Down and Out in Paris and London – George Orwell

GUEST REVIEWER – Surly Joe

“He might be ragged and cold or even starving, but so long as he could read, think and watch for meteors, he was, as he said, free in his own mind.”
― George OrwellDown and Out in Paris and London

  • Down and Out copyTitle: Down and Out in Paris and London
  • Author: George Orwell
  • ISBN: 015626224X (ISBN13: 9780156262248)
  • Series: Stand Alone
  • Published: March 15th 1972 by Mariner Books (first published 1933)
  • Format: Paperback
  • Genre/s: Fiction/Memoir
  • Source: Purchased

Before the acclaim of Animal Farm and 1984, before gaining recognition as one of the twentieth century’s greatest and most influential authors, there was poverty. Squalid, extreme, bug-infested poverty. Down and Out in Paris and London, published in 1933, is George Orwell’s autobiographical account of life on the streets, searching for work, searching for food and a place to sleep, pawning clothes for a piece of bread, a cup of tea and a cigarette. His Paris was not the City of Lights, his London was not the height of British splendor. Success meant finding work in a grand hotel restaurant for just enough money to avoid starvation, working seven days a week, seventeen hours a day, standing in slop, serving the oblivious rich patrons on the other side of the kitchen door.who don’t realize that their food was just laying on the floor being picked at by vermin.

When work ended, life meant “tramping” from town to town, sleeping in lodging houses, Salvation Army hostels or on park benches, hoping not to get arrested. At times, there was no food for days, no bathing for weeks. But ironically, Orwell also describes “a feeling of relief, almost of pleasure, at knowing yourself at last genuinely down and out…and you can stand it. It takes off a lot of anxiety”. Down and Out in Paris and London is Orwell’s descriptive study of poverty in two of the world’s greatest cities. It doesn’t explain why he was poor, how long he was poor or how he escaped from being poor. He just was. It was his existence. And when it ended, he
took his experiences and learnings and moved on.

This unusual fictional account – in good part autobiographical – narrates without self-pity and often with humor the adventures of a penniless British writer among the down-and-out of two great cities. The Parisian episode is fascinating for its expose of the kitchens of posh French restaurants, where the narrator works at the bottom of the culinary echelon as dishwasher, or plongeur. In London, while waiting for a job, he experiences the world of tramps, street people, and free lodging houses. In the tales of both cities we learn some sobering Orwellian truths about poverty and society. – Goodreads

George_OrwellEric Arthur Blair, better known by his pen name George Orwell, was an English author and journalist. His work is marked by keen intelligence and wit, a profound awareness of social injustice, an intense opposition to totalitarianism, a passion for clarity in language, and a belief in democratic socialism.

He is best known for the dystopian novel “Nineteen Eighty-Four” (published in 1949) and the satirical novella “Animal Farm” (1945)—they have together sold more copies than any two books by any other twentieth-century author. His 1938 book “Homage to Catalonia”, an account of his experiences as a volunteer on the Republican side during the Spanish Civil War, together with numerous essays on politics, literature, language, and culture, are widely acclaimed.

http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/bookclub/down-and-out-in

BLOG TOUR & GIVEAWAY – Hybrid (Healer Book #2) by B.N. Toler

  • Hybrid_amazon_goodreads_smashwords (1)Title: Hybrid
  • Author: B. N. Toler
  • Series: Healer #2
  • Published: March 25th 2014 by B N Toler
  • Format: eBook
  • Genre/s: Paranormal Romance/Urban Fantasy
  • Source: Author
  • Rating: B+

My Aunt Lucy used to say, “If you cannot find peace within yourself, you will never find it anywhere else.” She said many wise things I never heeded when she was alive. I want to be the woman that’s okay with hiding from what she fears and letting her big, strong man protect her. But that’s not me. I hate to be scared. I hate the feeling that there is an evil out there that could hurt me if it finds me. But mostly, I hate that so many before me lived in fear and died at the hands of evil. That is why I cannot find peace within. There is no peace for me while Healers suffer the atrocities of others.

Barnes & Noble: http://bit.ly/1iGkci7

HYBRID – BOOK #2

Upon awakening and realizing that she has in fact been unconscious for months Aldo knows that she has no choice but to leave her family and the man she loves to try to destroy the hive where healers like herself are being kept for breeding purposes. She came to love Rhett in the months that she was unconscious but cannot continue to live safe in hiding as he would prefer.

