Genre: Historical Romance set in a
Fantasy world/Erotic Romance
Publisher: Purple Sword Publications
Number of pages: 200
Word Count: 80k
Cover Artist: Traci Markou
Bethina Lydia Fortescue, the Lady Godwin, adored her king as no other for twenty years. But the king is dead, and as his mere mistress she is no longer welcome at court.
Sir Arthur Jeffries, newly appointed to Princess Meredith's Regency Council, needs help. He begs the legendary Lady Godwin to return to the palace as the princess' tutor, hopefully to lead the gawky teenager through the political and romantic minefield of suitors and hidden assassins invited to attend her Debutante Ball.
Bethina and Arthur fight the undeniable surge of attraction between them. Bethina cannot bring herself to put aside the love she had for her king, and now concern for his heir. Arthur knows that he will only be able to serve the princess if he continues his life of solitude. Now is no time to take a courtesan to bed.
Brought together as servants to Rushton's crown, but joined through a lifetime of bitter and shrewd experiences, Bethina and Arthur discover that when the princess finally takes a husband, and all the enemies of the land are vanquished, they will have only one thing left to live for: love.
The phantom caress of Freddie's touch conjured long buried memories. Ah, sweet agony. Exuberant in their youth, she and Freddie had explored all the possible sexual positions together. And now...
She fought against a tear. That was all in the past. Gone.
She closed her eyes so she might ignore the overly familiar oil landscape hung over her bed and the other tiny details that recalled the sweet and torrid memories. Her finger caught at a lace ribbon on the vanity top and pulled it across the polished wood surface. Her favorite clock ticked. Time passed. When would the hole in her heart heal? Anger at her weakness surged. She grabbed and held onto it.
"Stop being morbid, Beth. You've got a job to do." Her voice echoed in the vaulted room.
A knock sounded from the outer chamber. She still had an hour before she expected her first guest. The tweeny scurried to answer it.
"She's not quite decent, sir."
Bethina grinned. Leave it to the young ones to state the truth. She stood and turned to welcome whoever it might be, calling out, "Let them in, Laurel. I'm as decent as I'm going to get." It took but a few steps to enter the sitting room.
The girl curtsied and opened the door wider. Sir Arthur stood in the hall, his cap in his hand and eyes wide as he noticed the extravagance of her chamber.
Once again, that phantom emotion sprang to life. She couldn't possibly take another lover. Never. Action would help to stifle her misgivings.
"Come. Come." She gestured him into the room. "It's been far too long since these rooms saw a gentleman not bent on nefarious deeds."
The man blushed, his grey eyes darkened. "You think me harmless, Lady Godwin?"
"Hah!" She strode to the chaise, settled down and reached for the bell. The tweeny reappeared. "What would you like to drink, sir?"
Dressed in a suit of black silk from head to foot, the diplomat evoked an aura of quiet power. He had not moved since pausing inside her threshold. "I like to keep my wits when dining with my enemies and my friends."
Bethina pressed her lips together before ordering, "Small ale for two."
He remained still, his gaze boring into hers. "Do you possess a more modest gown, Lady Godwin?"
She chuckled and leaned forward just a touch. "Unlike you, Sir Arthur, it is not to my advantage to fade into background. A low cut bodice is far more effective in eliciting confidences than sitting near silent in a corner with a shawl up to my chin." Even as she grinned, her melancholy vanished. Thank goodness she had somebody to match wits with.
He coughed and appeared to decide she was not about to eat him for lunch. He stretched his long legs out as he settled in the high-backed chair opposite her perch. He continued to study her. What did he want?
"Now, why the early arrival for supper?"
He turned his attention to the appointments of the chamber; the heavy furniture, damask curtains, oil paintings. Every feminine furbelow Trudy could gather dotted all possible surfaces. Lace, china, clocks, jewelry. It appeared as the room of a very wealthy lady of the nobility. No guest could possibly guess at her sordid past.
"Hmm? Oh, yes. Sorry. I wondered if you required any more information before we go in for supper this evening?"
