May I introduce: V.L. Locey "Pink Pucks & Power Plays"

Pink Pucks & Power Plays

by V.L. Locey

What can I say ... it's just great to have V.L. Locey as my guest today.
I've known V.L. now for over a year as part of the Tuesday Tales group of authors, who write a story each week to a prompt. "Pink Pucks & Power Plays" was one of those stories, and I loved it. It was a no-brainer to ask V.L. to be my guest today!

1 – My first question, and I’ve been wanting to ask for a long time, what’s the background to your blog-name thoughtsfromayodelinggoatherder? 

That`s a good question. From the time my daughter was around eight my family and I raised dairy goats. Sadly, we just recently sold our herd due of a number of reasons. A few weeks after our goats had new homes, I had to decide if I would change the name of my blog, which had been up and running for several years. I decided to simply use a new banner, but keep the Thoughts From A Yodeling Goatherder blog name, as it was well known to my readers, and reflected the love I will always have for the goats that we owned for so many years. 

2 – I’d say you’re one of the most versatile writer I’ve met so far. You write Greek mythology, Sports Romance or Gay Romance. Where do you get all your ideas from? How involved is the research?

My Muses drink Red Bull with black coffee chasers. It`s crazy scary at times. As with most authors I know, the ideas just appear. Take yesterday for example. I`m driving home from grocery shopping, sipping on a container of chocolate milk, when this image of a man with dark wings who loves chocolate milk as much or more than I do, appears before me. It was so strong that when I got home I sat down and wrote out a Word page of information about this fallen angel who obviously wishes to have his story told. Like I needed his voice in my head? There are already about a dozen characters vying for attention as it is!
As for the research, that varies. If I`m doing Greek mythos, I tend to spend much more time involved in double and triple checking my facts with what is known or considered the proper telling. Since every Greek poet tells his tale in a slightly different way, I tend to rely on Edith Hamilton for the bulk of my Greek research.
The hockey books also require some research, but since I`m a fan of the game, it`s not as detail-oriented as the Greek mythology research is. Most of the hockey research centers around certain aspects of the business side of professional sports, as well as the need to investigate defensive or offensive plays .
The gay romance is written no differently than my het romances are. Love is love. I suppose some writers might mind spending hours buried in dusty old tomes devoted to Greek gods the ultimate punishment, but not me! I can lose myself in research if it`s about something I enjoy. Hockey and the Greek pantheon fill that bill!

3 – Tell us a bit about your current project.

Right now I`m working on a M/M romantic-comedy I`m hoping to sub for an anthology call. It`s about two comic geeks (Yes, I am one of those as well. You should see my shrine to the Avengers atop my entertainment center) that end up falling in love then facing down an evil villain at a comic con. The working title is The Romantically Daring Adventures of Darren and Connor.


Viviana Land just can`t seem to say no to her younger sister. Somehow, the curvaceous society page reporter gets lassoed into serving as her niece`s Busy Bee scout leader. One overheated engine later, Viviana and her girls find themselves in the Green Hills Ice Rink. Enter Alain Lessard, the charmingly handsome defenseman for the Philadelphia Wildcats, who is donating his summer to coaching the youth league.
When our intrepid reporter is given the opportunity to write the break-out story of her career, Viviana leaps at the chance. Thinking it would be easy to flirt and tease some juicy tidbits out of Alain, Viviana soon finds herself falling for the sensual, younger, kind-hearted man. Will she put aside her virtual pen for a chance to stay at her new paramour`s side? Or will Viviana finally get away from those mundane bakery opening articles by using the man she may possibly be in love with?
V.L. Locey loves worn jeans, belly laughs, anything romantic, Greek mythology, New York Rangers hockey,  comic books and coffee. (Not necessarily in that order.) She shares her life with her husband, her daughter, one dog, two cats, a steer named after a famous N.H.L. goalie, and a flock of assorted domestic fowl.

