Monday, May 18, 2015

Meet Moment Monday: Where the Wild Wind Blows by Nancy Morse

I'm excited to welcome fellow historical romance author and Love Historicals member, Nancy Morse. Nancy's Native American historical romance, Where the Wild Wind Blows is the first book in her Native American Wild Wind Series.

Here's a bit more about the story...

Katie McCabe, daughter of an Indian trader, finds herself alone when her family is killed in a battle between the Army and the Indians. She is rescued by Black Moon, a fierce Lakota warrior who has vowed to keep the white people from taking his land, and is taken to live with his people. The love that ignites between these two wild hearts is tested by treachery, abduction, prejudice, a promise to a dying woman, and the tensions that erupt between the Sioux and the Army during the turbulent 1850s. From the war-torn Great Plains to the opulence of St. Louis, a headstrong white girl and a proud Lakota warrior fight for their love and the wild country of their birth.

WHERE THE WILD WIND BLOWS is the first book in the Native American Wild Wind Series. Book 2, WINTER WIND, follows the tumultuous adventures of Katie and Black Moon as a new threat arises, testing the strength of their love.

I dare you to read this meet scene between Katie and Black Moon, and not want to read the rest of the story.
There was nothing friendly about him. He sat without moving, deceptively relaxed in a cross-legged position, puffing silently on a long-stemmed pipe. The fire sent shadows flickering across his face and bare chest and cast him in an ominous light. There was a menace about him, an undisguised hostility, and a proud arrogance. The colors and design of the beaded bag that hung from his rawhide belt confirmed that he was Lakota.
Her voice sounded small and childlike when it slipped into the space between them. “How long was I sleeping?”
If he was surprised that she spoke his language, he gave no indication of it. Tossing a stick onto the fire, he said stoically, “The sun has risen and fallen once.”
A day. She had slept an entire day. It seemed incredible until she recalled just how much there was to forget. She began to tremble, and into the darkness she raged at the utter senselessness of it all. “Why did they have to die like that?”
A muscle twitched in his high-boned cheek. His voice came low and reeking of bitterness from across the flames. “Word of this killing will spread like wildfire and many others will be asking that question.”
Remembering what her father always told her about the Indian way, Katie swallowed down the lump in her throat and said in a voice that quavered, “My father will have many fine gifts for you for helping me to escape.”
“Your father is dead.”
She did not hear him. “He will be very grateful to you.”
He repeated, “Your father is dead.”
This time she could not block it out. His cold, flat words were the awful confirmation of what she had already sensed in the depths of her being. They had a final, absolute ring to them.
“Richard.” She uttered the name as part statement, part question, aimed at no one in particular.
He tapped the spent ashes out of the pipe bowl, saying as he did, “The one with hair the color of the red dog is dead.”
It wasn’t that he referred to Richard as a fox that caused her to flinch, but the casual way in which he said it. Tears began to form, hot, stinging tears of disbelief and outrage and sorrow. Her shoulders started to shake as great sobs seized her. Like water from a broken beaver dam the tears rushed from her eyes and she wept into her hands. First, her mother had been taken from her, leaving a void that would never be filled. Now, her father and brother, and with them, dreams of Ireland and a life that was never to be fulfilled. The world was suddenly a dark and lonely place, with death and destruction as the only rewards for living.
Black Moon watched her from across the embers. “Death is part of the circle of life,” he said. “Man moves in a sun-wise direction. He comes from the south, the source of all life, and moves toward the west, the setting sun of his life. As he grows older, he approaches the cold north where the white hairs wait. If he lives long enough, he comes to the source of light and understanding that is the east. From there he returns to the place where his life began, to his mother, the Earth. We all return to the place of our beginning. Only the weak ones cry.” There was no pity in his voice, no compassion, only a hint of mocking.
Katie lifted her chin and glared back at him. With tear-stained cheeks and eyes wild and bright, she declared with a sudden burst of pride, “I am not weak. I am strong.”
His face remained implacable. He gave an indolent shrug, and said, “Is that why you shake like a frightened long-ears? Tell me, little red-haired long-ears just how strong you are.”
“I am no rabbit,” she said. “Do not call me that.”
His jaw tightened at her insolence. “I will call you whatever I please.”
“I have a name. It is Katie.”
“Names can be changed. A boy is known by his cradle name until he earns a new one.”
“But I am a woman, and even among the Lakota a woman does not change the name she receives at birth. My name is Katie and I will answer to no other.”
From the storm clouds she saw gathering in his smoky eyes she expected him to draw his knife from its hide sheath and silence her with it for speaking so boldly. But he made no move toward his weapon.
They lapsed into silence. Katie had no idea how long she sat there with her knees pulled up to her chest, her arms hugging them tight. During the indeterminate hours that passed in which neither of them spoke, she scrutinized him from across the flickering flames.
His hair, unbound and hanging long and straight over his shoulders, was blacker than the recesses of the cave where no light shone. The fire illuminated a face that bore the stamp of power and sheer force of will. With its high cheekbones, straight nose and well defined mouth, its handsomeness was compelling. It drew her toward it, much like the glazed windows of her father’s cabin on the Laramie had often drawn magpies that flew against them with a thud and an explosion of feathers.
She could not help but notice that his legs were slim and hard, made for wrapping around a horse’s bare back. A lean, tough belly showed not a hint of extra flesh. His bare narrow shoulders seemed perfectly made for slipping easily through thick groves and brush. His arms were well-muscled from a lifetime of drawing taut bowstrings. A band of red-dyed porcupine quills spanned one forearm. The hands that held the pipe, with their long, tapered fingers, were almost too beautiful to belong to a man.
Yet despite the physical appeal of him that she found so compelling, there was a hardness about him, of angular features and taut muscles and the suggestion of an inflexible spirit. But it was his eyes, in which the flames of the fire shone so brightly, that burned with such undisguised hatred it sent chills through her and forced her to turn her face away.
The silence stretched on and on.

