Excerpt from THE MANNEQUIN

sgrmannequin6x9“Before I introduce you to my grandson, let’s chat for a few moments.” The Dowager Duchess crossed over to a seating arrangement and gestured toward a chair. When they were both comfortable, the duchess continued.

“I asked Mr. Preston if he knew of a girl with courage and indomitable spirit. Are you such a person?”

“I believe so.”

“Yes, you very well may be.” She took a deep breath. “My grandson, the duke, is lost in a very dark prison of his own making. Although I’ve tried everything, I’m completely helpless to reach him.”

“I understand there was a tragic accident?”

“A ferry boat carrying my son and his family capsized en route from Dover to Calais. Most passengers drowned, but among the survivors was my grandson, Aubrey. He lost not only his dear parents, but his beloved younger sister, Elise.”

As she spoke, the woman’s voice cracked, and her eyes filled with tears. Rosamund found her own eyes brimming with tears as well.

“Oh, no. I’m so terribly sorry.”

“Thank you.” The duchess blotted her eyes with a lace-edged handkerchief, and then nodded toward the oil painting hung over the fireplace. “That’s my son and his family, in happier times. It was painted about five years ago.”

Rosamund gazed at the painting of a handsome couple posing with a strapping young man of perhaps sixteen or seventeen, and a pretty little girl around ten years of age. They appeared to be so vibrant and full of life, it was difficult to imagine anything calamitous could have befallen them.

“I haven’t given up hope that Aubrey may go on to live a normal life someday, which is why none of our acquaintances know the extent of his condition,” the duchess said. “If they did, they would think him mad.”

“I’m eager to meet His Grace.”

“He spends his daylight hours in the music room.” She stood. “Come with me.”

The woman’s stiff satin skirts rustled as she walked. Rosamund followed her from the drawing room and down a long hallway until they reached a pair of arched double doors. The duchess put her hand on the doorknob, and paused.

“You’ll be shocked at Aubrey’s appearance. Please don’t let it disturb you.”

“I won’t.”

As the doors swung open, however, Rosamund shivered with apprehension. The velvet curtains had been drawn over the windows, and the darkened room beyond resembled a tomb. The dowager duchess smiled serenely as she escorted the visitor inside.

“Aubrey, dearest, allow me to introduce Miss Ashfield. She’s a neighbor.”
Rosamund could barely discern the outline of a man sitting in a chair, but he neither stirred nor made any response.

“Miss Ashfield, why don’t you and my grandson have a nice long visit? Someone will fetch you in an hour.”

“Y-Yes. Thank you.”

The duchess sailed from the room with her head held high. Rosamund’s eyes were slowly adjusting to the darkness, but she nearly tripped over a footstool as she walked further inside.

“Forgive me, Your Grace, but this won’t do. I simply must have a little more light.”

She moved over to a window, opened the curtains, and tucked each fabric panel behind the drapery holdbacks. As illumination flooded the space, she turned back toward the duke.

And recoiled.

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Intrigued? The Mannequin is available at Amazon HERE.

#1 Bestseller • The Mannequin

Screen Shot 2016-01-20 at 4.53.23 PMThe Mannequin was a featured BookBub deal on December 28th, 2015, and it’s been a #1 Bestseller on Amazon since then. BookBub sent me a follow-up questionnaire, asking how I’ve publicized my bestseller status and it occurred to me I should at least announce it on my blog, right?

I’m so pleased readers have discovered my work. A great many reviewers have drawn comparisons to Beauty & the Beast, Cinderella, and The Secret Garden, and indeed, I reference fairy-tales within the work itself. I didn’t start writing the novel with those stories in mind, however. I began writing The Mannequin with the scene in the library, where Rosamund sees a debilitated Aubrey for the first time, and is overwhelmeCatherine_Walters00d by the task of trying to reach him. From there, I let the story unfold.

The latter part of the book was inspired by the courtesan Catherine Walters (“Skittles”), whose wardrobe and trendsetting style drew the avid interest of aristocrats. Understandably, her perfectly tailored riding habits created a demand for the garments, and drew custom (business) to their designers.

I’m especially pleased with the reviews thanking me for writing a book without the overt sexuality and harsh language that’s frequently found in romance books these days. Although there’s certainly a great demand for those often marvelous stories, I made the decision as an author to take a different path. I believe my work is finally beginning to find its market, and I plan to keep writing stories with plucky heroines, dashing heroes, dastardly villains, and a cast of supporting characters who lend warmth and humor.  ~ Suzanne

P.S. YES, I’m thinking about the sequel!

sgrmannequin6x9Blurb: When she was a poor country girl in a hand-me-down dress, Rosamund saved the Duke of Swanhaven from the brink of despair…only to fall in love with him. Now a celebrated mannequin for an exclusive London dressmaker, her glamorous life is empty without the man to whom she gave her heart. Can a beastly duke and a beautiful mannequin ever find a fairy-tale ending?

