Revisiting the Murder Mystery Romance: THE YULETIDE YORKSHIRE (PG excerpt)


THE YULETIDE YORKSHIRE--Book Five in the Minx Tobin Murder Mystery Series

Author: Susanne Marie Knight

Genre: Murder Mystery Romance

Price: $1.99 electronically

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Visit http://youtu.be/EIjQKNbuZWw to see a trailer of THE YULETIDE YORKSHIRE.

Blurb:
Minx finds something unexpected under the Christmas tree. Unfortunately, it wasn’t something left by Santa.

HO, HO, HO... OH!
Home for the holidays, Minx Tobin introduces her parents to her homicide lieutenant, Gabe Harris. Unfortunately for her, her ex-fiancé Jared drops in on them, creating friction. But Jared soon needs Minx’s help in the sleuthing department because a gruesome “present” is found under the tree. Once again, Minx is hot on the trail of a desperate killer.

All Gabe wants to do is propose to the woman he loves. Instead, he has to deal with a cast of East Coast characters, including an unexpected murder. Why do dead bodies always seem follow Minx Tobin??

Scene Set-Up:
Minx is taking her new boyfriend, Homicide Lieutenant Gabe Harris, home for the holidays to meet her parents. She’s a bit uneasy that she might run into her former fiancé, Jared.

Excerpt:
Truth be told, Minx was looking forward to seeing everyone again. Everyone except Jared, of course. With him, unpleasant memories abounded. After the acrimonious breakup back in April, she’d packed her bags and headed west. She hadn’t been home in seven months. 

Gabe linked hands with hers, gave a brief squeeze, then returned his to the steering wheel. “I hope we don’t run into Jared.”

A thought caused her to frown. “My mom told me they’re having a Christmas Eve party. Jared’s parents are always invited. Well, they’re divorced now, Conrad and Esther, but since Conrad remarried, he and Pia will probably attend. So, shoot, Jared might have the audacity to show up at the party as well.”

“I’ll beat him up.”

At that unexpected remark, Minx laughed. “You’ll do no such thing, Lieutenant. You’re supposed to make a good impression on my parents, remember?”

“True.” He headed for the freeway’s airport exit. “I’d better be on my best behavior. It wouldn’t do if they disapprove of me.”

He couldn’t possibly be worried about that. But what if he was?

“Gabe, are you nervous to meet my parents?” For some reason, she started to become uneasy herself.

“No, I’m sure I can convince them my intentions are honorable toward their only daughter.” He gave Minx a reassuring grin.

She exhaled relief. “Okay, good. Because I saw Dallas today, and he thought you might be.”

“That exercise gigolo?” Gabe fisted his hands on the steering wheel. “I guess I’ll have to beat Dallas Porter up as well.”

Minx laughed. “That won’t be necessary, Lieutenant. Remember, ‘tis the season to be jolly, not to commit a folly, right?”

“Point well taken. Now, here we are at airport parking. Let’s hold off on any more talk of old boyfriends. I confess I’m getting a bit insecure.”

She dimpled a smile. “Really? That sounds so strange coming from a man who dates all the hottest young actresses in Hollywood.”

Gabe waited until they’d parked, then he turned to her and cupped her face in his hands. “The word is ‘dated.’ Past tense, sweetheart. And, as I told you, there’s only one female who interests me now. And that’s you. So, Tobin, get your curvy butt out of the car, so we can begin our Christmas adventure.”

He kissed her. “Okay?”

She kissed him back. “Okay, Lieutenant.”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Hope you enjoy!

Susanne Marie Knight

Read outside the box: award-winning Romance Writing With A Twist

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"A Knight's Vow" Medieval Romance Novel. 99 cents/99p

Here's the blurb and a new excerpt from my re-issued full length medieval historical romance novel, "A Knight's Vow." Just 99p or 99 cents.

Blurb.

