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Introducing: The Less Is More Series
Season One ~ The Reluctant Ones
***Inspired by the short story Blessed Offense (found in Parade)
Caroline Wallace is a woman who never forgets a wrong. Particularly when it is committed by Lynford Townsend, her sister’s fiance’. Is Caro really the heartless woman people believe her to be? Or has she a reason for maintaining her grudges? Perhaps, after all, a little humility and forgiveness are what Caro needs to find the love that has been right in front of her all along.
Charlotte Darling is an unaccomplished, talentless girl of meager prospects with a shrewish temperament that will make it almost impossible for her to marry. Such is the opinion of Mr. Blakeney, the heir apparent of Charlotte’s childhood home. The estate of Blithewell, upon her father’s death, will pass to Mr. Darling’s nephew by his first marriage—a “cousin” of sorts. It is Mr. Blakeney’s intention to see that Charlotte is married and off his hands at the earliest possible convenience. Charlotte has other ideas. Love is not among them, but when Mr. Blakeney’s half-brother arrives, she is forced to reconsider everything she previously considered non-negotiable, including leaving her beloved Blithewell.
Antonia Gibson has been educated in the manner of most young women of the 19th century—to be good, obedient wives and not much else. When Antonia’s family takes the time to notice her, they only see what they expect: a silly, trivial girl, unpossessed of a mind of her own. These qualities are what keep her silent when her father and equally overbearing brothers contrive to manipulate her into an engagement with a gentleman for whom she can summon no sufficiently warm feelings. Meanwhile, brother Tom, having been expelled from Cambridge, has hired Mr. Gregory Hale, a young lawyer striving to help Tom in his efforts to contest the accusations laid against him and salvage his character. It is this stranger to the family who discovers that Antonia is not entirely incapable of intelligent thought and helps her feel truly seen for the first time in her life. He encourages Antonia to fight for her own happiness, but at what cost? Mr. Hale, after all, is no stranger to scandal, for a dark history looms behind his otherwise charming demeanor and threatens to destroy the happiness of all with whom he comes in contact—perhaps none more so than Antonia herself.
Season Two (in development) ~ The Exiles
The Icarus Project
The Birth and Education of Robert Mayhew
A preface and introduction to Absinthe Moon.
Robert Mayhew was a child born into a 23rd century brothel. The only thing is, all conceptions are immediately terminated—if they are learned of. Robert’s miraculous escape has left him with a severed arm and a vendetta against the Icarus Project which he means to expose as the murderous tyrants they are and to destroy them if he can gather the necessary support.
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Welcome to New Londinium, a city that developed from an enclave of stragglers who survived the culminating blast of the last world war. From beneath the lee of a mountain formed as a result of the devastation, a colony gathered and grew. After several hundred years, this post-apocalyptic city is filled to bursting, and everyone—well, nearly everyone—is struggling for a place amidst the city’s Chosen, the elite ruling faction.
Robert Mayhew, by all appearances, is a man destined to be numbered amongst the Chosen. But Mayhew is both more than and less than he appears. His unauthorized conception, and a hideous deformity that was the result of his failed termination, have left him with a bloodthirsty lust to exact vengeance on the system that conspired to kill him even before he’d drawn his first breath.
In his position as chief curator of the Absinthe Moon—the city’s center of love and leisure—and supported by the Resistance, Mayhew is in just the right position to infiltrate the Icarus Project—the executive body of the city’s shadow government—and bring the whole system toppling down. So long as no one gets in his way.
Enter Emaline Newell. Utterly devoid of any evidence of the city’s taint, she is a valuable asset to the Absinthe Moon, and to Mayhew in his aims to achieve elite status. As his consort, she might give him just the advantage he needs.
Only Emaline has some ideas of her own, and perhaps a few things to teach him about love, loyalty, and the power he wishes to wield.
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Robert Mayhew’s secret has been revealed: The world now knows that he is a fraud. The Icarus Project is after him, and he’s gone into hiding. In the meantime, Emeline, having been abducted from the Absinthe Moon, is being searched for high and low. Mayhew is going mad, helpless to do anything but hide away in his Fourth Ward apartment…until the Resistance brings him a new assignment. At first it seems like nothing more than busy work, something to keep him occupied and out of the way while everyone with an interest in her searches for Emeline. As it turns out, this “busywork” turns out to be vital preparation for the greatest mission he can imagine— that of rescuing the city of New Londinium from an impending fuel crisis.
Mayhew’s life is on the line. If he can save the Great Forge from self-destruction (or is it sabotage?) he has a chance of restoring himself and returning to the Absinthe Moon . . . and to Emeline.
As it turns out, she’s being prepared for something greater as well—something larger than anyone could have hoped for. But will it mean Mayhew’s and Emeline’s ultimate reunion or their permanent separation?
Available only at Amazon.
