Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Sebastian’s Lady Spy (Secrets & Seduction #5) by Sharon Cullen - Blog Tour, Excerpt, Guest Post & Giveaway

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Sebastian’s Lady Spy
Secrets & Seduction # 5
By: Sharon Cullen
Releasing March 31st, 2015

Seduction abounds in Sharon Cullen’s steamy historical romance! For the Crown’s top agents, love is a hazard best avoided—until an unforgettable affair exposes their undercover hearts.

Sebastian Addison has a powerful secret. To society he is the Earl of Claybrook, the patriarch who raised his siblings after the death of their parents. But to the king, Sebastian is Britain’s top spy—a position that has taken an emotional toll on him. Contessa Gabrielle Marciano has also been living a lie, her title a cover devised by the Office of Intelligence. The femme fatale was plucked from a life of crime and prostitution and trained to restrain her passionate nature. Until she meets the earl.

For three deeply sensual days and nights, Sebastian and Gabrielle drop their masks, indulging in pleasures that seem too good to be true. Then the lovers go their separate ways. Seven months later they reunite when inside sources report that an English aristocrat has been aiding France in a plot to topple the Crown. Their objective: to find the turncoat. Their greatest challenge: to keep their wild, wounded hearts from derailing a mission of life and death.

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“Your partner.”

His partner, who had yet to step around the door, said something to the footman, then laughed. The sound sliced through him as precisely and painfully as a saber. He’d had that feeling only one other time. Seven months ago, to be precise.

She stepped into his line of sight, and Sebastian’s stomach twisted into a knot.

Her smile was wide, her dark, dark eyes sparkling. All that black hair was piled atop her head with tendrils escaping and curling around her face and down her neck. Sebastian’s entire body clenched in memory as his gaze swept over her, cataloging everything from the tops of her creamy breasts to her waist, which he could span with his hand, to her navy blue shoes that peeked out from the hem of her navy blue gown. She executed a quick, almost impertinent curtsy. Just the way he remembered.

“My lord.”

For a long moment Sebastian couldn’t breathe, couldn’t speak. All he could do was withstand the tidal wave of emotions and memories breaking over him. Emotions he’d fought so hard to overcome.

Sebastian spun on his heel and pierced Atwater with a glare. “What is the meaning of this?”

“I would like to introduce—”

Sebastian slashed his hand through the air, cutting off Atwater’s words before they formed. He didn’t want to hear her name. He didn’t want to hear her voice, and he certainly was not going to work with her. It had taken him seven months—seven months—to get her out of his system. He would not allow Atwater to ruin his hard work. What were the chances that when they finally decided he should partner, it would be with her? Why her? She wasn’t even an operative, damn it.

“If for some reason I did decide to partner with someone—which I would never do—that person would be an operative.” And never a woman. The words were left unsaid but resonated through the room.

“Yes, well.” Atwater darted a quick glance at her. “As I was saying, Lord Claybrook, may I introduce Contessa Gabrielle Marciano. The contessa is an operative for the crown.”

It took all of Sebastian’s effort not to reveal his shock. She didn’t appear to be nearly as surprised as he felt, which led him to believe that she’d known he was an operative and played him for a fool all those months ago. Or maybe she was just as good as he was at hiding thoughts.

“As I said”—he infused his voice with disdain, refusing to reveal either the shock of this revelation or the tumultuous excitement and regret and even fear upon seeing her again—“find someone else.” He headed toward the door.

She was blocking his way, and he advanced on her, silently challenging her. She should have stepped out of his way. Any other woman would have. Hell, any man would have. But as he had learned in Venice, this was no ordinary woman. She stood her ground and met his furious growl with a cool look. Her insolent chin tilted up, and God help him, he wanted to take that chin in his hands and kiss her senseless.

He jerked his head in a poor semblance of a nod. “Good day, my lady.”

My Very Non-Glamorous Life as a Writer
I came across this picture the other day and it made me laugh so much that I had to post it to my Facebook page. I don’t drink coffee but I like how glamorous she looks sitting there “working”.
            I know people have long since given up the image of a writer with a boa around her neck and bon bons at her side while she pecks out her novel on a manual typewriter. I think anyone who follows any author on social media knows that this life is not glamorous at all. Well, except when you can “lunch” with your agent or editor. I’ve never done that. My agent is on the east coast, my editor in the Midwest. The closest I’ve come to “lunching” with them is a phone call to discuss a contract or a book I’m writing. Very non-glamorous.
            I’m a night person. I don’t normally speak to anyone until at least 11am. In fact, I don’t get up until 11am most days. I do stumble out of bed at 7am to take my youngest to school but I stumble right back to bed as soon as I get home. So I’m up at 11am. I check email, answer any writing related emails that might have come through that morning. As well as writing, and working outside the home I also create the practice schedules for our local recreational soccer organization. So this time of the year it’s like having another 40 hour a week job. Lots of emails from frantic, sometimes angry coaches who didn’t get the practice they wanted.
            Like I said I work outside the home in the beauty industry. I sell makeup. That’s not as glamorous as you might think either but it is fun getting to play with all the makeup. So I’ll go to work if I have to that day (I work part time). My youngest is the only one still in school and she’s active in sports so I’m usually ferrying her to a practice, or from a practice, or to or from a soccer game or track meet. There’s dinner that I sometimes make. Sometimes I make them forage on their own.        
            In the evening (if I’m not working. I do work evenings sometimes), I finally sit down to write. But first there’s THINGS I have to do. Like write blog posts, answer more emails, work on revisions or edits, etc.
            I usually start writing around 9pm. Actually that’s kind of early for me. If I work the close shift, I don’t start writing until 10:30-11pm. I try to write every single day and my word goal is 2000 words a day. A lot of times I do more.
            I usually close up shop about 1am and start heading to bed, which means I pack youngest’s lunch, put dishes away, wash my face, etc.
            The next day I do it all over again until the book is finished. And then I start another book.
            Oh, and I don’t wear that kind of dress when I write. That would get annoying to have to change into that every time I wanted to write something. I just wear my yoga pants and oversized sweatshirt and usually you’ll find me under a blanket with a Diet Dr. Pepper at my side.
            Sebastian’s Lady Spy was written in exactly this way. It’s not every author’s way to write but it’s mine and it works for me. I’ve tried writing in the morning and it just doesn’t work. My mind isn’t awake enough and there are too many distractions. What I have found is that it doesn’t matter what one wears because once that Word document is open I’m transported to another time and place with characters who are very glamorous and exciting and that’s all that matters.

Sharon Cullen is the author of the historical romances The Notorious Lady Anne, Loving the Earl, and Pleasing the Pirate, as well as many novels of romantic suspense, paranormal romance, and contemporary romance. If you’d like to find out more about the author and her books, you can visit her blog or her website. She is addicted to social networking so you can find her on Facebook and Twitter. Friend her! Like her! Follow her! She’d love to hang out with you and talk about her passion: books.

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