A crusader, haunted by grief and guilt. A bride-to-be, struggling with old yearnings and desires. Can Sir Guillelm de la Rochelle and Lady Alyson of Olverton rediscover the innocent love they once had for each other? When Guillelm makes a fearful vow on their wedding night, is all lost forever between him and Alyson? And will the secret enemy who hates their marriage destroy them both?

“A Knight’s Vow” is a tale of romance and chivalry. In a time of knights and ladies, of tournaments and battles, of crusades, castles and magic.

(First published by Kensington Publishing, New York, in 2008.)


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Excerpt. (Taken from a skirmish where the hero Guillelm is fighting and the heroine Alyson is desperate to save him.)


Alyson began to run again, to Guillelm, aware she only had seconds, instants before the enemy raised his helm and wound up his deadly crossbow.
He would shoot at Guillelm—
‘Down! Get down! Get away!’ Yelling warnings, she ran straight at Guillelm, her one thought to save him, her only wild plan that if she could not make him hear her warnings, she might spoil the aim of the enemy archer.      
Ignoring the growing pain of her heat-seared lungs and her fading, tiring limbs, she screamed again, ’Get down!’ and now Guillelm heard and saw her, shock and horror warring in his face, his mouth forming the question, ’How?’
‘Down!’ Alyson cried, but she was too late. She felt a punch slam into her shoulder, spinning her round so that she fell backwards, the breath knocked out of her. She tried to move, to reach Guillelm, shield him, but as she raised her head a jolt of agony drove through her body and she blacked out.

