Friday, March 27, 2015

Aloha to Nancy Lee Badger and MY HONORABLE HIGHLANDER - Audio Booko


My favorite Highlander author, Nancy Lee Badger, joins us today with a guest post ...

As a writer, I deal with putting words on paper to create my novels. I grew up reading comic books, then paperbacks, but the world has changed. People still want to read books, and a physical book is a quiet companion, but today’s busy lifestyle means less time to sit and read either a paperback, or even on an ereader.

This is why I looked into putting my books on Audio through ACX.com.

When I visit a Scottish Highland games or festival, sounds range from the voices of happy visitors conversing about clans, or the athletic events. Many of the attendees are from Scotland…either visiting the United States of America, or having emigrated here. Their deep brogues, and odd Gaelic words, add another layer of fantasy, and I have heard them at Highland games from Maine to Florida. I thought, “How neat would it be to actually hear my characters.”

Writers hear their characters in their heads, of course, but I wanted my readers to hear them, too. I found a way by hiring a narrator through ACX, the business end of Audible.com. After trials and errors, I hired Tracy Marks. She and I made the magic happen. When the narrator sent along chapter after recorded chapter, my excitement grew. I read along with a print copy of my book. My recorded book, My Honorable Highlander, can now be heard on a PC, an ereader, a tablet, or a smart phone.

My Honorable Highlander was the first book in my Highland Games Through Time series, and the beginning of my Scottish time travel novels. I hope to publish the other books in audio versions as well.

This is the excerpt I posted at ACX.com. Narrators auditioned by recording these three voices: two sixteenth-century Scottish brogues and one modern American female.

Kirk, our hero, has just stumbled upon his cousin, Cameron. His handsome cousin has his arms wrapped around our heroine from the future, Haven:

“I regret having frightened the wench, but I hunted near the river and never saw her until I was upon her. When I made her aware of my presence, she slipped and fell.” Cameron stood at attention.

Kirk glared and his fists trembled.

True, Haven does have a problem staying on her feet.

“So ye picked her up and hugged her to yer chest.”

“She fell. Hard. Aye, I picked her up. She claimed to be fine. I had set her down when ye appeared.”

“Ye and Lady Haven have no regard for one another?”

“I will not lie, dear cousin.” Cameron strolled to Kirk’s mount’s rump and patted the animal.

“I worship the ground her dainty feet tread upon. I shall do anything to make her mine.”

Kirk sputtered at his words and the lust that blazed in Cameron’s eyes. Kirk had ordered Cameron to answer for his actions. Again. First, he had disobeyed an order. Now, he professed his feelings for Haven.

How could I have been so blind?

Kirk could not compete with his cousin’s perfect face and golden hair. His kinsman aroused many a lass because no scars marred Cameron’s profile. Had Kirk not witnessed the adoration Haven bestowed on his cousin when he and his warriors had stepped from the forest? Was it only gratitude?

“God’s teeth! We found ye entwined in each other’s arms.”

“The sight of Lady Haven in God’s glory will not stay me from my course.”

“So, ye did indeed see her unclothed?”

“We have no secrets, do we, Cousin? Ye must admit the lovely mark high on her left hip is most appealing. Let us not pit ourselves against one another with claws drawn.”

Kirk caught the reference to Lady Haven’s mark of the cat. A tattoo, she had called it.


Book Blurb

Bumbling present day herbalist, Haven MacKay, gets more than she bargains for when her love spell goes awry, is cast back in time, and meets her true love -- Laird Kirkwall Gunn.

Kirk’s plans go slightly off course when he falls in love with a woman wandering through the Scottish Highlands. After all, he has pledged to marry another, from an enemy clan, in order to end a century-old feud.

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More About Nancy Lee Badger

Award-winning author Nancy Lee Badger loves chocolate-chip shortbread and wool plaids wrapped around the trim waist of a Scottish Highlander. Her stories tempt you with the clang of
broadswords, and the sound of bagpipes in the air. After growing up in Huntington, New York, and raising two handsome sons in New Hampshire, she moved to North Carolina where she writes full-time. Nancy is a member of Romance Writers of America, Heart of Carolina Romance Writers, Fantasy-Futuristic & Paranormal Romance Writers, Triangle Area Freelancers, and the Celtic Heart Romance Writers.