Available at Amazon HERE

 

New Year Resolution • Must. Write. Faster

Got Resolutions? It’s that time of year to assess goals and set new ones. Want to hear mine? One of my favorite moments in Jurassic Park is the scene where Jeff Goldblum is sitting in the back of a Jeep, being chased by a T-Rex.

These days, I’m in the back of the Jeep, being chased by a huge bipedal monster telling me I must write faster. Why? My statistics show a distinct drop-off in new release interest at about six weeks. I suppose you could call the hungry carnivore Six Weeks, and I’m the tender morsel behind the keyboard.

Scared kitten

Unfortunately, unless I’m seized with inspiration, the story ideas don’t flow on schedule. Maybe that’s why the creature chasing me is a monster and not an adorable kitten.

RAKE&ROMANCE

Nevertheless, my goal is to write faster this year. I’d like to have an engaging new release every two months. First up (January 29th) is a sequel to Ruse & Romance, entitled Rake & Romance.

Blurb: Juliet’s plans to wed Lord Elbourne come to naught when she discovers he’s obliged to wed an heiress instead. To salvage her dignity, she enters into a ruse with the heiress’s brother, whom she views as a rake. Unfortunately, he’s also the most attractive man she’s ever met.

Cody Gryphon will do anything to see his sister Stephanie wed to Lord Elbourne, including entering into a temporary engagement with her romantic rival. Although he intends to return to Texas as soon as his sister is wed, he finds it increasingly difficult to resist Juliet’s charms.

Can a Texas rake and an English debutante ever have their happily ever after?flourish

Next, onDCOYCOVERSGRFinal4 March 29th, will be the re-release of Children of Yden, with a new cover and title (Dragon Clan of Yden)…but a re-release doesn’t really count, does it?

I’m also working on the third book in the Graceling Hall series, featuring Josie Wilkes and her HEA. After that, I’ll have to see what floats to the top of the pile.

So, my resolution is to tame the beast next year. How about you?

Have a wonderful New Year’s Eve.  ~ Suzanne

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#Freebie • The Mannequin

sgrmannequin6x9

The Mannequin is a Kindle freebie from Sunday, December 27, through Tuesday, December 29. Although the novel is a sweet Victorian romance, I took inspiration from Beauty & the Beast and Cinderella, as well as classic literature and fairy-tales.

Blurb: When she was a poor country girl in a hand-me-down dress, Rosamund saved the Duke of Swanhaven from the brink of despair…only to fall in love with him. Now a celebrated mannequin for an exclusive London dressmaker, her glamorous life is empty without the man to whom she gave her heart. Can a beastly duke and a beautiful mannequin ever find a fairy-tale ending?

Pick up The Mannequin HERE, and tell a friend!

 

Pre-Order Rake & Romance

RAKE&ROMANCEMy sequel to Ruse & Romance is officially coming soon and is available for pre-order HERE!

Blurb: Juliet’s plans to wed Lord Elbourne come to naught when she discovers he’s obliged to wed an heiress instead. To salvage her dignity, she enters into a ruse with the heiress’s brother, whom she views as a rake. Unfortunately, he’s also the most attractive man she’s ever met.

Cody Gryphon will do anything to see his sister Stephanie wed to Lord Elbourne, including entering into a temporary engagement with her romantic rival. Although he intends to return to Texas as soon as his sister is wed, he finds it increasingly difficult to resist Juliet’s charms.

Can a rake and a debutante ever have their happily ever after?

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Rake & Romance will be released on January 29, 2016!

 

 

Finding the Spirit of Christmas

Since it’s the holiday season, it’s time for a reprise of my romantic fantasy flash fiction story, Finding the Spirit of Christmas. Enjoy!

~ Suzanne

Finding the Spirit of Christmas

Man in Suit © Rolffimages | Dreamstime.comAs an increasingly heavy snow shower drifted down over the wintry country landscape, the dark outline of a rectangular-shaped portal formed.  A well-dressed man stepped through the blackness, promptly skidded on a patch of ice and landed in a deep snowdrift. The man pushed himself upright, dismayed to find the moist snow clinging to his face and expensive clothes.  He glanced back at the portal, but it had disappeared.

A voice rang out. “What are you doing out in the middle of nowhere, dressed like that?”

The man wiped crystals from his eyelashes so he could see.   A very pretty woman stood on a path nearby, bundled against the cold.

“Um…I’m looking for something,” he said.

