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Monday, December 12, 2011

On the 12th Day of Christmas My True Lord Gave To Me...With Sara Lindsey and Giveaway

Twelve Rakes Cavorting - Sara Lindsey

SARA LINDSEY began writing during her senior year of college. The rest, as they say, is history… or rather, historical romance. Sara divides her time between her native Los Angeles and Manhattan, where she is pursuing her graduate degree in information and library science.

Having read a number of romances featuring librarians, Sara figures this profession bodes well for someday getting her own happily ever after. In the meantime, she plans to turn as many unsuspecting library patrons as possible into fellow romance addicts.

What readers can expect from you in the new year: I'm so happy to say that the third Weston book, which tells Henry's story, will finally be available in early 2012. To stay updated with Sara Lindsey news, please sign up for her newsletter: here
Places to find Sara:
Site | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads |


When I was given the theme “12 Rakes Cavorting,” I knew I wanted no less than twelve rakes in my scene. More than twelve, possibly, but certainly no less. So, where would one find a lot of rakes congregating in the Regency? Gambling dens and brothels. I decided to combine the two, then I threw in a little Madonna Inn-style fun, and thus Madame Lenore’s was born. I hope you enjoy!

Hidden By Shadows

As she stood looking into the large salon, Nora’s chest filled with pride. She supposed that, as a gently-bred woman, she ought not to take such satisfaction in being the proprietress of the most popular pleasure house in London, but she did, all the same. Society had turned its back on her after a youthful folly, but now, ten years later, its gentlemen vied to get into her good graces. She allowed it—for a price. The privilege of belonging to Madame Lenore’s did not come cheaply, but she had yet to hear a man complain of the cost.

Tonight, as usual, the room was filled with men lounging by the fireplaces in comfortably worn wingback chairs, their drinks in hand and their feet propped up on richly upholstered footstools. Coats had been doffed and lay in piles on the sideboards. Had anyone not been convinced this den of iniquity was strictly a masculine province, a fine haze of cigar smoke lingered in the air to convince them. Gaming tables had been set out in the center of the room, and above the rumble of masculine conversation came the cheers and groans as fortunes were exchanged.

For many women, the noise alone would have sent them fleeing to bed with the headache; to Nora, it was simply the sound of home. There was the clinking of glasses being refilled with brandy and port. From the billiard room off the salon came the sharp crack of ivory balls knocking together. And, despite the lateness of the hour, there were still meals being served in the adjacent dining room, which added the high-pitched notes of silverware on porcelain.

The salon, like all of the rooms on the main level, was decorated in dark, masculine colors. Dressed as she was in a burgundy gown , with the flickering shadows cast by the chandeliers and the candelabras set about the room, Nora nearly blended in with the crimson wall-coverings. Once the men noticed her, however, the masculine symphony quickly came to a halt. The men in the other rooms gathered into the salon, and the conversations were muted as she walked to the head of room. At least, that was, until Lord Frederick Stimpson called out, “Marry me, Lenore,” eliciting equal amounts of laughter and scorn from his companions.

Nora smiled and shook her head as she gathered her skirts and allowed one of the men to help her step up onto a footstool. “I haven’t changed my mind since yesterday, Freddie. Nor am I like to change it on the morrow, but I expect you will ask me anyway. Now, on to the business of the hour—the business of pleasure.”

As she waited for the applause and shouts of approval to die down, Nora’s gaze roved over the assembled company. She knew nearly all of the gentlemen there, had been propositioned by most of them, but she had taken none of them to her bed. She could not take one man as a lover without risking offending the others and, in any case, she had rarely been tempted; she knew the price of pleasure all too well.

Her breath hitched in her chest when her she caught sight of a man leaning against the wall at the back corner of the room. She couldn’t tell who it was, for his face was wreathed in shadow, but even from this distance she sensed his power. His arrogance. His raw masculinity. His casual pose was deceptive; his broad shoulders were held too tightly, his arms hung too stiffly by his sides.

There were many potentially dangerous men present in the salon—notorious rakes, influential politicians, hardened gamesters, and great lords—but none of them put her senses on high alert. They were all here for the same purpose. This man… She wasn’t sure what—or possibly whom—he was here for, but she would find out before the night was through.

“I know most of you gentlemen,” she began, “but for those of you who are guests tonight, I bid you welcome. I hope you have enjoyed your evening thus far, but as your sponsors for the evening have certainly told you already, the real festivities begin at midnight.” She waited a moment, and then the clock on the mantel behind her began to chime. She allowed the men their twelve seconds of merriment before raising a hand for quiet.

