Guest Heather Hiestand ~ His Wicked Smile
Today we’re thrilled to welcome Heather Hiestand, here with her latest release and a contest. Be sure to scroll to the bottom to enter. Take it away, Heather!
Life Doesn’t Always Work Out According To Plan
By Heather Hiestand
The hero of His Wicked Smile (the third in the Redcakes series) is Gawain Redcake. He’s a very determined guy, having survived the childhood in his family’s Bristol factories that killed his older brother, then surviving army service on India’s North-west frontier fighting the Pathan tribes. He took damage to his hip and face, but he made it home, only to be pushed into his family’s London-based Accounting department. Yes, Accounting. Needless to say, this man of action was not happy sitting at a ledger writing figures all day. But he did learn the business, and branched into his own, selling teas and Indian medicine around the British Isles. This made him rich.
Meanwhile, his father was knighted, and ever competitive, Gawain wants a knighthood too. He’s full of ideas as to how to achieve it. His best idea? Marrying a pampered, teenage aristocrat named Lady Elizabeth Shield, some decade younger than him, which will bring him into the highest levels of fashionable society. His Wicked Smile begins as the lady’s family declines to allow Gawain to court her, and then, to up the stakes, the lady herself disappears! Gawain is enlisted to help find the runaway milady, and this sends him on the adventure of a lifetime, in a life that had already been pretty adventurous.
Gawain had seen his sister Matilda ruin her life plans because of an unwed pregnancy, and one thing he’s firmly believed is that a father has to marry the mother of his child to give the child a proper life. So when a liaison in an inn with a most unsuitable woman results in an unplanned pregnancy, he’s desperate to find the woman and marry her. But that lady has disappeared too!
Life hasn’t worked out as planned for my heroine, Ann Haldene, either. The half-Indian daughter of a British army officer, she married young and ran an inn with her husband. She’s in love and pregnant, when her husband is murdered in their stable. During her crazy grief, she loses the baby and most of her money. Lonely and too busy for courting, she’s easily caught in the snare of Gawain Redcake’s wicked smile. While she’s happy to have a baby, she’s not willing to marry again without love. Life, however, is going to interfere.
Whether you read His Wicked Smile as a standalone or as part of the larger Redcakes series, I hope you enjoy Gawain and Ann’s journey to love. It’s never what they expected, but all the sweeter for it.
His Wicked Smile, by Heather Hiestand
May 1, 2014,
ISBN 978-1-60183-113-2; ASIN B00GYLVVS4
Romantic Suspense, 87,000 words
Heat rating: hot
Some temptations are impossible to resist, even for a bakery heir…
Ann Haldene is the most beautiful woman Gawain Redcake has ever seen. A gifted healer who soothes his battle-scarred body like never before, the widow’s touch has a powerful effect on him. It’s no wonder the rugged Redcake heir forgets his quest for a society bride during one passionate night in Ann’s arms. But once he learns she is pregnant with his child, he searches for her, intent on giving her his name, if not his heart….
Ann is shocked by Gawain’s proposal, mostly because he has not uttered a word of love. For the sake of their baby, she accepts, even knowing that Gawain dreamed of marrying to secure a title and all she has is a severed royal Indian bloodline. Now the new bride faces her greatest challenge: showing her husband that their union is more powerful than pedigree—and love is the ultimate reward….
“A delightful, sexy glimpse into Victorian life and loving with two wonderfully non-traditional lovers.” –Jessa Slade, author of Dark Prince’s Desire and the Steel Born series.
At Goodreads: This book was a very sweet and spicy romance. Sylvia, Netgalley reviewer.
5 Stars: It was a wonderful story of romance, love and mystery. I cannot wait to read more from this author. Jennischell, Netgalley reviewer
His lips curved. “And how long should I continue my program with you?”
“What do you mean?” She put her back to the fire and faced him.
“How often should I ask you to marry me? How often should I demand you move to my family home? I have been looking for houses for us in Enfield.”
“You haven’t asked me today.” She thought about the few pounds she had left, the need to eat good food so that she could feed Noel. Clothes for a growing baby. Coal for the fire. The censure she would face back in Leeds for having an illegitimate child.
His gaze left the box she was holding and moved to her face. “You are correct. I have not been following my own program. Ann, will you marry me?”
She shivered. Could she tolerate a loveless marriage? Or to phrase it better, could she bring a husband who didn’t love her to love? Gawain had not yet had a chance to love her, but at least he had come looking for her. He had come twice, to Leeds and then to London. He loved Noel already. Thankfully, he had no doubts there. She was lucky the baby took after the Redcakes and not her family.
Going back to Leeds felt wrong. She had to move forward for Noel’s sake. Clasping her hands around her upper arms, she whispered, “Yes.”
“Yes?” he said doubtfully.
She swallowed hard and nodded. “Yes. It will be best for all of us. You caught me by surprise last week, but yes.”
He moved his head back and forth as if beating time. “Would you like a civil or religious marriage? We can be married a bit sooner with a civil marriage.”
The unromantic nature of the moment deflated her further. “Will you not kiss me to celebrate?” she asked. “And worry about details some other time?”
He let his cane drop to the ground next to the armchair. With a wolfish grin, he reached for her arm and pulled her down to him. He sighed and set his head against her shoulder. “I should not remember the feel of you, Ann, but I do.”
“My body is completely different since Noel. And I don’t even smell the same.”
“You smell like cake and wind now,” he said. “It’s not a bad thing. But there is still a spicy under-layer that will never leave you.”
She wriggled. “I am glad to hear it.”
He held her firm. “Don’t do that, not with Fern here.”
She allowed him to wrap his arms around her and kiss her neck. Closing her eyes, she wondered what he would think of her if he knew why she said yes.
ABOUT HEATHER HIESTAND
Heather Hiestand was born in Illinois, but her family migrated west before she started school. Since then she has claimed Washington State as home, except for a few years in California. She wrote her first story at age seven and went on to major in creative writing at the University of Washington. Her first published fiction was a mystery short story, but since then it has been all about the many flavors of romance. Heather’s first published romance short story was set in the Victorian period, and she continues to return, fascinated by the rapid changes of the nineteenth century. The author of many novels, novellas, and short stories, she has achieved best-seller status at Amazon and Barnes and Noble. With her husband and son, she makes her home in a small town and supposedly works out of her tiny office, though she mostly writes in her easy chair in the living room.
HEATHER HIESTAND ON THE WEB
Facebook Page https://www.facebook.com/pages/Heather-HiestandAnh-Leod/24271017921?ref=br_tf