“In the snow?”

“No, er, that was an accident.”  He shivered.

“Well…you’d better come inside before you freeze.”

The woman whistled just then and a fluffy tan dog came bounding over.  The woman and dog began to walk toward a stone cottage on top of a hill, without looking back.  The man turned up his coat collar, hunched his shoulders and followed.

A few moments later he was grateful to be inside, where a fragrant fire was crackling in the fireplace and the smell of baking gingerbread made his mouth water.  The room was decorated for the holidays, with a cheerful evergreen garland hanging from the mantle.  A fat Christmas tree, twinkling with lights, filled the corner next to the window, and the dining table was covered with a festive cherry red cloth.

“Why don’t you hang your wet things by the door?” the woman suggested.

The man found a hook for his coat, but when the woman went into the kitchen to check on the gingerbread, he used a spell to dry himself off.  Nevertheless, his feet were icy cold, so he removed his shoes and sat next to the fire.  The dog trotted over to curl up at his feet.  The woman came out of the kitchen.  She’d shed her outerwear and he finally got a good look at her.  She had snowy white skin with cheeks reddened by the cold, and her heart-shaped face was framed by waves of nutmeg colored curls.  He gulped.

“What’s your name, Detective?” she asked.

The man peered at her, startled.  “How did you—”

The woman laughed and pointed to the badge hanging from his belt.  “You’re a wizard detective.  I’ve heard of them before.”

“The name is Nick.”

“Okay, Nick, I’m Christine. The dog is called Joy.” She handed him a cup of cocoa and sat down on the raised hearth.  “So what are you looking for?”

“Ah…this is rather awkward, but the Spirit of Christmas has gone missing in my dimension. Our best wizards discovered a breach in the energy barrier…it’s kind of technical.  Anyway, I’m here to find it.” He sipped the cocoa, savoring the rich flavor.

Christine frowned.  “What does this Spirit look like?”

“It can take different shapes.”

“Wow.  I guess you have your work cut out for you.  Let me get you some gingerbread.”

“That would be great. This cocoa is really delicious, by the way.”

A few minutes later, Christine and Nick were sharing a slice of the fresh, warm cake.  Nick balanced his plate on his knee. “Mmm.  This brings back good memories.”

Christine put down her fork.  “Once you find the Spirit, what happens next?”

“I ask her to come home.”

“And what if she doesn’t want to go?  What if she’s tired of being neglected?” A sudden surge of emotion made Christine’s eyes sparkle.

Nick set his plate aside and pulled her to her feet. “Come home.”  He wrapped her in his arms. “Things haven’t been the same since you left.  I intend to love, honor and keep you in my heart forever, just like the day we were married.”

She looked into his handsome face.  “You had to work hard to find me.  I’m impressed.” A smile tugged at her lips.

“I went to every dimension on the map, but I never gave up.” Nick gave Christine a long, romantic kiss.  “Tell me you’ll come home? Tomorrow’s Christmas Eve.”

Christine returned the kiss. “I’m afraid we’re snowed in tonight.”

“That’s too bad,” Nick said…but the twinkle in his eye said otherwise.  At the same time, Joy’s tail wagged.

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Duke of a Gilded Age • #99cents

DOGAsgrI’m running a one-day (Tuesday, December 15th) sale on my Victorian romance novel, Duke of a Gilded Age. If you like your romance on the sweet side, with a double helping of adventure, this one is for you.

Blurb: When American-born Wesley Parker inherits a dukedom in 1890, he must learn to be an aristocrat. Assigned to the task is his attorney’s daughter, prim Belle Oakhurst. As they travel to England together on a luxurious ocean liner, their tempestuous relationship encounters more than rough seas. Although Wesley is increasingly attracted to Belle, she is already engaged. While Belle begins to regret her hasty promise to marry, she is bound by honor and duty to keep her pledge. Furthermore, a thoughtless fabrication on her part threatens to expose her as a liar. Neither Wesley nor Belle can foresee that their voyage across the Atlantic will be fraught with peril, and will cost more than one man his life.

Reviews:

“The real success comes from the author’s grasp of human desires. Is there really anyone who has not wished they were a princess or duke with wealth and power? Rogers tapped into that common human trait and produced an uncommonly fun and well-written novel.” – Historical Novel Society

Top Pick at The Romance Reviews! “There is unrequited love, really bad fellows to fight, and excellent balls and proposals. It’s a feast,” says TRR reviewer Linda Hays-Gibbs. “I gave it five stars and believe everyone will enjoy this adventuresome tale of escapades and love. It is sure to inspire.”

