Loving the Nobleman…New Series

Remington's RulesIsabella Kole has a new series out with Blushing Books, her first Regency, Loving the Nobleman. Book One released in April and in the first week ranked #2 in Erotic Historicals and #1 in Hot New Releases on Amazon. Remington’s Rules is a great introduction into the love story of Charles, the future Duke of Remington, and Emily, the red-haired, spitfire chambermaid he has known since the day she was born. Emily’s Emergence follows in June and Duchess’s Desire in August. 

Available at Blushing Books, Amazon and Barnes and Noble, here are the buy links:

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Remingtons-Rules-Loving-Nobleman-Book-ebook/dp/B01E64ONTE

Barnes and Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/remingtons-rules-isabella-kole/1123656873?ean=2940157837891

Blushing Books: http://www.blushingbooks.com/index.php?l=product_detail&p=3799

Now, let me share the blurb and an excerpt from Remington’s Rules with you.

BLURB

Emily Crawley has lived in Remington House her entire life. Her parents have been in service to the Duke of Remington and his family for years, and now that Emily is of age, she has joined the staff, as well.

When the Marquess of Remington, the duke’s eldest son, Charles, returns after his years at school, Emily realizes her heart has always belonged to the handsome Lord. But, alas, he is to be wed to the rude and condescending Lady Caroline, a marriage that was arranged years ago.

Charles seems to enjoy bantering with Emily, though, and even turns her over his knees a few times for minor infractions. But when he refuses to go through with the arranged marriage and his younger brother steps in as the groom, will Emily have her chance? Or will the fact that she is a commoner keep them apart? A passion exists between the two that cannot be denied, but will it be enough if Charles is forced to relinquish his title to his brother in order to marry his Emily.

If that wasn’t enough to whet your appetite, how about an excerpt?

Emily Crawley hurriedly swiped the cloth over the wardrobe. She was behind in her duties, due to the fact she’d spent the past ten minutes literally swooning over the pictures of Charles, Lord of Remington, that were displayed around his bedchamber. Pictures of the young marquess at Oxford, playing sports and accepting awards, adorned the walls of the chamber proudly. Lord Remington, next in line to be the Duke of Remington was a handsome lad, indeed. Of course, he could no longer be referred to as a lad, by any means, but having grown up in the house with him, Emily still remembered him as the rambunctious boy who had spent many a day teasing her and her sister when they were children.

Ah, the days when she was a carefree child with no duties to speak of. Emily’s parents had been in service at Remington House for as long as Emily could remember. She and her older sister, Amelia, had lived there with their parents all their lives, in the quarters provided for them behind the kitchen. Their mum was the cook and their dear father provided services to the Duke himself, as his valet. In an era when most of the more affluent families employed a male chef from France in their homes, the Remington family was quite happy with Mrs. Crawley and the meals she prepared for them and their guests. Amelia and Emily were free to enjoy their childhood until they reached the age of sixteen, at which time they joined their parents in service to the Remingtons. Mrs. Crawley also supervised the housekeeping staff, which consisted of her own two daughters and several other young women.

Charles, on the other hand, had gone away, first to Eton and later to Oxford, in order to receive an education befitting his title. His younger brother, Henry, followed suit just a few years later. But now, Charles had come home. His father, the duke, was ailing, and since Charles was the heir, his place was by his father’s side. Emily had caught a glimpse of him a few times since his return and was pleased to see what a handsome man he’d become. She was sure there were young ladies of stature just waiting for their chance to become his duchess, one in particular, if the rumors she had heard were true.

Emily had turned eighteen on her last birthday. Her sister, Amelia, was twenty and was very much in love with one of the young men who worked in the stables. The two of them planned to marry and remain in service with the Remington family. Emily, however, had always dreamed of something more. She knew the chances of her ever leaving Remington House were remote, at best, but she still had hope that she would meet the perfect young man, and he would take her away from a life of service.

“Ye are still here,” the booming voice brought Emily out of her thoughts and made her jump.

She turned and smiled shyly at Charles. “I must apologize, milord. I shall return to finish my duties.”

Charles Remington brushed a wayward lock of his dark brown hair from his forehead with his hand. “Stay, Emily. I shall only be but a moment. I forgot important papers for my appointment.”

“Yes, milord,” she replied, unused to addressing her childhood friend as such.

Charles turned to her and grinned. “Come now, Ems, it’s me, Charles. Must ye be so formal?”

“I believe so, milord.”

“If I wasn’t in shortage of time, I should turn you across my knee. First, for pretending we did not grow up in this very house together and secondly, for dawdling in your duties. But, alas, duty calls, and I must go. Carry on, Miss Crawley.” And he was gone, ending the conversation on an equally formal note.

Emily sighed. What it would be like to be turned over Lord Remington’s knee? And such fine knees, at that. Charles had grown into a robust, well-muscled man. From his unruly dark hair to his broad shoulders and muscular thighs and calves, all quite visible beneath his tight breeches, he was a sight that took the breath away. She remembered a time when they were teens, and she had picked flowers from the garden. Charles had unceremoniously turned her over his knee and administered a few slaps to her young bottom. She had been stunned, yet not entirely appalled by the action. He had been home on summer break. That was the last summer before she began her housekeeping duties. Although he was older than her, Charles had always made time for his young friend, Emily, whenever he came home.

Shaking her head to rid her mind of such dangerous thoughts, Emily returned to her work. If her duties were not completed by the time he returned, he might very well follow through with his threat.

By mid-afternoon, she was finished with her duties and went into the kitchen, where her mum was working.

“My dear, ye must be famished. I have some soup on the stove. Sit, child.”

“I worked through lunchtime,” Emily explained. “I was running behind and lost track of the time. I’m sorry, Mama.”

“No harm done, child. Her Grace would not be happy to know ye went without yer lunch. A fine lady, she is.”

Emily sat at the table in the massive kitchen and enjoyed the hot soup. “Where is Amelia?” she asked.

“Your sister has gone to the market. Her Grace asked that she accompany her to the shops, and while she is there, Amelia will pick up some things for the kitchen.”

“The duke’s wife asked Amelia to accompany her?” Emily asked in surprise.

Her mum smiled. “Yes, my dear. I’m sure she will invite ye one day. I’ve always admired the way the lady of the house treats her staff. She was asking me just this morning about Amelia’s marriage plans.”

“How is the duke today? Is he feeling any better?” she asked.

“The doctor stopped in and I saw His Grace in the library earlier. I delivered a tray with tea and cakes.”

“He is such a kindly man. I hope he feels better.”

“Kindly, yes, but not the type of man you should wish to cross. I believe Lord Charles will fill his father’s shoes nicely, when the time comes.”

Emily finished her soup in silence. When Charles became the Duke of Remington, he would require a duchess. Why did that thought suggest a void in the pit of her stomach?

When she finished her late lunch, Emily washed her bowl and spoon and asked her mum if she needed assistance with the supper preparations.

“No, child, ye have done your day’s work. Go and enjoy the sunshine while ye can. Winter is nearly upon us.”