Hybrid again demonstrated B.N. Toler’s uncanny ability to create a diverse and appealing cast of characters to whom the reader can’t help but bond with. This genre defying story reinvents the classic vampire tale offering instead a tale of a woman determined to uncover the secrets of her past and protect those she loves. Readers will not be able to resist Hybrid and will be anxiously awaiting the third installment in this exciting series.

Disclaimer: ARC was kindly provided by the author for an honest review.

 
7150768B. N. Toler is a happily married, mother of three, and HEALER is her first self-published book. She has worked in several fields, including real estate and orthodontics, but writing has always been one of her passions. Though she has written many stories, HEALER is the first one she ever really fell in love with.

Some of her other passions include reading and music. She enjoys most genres including fantasy, erotica, romance and supernatural. She loves to find a book she can’t put down. Some of her favorite authors include Charlaine Harris (The Sookie Stackhouse Series), Karen Marie Moning (The Fever Series), Sylvia Day (The Bared to You series), and recently she’s become a big fan of Samantha Young (On Dublin Street).

B. N. Toler loves music and listens to pretty much anything. She’s a big fan of blue grass, country, and anything old school. Some of her favorite singers and bands are Johnny Cash, Elvis, Eric Church, The Bootleggers, and old school hip-hop like Salt n Pepa.

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Read the first book in the series now for only $.99!
 
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HEALER – BOOK #1

B.N. Toler has single-handedly restored my faith in the vampire story. While I expected to like Healer did I expect the Twilight does M. Night Shyamalanesque story I read? No, not even close. Aldo is a healer, a very dangerous thing to be in her world. Her talents are more psychically based than our traditional understanding of the word. Aldo can literally use her own life-force or preferably channels that of a host to heal someone who is not critically injured or terminally ill. When a young girl is hit by a truck in front of her, she reacts immediately, unwittingly revealing her true nature to forces she doesn’t know or understand. The driver of the truck is not what we expect either, he is another healer, the first that she has met outside of her family. The question is, is he one to be feared the way she has always been taught, or trusted?

 
Tour Organized By
 

BLOG TOUR – Master of the Opera Serial by Jeffe Kennedy

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SERIAL RECAP AND INTERVIEW

I have been looking forward to this blog tour since I had the pleasure of tweeting with Jeffe not long after I read the first installment of this marvellous retelling of Gaston Leroux’s 1909 classic The Phantom of the Opera, Master of the Opera. I read and loved her erotic interpretation of Beauty and the Beast, Petals and Thorns and was intrigued by what she would do with another well known tale, let me assure you her six-part serialized novel Master of the Opera did not disappoint.

Master of the Opera, Act 1: Passionate Overture In the first tantalizing installment of Jeffe Kennedy’s ravishing serial novel Master of the Opera, an innocent young woman is initiated into a sensual world of music, mystery, passion–and one man’s private obsession. . .

Master of the Opera, Act 2: Ghost Aria – With each passing day of her internship at the Santé Fe Opera House, Christine Davis discovers something new, something exciting—and something frightening. Hidden in the twisting labyrinths beneath the theater is a mysterious man in a mask who, Christy’s convinced, is as real as the rose he left on her desk—and as passionate as the kiss that burns on her lips. He tells her to call him “Master,” and Christy can’t deny him. But when her predecessor—a missing intern—is found dead, Christy wonders if she’s playing with fire…

Master of the Opera, Act 3: Phantom Serenade – After a harrowing night trapped in the tunnels beneath the Santé Fe Opera House, intern Christy Davis finds comfort in the arms of Roman Sanclaro, the opera’s wealthy and gorgeous benefactor. But even as Roman tries to impress her with his lavish lifestyle—and seduce her with his charms—Christy cannot stop obsessing over her other, clandestine lover.

Master of the Opera, Act 4: Dark Interlude – Could her masterful lover be capable of murder, and worse? Perhaps it was the thrill of danger that drew Christy to him in the first place—like a moth to the flame—instead of a more conventional romance with the opera house’s handsome benefactor, Roman. For the sake of her sanity, she must at least give Roman a chance. But for the love of her master, she must give in to every wild fantasy, every wicked game, and every whim he commands…

Master of the Opera, Act 5: A Haunting Debut – He has pushed the boundaries of her sensuality and tested the limits of her passion. But now the Master wants more. If Christy accepts his challenge, she must be willing to go further than she’s ever gone. She must surrender to his every desire. She must submit to his every command. 

