at his feet. Idly he stroked the blade, stained with the dead dog’s blood, while he contemplated her. She was indulging in the charade perhaps a little too enthusiastically but then, as he narrowed his gaze and saw how frightened she really seemed, it occurred to him that every whore had to be broken in sometime and perhaps Madame Chambon had decided to play a little trick on him.She’d told him he needed softening. That the effects of the opprobrium directed at him since poor Margaret’s death had stripped him of his humanity. Perhaps tonight was the time to cultivate his more tender side.“A virgin?” Before, he’d spoken with blatant skepticism. Now he would allow that she could be telling the truth.She nodded, her eyes riveted on the blade he was now using to clean his fingernails.“So this will be your first time with a man?”She drew in a trembling breath and repeated stupidly, “First time with a man?”He tried not to sound irritated. There was only so much of the play-acting he could take. “Madame Chambon obviously selected you on account of your innocence. She knows my proclivities and that experience is my preference but I can be gentle. I won’t hurt you.” He grinned as he was struck by the responsibility of breaking in a virgin. One who would always remember her first time with him, no matter how many paying customers she serviced in her working life.He licked his lips as he watched understanding dawn, adding as he traced the edge of her décolletage with his right forefinger, “In fact, I promise that you’ll quite enjoy the experience. God knows, you’re going to endure enough during your career, so you might as well start off on a good note. Now, shall we begin?”AND NOW FOR THE VIDEO WHICH YOU CAN SEE HERE: Please drop by and visit me at my website or blogOr twitter: @BeverleyOakleyAnd you can buy Dangerous Gentlemen here.
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Published on February 10, 2014 21:57 • 38 views

January 29, 2014

PRE-ORDER AND SAVE $2.99 HEREBy Beverley Eikli

Isn't she beautiful? She doesn't look like she could tell a white lie much less live one - keeping the biggest secret from the man she loves most.
Not that poor, lovely Lady Leeson always loved the kind and honourable Tristan who nurtured her during her darkest hours and married her three years before, thinking her 'lie' to be quite a different one.
Yesterday my first advance copies of The Maid of Milan jetted their way from the freezing UK to sizzling Gisborne in Victoria, Australia. It'll be available as an e-book from Feb 2 and is a pre-order for the paperback here.
Here's the blurb:
After five years of marriage, Adelaide has fallen in love with the handsome, honourable husband who nurtured her through her darkest hours.
Now Adelaide’s former lover, the passionate poet from whose arms she was torn by her family during their illicit liaison in Milan six years previously has returned, a celebrity due to the success of his book The Maid of Milan.
High society is as desperate to discover the identity of his ‘muse’ as Adelaide is to protect her newfound love and her husband’s political career.
If only the men had not been childhood friends.

