“These Are a Few of my Favorite Things: 5 of my favorite novels I’d recommend in a heartbeat. 

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Slammerkin by Emma Donoghue.

This novel is my all time favorite for many reasons. It’s got everything I look for in a novel! Sex, murder, intrigue… it’s not a happy story,  then again I love to read and write unhappy things.

Our main character, Mary is not likable and that’s what I love about her. She’s constantly messing up even when she has a light at the end of the tunnel and a chance to redeem herself. Mary is so young when the events of the novel take place and one could attribute her troubles to her age but in truth, she is an arrogant, greedy girl.

The novel is set in London and on the outskirts of the city. It discusses prostitution and the struggles of the lower class.

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The Wideacre Trilogy by Philippa Gregory.

Move over The Other Boleyn Girl, Gregory’s debut novel is one to pick up and not miss!

As with Slammerkin, the wiseacre trilogy discusses sensitive subjects such as incest, murder, and the occult. It’s a fabulously told tale which keeps you on the edge of your seat. The main character is Beatrice Lacey and once again we have an unlovable protagonist. She’s greedy and vain yet you can’t stop reading. Beatrice, like Mary from slammerkin, had a chance to redeem herself but she does not and only continues her behavior.

This leads to a series of events crashing down around herself and others. It’s a great read and if you can stomach raunchy incest sex scenes then it’s definitely worth your time.

 

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Leonardo’s Swans by Karen Essex

This novel was one I picked up on a whim and ended up loving. The two women featured, Isabella and Beatrice are as different as two sisters can be. Their rivalry is marked by marriage and although the sisters both make great marriages there is more to be had. Jealousy, adultery, love and more fill the pages of this historical fiction novel.

 

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Cleopatra’s Daughter Series by  Stephanie Dray

This series surprised me a lot. At first, I thought it a young adult book but by the time I got to the third novel I was definitely convinced it was not.

Octavian’s obsession with Selene is the center I would say of the novel. There is so much sexual tension between them and to some, this could be a trigger as she is so young.

I believe it is a great series and for those who love Cleopatra, this insight into her daughter is worth the read!

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The Borgia Bride by Jeanne Kalogridis

If you know anything about the Borgias you know that a novel about them will be raunchy as hell and fun to read. In this novel, our main character is Sancha of Aragon. Most books I have read are from Lucrezia’s perspective so this was a breath of fresh air. I enjoyed her loveless marriage to Joffre and affair with Cesare. Sancha has relations with all three brothers. In real life, this was said to be true.

This novel has a lot of sex. Rape and underage included. It contains boatloads of adultery and murder so definitely not for the faint of heart. I think I finished it in a day. It’s a pretty quick read which keeps you interested the whole time cause you feel like you need to continue to the end of this fascinating woman’s life.

 

 

Honorable Mentions

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The Wise Woman By Philippa Gregory

A riveting tale of witchcraft and lust…

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Duchess of Milan By Michael Ennis

Cousin rivalry, sexual intrigue and more…

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Empress of Rome Series By Kate Quinn

Ancient Rome at its finest with corrupt Emperors…

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Diaries of the Family Dracula By Jeanne Kalogridis

The story behind the Dracula family descendants.

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The Lost Queen By Norah Lofts

George III’s sister Caroline and her disastrous marriage to Christain of Denmark.

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The Prince and the Quakeress By Jean Plaidy

George III and Hannah Lightfoot. A person favorite and basis for what I wrote my novel on.

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The Russian Concubine series By Kate Furnivall

A Russian woman and Chinese man fall hopelessly in love despite the events going on around them.

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Empress Orchid and The Last Empress by Anchee Min

Cixi from minor concubine to Empress…

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Four Sisters All Queens by Sherry Jones

The four sisters of Provance have their voices heard in this gripping novel…

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The Dark Queen Series by Susan Carroll

Catherine de Medici and her flying squad of witchcraft and poison center around this long series of sisters.

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Roma by Steven Saylor

Short story collection of Roman families from the start to the fall…

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Nefertiti by Michelle Moran

The beautiful Egyptian queen comes to life…

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Katherine by Anya Seton

Mistress and wife?

