in
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Monday, December 16, 2013

Fighting a Duel...with Jillian Stone and Giveaway


Fighting a Duel on Christmas Eve - Jillian Stone

Jillian Stone is author of the gaslight romantic suspense series, The Gentlemen of Scotland Yard and the steamy steampunk series Phaeton Black, Paranormal Investigator. She is currently working on several contemporary erotic romance novels, as well as the Gentlemen of Scotland Yard spin-off, CODENAME: DRAGON.

Places to find Jillian:

Coming in Fall 2014, CODENAME: DRAGON, the first novel in a new Gentlemen of Scotland Yard spin-off series by Jillian Stone.

The new series involves a covert group of highly trained operatives, secretly financed and directed by Scotland Yard. The operation is known only by it’s codename, Dragon. These special agents are involved in espionage of such a sensitive nature, only three men on the outside, even know of its existence. William Melville, Director of Special Branch, Chief Detective Inspector, Zeno Kennedy, and undercover agent, Phineas Gunn.

After an unfortunate, and somewhat mortifying incident, Detective Flynn Rhys is given a choice. Resign from Scotland Yard. Or resign and head up Dragon. He is given six weeks to recruit and train a group of operatives––burglars, prostitutes, forgers, torturers and assassins. Nothing much is riding on this operation, only the continued sovereignty of the British Empire.

Alice Armistead is determined to be a part of the new clandestine operation headed up by Flynn Rhys. And she has made it clear, she will not take no for an answer. Flynn won’t hear of it, but when she helps him catch the notorious arms trafficker, Grey de Ruthyn, he begrudgingly presents her with an opportunity. She must train as a fighter, and best him in one of three events: marksmanship, hand to hand combat or swords. Then, and only then, will he consider her for a position with Dragon.

***

The air in the fencing hall had grown sultry for late December. Alice Armistead sultry. As in the dewy, fresh young thing who often tempted Flynn Rhys beyond reason. Like she was doing now.

He paced in a circle around the gymnasium, studying Alice carefully from afar, ignoring her as his path drew him closer. He opened a set of French doors, welcoming the bite of crisp winter air. This tempting sultriness of hers, was almost certainly the cause of his lack of concentration. He could feel it, he wasn’t edgy sharp, he was edgy distracted.

“En garde!” Standing tall and strong, Alice arched her back, practicing her salute. She was an elegant fencer and clever.

Finn lunged forward giving both legs a good stretch. “Better to guard your heart, mon belle ami.”

She slanted those large blue eyes his way. “I guard all my feminine bits when I’m around you, Flynn.” Her smile had a saucy smirk to it. More impish grin than demure flirtation. It was that very slight upturn at the ends of her mouth––sensuous as well as mischievous, that turned his head and caused the manly blade to stiffen.

Most disconcertingly, she wore fencing attire. Not bloomers, mind, which would have been torture enough, but well-tailored knickers and a form-fitting jacket. Now her bosom would be as equally distracting as that round little derriere. He sensed a clever bit of female scheming here, and truth be told, he admired her for it. Devilishly underhanded of her.

A good deal was riding on the outcome of this duel. She needed to best him in at least one discipline to be hired as an apprentice investigator. Alice had agreed to six weeks training in the fierce discipline of shastar vidiyā. Swords, knives and other vicious weapons used for hand to hand combat, as well as classical sword fighting and target shooting with pistols and arrows.

He had beaten her soundly at maru. She had chosen the double-horned stabbing weapon, and he had easily countered her attacks. Using a thrust and choke, he had quickly disarmed her. He had left the first match convinced she needed months of additional training and ordered all her instructors to step it up a notch.

The shooting competition had been another matter entirely. He had barely squeaked out a win in target shooting. Something, he should have also won handily. Lovely Alice was no pale, blonde beauty. She was a formidable creature, and she had delighted him with her accuracy and her speed.

Safely across the hall, he stole another glance at his female opponent. Her dazzling mane of wavy locks, shades of fawn and flaxen, had been tamed into a topknot for the match. And those eyes, when all else was shaded and quiet, they sparkled like sapphire’s even in the late afternoon light. He inhaled deeply, and her essence filled his senses. She was quite simply, an exquisite, sensual, flaming ride into hell.

He exhaled, slowly. After each of their previous matches, her strong-willed nature had lingered, like a jaunty, ribald cabaret song, or the strains of a haunting melody, he couldn’t get out of his head.