She grabbed her cloak from her room and went out the staff entrance to walk in the beautiful gardens. Smiling at one of the other members of the staff as she hurried down the walk, she looked up to the sky. It was sunny, but the air was chilly. Her mum was right. Winter would be upon them soon. She walked briskly to the gardens and found her favorite bench. She sat down and took a rest, enjoying the beauty that surrounded her.

“Ah, I have caught ye dawdling again,” a deep voice said with a chuckle.

“I shall have ye know, milord, that my work for the day is done.” She turned and smiled sweetly at Charles, who was standing close by.

“A cheeky attitude to add to the list of offences, I see,” he replied as he sat down next to her on the bench.

Ignoring his remark, she said, “I presume your appointment went well.”

“It did at that.”

“Mama said yer father was up, in the library, today. That’s good news.”

“Ah, yes, he is beginning to get his strength back. I fear winter shall be hard for him.”

“He is lucky he has his eldest son to fill in for him.”

Charles sighed. “That may well be, but I am not ready to fill his shoes, I am afraid. I sincerely hope this illness to be short-lived.”

“The duke is still a young man. I am certain it shall not deter him.”

“If I could but share in yer faith that be true,” he replied. “My mother, the duchess, assures me my father will be around for quite some time to come. I sincerely hope both of ye are right.”

“My sister accompanied your mother into town this afternoon. I should go see if she has returned.”

“I have heard rumblings about a marriage between yer sister, the beautiful Amelia, and Thomas, one of our grooms. Is there truth to the rumor?” he asked.

“Ah, yes, ’tis true,” she answered as she stood up and prepared to leave.

“And what about the fair Emily, do ye have a beau?” he asked as he stood. He towered a full foot above her in height.

She craned her neck to look up at him. “Not as yet,” she replied simply. “I simply must be getting back. It’s been a pleasure visiting with you, milord.”

“Charles,” he reminded her.

“I do not think that to be proper, given the circumstances, milord. We are no longer children. I am in service to the House of Remington, and ye are the heir apparent. Things have changed.”

He reached out and touched her cheek lightly. “Ye will always be my little Emily, the carefree little girl I spent my summers with, climbing trees and running around the grounds.”

“Ah, but good memories, ’tis all, milord,” she said. She turned and ran quickly back to the house, away from the man who had set her heart to racing with one simple touch to her cheek. Her face flamed as she thought of his hand upon her face.

She walked into the kitchen and saw that her sister had returned. As she walked to her quarters to hang her cloak, Amelia said, “Where have ye been, sister? Ye look flushed. Are ye coming down with something?”

“I am fine, ’tis a bit chilly. I had a brisk walk in the cool air, ’tis all.”

“Well, I am glad of that. Come; see what Her Grace purchased for my wedding.”

“Her Grace bought something for yer wedding?” Emily asked in surprise.

“Why, yes, silly,” her sister said. “She always helps the staff when there is a wedding afoot. I have heard the lady of the house loves weddings and anything romantic.”

Emily joined her mum and her sister at the table to admire the lovely lace fabric. “‘Tis for my wedding gown,” Amelia explained.

“Mama, are you going to make the gown?” Emily asked.

“Yes, child, I shall make the gown, as I shall make yers when the time comes.”

Emily ran her slender fingers over the delicate fabric. “‘Tis truly beautiful,” she remarked wistfully.

“There is white satin for under the lace,” Amelia explained. “Her Grace was most insistent upon the fabric she chose.”

“We are most fortunate to be in the employ of the Remington family,” her mum said. “The duke and duchess are truly appreciative of their staff.”

Her two young daughters shook their head in agreement.

“Now, ’tis time for supper to be served. Put this away, Amelia. After I have served the family, we shall meet with the rest of the staff for our evening meal.”

Amelia carefully wrapped the fine fabric and retreated to the room she shared with Emily. Emily stayed behind to assist her mum in serving supper to the family. She carried steaming bowls of vegetables to the great dining room while her mum followed with a platter of succulent meat.

As she placed a bowl of food on the table, she caught the eye of Lord Remington. He winked at her, which she promptly ignored. Why did he insist on teasing her so?

When the family had been served, the Crawley women joined the rest of the staff in their own dining room and enjoyed a pleasant supper. The evening meal was a time of reflection upon the day’s work among the staff, along with discussion about the goings on in their private lives. Tonight’s discussion centered upon the upcoming nuptials of Amelia and Thomas, much to Amelia’s obvious delight.

“Have ye set a date for the ceremony?” one of the maids asked.

“We shall do that very soon,” Thomas replied as he cast a smile in the direction of his blushing bride-to-be.

“With the holidays fast approaching, a Christmas wedding would be so romantic,” one of the other maids added.

“Oh, that is too soon. I don’t think we can be ready,” Amelia said.

“‘Tis true, that would be soon. Perhaps a spring wedding?” Emily asked.

“Will ye be getting married here, at Remington House?” another asked.

The conversation continued throughout the meal. Emily excused herself to clear the table in the family dining room and to deliver their dessert. “Sit, Mama, I’ll take care of it. I’m sure you want to take part in the wedding planning.”

Glad to be away from the constant talk of her sister’s upcoming marriage, Emily set about with her task. It wasn’t that she wasn’t happy for Amelia, she was. It was just that she, too, dreamed of becoming a bride. The problem with that was that she hadn’t yet found anyone worthy to be her groom. Well, that wasn’t entirely true. There was one man who had been invading her dreams for years, but he was the man she would never be allowed to share her life with. The man who was sitting in the dining room winking at her at that very moment, the same man who had threatened to turn her over his knee, the one who had joined her in the garden earlier, yes, Charles, Lord of Remington, the next Duke of Remington, was the only man who had ever excited young Emily Crawley.

But, alas, it was not to be. They may have spent their childhood frolicking about the grounds of his family home, but now they were adults, with adult responsibilities. Men like Charles didn’t marry girls like Emily. It was unheard of. The future duke would be expected to marry a lady of nobility. The daughter of the cook and the duke’s valet would certainly not fit in that category. The sooner she forgot her childhood dreams, the better off she would be.

After serving dessert to the family, she carried the remainder to the staff dining room for the others to enjoy. She excused herself and began the task of cleaning up. One of the other maids joined her, and soon, the kitchen was again spotless, ready for her mum to begin another day of cooking the next morning. Emily said goodnight and retired to her room, where Amelia soon joined her.

“No evening walk with Thomas tonight?” she asked when her sister entered the room.

“No, he had to return to the stables. One of the mares is about to give birth.”

“So, how are the plans coming along? Did ye come up with anything tonight?”

“I know that the Remingtons open their home for staff weddings, but Thomas will have to ask the duke for permission. I guess we shan’t make official plans until that task is done.”

“Are ye scared?” Emily asked.

“Scared to ask the duke?” her sister asked in reply.

“No, silly, scared to get married.”

“I am a bit nervous about the wedding night, if truth be told. But not scared about becoming a wife to Thomas. I love him, and I think he will be a fine husband.”

“Have ye not ever wanted something more? Something outside of Remington House?” Emily asked.

“Ah, ye are such a dreamer, little sister. I suppose, at times, I have wondered about a life away from here. But, the Remington family is one of the finest in the nobility to be employed by. They are fair and kind. I have found my love here, so I believe it is my destiny to remain here.”