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The Red Tent by Anita Diamant

An exciting biblical refering novel about Dinah, daughter of Jacob and Leah.

Sex Through The Centuries. 

Sex.

Teens giggle while children look around in confusion as adults blush. How did such a natural act become so taboo? As a child, everything I learned about sex was from the school bus, my friends, or experimentation. My family never spoke of it. This proves true for many people, but why have we become so conservative towards the act of reproduction?

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To investigate this, we must go back to the beginning. Starting with the earliest humans, sex was purely animalistic. Our instincts simply kicked in and we mated. Simply. No shame.

As we came into the time of Egypt and Rome we still see sex as something which fills everyday life without shame. Pompeii was full of it. Murals and other scenes of pornography filled the city. In Egypt equally, scenes filled tombs and temples alike. The Egyptians were certainly not shy about sex and in fact, pharohs kept harems of women,  including their mothers, sisters, and daughters within them. (Disclaimer, totally not supporting incest, just using as an example ) Cleopatra was notoriously open with her sexuality first with Caesar then Antony. She married two of her brothers but it is unknown whether she had relations with them. Back to Rome… the emperors were notorious for their sexual escapades. They were open with them and men and women alike held lovers of all stations.

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This also brings me to the subject of homosexuality and how it is also considered taboo in today’s society. We have lightened up a bit on it but it is not fully accepted as it was during the days of the Romans or Egyptians. Personally, I think it should be!

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Moving forward, we get to England and it’s reign as master of the world. England shunned sex and kept it hush hush. Although it was common for men to have mistresses, women lost their power and if accused of adultery could be out to death. We see Henry VIII who put Anne Boleyn to death for rumors and Catherine Howard for the same crime with solid evidence.

Long before Henry, came Edward II who had big shoes to fill. He stands between his father and son, two great king’s of England, yet Edward was a weakling. He was easily overpowered by his scorned queen, Isabella. Edward was a homosexual and although fathered four children with his wife, eventually took another male lover, causing her to begin an affair with Roger Mortimer and cause and uprising. Eventually, Edward was killed and Mortimer was defeated and killed. Isabella was imprisoned by her son, Edward III for the remainder of her life.

Onto Mughal India where sex was… complicated….

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Kama Sutra… the book of love. A common book for those who studied the art or even married couples. Much was expected from a woman in the royal bedchamber and if you could catch the emperor then you would rise. Emperor Jahangir fell in love with Nur Jahan and made her the most powerful woman in India. Jahangir’s son would have to deal with her well into his reign but like his father also fell deeply for a woman. Shan Jahan fell in love with Mumtaz Mahal who was of relation to Nur Jahan. He was unable to marry her at first and took another wife but soon had his way. He quickly shunned his other wives after giving them a child each and focused all his attention on Mumtaz. Detailed court documents of their sexual passion are available and well exposed. It resulted in her giving birth to 14 children and unfortunately for Mumtaz, she died birthing their fourteenth. The Taj Mahal symbolizes their love where they have both been interred for eternity.

Don’t even get me started on China…

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As one of the largest empires, Chinese rulers would have concubines… a ton of them. Girls were selected from noble families because hey, only the best for the Emporer. These girls would sit in the halls of women and wait to be chosen. many would grow old and never get a night with their king. Once the emperor died, the women would have their heads shaved and be set to a nunnery equivalent. Some concubines like Ci-Xi and Wu Zhao rose up to become empress because they birthed the next emperor.

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England after the restoration exploded with sex. Charles II had many acknowledged mistresses and bastards. Although he had no legitimate children, he did not shun his wife Catherine. The king was described as lusty and highly sexual. Also during this time, many views of the woman changed. Women took lovers and were allowed on the stage, baring their legs as actresses. Nell Gwynn never married, yet she had lovers including Charles. Many families threw their daughters to the king with hopes of advancement and many would be educated on just how to please the king within the bedchamber.

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Moving forward to George III. It was said he had a mistress, Hannah Lightfoot and then fell in love with Sarah Lennox but once George Married Charlotte, we see a more conservative king. After his marriage, he proves to be a very devoted husband and father. His son, on the other hand, George IV disposed his wife and took many mistresses, even dubbing one his true wife. During this period, women were expected to be virgins and not take lovers.

