Rakes Rogues and Romance

Historical Romance-Because Passion Lives Forever


Pre-Release! Jess Russell’s The Dressmaker’s Duke

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To be released this Friday-The Dressmaker’s Duke, by Jess Russell!

Please welcome Jess to the blog! this is her debut historical romance from The Wild Rose Press and she is also a fellow chapter mate of mine from our local NYC RWA group. Let’s find out a bit about her debut release.

“I am a dressmaker, Your Grace, I make and sell dresses.

That is the full extent of my commerce.”

But when this monkish duke invades her dress shop, her dreams, and finally her heart, will Olivia be able to deny Rhys Merrick might just be the perfect fit?

Ms. Russell’s book, The Dressmaker’s Duke, (releasing September 26th) is set in 1810 in London. Not unlike these Mayan women, her heroine, Olivia Weston, has few options to earn a living wage. Olivia chooses dressmaking rather than compromise herself. Of course, being fiction and a romance, there is a “knight.” But the Duke will find this dressmaker isn’t so easily swept off her feet by his white horse and glittering armor. He must work for this fiercely independent woman. Yes, the HEA is a foregone conclusion, but how they get there is the fun!

The Dressmaker’s Duke, available at: The Wild Rose Press, iTunes, Amazon, and B & N.

In the world of Romance writing there is always a happily ever after—the HEA. It is a prerequisite for the genre. Unfortunately that is not always the case in the real world where so many women struggle to gain their freedom, both personally and economically. Most likely there is no knight in shining armor to ride in and save the day. And why would women want that anyway? They are strong and resilient when given the tools to be so.

Jess Russell, multi-award winning romance author of The Dressmaker’s Duke, wants to help deserving women find their HEA. She has become involved in The Sewing Project, a part of the charitable group, Mayan Families (http://www.mayanfamilies.org.) This income generating program promotes the economic advancement of women by providing them with skills to use sewing machines as well as basic business skills.

Over 150 students have come through the six month sewing course, with a long waiting list of women wanting to take part. Many of these women have been able to use their new-found skills to establish small businesses, sell their products within the community and support their families independently.

Rosario graduated from the program and was able to take out a microloan and start her own business selling products made from traditional cloth.  She finally is able to earn an income to support herself and her four children.

The cost for one student to attend the program is $75. Not so much money to provide a dream. It is one thing to give a fish, it is quite another to teach how to fish.


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A bit about me.


I have had lots of jobs. Wife, mom, (15 year old who is a sophomore at Bronx Science) actress, print/shoe model, acting teacher, professional stager (for selling real estate), award winning batik artist, and designer. (Right now I am in the middle of hand-sewing a Regency gown. I figure, if my heroine can do it, I can do it!)
Obviously I like to make things. I love the notion of creating something out of nothing, or at least things that other folks might think of as worthless. I am always dragging things off the street of New York City where I live now, and “re-purposing” them.

I love power tools. I have remodeled several kitchens, and three bathrooms as well as numerous tiling jobs and even painted faux finishes on furniture and walls. I knew my husband really knew me when he got me a chain saw for my birthday!

I never ever thought I’d be a writer. I am dyslexic. I overcame that fairly early on (thanks, mom) but the idea stuck in my head that I couldn’t write. I have always loved Romance and particularly Historical Romance.

When I turned 50 I wanted a new challenge. One particular scene had been brewing in my head for a long time so I thought I’d write it down. I did. Little by little I got braver. I sent a chapter to my mom to check it for “grammar.” Then I joined the Romance Writers of America and entered some of their writing contests. At first I did not final but got very encouraging feedback. Then I began to final and win. In the end I received three publishing offers for the book.

I still do many other creative things-still make things-now I can add that I’ve made a book! I am working on several other stories. Each one keeps tugging at me, “Write me!” So I feel a bit schizophrenic.

Why do I write what I do?

When one writes Historicals there are all these parameters that the author must try to write within. The world of a Regency woman is narrow, but she still has all the feelings that a modern day woman has, she just must express them in a more subtle way. This is the challenge for the writer who chooses the historical path; a kind of tightrope. I think the best historical writers embrace these strictures and learn to move gracefully and creatively between the confines of their chosen world.