Contact Nancy:
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In celebration of her first Audio Book release of My Honorable Highlander, Nancy Lee Badger is giving away FREE DOWNLOAD CODES from Audible.com to THREE lucky readers. Winners will be announced April 2nd

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Thursday, March 26, 2015

Aloha to Eloisa James and FOUR NIGHTS WITH THE DUKE


As a young girl, Emilia Gwendolyn Carrington told the annoying future Duke of Pindar that she would marry any man in the world before him-so years later she is horrified to realize that she has nowhere else to turn.

Evander Septimus Brody has his own reasons for agreeing to Mia’s audacious proposal, but there’s one thing he won’t give his inconvenient wife: himself.

Instead, he offers Mia a devil’s bargain… he will spend four nights a year with her. Four nights, and nothing more. And those only when she begs for them.

Which Mia will never do.

Now Vander faces the most crucial challenge of his life: he must seduce his own wife in order to win her heart-and no matter what it takes, this is the one battle he can’t afford to lose.

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A New York Times bestselling author, Eloisa James is a professor of English literature who lives with her family in New York, but who can sometimes be found in Paris or Italy. (Her husband is an honest to goodness Italian knight!) Eloisa’s website offers short stories, extra chapters, and even a guide to shopping in Florence.

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Eloisa offers an excerpt of FOUR NIGHTS WITH A DUKE ...

A queer numbness came over her. She, Emilia Gwendolyn Carrington, was about to coerce a duke into marrying her. An old maid in her twenties, possessed of neither violet-colored eyes nor a slender waist, was—

This was not a helpful train of thought.

She had to stop trembling. The proposal wasn’t for her benefit. Nor was it for an extended period of time. She simply needed Vander to marry her in name only, for a year at most. It was the only way she could take guardianship of her nephew, Charles Wallace.

Nephew? In all the ways that counted, Charlie was her son. Her own child.

She took a deep breath. Women dove from the decks of tall ships to save children fallen overboard. They fought tigers and wild boars.

What was a mere duke compared to a man-eating carnivore? She’d heard some creatures had such large teeth that they could be hollowed out and used as soup ladles.

Right.

The tricky part was that Mr. Plummer, her solicitor, had been adamant that the duke could not be informed of the reasons for her proposal, or His Grace would almost certainly reject her. By marrying her, the duke not only took on guardianship of a small boy; he gained control of an extremely large estate running adjacent to his, which would look highly suspicious to his peers.

Their marriage would be a cause célèbre without even taking into account the scandals caused by their parents: Vander would almost certainly face a lawsuit charging him with theft of the estate from Charlie’s uncle on his mother’s side, Sir Richard Magruder.

Sir Richard was a horrible man. Of course he wanted to remain in charge of the thriving Carrington estate—which she had no doubt he would promptly waste in litigation.

His lordship could easily star as villain in one of her novels. In fact, she decided on the spot, he probably would in the future.

Vander—His Grace, the Duke of Pindar—was just another supercilious, privileged, silly man, she reminded herself. He wasn’t a tiger with soup ladles for teeth.

She could do this.

She must do this.


Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Aloha to the LUCKY 7 BRAZEN BROTHERS Book Blitz Tour


SEVEN New York Times & USA Today Bestselling Authors bring you SEVEN contemporary romance novellas, starring SEVEN brazen bachelors.

Get lucky with a brazen bachelor. . . .

Just One Night by Caridad Pineiro, New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author. He has just one night to show her that anything is possible.

Heart Hunter by Sophia Knightly, New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author. Young widow Evie Parker is looking for love, but notorious Scottish playboy Cameron Hunter won’t do - though she's wildly attracted to him. Will Evie give in to his hot pursuit, or will Cameron’s “Heartbreak Hunter” reputation and scheming outside forces keep them apart?

A SEAL’s Sacrifice by Tawny Weber, New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author. Never underestimate a sexy, stubborn SEAL…

Kiss of a Lifetime by Nina Bruhns, New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author. An innocent student and a hard-bitten mercenary are thrown together during a coup...and their passionate kiss leads to secrets and danger—and the love of a lifetime.

License to Date by Susan Hatler, New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author. Kaitlin swears off men, but agrees to five dates in five nights and ends up falling for a mysterious bartender who isn’t what he seems.

Wild For Mr. Wrong by Virna DePaul, New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author. When a guarded prosecutor goes head-to-head with a brazen southern defense attorney, passion sparks in the courtroom and ends up blazing in the bedroom.