More about Nancy...

Nancy Morse is an award-winning author of historical, contemporary and paranormal romance, where love is always an adventure. She lives in Florida with her husband and a very spoiled Alaskan Malamute. Visit with her at and on Facebook.

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Monday, May 11, 2015

Meet Moment Monday: Eruption by NA Contemporary Author J. Hughey

I'm so pleased to welcome New Adult Contemporary author J. Hughey to Romancing the Victorians for Meet Moment Monday.

Here's a bit about Eruption, the first book in the Yellowblown™ Series.

I’m in the middle of the perfect college semester, hundreds of miles from Mom, with an awesome roomie and my freshman crush finally becoming a sophomore reality—Hotness! I’m figuring out calculus, I’ve got both hands on the handlebars and the wind of freedom in my hair. What on earth could slow my roll?

How about if the Yellowstone volcano erupts for the first time in 630,000 years, spewing a continuous load of ash (crap) all over North America? Think that’ll put a kink in my bicycle chain?

Make that kinks, plural, because here’s a scientific fact I’ll bet you didn’t know. Nothing ruins the perfect semester like a super caldera. Now that I’ve made you smarter today, maybe you can tell me how to keep my life cruising in the right direction—no to Mom, yes to roomie, double yes to Hotness!—during a global disaster?

My lame name is Violet and, in the interest of full disclosure, I’m not hanging from the side of a cinder cone on the last page of this trauma, but there’s definitely more to come. Unless, of course, humans become extinct and then there’s not. Duh.

~ * ~

In this excerpt, protagonists Violet and Boone have their first real meeting. They met briefly on freshman move-in day, but he was in his official capacity as a Resident Assistant, not at liberty to notice the new girls. Today Violet is out for a bike ride to escape her cray-cray roommate.