Guillelm reacted without conscious thought. He lowered the shocked, sobbing Prioress gently onto the ground and seized the quivering arrow shaft buried so sickeningly in Alyson’s shoulder, determined to draw it out before she came round from her faint.
Even as he worked, images flashed constantly before his eyes. Alyson running towards him, arms outstretched, making herself a target. Over and over, he saw the bolt thud into her slender body, saw her feet actually leave the ground as she was flung around by the force of the impact. She had been shot in the back and he had done nothing to save her; worse he had not even known she had joined the war-band. He had been so keen to lay sword against sword with Étienne the Bold, who, cur that he was, had turned tail the instant he saw him, riding through the smoke and soot of the burning convent.
‘Ah!’  Although he tried to be steady and careful and the crossbow bolt came out cleanly, the sharp decisive tug hurt her—Alyson came out of her swoon with a shriek of agony.
‘Sssh, sweetheart, it is done.’ Guillelm wanted to cradle her but dare not: he could not bear to hurt her again. Kneeling by her, he packed his cloak around her body, terrified at how cold she was. Her shoulder was bleeding freely and that must be good, for the ill-humours would be washed out.
What if the crossbow bolt was poisoned?
What if she died?
‘Live, Alyson,’ he whispered, too afraid to be angry at her. He should have known she would attempt something like this: she was never one to sit still when those she loved were under threat. Where was that sister of hers? The Flemings had herded the nuns into the courtyard while they torched the buildings. None had been harmed so where was she?
Blinking away tears, he raised his head and met the pasty faces of the squires. The lads had dismounted and gathered round, forming a shield with their horses. Too late, Guillelm thought bleakly.
‘My lord, we did not know…’
‘Truly we never suspected…’
‘She moved so swiftly, ran right amongst the horses…’
‘We could not stop her!’
Their excuses died away and they hung their heads.     
‘What can we do?’ asked one.
Guillelm raked them with furious eyes. His knights were still searching for survivors in the wrecked convent—friends or foe—but these useless, lumpen youths should be good for something. 
‘Get me that archer,’ he spat.
‘I will do so, my lord.’ Fulk stepped into the circle, glanced at Alyson’s still body, and then turned, shouting for his horse.
‘Sir —’
At first Guillelm thought it one of the squires, or the half-blind old militia-man he had led away to safety from the burning church.
‘Do not scold them, sir. I rode in disguise.’ The small, breathy voice was Alyson’s. She was looking at him, her eyes dark with pain and fear.
‘Peace!’ Guillelm took her icy hand in his, trying to will his own heat into her. ‘We shall have you home safe, soon enough.’
‘I am sorry to be so much trouble.’ Alyson tried to raise herself on her elbow, gasped and fell back.
‘Alyson!’ For a dreadful moment, he thought she had died, but then saw the quick rise of her chest and realized she had passed out again. He should lift her from this burnt, wrecked ground as soon as possible, but what way would be best? In his arms, on horseback? On a litter?
‘Give me your cloaks!’ he snapped at the hapless squires. ‘Cover her with them. You! Bring me the infirmarer! You! Make a fire here! You! Find Sir Thomas.’ He almost said Sir Fulk, his natural second-in-command, but Fulk was off on another necessary task and one he longed to accomplish himself, though revenge on the archer would not save Alyson.
Live, please live, he thought. It was a prayer and wish in one.
‘Where is that infirmarer?’ he bellowed, above the steady weeping of the Prioress. He was growing incensed with the lack of speed of everyone about him and exasperated with the cowering, wailing nuns who had trailed after him like ducklings following their mother as he carried the helpless, vacant-eyed head of their order away from her devastated convent. If  Alyson’s sister was in that drab company, why had she not come forward to be with her? Was she so withdrawn from the world that even the sight of her own flesh, broken and bleeding on the ground, stirred no passionate care? ’Is there no one?’
‘I am here, Guido.’ Calm as a rock in a sea of troubles, Sir Tom leaned down from his horse. ’What say I find something to use as a stretcher?’
‘Do it,’ Guillelm answered curtly, ’And tell your men to search the infirmary for potions and such.’ A late thought struck him, but he could not feel ashamed at it, not with Alyson injured beside him. ’See if any of our own men are hurt, and tend them.’
 ‘They will not be hurt. Men never are.’ A small, slim nun emerged from the smoke, her arms full of books and manuscripts.
‘I am Sister Ursula, who was once Matilda of Olverton Minor,’ she said, calm as glass. ‘I have been in our scriptorium, where our true treasures are stored. The mercenaries did not recognize them as such.’ Slow, careful, she laid the books on the ground and only then looked at Alyson.
‘Your infirmarer?’ Guillelm asked, as Sister Ursula’s lips moved in prayer. His hands itched to shake her out of her complacency: was this woman human? ’Your sister is still bleeding.’
‘The infirmarer is dead.’ Sister Ursula opened her eyes, fixing Guillelm with a stare of utter dislike, mingled with distaste. ’Our sister in Christ passed away eight days ago.’
‘Mother of God, have you no one who can help my wife?’
‘Do not blaspheme against the name of our blessed Lady of Heaven.’
Sister Ursula stared at a kneeling squire striking sparks off his knife to light a small, swiftly-gathered bundle of kindling until the youth shuffled out of her path. She knelt beside Alyson, facing Guillelm across her sister’s body. ‘I will pray.’
‘Please —’ Guillelm felt to be out of his depth dealing with this smooth, polished creature, he felt to be drowning in her piety. If it had been a man he would have appealed to honour, or come to blows. How did women deal with each other? He thought of his sister Juliana, but their relationship had been oddly formal, she being so much the elder and out of reach of sibling contests.
Rivalry. The answer came to him as he recalled the scrapes and scraps that he had seen and sometimes intervened in between brothers. It was a risk to employ it against women, but what other tactic could he use? Luck and recklessness were all he had left.
‘If she could speak, Alyson could tell us how to treat her,’ he remarked, adopting Sister Ursula’s calm tones while around him his squires and gathering knights held their breaths against the approaching storm. Gently: he had to do this right. ‘She is an excellent healer.’
Sister Ursula said nothing.
‘She told me you had no diligence in such matters,’ Guillelm went on, lying shamelessly and worse, feeling no guilt as he did so. ’That you love books more than people.’
‘She is wrong,’ said Sister Ursula.
 ‘You put your skill above hers, then? I have seen no other to match her, even in Outremer.’
With a small shake of her head remarkably like Alyson’s, Sister Ursula unclasped her palms.
 ‘I thought her judgment a little harsh, but I see that she was right. She said you lacked the healing touch.’
‘What nonsense.’ Sister Ursula rose to her feet. ’Build up that fire,’ she commanded. ’I must have more light.’ 