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Victorian England explored the reign of courtesans and free love such as in France. Victoria’s son Edward was a great lover of women and did not shy around it.

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After Edward, we get more into the 20th century where marriage stayed between a man and woman and sex began to be hushed.

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When the 60s and 70s came the idea of free love came back and for a brief period, some people brought sex back into the spotlight. In the 80s we get pornography wisely distributed. Music videos with scantly clothed women. As we approach our century we see porn taking over everywhere. It’s highly distributed and has taken the place of many stable relationships. I was in a relationship with a porn addict once and trust me when I say this is one thing where it can ruin relationships.

Continuing on. Sex will probably never be as open and free as it was once yet we continue to live on. Babies are being constructed within Petrie dishes while parents pick out eye color rather than just do the act itself and get what you’re given. Society and technology have definitely changed the way we view sex and our sexuality.

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I have gotten mixed reviews about the sex within The King’s Secret Daughter. Anna sleeps with a man before marriage and develops a relationship. This could be normal for the time period but to know the whole story you’d have to read the book. She is at one point shunned by her second husband and finds comfort with another man and the man is punished.

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Within She’s Only Seventeen, we explore human sexuality at its finest. Kat loses her virginity at the tender age of fifteen and after that, she uses sex as a way to express herself and on some occasions, show or mask deep emotions. Kat commits adultery on more than one occasion but since the story takes places from 1980-2001, it is fealty with differently.

In conclusion, sexuality is suppressed in many ways in this society. I have vowed that my daughter will not be uneducated and I trust myself to remain calm when she comes to me with questions. I do not want her to see it as something to be ashamed of. I most certainly am not and I suppose my openness is one of the reasons for my happy marriage.

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This is definitely one of those subjects I could go on forever about so I will stop here. As always, I am welcome to discussions.

Royal Geneology

My interest in genealogy has ranged from everything to the Tudor/Stuart succession to the Mughal Empire of India to the Hapsburg and Egyptian lineages. I have a photographic memory. Apparently, it’s a rare thing but it’s helped a lot. Put a genealogy table of the Rammaside Dynasty in front of me and guaranteed I can copy 90% or more from memory.

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My interest began in fifth grade when I discovered Henry Viii and instantly fell in love with history. I began researching him and his six wives. This eventually led to discovering his parents and their roles in the War of the Roses as well as his descendants which led into the Stuart dynasty.

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I remember when Charles II the Power and The Passion   Aired. As the last true king to rule without a parliament, I found Charles intriguing. Although he died without heirs, through his many mistresses, Prince William will bear his blood as the first monarch in history to do so. Among his illegitimate children was James the Duke of Monmouth. He was Charles’ eldest son and rumors surrounded that he married his mother, Lucy Walter. James was the subject of my senior thesis and I have done extensive research on his behalf.

 

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Next, I devoured the great Mughal Empire of India. Key figures included Shan Jahan, builder of the Taj Mahal and his third and favorite wife, Mumtaz Mahal whom he had fourteen children with. After the death of his wife, Shan Jahan flew into depression and became obsessed with building his late wife’s mausoleum leaving his four sons to fight over the throne. The eldest, Dara, was highly supported and the unspoken heir. Next came Shuja who fled to Bengel to seek help from the Shah. Aurangzeb, the third son, was very devout in religion and took up arms against Dara with his younger brother Murad at his side. Dara was disposed of and Aurangzeb next turned on Murad who was murdered. Shuja fled but was eventually executed. With no one standing in his way, Aurangzeb became undoubtedly ruler of India and the war of succession was over. To seal his rule, he imprisoned his father in a tower with one window which overlooked the still under construction Taj Mahal. His eldest daughter Jahanara became his sole caretaker for the remainder of his life.

 

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Going to the next area of history I devoured is Egypt. I have long dreamt of becoming an Egyptologist but unfortunately, now this is an impossible dream. I still hungrily take in facts about mummies and ancient Egypt daily and still can’t get enough. My favorite period though the span of two dynasties. I love anything with Ramses II. And then also deeply obsess over Tut and Nefertiti. I’ve had phases where Cleopatra and the Ptolemy’s had my calling yet Rome seems as a gray area for me still although it is enjoyable to research. Within Egypt, incest in marriage was common as isis and Osiris had done. On this topic, we will move to our next section, the Spanish royal houses.