"No, I think not. Sometimes it is better to make your own judgments, true?"
He rubbed his palms together for a moment. "I would have to agree with that."
So, he was avoiding speaking his mind. Really, now was not the time to keep secrets from her.
Laurel appeared with their drinks, served and withdrew.
Perhaps if she taunted him.
Bethina ran one finger along the rim of her glass, collecting the drop of moisture sitting there and then licked it dry. "You really wanted to see what I had chosen to wear. Admit it. What would the famed mistress of King Frederyk do upon her return to court?" She sipped at her ale and decided the castle boasted a fine master brewer.
"Yes. I am taking a huge risk here. Should we misstep, I shall be back in the desert of Uiel and you in that house on the river."
"But you forget, Sir Arthur." She placed her glass on the small table at her right and drew a heart on the tabletop from the glass's condensation. "Not once in two decades was I dismissed from court. I am good at this."
He smiled and relaxed in his seat. "As am I."
She met his steady gaze. Good. His defenses were coming down. She took a deep breath, her breasts pressing against her tight bodice. His grey eyes widened. He swallowed. She followed his Adam's apple down his muscled neck and grinned in appreciation at his wide shoulders. The years had been kind to him. The blood beat in her ears . Her body stirred.
And suddenly it became clear. He desired her. As much as she wanted him.
"I didn't come here for a flirtation." Her protest sounded gravelly.
His cheeks blazed with color. "I did not invite you for such."
She waited, as he appeared to want to say more. In the end, they simply shared a nod each understood. The heat and lust would wait, for now. "I am here for Freddie's niece. She needs me."
He nodded. "Yes, she does. I think, though, that I will enjoy working alongside you."
The room filled with unspoken words. Heat. Hushed sighs beneath covers.
*What is the name of your latest book, and if you had to summarize it in less than 20 words what would you say?
The King's Mistress It is said life only brings you one great love. Not everything they say is true.
*What genre would you place your books into?
I call my royal intrigue books Historical Fantasy Romance (with a little bit of erotica thrown in there)
*What can we expect from you in the future? ie More books of the same genre? Books of a different genre?
You can expect a little bit of both. I write a weekly NASCAR commentary column for the Frontstretch.com Newsletter--yep NASCAR. I've dabbled in contemporary erotica, straight out fantasy worlds, a little western...whatever sparks my imagination. But the world of palace intrigue is one that keeps returning to my muse. Right now I'm working on the first bits of a sequel to the King's Mistress--that is different for me. I almost never do series.
*What made you decide to write that genre of book?
It's been a lifelong romance between me, the history of royalty, and fantasy. It kind of was a very generic growth for me to produce my own "Once Upon a Time" tales. I've often been asked how much research I do for these tales and I have to pause to answer. The fact is I've been picking up facts and soaking in the atmosphere of the Middle Ages since I could read. When the History Channel came along...well, all resistance vanished. Specials on castles, royal families, political realignments in Europe, testing the ancient weaponry, how-to-build-a-castle without power tools...they are all like candy to me.
*Do you have a favorite character from your books? And why are they your favorite?
You know, I believe it is Lady Godwin--the heroine from The King's Mistress. She is no shy miss. She has already lived a life full of passion and joy, but she's only just about 40. She has years ahead of her! I desperately wanted to find her a true Happy Ever After. With her grit, powerful belief in her own femininity and a true calling in life, it was a joy to bring her story to life.
*Do you choose a title first, or write the book then choose the title?
It all depends on the book. The King's Mistress titled itself from the first pages written. Others, like The Eyes of Sin, started with a very plebian title and warped over time into the final title. There's no predictable pattern apparently.
*How do you come up with characters names and place names in your books?
It's another result of those decades studying the past. Place names are the most difficult when you're building a fictional world. What sounds right? Or wrong? If I'm trying to place the tale in a desert region, I research middle-eastern names in order to find the sound that will become a name. Sometimes I think I made it up, only to find out the place really exists. Like seriously, who knew Stoke was a real place? Until my editor told me she lived there...lol I probably saw the name flash across the screen or on a page at some point in my life. It sounded right! Unfortunately, I had to ditch that kingdom's name. Ah well...
