Thursday, April 7, 2011

Isabel's quiet life as an assistant to one of London's famous apothecaries hides a deadly secret.  A secret that could see her put on trial for witchcraft if the authorities uncover the truth. But when the authority figure who turns up at her shop is Sir Nicholas Merritt, she's at risk of losing more than her life. She could lose her heart and soul, and the man she loves.

Royal spy Sir Nicholas Merritt can't believe his luck when he stumbles upon

Isabel during an investigation. He's been searching for her for seven long years and now he has her again, in his bed and his life. Except she's resisting all the way. Worse still, she's somehow tangled up with a plot to assassinate the queen. To hold onto her this time, he must find out why she left him while hiding a secret of his own that could tear them apart forever.

C.J. lives in Australia and writes historical adventure stories with a large dose of romance and sometimes paranormal. She is the author of the steampunk romance THE ADVENTURES OF MISS UPTON AND THE SKY PIRATE, and historical paranormal romances HONOR BOUND and KISS OF ASH which make up the 2 books in THE WITCHBLADE CHRONICLES. Her historical novella, THE MERCENARY'S PRICE, can be downloaded for only 99 cents.

What will readers like about your book?
The snappy dialogue, the adventure, the humour and deeply emotional romance.

Why did you self publish?
It's almost impossible to find any historical romances set outside the Regency period, let alone ones with paranormal elements. Although I enjoy all of history, I didn't want to write what everyone else was writing, so I chose Elizabethan England as my setting. It turned out the big publishing houses weren't interested in these different stories even though I had an agent. Then in the last few months self-publishing became a financial viable option. I decided I had nothing to lose and I've never looked back.

What inspired you to write this particular story?
I'm fascinated with the idea of powers that have been talked about for centuries and never truly discounted by modern science. Telekinesis, combustion, healing and psychic visions to name a few. Put a woman with these abilities into a time and place that puts her in mortal danger for possessing such powers then add a man investigating an assassination attempt on the queen and I couldn't NOT tell the story.


Isabel descended the ladder, resting the jar on her hip like a baby. The front door to the shop opened and she was about to call out to the customer that she would be only a moment, when he spoke first.

"Let me take that for you."

That voice...

She looked down into the face she hadn’t seen for six long years. And dropped the jar.

He caught it, although she suspected it was unwittingly done because someone who looked as shocked as he did couldn’t consciously work their body with such quick finesse. She should know. Her legs felt as stable as water and she gripped the ladder tighter to stop herself from falling. She certainly wouldn’t attempt the next rung yet. Making an ungainly descent in front of the man she hadn’t been able to banish from her dreams would be too horrible.


"Nick." She was sure she said it out loud but she couldn’t hear it so she said it again. "Nick." His name felt strange on her tongue.

"It is you," he whispered, his dark gaze lifted up to her. As if his legs had grown weary, he sat down heavily on the stool provided for customers near the workbench. "Oh my God," he said. "It is you."

Taking very careful steps, she slowly descended the ladder. When her foot touched the second last rung, a loud crack shattered the thick silence. Isabel fell to the floor in an undignified heap just as her husband, Nicholas Merritt, rushed to her side.

"Isabel, are you all right?" He knelt and touched her shoulder.

For a brief moment the connection recalled shared memories—of affection, passion and finally of pain. It was this last that made her shake him off. That and her embarrassment.

"I’m well." She got to her feet unaided and smoothed down her woolen gown wishing she could smooth away her erratic heartbeat as easily.

"Are you sure you’re not hurt?" he asked. "You landed rather awkwardly."

"I’m fine!" Good Lord, this was not the way their reunion was supposed to happen. It was supposed to involve her being perfectly serene and looking her prettiest, and Nick groveling.

He didn’t grovel. He didn’t say anything. He was so close she only had to reach out to touch his hair. The power of his presence, something she’d always found enthralling, sucked her in. She gripped the bench at her back to stop from flinging her arms around him and doing the groveling instead.

"Isabel." He spoke so quietly she had to strain to hear him. "Christ!" he said with sudden vehemence. He dragged a hand through his hair but said nothing else.

She turned away because seeing the shock on his face made her feel more insecure than she had in a long time.

"Am I so awful that you cannot even look at me?" he demanded.

Her breath escaped in a whoosh and tears stung the back of her eyes. She must look at him. If she wanted to put him from her mind once and for all, she must first face him. She waited until her vision cleared, then slowly turned around.


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