Thursday, April 15, 2021

Lady Wynwood's Spies, volume 1: Archer EXCERPT - Chapter 1d

I’m posting an excerpt of Lady Wynwood’s Spies, volume 1: Archer, the first part of my Lady Wynwood’s Spies series!

Part one in a Christian Regency Romantic Adventure epic serial novel with a supernatural twist
Lady Wynwood’s Spies series, volume 1

She met him again by shooting him.

After four seasons and unmarried because she is taller than most of her dance partners, Miss Phoebe Sauber receives the shocking news that she is being callously banished from her father’s estate because he is remarrying. Feeling betrayed by her father and by God, and wanting to escape her family’s presence, she attends an archery tournament with her friends.

But her perfect aim fails her, and her arrow hits a piece of paper held by Mr. Michael Coulton-Jones, whom she hasn’t seen much in society in several years. But strangely, her arrow tears a section of the paper with a partial symbol that looks eerily familiar to her.

He met her again while searching for a killer.

Michael had quit his work as a spy for the Foreign Office when his brother was poisoned. His search for the murderer leads him to Apothecary Jack, a criminal underworld leader with a penchant for poisons, who is gathering a powerful army through an alchemical potion that can give men supernatural strength.

But his path unexpectedly crosses again with Miss Sauber, who saves him from a trap laid by Jack. She and her Aunt Laura, Lady Wynwood, have found a vital connection to Apothecary Jack and the mysterious group he works for.

Now Michael, who had vowed to never again allow civilians to come to harm, must work with a nobleman keeping dangerous secrets, a human lie detector, a chemist, a fellow former spy, and the one woman he’s never allowed himself to get close to.

And it is only this ragtag group that stands against a traitorous organization that could enable Napoleon to conquer the world.

PLEASE NOTE: This is the first book in the Lady Wynwood’s Spies series, an epic serial novel. Each volume has a completed story arc, but this is NOT a stand-alone novel and ends on a cliffhanger.

All the posted parts are listed here.

***


Chapter 1d



“Now that we have met, I do hope that we can become good friends,” Mrs. Lambert said with complete insincerity.

They were fighters exchanging light blows with their verbal knives, the blades ringing softly, testing each other’s strengths. “That is my wish, as well. I understand you have two daughters? When shall I meet them?”

“Soon, I hope. The youngest is just out of the schoolroom. Your father quite dotes upon them.” Unspoken was the implication, Unlike how he obviously does not dote upon you. “My oldest, Alice, will have her debut in London next year.”

Phoebe finally looked at her father with a piercing glance. “My father will not allow me to accompany you to London next year. But I am sure, ma’am, you would wish for as much help as you can get for such an important event.” Phoebe stepped in with a wide swinging attack to test her opponent’s defenses.

Mrs. Lambert’s gray eyes widened in feigned innocent surprise. “But your father has mentioned to me that you have an invalid aunt in Bath who will need your assistance. I am certain she would not be able to spare you for three months.”

What? Bath?

Phoebe felt as if her opponent had suddenly unsheathed a second knife.

Her father cleared his throat and sat on the edge of his seat. “As for that, I am afraid I had not had a chance yet to discuss the particulars with Phoebe …”

Her throat tightened up, and she almost felt the physical pain of a blade piercing her chest. She tried to swallow, but ended up choking and coughing instead.

“Oh, dear, you look quite pale. Do drink some tea.” Mrs. Lambert poured cold tea into a cup and passed it to Phoebe. She was forced to sip it to recover her composure, and Mrs. Lambert seemed even more delighted.

“Father, do enlighten me.” Phoebe’s voice had a biting edge.

Her father’s face grew more grave and austere, which Phoebe knew meant that he was embarrassed but didn’t wish to show it. “Your Grand-Aunt Bethia has written to say that she could use a companion to help her, and I naturally thought of you, Phoebe.”

“Why does she wish me? Aunt Bethia has numerous grandchildren who can attend to her.”

Mrs. Lambert cleared her throat delicately and looked at Phoebe’s father with a pointed glance. He pinched his mouth and looked even more uncomfortable than he already did, but he finally inhaled sharply and gave Phoebe a determined frown. “Mrs. Lambert has mentioned she does not wish you to live at Sauber Hill with her—something about two women under the same roof.”