V.L. is a self-published and conventionally published author. She is a proud Torquere Press and Secret Cravings Publishing author. When not writing romantic tales, she can be found enjoying her day with her menagerie in the rolling hills of Pennsylvania with a cup of fresh java in hand, writing, or cheering on her beloved New York Rangers. She can also be found online on Facebook, Twitter, and GoodReads.







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 “Tell me about your house growing up. Was it a small town?” I offered him another spoonful of ice cream. He smiled and accepted after losing the far-away look he had been wearing. Alain launched into a long explanation about his hometown and I, like the miserable snoop that I am, committed every name and anecdote to memory for later dictation to my tablet. After he talked at length and the float was consumed, I stood up and walked to the railing, stepping over sleeping dogs. I leaned my shoulder against the post.

“You seem distracted tonight,” Alain said, stepping up behind me to wrap me in his embrace. His chest was strong and solid against my back. My hands rested on his forearms.

“I should probably check my dress and go home. I have to be up early tomorrow for some insipid luncheon that the mayor`s wife is throwing.”

“I did not know you were friends with the mayor`s wife,” he said casually, his chin resting on top of my head. I went rigid in his arms.

“I don`t really know her,” I hurried to say, forcing myself to relax, “It`s just some luncheon where she plans to announce which charity she`ll work with for the upcoming year. My boss is hoping she`ll name the same charity our law office donates to.”

“Ah, that would be good. What is the charity you give to? Perhaps I donate to them as well.”

“Oh, well it`s a small local charity named for the town the mayor`s mother was born in,” I said, thankful only the fireflies could see my lying face. I turned in his arms. He smiled down at me, dropping his head to capture my mouth gently.

“What is the name of this town?” he asked between kisses that were growing longer and hotter.

“Petticoat Junction,” I whispered my fingers now in those dark curls of his.

“That sounds like a funny town. Stay the night, Viviana.” He held me as tight as he could, his lips moved gently over mine. “Stay with me here.”

I stayed.

May I introduce: Whitney KE "What happens in Ireland"

"What happens in Ireland"
Whitney K.E

There’s nothing better in life when you find someone who shares the same interest as you. Or completely and utterly loves the same things as you do!

And …

I’ve found someone. Not just someone, but someone who loves Ireland. But not just loves Ireland, but like myself, has written a book that is set in Ireland. How’s that!
So I’m really pleased to have Whitney K.E with me today. Whitney’s debut novel “What happens in Ireland” (published by Secret Cravings Publishing) is just one stand-out book of 2013!

IB: Welcome to my blog, Whitney. I suppose the obvious question is, how did you get to fall in love with Ireland?
WKE: How did I fall in love? I’m really not sure how exactly. But I think it was from day one of my trip there back in 2013. I was walking the streets of Dublin, it was 3 degrees (wonderful in comparison to the 40 degree days we had been experiencing in Australia) and I just felt an odd sense of security there. I loved the shops, the people, the weather… Ireland was all and more than I had imagined it to be. As I made my way around it, I fell deeper still.

IB:  Did you see the Leprechaun in the main streets?
WKE: I didn’t! And no pot of gold! I feel like I was cheated hehe.

IB: You didn’t? He was right there J Anyway, what inspired you to write a story set in Ireland?
WKE: I don’t know exactly. I think maybe I’d watched P.S. I love you. I’ve always been a U2 and Corrs fan. Then suddenly, I wanted to go to Ireland. I booked my trip and whilst I waited, I daydreamed and wrote. It just took hold of me!

IB: I love the Corrs! Tell us more about your travel through Ireland. What was the favourite place?
WKE: I loved it all to be honest. Dublin had me at first sight. So fresh and wonderful. I loved Killkenny. A quiet town, lots of character. And of course Killarney, where my stories are set. And Galway was a blast! Made so great friends there.

