Friday, 2 May 2014

IDYLLWILD Series Blast & Giveaway

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4/23 - 5/25 IDYLLWILD Series Blast - Lynne Barron

Eligibility: Contest does not seem to have any geographical restrictions (may be subject to the winner's ability to receive and use Amazon products in his/her locale).

Ends: 27 May 2014

Prize(s): $25.00 Amazon Gift Card

Entry method: Rafflecopter form + follow instructions.

Portrait Of Passion by Lynne Barron
Book 1 of the Idyllwild series
What’s a Viscount to do when a mysterious lady with a secret past and a reputation frayed around the edges suddenly appears in London in hot pursuit of his naive young cousin, setting the gossips’ tongues wagging, stirring his family into pandemonium, and driving him mad with her irreverent ways?

If the Viscount in question is Simon Easton, the answer is quite simple. Seduce the beguiling lady. But Miss Beatrice Morgan isn’t your average tarnished lady. She lives a slapdash life wandering the globe like a gypsy, painting fantastical portraits of Duchesses as sirens and landscapes featuring a crumbling old fountain, all the while harboring a secret desire to return to Idyllwild, the only home she’s ever known.

What Simon does not know is that Beatrice just might be willing to sacrifice her honor, her virtue, her very heart to reclaim Idyllwild.

Simon arrived at Viscount Moorehead’s stately town house at five minutes before eleven the next morning. He knew it was gauche to arrive early but he wanted to be sure to have a few minutes to speak with Beatrice before Henry and Olivia arrived.

He knocked on the door and waited, his small wrapped package tucked securely in his pocket.

The door swung open and there was Beatrice.

“Hullo, Easton,” she said, smiling up at him. She wore a flowing muslin dress of pale blue with tiny pink flowers embroidered around the modest neckline and scalloped hem. It flowed from neck to hemline with no cinching at the waist whatsoever. It looked like an old lady’s nightgown more than any dress he’d ever seen. Small puffs of lace were surely intended to be sleeves, but it was only pretention. Her long, elegant arms were bare from fingertips to shoulders. He looked down to discover ten little pink toes peeping out from the hem of her gown. He tried to remember if he had ever seen a woman’s bare toes outside the bedroom and decided he hadn’t.

“Doesn’t Moorehead have a butler?” he demanded, stepping into the cool shade of the foyer.

“I sent Billings on an errand,” Beatrice replied. She closed the door and leaned against it. “It only seemed fair that I answer the door in his absence.”

Simon said nothing. He had never heard of such a thing. He tried to remember if he had ever answered a knock upon his own door and decided he hadn’t.

“Come with me,” Beatrice said as she breezed past him and across the long hall toward the back of the house. “I’ve been experimenting and you can tell me what you think.”

Simon followed along behind her, shaking his head slowly. Bare feet!

“I think you are a man who needs to be shocked.”

She must have heard his footsteps following behind her in the quiet of the hall, for she didn’t turn around once to make sure he was still there. Simon looked from her golden hair, swinging back and forth in one long braid, long enough to reach the small of her back, to the place where he thought her shapely little derriere must be.

Who could tell? Her dress looked like a sack.

“You aren’t just now rising from bed, are you?” he asked, then could have bitten his tongue. A gentleman did not, under any circumstances, refer to a bed in a lady’s presence. Good God, she was making him crazy.

Her husky laughter was the only sound he heard from her as she pushed open a door and held it open for him to follow her.

He stopped beside her just inside the bright room. She had brought him into Moorehead’s kitchen. A pleasantly round woman with frizzy gray hair sat at a long wooden table cutting up strawberries. She looked up at their entrance and then jumped to her feet to bob a curtsy.

“Oh Mabel, do sit down,” Beatrice said with a laugh. “It’s only me and Easton.”

Mabel gave him a quick glance from shoes to hat, which he belatedly realized he had not removed. He quickly did so, tucking it under his arm. He could feel heat rise from his neck to his face. Mabel nodded to him and returned to her perch.