Alice had chosen the épée courte, the elegant, single-handed form of riding sword. Of all the armament a soldier might choose to fight with, this was the blade that was carried close to the body and cherished above all other weapons, even the pistol.

“Take him, Alice.” With a toss of his head, Vincent Ayotte, swept the perspiration from his brow and settled down between two of his companions d'armes, brilliant fencers, all. And all for hire, for a price. Vincent had volunteered his services in a three-way preliminary match, which Flynn had won. Now, the mercenary swordsman hoped for nothing less than Flynn’s complete humiliation by Alice Armistead.

Sword master Raoul d’Artaine, called for the salute. “Swords up. And commence.”

Circling each other in rapt attention, they began the opening steps of a complicated dance. Using straightforward thrusts and parries, advancing cautiously, retreating quickly. Grasping her light, well-balanced sword, Alice lunged into a series of lightening fast moves, and complex footwork.
Concentrating, Flynn could almost hear her breaths and the pounding rhythm of her heart.

She skillfully backed him across the floor, and he answered with a few bold strokes of his own, forcing her to give back most of the ground she had gained. But Alice was quick to return with yet another accomplished offensive attack.

“Exactement, the right riposte, Alice You are learning, improving.” D’Artaine, was obviously impressed with her form, and not just those distracting curves of hers. Long hours of practice had paid off. Her dueling skills had elevated considerably. She could impressively hold her own with a swordsman of much greater reach and strength.

“Stay sharp, Flynn. She is quick.”

“My sword is always glad for you, Alice.” He grinned, employing a feint and re-engagement from the opposite direction. He circled around her using a few agile moves of his own. His body ached in a half dozen places from the brawl last night. Single malt whiskey and beautiful women, a personal weakness of his. He should have known better then to risk this match for a night of debauchery.

Alice retaliated with rapid, well-placed strokes. She had sword sense, the ability to recognize the subtle, telling moves of her opponent and react with lightening speed. Flynn buckled down for an onslaught of wicked play. He would not make the mistake of overconfidence with Alice. She fenced in the moment, but she had been trained well, by his own fencing master. Like a good chess player, she planned several moves ahead.

Flynn ducked and spun himself under the slash of her stroke. Besides being both fleet-footed and quick, Alice had acquired an impressive repertoire of strikes and change-ups. Once again, with singularly flawless preparation, she launched an aggressive attack that forced him back across the floor.

“Your blade seems hard hit, Flynn,” She teased, only slightly out of breath. She had also acquired an impressive vocabulary of ribald taunts and jibes––something he excelled at and one of his most prized, unwritten rules of the game. She was prepared to meet him stroke for stroke and jibe for jibe. It seemed the match was going to be amusing as well as challenging.

“Let me assure you, sweet Alice, he stands fully at attention and ready for your close inspection.” He used a quick feint to the right, and tapped her on the left hip, before she could re-engage her sword.

“Dragon scores. Sloppy defense, watch yourself, Alice.”

The silent gaps of cautious circling were less frequent now, punctuated more and more by the high-pitched ring of metal-on-metal rapiers. Alice lunged forward, turning her foil up and to the inside, sliding her blade edge cleanly down his sword, a coulé.

She drew so close, he could feel the warm air from her flared nostrils. He, in turn, was forced to swallow and gasp for breath. For a single, hushed moment, their eyes met.

“Those striking sapphire eyes, Alice, as dark and menacing as an evening storm, and yet so full of promise...” His gaze lowered to those voluptuous breasts, he had yet to taste. “A veritable wonderland of earthly delights.”

“Then you will be shocked to learn, sir, I wish only a simple kiss.” Grinning, Flynn stepped forward, into her body. Their swords hilt to hilt––each of them pressing hard for an advantage. “You think to disorient me with a maiden’s kiss?”

Breaking all decorum, he slipped an arm around her and turned the edge of his blade to her throat.

Violet-blue eyes lowered, as the ends of her mouth turned upward. She tilted her head, and brushed a whisper of a kiss, across his mouth. It only took a second to deflect his blade out of his hands and into the air.

Lowering his gaze, the tip of her sword, pressed into his quilted jacket, affixed on his heart.

“Whoo-hoo!” Loud applause and high-spirited taunts went up from the arena gallery.

“Corps-a-corps, the match goes to Alice Armistead.” D’Artaine laughed so hard, he slipped off his chair, and had to catch himself. To be strictly equitable, he called them both to task for illegal body contact, but nevertheless gave her the contest for an artful, well-executed strategy. “What Alice lacks in physical strength, she makes up for in wiles.” The delighted instructor chided the all the swordsmen around him.

