I’m glad to have the very talented Barbara Monajem here to share her new romance releases with a fitting May Day Theme. Plus she’s giving away a download of each title (kindle or nookbook) to someone who leaves her a comment. A win, win.
Barbara: I love celebrations that date back to ancient times, and May Day is no exception. My new novella duet is about one May Day custom that Beth didn’t mention in her post a few days ago. It’s a naughty custom which may never have existed; I don’t have a time machine (alas), so haven’t been able to ascertain that one way or another. (But I hope it did.) I chose it for my May Day Mischief duet because novellas in the Harlequin Undone line have to be a little bit racy. I thought rolling naked in the dew to call one’s true love to one’s side qualified perfectly. What do you think?
Beth: Wow, this one got past me in my research. Definitely grabs the imagination. I wouldn’t be surprised if the custom did exist. May Day has many romantic associations, and some are on the wilder side. *Dewy grass for anyone who cares to roll in it 🙂
Barbara: Here are the blurbs and excerpts from the two novellas, The Magic of His Touch and Bewitched by His Kiss. I hope you enjoy them!
The Magic of His Touch (May Day Mischief, Book 1)
Tired of being paraded before every eligible bachelor, Peony Whistleby decides it’s time to find her true love—through the ancient custom of rolling naked in the dew on May Day morning. But the magic goes awry when she is caught in the act—and by an entirely unsuitable man. And yet, the way his eyes linger upon her flesh ignites a sensual craving that can only be satisfied by his touch…
Bewitched by His Kiss (May Day Mischief, Book 2)
Lucasta Barnes knows the folly believing in magic can lead to—and she won’t accept that her illicit tryst with a notorious rake was the result of anything more than pure lust. Or that it has bonded them together forever. Yet, she can’t deny that she yearns for just one more night in his arms…
David, Earl of Elderwood, is known as an enchanter of women, but ever since a passionate encounter with Lucasta three years ago, he desires only her. How can he convince his thoroughly practical paramour that love is the greatest magic of all?
***Bewitched by His Kiss buy links:
Excerpt from The Magic of His Touch
“Get up! Get dressed!”
Peony froze in mid-roll. A strange man bounded toward her, gesturing, his voice low but urgent. She scrambled to her feet, a shriek catching in her throat.
“I won’t hurt you,” he said, but he kept on coming. Her heart clambering into her gullet, she tried to cover herself with her hands.
“Who— What—” She couldn’t get a word out.
“Don’t stand there like an idiot, girl! I already know what you look like naked.” A blush crowded up her neck and burned her cheeks. “Get your clothes on, and be quick about it.” With brisk, shooing motions he herded her toward the hawthorn where she’d left her shift and gown.
Anger swelled up, overcoming her fear. How dare he order her about? “Go away,” she said, hating how her voice trembled as she fled before him. “What are you doing here? You have no right.” A little way round the circle of meadow, she spied a horse, cropping the grass at the edge of the wood.
“You should be thankful I’m here,” he said, stopping several feet away when she reached the hawthorn. “I don’t know what foolishness you’re up to, but clearly your lover isn’t coming, and—”
“No, because you spoiled everything,” she said. Her hair had fallen out of its ribbon and stuck wetly to her face. She clawed it away, wanting to hit him. Her chance at finding love was gone. “Go away!”
He folded his arms and just stood there, scowling—and looking at her as if, underneath that frown, he was enjoying himself. “Not until you put your clothes on and be off home where you belong.”
Another flush overwhelmed her, this time of shame and misery, as she realized what he meant. He thought she’d come out here to tryst with some likely village lad, as if she were a scullery maid. And who was he, anyway? She’d never seen him before. He was dressed like a gentleman and spoke like one, too, but he didn’t belong here.
“Who gave you the right to order me about?” she demanded. “This is private land.”
His eyes widened. “You silly little fool, I’m trying to protect you. I traveled here with a friend. To him, a naked woman is a blatant invitation. You’re lucky it’s I who came upon you and not he.”
She grabbed her shift and turned it right side out. “Stop staring at me.”
“You’re a beautiful girl without any clothes on,” he said. “I wouldn’t be much of a man if I didn’t stare.”
Excerpt from Bewitched by His Kiss:
Setup: It’s late at night, and Lucasta, our heroine, fears that her cousin Peony has gone rolling naked in the dew again. She bumps into Lord Elderwood on the way out to check on her.
“Shall we go verify that Peony is safe?” Lord Elderwood’s voice was a silky dare.
“Don’t be ridiculous,” Lucasta retorted. “Alexis is a gentleman through and through.” Unlike Elderwood, who would take advantage of a woman with or without clothing. She remembered leaving the future to fate and shivered. No, this meeting was pure chance. Nothing else.
That didn’t stop every nerve in her body from coming alive and afire.
The path through the wood appeared like magic. No, not magic—just luck that they’d found it easily in the dark. She hastened onward. “But for her safety, I must make certain he is with her.”
Elderwood laughed. From ahead came a startled squeak, stifled immediately. Urgent whispers stretched toward them, ghostly and unintelligible. Peony was talking to someone, but she didn’t sound frightened, and she hadn’t had time to disrobe. It must truly be Alexis, thank heavens. He was a reassuring sort of man. He would convince her to keep her clothes on. He would make sure she returned to the house safely.
Elderwood laughed again. “Come now, my love. Tell the truth. Don’t you want to know what Alexis is doing with your cousin?”
“Damn you,” she said too loudly, whirling back toward the orchard. She lowered her voice. “Stop laughing, for God’s sake. Have you no discretion?”
A muffled snort came from directly behind her. He must be close enough to touch her and intending to do so.
“Stupid question,” she muttered. She was at his mercy, or rather at the mercy of her own rampaging desires. She hurried forward, clutching the pistol close so he couldn’t get it, but suddenly the path petered into nothing. She must have mistaken the way in the dark; she dodged the other direction, around a massive oak she’d passed on the way in.
Blocked again, this time by a wall of undergrowth and a closed rank of trees. She whirled again and stumbled.
Lord Elderwood caught her. “Dear, dear,” he said. “Are we lost?”
“Where did the path go?” she burst out. “It was right here. I’m sure of it.”
“And now it isn’t,” Elderwood said, one arm strong around her, the other plucking the muff pistol from her hand.
She moaned. “That makes no sense at all.”
He took her chin in his hands and tipped it up. His eyes seemed to glow in the darkness. “It does, if you believe in magic.”
Beth: Thanks so much for sharing these tantalizing snippets, Barbara. Both these stories look super and a lot of fun. *I couldn’t resist adding the image of Richard Armitage who seems suited for the part.
***Winner announced on Monday evening, so you have several days to leave a comment.
***Catch Barbara on her website at: http://www.barbaramonajem.com/