“You will have noticed that the first floor of Madame Lenore’s is designed in the style of one of your gentlemen’s clubs. I want this level to feel comfortable and familiar—a home away from home, if you will, but where you can escape from your everyday cares. Upstairs, by contrast, is all about fantasy. There are eleven rooms, each as exquisite and unique as the women within them.

“When you entered earlier, you were given a ticket upon which to write your name. All of those tickets have been collected, along with the additional tickets some of you chose to purchase. Ah, thank you, Samuel,” she said, as one of her footmen brought forward a large Chinese vase containing all the slips of paper. Like all of her menservants, save the temperamental French cook, Sam was a former prizefighter. The “nobility” of many of her patrons meant little as far as their behavior, and despite the relaxed atmosphere, she had seen violence erupt in a heartbeat.

She glanced toward the back corner again. The man was still too much in shadow and the salon too dim to make out his features, but she could tell he was tall and dark-haired. He was also focused intently on her. She didn’t know how she knew, but the fine hairs on the back of her neck lifted in feminine instinct.

You are being nonsensical, Nora, she told herself. All of the gentlemen here have their attention on you. Stop being a goose and draw the names already.

“I am going to draw eleven tickets,” she announced, plunging her arm into the vase up to her elbow to mix the papers. “If I call your name, please make your way to the stairs and one of my men will escort you to your room. If your name is not called, these rooms will remain open until four. May fortune be with you, gentlemen.

Now, the first room I am drawing for is the Garden of Eden.” She pulled a ticket from the vase.

“Congratulations, Lord Connors. I hope our little paradise will please you.”

As always, with each name she called there followed hearty applause, theatrical sighs of despair, and a host of ribald comments and suggestions.

“Stay away from apples,” a voice called out.

“To hell with that,” another responded. “If he’s not going to taste whatever’s put before him, I’ll take his place.”

“It’s her mouth that will be full,” shouted a third.

Nora bit back a sigh as she noted who had spoken. If she picked their names from the vase, she would substitute another. The practice wasn’t particularly honest, but she found it didn’t weigh very heavily on her conscience.

“The next lucky man will pass the night in Aphrodite’s Temple. Are you ready to welcome the goddess of love into your arms, Mr. Barrows?”

“Is she ready to welcome him between her thighs?”

And so it went…

By the time she announced that Lord Brantley would spend the evening in the Sultana’s Palace, it was nearly one o’clock. “I am afraid all of the ladies are now spoken for, gentlemen. If there are any membership concerns, or if anyone would like to become a member, you need only tell one of the footmen and they will see that I receive word. I bid you a pleasant rest of the evening, and I hope to see you back again soon.”

It was her custom to take her time as she made her way out of the room, and for the most part she genuinely enjoyed speaking with the men, but tonight Nora was impatient to make her way to the back of the room.

She wanted—no, she needed to find out why that man had come here. When she finally reached the place he had been standing, however, he was nowhere to be seen.

Then again, at least two dozen had made for the door the moment Lord Brantley’s name had been called. It was altogether possible the man had been up to nothing more scurrilous than hoping for a bit of sport, and now he had gone off to seek his pleasure elsewhere. All the same, she decided, as she made her way to her office, she would speak to her girls tomorrow and make certain no one had a jealous protector in her past.

Her lips twisted into a wry smile as she imagined the conversation. I wonder if any of you are acquainted with a certain gentleman who was here last night. No, Georgie, I’m not certain of his name. Ah, no, I didn’t see his face either, but he was tall and dark and dangerous. Calm yourself, Eloise, he was not armed. Yes, I did say he was dangerous, but perhaps I should have said virile instead…

Nora was so caught up in imagining how the girls would react, she paid less attention to her surroundings than usual. Gentlemen rarely ventured beyond the common rooms—to do so was to risk losing one’s membership—but drink occasionally made a man bold and she was forced to fend off unwanted advances. She realized there was someone behind her a heartbeat before his hand descended on her shoulder.

Jumping at the intimacy of the flesh-to-flesh contact, Nora began to turn, but his grip firmed, keeping her facing away from him. As the air around her came alive, she knew the man from the corner hadn’t left. He was holding her captive.

“You said all the ladies were spoken for, and yet here you are, quite alone.” His husky baritone was somehow familiar to her, but she could not place his identity.

“I am not available.”

“What if I were to make you a proposal? I should warn you, I am not as nice as Freddie Stimpson.”

He began to caress her nape with his thumb as his other hand came up to grasp her waist. She inhaled sharply. “See here, Mister—”

“My lord.”

