Monday 18 November 2013

Improper Arrangements by Juliana Ross - Book Preview and GIVEAWAY!

Today I am very excited to share a preview of Improper Arrangements by Juliana Ross, published by Carina Press. I reviewed this historical romance earlier this week and you can find my review here. Author Juliana Ross has now kindly offered not only to share an extract of her story, but also to give away a copy of the eBook to one lucky reader! You can find the giveaway widget at the end of this post. The giveaway closes at 11.59pm Thursday night EST (US).

I really loved this historical romance, which follows Lady Alice as she traverses the Alps with  gorgeous mountaineer, Elijah Keating, and I'm sure you will too. Thank you very much to Juliana Ross for sharing the following excerpt and a copy of her sexy story.

From the Blurb:

France, 1866
A reckless infatuation nearly ruined Lady Alice Cathcart-Ross in her youth, but from the moment she spies Elijah Philemon Keating scaling a rock face without a rope in sight, the man awakens her long-buried desire. Alice has come to the high Alps in search of a mountaineer, and in Elijah she finds the guide of her dreams.

Though Elijah is known as one of the greatest explorers of the age, a tragic accident has destroyed his taste for adventure and society. Elijah can't deny his attraction to Alice, but he resolves to avoid the entanglement that could accompany it. He promises Alice one week in the Alps, and no more.

Alice agrees, valuing her independence above all else. But as the heights they climb by day are overshadowed by the summits of passion they reach at night, these vows become harder and harder to keep…


This scene is taken from just after Alice and Elijah first meet...

It was warm in the late morning sun, and after a few hundred yards I stripped off my gloves and unfastened the top button of my jacket. I had foolishly left my parasol behind, still packed in my large trunk, and my fashionably delicate bonnet offered little protection from the sun. I would soon have the freckles to show for it. It was nothing a little lemon juice couldn’t mend, however, and in the meantime I had the chance to admire the man who walked a few paces before me.

I stared at him, drinking in every ripple of muscle beneath his worn linen shirt, marveling at the unconscious, easy grace that imbued his every movement. And I wondered what sort of lover he would make.

It had been more than eight years since the disaster of my brief and entirely unsatisfactory liaison with my one and, so far, only lover. In the wake of that disappointment and near scandal, I had allowed my parents to pressure me into a disastrous engagement to a man I scarcely knew, an engagement that had been called off in the most public and humiliating fashion.

Jean-Philippe had cared nothing for my honor, using and discarding me like a soiled handkerchief. Lord Alfred had been little better, exposing me to the scorn and humiliation of society when he had cast me aside for another.

At the time, I’d sworn to myself I would never be tempted again—not by a man’s pretty words and certainly not by an attractive face or form. What real need had I of a man, after all? I had money of my own, a family that loved me enough to tolerate my eccentricities, and I was perfectly capable of satisfying my own carnal needs without having to seek out the attention of some sweating, fumbling incompetent.

Never again, I had told myself. And yet…

I would never give up my independence, never allow anyone to take control of my life. But the idea of taking a lover was tempting. Not the stranger who walked at my side, of course; I knew nothing of him, not even his name. But I might find someone suitable in Lausanne, or even Paris. Though I would have to consider the risks involved, specifically the possibility of my falling pregnant…

Lost in my thoughts, I noticed too late that the road had become uneven, its surface eroded by a recent rainfall. My skirts caught on an exposed spike of granite, my arms flailed about in a most undignified manner, and I stumbled forward wildly. Before I could land in the mud, strong arms caught me and held me tight. I took a moment to catch my breath, and then I looked up. To my everlasting relief, it was the climber’s arms that encircled me, and not the beefy limbs of Monsieur Durand.

I took hold of his forearms, the better to right myself, and awareness surged through me. I stumbled again, the shock of it making me clumsy, and was rewarded when he drew me close and steadied me once more.

When I’d taken my painting tutor as my lover, I’d done so because I thought I desired him. I could still remember, with perfect clarity, the peculiar mixture of nervousness, anxiety and breathless anticipation I’d felt in Jean-Philippe’s presence. If only the actual lovemaking that followed had not been such a deflating and ultimately disappointing experience.

But this…this was desire. There was no mistaking the spark that passed between us, a current of attraction that rushed through my veins and pulled the breath from my lungs. Rational thought deserted me. My mouth was dry, my palms were icy and the roar of my heartbeat drowned out the music of birdsong and dancing streams.

“Thank you,” I said to the climber. “I feel quite steady again.”

He released me, his hands falling to his sides. He stepped back, his feet sure on the roughened road, and turned away. I longed to say something more, but I stopped my mouth. Discretion was all.

Improper Arrangements by Juliana Ross was published by Carina Press on November 11, 2013 and is available Amazon.

About the Author:

Juliana Ross is a former copy editor who is now a full-time writer (when she’s not helping the kids with homework, complaining about never-ending piles of laundry or walking the dog). You can find her at her website, her Twitter feed, her Facebook page and her Goodreads account.

The Giveaway:

The giveaway is over.