Master of the Opera, Act 6: Crescendo – Two men hold her fate in their hands: Roman, the opera house’s wealthy benefactor who uses his money and power to control her. And the masked maestro known as the Master who demands her surrender and commands her pleasure with each stroke. Both want her; only one can have her. . .

In a rising crescendo of madness, obsession, and lust, Christy must take a chance and follow her heart—to a breathtaking climax as powerful as love itself.

REVIEW

We all know the story, the young ingénue and the scarred man who lives under the theatre and the passionate love that ensues between them. However this titillating retelling is deliciously dark, mysterious and sexy much like the Phantom himself.

In Master of the Opera, the previous intern has mysteriously disappeared and Christine, Christy for short is hired to replace her. Desperate to escape her controlling father she is glad to relocate close to family friends and work at the world famous opera house. At first, nothing seems out of the ordinary then almost as if she is being wooed from afar Christy begins to hear a beautiful tenor singing but when she tries to determine the source of the music, she comes to an area that has been walled off. A rose appears and then later the masked man man himself, terrified yet intrigued both the reader and Christy are left with the of quandary whether or not to trust this stranger.

With each installment of this serial the reader is drawn even further into Christy’s new world and begins to question the true motivations of the other players. She is torn between the childhood crush, the suddenly interested and controlling Roman and the Ghost to whom she is undeniably drawn.

Prior to the third act the sensuality between Christine and the Ghost is just hinted at, with a glancing touch here and the odd suggestive thought there and even when the Ghost finally begins to court and finally seduces Christy the interludes between them always remain tasteful.

Whenever I read one of Jeffe Kennedy‘s stories I feel like one of the birds who gobbled up the bread crumbs that Hansel and Gretel dropped to mark their way home, it is over too soon and I am left looking for more.

INTERVIEW

PD: What have you written?

JK: I have twelve novels and novellas out right now, along with some other works of poetry and non-fiction. My most recent work is Master of the Opera, a serial novel that is a modern retelling of The Phantom of the Opera.

PD: Is there a message in your novel/s that you want readers to grasp?

JK: I think messages get in the way of the story, so I try to avoid having some sort of agenda. But all of my books have themes that the stories explore. In Master of the Opera, the heroine is faced with a situation where she’s not sure what to believe is real. She has to learn to trust herself and not listen to what other people tell her.

PD: What were the challenges (research, literary, psychological, and logistical) in bringing it to life?

JK: I wanted to capture the magic of the traditional tale, but make it my own. I also wanted to set it at the Santa Fe Opera House and – though I live in Santa Fe – I couldn’t get a tour because the opera house was closed for the season. I had to turn in the book to my editor before the regular season, and tours began. So I worked every contact I could rustle up before I managed to talk someone into giving me a private, off-season backstage tour. It was so cool!

PD: What genre are your books?

JK: I write fantasy, fantasy romance and erotic romance.

PD: What draws you to this genre?

JK: I’m sure there’s some deep, dark psychological compulsion. I’ve always loved fantasy and sci fi – all varieties of speculative fiction. And sex is a given for me, because it’s such an intense, powerful and intimate way for humans to interact.

PD: What are you working on at the minute?

JK: I am working on line edits for my upcoming erotic romance novel, Going Under.

PD: Is it a departure from your past work?

JK: No – it’s much like my Facets of Passion novellas, only as a full-length novel.

PD: Why have you chosen to write retellings of classics or fairy tales?

JK: Obsession? LOL! I have these stories that have stuck in my head since I started reading. So far I’ve retold The Phantom of the Opera and Beauty and the Beast (Petals and Thorns) – both because I never found a version that was sexy enough for me.

PD: To what do you attribute the recent popularity of erotic literature to?

JK: E-readers! Anyone can buy the sexiest stories without going to some grungy adult bookstore or wondering what the mail-carrier thinks and without keeping nosy folks from peeking at the cover.

PD: Critics have stated erotica is tantamount to porn therefore plot is unnecessary, how important is plot to you?

JK: Without a plot, there is no story. I suspect the critics want to criticize sexual freedom more than anything else.

PD: Which authors have influenced you the most?

JK: There are so many! I’m an avid reader. But seminal authors for me in erotica are Anne Rice, Pauline Réage, and Anaïs Nin.