“I’ve tried a new recipe for lemon muffins,” Bea tossed over her shoulder as she walked across the room. “Be honest, you won’t offend me if you don’t like them.” She lifted a muffin from a tray and walked back to him where he stood by the door. She offered the still-warm pastry and waited while he stood there looking from her smiling face to the muffin in his hand to her bare hands clutched together between her breasts. And with her hands clasped just so, he could just make out her breasts on either side. Thank God. He had been beginning to wonder if she had any figure at all in that ridiculous frock.

“Go ahead, try it,” she urged. “I didn’t put poison in it.”

His eyes shot from her happily rediscovered breasts to her face. She tilted her head to the side and studied him, a smile still teasing her lips.

“Easton, are you all right?” she asked quietly. “You haven’t said a word, well apart from that bit about the butler.”

“And the part about you just rising from your bed,” he reminded her just as quietly and watched her eyes widen before she laughed—a dark and husky laugh that rolled over him like a wave.

“I thought I should be proper and ignore that part,” she said. She turned and walked across the room as she added, “After all, one of us should be. And today it seems it shall be me.”

Simon swallowed a bite of lemon muffin quickly before he could choke on the chuckle that tried to escape.

“You? Proper?” he teased. Mabel’s head swung around and she glared at him.

“I can be, you know.” She had stopped in front of the sink and he saw that she was pouring milk into a glass. She turned and started back across the kitchen before continuing. “I know how. I simply choose not to be. Much more fun that way.” She handed the glass to him and stood watching while he took a sip before handing it back to her.

He stood in absolute awe as she proceeded to take a long swallow from the glass he had just handed back to her.

“What do you think?” she asked, licking the foam from her upper lip.

Think? How could he possibly think? How could he think when he was standing in the kitchen with her looking up at him while she licked her lips? How could he be expected to think when she was wearing what had to be her nightgown with her hair still in its braid from the night before? How was he to think with her bare shoulders and bare toes on display?

He looked over to his right to find that Mabel had risen from her stool to lean one plump hip against the table, her arms crossed over her ample bosom. She was beyond glaring at him now, she was shooting daggers.

Beatrice followed his eyes and whatever Mabel saw in her gaze had her huffing and puffing toward the other door, the one that must lead to the dining room. She cast one final look over her shoulder before slamming through the door with such force it bounced against the wall and swooshed back and forth before finally stopping.

Simon turned back to find that Beatrice had stepped closer to him. She was so close that he could see tiny flecks of amber in her brown eyes, close enough that he could smell her scent, floral and minty. She continued to regard him silently for three beats of his heart. He knew it was three, he counted. Three slow beats. Time seemed to stand still.

“Do you like it?” she asked in the softest of voices.

“Yes,” he whispered back, though he hadn’t a clue to what she referred. Her bare shoulders? Her bare toes? Her braided hair? Her ridiculous dress? Her kissable mouth? “Good,” she said. “Here, wash it down with some more milk.”

Simon looked from the glass she had handed him to the half-eaten muffin and let out a bark of laughter.

“The muffin!” he exclaimed before taking a quick sip of milk.

“What did you think I meant?” she asked as she stepped back. The twinkle in her eyes told him she knew. “Did you think I was fishing for compliments?”

“It crossed my mind,” he replied, stepping farther into the room to set aside the now empty glass and his hat. He leaned one hip against the table, much as Mabel the Hun had done, and withdrew a handkerchief from his pocket to wipe away the crumbs from the muffin.

“Don’t be silly, Easton,” she said. “I have no need to fish for compliments from you.”

“No?” he asked. God, she was beautiful. The light from the window above the sink drifted over her, bringing out myriad colors in her hair and bouncing off the freckles on her shoulders. Her entire countenance shone with happiness and warmth.

“No,” she said looking him straight in the eyes. “I know that you want me.”

Would she ever stop surprising him?

“Want is too mild a word for it,” he told her. What a relief to be able to say what he meant.

“Have I rendered you speechless, Beatrice?” he asked when she only stood motionless, quietly watching him.

Beatrice slowly nodded, her brown eyes huge.

“Come here,” he ordered. He tried to keep his voice light, easy, but it came out hard, gruff.

