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Sunday, December 1, 2013

Alone With a Rogue...with Shana Galen and Giveaway


Alone With a Rogue on Christmas Eve - Shana Galen

Shana Galen is the bestselling author of fast-paced adventurous Regency historicals, including the RT Reviewers’ Choice The Making of a Gentleman. Booklist says “Galen expertly entwines espionage-flavored intrigue with sizzling passion,” and RT Bookreviews calls her “a grand mistress of the action/adventure subgenre.” She taught English at the middle and high school level off and on for eleven years. Most of those years were spent working in Houston's inner city. Now she writes full time. She’s happily married and has a daughter who is most definitely a romance heroine in the making.

Places to find Shana:


The Jewel and the Rogue: A Jewels of the Ton Story

Lily Dawson, the Countess of Charm, is one of London’s Three Diamonds—a glittering trio of celebrated courtesans. She’s been in love with the Earl of Darlington since she first met him, but the so-called Daring of the Ton only has eyes for her friend and fellow courtesan Juliette. What happens when Lily finds herself alone with this rogue on Christmas Eve?

***

The countryside outside of London, two years before When You Give a Duke a Diamond

Laughing and still dizzy from the reel, Lily fell into the lap of the Duke of Athstone. He pulled her close, but she scampered away, waving a finger at him. “You are very naughty, Your Grace.”

“Come and be naughty with me, Countess.”

She blew him a kiss and skipped to where her friends Fallon and Juliette stood chatting with a trio of admirers. Fallon handed her a glass of champagne. Lily took it gratefully. She’d been dancing for hours and was parched. It was snowing madly outside and dancing was a sure way to keep warm. Fashion dictated she wear a thin silk gown that showcased her shoulders and bosom, and if she stopped dancing for too long she had to either stand near the fire, as Juliette and Fallon were, or she would begin shivering. Their party had been a merry one these last days, and she was quite happy to have been invited to the Duke of Athstone’s estate so she might not have to while away the long holiday in gray, dreary London.

She had spent hours this week staring out the window at the snow-covered hills and trees. The ground seemed to sparkle and shimmer as though she were in fairyland. Tomorrow she and the other two Diamonds would depart to spend the holiday in Hampshire with the Earl and Countess of Sinclair at their country estate. Lord and Lady Sinclair were like parents to her since her own had disowned her—not that she could blame her parents. It would not exactly elevate them to claim a courtesan as their daughter.

Fallon was entertaining the gentlemen with a risqué tale, and Lily leaned her head on Juliette’s shoulder. “Is it time for bed yet?”

Juliette rolled her eyes. “Not yet. I am so tired of smiling.”

“I am tired of being charming.”

“Why did the prince not give us Fallon’s sobriquet? If I was mysterious, I could keep quiet and no one would think anything of it.” It was in fact the prince regent who had given the three their “courtesy titles.” Fallon was the Marchioness of Mystery, Juliette the Duchess of Dalliance, and Lily the Countess of Charm.

“At least he has gone to spend the holiday with the King and Queen,” Lily said. “I have had to bar my door and pretend not to hear him knocking the last few nights.”

Juliette patted her shoulder. “You poor thing. The prince aside, it has been a lovely week.”

Lily smiled. “Yes, it has.” She eyed Juliette’s empty glass and then her own. “More champagne?”

“Please.”

Lily moved away, scooting past a marquess who liked to pinch, and found a footman with a tray of libations. She took two glasses of champagne and turned back toward her friends, when all of a sudden the skin on the back of her neck prickled. She rolled her shoulders to loosen them and dismiss the feeling, but it persisted. Her gaze roamed the ballroom, falling on gentleman in various states of inebriation and undress. There were a number of opera singers, mistresses, and other courtesans in attendance too. Lily knew better than to look too closely at the entwined pairs. Why was her neck prickling?

And then she saw him.

The Earl of Darlington.

He must have just come in from the night, for his dark hair was flecked with white snowflakes and his cheeks were flushed with the cold. His eyes were dark but bright with mischief and his mouth was turned up, as usual, in a roguish smile. Her gaze traveled from his dark blue coat to his buckskins to his shining Hessians. He was not dressed for a ball, but he looked magnificent anyway. In fact, those tight buckskins looked more than magnificent…

Lily averted her eyes and tried to take a deep breath. Her cheeks felt warm and her breath caught in her chest. She hadn’t known he was invited. She hadn’t expected to see him, hadn’t wanted to see him. Now she would have to watch as he made doe eyes at Juliette, who didn’t care a fig for him.