“Un coup fatal, the kiss of death, messieurs. You are all at risk.” A grumbling round of protests arose from the fencers surrounding the fencing master.

“She fights with her brain and her heart, does she not?” D’Artaine looked into each of the rugged, handsome, faces that surrounded him. “Alice has an even chance of winning any match, with any of you, even though she lacks your reach and strength. Pray let her use her female ingenuity to survive, even triumph in battle.”

Positioning himself formally in front of Alice, D’Artaine executed a deep, courtly bow.

Flynn managed a begrudging smile. “Illegal and unfair. Brilliantly done, Alice.”

She turned to leave with the others, and he lowered his sword to block her. “Stay. I’d like to review that last move again.”

Pushing his blade aside, she circled him. “The sword or the kiss?”

He could hardly take his eyes off those sensuous, pillowed lips. On such a delicate featured face, her mouth was a little too wide. But, how inviting those lips were, when turned up in one of her unexpected, saucy smiles. Recently, since her trials had begun, he had found himself thinking more and more about where those lips might travel on his body, and he could not wait a moment longer to find out.

Boldly, he pulled her close, covering her mouth with his own. He had thought to take things slowly, but as her fingers swept through the hair at the base of his neck, he asked for more. Slipping his tongue along the underside of her cupid’s bow, he urged her to open. His hands swept down her back, cupping a firm derriere.

His lovemaking progressed remarkably well until she removed his hand and step out of their embrace. He yanked her back. “Really, Alice, to use a kiss as a weapon.” He shook his head, rubbing the tip of her nose with his. “You are hired, my dear.”



Prima ballerina Catriona de Dovia lives the glamorous life of a starlet, filled with glittering jewels, sumptuous dinners, and admiring suitors. She's grown up considerably since losing her heart to Hugh Curzon once upon a time, no longer wasting her emotions on the empty promises of wealthy gentlemen. On her own since the untimely death of her parents, she will do anything for the only family she has left: her brother, a notorious anarchist.

Scotland Yard Agent Phineas Gunn—sometimes known as Hugh Curzon—receives his new assignment reluctantly. He's up for something a little more strenuous than playing nanny to a ballerina, until he sees who his charge is. Then, it's a completely different story, because he'd been unable to forget the trusting, beautiful Cate since he had to leave her behind.

As the two race across the Continent—by land, by sea, even through the air by zephyr—it becomes uncertain who is keeping tabs on whom, and Finn and Cate must battle the sexual tension that snaps and sizzles between them every step of the way.

Purchase: | Amazon | Kindle | Barnes & Noble | The Book Depository | Books-A-Million | Indiebound |

Click for info


 Check out what's up for grabs.

Up For Grabs:
  • 2 Book of Choice - A Private Duel with Agent Gunn or The Miss Education of Dr. Exeter

To Enter: 
  • Please leave a comment or question for Jillian.
  • Choice of print or eBook.
  • Please fill out the Rafflecopter form.

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


Good Luck! 

Special thanks to Jillian Stone for sponsoring this giveaway.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

84 comments :

  1. I loved The Miss Education book. It was a great read. A Private Duel sounds like another fantastic story. It's definitely going on my TBR.
    Thanks for the giveaway.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. HI Steph,

      Very happy to hear you enjoyed Mia and Dr. Exeter's love story! I do believe you will enjoy Cate and Agent Gunn, as well. Not quite as erotic, but pretty naughty. Good luck!

      Delete
  2. Hi Jill!!!!

    I'm so happy to have a spin-off of the Scotland Yard!!!! And Flynn Rys~ But where is Rafe Lewis in this??? But I'm super excited!!!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi kipha!
      LOL! Rafe is up in Ediinburgh for these next three stories, but he definitely has a role to play and reader's will get to catch up with Rafe and Fanny. As you already know, Flynn is a crazy risk-taker, and in this next series of books, he is given an impossibly dangerous assignment, and a beautiful heroine to complicate matters! This stuff is so much fun to write!

      Delete
  3. A kiss as a weapon. Love that line! I want to get into the fight! :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. HI Linda!

      Alice has always been a little wild and reckless, but she turns out to be clever in combat at well. Good luck!

      Delete
  4. "You are hired, my dear." *clapping hands* Brilliant! I really enjoyed this scene!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Michelle,
      So glad you enjoyed the scene. This new spin-off series is loaded with dangerous intrigue and adventure––slightly darker with twists that are (hopefully) unexpected. Plus, there's Alice and Flynn...and what a pair they turn out to be. ;) Good luck!