It is easy to fantasize about the Regency period as being a more courtly and chivalrous time. I love exploring those opportunities for romance. But then realities intrude: no woman’s rights, hygiene, sickness. My current WIP deals with the Hero being shut up in a madhouse—not a pleasant thing. But that’s what I also love about the time in which I write, I love to show the reality and humanity of these people. They are not just witty cardboard cutouts, they are thinking, feeling folk with problems just like you and me.

Lucky Me.

Lucky Me because I had parents who cared about a child who struggled to read, lucky because I was able to explore my creativity in so many ways, lucky because, with age and experience, I stopped telling myself “no.”

I am a writer now. I am owning that title more and more stepping farther and farther out of my comfort zone to push against the arbitrary walls I put up. Writing has been an incredible journey for me. It has stretched my boundaries from my first tentative scene to, submitting to contests, to finaling in them, and winning them. Being a writer has opened my life up to new friendships and opportunities. But best of all, it has told me new things about myself and what I can achieve.

Jess Russell is a member of RWA, as well as the Beau Monde and the NY chapters of RWA.



It’s Sandra Owens and her Best Seller “Crazy For Her.”



I’m thrilled today to have Sandra Owens wonderful book, Crazy For Her on my blog today. Sandra has been tearing up the charts with her romantic suspense love story between Logan, an ex-Navy SEAL and Dani, the wife of Logan’s best friend, Evan, who died in Afghanistan. this is a story that takes so many twists and turns but throughout it, one thing remains strong. the love story that Sandra builds slowly and superbly.

Logan you see, has always loved Dani, but his friend Evan made his move first and won her love. But Evan died tragically and Logan had made him a promise to take care of Dani and their baby. What Logan couldn’t stop was the love he had for Dani that had never died.

Dani may be one of my favorite female characters in contemporary romance. she is strong but still vulnerable. She loved her husband. this isn’t a story where the heroine married her husband even though she loved another man. Dani loved Evan and mourned his death. Their baby almost steals the book. Dani writes romance novels (nice one, Sandy) and is also a pretty good cook. She finds herself attracted to Logan , but is unwilling to commit herself again to a man who still goes on dangerous missions.

You see, Logan and all the rest of his team may have retired from the SEALS, but they still take on almost impossible tasks that the government or high profile corporations hire them for.

Oh, and did I mention Logan has a huge secret?


Find out what made this an instant best seller and buy Crazy for Her!!

Crazy For Her Cover

Book Blurb: When his best friend and fellow Navy SEAL, Evan Prescott, died in his arms on the battlefield, Logan Kincaid gave his word to watch over Evan’s widow. But for two years he kept his distance…torn between honoring his solemn vow and succumbing to his secret love for his fallen comrade’s wife. But when Dani Prescott desperately reaches out to Logan for the help only he can give, he rushes to her side—determined to fight for her safety as fiercely as he fights against his own buried desire.

Someone claiming to be her husband is stalking Dani and her infant daughter, making them virtually prisoners in their remote country home. Logan’s elite military training and high-risk security expertise have outmatched more dangerous enemies. But the real challenge will be the burning temptation that threatens to overcome Logan whenever Dani is near…especially when she reveals her own hidden passion.

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Author Bio: A native of Florida, Sandra once managed a Harley-Davidson dealership, before switching from a bike to an RV for roaming the open road (though she’s also chased thrills from sky-diving to upside-down stunt-plane flying). In addition to Crazy For Her—a 2013 Golden Heart Finalist for Romantic Suspense—her works include the Regency Romance novels The Letter, winner of the Golden Quill Award, and The Training of a Marquess, winner of the Golden Claddagh Award. A member of Romance Writers of America, and potential cat owner, she lives with her husband in Asheville, North Carolina.

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Amazon- http://www.amazon.com/Crazy-Her-Sandra-Owens-ebook/dp/B00ISCXNO2/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1409672395&sr=8-1&keywords=crazy+for+her


Connect w/ Sandra Owens:

Website- http://www.sandra-owens.com/

Facebook- https://www.facebook.com/SandraOwensAuthor

Twitter- https://twitter.com/SandyOwens1 (@SandyOwens1)

Goodreads- https://www.facebook.com/SandraOwensAuthor


Liza O’Connor’s The Troublesome Apprentice is Here



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Today, I have Xavier Thorn, the renowned Late Victorian Sleuth. Despite his reputation for having no patience, I’m planning to ask him tough questions.

