Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Valentine's Day EBook Giveaway

Happy Valentine's Day to everyone everywhere, whether you're celebrating with a husband, a partner, a best friend, or a furry critter.



In honor of love and friendship, I am offering a three eBook giveaway consisting of my three romances from MuseItUp Publishing.  To be considered for this prize, please leave a comment saying what Valentine's Day means to you.  Be sure to leave contact information so if you are the winner, I can notify you.

Here's what is in the package.




Love Delivery
A waitress in a donut shop, Ann is happy with her single life and her cat, Mittens, until she finds herself interested in Tom, the handsome man who makes deliveries to the shop.  Unfortunately, Tom comes with some baggage, including five cats; Maria, his vicious ex-wife; and Maria’s adorable daughter he calls Kitten. 

When Maria is hired at the donut shop and learns Ann and Tom are beginning a relationship, she does everything she can to tear them apart.  Will Ann and Tom’s love prevail, or will the evil ex-wife win in the end?  Love Delivery is a sweet romance, which will bring tears to your eyes and a smile to your lips.

EXCERPT:
“Here it is,” he said, steering her to a quiet corner. Candles lit the table. A bottle of red wine stood open. Tom held the chair for her, and then sat close so their knees touched. “Would you like a glass of wine?” he asked, reaching for the bottle.
“No thanks,” Ann said. “I don’t drink.”
Tom poured a glass for himself. “Here’s the menu.” He handed it to her.
“I know what I want.”
“What’s that?”
“Fettuccini Alfredo.” Ann shook out her napkin and placed it on her lap.
“This chicken dish is good,” Tom said, pointing to an item on the menu.
Ann grimaced.  Is he a control freak? I already told him what I want. “I don’t eat meat.” Her voice sounded harsh in her own ears.
“Ah, well, okay, then. Fettuccini Alfredo it is.” Tom called the waiter and ordered the Alfredo for Ann and a spicy chicken dish for himself.
I guess we don’t agree on everything after all. He drinks and eats meat, too. I hope he doesn’t drink a lot. Maybe we weren’t made for each other. Not knowing what else to do, Ann took a sip of water and smiled.
Tom smiled back. “You’ll have to come meet my cats one of these days. Tyra, a gorgeous, long-haired black female, is my bathroom kitty. Whenever I’m sitting in there, she has to be in my lap. There’ve been times when my pants have been around my feet, and she’s curled up in my underwear.
“Then there’s BeeBee. She’s a Siamese. When I first got her, I thought she liked to cuddle, but it turned out she was just scared. It took me a long time, with lots of persuasion, to get her to come close to me. Finally, I was able to pick her up. I had her in my arms, and I put my face down to smell her fur. Suddenly, she turned and bit me on the nose.
“I think my favorite, though, is Loki. He’s the smallest of the bunch. He has allergies, and if I don’t get him to the vet for a shot in time, he loses his fur on his rear quarters, right by his tail. He loves to ride on my shoulders. Looks just like I’m wearing a fur collar.
“Then there’s the two new ones, they’re the kittens. They haven’t developed personalities yet. You should always get two kittens instead of one,” Tom said when the food arrived.
“Why?” Ann asked. Her face hurt from laughing at Tom’s cat stories. Mittens never did any of the things Tom’s cats did. 
While she ate, Tom continued to share funny stories about the cats and kittens. “Kittens play with each other so you don’t need to play with them. You can just sit back and watch them. When I have kittens in the house, I don’t even turn on my T.V. set.” Tom twirled pasta on his fork. He lifted the fork halfway to his mouth and stopped. “Looks like we have company,” he groaned.
Ann turned. Maria and a curly-haired blond child entered. Ann watched Maria’s smile turn to a frown. Maria pulled the child toward their table. Ann gulped. Now what? Can’t she leave us alone? How can Tom and I ever get to know each other if she’s always showing up? She pasted a false smile on her face and clutched her napkin tightly.
“So you decided not to listen to me,” Maria spat at Ann.
“Daddy!” the little girl cried, holding up her arms.
“Hi, Kitten,” Tom said, scooping the child into his arms. He gave her a bear hug, and she giggled. “I want you to meet my friend, Ann. Ann, this is Kitten.”
“Hi, Ann. Daddy calls me Kitten, but you can call me Catherine.” The child put her arms around Tom’s neck and hugged him.
“Hello, Catherine,” Ann said, finding her voice.
“At least you could have gone somewhere else, Tom. We always ate here,” Maria accused and pushed Tom’s shoulder.
Tom moved Catherine to his other knee and glared at Maria. “Do we have to fight in front of Kitten?”
“Hey, Mr. Nice Guy, you’re the one who left us, remember?”
Removing Catherine from his lap, Tom stood up and faced Maria. “You’re creating a scene. Why don’t you leave before things get ugly?”
“Maybe you should have thought about that a long time ago.” Maria poked Tom’s chest with her finger.
Ann watched in fear. Only moments ago, she and Tom were enjoying dinner. Maria’s face now looked hard and dark. She swore at Tom and poked him again. Then she shoved him on the shoulder.
Tom grabbed her hand. Maria spat at him and reached up, clawing his face with her other hand.
“I hate you,” she screamed, grabbed her child, and ran out crying.
Tom turned to Ann. There were bloody scratches on his face. Ann dipped her napkin in her water glass and dabbed his cheek. “I’m sorry, Ann, I guess this spoiled dinner.”
            This is never going to work for us, not as long as Maria is in the picture. Ann nodded her head. “Sure did. I’m not very hungry now. I think I’d better just go home.”