Absinthe Absolute (Coming soon)
The exciting third installment of the Icarus Project Series takes us beyond the city of New Londinium, into the Tower and … beyond? Look for it Spring of 2022. In the meantime, be sure to subscribe for all the latest news, updates, promotions and monthly free giveaways.
The Metamorphoses Series
Of Moths and Butterflies
***The books in this series are stand alone (clean) historical romance novels. They are linked together by a common theme and by incidental characters and places. THEY CAN BE READ IN ANY ORDER.
Imogen Everard has lived much of her life under the care of her uncle, an abusive money lender. His death may mean her freedom from him and the taint associated with the name they share. But her uncle, in his final act, does the unimaginable and leaves her with the burden of his estate and a large fortune, subjecting her to the vultures who will descend, and to the speculations of a gossip-hungry society.
In order to escape the avaricious designs of her family and those who would use her, she runs away, seeking refuge in a small, out-of-the-way village in Kent. Here, as a maid in a large country house, she gets her first taste of independence, a glimpse of that happiness she has so long yearned for.
But when she is discovered, she is returned to her family and to the care of her aunts who assume guardianship over her. In an effort to get at her money before she should come of age, her marriage is arranged to a collector of rare and beautiful insects.
One man is about to make the acquisition of a lifetime. But can a woman captured and acquired learn to love the man who has bought her? To do so, she must find the courage to trust him. But more than that, she must find the courage to love herself.
(This book addresses the repercussions of, and the ultimate transcendence over, sexual abuse and rape. While not graphic in nature, the subject matter may be triggering for some.)
Cry of the Peacock
An illustrious marriage, a fortune, a position of wealth and influence. These are the dreams and ambitions of any Victorian woman of sense. Or are they?
Perhaps not for Arabella Gray.
The death of Abbie’s father, the overseer of a large country estate, leaves her without means or resources, without, even, a place to live. Her landlords, in an extraordinary display of charity, invite her to live at Holdaway Hall. But the invitation is as puzzling as it is generous. Why are the Crawfords, who have never paid her any notice before, so concerned with her welbeing now?
It’s a question the younger Crawford brothers would like to have answered as well. Certainly Miss Gray is a mercenary upstart. Certainly their brother is mad for fancying himself in love with her. Such a union would make them a laughing stock. They mean to put a stop to it, but when they learn that her past is closely—even disturbingly—connected with their own, they are brought up short, forced to ask themselves some very hard questions.
As Abbie herself soon learns, there is a great mystery at the heart of her landlords’ extraordinary offer. Everything she has ever dreamt of might be hers for the taking, but is the price worth it? More than her happiness alone rests upon her decision. If she refuses Ruskin Crawford’s offer of marriage, will she be able to live with the consequences? If she does, will she be able to live with herself?
In the end, all must ask themselves some very hard questions. What does it mean to be a man or woman of honor and integrity? What does it mean, after all, to be a gentleman? And what, exactly, is the price of a woman’s heart?
Gods and Monsters
As a widower, Nathanial Durham has the monumental responsibility of finding suitable husbands for his two daughters. Flirtatious and changeable Bethany might have nearly anyone, but she seems determined to toss her suitors away almost the moment they arrive. Laynie, on the other hand, far behind her sister in looks and charm, is of especial concern to her father. And so, when Harold Vaughn returns home to inherit, it seems the problem, at least for one of his daughters, is solved. Only which daughter will it be?
Even his girls cannot quite decide, and so, to cool the rivalry, the sisters are sent to an aunt’s, where they are thrown into the path of other young and eligible gentlemen—and a new rivalry begins.
Meanwhile, Mr. Durham, lonely for intelligent companionship, hires a gentleman to read to him several nights a week, but Mr. Holbrook is off limits to his coquettish girls. With varying degrees of reluctance, they honor the agreement. At least Beth does for herself, but if its possible Mr. Holbrook might provide a distraction for her sister while she decides which gentleman she prefers for herself, well…what harm can there be?
Some, it seems. When Laynie, accident prone and determined to get herself into any fix that comes her way, falls from a horse, it sets in motion a series of events that expose Mr. Holbrook as a man of questionable integrity. Is it possible Mr. Durham’s hired companion is capable of the wrongs laid at his door? Is it possible Laynie has been mistaken in esteeming him as a man of character?
Is it possible to know anyone truly?
Between the manufactured innocence of a young woman and the championed exploits of every man, what happens when the two opposing doctrines collide?
Bestselling author V.R. Christensen presents a collection of short and whimsically odd stories.
Described as “elegant” and “delightful”, these stories are sure to capture the imagination, entertain, enlighten, and inspire.
Containing material new as well as that previously published (as Sixteen Seasons), this revised sampler of short stories provides something for everyone, from historical romance to the traditional ghost story, and even a bit of steampunk fantasy. And for those already familiar with the author’s work, the collection contains bonus material relative to the bestselling novels Of Moths and Butterflies and Cry of the Peacock.
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