“Yes, we are fortunate. I just cannot help but think of a life different from this, though.”

“I doubt ye will have a prince or a duke to rescue ye from a life of service. ‘Tis not the way of the land. ‘Twould be a scandal for sure.”

“But…what if…”

“Only in yer dreams, little sister, only in yer dreams. Now, I suggest we get some sleep. Good night, Emily.”

“Good night, Amelia.”

That night, Emily’s dreams took her to a place far away. She was a lady of nobility, dressed in the finest gown, dancing with a handsome man. His face was not clear to her in the dream, but when his hand gently caressed her face, she knew. She knew the touch of his hand as well as the touch of her own. Her heart was beating rapidly when, in the dream, the man leaned his head down to touch her lips with his.

She awoke, soaked with sweat, flushed from the thoughts her dream had planted in her head. Someday…her dream would come true. She just knew it. There was no other acceptable outcome for her life. Nothing else would do, nothing else at all.

And there you have it! Watch soon for the blurb and an excerpt from Emily’s Emergence, Book Two in Isabella Kole’s hot, new regency series, Loving the Nobleman.

RemingtonPromo

 

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Isabella Kole’s Desire for Discipline series

The Desire for Discipline seriesBlushing Books has just released Isabella Kole’s third book in the Desire for Discipline series. Each book can be read as a standalone, but the story begins with Jill Lincoln in book one, moves to her sister, Janis, in the second and concludes with Lyndsey, Janis’s sister-in-law, in the conclusion. Accepting His Terms is priced at a mere $0.99, Submitting to Bryan is $2.99, and The Longing Within sells for $3.99. They are all available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble and Blushing Books. Below, you’ll find the blurb from each, along with the buy links. So, one-click, sit back, relax and enjoy The Desire for Discipline series.

Book #1: Accepting His Terms

Jill Lincoln has the hots for her stern, hunk of a boss, Jarrod Baine. With his piercing steel gray-blue eyes, hair as black as coal, and a body to be enjoyed, she wonders what it would be like to be his woman. But she’s only one of many who would give her eye teeth to be in his bed.

The day Jarrod rescues her from a would-be assault by a young mail clerk, she finds that he is as attracted to her as she is to him. As the two begin a relationship, it becomes very apparent to Jarrod that Jill is a nervous, high-strung lady and he searches for the best way to ease her tensions. Together they begin to form a strong bond as they experiment with discipline.

As the couple realizes their feelings run much deeper than an office affair, Jarrod asks her to be his wife. As they enter into a hot, passionate marriage, complete with the discipline, by mutual consent, a deeper emotional bond is formed that continues to grow much stronger over time.

But when Jill suffers a heartbreaking miscarriage and Jarrod is not by her side, she retreats into a deep, dark depression, turning away from the one man who can save her.

Will their bond be severed forever?

http://www.amazon.com/Accepting-His-Terms-Desire-Discipline-ebook/dp/B00FPWB1QK/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/accepting-his-terms-isabella-kole/1117061855?ean=2940148463177

http://www.blushingbooks.com/index.php?l=product_detail&p=2781

Book #2: Submitting to Bryan

Janis Lincoln found the man of her dreams in handsome co-worker, Bryan Walsh, until he tells her exactly the type of marriage he expects. She is shocked. Can she submit completely to him? A free spirit, she balks at his first attempt to discipline her.

Returning to her old college crowd and an old flame, she finds herself caught up in the club scene once more. Realizing her heart is with Bryan, she nearly loses her life before she has a chance to decide if she can be the kind of wife he wants.

When the couple announces their engagement to his parents, another storm is brewing. Janis is not the girl they’ve chosen for their son. On Thanksgiving night when Jan walks in on her fiancé and the girl his parents want their son to marry, she bolts a second time and calls off the wedding.

Will Bryan be able to convince Janis she is the only one for him? Can Janis submit completely to Bryan?

http://www.amazon.com/Submitting-Bryan-Desire-Discipline-Book-ebook/dp/B00LXM1MRY/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/submitting-to-bryan-isabella-kole/1119975673?ean=2940149741601

http://www.blushingbooks.com/index.php?l=product_detail&p=2916

Book #3: The Longing Within

The conclusion to Accepting His Terms and Submitting to Bryan, this is Lyndsey’s story. Orphaned at the age of four, Lyndsey Greene was raised by her parents’ best friends, Bob and Maeve Walsh. They’ve given her a good life and an education, but there has always been something missing, a longing she can’t quite put her finger on.

When she’s about to marry the love of her life, John Gordon, she discovers her fiancé lived the life of a Dom before he met her. When he presents the idea to her of living the lifestyle once they’re married, she agrees without qualms. Her own adopted brother and his wife practice DD in their marriage, so the idea does not frighten her. Lyndsey has the perfect balance in her life, a fulfilling career with a local publisher, where she maintains control, and her submissive life at home, where she has willingly relinquished control to John.

But when she is let go from her job with no warning, her life begins to spin out of control. She no longer has the best of both worlds and is having a hard time finding any semblance of balance.

Will she go against John and make a move that will end their marriage and all they’ve built, or will John’s love be the force that keeps her on track and ultimately brings balance back into her life?

http://www.amazon.com/Longing-Within-Desire-Discipline-Book-ebook/dp/B017X5GGPM/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-longing-within-isabella-kole/1122940821?ean=2940156682386

http://www.blushingbooks.com/index.php?l=product_detail&p=3588&welcome=1

About the Author:

Isabella Kole lives in southern Indiana, where she enjoys spending time with her family and friends. Always an avid romance reader, she began writing several years ago and although she has had several sweet romances published under a different pen name, Accepting His Terms is the first erotic romance in her collection.

When not writing, Isabella can be found traveling around signing books and meeting her readers, working at her day job, or simply enjoying life.

You can find Isabella on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Isabella-Kole-Author/580591041984962?ref=hl

Other books by Isabella Kole:

The Highlander’s Curse

The Marshall and the Heiress

The Seduction of E.J.

Rescuing Raven

RESCUING RAVEN…not your ordinary fairy tale

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Bestselling author, Isabella Kole takes the stage…

Available this weekend at a special release weekend price of $2.99. Price goes to $4.99 Monday night (June 29th).

A modern day fairy tale cross between Rapunzel and Romeo and Juliet. Princess Raven, banished to the tower by her father at the tender age of three and Prince Richard, the hottie with a firm hand whose attempt to rescue her results in a feud between their kingdoms.

They find an unlikely ally in Queen Lydia, the not- so-evil stepmother, but when it comes down to a choice between their respective thrones and the love they’ve discovered, is the relationship doomed forever?

Source: http://www.amazon.com/Rescuing-Raven-Isabella-Kole-ebook/dp/B010I4DIG0/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1435528312&sr=8-1&keywords=Rescuing+Raven+Isabella+Kole

The Marshal and the Heiress

The Marshal and the Heiress_500x755Welcome back! Today I’ve got a new release from my spicy side, Isabella Kole, to tell you about. A little back story about this one is that a few months ago, my daughter suggested I write about a murder set in the 1800’s and add a little of Isabella’s spice to it. My reaction, of course, was “Are you nuts?” Yeah, well, she can be very persuasive and long story short, the story was written, submitted, accepted and released. So far, it’s done very well, ranking in the top ten for Erotic Westerns on Amazon in both the US and the UK. It’s also currently in the top fifteen on the publisher’s website, Blushing Books. I guess I should listen to her more often. In case you haven’t one-clicked on this hot new release yet, here’s the blurb to let you know what it’s about.