2014 Readers’ Crown and Reward of Novel Excellence (RONE) Finalist!

Amazon US HERE

Amazon UK HERE

Last Chance for Uninterrupted Dragons

YdenseriesThese four covers represent the prequel and the three books comprising my Yden Trilogy, which takes place here on Earth as well as the alternate, magical universe known as Yden. If you want to read the whole thing now, you have only three weeks before the second book in the trilogy, Children of Yden, goes dark for 90 days. You see, the rights to that book are reverting to me at the end of 2015, and under the terms of the contract I can’t republish it until April 1st, 2016. I’ll be republishing the book with a different title and cover on 4/1/16, but you’ll be able to pre-order it beforehand. Nevertheless, if you like your dragon stories uninterrupted, get moving!

~ Suzanne

To Buy:

KIRA  ($0.99 or free to read under the KU program)

Poisoned by an enemy, a young warrior struggles to find an antidote before she succumbs to enslavement. At the same time, she’s desperate to save Dorsit, a Leopard Clan wizard whose youth and magic has been stolen by a murderous wizard on a rampage. As Kira’s homeland is invaded by bloodthirsty legions, she flees across the country in a bid to reach the Mirrum Mountain nymphs and a legendary cure. Hunted by shadow hounds, an army of Cyclopes, and an evil jinn, will her wits and skill as a warrior be enough to survive?

THE LAST GREAT WIZARD OF YDEN ($0.99 or free to read under the KU program)

Jon Hansen always thought his father’s tales about the magical planet of Yden were fiction. When his father is kidnapped by an evil wizard, however, Jon is forced to dig deeper. His investigation uncovers magical artifacts that will unlock another dimension—if only he can gather his courage to make the journey. On his quest to Yden, Jon encounters wizards, Cyclopes, and a warlord who seem to want him dead. Fortunately, he’s got friends by his side, as well as the ability to draw things to life. Can he and his friends defeat the most evil wizard the magical world has ever known, or will Jon become the latest addition to the Wolf Clan wizard’s gruesome collection of trophies?

This revised Second Edition includes a bonus Yden short story, RAN!

CHILDREN OF YDEN

While balancing the rigorous demands of regular schoolwork, Jon eagerly begins his magical training on Dragon Isle. At the same time, the Dragon Clan starts to search for other Earth-born sons and daughters of Yden’s wizards. Using a purloined map, however, the Fox Clan has already begun recruiting the children of Yden for their own sinister plans. Jon soon discovers Guinn of the Fox Clan is searching for a magical artifact called the Portal Key — and he’s more than willing to kill for it. Worse, Guinn’s desire to settle an old score puts Jon directly in his sights. As Guinn’s schemes fall into place, Jon is forced to hurt a close friend to protect her. Can he learn enough magic in time to thwart Guinn’s ambitions? Will he find the inner strength to survive injury, bitter betrayal, and horrendous loss? The fate of Earth and Yden hangs in the balance.

SECRETS OF YDEN

As Jon Hansen begins his senior year in high school, he and his friends are focused on the future. Unfortunately, a past skirmish on Yden is still having repercussions. Bailey of the Shark Clan is out for revenge, and he may have secret support in the Executive Council. Worse, time is stopping on Earth for increasingly long intervals, and only Jon’s ankh sets him apart. An unstable portal is the cause, but his search for answers uncovers an ancient prophecy that seemingly spells his doom. Can Jon repair the hole in the universe before time stops forever, or will he have to sacrifice himself to save the world?

 

 

Officially Me

It was a lot of hard work, but I’ve made my author name change official on Amazon. All the new files and covers are live and I hope I didn’t leave any readers on the sidelines! For those who are wondering why I made the change, there was another author with the same pen name and I discovered many people had thought I’d written her books. Therefore, I updated my pen name to my actual name and we’ll hopefully have smooth sailing from now on.

I also took the opportunity to update the cover for Duke of a Gilded Age.DOGAsgrBlurb: When American-born Wesley Parker inherits a dukedom in 1890, he must learn to be an aristocrat. Assigned to the task is his attorney’s daughter, prim Belle Oakhurst. As they travel to England together on a luxurious ocean liner, their tempestuous relationship encounters more than rough seas. Although Wesley is increasingly attracted to Belle, she is already engaged. While Belle begins to regret her hasty promise to marry, she is bound by honor and duty to keep her pledge. Furthermore, a thoughtless fabrication on her part threatens to expose her as a liar. Neither Wesley nor Belle can foresee that their voyage across the Atlantic will be fraught with peril, and will cost more than one man his life.

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Thank you for sticking with me during this transition, and I hope to release many more titles as Suzanne G. Rogers in the future!

~ Suzanne

 

SWEET HISTORICAL ROMANCE

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