 

Lady-in-Waiting


Mabriona is cousin to the beautiful and spoiled Princess Alana.  When Alana is forced to marry a man she despises, Mabriona is torn between her loyalty to her cousin and her attraction to the handsome Prince Blayne.
 
Tragedy befalls the cousins on the way to Prince Blayne’s castle.  Servants, believing Mabriona to be Alana, refuse to listen when she tries to explain.

While she waits for Blayne to recover, Mabriona meets his equally handsome younger brother, Madoc, a bard.

When Blayne awakes, will Mabriona choose life with a future king, will she be sent home in disgrace because of her inadvertent lies, or will Madoc win her love with his poetry?

EXCERPT:

Mabriona assisted Alana down to the common dining hall as was her duty.  The big room was warmed at both ends by huge hearths.  In honor of Prince Blayne’s arrival, the boards had been scrubbed until they gleamed.  Warm, fresh-baked loaves of bread graced each table, and the delicious aroma made Mabriona’s mouth water as they entered the room.  Jars of honey mead sat within easy reach of all.  Pewter bowls piled high with fresh picked apples and pears were artfully placed. Serving wenches waited, poised, with huge pots of steaming porridge.
King Cedric already sat at the upper table with Prince Blayne at his right hand.  His face lit up with a smile when Alana and Mabriona approached.  His voice boomed as he greeted his daughter, “Here she is, the flower of my life.”
Mabriona’s breath caught in her throat as her eyes met Blayne’s.  As Alana had feared, the young prince was dark-haired with eyes the color of jet, his stature kingly.  Broad shoulders and well-muscled arms nicely filled out his deep purple brocaded doublet. A full beard of coarse black hair covered his cheeks and chin, but what stopped Mabriona was his smile.  Never before had she seen someone’s face light up like the sun rising on a summer’s morn.  Yet, this was what came to her mind.  Clearly, Blayne’s smile was meant for her, but why? 
He stood and walked toward the women.  “Princess Alana,” he said, bowing before Mabriona, his glance speaking words of heat and passion.
“Oh no, Your Highness,” Mabriona said, blushing.  “I am Princess Alana’s lady-in-waiting, Lady Mabriona.”  She felt Alana glaring daggers at her and quickly curtseyed to hide her embarrassment.  Alana made it clear earlier she wasn’t attracted to dark-haired men, why is she so angry?  It isn’t my fault the prince was confused. Alana looked down at the floor before glancing up at the handsome prince.
“Forgive me, Lady Mabriona.  I’ve made an unthinkable error.”  Prince Blayne bowed again and then turned to Alana.  “Your Highness, your beauty should have made it clear to me you are my intended.”
Mabriona’s heart sunk.  She saw Alana’s cold look as Blayne bowed and took her hand to kiss. She knew then that Alana hated him, yet Alana would marry him as her father decreed.  It was unfair, but Mabriona was already wise enough to know she couldn’t change her lot in life.  Alana would marry the handsome prince and live happily ever after, and she would remain the ever-faithful servant catering to Princess Alana’s every wish.
Blayne grasped Alana’s elbow and led her to the table to sit beside him. Yet as Mabriona watched them, Blayne’s gaze slid back to her, lingering as if he could imprint her image upon his soul.  Her knees felt weak, and Mabriona quickly took a seat at the far end of the board.  Her heart beat rapidly in her chest.  What was happening to her? Prince Blayne was not the first man to have caught her eye, yet he was certainly the first to have affected her so she could barely breathe.  Unobserved and temporarily forgotten, she watched the couple.  Just as she suspected, Alana kept her nose in the air and cringed each time Blayne looked at or touched her.  King Cedric would get an earful as soon as Alana got him alone, of that Mabriona was certain.  Her heart bled for the handsome prince.
She looked up to see Alana motioning furiously at her.  She went to the princess and bent near her.  “Yes, Princess?”
“Get me out of here, now,” Alana whispered harshly.
Mabriona offered her hand, and Alana rose from her place.  Blayne looked up, catching Mabriona’s gaze.  His eyes sparkled, and a smile spread across his face.  He bowed his head slightly.  He openly flirted with her.  This could not be happening.  If King Cedric saw the interplay, what would he think?  Blayne was the intended of Alana. Things could not get any worse.  Her thoughts tumbled like the bones the guards threw when they played at betting games.  



