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About Jane Litte

Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She spends her downtime reading romances and writing about them. Her TBR pile is much larger than the one shown in the picture and not as pretty. You can reach Jane by email at jane @ dearauthor dot com

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First Page: Ruled by Desire, historical romance

First Page: Ruled by Desire, historical romance

Welcome to First Page Saturday. Individual authors anonymously send a first page read and critiqued by the Dear Author community of authors, readers and industry others. Anyone is welcome to comment. You may comment anonymously. You can submit your own First Page using this form.

London, 1881

James Standish’s life changed with a single, whispered word.

“Divorce …”

He sat in his favorite spot in the Reform Club, the Times a crisp, paper shield between him and the world. In the club’s library, peace reigned, disturbed only by the rustle of pages turning and an occasional murmur of conversation.

“Divorce …”

That word, uttered by one gentleman exchanging sotto voce gossip with another, slipped through his mental filter, insidious as a thief. No need to wonder who they discussed. The Thorne marriage had finally collapsed in upon itself and everyone was talking.

Snapping his newspaper taut, he tried to concentrate.

Shuffling footsteps, punctuated by dull, rhythmic thuds, set his teeth on edge. He knew who approached. The whispers grew louder as other voices joined the hushed discussion. He closed his eyes, and then set his paper aside.

Mr. Henry Lytton, Francesca Thorne’s uncle, clumped across the Persian carpet toward the fire crackling in the grate. An old, frail-looking gentleman, he always walked with the aid of a silver-topped cane. He must have got caught in the downpour. His graying hair straggled unkempt over his shoulders, drops of rain still clinging to it. His mouth formed a grim line as he lowered himself into a chair. If he appeared cast down, who could blame him?

James had heard the rumors. Everyone had. Francesca—Fran, as he used to call her—was in London. She’d appeared quite unexpectedly mere months before her tenth wedding anniversary. No one would’ve remarked on it if her destination had been the Thorne house, but with temerity uncharacteristic of the woman he’d once known, she’d installed herself at the Cavendish hotel. Why she’d chosen to flout convention in this way was the subject of fervid debate.

He was curious, but his only source of news was Edward Thorne, Fran’s far from impartial husband. Hence James found himself in a difficult position. As Thorne’s oldest friend, he knew where his loyalties should—and would—lay, but he’d always had a soft spot for Fran.

He crossed the room toward the fire, and spent several moments warming his hands, though they were not the least bit cold. “May I join you?” he asked, once Lytton seemed comfortably settled.

The old man nodded his assent. “Standish.”

As James sat, Lytton offered him a cigar from a black-lacquered case.

They smoked in companionable silence, the pungent vapor mingling with the communal fog.

He would never be so crass as to offend the old man’s pride by prying into his personal affairs, but he wanted to be on hand if Lytton did take it into his head to reveal more about Fran’s situation.

Lytton was always taciturn but, at length, he sighed. “I suppose you’ve heard about this sad business with my niece?”

“I heard she’s in London.” To admit more would be indelicate. But if it were just a harmless visit to town, no one would care.

“At the Cavendish, confound her. She ought to go back to the country where Thorne left her and, I’m sure, intended for her to remain.”

“She hasn’t been to London in years. A brief change of scene can work wonders.” An artful evasion. The Thorne marriage was an unmitigated failure.

At first James, along with everyone else, pretended not to notice the decided chill in the marital air. After all, no one wanted a scandal.

Apart from Fran, it would seem.

Daily Deals: Small town contemporaries to wild rock and roll lifestyles

Daily Deals: Small town contemporaries to wild rock and roll lifestyles

Real Romance  by Ginny BairdReal Romance by Ginny Baird. $ .99

From the Jacket Copy:

Shy bookstore manager Marie McCloud spends each night between the covers with a hot guy… The hunky hero from one of her romance novels, that is. Having been cheated on, disparaged then ditched, Marie turns to pure fiction to soothe her aching heart. What she doesn’t count on is finding real romance where she least expects it.

Ladies’ man David Lake is always up for a physical challenge. An intellectual one? He’s not so sure. But when David meets pretty Marie, he’s ready to leap through some hoops to get the brainy brunette’s attention. With a little bit of research and a whole lot of reading, David prepares to sweep Marie off her feet — for the romance of a lifetime.

This was originally published by Kensington in their Precious Gems line. The Romance Wiki describes the PG line as a “short lived partnership between Wal-Mart and Kensington”. The line was published between 1996 and 2000. I didn’t see Ginny Baird listed on the Romance Wiki site as one of the PG authors. Maybe she wrote under a different name?