BLURB Marshal Luke Prescott has searched for his young bride’s murderer for five long years, to no avail. When feisty heiress, Clarissa Birmingham, breezes into his town, he finds himself drawn to her, exasperating as she may be. Headstrong and impetuous, the young beauty quickly learns her she will heed Luke’s warnings or she will pay the price. But when Clarissa’s long-lost older brother is arrested after a drunken brawl, it is revealed he knows who murdered Luke’s wife. Clarissa finds out that her impetuous ways lead her into a danger she may never recover from. Will Luke be able to save her before he loses another love?

Piqued your interest? How about a little excerpt to go with that? Luke and Clarissa’s first dinner together after just meeting: EXCERPT:

“So tell me, Marshall Prescott, what does one do for entertainment around here?” Clarissa asked as she placed two sugar cubes into her hot tea and began to stir. “I’m sure you’ll find the local church to be of some assistance there. The ladies get together to make quilts, have socials and dinners.” “I see. Are there dances?” she asked as she took a sip of the hot, sweet liquid. “I reckon there are the occasional barn dances.” “You don’t seem to know much about what goes on in the social circles here.” “I’ve only been here a few months myself, ma’am. I’ve been busy working. I’m sure once you begin your teaching assignment you’ll be busy, as well.” “I won’t be teaching all the time. I’ll have my evenings and my weekends free. I don’t intend to sit in my room.” “No, I don’t imagine you will. You’ll not find the theatre or any of the social events you’re likely accustomed to in these parts.” “I’ll have to make do, now won’t I, Marshall?” After their supper arrived, he advised her again to seek out the local church for her social activities. “Sounds a bit dull to me,” she said as she cut her steak into tiny pieces. “You chose this life. I reckon if it’s not to your liking, we can look for another teacher for the town’s children.” “I’m not a quitter, Marshall Prescott. I’ve said I’ll do it and I’ll see it through. I’ll just have to find my own fun.” “Now, you listen to me, young lady. I assured your father that you would be protected here. If you start going to unsavory establishments looking for a good time, you and I are going to have to have a meeting of the minds.” “Now, that’s the best offer I’ve had since I arrived,” she said with a coy smile as she turned her attention to the food on her plate.

Now, I’ll bet you’d like to know where to buy this book, don’t you? Well, I’ll help you out and list the buy links for you. It’s currently available in ebook form and paperback.

BLUSHING BOOKS: http://www.blushingbooks.com/index.php?l=product_detail&p=3293

BARNES & NOBLE: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-marshal-and-the-heiress-isabella-kole/1121655134?ean=2940151290609

AMAZON EBOOK: http://www.amazon.com/Marshal-Heiress-Isabella-Kole-ebook/dp/B00VH4TNJ2/ref=sr_1_3_twi_1_kin?ie=UTF8&qid=1429479039&sr=8-3&keywords=ISABELLA+KOLE

AMAZON PAPERBACK: http://www.amazon.com/The-Marshal-Heiress-Isabella-Kole/dp/1627507728/ref=tmm_pap_title_0?ie=UTF8&qid=1429479039&sr=8-3

I hope you’ll enjoy Isabella’s latest endeavor. Soon there will be another coming out…  

THE HIGHLANDER’S CURSE by Isabella Kole

The Highlanders Curse_500x755Hi! Sorry I haven’t posted recently, but it’s been a whirlwind, what with writing, editing, releases and the holidays! My spicy side has a new release. It’s called The Highlander’s Curse, from Blushing Books, and is my very first paranormal, time travel romance. It’s very steamy and romantic and I am pleased with the way it turned out. Author Isobelle Cate offered some assistance with the Scottish parts, Author Alta Hensley “dared” me to go hotter and my awesome editor, Staci Taylor pushed me just a little bit to add more spice. A friend and former co-worker, Lucy, has been after me forever to write a book about a Scottish ghost in an old castle. Well this may not be exactly what she had in mind, but as the story developed, I couldn’t help but fall in love with it. I’m going to treat you to the blurb and a little tidbit from the book to whet your appetite. We’ve also got a release party going on over at Facebook right now so I’ll post the link at the end and feel free to join us for a lot of fun and some great prizes!

Blurb:

A beautiful castle in the scenic Highlands of Scotland, a sassy, stubborn modern girl from Cincinnati, Ohio and a would-be Duke cursed by a witch two-hundred years before set the stage for a love story that could forever change history. Ian Galloway has come back to claim what is rightfully his and to find his soul-mate. Amanda Brown has just inherited his castle. When the proper Highlander Duke meets the willful, modern girl, he decides she is the one, but before she can cross the portal with him and become his Duchess, she must be tamed. He makes it clear that her sharp tongue and disobedient ways will not go unpunished.

Will she give up everything to go back in time with the man she has fallen so deeply in love with, or will her fears of the unknown keep them apart forever?

Excerpt:

The year was 1814 and thirty-year-old Ian Galloway stood in the field beyond his home and gazed at the large castle. Galloway Castle had been in his family for many years. Ian was to become the next Duke of Galloway and it had been strongly suggested he find a young woman to become his Duchess. In all his travels over the vast Scottish countryside the handsome young Duke hadn’t been able to find the woman with whom he’d choose to spend his life with. His golden hair blowing in the wind, the plaid kilt rustling around his muscular legs, he looked around once more at the lush green countryside. His land, the property his sons would someday inherit. But first, he must find a mother for the sons he planned to sire. Of course every young woman in the villages that surrounded Galloway Castle wanted to be the next Duchess of Galloway.

One beautiful young woman in particular had her sights set on the young Duke. Her name was Bridget MacCloskey. Some said she was a witch. Ian had scoffed at the idea. Bewitching she may be with her long golden locks and full bosom but witches didn’t really exist. It was folklore. He had been seen squiring the luscious young woman around the village but he had not asked for her hand in marriage. In fact, he had decided to end things with her that very night. But first, he needed to return to the castle. There was business to be dealt with.

As he entered his majestic home a few moments later, he was told by a servant that his father wanted to see him immediately. He wasted no time finding the elder Duke.

“Father, ye wish tae see me?” he asked as he entered the library.

“Where have ye been all afternoon? Whiling away the hours daydreaming?” his father said in a booming voice.

“I was surveying the land, Sir.”

“The war is over. It is time tae think about the future of our land. We have to see that the farms begin tae thrive. Yer soon tae be taking over and ye have yet tae find a suitable wife. What say ye for yerself, lad?”

“I refuse tae chain myself tae the wrong woman for eternity.”

“Ye have a high opinion of yerself.”

“I will continue tae search.”

“Time is running out, my son. If ye are not married by the summer, yer step-brother and his wife shall be the Duke and Duchess of Galloway.”