Lindsay Townsend

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Revisiting Murder Mystery Romance TAINTED TEA FOR TWO (PG excerpt)


TAINTED TEA FOR TWO

Author: Susanne Marie Knight

Genre: Murder Mystery Romance

Price: $4.99

Buy Link:
Available electronically at:

Blurb:
Someone wants Lord Embrey dead. Will the method of execution be by poison, or injection, or... potato??

When personal fitness trainer Ms. Marty Jackson accepts an assignment in England, romance is the furthest thing on her mind. Fate has other ideas in the form of a handsome British barrister. But when a body is found in the library, can Marty convince her new-found love of her innocence when all evidence points in her direction?

Scene Set-Up:
Newly arrived in England, Marty Jackson has decided not to join her client, Lord Embrey, for dinner. His son, Gregory Gresham, however is most insistent that she dine with them. 

Excerpt:
Belatedly making sure her short, cotton robe covered what it was supposed to, Marty took a step back from Gresham. No good, though. His masculine after-shave drifted toward her and teased her tired senses. “What do you mean by coming into my room like this? I could’ve been... sleeping.”

Fortunately she changed her word choice from “naked” to “sleeping.” Dangerous suggestion around someone who looked as devastating as he did.

Gresham’s smile conveyed his disbelief. “At eight o’clock? I hardly think so.” He clasped his hands behind his back and took a cramped stroll around the room. “I’m here to bring you downstairs.”

Although she should have thrown him out, she stood rooted to the floor. She didn’t even flinch when he picked up her special paperweight, but she would’ve been lying if she didn’t admit her fingers itched to grab it out of his hands.

Then, for some reason, the four poster bed seemed to attract him. He walked over to it and began pawing through her pile of recently discarded clothing. “I was under the impression that Americans understood English, Ms. Jackson. Dinner, I remember saying, is at eight. You are keeping everyone from their food.”

Only when he uncovered her bra did her motionless state vanish. “Do you mind?” She quickly tugged on his arm, and pulled him away from the bed... and the intimate articles.

He smiled again, revealing perfect white teeth. This time her heart fluttered in such a peculiar way. “I, ah, told Lottie I wouldn’t be joining you.”

“You have no choice. Come. It is late.”

Annoyance crept into her tone. She planted her hands on her hips. “Listen, I appreciate the offer but I’m tired and I don’t feel like eating.”

The top of her robe gaped open a little. Naturally his gaze took in the sight. Just collarbones, but his smile deepened. She grabbed at the material. The beast!

Then he did the unexpected. He bent down to stare directly into her eyes. Waves of his masculine, musky after-shave shook Marty to her very core. His sparkling grey eyes mesmerized her, and once again, she couldn’t have moved if her life depended on it. She gulped down hard. Embarrassingly enough, her nipples hardened. Good grief, this power he had over her was unfair but there was no way she could protest.

“Ms. Jackson,” Gresham murmured, “you will accompany me to dinner, undressed as you are, or otherwise.” He slowly, torturously, skimmed the side of her cheek with two of his fingers.

When she shivered, he broke contact and shrugged. “Make no mistake about it. Lord Embrey wishes to meet you tonight, and I’ll not have him disappointed.”

She was left breathless. Never in all her born days had anyone affected her to this degree. She didn’t even know the man, didn’t even like him, but one touch from him and she was like Jell-O.