Welcome to my blog. Xavier. xnv_X smkg pipe with bow tie

Xavier: Just to set matters straight, I have great patience as long as you don’t ask the same question twice, ask me ridiculous questions, or stutter in fright. If you do any of those, I will react accordingly.

Nancy: All right, now with the niceties set aside, let’s begin. I understand when you first met and fell in love with your apprentice Victor Hamilton, you believed she was male.

Xavier: As would have anyone! She makes a most convincing male, with her short hair, her flat chest, her straight waist, the hint male of accoutrements beneath her pants, and her pleasantly low voice. In addition, she carried herself with a high level of confidence and bravado only found in young men. Women are taught early on to be meek and demure. Plus, I knew her aunt who had always referred to Vic as her nephew. So no. Since I had yet to see her naked, I did not have any clue that she was female.

Nancy: And yet, you fell in love with Vic, even before you knew her true sex.

Xavier: That is true. I fell in love with Victor Hamilton. Her gender was irrelevant to me.

Nancy: Personally, I’ve no issues with that, but you lived in the Victorian era. Didn’t you felt unease at this turn of events?

Xavier: None whatsoever. I met Vic during the decade called the “Decadent nineties’. It was an era of change, inventions, and challenging the status quo. A decade where intelligent people sought the difference between right and wrong from Logic, not the Church of England. It was a time when homosexuality spread wide amongst the intelligentsia; a time when men chose to publically flaunt their love for each other in clubs and saloons that catered to their needs.

Nancy: What was your prior preference before meeting Vic?

Xavier: When I was a young man, I fell in love with a lady who chose to marry another. To escape my disappointment, I threw myself into my work and never had an interest in either gender until the day I met Victor Hamilton. He captivated me in less time than it took to solve the mystery of his aunt’s death.

*Xavier leaned forward* I did not care about his gender. I was only certain he was special, and that he’d awakened my dormant heart. Later, I discovered he was actually a she, but I tell you without shame or hesitation, his gender never mattered. I fell in love with the person, not the body.

Nancy: Wasn’t this the decade that Oscar Wilde was thrown into prison for being a homosexual?

Xavier: The attempts of parliament to stop a behavior the Queen and the Church of England disapproved of only pushed men such as Oscar Wilde to flaunt his preferences more so. However, Oscar wasn’t arrested until 1896, and he only went to prison because he foolishly took his lover’s father to court to sue the man for slander for calling him a ‘poser’ by which he meant a homosexual. The father, to prove he had not slandered Oscar, had only to prove Oscar was a homosexual. This was an easy task since the author had flaunted his preferences openly for more than a decade. Having proved Oscar was indeed ‘a poser’ the court eventually had no choice but to send him to prison.

However, I met Vic in 1893, and while new stricter laws had been passed in1885, among the intelligentsia, few believed they would actually be enforced. And generally, that was true.

Nancy: Were you happy, when you discovered Vic was female?

Xavier: I was relieved to finally discover what stood between us. But to be honest, instead of risking being jailed, she is in danger of being put into Bedlam if anyone discovers her true gender. But if that ever happens, I will break her out of Bedlam before a single hour has passed. Words cannot express how much my troublesome pup means to me. She is the center of my world now.

Nancy: Well, I’m glad to hear that. Let’s find out more about your story…


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The Adventures of

Xavier & Vic

Book 1

The Troublesome Apprentice

By Liza O’Connor

Cases to be Resolved:

The Key to Aunt Maddy’s Death

The Missing Husband of Mrs. Wimple

The Disappearing Scarlet Nun

The Clever Butcher’s Wife

The Rescue of Lady Anne



While investigating the death of a friend and client, Maddy Hamilton, Xavier Thorn (reputed to be the greatest sleuth in England) is greatly impressed with Maddy’s nephew, Victor, and offers him a job as his secretary. Aware of Xavier’s history of firing secretaries, Victor garners a promise that for three months he cannot be fired. Vic then proceeds, in Xavier’s view, to be cheeky and impertinent at every turn. Xavier endures the impudent pup because Victor is most skilled in extracting the truth from clients and intuiting facts with little evidence to assist.

As they solve a string of cases, Xavier discovers a few more important details about his troublesome apprentice, such as her true gender, and the realization that she has awakened his long dormant heart.

An Excerpt

Xavier held his pen, poised to write a second note. Perhaps he should retrieve Victor in person. No, he must wait. The young man would come or he would not.