PD: How can readers discover more about you and you work?

jeffe-kennedy-9-2-picJeffe Kennedy is an award-winning author with a writing career that spans decades. Her fantasy BDSM romance, Petals and Thorns, originally published under the pen name Jennifer Paris, has won several reader awards. Sapphire, the first book in the Facets of Passion series, has placed first in multiple romance contests and the follow-up, Platinum, is climbing the charts. Her most recent works include three fiction series: the fantasy romance novels of A Covenant of Thorns, the contemporary BDSM novellas of the Facets of Passion, and the post-apocalyptic vampire erotica of the Blood Currency.

She is currently working on Master of the Opera and The Twelve Kingdoms, a fantasy trilogy.

Jeffe lives in Santa Fe, with two Maine coon cats, a border collie, plentiful free-range lizards and a Doctor of Oriental Medicine. Jeffe can be found online at her website: JeffeKennedy.com or every Sunday at the popular Word Whores blog.

Disclaimer: ARC was kindly provided by the publisher for an honest review.

Surly Joe – The Gambler

CONTRIBUTOR PROFILE – Surly Joe

In his own words – Surly Joe is a moderately nondescript Toronto-based white guy who spends too much time contemplating the nature of boredom.  His aspirations waver between wanting to be either a professional gambler or a Zen monk, with a touch of writing on the side.  After completing university with a degree in a subject that does not readily lead to any sort of viable employment, he wandered through Europe and Northern Africa for a while collecting stories and useless trivia,  Circumstance led to a career back in Toronto.  He now spends his money on food, friends, wine and annual trips to Las Vegas.

For the record I would like it known that I am far more computer savvy than this clip would have it seem but I couldn’t help but be reminded of exchanges between Joe and I in the past.

As the far more discerning and cultured of the two of us, my plebeian tastes run along the lines of strawberry zinfandel than a full bodied red. Therefore it should be no surprise that Joe would be the one to select George Orwell’s Down and Out in Paris and London as his debut review. I can only hope that you enjoy reading it as much as I did.

Bitten – The TV Series, Episode 8

bittenBANNER

GUEST REVIEWER – teachergirl73

This episode opens with the realization that Jeremy has been poisoned as Elena and him realize that the knife used to stab him had been dipped in a toxin.  Elena goes in search of the mutts to find out what poison was used on Jeremy, while Clay makes a plan to question Zachary Cain who is locked up in the cage. ep8Nick has left Stonehaven to begin the business of erasing his father’s existence in the human world and to reassure the other Pack families that Jeremy is still in control, despite the losses that they have faced. We also see Nick begin to assert himself as someone to be taken more seriously, rather than the rich playboy that we have seen up to this point.

Back at Stonehaven, Clay offers Cain the opportunity to join the pack even though he was involved in Pete and Antonio’s murders. Clay reveals how he became a werewolf to Cain, how he was bitten as a child and saved by Jeremy, as a way of inviting him to the pack and offering him connections and stability instead of a life of living on the run in isolation.

bitten-episode-1x07-sylvie-philipIn Toronto, an interesting development occurs as Philip and his ex-girlfriend are looking at the wolf footage of Elena and Logan running in a downtown park at night. The video captured Elena’s clothing piled on the ground with a pendant clearly visible. Philip is clearly disturbed by this, as he recognizes it as a necklace that he had given to Elena. Conveniently, Philip’s ex-girlfriend takes this moment to start to ask questions about the strength of his relationship with Elena. Later on, Philip calls Elena and begins to question her about the time that she spends with Logan. Elena clearly finds the conversation strange, but given that she is desperately searching for whatever poisoned Jeremy, she can’t give him much time.

Elena tracks down Cain’s girlfriend at the diner, and discovers that Amber knows all about the werewolves and that she wants to be like Elena. Elena tries to explain to Amber that being a werewolf is the last thing she would want, when Leblanc and Marsten walk into the diner. Meanwhile, back at Stonehaven, the sheriff shows up and asks Clay to come down to the police station for questioning about the murder of a local man. Clay had been seen arguing with the man just prior to his disappearance.

In the novel, we see how unnerved Elena really is by Leblanc because he is a serial killer who preys on women. Elena knows all about his previous crimes because she found his scrapbook which contained mementoes taken from his victims. Despite her fear, she manages to exhibit her dominance over him, leaving him with a broken wrist. In the show, Leblanc still leaves with a broken wrist, but we don’t really get to see how much he frightens Elena and in the book this fear is important foreshadowing of events to come.