Lily watched as his gaze roamed the ballroom and landed on Juliette. Predictable, she thought as she swallowed half her champagne. He arrowed for Juliette, but not before Fallon saw him and tugged at Juliette’s sleeve. Juliette rolled her eyes when she saw the earl approaching, and Lily had to swallow more champagne. Her glass was empty, so she drank Juliette’s.

Darlington made a dashing bow to Juliette, took her hand, and kissed her knuckles. He gave Fallon the same courtesy but neither courtesan paid him much heed. Both ladies turned back to the group of gentleman to whom they’d been speaking. But even that did not deter Darlington. He smiled at his rivals easily and spoke, and soon the entire party was laughing.

Lily needed more champagne.

Even as she had the thought, a glass was placed in her hand. The Duke of Athstone smiled down at her. “You looked like you needed this.”

“Thank you.” Her gaze returned, quite against her will, to Darlington. The duke followed her gaze. He was not a handsome man, but he definitely had a regal air about him. He was in his late thirties or early forties and had not married yet. She did not know why, as he certainly needed an heir, but perhaps he was not in as much of a rush as some of the other titled gentleman.

“So Darlington is the one you want.”

Lily blinked. “I don’t know what you mean.”

He laughed. “Yes, you do. This is my house, and I know what goes on in it. You have been under my roof for almost a week, and no man has come to your bed. Are you in love with Darlington? Is that it?”

Lily swallowed, alarmed at how close to the truth the duke had come. But she was not dubbed the Countess of Charm for nothing. She gave the duke a glittering smile and sipped her champagne again. “I wonder, Your Grace, why you are so interested in who does or does not come to my bed.” She fluttered her lashes in what she considered an inane manner, but gentleman seemed to like it.

“I should think that would be obvious. I’d like to come to your room tonight.”

Lily handed the duke her glass and caught the eye of Mr. Heyward, who was the son of a baron. He started for her immediately. “You flatter me with your interest, Your Grace.” She curtsied and when Heyward approached and offered to escort her in a waltz, she took his hand and floated away.

***

Andrew Booth-Payne, the Earl of Darlington, stumbled into Athstone’s library and sank onto the couch. He needed to find the butler and ascertain where his room was, but he was too tired at the moment. He’d been carousing late last night, and then he’d rode hell-for-leather to make it to the duke’s house party before the Duchess of Dalliance, the lovely Juliette, chose her bedmate for the night.

Unfortunately, Juliette had retired a quarter hour ago. Darlington did not know who she had chosen, but it had not been him. He didn’t know why he continued to hold out hope for her. She barely acknowledged him. He had led her in one dance, not a waltz, but it had still been a half hour of her undivided attention.

Unfortunately, like a ninny, he had not been able to think of anything witty or interesting to say. No wonder she had chosen another man. “Damn it!” he said, thumping the couch with his hand.

“If you are determined to make noise,” a feminine voice said, “please go elsewhere.”

Andrew blinked and rose, walking around to peer down into a high-backed armchair. The Countess of Charm was curled into a ball in one corner, her auburn hair down about her shoulders. Her eyes were red and heavy-lidded.

“Miss Dawson, are you well?”

“Ha!” she said, waving a hand about carelessly. “As though you care.”

His brows rose, and he lowered himself to one knee. “You look as though you might have had a wee bit too much punch.”

“Champagne,” she corrected him. Whatever she had drunk, she had drank far too much of it. She looked almost ready to fall asleep. Should he offer to escort her to her room? But if he did and Juliette happened to see the two of them, what would she think?

Suddenly, Lily reached out and stroked his cheek with two fingers. The touch of her bare fingers surprised him. He glanced at her again, and she was staring at him with those big green eyes of hers.

“She is never going to love you,” she whispered. “You must know that.”

Darlington frowned. She made absolutely no sense, but then it was probably the champagne talking. He had better turn her over to her lady’s maid. “Let me help you to your room,” he said.