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The Hapsburg house married so close that their last heir, Charles, was so deeply deformed that exorcisms were performed on his person. The Hapsburg chin, a trait which afflicted both men and women of the house, was so pronounced on Charles that he constantly drooled and could not chew food. The comparison between equity, Tut, and Charles can be drawn here as they both were a product of incest and could not produce healthy heirs, ending their dynasties because of those affections.

 

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The King’s Secret Daughter features a genealogy table which notes George III. Following upon this line, the sequel has broken away for a pure fictional genealogy table featuring Anna and Nathan’s heirs in South Carolina. For those interested, the line of George III that goes on with his legitimate children is quite intriguing. His eldest son and heir, George IV, had one daughter but she died in 1817 and left him without. The throne went next to his brother William who had ten children by his mistress Dorothy but none legitimate. William married for sake of the crown, shunning his illegitimate bunch, but no heirs were produced. Next came Victoria. Daughter of William and George’s other brother. She became known as the great queen Victoria and reigned into the twentieth century. Her heirs, though tainted with the blood disease hemophilia, still thrive throughout Europe. Scientist’s have tried to find out where the disease came from and many conclude that Victoria may not have been her father’s true daughter but the daughter of another man. If this is true then the line of George III did indeed end with her uncle William.

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In conclusion, there is much more I could write. In fact, I could go on for pages just dissecting each royal line and their troubles. I will save a headache. I have finalized the next gen genealogy tables for The King’s Secret Daughter sequels and will present it soon.

Is There Really a Right Age to Have Children?

This question has been asked for centuries, but recently it has come more to my attention because people have made it personal.

I had my daughter in my mid-twenties. According to many millennials, this is considered young. Yet what gets me is the half of women I graduated high school with that had a wave of babies once they graduated.

I put myself through college and married before I got pregnant and gave birth and yet I receive criticism.  This leads me to question many things.

1. The average age of childbirth has gone up drastically in the age of Millenials when the average age only twenty years ago was the early twenties. This could be due to longer lifespans and medical improvements. Also, millennials are more career focused compared to women who were considered homemakers in the baby boomers and generation x.

2. Priorities. Many women find it unnecessary to have children and chose to either live a life without or focus on careers. Millenials are the social generation and are frequent on social media and bar life.

3. Within history, it was not uncommon for a woman as young as twelve to become a mother. Pretty much once you got your first menstrual cycle you considered a woman and ripe for marriage. Take Margaret Tudor for example, the mother of Henry Vii and grandmother of the notorious Henry Vii. She married gave birth at barely twelve and it almost killed her. Things have since changed in this sense for the better yet we still have underage girls getting pregnant.

The debate of what age is the right one to have children is considered silly in my opinion.

Whenever one chooses, whether planned or unplanned, is right for you. Don’t let anyone judge or tell you differently.

On another note, within my novels, this subject comes up.

In She’s Only Seventeen, Kat Crowne gives birth at the tender age of twenty in 1986.

Within The Kings Secret Daughter Anna does not have children but in the sequel due to be released in November….

SPOILER ALERT***

Anna gives birth to her first child at the age of twenty-six in 1787. This was considered quite old during this time period for childbearing. While Anna births older, her sister in law Charlotte does at the age of twenty-two. An age which was more acceptable. Charlotte’s mother, Jane, births her eldest son Thomas at barely sixteen. Again a normal age for the time period. We also see teen births through Charlotte and Anna’s descendants.

In conclusion, I truly believe that there is not a right or wrong answer to the question. The criticism that one receives will always happen no matter what. It is the generation in which we live in.whether you have a child at sixteen of fifty it does not matter. if you have one child or twelve, you are still a mother. Age not number does not change this fact. Opinions are everywhere.

Just look at Social Media.

One post can spark thousands of opinions.

Blonde Moment for a Brunette

Made a whoopsie!