Published by Choc LitMarch 2014
And here's an extract which takes place when Adelaide is with her mother who tells her she can't possibly be around when Tristan's boyhood friend, James, comes to visit.
Again, her mother's eyes roamed over the room's lavish appointments.
– if he so much as suspects the weakness and depravity of
your character. You have ever been a disappointment but
you are all I have and I am all you can rely upon. I thought
I’d trained you well, that you were of my mould. How
wrong I was.’
Familiar though this litany was, Adelaide once again
fought the familiar shame which threatened to swamp
her, though she refused to succumb to the tears that had
sprung so readily to her eyes in the early days. In the six
months after she and James had been parted and she’d been
dragged from Milan back to Vienna before being shipped
off to England, all she’d done was cry.
‘Nevertheless, as your mother, I have stood by you
and I remain determined that you shall not squander this
God-given opportunity. Tristan’s continued high regard
is our only salvation, Adelaide. Remember that. Now
come.’ Draining her tea cup, Mrs Henley rose. ‘Let us go
downstairs and find Tristan so we can tell him of Aunt
Gwendolyn’s letter.’
With helpless frustration Adelaide trailed after her
mother. Once again Mrs Henley had taken charge and
Adelaide’s ideas of independence seemed suddenly hopeless,
for if they ran counter to her mother’s she knew who held
the power.
At the moment, it wasn’t Adelaide.
Mrs Henley knocked and they entered as Tristan rose,his forced smile replaced by one of pleasure when he saw
Adelaide. He took a step forward, extending his hand
for hers, the flare in his eyes as intense as the day she
consented to be his wife, and Adelaide felt an unexpected
jolt somewhere in the region of her heart, her determination
bolstered to bridge the distance between them, despite the
oppressive presence of her mother, always a footfall away,
it seemed.
‘Tristan, I—’
She stopped, pulling back as a warm, fragrant breeze
stirred the papers on his desk.
The French doors from the garden had been thrown
open, and the heavy tread of Hessian boots upon the
wooden floor pulled their attention towards the muslin
curtains which swirled in eddies, silhouetting the shape of
a man: a slender man of middle height – the only ordinary
thing about him – dressed in a black cutaway coat and
buff breeches, who materialised before them like a young
demigod, smouldering with an enthusiasm he did nothing
to inhibit, for good manners were always in abeyance to the
passion that ruled James’s life.
‘Tristan!’ Tossing his low-crowned beaver upon the
ottoman, James strode forward, arms outstretched, his
voice taut with emotion.
Nearly four years, it had been, and from first impressions
it was as if nothing had changed. Inky curls framed his
delicately boned face and his eyes were like coals burning
the fire within. No, nothing had changed, she could see,
for James was still like a coiled spring, eager for love,
eager for life, as ready to give as he was to take … without
Adelaide froze with nowhere to go, tense with
premonition while shafts of sensation, painful and familiar,
tore through her.
Could this really be happening? Unwillingly, her gaze
was fixed upon James’s profile, dusted with dark stubble,
tapering up to angular cheekbones delineated with the
slivers of sideburns sported by the fashionable Corinthians
of the day.
In four years he could not be so unchanged whereas
she …
She touched her face, her heart. She was a mere husk of
what she’d once been. Tristan knew nothing of the passions
that burned within her when her heart was engaged – and
she didn’t know if he ever would, for suddenly she felt
reduced to nothingness by the force of James’s personality.
She’d been his equal once – a woman of fire and vitality
– and she’d loved him with a savagery that her mother
claimed bordered on insanity. She’d been a child, thrust into
adulthood by this charismatic older man. Married older
man. But as she looked between the two men before her it
was Tristan who made her heart beat faster, as much with
longing as with fear of what he would think of her if he
knew the truth.
James had not seen her; his gaze was focused entirely
upon Tristan, and Adelaide was astonished to see a different
kind of pleasure light up Tristan’s face as he was enveloped
in a welcoming embrace far less restrained than her husband
was used to.
‘Forgive me for coming early, Tristan. I had no choice.’
‘Nonsense!’ The pleasure in Tristan’s voice was like
nothing Adelaide had ever heard. ‘You’d be welcome if
you climbed through the window at midnight for no better
reason than you needed a bed. So good to see you, James.
It’s been far too long.’
She had been forgotten. Rooted to the spot, Adelaide
could only wait to be acknowledged, but how she wished
she could melt between the floorboards.
‘When I heard the weather promised rain and worse,
tomorrow, I admit I acted with my usual thoughtless
James halted, perhaps alerted by movement just beyond
his peripheral vision, and Adelaide caught her breath,
wiping her sweating palms nervously on her skirts as he
turned his head to peer into the gloomy recesses beyond
Tristan’s shoulder.
And as her glance met the familiar grey eyes of the one
skeleton in her closet she’d hoped to consign forever to her
past life, she felt the thread of happiness she’d found with
Tristan pull dangerously taut.
The fire in James’s eyes changed to something different
at the sight of her; the telling stillness of his normally
active, healthy body indicated that his senses were fully
alerted, and Adelaide felt hers answer with a sensation akin
to having her steady world ripped from beneath her feet,
leaving her to spiral into orbit until her mother’s icy tones
ripped through the silence.
‘James, I trust you are well.’
‘Mrs Henley. I did not see you.’
They greeted each other with courtesy, concealing the
brittle antipathy Adelaide knew lay just below the surface.
Her mother took a step as if to shield Adelaide from
his dangerous influence. ‘We had not expected to see you,
either, James, as you were due tomorrow and Adelaide and
I’—she feigned regret—‘have been summoned on an urgent
visit to my aunt in Lincolnshire.’
Tristan swung round to face Adelaide who dropped her
gaze and blushed. Leave the explanation to her mother. How
she wished she could be incinerated to a little pile of ashes
with no more of the worries and charades that were her lot.
Instead, she had to remain stoic, keep steady, pull taut that
wayward trembling mouth and corroborate her mother’slie.
‘So lovely to see you again, James. Unfortunately, yes,
Mama and I must leave immediately.’
‘Tristan loves you, Adelaide, but he will not – I promise you
End of Extract

