Tag Archives: novella

Thief of Hearts, a Christmas novella

December. It’s time to feel the warmth and love of the Christmas Spirit. If she (or he) has not yet visited your home, I suggest you download Thief of Hearts, read it and be inspired to decorate, wrap and spread good cheer.

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000026_00016]Elizabeth Ellen Carter is one of my favourite Australian historical novelists. I am constantly amazed at her ability to switch time periods and write with the same level of authenticity, accuracy and passion regardless of whether she is writing about Ancient Rome, medieval England or, as in this case, Victorian England. Her last novella was the delightful Nocturne, a Valentine’s Day release, set in Regency England. I thoroughly enjoyed it, as I thoroughly enjoyed Thief of Hearts, a historical suspense caper involving a Duke as a magician and a young lady as a sleuth. Elizabeth does always like to turn convention on it’s head!

I asked Elizabeth why this particular story. She said, ‘Australians suffer a little bit of cognitive dissonance when it comes to celebrating Christmas. First of all, being in the southern hemisphere, we celebrating in the middle of our summer but happily sing about ‘dashing through the snow’, Frosty the Snowman and that the ‘snow lay all about, deep and crisp and even’.

‘Another thing we missed in our local customs was being outside of the TV ratings periods. Conventional wisdom had it that in the depths of bitter winters, people would gather around the electronic hearth and watch television. And since Christmas fell right in the middle of the northern hemisphere’s TV ratings period, all the best TV shows had a Christmas episode.

‘They were fun and whimsical, often suspending current storylines for something a little bit light-hearted and fun.

‘So, in that Christmas spirit, I wrote The Thief of Hearts, a veritable Christmas punch of few Hercule Poirots, Girl’s Own Adventures stories, a dash of While You Were Sleeping and other Christmas-themed rom-coms.’

Book DescriptionAWWC16

December 1890
London, England

Some seriously clever sleight of hand is needed if aspiring lawyer Caro Addison is ever going to enjoy this Christmas.

To avoid an unwanted marriage proposal, she needs a distraction as neat as the tricks used by The Phantom, the audacious diamond thief who has left Scotland Yard clueless.

While her detective inspector uncle methodically hunts the villain, Caro decides to investigate a suspect of her own – the handsome Tobias Black, a magician extraordinaire, known as The Dark Duke.

He’s the only one with the means, motive and opportunity but the art of illusion means not everything is as it seems, in both crime and affairs of the heart.

As Christmas Day draws near, Caro must decide whether it is worth risking reputations and friendships in order to follow her desires.

Extract

He turned the card over and with a thumbnail flicked a tab made of the same backing as the playing card. Even up close the addition was difficult to see. Tobias placed the card on his lap and pulled out a deck of cards. He flicked the edge of the deck of cards towards them. Each time the Queen of Hearts stood out.

“I want you to think I can read your mind, but in reality…”

Tobias split the deck and showed them the Queen of Hearts and then the other half of the deck. The card that had been just before the Queen of Hearts was fully a third shorter than the rest of the cards. He put the pack together and flicked through the deck once more.

“I make you see what you want to see. I suspect The Phantom does the same.”

“You mean his crime scenes are illusions?” Margaret asked. Tobias gave her a smile and Caro wished oddly that its brightness shone on her too.

“I think so. From what I read in the newspapers… no sign of entry or departure?” he asked. Caro confirmed it with a nod. “That tells me he’s creating an illusion of invulnerability. But it is an illusion. A trick. He wants to force the attention of the police away from something else – in the same way a magician will use a gesture or an action to distract you.

“Find out what that is then you will find his sleight of hand and that will be his vulnerability.”

Tobias stood.

“Now, if I’ve sated your curiosity, I’ll take my leave of you. My crew and I have our last show this evening.”

Caro rose and Margaret did also. Tobias took Margaret’s hand and bowed over it then released it. Then he took Caro’s and held it. Then his eyes held hers for a moment and he dropped a kiss on the back of her hand.

“I’m so glad it was you who paid me a visit… instead of a representative of Scotland Yard.”

“Not at all, Mr Black,” she replied, her voice a little huskier than usual, “you have been more than gracious with your time.

“Call me Tobias.”

He was flirting with her! Caro kept the smile to herself as he escorted them both to the entrance of the theatre.

“Just one more question, Mr Black,” Caro asked. “You wouldn’t happen to know how someone might dispose of a suite of diamonds would you?”

Want to read more? Go to

Author Bio

eecarter400h-203x300Elizabeth Ellen Carter is an award-winning historical romance writer who pens richly detailed historical romantic adventures. A former newspaper journalist, Carter ran an award-winning PR agency for 12 years. The author lives in Australia with her husband and two cats. Elizabeth loves to interact with her readers and you can find her at:

5 hearts all

 

 

 

Advertisements

The Seduction of Lord Stone: A delightful romantic interlude

SPOILER ALERT: FANGIRL POST AHEAD

An Anna Campbell novellaI discovered my first Anna Campbell novel just a couple of years ago as I was browsing the shelves of a small bookshop. What a serendipitous moment that proved to be, leading me through multiple titles in rapid succession until I arrived here, at the publication of The Seduction of Lord Stone, the first book in her Dashing Widows series.

I’m always on the lookout for a good novella. There are lots of points in its favour. I can read a whole book if I have a couple of hours spare one evening, or over the weekend, getting a satisfying full-story fix uninterrupted by work or dinner or housework. I’m also fond of brevity. Cut the waffle, I say. The intensity level is also higher, especially in the hands of an expert like Anna.

Of course, not all authors excel at this short form. Some truncate the story, resulting in a simplistic plot or under-developed characters. However, every one of Anna’s novels that I have read is a full, rich and rounded story regardless of whether it is  a full-length romance or a short and sexy novella. Yes, I’m a fan, and I make no apologies for that. Let me take the stand and declare: I LOVE Anna Campbell’s books! They are emotionally intense, dark and funny and sexy – smoking’ hot actually. I adore her heroines and love her heroes. What more could I ask for as a reader?

The Seduction of Lord Stone is the story of Caroline, Lady Beaumont and Silas Nash, Viscount Stone. Caroline has had a dreary year in mourning that she survived only because of her new friendships with Helena, the Countess of Crewe and Fenella, Lady Deerham. The three decide to become dashing widows once their year of mourning is complete since not one of them, for different reasons, wishes to remarry. Caroline in particular is determined to have some fun and sets about targeting the right man to make her lover. For this task she enlists the help of Helena’s brother, Lord Stone.

Poor Silas! What a lowering position for a reformed rake to find himself in. He has devoted the year of Caroline’s mourning to winning her trust only to discover that he has been designated the status of ‘a dear friend’. Worse, Caroline has her eye fixed on his best friend, a man he now regards as not fit for London society let alone Caroline’s. Can he change her mind? Persuade her that it is possible to be lovers and friends? You’ll have to read it to find out. To whet your appetite and find out what indignities the man suffers, read an extract from The Seduction of Lord Stone here.

Books two and three in the Dashing Widows series of novellas will be available in early 2016. Look out for Tempting Mr Townsend and Winning Lord West.

Also recommended: The Sons of Sin series

  • Seven Nights in a Rogue’s Bed
  • A Rake’s Midnight Kiss
  • What a Duke Dares
  • A Scoundrel by Moonlight
  • Three proposals and a Scandal (novella)

5 hearts all

 

 

The Seduction of Lord Stone is a sexy Regency romance.