She walked silently to stand in front of him. Simon twisted so that he was leaning back onto the table and opened his legs just enough for her to step between them. He told himself he wasn’t surprised when she accepted the silent invitation, but he was. He was also surprised when she rested both her hands on his chest and leaned in to kiss the cleft of his chin. He was beyond surprised when she followed with a row of featherlight kisses along his jaw to his ear. He held himself still by sheer force of will. He wanted to grab her and ravish her mouth. He wanted to plunder. She seemed to have other ideas.

“I want you too,” she whispered in his ear.

Widow’s Wicked Wish by Lynne Barron
Book 2 of the Idyllwild series
Be careful what you wish for.

The Countess of Palmerton has lived her life by Society’s rules, marrying the right man, bearing the required heir, and guarding her name at all costs. And what has it gotten her? A loveless union, a cold marriage bed and a reputation for perfect propriety.

Fleeing the whispers of her husband’s scandalous demise, Olivia finds a haven at Idyllwild. Away from the gossip and glitter of London, she dares to cast a wicked wish to the winter sky.

Jack Bentley has a wish of his own, one he has no intention of leaving to the fickle fates. He will marry the stubborn widow, even if it means using her awakening passion to force her to the altar.

“Who is Mrs. Goode?” Jack ushered Olivia into the front parlor, curious to learn what she thought of the large room that was rendered miniscule by an overabundance of gilded furniture and sentimental landscapes.

“The lady from whom you lease this house,” she replied before stopping just beyond the threshold. “My goodness, I’d forgotten this room was so...”

“Hideous,” Jack offered.

“Interesting,” she corrected primly.

“You’ve been here before?”

“I attended school with Rachel Goode,” she explained as she began to wander about the room. “I often called upon her here before my marriage.”

Jack watched her trail her hand along the edge of an ornate table and over the back of a spindly chair he’d never been brave enough to sit upon. “Is there no one of consequence you don’t know?”

Olivia shrugged delicately in answer as she continued about the room, stopping to peer at a vase paying homage to some Chinese dynasty.

“London’s Darling,” he murmured.

Olivia shot a quick look over her shoulder, one Jack couldn’t begin to decipher. Surprise perhaps, maybe chagrin. Before he could place it she turned back to the vase, her hands gliding over the squat base and long neck. “I have it on the highest authority that I am nothing more than the daughter of an earl, the widow of same and the mother of yet another.”

“Is that all?” he asked with a chuckle.

“Funny, that was my question, as well,” she said as she turned to face him across a garish Turkish carpet in shades of purple and yellow. “Somehow I don’t think we meant the same thing by the question.”

At a loss as to how to respond to her words, to the rather surly look upon her face, Jack chose to take the bull by the horns.

“I want to apologize for the other night,” he began as he stepped onto the carpet, one step closer to where he wanted to be.

“Whatever for?” she asked.

“For that ridiculous remark I made about your gown.”

“My gown?” she asked with a laugh that sounded anything but joyous. “You needn’t apologize for finding my gown lovely.”

“That’s not what I meant, and you know it.” Jack ran a hand through his hair. It appeared the lady was not going to graciously accept his contrition.

“How would I know what you meant? I hardly know you.”

“You knew me well enough this winter.”

She shrugged before resuming her promenade about the room.

“I did not mean to imply that you didn’t look lovely,” he continued. “Of course you were lovely. You are always lovely.”

“Lovely,” she murmured more to herself than him. “That’s it? I’m lovely?”

“Beautiful,” he hurried to assure her, surprised that she seemed to want to be flattered. The Olivia he’d known at Idyllwild hadn’t given him to believe she needed to be praised and petted. Nor was he one to spout such blarney, but hell, if she needed pretty words, if she wanted to be courted with poetry and sweet talk, then he would do his best.

“Your skin is like rose petals, your hair like…like the most luxurious silk.”

She spun about and pinned him with a glare down her pretty little nose. If it weren’t for the pulse beating at her throat, and the rise and fall of her breasts with each rapid breath she took, he might have mistaken her renewed temper for haughty disdain.

“That’s it?” she asked. “That’s all you’ve got?”