She started laughing, surprising him again. “Exactly how much did you drink?” he asked.

“Oh, far too much, especially if it I am dreaming of you taking me to bed.”

Andrew shook his head. Even when they were foxed the Three Diamonds managed to flirt. “Miss Dawson, let me help you.” He reached for her waist, pulling her forward in the chair. But before he could help her to rise, he found that she’d managed to wrap her arms around his neck. He peered down into her face, into those huge green eyes. Her lips were parted slightly, and her small pink tongue darted out to lick her bottom lip.

He felt a familiar tightening in his groin as her fingers threaded through his hair and pulled his mouth down to hers. Before he knew what had happened, her mouth was on his, her lips cool and soft. He’d never thought about kissing Lily before, and this was a pleasant surprise. When her mouth opened and he tasted her, he was again quite taken aback. Her mouth tasted slightly sweet from the champagne she’d drunk. Her tongue twined with his, and her body pressed against him. She was lushly rounded, and he felt his own body reacting, becoming aroused. He threaded a hand though her hair marveling at how soft it was, how soft she was, how sweet she sounded when she let out a small, satisfied sigh.

He could have kissed her all night. He would have enjoyed it immensely. She would have enjoyed it immensely.

But what was he thinking? This was Lily. She was like a sister to him. She was foxed and didn’t know what she was doing. He had better play the gentleman.

And so he disentangled himself from her arms and stood. “I’ll have one of the servants fetch your maid. She can help you to bed.”

Lily sighed. “I’d rather you took me to bed.”

He leaned down and she raised her lips to him, but he brushed her forehead with a chaste kiss instead. “You have no idea what you are saying, Countess. You’ll thank me in the morning.”

***

When he was gone, presumably seeking a servant to see her to her chamber, Lily reached a trembling hand to her lips. She’d kissed him, and he’d kissed her back. It hadn’t been a kiss of pity or a kiss of obligation. He’d kissed her willingly. His lips had been where her fingers grazed. His tongue had stroked hers. His arms had tightened around her. She could still smell his scent on her hands, and it made her dizzy with longing.

The library door opened again, and Lily raised her gaze, hoping it was Darlington returning. It was Fallon. “There you are. I was worried about you.”

“Oh, I’m fine. I couldn’t make a man debauch me if I wanted.”

Fallon raised a dark eyebrow. “The duke seemed rather enamored of you. He is nothing to be scoffed at.”

“Pish.” Lily waved her hand. Fallon caught it and pulled her to her feet. “I don’t want the duke.”

“I don’t blame you.” Fallon pulled her close, giving Lily support as they walked the length of the library. Everything seemed to sway, and Lily wished she could simply close her eyes.

She did for a moment, and his face came into view. “I kissed him Fallon,” Lily said.

“Who? Oh, you mean Darlington.”

“You say his name as though you find it distasteful.”

Fallon shook her head, leading Lily into the grand salon and toward the stairs. “I like him well enough. He’s amusing and good-natured.” She paused. “And loyal. He hasn’t given up on Juliette.”

Lily ignored her. “He kissed me, Fallon, and one day he will forget Juliette, and he’ll kiss me again.”

Fallon pressed her lips together and smiled. “If you say so.” Somewhere deep in the house, a clock chimed two. “Oh, it’s after midnight.”

“You know what that means,” Lily said, pausing at the stairs. They seemed all but insurmountable at the moment.

“It’s Christmas.”

“Happy Christmas, Fallon.”

“Happy Christmas, Lily.”

The two friends started up the stairs, and Lily could not resist whispering, “Happy Christmas, Darlington.”


Read more about Lily and Andrew in Shana’s upcoming March release, Sapphires are an Earl’s Best Friend.



Warning! This agent’s secret identity—and his heart—have been compromised!

Winslow, an elite spy in Regency England, has managed to keep his identity secret from everyone—including his beloved wife Elinor. But his success with these covert affairs has taken a toll on their marriage, leaving Elinor to entertain the idea of a secret liaison with a rakish spy. She believes she will finally have the danger and excitement her marriage has never afforded her—until things get too dangerous, and she ends up being kidnapped. In this world of intrigue, Elinor discovers that no one is who they seem to be—not even her own husband.