      Delete
  5. I love this series. Looking forward to the spin-off! :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi May!

      I know you're a fan of the series and hope you enjoy the next books, as well. Good luck!

      Delete
  6. Love the book excerpt! I love it when the heroine is not some simpering miss but is someone who can hold her own. Love the fencing scene!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Sandra,
      Thanks so much, I really enjoyed writing this scene. It's a rough draft, and I've already done a rewrite on it, but...it is one of those pivotal scenes that works, thank goodness! Good luck!

      Delete
  7. I love your books. They are a fun and refreshing change to my normally read.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Betty,
      I really do make an effort to entertain readers. Thanks so much, and I am so happy to know you enjoy the books. Good luck!

      Delete
  8. What a delicious excerpt, especially the fencing scene. I love Gillians books, and would love to read "The Miss Education of Dr. Exeter.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Diane!
      As a Gentlemen of Scotland Yard reader, you've already met Flynn several times. I think you're going to really enjoy him (and Alice) in the spin-off series. Good luck!

      Delete
  9. Thanks for the fun post! Congrats Jillian on the success of your series :) I love them!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Erin,

      Thanks! It's been a wild ride with these Scotland Yard men, and it's going to get even wilder. Good luck!

      Delete
  10. I have not read any books from Jillian but after reading that excerpt...I have got to read it now. Alice is smart in the fencing scene and now off to add the books in my TBR list!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. LOL Sandy!

      Join the club. My TBR list is...well...lets just say the Kindle is loaded and someday I hope to read everything. Glad you enjoyed the excerpt, and good luck!

      Delete
  11. would love to win and read
    I will have to add these to my massive TBR pile :)
    looking forward to your world

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. HI PM350,

      Yes, I was just saying that we all seem to have a massive TBR pile. Thanks for the interest, and good luck.

      Delete
  12. Replies
    1. Thanks Cheryl,

      I do hope you get a chance to read the spin-off series! Good luck!

      Delete
  13. Replies
    1. Thanks, Jenna!

      I have plans for three more books so––plenty of fun reading on the way. Good luck!

      Delete
  14. Replies
    1. Thanks dstoutholcomb!
      Hope you get a chance to read the series. Good luck!

      Delete
  15. I haven't read this series yet! I loved the excerpt and I look forward to reading them. Thanks for the giveaway.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Martha,

      Well then, double good luck to you, because you need to start reading The Gentlemen of Scotland Yard series or the Phaeton Black, Paranormal Investigator series!

      Delete
  16. Ha! I love how she uses all the weapons in her arsenal to win. It's not all feminine wiles or intelligence but both. I love strong female characters.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Chanpreet,
      I'm not sure I've ever written a heroine who wasn't strong. Urban Fantasy readers have sometimes remarked that my heroines aren't kick-ass enough, but I'm trying to be at least realistic to the period, which is 1887 London. These women are extremely kick-ass for the late Victorian time frame. And Alice is going to take it even further with Flynn. Good luck!

      Delete
  17. The book sounds really good and I enjoyed the short story.
    What do you like to do during the Christmas holiday.?

    ReplyDelete
  18. Hi Lori,

    Glad you enjoyed the Christmas Eve duel. I am close to home for the holidays this year. I'm going to spend it in Palm Springs with family. Good luck!

    ReplyDelete
  19. I really, really enjoyed this excerpt, Jillian! Now I gotta read the complete adventures of Flynn and Alice. :-) I also truly love the combo of Scotland Yard (paranormal or not) and romance...making for delightful stories. Thanks for this post. jdh2690@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Janice!

      Scotland Yard and romance works for me too! I actually have plans to write more than one book involving Flynn and Alice, so be on the look out. Book #1 is scheduled to release In early Fall next year. If you haven't read the Gentlemen of Scotland Yard series, you can catch up while you wait for Flynn and Alice! Good luck!

      Delete
  20. Loved the duel! Especially the ending! Looks like a great new series. :-D

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Glenda,
      The duel ends up being a pivotal scene in the book, though I must confess it has been edited and rewritten for the novel––a bit darker and naughtier. Good luck!

      Delete
  21. The duel is quite intriguing. I would love to read more.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Debby, I hope you get a chance to enjoy Flynn and Alice. And good luck!