The air was punched out of her lungs. Sauber Hill was her home. She knew each of the tenants by name, had watched their children grow up, had even taught some of them how to read. She spent hours in the greenhouse with her roses. It was where she felt most comfortable, safe and at peace.

And her father was kicking her out like an unwanted dog.

Mrs. Lambert now spoke up, perhaps for the pleasure of twisting the knife in Phoebe herself. “Also, your Aunt Bethia has proposed a truly marvelous idea. She will lend her very fine horses and carriage to your father in exchange for your help with her in Bath. Your aunt can rarely use her horses since the hills are so steep, but it would be such a relief to have another conveyance here in London.”

So Phoebe was being traded like a slave in exchange for horses and a carriage. Phoebe felt her hand involuntarily curl into a fist, whether in anger or anguish, she didn’t know. She quickly hid it under the fold of her skirt so that Mrs. Lambert could not see. She was suffocating, drowning, in the sea of blood from the blades stabbing into her heart. She couldn’t breathe, she could only bleed.

“It is quite a certain thing, my dear.” Mrs. Lambert looked like she wanted to appear sympathetic, but failed. “But I am sure a mature young woman like yourself will find great satisfaction in caring for your elderly relation in Bath.” Mrs. Lambert’s eyes gleamed, as if she were wondering if Phoebe would lose her senses and her temper, and begin yelling or throwing things.

But Phoebe did not want to give Mrs. Lambert the satisfaction of witnessing how she had hurt Phoebe so much, and through the actions of her callous father.

She had to escape.

Phoebe was grateful for the skirts that hid her shaking legs as she rose to her feet. She knew her voice was not steady as she spoke, but she also knew her face felt like the statue of the avenging Athena as she stared down at Mrs. Lambert. “I assure you, this is not my desire, but I’m certain you knew this already.”

Mrs. Lambert seemed both surprised and also titillated at Phoebe’s blunt speech.

She couldn’t bear to wish them a good day, so for the first time in her life, she rudely turned and left her father without another word, closing the door behind her with a firm click.

Once the door was between her and her father, she nearly collapsed in the hallway. But she sucked in a deep breath, pressing her fist against her stomach, and managed to make her way to her bedroom. The house was suspiciously empty, with no servants in the hallways, which led Phoebe to believe that the servants had been listening to the entire conversation behind the door in the breakfast room that led to the servants’ hall.

It wasn’t that Phoebe disliked Aunt Bethia, although the old woman had a tendency to complain about anything and everything, creating a peevish and negative environment. It was the fact that Phoebe was being shifted from the only home she had ever known, and the beauty and comfort of her beloved roses. It was frustration and regret that she had wasted so much time in managing his estate in order to somehow prove to her father that she was important in his life.

She had no rights, and no say in the matter. Everything she had done was being disregarded, and everything she loved was being taken away from her.

***

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Buy Lady Wynwood’s Spies, volume 1: Archer:
Kindle
Paperback

NOTE: Unfortunately, the book will only be in Amazon for now. However, if you buy a copy on Amazon and would like to read it on your non-Kindle reader, forward the receipt of your purchase to me at camys.loft@gmail.com and I’ll have BookFunnel send you an .epub copy of the file so you can side load it onto your ebook reader. (If you have any trouble downloading your copy, please click the help link at the top of the download page. The friendly folks at BookFunnel will help you get your book.) You might also be able to download a DRM-free copy from Amazon through “Your Content and Devices” page on the Amazon website.

Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Free Christian Romance ebooks! Including Weddings and Wasabi!

From now until April 23rd, get these Christian Romance ebooks free in exchange for signing up for the author’s email newsletter.

There are a whopping 54 different ebooks available, including my Christian Romance, Weddings and Wasabi.

Check out the promo here!

Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Save the Date book trailer!


WOW I haven’t had a book trailer for my books since Protection for Hire! (Actually, I think that was the only book trailer I’ve had for one of my books …)

Anyway, Marion made this trailer for our Christian Contemporary Romance anthology!