Purchase: | Amazon | Kindle | Barnes & Noble | The Book Depository | iTunes |
Click for info.


 Check out what's up for grabs.

Up For Grabs:
  • 1 copy of True Spies

To Enter: 
  • Please leave a comment or question for Shana.
  • Please fill out the Rafflecopter form.

**Don't forget to enter the grand prize giveaway!


Good Luck! 

Special thanks to Shana Galen for sponsoring this giveaway.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

120 comments :

  1. Hi, Shana! I learned a new phrase recently and I'll use it here:

    This line from Lily: “He kissed me, Fallon, and one day he will forget Juliette, and he’ll kiss me again.”

    The feels! ^_^

    Can't wait to read their story! ^_^

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  2. Woot, woot! I can't wait for this book!

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  3. This sounds good. Can't wait to read it.

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  4. Hi, Shana! I’m so anxious to read “Sapphires are an Earl’s Best Friend.” I love your novels and the plot are always so good! All the best!

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    1. You're so sweet to stop by and say so, Connie!

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  5. I can't wait to read this book! Love the other 2 books in the series.

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  6. Oh how I love these books... I have Lord and Lady Spy on my kindle.. need to get the next two...

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  7. great excerpt - shana's books are always good - really looking forward to reading true spies though

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  8. Loved the excerpt and am looking forward to the book!

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  9. I am really REALLY looking forward to this book. Wonderful excerpt. :)

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    1. Thanks so much! It was a fun excerpt to write.

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  10. My heart is breaking for Lily already, from the excerpt!

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    1. I know, Sharlene. She has loved him for so long.

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  11. Replies
    1. You are welcome! Thank you to Danielle for inviting me.

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  12. Ok, now you have my attention. I am looking forward to Darlington and Lily's story.

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  13. The excerpt has me stoked! It sounds like a totally awesome book (:

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    1. Thanks, Sherlyn! No spoilers in this either since it's a prequel.

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  14. I think this line is so funny, "Oh, I’m fine. I couldn’t make a man debauch me if I wanted." Your books always make me smile. I'm looking forward to reading this book. Thanks for sharing :)
    Lori

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  15. Happy Christmas to all - Thanks for the story Shana!

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  16. Loved the excerpt! Can't wait to read the book! Thanks Shana!

    I loved True Spies! Good luck to everyone entering the contest!

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    1. Thanks for commenting, Glenda! You've even read the giveaway book!

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  17. I love the excerpt, thanks,
    Merry Christmas
    Penney

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  18. Loving your Spy series. Almost finished with True Spies and have Blue's book in my Kindle to read next. I can so see so many parallels in True Spies with True Lies...this is a great series. But then again, I love everything you write!

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    1. Karen, those parallels are not a mistake. I totally wanted to give a wink to True Lies.

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  19. Hi Shana. Sounds like a good book.

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  20. I haven't had the chance to read this series yet, sounds like I better get started!

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    1. The first book, WHEN YOU GIVE A DUKE A DIAMOND, is parked at $1.99 on Amazon, Arizona.

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  21. I am a big fan of yours and I can't wait to read it.

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  22. Haven't read this series yet. Sounds like a really fun one. I need to get correct this and soon!

    Thanks so much!

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    1. Thanks Texas Book Lover. I know how overwhelming those TBR piles can be.

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  23. Hi Shana! Hope you had an awesome Thanksgiving!

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    1. Hey Sandy! I did, but now it's time to get ready for Christmas!

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  24. Hi Shana - I love the Jewels of the Ton series, really looking forward to Lily's turn. I haven't read True Spies yet though I've read Lord and Lady Spy twice! It must be time to go shopping. :)

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    1. Sharon, maybe you'll win! Thanks for being such a great supporter.

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  25. Hey Shana, love your books :) I can't wait to read the last book in the "Jewels of the ton" series!

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  26. Loved the excerpt. Such a great series, so sexy and fun.
    Thanks for the great giveaway.

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  27. This looks good, thanks for the chance

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  28. I love Shana's...my sister, Patricia, got me hooked on her books and her Jewel's of the Ton series is one of my favorites! I cannot wait for Sapphires are an Earl's Best Friend!