It Must’ve Been Love by Kristin Miller, New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author. Feisty bookstore owner Georgia Swift dreams of the kind of true love found in romance novels. When bestselling author Grayson Thompson comes into Blue Lake on a book tour, their chemistry jumps off the page. Is happily-ever-after reserved for novels, or will the passion sparking between them prove it’s within reach?

Amazon: link
Amazon UK: link
Amazon CA: link
Barnes & Noble: link
Kobo: link
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Caridad Pineiro

NY Times and USA Today Bestseller Caridad Pineiro is the author of nearly 50 novels and novellas. You can find out more about Caridad at caridad.com

caridad.com
facebook.com/Caridad.Author
twitter.com/CaridadPineiro

Susan Hatler

Susan Hatler is a New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author, who writes contemporary romance and young adult novels. Visit Susan at susanhatler.com

susanhatler.com
facebook.com/authorsusanhatler
twitter.com/SusanHatler

Kristin Miller

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Kristin Miller is a teacher turned bestselling romance author from Northern California. For more info: kristinmiller.net

kristinmiller.net
facebook.com/AuthorKristinMiller
twitter.com/kristinmiller02

Nina Bruhns

Nina Bruhns is the New York Times and USA Today Bestselling author of over 35 romantic thrillers, romantic suspense novels, and erotic thrillers. Learn more about Nina and sign up for her new-releases newsletter at NinaBruhns.com

NinaBruhns.com
facebook.com/Nina.Bruhns.author
twitter.com/NinaBruhns

Sophia Knightly

Sophia Knightly is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of sexy, feel-good romances featuring hot alpha heroes and strong, smart women. Sign up for her “New Release and Giveaways” newsletter at this link.

sophiaknightly.net
facebook.com/sophiaknightly
twitter.com/SophiaKnightly

Virna DePaul

Virna DePaul is a New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author of steamy suspenseful fiction with characters willing to overcome incredible odds for love. Connect with Virna at virnadepaul.com

virnadepaul.com
facebook.com/booksthatrock
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Tawny Weber

Tawny Weber is known for her sassy, sexy stories. A New York Times and USA Today Bestseller, she tells tales of hot alpha heroes and the women strong enough to handle them. Check her out at tawnyweber.com

tawnyweber.com
facebook.com/TawnyWeber.RomanceAuthor
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Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Wednesday's Warriors - Susan Stoker and SEAL of Protection

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Susan Stoker is one of the participating authors for the SOS America Military Tribute at the RT Booklovers Convention in Dallas (link).   She joins us for a cozy chat to celebrate the release of PROTECTING SUMMER, Book 3 in her SEAL of Protection series.  From her bio,


Susan Stoker has a heart as big as the state of Texas where she lives but this all American girl has also spent the last fourteen years living in Missouri, California, Colorado, and Indiana. She is quite the romantic and even met the love of her life on "Hotmail classified" before online dating and sites like match.com even existed!

Susan loves writing but her true passion is adopting dogs from rescue groups and shelters. Susan and her husband have had a total of nine "rescued" dogs since 2000 including a variety of basset hounds and bloodhounds. She has recently branched out and adopted a basset/terrier mix who acts more like a terrier than a basset (i.e. digging, eating a couch and being hyper).



Kim:  We love travel here at SOS Aloha! Can you share a favorite sight, sound, and smell from Missouri - California - Colorado - Indiana?

Susan:  When we lived in Missouri, my husband was a Drill Sergeant, so the sight of the "cattle car" slowly making its way onto post always made me laugh, because I knew the Privates inside had NO idea what was going to be unleashed on them by the Drill Sergeants as soon as they crossed onto the base. 

When we were in California, we were stationed at Ft Irwin in the Mojave Desert. One of the favorite things we did was a hike to the top of the "mountain" on the post. You could literally see for miles and miles in the desert around us. It was absolutely beautiful. 

Colorado was an interesting post for me, because Mr. Stoker was stationed in Korea while I lived in CO. Living in Colorado Springs was, of course, beautiful, but the best memories I had of there was getting to travel to South Korea both Christmas Breaks. It's such a different culture...and it was great to see him after six months of being apart. 

And lastly, after Korea my husband was moved to Kentucky (yes, I was still in Colorado because that's where we THOUGHT he'd be moved after his stint in Korea was over). I was able to get a job in Indiana. While we still lived apart, at least we were only 4 hours apart instead of 10 (Colorado to Kentucky). One fun memory I have from that time was on my birthday, Mr Stoker hid my presents all over Lexington, and I had to read clues and go hunt them down. 