Friday, April 09, 2021

How to contact me

I wanted to let people know that the best way to contact me is either posting on my blog or posting a comment on one of my Facebook posts (on either my Camy Tang Facebook page or my Camille Elliot Facebook page). If you post on my blog, make sure your email address is in your profile so I can reply. On Facebook, I'll tag you so you'll know when I respond.

Lately, I had a bad bout with distraction and procrastination, so I decided to change up my internet time. Maybe it's a result of getting older, but I have a hard time switching from a social media/reader interaction mindset to a writing mindset. I guess I just can't switch gears in my brain as easily as I did when I was younger.

So until further notice, I'll only be checking email and Facebook on Saturdays. If you comment on my blog or on my Facebook page, just know that I likely won't respond right away.

I hope this isn't too much of an inconvenience for people. I figure, if it's urgent, people will usually call or text me. But limiting my internet time seems to be the only way for me to be able to focus on work. Thanks for understanding!

Thursday, April 08, 2021

Lady Wynwood's Spies, volume 1: Archer EXCERPT - Chapter 1c

I’m posting an excerpt of Lady Wynwood’s Spies, volume 1: Archer, the first part of my Lady Wynwood’s Spies series!

Part one in a Christian Regency Romantic Adventure epic serial novel with a supernatural twist
Lady Wynwood’s Spies series, volume 1

She met him again by shooting him.

After four seasons and unmarried because she is taller than most of her dance partners, Miss Phoebe Sauber receives the shocking news that she is being callously banished from her father’s estate because he is remarrying. Feeling betrayed by her father and by God, and wanting to escape her family’s presence, she attends an archery tournament with her friends.

But her perfect aim fails her, and her arrow hits a piece of paper held by Mr. Michael Coulton-Jones, whom she hasn’t seen much in society in several years. But strangely, her arrow tears a section of the paper with a partial symbol that looks eerily familiar to her.

He met her again while searching for a killer.

Michael had quit his work as a spy for the Foreign Office when his brother was poisoned. His search for the murderer leads him to Apothecary Jack, a criminal underworld leader with a penchant for poisons, who is gathering a powerful army through an alchemical potion that can give men supernatural strength.

But his path unexpectedly crosses again with Miss Sauber, who saves him from a trap laid by Jack. She and her Aunt Laura, Lady Wynwood, have found a vital connection to Apothecary Jack and the mysterious group he works for.

Now Michael, who had vowed to never again allow civilians to come to harm, must work with a nobleman keeping dangerous secrets, a human lie detector, a chemist, a fellow former spy, and the one woman he’s never allowed himself to get close to.

And it is only this ragtag group that stands against a traitorous organization that could enable Napoleon to conquer the world.

PLEASE NOTE: This is the first book in the Lady Wynwood’s Spies series, an epic serial novel. Each volume has a completed story arc, but this is NOT a stand-alone novel and ends on a cliffhanger.

All the posted parts are listed here.

***


Chapter 1c



The knocker sounded sharply, and the butler hastened to answer to escape the tension between the two of them.

She realized that her father had likely timed this so that she would be forced to leave as soon as he told her about his remarriage, so that she would not argue with him. But she was not as blindly agreeable as her brother. Not when she worked diligently all year in order to have the funds to enjoy the society of London for these few months. “Palmer, please tell Miss Layton I will not be joining them today.”

“There is nothing more for us to discuss.” Her father stuck out his wide chest and frowned at her like an intimidating bull, but his fidgety eyes looked as though he very much wanted to escape her company as soon as possible.

“You cannot expect me to smile and go off to gallivant with my friends when you have dropped such tremendous news into my lap only this morning.”

“Only this morning? Denholm, that is really too bad of you.” A new voice came drifting from the open doorway, startling Phoebe. The voice was as sweet as honey, flowing thick and smooth, and yet it also seemed to have an edge to it that would make your ears bleed. “Why, I have been telling all of my friends and acquaintances of our engagement for two or three days, at least.”

The butler stepped aside and a woman entered the foyer, shedding her burgundy velvet cloak. She was slender and elegant, with ebony black hair curling artlessly from beneath the edge of her bonnet. Her dark gray eyes were thickly lashed, but they were also as cold as marble, and her delicately carved lips smiled at Phoebe with a beauty that lacked warmth. “You must be Phoebe. I am Mrs. Lambert, your father’s fiancée.”