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    1. Hey Michelle! I know your sister! tell her hi, and thanks for stopping by.

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  29. I love your books! I was even giving my 11 year old a run down of the plot of 'Lord and Lady Spy' the other day (minus the naughtier bits) and she thought it sounded interesting :)

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    1. Jo, you're such a cool mom. My daughter asks what my books are about, and I don't even know where to start. She's 4. I told her LLS was sort of like Special Agent Oso, which is a special agent bear bear who helps kids on Disney Jr.

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  30. Love your romance novels and can't wait for the release of Sapphire's Are An Earl's Best Friend.

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  31. Love your books! Thanks for the giveaway and looking forward to the new one!

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  32. I'm realy looking forward to reading True Spies; it sounds great.I've heard so many wonderful things about this book. Thanks for sharing a great story with us; I'd like to have my own rogue.

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    1. I'd like my own too. Wait, maybe I do have one. They might not be so romantic in real life!

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  33. Loved the excerpt! I can't wait to read these. Thanks for the chance to win.

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  34. This is such a tease. March is so far away and it is like laughing at me because I'm being impatient for this book's release. I love the excerpt....just wished it was release sooner

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    1. This is a prequel, and I'm glad it whetted your appetite for the real story!

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  35. The snippet was such a delicious tease thank you.

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  36. Fun short story.
    What is one of your favorite things to do with Baby Galen at Christmas time?

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    1. Definitely look at Christmas lights, Lori. She loves them.

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  37. Sounds and looks like a very interesting read.

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  38. Love your books and look forward to seeing what coming out for new books in 2014!

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  39. Love the snippet! Normally historical stories have the leading ladies all prim and proper. Love the angle of the 3 Diamonds.

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    Replies
    1. Oh, these ladies are not prim and proper--well, not all the time.

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  40. Looking forward to reading this book. Thanks for the great giveaway.

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  41. Sounds like a great story! Would love to read it!

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  42. I really enjoyed this excerpt; now, I'll have to find out how the two of them manage to come together.

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  43. Eagerly waiting for this story. Thank you for the peek into their book!

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  44. Read and loved your True Spies story, Shana! I'm really looking forward to the next one in the series. Thanks for the post. And I'm really happy for your continued success! jdh2690@gmail.com

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    1. Thank you, Janice. Another series I love to write :-)

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  45. Hi Shana!

    I loved your Christmas story, Alone With a Rogue on Christmas Eve but then I love all your books and am so excited that Shapphires Are an Earl's Best Friend that is being released next year on March 4h is already available for pre-order on Amazon! After all Santa needs to put something in my stocking and what's wrong with putting a gift card for it in my Christmas stocking since it seems like I'm the Elf on the Shelf in my family spreading cheer throughout the household!

    I love all your series and as long as you keep writing them I'll keep reading!

    Best wishes to you and your family for a happy care-free Holiday!

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    1. Thank you, Jeanne. I hope Santa brings you that gift card!

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  46. I can't wait to read this one!!
    Thanks for the chance to win!

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  47. Can't wait to read about Winslow and Elinor!

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    1. Check out TRUE SPIES at your favorite store, Nova!

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  48. I want to read this so bad! Thanks for the giveaway!

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  49. I want to read the whole story. The story line intrigues me. Can't wait to read it. Thanks, Sharon Pauley

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  50. I loved that excerpt!
    Thanks for the giveaway :)

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  52. Thank you for wonderful excerpt :)
    I think i have When You Give a Duke a Diamond with ebook format, but i forget where i save on my tab. I usually like that, save on my tab, and then later on, i forget i wanna read them....hehehehe

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  53. Thanks for the story. I have your first spy novel on my TBR pile and I hope the get to it soon. I enjoy a good spy story. Have a nice Christmas.

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  54. Your spy story always enticing me, can't wait to read this one :)

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  55. Unrequited love sucks. Poor Lily! I wonder what it'll take to make Darlington see Lily as a woman and not a sister?

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  56. Thanks for the giveaway chance!

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  57. Thanks for the giveaway chance!

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  58. Loved the excerpt and your books, Shana! Thanks for the giveaway!

    Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

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  59. This sounds good. Can't wait to read it.Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
    Thanks for the giveaway!

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