~ * ~
After my responsible escape, I’d ridden four or five miles out of town then looped back on the country roads. At the first stoplight, a biker came toward me on the perpendicular street. He nodded at me and looked away then looked back at about the same time I recognized him. Boone freakin’ Ramer. The unexpectedness both jazzed and horrified me. Hotness, all to myself, yes, but he was seeing me in a helmet, sports sunglasses and a water bladder backpack.
“Hey,” I said.
He wore sunglasses, too. The reflective orange lenses hid his eyes, but not his frown. “Aren’t you a freshman at Western Case?” he asked. His voice was nice, not crazy deep but definitely masculine, and he spoke with a slow cadence, in no hurry at all.
“Yeah,” I said. Scintillating. Brilliant.
“What’d you think of the game?”
“What game?” I scooted my bike farther onto the shoulder of the road as a car cruised past.
“The football game. Today. At home.”
“I don’t follow sports much. Was it good?” Those maddening mirrored glasses hid everything. His extended silence couldn’t be a positive sign.
“Are you lost?” he finally asked.
I glanced around. “I don’t think so. Do I look lost?”
His self-deprecating smile thinned his lips but showed no teeth. “No, sorry, most students only ride far enough to find beer.” He moved his head in a way that suggested he was checking out my gear. “I should’ve noticed you weren’t dressed for a grocery run.”
“I only did about ten miles,” I said with a shrug.
“Twice what I can do on these hills.” He grimaced.
I slid my sunglasses off my sweaty nose. I didn’t like not seeing his eyes and hoped he’d show me his if I showed him mine. I used the maneuver as an excuse to check out the rest of him. His biking shorts were loose, like gym shorts, accentuating awesome, tight calves. The top half of him didn’t disappoint, either, with the thin fabric of his shirt plastered over his pecs. He was respectably muscled, not over-juiced like Bodacious.
Hot. Ness.
“New to biking?” I asked.
“Rehabbing my knee.”
“That sucks.”
“Yep.” He finally removed his sunglasses to wipe his forearm over his ruddy face.
“What happened?” I indicated his leg with the tip of my chin.
His quick glance registered surprise before he gave the same odd little smile. “Oh. I was a quarterback for the football team. Took a low hit at the end of last season.”
I squinted at his leg. “Wow, those scars are tiny.”
He prodded at a shiny pink dot on his hairy skin. “The doctors in Pittsburgh are some of the best.” He sounded tired, or sort of downcast.
In an unusual moment of insight, I said, “Was today the first game since?”
“I’m guessing you didn’t play?”
He looked down the street, away from me, then at the road cinders at our feet. “This is the first fall I haven’t played ball since I was six.”
“Wow. I can’t think of anything other than, you know, the basics like breathing I’ve been doing for that long.”
He smirked.
“Docs wouldn’t clear you?”
“They did. I didn’t.” He picked up the front of his bike by the handlebars then set it back down. “When the mom who drove you forty miles round trip for midget practices and the dad who wrecked his shoulder passing the ball back to you both say it’s time to quit….”
“Sounds like your parents are good at mind-jobs, like mine.”
He smiled a little more cheerfully and I smiled back, glad because he’d been cruising toward miserable. Just the image I wanted to create—here’s the sports ignoramus who can totally bum you out in thirty seconds flat.
“They let it up to me in the end. I made the right decision. It’s not like I have a chance to go pro. I’ll be able to walk when I’m forty, maybe throw the ball with my own kid.” A shrug bunched the muscles at his shoulders. Another shadow of doubt passed over his face.
“The bike’ll be good for you.” Again with the brilliance, as if some millionaire orthopedist hadn’t already told him about biking. Duh.
“I can go farther in Nebraska. Fewer hills,” he said. He reached for the water bottle attached to the down tube of his bike, and I could almost see him shaking off the blues. “Where are you from?” His green eyes bored into me with unanticipated curiosity.
“Indiana. We have hills but not like this.”
“Why do you ride?” he asked after he’d finished taking a deep drink from the Copperheads Football bottle.