Mirror, Mirror

 Lindsey Baker is intrigued by everything about the middle ages, but when she purchases an antique mirror and a costume to attend a Renaissance Faire, she suddenly finds herself transported back in time.  There she finds she’s been called by a witch to right a terrible wrong.  

Graham loves Prudence, but he can’t marry her because he’s landed gentry, and she is only the baker’s daughter.  Before Lindsey can return to her own time, she must convince Graham to marry against his father’s wishes.  Unfortunately, she also finds herself falling for the handsome gentleman.

Can she find her way back to her own time, or will she be stuck in a time when women had no rights?



EXCERPT:
“Fool-born child!  Watch where you are walking. The master will have your hide for getting mud all over his clean shirts.” 
Someone pulled her ear—hard—and Lindsey yelped with pain.  She was tugged up into a kneeling, then standing position, before she opened her eyes.  She realized in the first moment she was no longer in Oregon.
“Where is your cap?  If the master sees you with your hair hanging down all over your face, he will switch us both.” 
She stared wide-eyed as a large, buxom woman bent down, picked up dirty white shirts from the ground, and thrust them into Lindsey’s arms.
“‘Tis not here. Take my extra one.”  The woman grabbed Lindsey’s hair, balled it, and shoved it into a long, sleeve-like cap, which came to Lindsey’s forehead and fell down around her shoulders.  Balancing the load of shirts with one hand, she felt the cap.  Not a shred of her hair was showing. 
“Um, thanks,” she said.
“Well, donna be thanking me now.  You just watch what you be doing next time, clumsy girl.  Now march back into the washhouse and get the mud off those shirts.  When you have finished, hang them out to dry. Then get you into the kitchen and help cook with dinner.”  The woman brushed her hands off; then she smoothed her apron and marched through a courtyard toward a large stone house.
Dumbfounded, Lindsey stood where the woman left her.  She looked down at herself and saw she still wore her second-hand clothes from St. Vincent de Paul’s.  Her feet were bare. Then she noticed the woman walking away from her was also barefooted.  Despite the muddy courtyard, the air was warm and so was the soil.  But where am I?  As she looked around, the structure of the buildings reminded her of pictures from her British History course in college.
In the opposite direction from which the woman took, Lindsey noticed a path leading to a small outbuilding.  Smoke rose from a chimney.  She trudged back to the washhouse, opened the door but stepped back outside when her eyes began to tear, and the heat blasted her face.  Do people actually work under these conditions?  With the door opened, some of the smoke and steam cleared, and she was able to see a large wooden tub sitting on metal legs straddling hot coals. Lindsey dumped the load of shirts into the tub, picked up a stick and stirred the load in the water.  Before long, her muscles ached, and she had blisters on her hands. Once the tears began, there was no stopping them.  Until this point, she hadn’t thought much beyond putting one foot in front of the other.  She collapsed on a small overturned crate and with head in hands, had a good cry.
With red, puffy eyes, and stuffed nose, Lindsey looked up when the door opened.  A wizened old woman leaning on a cane shuffled in.  She looked at Lindsey with questioning eyes.  “Is it really you, Mistress?” she asked.
“What do you mean?  Who am I supposed to be?” Lindsey responded between sobs.
The old woman began to dance.  “It worked!  It worked!”
Lindsey wiped the tears from her eyes with the bottom of her skirt.  “What worked?” she asked, realizing this woman might know what happened.
“Why the summoning I did for Mistress Prudence.  So you’re the one, eh?”  The old woman pinched Lindsey’s cheek and turned Lindsey’s face from side to side to get a good look.  “Well you do look like the young Mistress.
When are you from, then?”
“You did say when, not where?”
“Of course.  I know you’re not from now, foolish simpkin.  I brung you here.”
“This morning it was 2011.  I’m not sure what year it is now.”
“‘Tis the year 1421, and you need to get busy, little missy.  You need to get the Master to accept Prudence as his bride.  Soon as you do, we can send you back from whence you came.”
Lindsey stood and looked down at the little woman. “Just how do you propose I do that?  Who is this master, anyway?”
“Why, he be the master of the house.  He loves our Prudence, he does, but his father wants him to marry for money.  He’s just distraught our Master is.  I wager you be a smart woman. You can get our Master to marry you. I canna help you anymore, but I’ll be watching you.”  The crone turned and shuffled toward the door.