So I accidentally uploaded the wrong version of my book to Amazon and before I could change it, someone bought it!

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UGH!

Well, of course, that person left a review stating that there were errors.

Everything has since been fixed and the correct, edited, file has been uploaded. I’ve offered to give the customer the corrected copy for free but no response. I very much hope this mistake and review do not cost others to read the book because I have luckily gotten overwhelming praise for the novel from others and am glad that they think the book is good and worth reading.

I do hope others give it a chance also despite the review.

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Link to purchase below:

“The King’s Secret Daughter” Explantations

WARNING SPOLIER ALERT

Do not continue unless you have read the novel.

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B06XYVL6T5

Barnes and Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-kings-secret-daughter-km-ellis/1126090565?ean=2940154279243

 

 

 

 

  1. This first scene is one of the most important in the novel. It is when Anna first discovers her hidden feelings for Nathan….

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Anna was sweeping, a chore which she most hated. Thomas had gone out to the fields for the day but she anticipated his return later that afternoon. She knew he would take her somewhere secretive where they would steal a moment or two alone.

This simple country life suited her well, she thought in opposition to what she was used to. She loved having the freedom to wake up in the morning and decided for herself what to wear and who to speak with.

Anna got to the top of the stairs where she heard the door knob to Nathan’s room rattle. He had not joined his elder brother this morning. As he appeared in the door frame, his sharp eyes went straight to her. Anna gave him a smile in greeting but he did not return it. She moved away from him and continued her chore.

“I know about you and Thomas,” he stated.

Anna turned back to face him, the broom tightly in her grasp, as her mouth opened slightly. She had tried to keep it under cover as much as possible, fearful of hurting Nate’s feelings.

“I know you’ve known each other intimately and I think you’re making a mistake,” Nate told her as his green eyes bore into her with intensity.

Anna shook her head. “I’m not making a mistake, I love him.”

Nathan chuckled cruelly, “You don’t love him.”

“Yes, I do,” Anna protested. She let out a frustrated sigh, what was the point in arguing with Nathan anyways?

He stepped out of the doorframe. “You’ll get bored,” he said as he flipped a stray piece of dark hair out of his eyes.

“Why would you even say that?” Anna stated as she turned on him, dropping the broom in the process.

Nathan stepped closer to her, “because you’re like me.”

“I’m nothing like you!” Anna exclaimed.

He shook his head, “That’s where you’re wrong. See? Just that right there, that little outburst, you’re passionate, full of life. Thomas… he’s not. He’s too good, too simple,” Nate explained his voice stern.

He was much too close now, but Anna could not tell him to move away.

“Don’t say that Nate, please,” she said softly.

“You’re making a mistake,” he accused again, his tone lowering to her level.

“No,” she stated.

“Yes,” he whispered as he stepped closer once again.

Anna shook her head, willing herself to somehow move away from him. He reached out to her, before she could comprehend what he was doing, and pulled her to him. She let out a gasp as his hands gripped her hard at the waist so she could not wiggle free.

“I’ll show you,” he said briefly. She felt his hot breath on her face, right before his lips crushed to hers. Anna’s head flew back, as her hat fell from her head, letting loose the masses of golden curls which fell to her waist.

His kiss was fierce, the intensity and heat which came from him left Anna dizzy. She quickly pushed him away as she lifted her hand to him and caught him right on the cheek.

Nate just laughed at her. He raised his eyebrows and smiled as she tried to fix her hair.

“See, I told you. You and I, Anna, were two of the same,” he chuckled.

She refused to hear him. Her whole body screamed something she had never felt before. She needed the feeling to go away. Anna stormed away from him as she headed down the stairs. As she reached the bottom, the front door opened and Thomas appeared.

“You okay?” He asked as he glanced at her disheveled appearance.

“Nate…” she managed.

Thomas just shrugged, “Don’t listen to anything Nate says, Anna.”

“I… but…” She began. How could she explain to Thomas what had just taken place between herself and his brother?

Thomas gave her a smile as he pushed past her, leaving her alone at the bottom of the stairs. When she glanced up them, Nathan stood at the top, his face forming in a triumphant grin.