Turning on his heel, Ian stormed out of his father’s library. He walked swiftly down the vast hallway and out the massive front doors of the castle. He walked to where his horse was lazily feasting and untied him, mounted him and took off at a gallop, thundering down the lane.

As he came to the clearing below the castle gates, a carriage approached. When it came to a halt, Ian yelled, “Whoa,” and stopped his steed beside the carriage. As he looked at the driver he asked if he could be of assistance.

“The young lady wishes tae speak to ye, your Grace,” the driver said.

The door to the carriage opened and Ian saw that the lady in question was none other than Bridget MacCloskey. He jumped down from his horse and held out his hand.

As the beautiful buxom blonde took his hand and gracefully emerged from the carriage, she said, “It’s so good tae see ye again.”

“What might ye be doing out on this beautiful day, my lady?”

“I feel the time has come for us tae speak about our future.”

“Is that so?” Ian asked with a raised brow.

“My father is of the belief ye have no intentions tae make a life with me. Is that so, your Grace?”

“Milady, I have thought long and hard on this very subject. It is true I must find a Duchess before I can assume the duties as the next Duke of Galloway. And though I have seriously considered a match with ye, I have come tae the difficult decision that it cannae be. I am sorry if this distresses ye. My sincere apologies,” he replied as he kissed her hand.

“Why, ye are the most reprehensible creature I have ever known. Ye shall pay for this, Ian Galloway. I curse you…”

Ian looked at the driver and said, “Please take her away. Our business here is over.” He jumped onto his horse’s back and galloped away, never looking back.

That evening when his son did not return home, the elder Duke sent his men to search for him. They searched far and wide, over the countryside, in the forests and hills and the nearby villages but there was no sign of the young Galloway heir. No one had seen him.

For weeks, they searched. The weeks turned into months, the months into years. Ian’s father finally succumbed to a broken heart. His stepbrother reluctantly took over as the Duke of Galloway. Ian’s mother and stepbrother never gave up the search.

Ian Galloway was never heard from again…

How about some buy links and the link for the event going on as we speak?

Buy Links:

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-highlanders-curse-blushing-books/1120995108?ean=2940150030398

http://www.amazon.com/Highlanders-Curse-Isabella-Kole-ebook/dp/B00RPYZRCU/ref=sr_1_5?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1420326363&sr=1-5&keywords=Isabella+kole


Event:

https://www.facebook.com/events/324505084418950/326107357592056/?notif_t=plan_mall_activity

Stop by for some fun!

Love,

Anna/Isabella

The Seduction Of E.J.

The-Seduction-of-EJ-Final-1950Hi and welcome back! I’ve been busy the past few weeks. I was in Houston for the Mashup a few weeks ago and had a great time meeting some other authors and a lot of awesome readers!

Since returning home, I’ve been hard at work writing the long-awaited second book in The Promises Trilogy, A  Cowboy’s Promise. I’ll tell you a little more about that as it progresses but right now I’m going to fill you in on Isabella’s  newest book, coming from Blushing Books on September 30!                                               

This will be Isabella’s third book. As many of you know, Isabella Kole is my spicier side. She was created on a dare and I thought there would only be one book. Well, I was wrong. After Accepting His Terms was so well received, there was a second, a sequel called Submitting To Bryan. After that one, the readers still wanted more from the same characters but I’d already begun writing The Seduction Of E.J. There will be a conclusion to the Lincoln sisters’ stories, however. I’m thinking of titling it The Dangerous Dom…

I’ve also been asked to write a paranormal…hmm…set in a Scottish castle…my readers are not shy. That may develop too at some point in time, you never know.

But for now, let me fill you in on the soon-to-be-released, The Seduction Of E.J.

Blurb:

E.J. Haney is running from a promiscuous past. Involved with the wrong guy, when she makes the decision to make a new life for herself, she goes to the extreme. Hiding behind the facade of a prim and proper small town schoolmarm image, she vows never to love again.

Jacob Ransing is hot, sexy and divorced. He’s also the new guy in town, moving to E.J.’s town as the new principal. Despite all her reservations, E.J.can’t help but fall for his looks, charm and personality. But there is one problem, her belief she’ll never be good enough for the sexy man with the reddish-brown hair.

Jacob decides a firm hand is the only way to turn her around and it’s working until the past rears its ugly head. Can the new lovers move on to find the love that was meant to be or will the past come between them?

Interested yet? How about a little sneak preview?????

Excerpt:

Erica Jo Haney sat behind the desk in her classroom grading the day’s papers handed in by her fourth grade students at Lincoln Elementary. She pushed a stray strand of hair behind her ears, finally giving up and removing the clip holding her long brunette locks into a tight coil at the base of her neck. As she pulled the loose strands back to place them into the clip, there was a knock on her door.

“Come on in,” she said as she hurriedly finished her hair and looked up to see who had entered the room.

“Honestly, E.J., when are you going to drop the spinster schoolmarm look? Your hair is beautiful and you should wear it down,” fellow teacher and friend, Michelle Marks said as she sat down at one of the desks.

“I am not out to impress anyone with my looks. If I want to make my way as an elementary teacher, I need to look the part,” Erica retorted.

“This is not the sixties, get with it,” Michelle replied wearily.

“So did you stop by to harass me or is there a reason for this visit?” she asked as she looked at the stack of papers waiting to be graded.

“I won’t keep you; I just wanted to remind you of the game Friday night. You and I are working the ticket booth. All teachers have to take a turn,” Michelle said with a grin.

“I’ll be glad to have my turn over with early in the year. The pre-season warm up game is as good a time as any. Friday night ballgames aren’t my idea of relaxation after a long week of school and fourth graders.”

“When are you going to get a life?” her friend asked in an exasperated tone.

“I had a life, not a great one, but a life before I decided to change my ways and do something constructive with my life. You know that. You’re the only person in this town I’ve confided to about my past.”

“But you gave it up, got your degree and moved here to start a new life. That doesn’t mean you have to become an old maid. You should be getting out, dating, and meeting nice men.”

“Do nice men really exist?”

“Sweetie, you got a raw deal. But that’s in the past. Don’t you think it’s finally time to move on? What happened in Chicago with Dane shouldn’t define the rest of your life.”

“I don’t know if I’ll ever be ready to move on, to be honest with you. Dane hurt me. The fact that he was never going to change, made me realize I’m not worthy of a good man’s love. If I wasn’t enough for him, how could I be enough for a decent guy? I’ll always be the girl who just isn’t quite up to par.”

Shaking her head, Michelle added, “I heard the new principal from the junior high will be working with us at the game. I’ve also heard he’s pretty hot.”

“I still haven’t figured out why someone like him would leave a city like Chicago to settle in a small town like this.”

“You should talk! Isn’t that exactly what you did?”

“I doubt his reasons are the same as mine,” E.J. answered with a grimace.

“You’d be surprised how many people have skeletons in their closets, my friend. I’ll let you get back to your papers. Don’t stay here all night. You can grade papers at home, you know.”

“Yes, I know, and I’ll be leaving soon. See you tomorrow.”