The bottom line is that every place was different...Moving gives you a new perspective on yourself and the world around you.

Kim:  What have you learned from frequent moves that you can apply to your writing career?

Susan:  Patience. I think every author would like to become an overnight sensation with their first book...but as many in the industry say, "It's a marathon, not a sprint." Things don't always go as planned and it's best to "go with the flow". I try to do that with my writing as well.  The other thing I think I've learned is not to buy into drama. Being in the military, and living on various Army bases, drama abounds...and that was BEFORE Facebook appeared on the scene! So I try to keep my head down, be polite, and just write.

Kim:  Who or what helped you along the path to publishing?

Susan:  I was proof reading for a small publishing house and when I realized what I'd written "for fun" in my spare time was just as good, or better, than what I was proofing, I decided to jump in feet first. As my husband says..."Susan, you've been preparing your entire life to be a romance author." He's right, I've been reading romances since I was in middle school! But the bottom line is the most helpful people have been the readers I've met and talked to. They have encouraged me by telling they have enjoyed my books and helping give me the confidence to keep writing and publishing.

Kim:  Tell us about your books - what inspired them?

Susan:  I'm not sure I can point to one thing and say "THIS" inspired me to write...I have a good imagination (when I was little I'd spend hours in the backyard pretending I was Wonder Woman, then pretending I was the damsel in distress who had to be rescued BY Woman Woman lol) and I just use what I think up in my head to make a story. Writers tend to write what they like to read, and I've always been a sucker for that "strong woman needs to be rescued" story. That theme repeats itself in a lot of my stories.

Kim:  What's next for Susan Stoker

Susan:  I'd love to say a movie deal, but I don't think that's what you meant! HA! After my SEAL of Protection Series, I have a law enforcement series up my sleeve. I've already written the first two books in the series and the first book is slated to come out this fall (2015). After that I have plans to start on a firefighter series. I have also dipped my toe into writing erotica..under a pen name. It's a whole different thing to write than romantic suspense, that's for sure! Then...who knows!

Mahalo, Susan, for your service as a military spouse!  I am giving away a book choice from my convention stash to one randomly selected commenter.  To enter the giveaway,

1.  Leave a comment about anything in which you have "jump in feet first".   Each assignment gives me the opportunity to "jump in feet first" to a new community.

2.  Comments are open through Saturday, March 28, 10 pm in Baltimore.

3.  I'll post the winner on Sunday, March 29.

Mahalo,

Kim in Baltimore
Aloha Spirit in Charm City

Learn more about Susan and her books at stokeraces.com.

Check out my posts for "Getting Ready for RT Booklovers Convention" on my travel blog at this link and link.

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Aloha to Julie Anne Long and IT STARTED WITH A SCANDAL


Lord Philippe Lavay once took to the high seas armed with charm as lethal as his sword and a stone-cold conviction: he’ll restore his family’s fortune and honor, no matter the cost. Victory is at last within reach—when a brutal attack snatches it from his grasp and lands him in Pennyroyal Green.

An afternoon of bliss brings a cascade of consequences for Elise Fountain. Shunned by her family and ousted from a job she loves, survival means a plummet down the social ladder to a position no woman has yet been able to keep: housekeeper to a frighteningly formidable prince.

The bold and gentle Elise sees past his battered body into Philippe’s barricaded heart . . . and her innate sensuality ignites his blood. Now a man who thought he could never love and a woman who thought she would never again trust must fight an incendiary passion that could be the ruin of them both.

HarperCollins: link
Amazon: link
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iTunes: link
Google Play: link 



USA Today bestselling author JULIE ANNE LONG originally set out to be a rock star when she grew up (and she has the guitars and fringed clothing stuffed in the back of her closet to prove it), but writing was always her first love. Since hanging up her guitar for the computer keyboard, her books frequently top reader and critic polls and have been nominated for numerous awards, including the Rita, Romantic Times Reviewer’s Choice, and The Quills, and reviewers have been known to use words like “dazzling,” “brilliant,” and “impossible to put down” when describing them. Julie lives in Northern California.

Julieannelong.com

Monday, March 23, 2015

Aloha to Cynthia Eden and BROKEN


The first novel in New York Times bestselling author Cynthia Eden's sizzling LOST series introduces the Last Option Search Team, an elite unit that must protect the only surviving victim of a serial killer.