Marty, you’re losing this battle. Better retreat and build up your defenses.

“Ah, okay.” She massaged the bridge of her nose. Was this day ever going to end? “Give me a minute and I’ll get dressed.”

“Agreed.”

She waited but he didn’t leave the room. Starting to lift her hands to her hips again, she then remembered about the robe gaping open. “Obviously I can’t change with you here.” Her voice practically dripped with sarcasm.

“No?” Gresham raised a dark eyebrow. “A pity.” He purposefully walked to the door, then turned around. “You said a minute, so that’s when I’ll expect you to be done. And, by the way, there’s no sense locking the door.”

He patted the pocket on the left side of his breast. “I have the key.”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Hope you enjoy!

Susanne Marie Knight

Read outside the box: award-winning Romance Writing With A Twist

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The Sentinels


iTunes 
 
I heard the distant sound of what I thought was thunder, until it grew closer and I realized that it was actually the rumble of motorcycles coming our way. I expected them to ride on past us, but when they slowed and pulled up behind Pops’ truck I straightened nervously. They weren’t just weekend bikers, I could tell that immediately by the way they were dressed and the air of danger that they exuded. The six men belonged to an honest to goodness motorcycle club, and their worn, leather cuts were decked out in colorful patches and name tags.

They looked serious, and mean as hell. As I watched them climb off their large bikes and slowly approach us, I added big and handsome to their description. I glanced at Pops, looking for a sign that he knew these bikers. If he didn’t, I was going back to my car to retrieve my baseball bat out of the back seat. He just smiled and gave me a wink.

What was I worried about, anyway? We were on a busy public highway. I took a deep breath, smiled, and said in my usual, cheery tone, “Hi, boys.”

I couldn’t tell where their eyes were focused, since they were all wearing dark sunglasses. The man who appeared to be the leader, the hunk wearing the president’s patch, came to a stop a couple of feet away from us. I began to feel self-conscious of my clinging, wet clothes, especially when I felt my nipples turn hard against my thin tee. I crossed my arms, but the quirk of the man’s lips told me that it hadn’t been fast enough.

Jerk!

“You pickin’ up strays now, Pops?”

Ohmygod! The deep, gravelly tone of his voice was sexy as hell, and it did something quirky to my core. The man wasn’t too bad on the eyes, either. He was taller than most, his sun-tanned skin pulled taut over his super hot muscles. He oozed dominance, and the clunky silver rings on his fingers screamed that they were his backup.

“’Bout damn time you got here,” Pops grumbled, pushing away from his truck. “And be nice to cutie, here, she stopped to help, and fed me, too.”

“Cutie?”

Now I knew that his eyes were full on me, and I could tell by the tilt of his head that he was looking me up and down, as if he had the right to. I didn’t like his intimidation tactics, even if his presence was having an unexpected affect on my lady bits, something I’m sure he was accustomed to when it came to the opposite sex. The devil in me prompted me to lower my arms and slap my hands on my curvy hips in a move that I knew was challenging. A big mistake, I knew, when his sexy mouth turned up at both corners.

“Looks like a drowned rat to me.” The bikers behind him laughed.

“Flattery will get you nowhere,” I responded sarcastically, meeting what I thought were his eyes. I turned my attention back to Pops, putting my hand on his thin shoulder. “Now that your boy is here, I’ll be on my way. It was nice meeting you.” I glanced back at the group of bikers. “Goodbye, boys.” I gave them a wave, eager to be on my way.

“Baby--” The sound of his growly voice made me stop in my tracks to look back at him. “You call me a boy again, and I’ll be only too happy to show you that I’m a man.”

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Revisiting A NOBLE DILEMMA (PG excerpt)



A Regency Romance Family Favorite! New Price!