The suddenness of being faced with the woman made Phoebe threaten to lose the abrasive strength she had found only moments before. She drew a long, slow breath and met the woman’s eyes directly and frankly, in a way that her governess had always scolded her not to do. “How do you do? I’m afraid you have me at a disadvantage, since my father told me nothing about you until today.”

The woman gave a delicate laugh, but the dulcet tones scraped down Phoebe’s back like fingernails on a slate. “Men can be so forgetful, can’t they? Or were you embarrassed, Denholm, to be courting a woman again as if you were twenty-three years younger?”

The artless comment reminded Phoebe of her advanced age and didn’t endear Mrs. Lambert to her future stepdaughter. “I’m certain it was simply that my father has rarely seen me these past several months.” Now Phoebe understood why he had been even more absent than usual from their country estate.

“It is terribly drafty here in the foyer and I am positively parched. Might I beg you for a cup of tea?”

Phoebe was made uncomfortably aware that she had been detaining Mrs. Lambert in the foyer rather than inviting her into the drawing room. Was that a jab at her for being remiss in her duties as lady of the house? “I do beg your pardon, Mrs. Lambert. I shall ring for tea in the drawing room.”

“There is no need to stand on ceremony, my dear. After all, we shall soon be family. I shall take tea in the breakfast room. Denholm invited me to share breakfast with him this morning.”

Phoebe shot her father a hard look that he ignored, so she replied, “How negligent of my father to not mention that to me. I would have cancelled my morning plans in order to spend time with you.”

“There is no need for that.” Mrs. Lambert led the way upstairs, but her barely noticeable hesitation on the landing made Phoebe realize she was not yet familiar with the layout of the house. Her father took his fiancée’s arm and led her to the breakfast room, where she sat at Phoebe’s traditional spot at her father’s right.

Phoebe was surprised at this maneuver. Surely it was not on purpose to remind Phoebe that she was about to lose her place in her home?

Then Mrs. Lambert smiled at her. There was a hardness just on the edge of her lips and a glint in her eye that showed her pleasure at how she had usurped Phoebe.

Yes, the seating was deliberate. Mrs. Lambert had no intention of easing into the transition from Phoebe’s control of the household over to hers.

Phoebe’s back straightened. She didn’t understand why Mrs. Lambert was so aggressively unwelcoming, but Phoebe had always reacted with stubbornness in the face of bullies.

“You there, a fresh pot of tea,” Mrs. Lambert snapped at the maid who had scurried in behind them.

Phoebe sat farther down the table, not too close to Mrs. Lambert or her father. “Oh, but Mrs. Lambert, Agnes had just brought a fresh pot when I left the breakfast room, and it is still hot.” Phoebe poured Mrs. Lambert a cup of tepid tea and gave her a cheerful smile.

Mrs. Lambert’s smile grew wider, and somehow sharper at the same time. It made Phoebe feel like she had just started a knife sparring match with Vadoma, her Gypsy friend. In the summer of her thirteenth year, she and her friend Keriah had first seen a sparring match against the skilled Gypsy woman, who was precise with her knife strikes and exploited any weakness she saw, and she was so enthralled that she immediately begged to be taught knife-fighting, unorthodox though it was.

“I do regret that we have met in this way, but the relationship between your father and I was very proper and distant until only recently.”

“I assure you, Mrs. Lambert, my father has always made it clear that his business is his own.” She didn’t look at her father, but she could feel his frown at her.

***

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Buy Lady Wynwood’s Spies, volume 1: Archer:
Kindle
Paperback

NOTE: Unfortunately, the book will only be in Amazon for now. However, if you buy a copy on Amazon and would like to read it on your non-Kindle reader, forward the receipt of your purchase to me at camys.loft@gmail.com and I’ll have BookFunnel send you an .epub copy of the file so you can side load it onto your ebook reader. (If you have any trouble downloading your copy, please click the help link at the top of the download page. The friendly folks at BookFunnel will help you get your book.) You might also be able to download a DRM-free copy from Amazon through “Your Content and Devices” page on the Amazon website.