      Delete
  22. I love Phaeton Black!!!! I need to branch out to the other series. Thanks for the chance.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Sheryl!
      I'm so glad you enjoyed the Phaeton Black series. I am beginning a steamy steampunkish paranormal series in 2015. This one will be devoted to all the antiheroes (including Phaeton). In the meantime, you can get to know the Gentlemen of Scotand Yard, and if you love Phaeton––chances are you will love Flynn! Good luck!

      Delete
  23. Ooh I enjoyed the excerpt and can't wait to read this book. I really like the cover. I'm looking forward to reading this series. Thanks
    Happy Holidays

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Beautiful Disaster,
      Oh my, the Gentlemen of Scotland Yard series was great fun to write. And I'm glad you enjoyed the excerpt from the new spin-off. Good luck!

      Delete
  24. Thank you for the post, I loved the excerpt. lisagk(at)yahoo

    ReplyDelete
  25. I haven't read this series yet, but it has been on my radar for months! I'd love to start it from the beginning.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi AquarianDancer,
      If you win the raffle you can have your choice of book one of either series, which would be AN AFFAIR WITH MR. KENNEDY or THE SEDUCTION OF PHAETON BLACK. Good luck!

      Delete
  26. I've read all be one (this one in fact) of your Gentlemen of Scotland Yard series and loved them. Haven't tried the other series yet, but it's on my list of books to buy.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Karen,

      Oh, I'm so happy you loved the first two in the series. Good luck winning #3!

      Delete
  27. That was a fun excerpt. I haven't read any of this series yet, but I plan to.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Sophia Rose,

      Glad you liked the excerpt. This new spin-off series is also going to be a sexy, fun one to write. Good luck, and I hope you get a chance to read either series!

      Delete
  28. Thanks for this story & giveaway. It's been fun to read the different stories from each author. Have a great Christmas.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Kim,
      I always enjoy writing something for the Christmas Eve event here at Ramblings From This Chick. Have a great holiday season and good luck!

      Delete
  29. Great scene; I'll be awaiting more!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi jmcgaugh,

      LOL, thanks! The whole book is scheduled to release in Fall, 2014.

      Delete
  30. The excerpt was very interesting, i enjoyed it. Looking forward to read this book :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Filia!

      I do hope all my Gentlemen of Scotland Yard readers will enjoy this new spin-off. Everything is amped up a bit––scarier, darker and sexier! Good luck!

      Delete
  31. Thank you for a fantastic read through.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oops, I did it again––cringe! See my answer below.

      Delete
  32. Hi Mary,

    Glad you enjoyed the excerpt and good luck!

    ReplyDelete
  33. I love this series! OMG I can't wait what you come up with :D

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Alina!
      Very happy to hear that you love the series. And I'm really excited to be writing the spin-off. Good luck!

      Delete
  34. Thanks for the chance to win!
    Happy Holidays!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Natasha,

      Happy holidays back at you, and good luck!

      Delete
  35. Loved this excerpt, I'll be keeping my eyes peeled for Codename: Dragon!

    Thanks for the giveaway :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Cerian,

      Glad you enjoyed the duel––I just revised it for the book. Steamier. I kind of like to write a scene, let it rest and then go back in and see where or how far I can take it. Good luck!

      Delete
  36. Where do you come up with your names? Zeno, Phineas, Flynn, Phaeton - I love all of these names.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Jo!

      Yeah, I do pick weird names. But then, British Victorians were pretty creative with names. I have several go-to lists on line. If you google Victorian names you get several good lists. I am always on the look out for a good name, so if I run across one, I save it for a future character.

      Hope you had a great holiday, and good luck!

      Delete
  37. Sounds and looks like a very interesting read.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Olga,

      Thanks for your interest, and good luck!

      Delete
  38. thanks for the giveaway chance! Happy Holidays :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi mk,

      Hope you get a chance to read one of The Gentlemen of Scotland Yard stories. And thanks for entering the giveaway. Good luck!

      Delete
  39. Hi, Julian! I loved your excerpt! Thanks for the giveaway!

    Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Cathy P,

      Here's to a great new year and good luck!

      Delete
  40. I love smart, unusual characters - these sound great!

    Merry Christmas!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh Di, I think you are going to enjoy this spin-off series! Good luck!

      Delete
  41. Thanks for the giveaway!

    Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

    ReplyDelete
  42. Hi Emma,

    Merry Christmas, Happy New Year and good luck to you!

    ReplyDelete
  43. I'd love to read this book.
    theresa n
    weceno(at)yahoo(dot)com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Theresa,

      Hope you get a chance to read at least one of the Scotland Yard men books before the spin-off series begins this fall. Good luck and Happy New Year!

      Delete