Their passionate kiss leads to more trouble than Anna initially thinks, for she cannot for the life of her stop thinking of him. This scene is just the first of many which build up to her actions near the end of the novel.

 

 

 

2. The next scene is one which was one of my favorites to write. Jack Smith is one of my personal favorite characters and visualizing him… just think of Chris Hemsworth in Thor. 😉 He’s a passionate, dedicated sailor. Jack is like Anna in a lot of ways and their relationship is filled with ups and downs before it finally comes to a climax.

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That evening, Anna walked into Jack’s quarters,” Hello,” she offered casually.

He was organizing some papers on his desk, but as soon as he heard her voice, he stood up. “Hi,” he said as he met her gaze with a surprised look in his eyes.

“Thank you for showing me the dolphins today,” she stated, the new word slipping awkwardly off her tongue.

Jack gave her a little grin as he walked around the large wooden desk. He leaned backward against it. “We never really got off to a good start, did we?” he asked as he reached for his mead.

Anna shook her head.

“It’s not your fault,” he admitted as he fingered a hole in his shirt. “Not again,” he exclaimed in a low voice full of frustration.

 Anna noticed the tear, “I can sew the holes in your shirts if you would like,” she offered gently.

 He looked over at her. “You could? Would you? I don’t think I have a shirt without one anymore,” he replied, chuckling.

She nodded while holding out her hand. He threw his shirt over his head and went to hand it to her. Her mouth opened slightly as she observed his chiseled chest and broad shoulders. She had almost forgotten how magnificent his physic was.

Anna’s legs began to weaken as she watched his rippling muscles when he held the shirt out to her. She took it in her hands, the fabric warm and soft with wear. Her dark eyes glanced up at Jack. He seemed to read her mind as he moved towards her so their faces were inches apart.

“Jack,” she breathed his name as he leaned in closer. Her whole body tensed, he was so close. Anna brushed the scar on his cheek with her fingertips as his blue eyes bore into her. He reached out to her, his large palm landing on the small of her waist. She could feel the heat coming from him through her tightly laced gown. Anna slowly lifted her face to Jack.

Suddenly there was a knock at the door, Jack moved away from her, as he ran one hand down his face, his other landing on his hip.

“What is it, Robert? Jack called into the empty space. 

“An enemy ship was sighted, we believe she’s a Frenchie,” Robert shouted.

“Damn it,” Jack said under his breath. He glanced at Anna briefly as she handed him back his shirt. He took it, as he hastily put it back on before heading out to meet Robert.

 Anna sat behind the desk, catching her breath. The way that Jack had made her feel… his presence… she had almost felt intimidated. It reminded her of how Nathan Miller had once made her feel when he had tried to convince her that he was the one, not his brother, that she was supposed to be with, once long ago. She had never felt this way when she had been dallying with Joe.

After all, her relationship with Joe had been purely two lonely people who had found comfort in each other. He had been a good friend to her, but Anna knew, he would never be more. Whether or not Joe had known that whilst they had begun was unknown to her.

Anna was married to Jack Smith. He was undoubtedly different from any man she had ever known. Along with being the most handsome man she had ever encountered, he was also incredibly smart and resourceful. She actually wanted to learn more about him. He wasn’t ignoring her anymore and he had made it blatantly clear that he wished to be close to her just then. Anna wasn’t sure what had come over her, but she was sure that Jack Smith wanted her and she had wanted him in return.

Thus begins the sexual tension between Anna and Jack Smith.

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As always, I am accepting questions and comments about both of my novels. Stay tuned for character descriptions from The King’s Secret Daughter next.

The King’s Secret Daughter Geneology

I have had a lifelong fascination with Geneology and when writing The King’s Secret Daughter, it came to mind that I should create my own to put in the novel. I did so with pride and it is within the last few pages of the paperback edition.

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By creating this table, I was able to map out relationships and give readers a good idea of birth and death dates.

I am happy to announce I will be writing three more novels which will feature our heroine, Anna.

That being said, my readers can expect this Geneology table to expand greatly as the years in Anna’s life go on so stay tuned 🙂

Links:

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B06XYVL6T5

Barnes and Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-kings-secret-daughter-km-ellis/1126090565?ean=2940154279243