“See here, my lord, regardless of whether you came here tonight with a friend or have recently joined this establishment, you are no longer welcome here. You will take your hands off me at once and walk away. If I appear helpless to you, let me assure you that no woman under this roof is helpless. My male servants are all former prizefighters, and—”

He laughed. It was a low, rich sound that shook her to her toes. She knew that laugh.

“Oh, Nora, you haven’t changed a bit.”

She knew then that she had been very right and very wrong. The man in the shadows was dangerous, but he wasn’t there for one of her girls.

He was there for her.
###

The Weston siblings have been blessed with Shakespearean names and an affinity for impropriety. Prepare to fall in love while discovering how the Westons are won.

While Olivia Weston loves matchmaking and romantic novels, she intends to make a suitable match. But first she wants an adventure, and when given the opportunity to visit a reclusive widower living in a haunted castle, Livvy can’t possibly resist.

After his wife’s death, Jason Traherne, Marquess of Sheldon, shut his heart to everyone but his son, and until now he has succeeded in maintaining his distance. But there’s something about Livy – her unique blend of sweetness and sensuality – that tempts him beyond all reason.

Though there’s nothing suitable about the feelings he inspires in her, Livvy can’t help falling for the marquess. But can she persuade him to let go of the past and risk his heart again?
Places to purchase:

**Giveaway**

Sara is giving away a copy of Tempting The Marquess to 1 lucky winner. So make sure to leave a comment and fill out the Rafflecopter form. 

And don't forget to head over to Not Another Romance Blog and check out author Sherry Thomas' special scene! 

**Grand Prize Giveaway**

On behalf of myself, Rita and lots of awesome authors, we will be having one BIG Grand Prize given away to 1 lucky winner. The grand prize consists of a mix of books, swag, and lots of other secret goodies. Believe me, you want to enter to win this prize. Just make sure to leave a comment everyday on each post on both blogs and fill out this form. That's it. Super easy! 


Good Luck everyone and Happy Holidays!


a Rafflecopter giveaway

66 comments :

  1. Hi ladies

    Great giveaway and these teasers are fantastic, I have only one word for you Sara.... MORE

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  2. Great excerpt. It definitely got me interested in the author's books.

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  3. Oh.. no another author to read. Love the excerpt.

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  4. Hey Sara!! Thanks for participating!!! Awesome scene! !!!

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  5. Loved the post! The cover for Tempting the Marquess is fantastic and I love the blurb!

    Thanks for the giveaway!

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  6. Terrific excerpt! Can't wait to read the book... I love all your other books so far... :)

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  7. Nice to meet you:0) Cannot wait to read more of your books!! Merry Christmas!

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  8. Great post! I have really enjoyed both of Sara's books and I can't wait for more :)

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  9. OMG!!!Henry's story is finally going to be told. <3 I have been waiting for it.

    "Stay away from the apples" lol

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  10. You had me hooked. I was disappointed when it ended. More, please....

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  11. OOOOO! I have a new backlist to go through! Super excited! This is totally why I love when authors post links to blogs, I find more on authors I'm reading already and usually a gem or two that has been hiding from me!

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  12. Another great scene! :D I'm anxious for more--sounds like an interesting story between Nora and "My Lord" Dangerous there....

    I look forward to reading your books, Sara--I'm afraid I haven't yet had the pleasure of doing so. *SIGH* Too many books, so little time...

    Thanks for the awesome giveaway!
    Enjoy,
    TBQ

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  13. Love the teaser! can't wait to read more!

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  14. I read Sara's first two books and look forward to the new one.

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  15. Thank you for a great giveaway and the sneak peek.

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  16. Wow...so excited about the new book of Sara Lindsey's...Twelve Rakes Cavorting.......sounds pretty awesome form the review....babyruthmac16@yahoo.com

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  17. Great blurb!! Can't wait to read more :)

    aislynnt(at)gmail(dot)com

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  18. Hi everyone!

    I'm so glad you're enjoying this scene! I don't think I've ever had a scene set in a brothel (however high-class) before, so this was uncharted territory. When I wrote this scene, I didn't intend for it to go anywhere, but I'm thrilled to see that people are interested in seeing more of Nora and Madame Lenore's - they definitely grabbed my imagination and wouldn't let go!

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  19. The excerpt sounds great so far. Thanks for sharing and hope to read more. :)

    ejp737 at gmail.com

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  20. I love finding new authors. Sounds wonderful.

    catslady5(at)aol.com

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  21. I love the excerpt. I can't wait to read this book. Has me hooked. I need to go to my library and read both of her books. Happy holidays

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  22. Sara, so love your books! Can't wait for the next installment. The Westons are great.