A NOBLE DILEMMA

Author: Susanne Marie Knight

Genre: Regency

Available electronically at Amazon.com and Smashwords.com

Price: $2.99

Buy link:
Available electronically at:

Blurb:
WHAT WOULD JANE AUSTEN DO??
After Bethany's elderly aunt dies, she is left without a home. When a distant relation, the Earl of Ingraham, offers her a London Season, it would seem to be the answer to her dilemma.

But Bethany has no interest in attracting an eligible suitor. She has other plans for her future. Her dream is to support herself by writing a novel, following in the footsteps of her favorite author. However, literary ladies are frowned upon, not only by Society but by the Earl, who is smitten with Bethany's beauty and character. Fretting about her guilty secret, she agrees to further intrigue by acting as secretary to one of the royal dukes. Will Bethany give up her chance for true love to continue her writing career? Or, will the Earl find a way to solve this noble dilemma?

Scene Set-Up:
Bethany arrives at her benefactress’ house, the Countess of Ingraham, but meets the Earl of Ingraham instead.

Excerpt:
The enameled door opened and in stepped the most handsome gentleman Bethany had ever laid eyes on. He was tall, so tall she had to lift her gaze to take in the length of him. His dark hair hung in tousled curls on his forehead while his long sideburns edged the line of his cheekbone. Dressed in a dashing woolen jacket, nankeen breeches and leather Hessian boots, he appeared as if he'd just entered the townhouse from an afternoon stroll.

And speaking of eyes, she couldn't discern the color of his. His eyes widened at the sight of her. Then he frowned.

She quickly stood and curtsied.

The young man hesitated for a second, and then bowed. "Good afternoon, Miss Branford. I trust you enjoyed a pleasant journey."

"Thank you, sir. I did."

After she spoke, silence hung in the air and he seemed loath to break it. The man flicked his gaze over her, adjusted the cuffs on his jacket and paced along the ornate side table, all at the same time. He certainly wasn't inclined toward conversation.

She tilted her head. Surely this young man could not be the earl. But whomever he was, his manner left a good deal to be desired.

"Excuse me, sir, but you have me at a disadvantage." She kept her voice level and cool. "I am quite unaware of your identity."

He stopped and lifted an eyebrow.

"Indeed?" He made another small bow. "My apologies. I am David Greyle. Lady Petunia is my sister."

As if that explained everything, he settled into a tub-shaped chair situated across from her and seemed intent on keeping his gaze upon her person, all the while drumming his fingers against the armrest.

Bethany struggled to recall, but no knowledge of a Lady Petunia nor David Greyle entered her brain. "Forgive me, sir, but I'm not acquainted with Lady Petunia. Perhaps I am in the wrong house. I was invited by the Countess of Ingraham to visit--"

"To be sure, there has been no mistake." He waved a negligent hand. "I am the Earl."

She blinked rapidly. She'd never met Lady Ingraham either, but if the woman had a married daughter as Elsie the maid had said, surely this man was too young to be the father. He could not be above thirty. Did that mean the Countess and the Earl's marriage was a January and May connection?

How romantic! She looked at Lord Ingraham with new awareness. Her heart beat faster. He was such a handsome young man with commanding eyes, determined chin and a fine masculine form.

A more tedious thought intruded. Then again, perhaps he only married for money in order to refurbish an impoverished estate.

How very prosaic. She looked down her nose at him. After all, he was rather ill-mannered.

Lord Ingraham jumped up, causing the tassels on his Hessian boots to swing with the violence of his act. "Tea. Would you care for some?" He didn't wait for her reply, but instead walked to the door. "I will have Stevens see to it."

Without a backward glance at her, he left her alone in the drawing room.

How extraordinary. What a very odd man. And what an inauspicious beginning to my visit.

She bit her lip. Oh, I hope Lady Ingraham is more hospitable.

Bethany tucked a stray lock back into her chignon, folded her hands in her lap, and waited for the edgy earl's return.
 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Hope you enjoy!

Susanne Marie Knight
Read outside the box: award-winning Romance Writing With A Twist!


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