Since returning to his office, he had spent considerable thought on his feelings towards Victor. The combination of the boy’s brilliant young mind with Maddy’s eyes and character had brought his stone-dead passion to life. He had never experienced such intense sexual stirrings before, and certainly never for a young man.

This sudden hardening of his manhood at the mere thought of the fellow was most distracting, and frankly unwanted, at least on his part. What Victor thought or wanted, he had no idea. However, since the young man refused to come to work, even when summoned, Xavier surmised he had not been comfortable with the length of time he’d been held last night.

Xavier cursed and threw his inkwell at the door. Unfortunately, the door opened at the same exact moment and the glass bottle slammed into Victor’s stomach, covering him in India ink.

“Damn it, Victor, knock before you enter,” Xavier cursed as he rose and approached the boy. “You are covered with ink,” he complained.

The fault is entirely yours, but we will make no more of it. Just remember to knock in the future.”

“I daresay I’ll not forget for a very long time,” Victor growled.

“Excellent attitude,” Xavier declared with excessive cheeriness. He ceased smiling as the young man continued to glare at him. “I hope you have not come to hand me your resignation because I will not take it. You have committed to remain three months, and I will hold you to it. And why are you so damnably late today?”

“Because I was sleeping and Gregory did not give me your note until I woke a half hour ago.”

“A fine excuse if masters customarily wrote notes ordering their people to work and, without such a note, the people were not meant to come.”

“Given last night, it had not occurred to me…never mind. You are right, I am completely in the wrong, and I apologize. I will be here at the crack of dawn each morning.”

Xavier relaxed. “Good enough.” He returned to his desk. “About the embrace last night…it was a one-time event.” He watched Vic’s expression and thought he caught a moment of regret before acceptance and relief took over.

Victor nodded. “I understand. You showed me a moment of kindness and I show up eight hours late for work. However, surely throwing an inkwell at me and ruining my best suit somewhat balances matters.”

“I did not throw the inkwell at you, but I am in agreement all should be forgotten and we will proceed from here. First of all, you need clean clothes. I doubt my clothes will fit you.”

The boy gave Xavier’s lean but muscular body a quick study, blushed, and agreed they would not.

The tightening of his loins caused by Vic’s perusal of his person unsettled him. “Well, you cannot remain as you are. You will make a mess as you dig your way through a mountain of paperwork. Go to the kitchen and find something to solve your problem. I expect you back here in ten minutes, ready to work, not a second later.”


The Troublesome Apprentice



About the author


I’m tired of telling my proper bio. So you get the improper bio.

Liza O’Connor was raised by feral cats, which explains a great deal, such as why she has no manners, is always getting in trouble, and doesn’t behave like a proper author and give you a proper bio.

She is highly unpredictable, both in real life and her stories, and presently is writing humorous romances. Please buy these books, because otherwise, she’ll become grumpy and write troubled novels instead. They will likely traumatize you.

Mostly humorous books by Liza:

Saving Casey – Old woman reincarnates into troubled teen’s body. (Half funny/half traumatizing)

Ghost LoverTwo British brothers fall in love with the same young woman. Ancestral ghost is called in to fix the situation. There’s a ghost cat too. (Humorous Contemporary Romance)

A Long Road to Love Series: (Humorous Contemporary odd Romance)

Worst Week Ever — Laugh out loud week of disasters of Epic proportions.

Oh Stupid Heart — The heart wants what it wants, even if it’s impossible.

Coming to Reason — There is a breaking point when even a saint comes to reason.

Climbing out of Hell — The reconstruction of a terrible man into a great one.

Social Networking



Investigate these sites:

Liza’s Blog and Website   Facebook   Twitter

Prior Tour Sites


Don’t forget to enter to win one of the two $25 Amazon Gift Cards.

Enter Rafflecopter

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Renee Bernard has the final act in her Black Rose Trilogy out!

Originally posted on Rakes And Rascals:

(Black Rose Trilogy, #3)

Genre: Historical Romance (Victorian)

Cover Blurb

LADY TRIUMPHS is the third book and grand finale in the unforgettable Black Rose Trilogy and does not disappoint for chills and thrills as Lady Serena Wellcott (formerly known as Raven Wells) at last turns her attention to settling an old score with the Earl of Trent, Geoffrey Parke.

With Phillip Warrick at her back and the lovers reconciled, it will still take every resource and wicked skill she has acquired to destroy the man who was once her trusted guardian. Lord Trent is no ordinary foe but Lady Wellcott has never shied away from a challenge and what’s a bit of revenge between old friends?