REMEMBER: Leave a comment about Valentine's Day and your contact info to be entered into the drawing.

14 comments:

  1. When I was in the florist business, I dreaded Valentine's Day---so many roses to clean and especially paying wholesalers inflated prices for some not-so-fresh roses. The mid-winter deliveries in Michigan were difficult plowing through storms and icy roads and of course the need to wrap every arrangement and plant to prevent frost bite. Now Valentine's Day is a delight..no stress, just fun. And no, I don't want a dozen roses either as a Valentine's gift.
    You have made it a very special Valentine's Day with your book giveaway. You have a great day too! jqrose02 at gmail dot com

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  2. Of course they all sound great, Penny!
    I always get a homemade card from my hubby. Normally we go to a nice dinner but it's been raining and our washes are running...so, bummer, I will have to cook!
    pennyestelle@yahoo.com

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  3. Janet, I can imagine you would grow to hate Valentine's Day if you're a florist. I have a friend in the business and she dreads it. Glad it's more special for you now.

    Penny, how sweet...a homemade card. My hubby and I don't exchange gifts, but we always go out for a nice lunch or dinner...the day before Valentine's Day. We learned long ago, going out the night of February 14th is crazy!

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  4. I used to enjoy VD, but living alone, it's not much fun anymore. I used to make homemade cards for my mom...homemade SF candy. We'd go out on the weekend. Now, it's just another day. Sad, isn't it. Sorry to be a bummer here.

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  5. Happy Valentine's Day Penny! I'm hoping for Lady in Waiting or maybe Mirror Mirror:)

    Hugs, Sara

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  6. Today I enjoy Valentine's because my sons who live far away usually call. And I like the chocolate they sometimes send.

    When I was teaching and had children at home, the school parties were fun.

    Your stories sound awesome, Penny. I'm so happy for you.

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  7. Valentine's Day to me means showing your whole family just how much you love and appreciate them. Never mind the cards, gifts or chocolates, it's the hugs, kisses and smile in their eyes I love most. :)

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  8. Cindy, I have several friends who live alone. To honor our friendship for Valentine's Day, we went to a British themed restaurant, had "high tea," and felt thankful for each other's friendship and support.

    Sara, if you're the lucky winner, you'll get all three...yes, all three is the prize!

    Bev, what I loved about Valentine's Day when my kids were at home were the handmade gifts and cards. My daughter still makes handmade cards now that she's a wife and a mother herself.

    Jo-Anne what a great sentiment and how right you are!

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  9. It's a day that I am reminded to put a bit effort into showing my husband I appreciate him. Men are hard to buy for so I cook for him! LOL Today he had apple caramel muffins, fried chicken, and potato salad! LOL

    Honestly though, we shouldn't need a holiday to remind us to show our love and appreciation for others. Sadly though, in this fast moving world, it seems sometimes we need that reminder. I'm tchevrestt (at) yahoo (dot) com

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  10. Hi Penny, of course I got here late! Usually on Valentine's Day my husband bought both me and my daughters chocolates and usually he gave me a huge bouquet of roses. This year I got nothing, but finances are tight. So I'm remembering back to past Valentine's Days.:) I would love to win this drawing, because I haven't gotten to read your books yet.

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  11. Growing up in Germany, Valentine's Day only existed in American movies for me. Since I went to college in the US and made a great friend, Valentine's Day has become a way of celebrating our lasting friendship of now more than 17 years.

    Mirror, Mirror sounds just like my kind of story. I'd love to win a copy.

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  12. Everyday is Valentines day with my husband, he is the greatest--32 years and counting. With love and respect for each other, love only grows stronger, Marian

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  13. Tara, you're so right. It's sad we are always so busy, we don't always think of our loved ones. Cooking up something special sounds perfect.

    Barbara, you're not too late since I haven't cut off the contest yet, but I will very soon!

    Edith, I didn't know Valentine's Day wasn't celebrated in other countries. I'm glad you were able to find a way to celebrate 17 years of friendship.

    Marian, I'm so happy for you. My husband and I have 34 years together and we're still as happy as ever.

    I'll be announcing the winner soon!

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  14. Drum roll.....Ta Da! Congratulations, Barbara. I put all the names in a hat and yours was the one drawn. I'll be sending you a personal email.

    Thanks to everyone who stopped by to share their Valentine stories. I'm sorry you all couldn't be winners, but please stop by the MuseItUp bookstore to check all the titles offered. http://museituppublishing.blogspot.com/p/muse-bookstore.html

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