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Happy May, my friends!

I hope everyone in your household is safe and practicing social distancing. While this Covid19 is horrible, occasionally positive happenings peek from the corners of the bad. For me, I have seen a tremendous improvement in, and the willingness to use virtual appointments for doctors and medical appointments. We live an hour away from our doctors, and it saves so much time.

Our family is doing well—although we haven’t seen each other in months. North Carolina lock down ended on May 8. Interestingly, gas is down to $1.54 a gallon—just when I haven’t needed to fill my tank in weeks!

My biggest challenge—even while I worked daily on getting my latest book written and edited—has been keeping the days of the week straight. It’s reinforced what I’ve always known—I enjoy staying busy and need to stay connected.

This is my inaugural monthly newsletter. Each newsletter features a contest for a free book or books, and interesting historical tidbits discovered while researching my books. Normally, there will also be a wonderful opportunity to meet other authors and learn more about them and the books they are writing.

My newest book, Romancing A Wallflower, takes place in Cornwall, England, with part of its plot wrapped up in uncovering an intense smuggling operation. The research for smuggling in England was interesting. It’s an interesting occupation. In the early nineteenth century, smuggling employed over 40,000 people, mainly in the Southern regions of England, along the coastal areas.


Smugglers by Lisa Newcombe,

In the beginning, smuggling centered more around exports rather than imports and focused on the principal item traded in Medieval England—wool. However, once imports began being taxed, smuggling took on new importance. And with the onset of the 18th century, they taxed more common food and household items—including tea, coffee, lace, alcohol, sugar, hats, tobacco, salt, sealing wax, dried fruit, playing cards and even coffin nails. The financial burdens created by this excessive taxation frustrated the citizens, and smuggling grew even more popular.

Smugglers became known as free-traders and their operations grew into organized undertakings, often with brief resistance. As England continued to intensify its pursuit of revenue through taxation, ships carrying these commodities became targets for the smugglers, with efforts concentrating in the Devon and Cornwall areas. The inhabitants of these areas quickly realized the benefits of participating in the events. Customs officers had minor success in slowing the looting of ships.

Loyalty was central to a good smuggling operation - and the leaders of these operations recognized that. Some ruled by fear, but most involved the community, allowing everyone to partake of the booty - often, everyone from the magistrate to the fishermen took part. Even parsons and revenuers often looked the other way. Individuals that were otherwise perfect citizens looked at smuggling as a reasonable activity in pursuing a fair life. In addition, having the town involved could lessen the penalty with a trial by a jury of one's peers.

With all the dangerous and clandestine activity smuggling offered - there is no question why it makes such excellent fodder for our stories.

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May 19, 2020

Romancing A Wallflower

Book Two Noble Hearts Series

What early reviewers are saying...

"This is an up and coming author that people should really keep an eye out for. She really has a knack for telling a good story, and this book hit it out of the park! This story was very well-written with well-developed and very likable characters. It has so many good elements in it: action, suspense, romance, and a nice blend of humor. The story itself moves at a very nice pace. I found myself drawn into the story very quickly, and it held my interest right up until the last page." ~ Amazon Reader

A tragic riding accident leaves Lilian DeLacey unable to walk and restricts her life to books and quiet activities. When her twin sister convinces her to attend just one ball, she accepts. Wheelchair-bound, she watches the dancers with longing, until a startling familiar masculine scent unlocks memories of the mysterious man who had saved her—none other than the charming and affable John Andrews. Meeting John creates a desire to walk again and not miss out on life, but can he love a woman who may never walk again?

John Andrews, the Earl of Harlow returned from the Napoleonic wars with scars both inside and out. Nightly dreams force him to relive horrors he would soon forget and make him fear ever falling in love, lest he harms a bride who shares his bed. John attends a ball while on assignment for the Crown and recognizes the beautiful woman he rescued a year ago from a bad riding accident, and his response to her stuns him. Smitten by her beauty and wit, he pursues her, accepting her disability. Their chance encounter blossoms into romance, igniting a yearning for a future, yet bound by his fear of marriage.