When Michelle had gone, Erica turned back to her work. Finally giving up, she stuffed the stacks of papers into her brief case and locked her classroom. On the half hour drive home to her small apartment, thoughts of the life she’d left behind came flooding back. A life in a city far away, with a man she had thought she loved, who hadn’t loved her in return. The lifestyle they’d led would have shocked her friends and family. The parties, the cheating, and the job she had held as a dancer in a club would have made many of her new acquaintances blush. How had it happened? She had met Dane in school. She was floundering with her classes, trying to decide on a major when the best looking thing she’d ever seen had entered her life. They’d met at a party, of course. He was fun and full of energy and ideas. He knew all the right people, had all the right connections for the fun life. She had quit school and moved in with him within a month. It soon became apparent it wasn’t in the cards for it to be a monogamous relationship. The first time she’d caught him cheating, she’d been devastated. But as time went on, she learned that if you can’t beat them, join them. And that’s exactly what she did. They continued to live together, continued to be lovers, but it was an open relationship. She took a job dancing in a club to make ends meet. Dane was an artist, a free spirit. He was talented but they needed income to carry them through his lean times. So he painted, she danced, they lived together and partied often. She took numerous lovers in an attempt to make Dane feel the hurt she felt each time he had cheated on her. But he didn’t care. He was okay with an open relationship. He may have loved her in his own way, but it would never be the type of relationship Erica craved. One day he had come home and announced to her that he had been offered an art show in New York by a big name gallery. It was the opportunity of a lifetime and one he couldn’t afford to pass up. He asked her to accompany him. When she had asked him point blank if he was asking her to go with him as his wife or as his roommate, she got the answer she expected. He saw no reason to change things. The relationship worked for him and there was no reason to change what wasn’t broken. It was in that moment she had made a life-altering decision. She didn’t want to continue the lifestyle she had been living with Dane. She knew he would never change, but she could if she set her mind to it. So she had said goodbye to Dane, and watched silently as he packed his belongings and moved to New York. He was out of her life for good, and it was time for her to make a new life as well. The pain in knowing she didn’t mean as much to him as he had meant to her would remain with her for a very long time. The things she’d done in an attempt to win his love now made her feel ashamed. She was the classic good girl gone bad for the love of a man who didn’t deserve her. Picking herself up and dusting herself off, Erica returned to school, earned her teaching degree and sought a job in a small town close to home. She wanted a fresh start in a place where no one knew about her partying days with Dane. The fourth grade position had opened up unexpectedly in the small town of Lincoln, and she applied for and got the job. She was now in her third year there and during those three years she had not dated, had not partied, nor had she mingled with anyone but Michelle. She and Michelle had become good friends almost immediately. The other girl was always trying to get her to go out, but Erica, or E.J. as she was known around school, was adamant about keeping a low profile. She wanted nothing to do with the kind of life she had fallen into in her youth. She was now a responsible adult and she had to maintain a reputation. So she wore her glasses instead of her contact lenses, kept her long, thick hair rolled into a clip at the nape of her neck and she dressed very conservatively. Anyone who met her would think she had always been a mousy type and that was just the way she wanted it. As for Dane, she never heard from him, but knew from the news that he had made it big in the art world and was now married, living in New York City. Had he changed? She doubted it, but if he had, she was happy for him.

When she arrived at the tiny apartment she had rented when she’d moved to town, she wearily made her way to the door, unlocked it and went inside. Kicking off her shoes as she walked down the hallway to the bedroom she threw her purse and briefcase on the bed. Changing into a pair of flannel pajama pants and a t-shirt, she went to the kitchen to warm up the leftover meat loaf from the night before, threw a baked potato in the microwave and tossed a small salad. After dinner, she did the dishes and went back to her papers. Working until midnight to finish grading them, she finally fell into bed, exhausted, and fell asleep almost as soon as her head hit the pillow.

The next morning the alarm clock next to her bed blared in her ear much too soon. Thank goodness the week was almost over. It was Thursday. She opened the blinds, pulled back the frilly, feminine Priscilla curtains at her window and looked outside. The sun was shining but being late fall she knew it was deceiving, so she pulled a crisp, white blouse, blue sweater and black skirt out of her closet before hopping into a hot shower. She stepped out of the stall a few minutes later, briskly toweled herself dry and threw on her clothes hastily. Applying minimal makeup and pulling her hair into the usual clip, she grabbed her coat, purse and briefcase and ran out to the car. She would eat donuts and drink coffee in the teacher’s lounge when she got to school. The teachers at Lincoln Elementary took turns bringing in donuts and the first one to arrive always made a fresh pot of coffee to start their day. She loved all of her co-workers. They had made her feel very welcome and her three years at the school had been extremely rewarding. Her fellow teachers thought she was a bit odd in the fact she kept to herself outside of school but they respected that. She was well-liked and would be welcome at any gathering should she change her mind and decide to attend at any time.

She was greeted with smiles as she entered the lounge.

“Hi, E.J.,” the fifth grade teacher said as she sat sipping her coffee.

“Good morning,” E.J. replied. She sat down after pouring her own coffee and added, “Ready to start the day?”

“As ready as I’ll ever be. We’re testing today, so it should be fairly quiet, how about you?”

“I’ll be handing back the tests my kids took yesterday. I got them all graded last night.”

“That’ll be my night tonight, I’m afraid. Oh well, at least I’ll have it done before the weekend and I can play. Are you going to the big game tomorrow night?”

“I have to work the ticket booth, so I’ll be there,” she replied.

“The pre-season game is a big deal around here so you’ll be busy.”

“Great,” she groaned as she looked at the clock on the wall. Standing up, she said, “I’d better get going. Have a good day.”

“You too, maybe I’ll see you at lunch.”

As she walked down the hall to her office, she saw an unfamiliar face talking to the principal. The man was tall, with reddish-brown hair and he was dressed impeccably. He smiled at her as she walked by and spoke to her in greeting. Putting her head down, she mumbled a response and hurried to her classroom. When she was seated behind her desk, she let out a long, deep breath. That man was the hottest looking guy she’d seen in the whole three years she’d been at Lincoln. Who was he? What was he doing here? And more importantly, why did she care? Get a grip, Erica Jo, she told herself sternly. Her new life didn’t include looking at strange men and thinking they were hot. That was all in the past and that was where it had to stay. Didn’t it?

She made it through the morning, forcing thoughts of the strange man out of her head. Visions of him popped up occasionally but she made them disappear almost as soon as they appeared. She had to stay strong. No falling back into the old lifestyle now. She’d worked too hard to mess things up now. She was no longer a promiscuous twenty-something. She was nearly thirty and a respected member of the community and that’s how it had to be.

She went to the teacher’s lounge at lunchtime and ate the ham and cheese sandwich she’d packed while chatting with some of the other teachers. No one mentioned the man who’d been in the hallway that morning so she didn’t either. Either they hadn’t seen him or they knew who he was and thought nothing of it. She could have asked about him, but that would be out of character for her so she remained quiet and listened to the others talk about their weekend plans.