From the glittering ballrooms of London to the shadowed servants’ passages of the ton’s grand homes, the Black Rose will weave a seductive spell until no one is safe. Phillip’s loyalty is tested to…

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Why Must We Limit Ourselves?


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I’m loving this post today. Why? Because it speaks to the heart of what I hear and see when I tell people I’ve started writing gay romance. They giggle, or type LOL, give me the winky emoji and give me “oh, wow.” and then never mention the subject again. I will admit to not reading in other genres, simply because I had a preconceived notion of what I thought it was. I didn’t read vampires until I was told about JR Ward and now I love her and Sara Humphreys, I didn’t read Civil War romance until Cindy Nord and I honestly, I don’t know how I picked up Male/Male romance but I did and I was swept away by the romance I discovered in the pages.
So much so , that I wrote my own, Rescued, under the name Felice Stevens, which is coming out August 19th, from Loose Id.
For another viewpoint from Susanna Kearsley, on celebrating ALL Romance, you might want to check out her article here:


We, as romance writers suffer enough snobbery, eye-rolling and isolation from outside the genre. it’s nice to know we all have each other’s backs.
Have a happy!!

Originally posted on :

I know romance is everyone’s dirty little secret. I see it when I’m doing book signings at book stores where if you ask patrons “do you read romance?” They shudder in shame and come up with a respectable genre like mystery or sci-fi or non-fiction war books. I did that at one time. For a long time I wouldn’t read female writers because of the books I came across.

But I have a dirty little secret for all of you… promise not to tell? They all have romance in them. Now they may not have a happily ever after, but every book has a touch of romance. Even thrillers, horror and contemporary fiction. Every genre has romance. Romance has the largest gross profit of all genres, so someone’s reading it.

Do I read romance? Yes, but I don’t limit myself to only romance. Or worse yet only interracial romance with…

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As you all know, I love Renee Bernard and her books. I will post my own review, but wanted to feature Carol’s because it says perfectly, everything I loved about this book. And just as an aside, I love Luke. And Malcolm..

Originally posted on Rakes And Rascals:

(Eternity Gambit, #1)

Genre: Romantic Comedy with Paranormal Elements

Cover Blurb

Being the Devil is a job no one wants. The hours are terrible, the workload unbelievable and frankly, customer service is a nightmare. You’re blamed for everything and liability is no joke when you’re the Lord of Darkness. As a result, turnover for the position is fairly high. The current Lucifer is the seventh lucky one to lose the ultimate lottery and land the title.

Truthfully, there’s very little evil to be instigated.  Free will and a bad history of twisted mythology takes care of all of it–so the guy behind the black onyx desk is generally just the unhappy Archangel left filling out paperwork and doing his best to keep the Big Boss happy. And for Lucifer, forget about dating.  It’s a long, dry run, unless you’re into the women that might be into you–and frankly, the current Lucifer isn’t too turned on by ladies wearing spider web stockings and…

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CRAZY FOR HER Release Day! ~ Sandra Owens


We have a big surprise and it couldn’t wait!! Release Day for Crazy For Her, is Sandra Owens Debut Romantic Suspense. The only thing I can say is WOW!! This is a romance with a sexy hero, a heroine who is brave and smart and the passion sizzles off the page! And the plots twists? CRAZY!!!
One click your way to a hot steamy and sexy mystery and fall in love with Logan and Dani. I loved their story and I know you will as well Definitely a six star read!

Originally posted on Embracing Romance:

Crazy For Her Back Cover Quote 1

Is there room in one man’s heart for a warrior’s loyalty and a lover’s passion?

CRAZY FOR HER is here! 

Although the official release date is September 1st, my publisher, Montlake Romance, chose CRAZY FOR HER as one of four titles for the August Kindle First. What this means is, if you are an Amazon Prime member, you can get it free, and if you’re not, you can buy it on sale for $1.99 throughout the month of August. On September 1st, the book will go to its regular price, and the print and audio will also be available.

I’m so excited about this. It feels like getting an early Christmas present, so let’s unwrap this baby and peek inside.

Crazy For Her Cover When his best friend and fellow Navy SEAL, Evan Prescott, died in his arms on the battlefield, Logan Kincaid gave his word to watch over Evan’s widow. But for two…

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