When an undercover commission for the Crown takes him into the heart of a dangerous smuggling operation on the Cornwall coast, an unseen danger threatens his life and Lilian’s. Will trust and love be enough to save them and heal the scars that threaten their future?

Pre-order Here

The Earl She Left Behind

Book One Noble Hearts Series

Maggie Winters had everything she always wished for — betrothed to the man of her dreams, a loving home, and a new puppy. But it all changes when her parents die, and her new guardian sweeps Maggie from town and forces her to marry a stranger to pay his debts. When she suddenly finds herself a widow and free of an unhappy marriage, can she finally find the love she has dreamed of?

Lord Maxwell Wilde still loves Maggie Winters, despite his years abroad in service to the Crown. They had planned to marry until she disappeared from his life, leaving only a scribbled note in her wake. Returning home late from an assignment in the middle of a sudden storm, he finds a badly injured woman lying in the road. He saves her only to realize he has rescued the woman he had never forgotten.

Hearts are in play as danger beckons them into a treacherous game. Do they dare grab a second chance at love?

Kindle/Kindle Unlimited

Short Excerpt --

Thunder boomed above him. A second later, a sharp crack of lightning lit up the dark sky. Gripping the reins of his horse, Maxwell Wilde, Earl of Worsley, fought to stay seated as his mare reared and struggled. The lightning illuminated a woman lying in the road just ahead. Had the lightning not struck, he most certainly would not have seen her.

The scant light showed a small-framed woman curled into a fetal position, wearing a soiled blue dress. A small shaggy white dog pawed her arm, whimpering and licking her face. Large drops of rain pelted both of them but did not affect the dog’s loyal persistence.

“Whoa, Willow.” Max slid from his mount and walked over to the woman. At his approach, the dog at once became protective, giving a guttural growl. It forced Max to stop and rethink his goal.

“Easy, boy.” He lowered his hand to the dog and allowed him to sniff it. The dog stopped growling and eased himself down, curling his furry white body next to the woman’s head—protecting her—still whimpering and licking her face. Max took a deep breath, careful not to anger the dog and not wanting to injure it. The dog was unmistakably attached to the woman. Feeling more confident the dog would not attack him, he lowered himself onto his haunches to get a better look at the woman.

Gently, he swept wet, muddied blonde tresses from her face. Recognition was swift and tumultuous. “Bloody hell! Meg, what happened? Why are you out in this storm, of all places? Why are you here?” Questions flooded his brain. He fought the gut-wrenching impulse to pull her close. When she did not answer, he picked up a limp hand and noticed rope burns around her left wrist, anger registering. “You are bleeding.” He moved her damp blonde hair away from her forehead, revealing a deep gash from which blood still oozed. Fear gripped him. He stared at her motionless body until he saw her chest barely move. Good. She was breathing. “Thank goodness you are still alive.”

Her eyes opened and closed. Her throat worked, but she did not speak. She needed a doctor. Max needed to get her to safety and leave before she engaged his heart yet again.

He had washed his hands of Maggie Winters when she ran away and abruptly married the Earl of Tipton three years past—when she and Max were planning to wed. Anger churned in his gut as he thought about the day he found out, and it renewed his confusion, pain, and anger. She had disappeared without a word—merely a scribbled note delivered to him. Without thinking, he reached inside this waistcoat pocket and touched the folded missive. No one had heard from Maggie in years.

Kindle/Kindle Unlimited

Respond to with:

MAY NEWSLETTER CONTEST” in subject line.

Q: How did Shep come into Maggie's life?

Hint: You will need to open the book sample to find the answer.

Contest ends 5/26/20.

Winner’s name will be drawn from correct answers and contacted by email.

Romance Ramblings

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Anna St. Claire, Author

7745 Chapel Creek Drive, Denver
NC 28037 United States

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