Tuesday, April 06, 2021

Lady Wynwood's Spies, volume 3: Aggressor paperback is released!


The ebook version isn’t live yet, but the paperback version of my latest book, Lady Wynwood’s Spies, volume 3: Aggressor, is now live on Amazon!

Here’s the back cover description:

Part three in a Christian Regency Romantic Adventure epic serial novel with a supernatural twist
Lady Wynwood’s Spies volume 3

One man faces death

With the help of his team, Mr. Michael Coulson-Jones has overcome the deadly Root elixir that turned him into a monster. But now that they know more about the deadly potion, he is faced with an inevitable truth—unless he agrees to the risk of taking more, he will eventually die.

One man faces theft

In the meantime, a beautiful, infamous French spy and her group of thugs have landed on English soil, intent on stealing the mysterious plant that Apothecary Jack uses to control his underworld empire. They play a deadly game of hide-and-seek with Michael’s team amidst the rookeries of London.

One man faces rage

Then one of the team is afflicted by a savage, insane rage after exposure to the strange pollen of Jack’s plants. The team must not only battle the French spies and Apothecary Jack, but also a sickness of the mind tormenting one of their own.

PLEASE NOTE: This is the third book in the Lady Wynwood’s Spies series, an epic serial novel. Each volume has a completed story arc, but this is NOT a stand-alone novel and the story continues in volume 4.

The end of book 2 ended on a cliff-hangy note, so I hope you enjoy book 3!

Thursday, April 01, 2021

Lady Wynwood's Spies, volume 1: Archer EXCERPT - Chapter 1b

I’m posting an excerpt of Lady Wynwood’s Spies, volume 1: Archer, the first part of my Lady Wynwood’s Spies series!

Part one in a Christian Regency Romantic Adventure epic serial novel with a supernatural twist
Lady Wynwood’s Spies series, volume 1

She met him again by shooting him.

After four seasons and unmarried because she is taller than most of her dance partners, Miss Phoebe Sauber receives the shocking news that she is being callously banished from her father’s estate because he is remarrying. Feeling betrayed by her father and by God, and wanting to escape her family’s presence, she attends an archery tournament with her friends.

But her perfect aim fails her, and her arrow hits a piece of paper held by Mr. Michael Coulton-Jones, whom she hasn’t seen much in society in several years. But strangely, her arrow tears a section of the paper with a partial symbol that looks eerily familiar to her.

He met her again while searching for a killer.

Michael had quit his work as a spy for the Foreign Office when his brother was poisoned. His search for the murderer leads him to Apothecary Jack, a criminal underworld leader with a penchant for poisons, who is gathering a powerful army through an alchemical potion that can give men supernatural strength.

But his path unexpectedly crosses again with Miss Sauber, who saves him from a trap laid by Jack. She and her Aunt Laura, Lady Wynwood, have found a vital connection to Apothecary Jack and the mysterious group he works for.

Now Michael, who had vowed to never again allow civilians to come to harm, must work with a nobleman keeping dangerous secrets, a human lie detector, a chemist, a fellow former spy, and the one woman he’s never allowed himself to get close to.

And it is only this ragtag group that stands against a traitorous organization that could enable Napoleon to conquer the world.

PLEASE NOTE: This is the first book in the Lady Wynwood’s Spies series, an epic serial novel. Each volume has a completed story arc, but this is NOT a stand-alone novel and ends on a cliffhanger.

All the posted parts are listed here.

***


Chapter 1b



The sound of carriage wheels stopping outside the house propelled her to her feet just as Agnes arrived with the milk and sugar. “Agnes, my friends have arrived. Please go upstairs and fetch my cloak and bonnet, and also my bow and arrows.” The maid’s face flushed with irritation, and Phoebe wished she’d brought her outerwear and archery things to the table this morning, regardless of the fact her father had always forbidden her to do so. However, she had thought she’d have more time, since Miss Layton was almost always late to arrive to pick her up.

Strangely, as Phoebe was waiting in the foyer for Agnes to return, her father appeared and stood next to her. She belatedly realized he hadn’t scolded her during breakfast—he probably hadn’t had time before the carriage arrived—and now she’d likely hear why he’d graced her with his presence this morning.