The reviews are fairly lackluster with one reader saying that the ending was poorly developed giving rise to questions rather than resolutions.

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Highland Fling Amanda ScottHighland Fling by Amanda Scott. $ 1.99

From the Jacket Copy:

Forbidden passion has never been more dangerous—or more irresistible—in the first novel of bestselling author Amanda Scott’s spellbinding Highland series

Scotland, 1750. In the aftermath of the Jacobite rebellion, Maggie MacDrumin vows to keep fighting to liberate her people. But the intrepid Scotswoman is risking her life for a dangerous cause. When her latest mission lands her in a London courtroom on a trumped-up larceny charge, she has only one hope of survival. Enlisting the aid of Edward Carsley, the powerful fourth Earl of Rothwell, is a two-edged sword. The seductive aristocrat who awakens treacherous desire is her clan’s mortal enemy—a man she can never trust.

Edward will do whatever it takes to quell another bloody uprising. But how can he fight his passion for the rebellious Highland beauty in his safekeeping? As their lives come under siege, Maggie lays claim to the one thing Edward vowed never to surrender: his heart.

Originally published by Kensington in 1995, this book and other Scott titles are being re-released digitally by Open Road Media. My recollection is that Scott writes fairly meaty historicals.

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Is This All There Is?  by Patricia MannIs This All There Is? by Patricia Mann. $ .99

From the Jacket Copy:

Beth Thomas has the perfect life. At thirty-five, she’s married to her college sweetheart, has two adorable kids, and teaches part time at the local university. But when a friend persuades Beth to go dancing on a rare night out, a chance meeting with twenty one year old Dave, one of her former students, changes the course of her life. Loud music, too much to drink, and the thrill of feeling young again lead to an unforgettable kiss that was never supposed to happen. As she tries to put the memory behind her, Dave’s pursuit leaves Beth torn between what her mind says is right and what her heart and body crave.

Cougar books seem to be all the rage and I have a hard time buying into the fantasy that a 21 year old is going to want to tie his boat to a 35+ year old woman with two kids. Nonetheless, the premise is so unbelievable that it almost makes me want to read it to see if the author could pull this off. Unfortunately, this book has cheating all over it so I’ll pass but maybe somebody else is interested.

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It's Only Rock 'n' Roll: Thirty Years Married to a Rolling Stone Jo WoodIt’s Only Rock ‘n’ Roll by Jo Wood. $ 2.99.

From the Jacket Copy:

In this wild, behind-the-scenes portrait of one of the biggest rock bands in history, Jo Wood comes clean about her three decades as the girlfriend and eventually the wife of Rolling Stones guitarist Ronnie Wood. This startlingly honest, laugh-out-loud memoir vividly describes life on tour, in the studio, at the legendary parties—and every raucous moment in between.

From teenage model to hard-partying rock ‘n’ roll devotee, through motherhood, marriage, breakdown, and the challenge of starting over again, Jo Wood has had a roller-coaster ride of a life. At the age of sixteen, Jo burst onto the British modeling scene and became a fixture at London’s most glamorous parties. A few years later, just twenty-two years old and a single mom, she met Ronnie Wood and her life changed forever.

Holding nothing back, Jo paints an astonishing picture of the sex, drugs, booze, groupies, and—above all—the fun that filled her thirty years as a member of the Stones’ inner circle. Telling never-before-heard stories about what life on the road with the Stones was really like, she offers intimate portraits of the band’s legendary cast of characters, including Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Jerry Hall, and Patti Hansen. She recalls the excitement of getting to know international A-list celebrities like Kate Moss, Andy Warhol, Johnny Depp, and Slash.

Jo also opens up about her family life with Ronnie: their passionate love affair, the demands of being a mother by day and a wild child by night, and eventually coping with Ronnie’s increasingly difficult behavior as his addictions consumed him. For the first time, she reveals her heartbreaking account of what happened when Ronnie left her for an eighteen-year-old waitress, explaining how she was able to forgive, live without bitterness or regret, and find new happiness as an entrepreneur and organic beauty expert.

Including never-before-seen photographs from Jo’s personal collection, It’s Only Rock ‘n’ Roll is a compelling piece of rock ‘n’ roll history from a woman with a backstage pass and front-row seat. Enchanting, candid, and moving, this page-turning fairy tale of fame and fortune has the best of the era’s many euphoric and reckless moments within its pages.

Rock star books are fun to read but clearly reality is far from the candy coated stories that reside within the pages of a romance novel.

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