When the day was over, she hurried home. She planned to have an early evening since she’d been up late the night before and she’d be at the game the next night. It sounded like she would be putting in a full night’s work selling tickets. She relaxed in bed with her kindle, finished the book she’d started the weekend before and turned out the light. As she slept, the man with the reddish-brown hair invaded her dreams. They were together, strolling in the moonlight. When they stopped, he’d turned to her and kissed her gently. A feeling washed over her she’d never experienced before. It was a feeling of contentment and wonder. It was as if it were the most natural thing in the world for the man she’d seen earlier in the day to lean over and kiss her lips ever so gently. No one had ever kissed her gently before. It was a new and enlightening experience, and it seemed so real that when she awoke in the middle of the night, she had to look around to make sure she wasn’t outside in the moonlight. But she was alone, in her bed, in the dark. Yes, alone, in her bed, in the dark, just as she was every night these days. The reality of that hit home for the first time. She’d thought that was what she wanted after sharing a bed with so many different men during the dark time she was with Dane in the city. She thought she wanted to be forever alone. But now, after the dream, she wasn’t so sure that was what she wanted after all.

On Friday, she was more quiet than usual. She told her class to take some time to study and do their assignment with the promise of no homework for the weekend if they behaved. While they were doing that, she let her mind wander again since she couldn’t concentrate on any work. Did she really want to spend the rest of her life alone? Wouldn’t it be wonderful if she could find the one man who was her soul mate? Did he even exist or was he a figment of her imagination? Surely not all men were like Dane? Shaking her head, she chastised herself for even letting her thoughts go there. Never again, she had told herself. Never would she ever let a man drag her down the way Dane had. She had loved him in the beginning, or thought she had. But his kind of life was not what true love was supposed to be about. It worked for some couples, she knew that, but not for her. She had fallen for the wrong guy and now she was too afraid to try again. Her interest in the strange man was a fluke. She really could care less who he was. So he was good-looking. Looks weren’t everything. Dane had been hot and handsome too and he had known it. She really had no desire to get mixed up with another hot guy who thought he was God’s gift to women. By the time she went home to get ready for the game, all thoughts of the hot guy with the reddish-brown hair were banished from her mind. Or so she thought.

I hope that’s piqued your interest somewhat. Look for The Seduction Of E.J. on September 30 at Amazon, Barnes & Noble and the Blushing Books website.

 

 

IzzyB’s New Release

submitting-to-bryan.jpg   My spicier side, Isabella Kole, or IzzyB as some like to call her, has a new release! As some of you know, Isabella was created on a dare. A group of author friends “challenged” me to write a spicier style of romance and I was a bit skeptical. What would people think? Would they read it? Would they like it? Could I do it? Never one to back down from a challenge, I decided to give it a shot. I only intended to write one Isabella Kole book…but Accepting His Terms was so well received that I decided to try again. Today, Submitting To Bryan, was released by Blushing Books.

I am currently at work on a third one, The Seduction of E.J.

Here’s a little taste of the new book:


Janis Lincoln found the man of her dreams in handsome co-worker, Bryan Walsh, until he tells her exactly the type of marriage he expects. She is shocked. Can she submit completely to him? A free spirit, she balks at his first attempt to discipline her. 

Returning to her old college crowd and an old flame, she finds herself caught up in the club scene once more. Realizing her heart is with Bryan, she nearly loses her life before she has a chance to decide if she can be the kind of wife he wants. 

When the couple announces their engagement to his parents, another storm is brewing. Janis is not the girl they’ve chosen for their son. On Thanksgiving night when Jan walks in on her fiancé and the girl his parents want their son to marry, she bolts a second time and calls off the wedding. 

Will Bryan be able to convince Janis she is the only one for him? Can Janis submit completely to Bryan?

Want more?

Chapter One

Janis Lincoln lightly tapped on the thick, oaken door of her sister’s office. When she heard Jill’s voice telling her to enter, she walked in and sat down.

“Hi, sis, what’s up?” Jill asked as she looked up from her work and smiled at her younger sister.

“Can you break for lunch soon? I really need some sisterly advice,” Jan replied grimly.

“Uh oh, are you having problems?” Jill asked in a concerned tone.

“Sort of, but I’d really rather discuss it in private. I thought we might be able to grab something at the deli and head to the park.”

Jill shot a questioning look at her younger sister before glancing at her watch. “Oh wow, I had no idea it was so late. Let me just finish up a few things and I’ll meet you in the reception area in a few.”

“I’ll be waiting. Take your time,” Jan replied as she stood up to leave.

“I won’t be long.”

Ten minutes later Jan and Jill were walking to the parking garage.

“How’s the little guy like it now that Mommy’s back to work?” Jan asked as Jill drove to the nearest deli.

“He doesn’t seem to mind. After all, I’m only in the office two days a week and he seems to love the other kids in his day care.”

The two sisters leaped out of the car and quickly got in line to order their food. They jumped back into Jill’s car and she drove to the nearest park, where they walked to a secluded picnic table.

“The weather is gorgeous, isn’t it?” Jill asked in an attempt to put Jan at ease.

“I guess so. I really hadn’t noticed,” Jan answered as she took her turkey sandwich out of the wrapper and took a bite. She washed it down with soda before speaking again. “Jill, I need to talk to you about Bryan.”

“I wondered if that might be it. So the two of you are having problems? How serious, Jan?”

“Serious enough I’m considering breaking up with him,” Jan replied sadly.

“I would have thought the two of you were starting to get seriously involved. I had no idea you would ever dream of breaking it off. This must be big.”

“You know how you were always the rebel in the family,” Jan began.

“Well, I know Dad always said I was,” Jill said with a light laugh.

“I find myself becoming more and more of a free spirit. Bryan is, as you know, older than I am. He says I need a structured relationship. He thinks I’m a silly twit is what it boils down to.”

“I’m sure he doesn’t think of you that way. You work with him. He’s seen how smart you are on the job. Where is this all coming from?” Jill asked.

“I think I was enamored by his good looks and charm at first. The fact he’s older was a turn-on for me. But I feel like spreading my wings. Bryan thinks I’m acting like a spoiled brat and there’s where the structure comment came into play.”

“What does he mean by a structured relationship?” Jill asked.

“He is ready to move to the next level. Along with that comes a set of rules. If I don’t follow the rules, he wants to…punish…me. Can you believe that? And we’ve had some discussions about intimacy. His idea and my idea are a little different. He’s been around the block a few times, let’s just say. He knows about things I’ve never even heard of.”

“Bryan? Are you serious?”

“Serious as a heart attack,” Jan replied as she took a bite of her dill pickle spear.

“Wow, you just never know, do you? So, about the punishing part, you…don’t like that idea much?”

“I know some couples are into that, but I guess I’m just a little too independent. I don’t like the idea at all.”

“Has he ever…?”

“No!”

“Are you really thinking about breaking up with him?”

“Yes, I am. I hope to be able to continue working with him, but I think I need to test the waters, date some other guys. I thought Bryan was the one, but now I’m just not sure. I’m very confused.”

“Do what you have to do, Jan. Your job is secure. Jarrod is your employer, not Bryan. You work with Bryan, not for him.”

“Bryan may not take the breakup well. On the other hand, he may find he wants to be with someone more his age.”

“He isn’t that much older, eight years isn’t a lot,” Jill pointed out.

“It is if two people are light years away from each other in what they want in a relationship.”