However, he stood there shifting his weight from one foot to the other, his mouth soundlessly working as if he were trying to decide what to say. Unease burbled in Phoebe’s stomach, which increased when the butler entered the foyer. Why couldn’t her father have spoken to her when they were alone, before the servants appeared?

Her father finally spoke just as Agnes arrived with her things. “You are … going to an archery tournament?”

She tensed, but answered in a calm voice. “Miss Layton is hosting a picnic and ‘friendly archery practice’ today on Hampstead Heath.”

“Before you leave, I must tell you something important.” His voice sounded more terse than normal.

She paused before accepting her bonnet from Agnes. Did he object to the fact she had avoided playing cards with Mr. Vernon at the soiree last night? Her father might care that Mr. Vernon’s uncle was a new friend—for now—of the Prince Regent, but Phoebe couldn’t bring herself to stand more than a minute of Mr. Vernon’s insufferably arrogant company, which had become sharper after she had trounced him in the last archery tournament she had attended.

“In four weeks’ time, I shall be marrying a widow, Mrs. Audry Lambert.”

Her bow and arrows clattered to the marble floor. At first Phoebe thought she’d dropped them, then realized she hadn’t yet taken them from her maid, who had been the one to let them slip from shocked fingers. Even the butler’s mouth had dropped open in surprise.

Phoebe’s highly intelligent response was, “Who?”

He sighed as if he expected his daughter to not be quite so dim-witted. “Mrs. Audry Lambert,” he repeated unhelpfully.

“Have I met her?”

“No, of course not,” he said impatiently.

“Oh.” She blinked a few times, then her sarcasm flew from her mouth before she could check herself. “Of course I wouldn’t wish to meet her. It’s so much more entertaining if she become my new stepmother sight unseen.”

He frowned at her, but she wasn’t about to back down this time. There was a sensation in her chest like two ropes being twisted around each other tighter and tighter, knotting and trembling with the tension. “How long have you known her?”

“Six months.”

“And it didn’t occur to you to inform your daughter you were considering her for your second wife?”

“I do not answer to you,” he snapped at her.

“No, I simply run your household and your estate for you while you gallivant in London most of the year.”

“If you have forgotten, it is my household and my estate. If I wish to give the household to a new wife, that is my decision. And I have recently been considering that it is high time the estate duties pass to your younger brother’s responsibility.”

Phoebe’s hands clenched and unclenched. She indeed had considered that her father would want to remarry, and that she’d have to relinquish her duties as lady of the manor to a new stepmother. She had also been prepared for her brother to one day take over managing Sauber Hill. She was good at it, and she cared deeply about the tenants, who often treated her like family, but she knew the job was not hers.

But she hadn’t expected to be assaulted so suddenly by these changes. And the way her father was doing these things now somehow felt violent and harsh.

His eyes shifted away from her, as if he could ignore the fact that his daughter had turned into a block of stone. “Mrs. Lambert has two daughters. The eldest will have her coming out next year. Since I cannot spare the expense, I am cutting short your Season in London this year. I should think four Seasons was more than enough,” he added defensively, as if to convince both Phoebe and himself of the righteousness of his decision.

It felt like a sharp, sharp sword slashed through the twisted ropes in her chest. With his callous attitude, her father had made clear how he saw her—as a disposable servant. She had heard him once or twice mention to his friends his views on daughters—their expense and lack of value, since they only ate up money in living expenses and dowries. But she had still believed that he might think of her differently because she was so useful to him.

Apparently not.

***

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* indicates required

Buy Lady Wynwood’s Spies, volume 1: Archer:
Kindle
Paperback

NOTE: Unfortunately, the book will only be in Amazon for now. However, if you buy a copy on Amazon and would like to read it on your non-Kindle reader, forward the receipt of your purchase to me at camys.loft@gmail.com and I’ll have BookFunnel send you an .epub copy of the file so you can side load it onto your ebook reader. (If you have any trouble downloading your copy, please click the help link at the top of the download page. The friendly folks at BookFunnel will help you get your book.) You might also be able to download a DRM-free copy from Amazon through “Your Content and Devices” page on the Amazon website.