Ex-SEAL and LOST founder Gabe Spencer is accustomed to the unusual in his job. But when knockout Eve Gray steps into his office, he's rattled. For the mysterious woman is a dead ringer for the heiress thought to be the latest prey of the serial killer who goes by the name Lady Killer.

When Eve awoke in an Atlanta hospital, her past was a blank slate. Then she recognized her own face in the newspaper and vowed to learn the truth. Determined to confront the nightmares hidden in her mind, she never expects to find a partner in Gabe.

As Gabe and Eve work together, their explosive attraction becomes irresistible. Gabe knows that his desire for Eve is growing too strong, bordering on a dangerous obsession, but nothing pulls him away from her. And when another Eve lookalike disappears, Gabe vows to protect Eve at all costs. While Eve may have forgotten the killer in her past, it's clear he hasn't forgotten her.


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Award-winning author CYNTHIA EDEN writes dark tales of paranormal romance and romantic suspense. She is a New York Times, USA Today, Digital Book World, and IndieReader best-seller. Cynthia is also a two-time finalist for the RITA® award (she was a finalist both in the romantic suspense category and in the paranormal romance category). Since she began writing full-time in 2005, Cynthia has written over thirty novels and novellas. Cynthia lives along the Alabama Gulf Coast. She loves romance novels, horror movies, and chocolate. Her favorite hobbies include hiking in the mountains (searching for waterfalls) and spelunking.

Author Links: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

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Cynthia offers an excerpt from BROKEN ...

“Do you think I’m a con artist or a victim?”

“I think you’re a woman who has been hurt.” No denying that. “One of my team members, Wade Monroe, is contacting the Montgomery family. We’ll get DNA from them and find out—”

“If I’m Jessica.” There was hope in the words. Enough hope to break his heart.

Gabe nodded.

“When will we know?”

It would take a few days, even with the strings that he could pull. “As soon as possible,” he said, not wanting to give her a specific timetable.

“Thank you.” Then, just like that, she was across the car, giving him a tight hug. “Thank you.”

His arms wrapped around her, an instinctive response. She smelled faintly of flowers, a sweet scent that teased his nose, and her body was soft against his.

She tried to pull away, as if realizing what she’d just done.

For an instant he was tempted to hold her, to keep her close.

She’s a client. Focus.

He let her go, but his body ached.

“I … um … I should get inside.”

Yes, she should. While he was still clutching tight to his control. The control that said he shouldn’t push her. Shouldn’t want her so much. Not when she’d already been hurt so badly.

Her fingers reached for the door.

“Let me,” he said, voice rumbling, and Gabe climbed from the Jag. In seconds he was on the passenger side, opening her door for her. She rose, and her body brushed against his.

He stepped back. Distance. He seriously needed to put some distance between then. But even with some fast steps back, he could still smell that light and sexy scent that clung to her body. And he still wanted her.

“Your shrink asked me a lot of questions about you,” Eve told him as she stood temptingly close.

Gabe inclined his head. “I’m sure—”

“I think she wanted to know why I respond so much to you.”

Oh, hell, she’d just said … He cleared his throat even as part of his body surged in quick response to her. “It’s a tense situation, you’re—”

“You don’t look at me as if I’m a victim.”

He stopped talking.

“I mean, you know what I am, but you still look at me and seem to just see me … as a woman.”

“Others see you the same way.” Doc Tyler sure did. Bastard.

“It’s different with you,” she murmured as she stepped even closer to him. Her head had tilted back so she could look into his eyes. “I don’t know what I’ve felt for other men before.”

Why did the idea of others have his body knotting with tension?

“But I know that when I see you, I want.” A hushed confession. “I just … I needed to tell you that.”

And he needed to make his self-control a hell of a lot stronger. Her lips were just inches from his, and he wanted her mouth beneath his. Wanted her lips open. Needed to taste her.

“You’re the first man I’ve wanted since I opened my eyes in that hospital.”

He could actually feel his control splintering. Client. Cli—

“You probably don’t want me. I—I might not be your type.”

Now her gaze had fallen, as if in embarrassment. Had she really just asked if she was his type? She was probably every damn man’s type.

“But you make me feel normal again, so I had to tell you—”

His fingers curved under her chin. “Eve …”

Her smile was a little too big. Too bright. “I don’t think I can handle anything else right now, I’m …” She pulled away. Stumbled onto the sidewalk. “I just wanted to tell you how I felt,” she told him again.