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Published on January 29, 2014 18:21 • 26 views

January 20, 2014

Ta da! Here's the fabulous new cover for my new book, Rake's Honour, originally published by Totally Bound.

If you've ever seen the Australian classic, Picnic at Hanging Rock, the mansion in the background is Martindale Hall. The story surrounding the building of the house is wonderfully romantic. Apparently a wealthy Englishman in the 1880s was so in love with his English fiancé he'd finally secured her consent to be his bride on the basis that he build a home just like the one she lived in back in England. So he did, bringing out materials and workers from England to the Clare Valley in South Australia.

Sadly, she never did marry him in the end.

Anyway, the house is not far from where we have our 80 acre property and my talented photographer/designer sister incorporated this photo she took, with the clinch couple I liked. (My daughter is horrified and thinks the couple should be standing up with their hands behind their backs.) 

Initially titled 'The Courtesan's Daughter', Rakes Honour bombed in the first Romance Writers of Australia competition I ever entered. After opening the envelope containing the dreadful feedback while outside our inner city Perth townhouse, I remember sobbing on my husband's shoulder as we stood on the pavement, me heavily pregnant with our first child.

The following year, after reworking the story according to all the feedback - which was mostly that Fanny was too bitchy and conniving for anyone to care what happened to her - I won the same competition and got a request for the full manuscript from Avon.

That meant rushing to complete the full novel but my plot became convoluted and involved duels in the forest and lovemaking on rocks beneath waterfalls - ridiculous stuff!

I let it languish and in the meantime wrote three Regency Historicals which were published by Robert Hale before returning to rewrite Fanny's story. I'd always loved Fanny who reminded me so much of cunning Becky Sharp, teetering on the brink of respectable society in Thackeray's Vanity Fair.
Rake's Honour is now a 38,000 word racy Regency romp with a sting in the tale ending - which has made a few reviewers laugh out loud, apparently.

It was a fun book to write - but with a 4-flame rating it's a lot hotter and sexier than anything else I've ever done so it's not to be confused with the romantic adventures and intrigues I write under my Beverley Eikli name.

Anyway, here's the revised blurb:

It’s spirited debutante Fanny Brightwell’s greatest gamble and the stakes are high: marriage to the man of her dreams or a life beholden to loathsome libertine, Lord Slyther. 

When a jealous contender for her affections embarks upon revenge, Fanny’s mission to convince dashing Lord Fenton she’s his perfect bride seems doomed. 

But salvation comes from unexpected quarters. 

Battling spurned suitors, conniving debutantes, exacting mamas and a peagoose of a sister on the verge of destroying the Brightwell reputation, Fanny proves that a little cunning goes a long way. 

*A racy Regency Romantic Comedy shortlisted Favourite Historical for 2012 by Australian Romance Readers Association.

And you can buy it for only $2.99 here.
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Published on January 20, 2014 19:05 • 56 views