“I guess that’s true. You can come to me anytime you need to talk. Just be careful. Make sure you can live without him before you take a chance on losing him forever.”

“I’ll be very careful in making this decision, believe me.”

“We’d better head back. I have a full afternoon ahead of me,” Jill said as she gathered her things and stood up.

“Thanks for the chat. Thank God Bryan is at the site with Jarrod today. I really need some time away from him.”

“When a girl says that about her boyfriend, something isn’t right,” Jill answered. “Maybe you do need a break from each other.”

The rest of the afternoon Jan spent catching up on work and thinking about her situation. By the time the end of the workday arrived she had come to a decision. She was going to take a few days off work and she was going to tell Bryan they needed to take a break.

She knew it wasn’t going to be an easy task to tell him. They were planning to order pizza at her place that evening when he returned from the job site. She would tell him after dinner.

As she walked to the parking garage, her cell rang. “Hello,” she answered.

“Babe, I’m tied up at the site, so Jarrod and I are going to grab a bite up here. I won’t be over tonight.”

“Okay, we’ll make it another night,” she said, partially disappointed and partially relieved she didn’t have to tell him of her decision until another time.

“Are you going to stay home?” he asked.

“I guess so, I really haven’t had a chance to decide what I’ll do,” she replied, resenting the question.

“I have to go, we’ll talk tomorrow.”

“All right, but I’m going to be taking a few days off. I’ll go ahead and come in tomorrow though.”

“Why do you need time off?” he asked.

“We’ll discuss it later. You have to go,” she said, desperately wanting to end the call.

“Okay, Babe, I’ll see you tomorrow. Love you,” he said as he ended the call.

Love you…did he really mean that or was it just a convenient and comfortable phrase? Did he have her best interests at heart, or did he want complete control in the relationship? She hadn’t been able to figure it all out, and her inexperience didn’t help matters at all. If only she knew someone who could help her. She had talked to Jill, but she wouldn’t understand, neither would her mother. She wasn’t close to her sister-in-law, so that left virtually no one to confide in. She was too embarrassed to tell her friends about the kind of relationship Bryan wanted.

The decision would have to be a personal one. But it could wait just a little while longer. As Jill had pointed out, she had to be absolutely certain she could live without him because she knew that chances were, if she did this, she would lose him forever.

On the other hand, Bryan wanted total submission on her part. Her free spirit couldn’t quite come to terms with that concept. Bryan was sweet, considerate, and loving. But if they moved forward, he had been very clear about the kind of relationship he expected. Back to square one, Jan spent the greater part of the evening pondering the pros and cons of both scenarios, breaking up with him or entering into the kind of relationship he wanted.

By morning, she was bleary-eyed, tired and sorry she had agreed to go in to work. Gulping down a piece of toast and grabbing a cup of coffee on the run, she raced out the door and drove to work, dreading for Bryan to see the way she looked. He would comment on it, she felt sure.

She said hello to the receptionist and headed for her office. She noticed as she walked by that Bryan was not in his own office. Was he out for the day to the site, or was he in the building? It didn’t take long for her question to be answered as he poked his head in her door as soon as she’d sat down.

“Good morning,” he said with a smile.

“Hello,” she replied. “Was it really late when you got in last night?”

“Around nine, we ran into some issues at the site and Jarrod wanted to clear it all up before we left.”

“It’s cleared up then?” she asked.

“Yes, it sure is. Now, how about our pizza night? Are we on for tonight?”

“I’m a little tired. I didn’t sleep well last night and I was hoping for an early night tonight. Can we make it tomorrow night instead?” she asked as she sipped her coffee.

“Are you coming down with something?” he asked.

“I don’t think so, just one of those nights I couldn’t sleep.”

“You look a little worse for wear, so yes; you can have an early night tonight. I’ll see you later. Maybe you can knock off early if you get caught up with the designs for the new site.”

“Gee thanks, a girl always wants to be told how awful she looks,” she teased.

“Jan, you know you are always beautiful to me. That doesn’t hide the fact your eyes are bloodshot and you don’t seem to be your usual chipper self.”

“Okay, I get the picture. Now let me get to work.”

“I’ll catch you later. Let me know if you leave early.”

“Sure, Bryan,” she replied as she picked up the designs she’d been working on the day before and prepared to work on them.

She sighed as he quietly closed her office door behind him. He’d always been considerate at work. Actually, he’d always been considerate period. If it wasn’t for his attitude on relationships, he’d be the perfect guy.

She thought back to the early days when they began dating. Then she thought about the night they’d first discussed moving forward in their relationship and how shocked she’d been to learn he expected her complete submission…in every way. Was he from the fifties or what?

She struggled to stay awake all morning as she finished her work. When lunchtime arrived, she called out for a salad to be delivered and ate at her desk alone. She sat back in her chair and closed her eyes, relaxing for the remainder of her lunch hour before resuming her work. At three o’clock, she turned off the computer, locked her work away in a file cabinet, and locked her desk.

She called Bryan and when he answered she said, “I’m going home now. I’ll see you tomorrow. I’ve decided to postpone my few days off for a while.”

“We’ll talk about that tomorrow night. I still don’t understand why you need time off. Are you going away?”

“I’m not sure, Bryan. I just felt like I needed a break. You’re right; we’ll talk about it later. I’m going home and going to bed.”

“Get some good rest, babe. Love you.”

“Bye, Bryan.”

As soon as Jan entered the apartment she’d taken over from Jill when she’d married Jarrod, she kicked off her shoes, threw down her purse and headed for the bedroom. She collapsed on the bed in her clothes and was asleep within minutes. The sleepless night and the day’s work had definitely taken a toll. Usually full of energy, the decision weighing on her heart had drained her both physically and mentally.

Several hours later, she woke up, got her bearings and changed into her pajamas. Looking at the bedside clock, she saw that it was nine o’clock.

“I guess I should eat some dinner,” she said aloud as she walked to the kitchen. Taking a can of tomato basil soup from the cupboard, she warmed it on the stove, poured it into a large mug and carried it back to the bedroom where she flipped on the television set and settled down to watch a movie. Finding she couldn’t concentrate, as soon as she’d finished her soup, she turned out the lights and went back to sleep, happy for the reprieve from her thoughts of Bryan.

The next morning she felt refreshed and ready to set the world on fire. Smiling, she entered the offices of Baine Construction and spoke to everyone she saw before making her way to her office. She poured a cup of coffee and sat down to tackle the day’s tasks. Just as she was getting caught up on her emails, Bryan poked his head in to say hello.

“Hey, baby, did you sleep well? I didn’t hear a peep out of you all night, so I didn’t bother you.”

“I did sleep and thanks for not texting or calling. I really needed the rest.”

“We still on for tonight?” he asked.

“Sure, come over around seven.”

“I’ll bring the pizza. The usual?” he asked with a grin.

“Yep, that’s fine with me,” she replied lightly.

Smiling as she began to work, she thought to herself, I’m going to let this decision ride for a while.

Perhaps it was the good night’s sleep from the previous night, or maybe she just wasn’t ready to give up on him yet, but whatever the reason, Jan was determined to try and change Bryan’s mind about the structured relationship he was so adamant he wanted.

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