“Um, mostly ’cuz it feels good. I mean, it helps me to clear my head.” It feels good? Really, did I say that out loud?
“Endorphins,” he said. “Though I could do without the bugs smacking me in the face.” He tucked the bottle in the cage and pushed his sunglasses back on. “Wanna head back?”
“Sure.” I slid my own glasses on and clipped one foot into a pedal.
We stood on the corner, ready to launch, each waiting for the other to lead.
“You go ahead,” he finally said with a chuckle.
“Is this a test to make sure I’m not lost?”
“No.” He grinned. “My mama taught me ladies go first.”
I rolled my eyes, checked traffic and pushed off, thanking God my other biking shoe clicked neatly into its bracket.
“Clips,” he said from over my left shoulder. “You’re brave.”
“Power on the upstroke and downstroke,” I said.
“Or instant death the first time I tried to stop.”
I laughed. “I practiced in my front yard for awhile. If I can do it, anyone can.” I shifted into a lower gear for the gentle climb. The real bitch of a hill would come at the end.
“Don’t baby me, now,” he said.
I glanced over my shoulder at him. “Have it your way.”
He panted in even, deliberate puffs by the time we reached the edge of campus, but he hadn’t given up. He’d stayed on my back wheel. I did a cool down loop on the local streets before guiding us to the dorm.
I stepped off my bike and reluctantly removed my helmet. My stubby ponytail was mostly intact, though much of the front section of my hair slipped from the skinny hairband. I did my best to tuck the errant strands behind my ears.
He arranged his own gear then looked at me with the green stare again, more intense than before. “I’m sorry, I don’t remember your name.”
“I’m sure we freshman all look alike.” I extended my hand. “Violet Perch.”
“Boone Ramer.” He took my hand and, though our palms were hot and sweaty, he continued to hold it, lighting a fuse of attraction that sparked up my wrist and past my elbow. “Violet. Unusual name. I’ll remember it now.”
“Yeah, it’s kind of a curse,” I said as the heat passed my shoulder to go straight to my skort.
“I didn’t mean unusual bad. It’s nice. Feminine.” He released my hand while his eyes touched me, sliding down my pink jersey and along legs I knew weren’t particularly long but had hints of muscle definition.
I knew what I was. In our world of breast enhancements and thigh gaps, I didn’t have the right dimensions to attract a guy in Boone’s league, especially with my sports bra smashing my itty bitty titties down to nothing. Helmet hair, sweat stained armpits, padded bottoms, and black sturdy shoes completed the non-seductive, flat-chested ensemble. I was all in.
His face sharpened in a way that suggested he might like what he saw. My nostrils flared in immediate, misguided response. God, he was magnetic.
“You’re in good shape,” he said appreciatively. “I bonked on the last hill but you pulled me up.” He waggled his brows at me. “Couldn’t let you make me look bad.”
My face flushed beyond exercise-induced red. “You did good.” We wheeled our bikes toward the door and I’d almost worked up the courage to ask if he’d like to ride together again when a trilling voice called his name.
Twyla Blakelock, who’d ignored me at a rush party last week, bounced up to press her glossy lips against his mouth. Her nose wrinkled. “Ewww, you’re all sweaty,” she said.
What kind of moron touches him and says Ewww, I thought. You’re ewww, Twyla.
“Hey, I’ll see you later,” I said out loud, eternally grateful for the guy who came out the door at the right time to hold it for me.

~ * ~
Intrigued? Grab your own copy of Eruption now, and at a discounted price!

In celebration of the May 5 release of book two in the series, Rhyolite Drifts, both books are on currently sale for 99 cents.

You can find Eruption at these booksellers.

Barnes and Noble

Learn More About J. 

J. Hughey knows what a girl wants. Independence. One or two no-matter-what-happens friends. A smokin’ hot romance. A basic understanding of geological concepts. Huh? Okay, maybe not every girl is into geology, but J. Hughey is, and in the Yellowblown™ series she combines her passion for a timeless love story with her interest in geeky stuff to help Violet Perch get a life, despite an ongoing global catastrophe.

J. Hughey also writes historical romance as Jill Hughey. You can find out more about her at her website