*Are character names and place names decided after their creation? Or do you pick a character/place name and then invent them?
It's sort of a chicken and egg question. I guess you can say I name the person second, but it's all part of the character building process. I know I need a man. He'll be the villain. He'll be 30 years old and generally look like this. I shall name him...
Last names tend to be the kicker. When creating kingdoms, you no longer are trying to come up with half a dozen characters, you must fill the court! But try not to make everybody's name the same, even when that's exactly how the world operates. I've had to rename half the secondary characters while editing, simply to eliminate confusion for the readers and editors. (Smith, Smythe, Smitson...you get the idea.)
*Do you decide on character traits (ie shy, quiet, tomboy girl) before writing the whole book or as you go along?
Depends on the trait. Some of the basics you need right off the bat, but those little physical tics or habits are the ones that will surprise me as I work along. It's a bit like getting to know a new friend. You think you know them well, and then discover you don't at all.
*Which format of book do you prefer, eBook, hardback, or paperback?
I've become an ebook advocate. Mostly because I had no more room for any more books. I still love to hold and read the physical versions, but I am moving into the digital world.
*What is your favorite book and Why? Have you read it more than once?
I can't choose one favorite. But yes, I've read the stack of favorites more than once. Twice. Three times. Four...keep going. Some are from my teen years, and when I pick them up as an adult, I still find new things to love about them. It's one of the reasons I will still pick up classics. If men and women are discussing a book a hundred or two hundred after a tale is written, there must be something worth investigating. This year I'm working on War and Peace. I know, I'm nuts.
*Do you think books transfer to movies well? Which is you favorite/worst book to movie transfer?
There are reasons to tell a story on screen vs. a book. And for all the people across the planet who first run to the movie theatre, but then decide there must be something more they want to know about the film they just watched--having both the book and movie is marvelous. I desperately still want to see The Dragonriders of Pern make it to the big screen. I'm fanatical about The Lord of the Rings in either iteration. And I admit, I would have never read The Hunger Games if it wasn't for the movie. What about all the kids who had to read Harry Potter after seeing the flick?
Whether the transfer is faithful (just watch all the permutations of Pride and Prejudice--you'll be appalled) or not, I don't really care if it helps to get people to read. Literacy is far more valuable to mankind vs. the artistic value inherent in an interpretation of a tale. *gets off soapbox*
*Your favorite food is?
Chocolate. The darker, the better.
Your favorite singer/group is?
Currently Brad Paisley. But it's like asking me to choose a favorite book. My music mix includes classical, new age, a little metal, disco, Irish, opera, country, pop...it goes on.
*Your favorite color is?
Red. Or is it purple?
Your favorite Author is?
If I can't choose a book, how in the world am I supposed to choose an author? lol
4 ebook copies of The King's Mistress
How it works:
Follow S.D. Grady along on her Bewitched Blog Book Tour during the month of October to help her celebrate the release of her historical fantasy romance The King's Mistress.
Answer correctly 5 of the 6 questions provided on this page: http://www.sdgrady.info/s.d.-grady-s-treasure-hunt.html
Email the answers to: firstname.lastname@example.org by November 8th, 2014
Use the Subject Line of "Treasure Hunt Answers"
All the answers will be found on the blog tour.
The first four people to email S.D. Grady with the correct answers will win a free e-copy of The King's Mistress.
Winners will be notified via email.
S.D. Grady is a lover of men, music, movies and fast machines. A beautiful gown stirs her blood as quickly as a NASCAR race. An author of historical and fantasy romance, she never hesitates to switch gears and plunge into the real world of sports commentary.
She lives in her house on the hill with her husband of 20 years and their cats. During work hours she runs a movie theatre and, when not writing, enjoys crocheting yet another colorful afghan. Several times a year you can find them at the track in their RV.
The S-Curves blog http://thescurves.blogspot.com/