Elena returns to Stonehaven with the name of the poison and is able to save Jeremy. When Clay returns from being questioned by the police, Elena and him argue after he finds out that she had a meeting with Leblanc and Marsten on her own. Elena is still reeling from the knowledge that Cain has been protecting his girlfriend all along, not the other mutts, and that despite Amber’s desire to become a werewolf, Cain refused to bite her for fear of her dying. Elena demands to know why Clay never cared enough about her to want to protect her from the risks of being bitten? Then, to throw some more salt into the wound, Elena declares that what Cain and Amber have is real love and that clearly that is not what her and Clay shared.

Clay’s response to Elena’s accusations is to get down to the business of breaking Cain. It is during this scene that there is a very significant departure from the novel. In the book, we learn that when Clay is in ‘enforcer’ mode, his techniques were “completely methodical, showing no emotion at all.”1. Yet in this episode, Clay and Cain have a very emotional moment where they talk about the fantasy of settling down and having kids, creating a family with the women that they love which was something that neither man had considered before. After, finishing off Cain, Clay makes it clear to Elena that what they share is definitely “the real thing”, and regardless of how they got there, it is now up to Elena to decide whether or not she can accept it.

As I watch each new episode, I find myself more and more curious about what the writers have chosen to keep from the original storyline and what new twists they decide to add. Ultimately, I do believe that show’s plotline is staying true to the struggles that Clay and Elena face with their relationship, even if the show’s writers use different obstacles to create the angst. I’m also very interested in what the show has planned for Philip, now that they have set him on a very different path from the one he follows in the book.

1. Armstrong, K., Bitten.  (Toronto: Plume, a division of The Penguin Group, 2003), p.224

COVER REVEAL – Protection by Elise de Sallier

PROTECTION A Forbidden Love, Book 2

by Elise de Sallier

He’ll do anything to protect the woman he loves . . . but first, he must make amends for taking advantage of her innocence.

In the much awaited conclusion to Innocence, A Forbidden Love – Book One, Nathaniel, the Marquis of Marsden, is left reeling at the revelation of Lisa’s royal heritage. Keeping her safe has always been his priority, and he is determined to protect her . . . from the King’s machinations, their enemies, and her own overly generous nature if necessary.

Although overjoyed to be reunited with Nathaniel, Lisa fears she made a better mistress than she will a marchioness. Longing for a return to the freedom they shared when he thought her a commoner, she does her best to live up to his – and society’s – expectations, but she’s only willing to compromise so far. Being kept in the dark is no longer an option. Despite the unexpected pleasure she discovered in Nathaniel’s arms, if there is one thing Lisa has learned . . . ignorance is far from bliss.

Excerpt

Gripping Nathaniel’s arm tightly, Lisa considered a possible solution to their dilemma. If the King thought they had to marry, his plans would be stymied, and the wedding could occur at their earliest convenience—or so she hoped.
Looking up at the man she loved almost beyond reason, she came to a decision. Two could play at this meddling game. After everything she had endured, Lisa felt no qualms about manipulating things in her favour.

“Don’t worry, sweetheart.” She smiled her assurance. “I believe I have the perfect solution.”
~
“A heretofore unknown relative to the crown will require a protracted engagement. But only after Lady Anneliese has been properly introduced to society, domestic and foreign, at a series of formal events.”

Not wanting to distress her father, Lisa made sure he saw her wink before addressing King William’s declaration. She feared the sovereign harboured the belief she could be enticed away from Nathaniel’s side by one of the foreign aristocrats he proceeded to speak of at length.

“The Crown Prince of Bavaria sounds delightful, Your Majesty.” She took the risk of interrupting when it became apparent he intended to laud each prince’s or duke’s individual merits in detail while Nathaniel fumed quietly at her side. “And I do appreciate your desire for my introduction to
society to be memorable. But I’m not sure delaying Lord Marsden’s and my nuptials for any length of time is the wisest course of action.”

She waved her free hand in the vicinity of her mid-region, and the King’s mouth formed a moue. While pleased to see her insinuation having its desired effect, she hadn’t taken into account Nathaniel’s reaction to their supposed news.

“Lisa?” he whispered hoarsely.

Looking up to see he had gone quite pale, she smiled sweetly, willing him to understand her silent message. “Or we could wait, for a long time, while I am paraded before every eligible prince from here to the Baltic Sea if you’d prefer.”

Nathaniel’s gaze dropped to her tightly corseted stomach before returning to her still-widened eyes.

“Oh, no, waiting is not a good idea.”