Then she walked into the shelter, her steps hurried. As if she were running.

From him.

He stared after her. She wanted him.



Aloha to Grace Burrowes and THE DUKE'S DISASTER


We are one week away from the release of Grace Burrowes' THE DUKE'S DISASTER:

Noah Winters, Duke of Anselm, exercises the pragmatism for which he's infamous when his preferred choice of bride cries off, and her companion, Lady Thea Collins, becomes his next choice for his duchess. Lady Thea's mature, sensible and even rather attractive-what could possibly go wrong?

As a lady fallen on hard times, Thea doesn't expect tender sentiments from His Grace, but she does wish Noah had courted her trust, lest her past turn their hastily arranged marriage into a life of shared regrets. Is His Grace courting a convenient wife, or a beautiful disaster?

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New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Grace Burrowes' bestsellers include The Heir, The Soldier, Lady Maggie's Secret Scandal, Lady Sophie's Christmas Wishand Lady Eve's Indiscretion. The Heir was a Publishers Weekly Best Book of 2010, The Soldier was a PW Best Spring Romance of 2011, Lady Sophie's Christmas Wish won Best Historical Romance of the Year in 2011 from RT Reviewers' Choice Awards, Lady Louisa's Christmas Knight was a Library Journal Best Book of 2012, and The Bridegroom Wore Plaid was a PW Best Book of 2012. Her Regency romances have received extensive praise, including starred reviews from Publishers Weekly and Booklist. Grace is branching out into short stories and Scotland-set Victorian romance with Sourcebooks. She is a practicing family law attorney and lives in rural Maryland.

graceburrowes.com
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Grace offers an excerpt from THE DUKE'S DISASTER:

The Duke and Duchess are having a rocky start to their marriage, also to their day…

“Your tea, Duchess.”

Noah had woken up beside his wife—again, despite all plans to the contrary—creating another first for him. Thea had risen several times during the night to tend to herself. He hadn’t realized that monthly courses caused a woman’s rest to be interrupted.

Crashingly bad planning, for a lady’s sleep to be disturbed when she most needed rest.

“You’re not about to steal my tea?” Thea held out the cup, her gaze shy as she sat propped against the headboard.

“Where’s the fun in stealing what’s freely offered?” Noah settled in beside her and filched a bite of her cinnamon toast. “Would you rather have chocolate this morning?”

“Because?”

“You’re”— Noah waved a hand in the direction of her middle—“indisposed.”

“I am not indisposed.” Thea set her teacup down with a little clink. “The discomfort has passed, as it always does. You needn’t be concerned.”

“I am not concerned, Thea.” Not greatly concerned, now that she’d stopped ordering him to go away and was ready for a proper spat. “I am attempting in my bumbling way to dote. You will allow it.”

Drat. He’d given another order.

“You couldn’t bumble if one gave you written instructions, Anselm,” Thea said, looking a little less peaked for having run up her flags. “That was my toast you appropriated.”

“Appropriation is what happens when one’s wife can’t appreciate a little doting. You’re being stingy with the tea, just as you were stingy with the covers. How long does this indisposition last?”

Her chin came up. “I am the Duchess of Anselm. I am not stingy with anything, but you are a very presuming husband.”

“Doting.” Noah took Thea’s free hand to kiss her knuckles— lest she mistake his point. “Also in need of my duchess’s guidance on this one marital matter.”

“This is so personal.” Thea’s gaze was on their joined hands— for Noah would not have her haring off in a fit of mortification. “I didn’t think you’d be a personal sort of husband. You were supposed to appear in my dressing-room doorway a few nights a month, silently take a few marital liberties, and then leave me in peace. We’d trade sections of the Times over breakfast the next morning.”

“Prosaic.” Boring and exactly what Noah himself had envisioned. “Hard to see any doting going on, though.”

“Husband?” Thea’s tone was hesitant. “Thank you, for keeping me company last night. I would not have known how to ask.”

“I suppose that’s the definition of doting.” Noah lingered at the cart to assemble a plate. “It’s the little things you can’t bring yourself to ask for, that an attentive spouse will enjoy providing to you. Bacon or ham?”

“A little of both, please.”

“Feeling carnivorous?”

“I’m a trifle indisposed. I need the sustenance.”

Noah piled both ham and bacon on Thea’s plate, and stole better than half of it, because he needed the sustenance too.