Caught off guard by the cold fury radiating off her in waves, Jack floundered.

“Go on,” she hissed.

“Your breasts are two pillows,” he began, grimacing as the words tripped from his lips.

“Where did you hear that? London’s Darling?” she interrupted.

“What? Nowhere,” he muttered in confusion.

Olivia advanced on him until she was close enough that he might have reached out and grabbed her.

No sooner had Jack lifted his hands to do just that when she spun around and returned to wandering about the cramped parlor. Jack turned to follow her, to keep her in sight in case she made to stride from the room, from the house, from him.

“This room really is dreadful,” she said after another charged silence, a silence during which Jack attempted to figure out what he’d done to set her against him. It couldn’t be his careless remark the night of her mother’s ball, not entirely.

“Awful,” he replied carefully to her back.

“I seem to remember Mrs. Dumfries having a knack for decorating,” she continued, peering up at a painting of two boys rolling a hoop in Hyde Park. “Likely Miss Dumfries inherited her mother’s talent. Perhaps you should ask her to help you with this room.”

Jack let out a bark of laughter, relief and amazement mingling to make him almost lightheaded.

“Is that what this is about, Livy?” he asked incredulously.

“This what?” Olivia turned to face him, her chin lifted in the air.

“You’re jealous.”

“Of Miss Dumfries?” she asked with a sniff. “Don’t be ridiculous. I wouldn’t trade places with that child for all the tea in England.”

“It was just a harmless bit of flirtation,” he said as he stalked toward her.

“It matters not a bit to me if you flirt with every woman in Town.” She stepped back from him until her hip grazed a statue of a blue elephant and she was trapped in the corner between the elephant and a carved wooden screen with butterflies painted in various shades of pink.


“Although I must say it was rather déclassé to do your flirting in my brother’s house, at my mother’s annual ball!” Her voice rose with each word until she was screaming at him as she’d done in the snow all those months ago.

At the time he’d found her behavior shocking, now he found it encouraging, hopeful.

“You’re absolutely right,” he agreed as he stepped into the corner with her. “I apologize. My behavior was beyond boorish.”

“Boorish but effective.” She stepped to the left, clearly intent upon sidling around him.

Jack shifted with her, effectively forcing her farther into the corner.

Undaunted, Olivia tossed back her head. “Although I must admit, I am a bit confused as to why you called upon me day after day, why you accosted me on the street today.”

“I wanted to see you,” he answered, not sure where she was going with this new tangent. Christ, keeping up with Olivia’s agile mind was a lot like following a conversation in Latin. Jack had never been much good with Latin.

Olivia sucked in a breath, all the color leaving her face. “You don’t intend to offer me some bauble, do you?”

“Bauble?” He’d purchased a ring but the large square-cut sapphire hardly classified as a bauble.

“Isn’t that what men do? They give a mistress a piece of gaudy jewelry, something no lady would ever wear, something meant to be sold to hold her over until another man comes along?”

“What are you talking about?” Jack growled as her meaning became clear. “You are not my mistress!”

“Well, I don’t need your tacky jewels,” Olivia growled right back, giving him a shove to his shoulder that didn’t budge him. “Let me by!”

“There won’t be another bloody man,” he snarled low in his throat.

“Don’t you curse at me.” She grabbed him by the lapels of his coat as if to shake him. “I am not some cheap doxy you can curse at whenever you choose. And I am not London’s goddamn Darling!”


The Countess of Palmerton had finally reached the end of her tether. Seething with rage, burning with a lust so powerful she’d been forced to flit about the room in order to refrain from grabbing Jack Bentley and wrestling him to the ground, Olivia did the only thing a lady can do when backed into a corner.

Tightening her hold on Jack’s lapels, she rose onto her toes until they were nearly eye to eye.

“Either put your cock inside me this instant or get out of my way,” she demanded, her voice vibrating.

Lynne Barron always wanted to be a writer, if only she could decide what to write. Everyone told her to write what you know. It wasn’t until she married her extremely romantic and surprisingly sensual husband that she was able to follow that advice. Lynne lives in Florida with her husband, son and a menagerie of rescued pets.

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