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Innocence (A Forbidden Love, Book 1)

Lindsey Gray (Author on Author Book Review) – This novel seems more like that of a seasoned historical romance novelist than a debut. The knowledge of the time period and customs is breathtakingly accurate. Ms. de Sallier’s portrayal of Lisa and her struggle to understand the world that was taking shape around her was brilliant and a thrill to experience. All the differences between Nathaniel and Lisa are quite evident from the start, but Ms. de Sallier’s depiction of their attraction and intimacy make them perfect for each other.

I devoured the 313-page copy I received in one day. I don’t even recall the last time I enjoyed reading a book of that length and read so incredibly fast. I highly recommend this book to any historical romance lover. If you enjoy the novels of Rose Gordon or Christine Merrill, Innocence should be the next book on your to be read list. See full review HERE.

Andrea Whittle (Penny Dreadful Book Reviews) – From it’s elegantly designed cover to its superb writing, Innocence is a skillfully constructed Regency. It is so convincing in its historical guise that I was shocked when I read that it originated as a Twilight non-canon fan fiction. See full review HERE.

N. Kubie – Have you ever read one of those books where once you get into it, you can’t put it down? Meals, work and even family become annoying distractions that take you away from reading? Well, Innocence is one of those books. I literally brought it with me to go shopping and read it in the parking lot and even the checkout line…

…The intensity between Lisa and Nathaniel is undeniable, palpable and scrumptious. Everything I look for in a romance, historical or modern. But add to that the wonderful details in manner, speech and dress and you feel transported to another time.

I’m so anxious to read Protection, the next installment (which is due in the Spring), to see how this love story continues! See full review HERE

Available May 1st 2014!

GUEST POST: Kady Winter – Life is what happens

Life is what happens to us while we are making other plans,” Allen Saunders famously wrote. Resonate for you? It sure describes my last year as an aspiring fiction author!

It was all so simple and straight-forward. I’d adapt my passion project screenplay into a YA novel. While querying agents, I’d work on the prequel. Along the way, I’d nurture the online presence for my pen name, Kady Winter, so that when my first novel came out, I’d have a relationship with readers who might enjoy the book.

Sounds good, right? And everything was going according to plan. I even wrote a short story to give readers a sense of my writing style and genre. (“Silver Moonlight” is available for free at kadywinter.com and Wattpad.) I finished my debut, “Golden Apples,” in late spring 2013. It won a contest and finaled in another. By summer, three agents had requested it. I was well underway with the prequel and the delightful Andrea Whittle had even profiled me on her Penny Dreadful Books and Reviews blog! Whoo hoo!

Then “Life” happened, decided to pull “Golden Apples” from the agents to restructure, ended up writing the first draft of a new novel and its sequel during NaNoWriMo, a 30-day writing challenge held each November. Thus, on December 1st, I found myself the proud author of four incomplete or unedited manuscripts, each one a long way from being ready for others to see, much less agents. Sigh.

But Life’s still grand, and Andrea kindly invited me back to share some more of my journey. Here’s a sneak preview of my N/A historical with paranormal elements, “All That Shimmers.” It’s my NaNoWriMo novel, the first of a series and set in the world established in “Silver Moonlight.”

Working at a ‘grand hotel’ resort while World War I rages overseas, whimsical Vanessa enlists the aid of some enchanting water nymphs in her misguided quest for a rich husband, but does she recognize true wealth when she sees it?

Excerpt:

“Last dance!” called the bandleader. Vanessa was glad to see Avery heading in her direction. Her previous partner had been more enthusiastic than skilled, and she looked forward to ending the night on an up note.

Dancing with Avery would be the perfect cap to a delightful evening.

“Save the best for last?” Ned’s breath was warm on the back of her ear, his scent a risqué blend of booze and wintergreen mint.

Her smile was demure as she turned to face him. “If you’re asking me to dance, I’d say that’s exactly what you’ve done.”

He grinned. “Spunky. I like that.”

She took his warm hand as ‘The Missouri Waltz’ began. In moments, his arm was firmly around her back as they glided across the floor together. “I’m Ned Cooper.”

“Vanessa Perkins.”

“A relative of Isabel Anderson’s?” he asked. “I believe she’s a Perkins.”

“Anything’s possible,” Vanessa replied with a smile. Who knows, even a famous heiress like her must have distant cousins.

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WEBSITE: www.kadywinter.com | Facebook: Kady Winter  | Twitter: @kadywinterbooks | Tumblr: Kady Winter | Pinterest: Kady Winter