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  23. What a wonderful excerpt--I can't wait for more!

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  24. Great giveaway! This book is already n my wishlist. Thank you so much for the chance to win a copy of it. And I love the cover. Very pretty.

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  25. Tempting the Marquis sounds like a fantastic story and I'm looking forward to reading all about it.

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  26. Twelve Rakes Cavorting!

    Ha! It can't get any better than that. Gambling dens and brothels! Hidden by Shadows sounds marvelous!

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  27. Love that cover & I do love a series! Looks just like the kind of story I enjoy.

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  28. Having trouble getting entry to work

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  29. trying to get 1st entry accepted again

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  30. trying to get the 1st entry to go

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  31. @Di-can u email me all of the tasks you were going to complete on the form and I will manually add you when rafflecopter is working again. Sorry it's broken.

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  32. Sara,

    I loved the excerpt and once again your offering your readers wonderful characters to take us away on a Calgon moment of love and intrigue,

    Merry Christmas to you and your family!

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  33. Loved the excerpt! Tis the season for giveaways and I'm happy to enter!

    Ashley

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  34. I really love christmas of this year

    i'm so excited with your book sara, so happy that i can win it ;)

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  35. I would love to read TEMPTING THE MARQUESS thank you!!

    marypres(AT)gmail(DOT)com

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  36. Great giveaway...Happy Holidays!

    barbbattaglia@yahoo.com

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  37. Thank you all so much for your comments! I had lots of fun creating the world of Madame Lenore's and I hope to revisit it in the not-too-distant future.

    For those of you awaiting Henry's book, I can't wait to share it with you... and on that note, I'm going to crawl back into my Revisions Cave. ;)

    Happy Holidays!

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  38. This sounds interesting. Thanks for the giveaway!

    abbydillon16 AT yahoo DOT com

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  39. Mmm what an appetizing cover! A feast for the senses, it looks beautiful and so atmospheric, I love it :-D And the story sounds wonderful as well, I can't wait to read Tempting the Marquess! Thank you for the chance :-)

    stella.exlibris (at) gmail (dot) com

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  40. Can't wait to read this one. More added to my TBB list. Thanks for the giveaway!

    Merry Christmas to all.

    pnc07 (at) aol (dot) com

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  41. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  42. What a great giveaway. Loved the excerpt and now what to finish the rest. Sara is a new author for me and always looking for new books and authors to check out. I love to read and would love to win and read this book. Thanks for the giveaway and the chance to win.
    christinebails@yahoo.com

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  43. I love Sara Lindsey! This giveaway is amazing! Thanks so much! Merry Christmas!

    evjochum[AT]aol[DOT]com

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  44. With Kati R.
    I've been waiting for Henry's story. Sara Lindsey is one of the first HR authors I started reading. So... Sara, I really need this story lol!

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  45. Great teaser..."he was there for her." Wow.
    castings at mindspring dot com

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  46. Great blogpost, thank you! And for the chance to win of course!

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  47. AHHHH, the excerpt was amazing!!!

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  48. Great teaser, thank you for sharing.

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  49. Been trying for two days to add on rafflecopter that I commented and it will not accept it. Can't add my other entries. :(

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  50. Thanks for the giveaway. So far this event is really good, and Tempting the Marquess sounds awesome, although I always get confused about what a marquess actually is, and since it ends with ess it sort of seems like it should be female.

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  51. These excerpts are a lot of fun. You don't have to enter me for the book - I already have Tempting the Marquess.

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  52. Sara, you could write 15 books about Lenore's--and I hope you will! This is so intriguing.

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  53. Seriously? Seriously? Uh! How teasing to leave it like that! ;-)
    I enjoyed!

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  54. Shakespearean names, love it! Even better is how they seem to buck the system! Can't wait to check out one of your books!

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  55. Loved your short. It was very fun. Also, thanks for the giveaway. Have a good holiday season!

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  56. Oh, please, please, puhleeze say you'll make this into a story!!! I am dying to know who the mystery man is from Nora's past!

    BornajhawkATaolDOTcom

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  57. I love these kinds of stories. Thank you for the giveaway opportunity!

    Pam

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  58. Thank you for the story. I enjoyed it very much.

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  59. I love this part: "He laughed. It was a low, rich sound that shook her to her toes. She knew that laugh.

    “Oh, Nora, you haven’t changed a bit.” :O -swoooooooon-

    Thank you so much for the chance! I would love to win ^^ crossing fingers!

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  60. Great excerpt. I can't wait to read your books.

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  61. Oh, enjoyed the excerpt very much and I know I am going to enjoy your stories!

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