IB: Tell us a bit about your first book.
WKE: What Happens in Ireland is a light and humorous romance about how trust can sometimes be a hard thing to earn. The first in a series of three, What Happens in Ireland is a love story where an Irishman fights hard to win the heart of an Aussie shrew.

IB: The sequel was released only recently. Tell us about that one as well.
WKE: The same unique and quirky characters from What Happens in Ireland come together again to celebrate the wedding of Kate and Jack in the fresh and humorous sequel, Deceive Me in Ireland.

Like Kate Barrow, her cousin Cara discovers that resisting the charms of an Irishman isn’t as easy as it seems. William O'Reilly is as silver-tongued as his brother, Jack and determined to make the woman realize his worth. And her own.

IB: Would you share a bit of your book?
WKE: Absolutely!

Slipping the dress up over her hips, Cara pulled the straps over her shoulders. Reaching around her back, she pulled the zipper up as far as she could manage. A knock sounded on the door and she froze, her wide-eyed reflection in the mirror before her staring back.
Cara released the breath she’d been holding. It was Jane. “Yeah?”
“The others are here. So you better hurry up or we’ll leave without you.”
Cara gritted her teeth. Shit.
Spinning around, she grabbed the black heels she’d left on the foot of the bed. Sitting down, she slipped them on. “I’ll only be a minute,” she yelled back.
“You better. Because if you’re not, Kate said I’m to send William in to help you.”
Cara’s cheeks warmed and she paused in the middle of doing up the second heel. “All right, all right. I’ll be out in a second.”
Cara paused and listened to Jane’s retreat down the hallway.
Bloody. Scheming. Cousin.
Strapping up her shoe, she stood and marched over to the floor-length mirror. Smoothing her hands down her sides, the red satin silken beneath her palms, she assessed her appearance. She looked…nervous. And she was. She was always nervous when it came to meeting new people. But, tonight was different, wasn’t it? She sighed, her hand balling into fists. William was out there. And the second he saw her, she’d feel his hot gaze run over her.
Will he comment on how I look? Will he—
She stopped herself. She shouldn’t care about what William thought. He was a liar. And she didn’t care for them. She was big on first imptheressions and he had given her a fake one!
Picking up the clutch purse that rested on top of the dresser beside the door, she cast a sideways glance at the mirror one last time. She scolded herself almost instantly.
Stop fussing, Cara.
Stepping to the side, she turned the knob and pulled the door open. Her eyes on her purse, she stepped out into the hallway, pulling the door shut behind her. She jumped when a deep voice addressed her from the shadows.
Looking up, Cara stopped breathing. Dear God.
William stood a few feet down the hallway with a gorgeous half-grin on his lips. Her skin prickled, a tingling sensation that started at the base of her neck and slowly drifted down her body. Her grip on her purse loosened as goosebumps broke out over her flesh.
I wish he would stop looking at me like that. It makes it so much harder to breathe.
“Yer lookin’ rather lovely,” he murmured, his voice a tad huskier.
Cara spoke before considering the consequences. “You’re looking rather handsome yourself.”
His wicked smile widened and she felt butterflies take flight in the pit of her stomach. There really was no point denying it. William did look very attractive tonight. He wore a pair of black slacks and a white shirt that was open at the neck. He carried a suit jacket in hand and Cara could only imagine how much it would accentuate the breadth of his shoulders. His hair was messy, giving him the rakish look that he always wore well. He’d shaved and his smooth jaw beckoned her touch. Cursing the temptation, Cara slipped her hands behind her back, banishing the thought from her mind.
William looked nothing like the man she’d met on the plane a few days ago and she was glad they were parting ways tonight. Had he been given the chance to ask her for a dance tonight, she might not have possessed the will to refuse.
“I see ye didn’t need me to come get ye after all,” he said, a touch of amusement in his voice. Waving his arm before him, he invited her to continue down the hallway.
Finding her legs—shaky though they were—Cara slipped past him. William fell into step behind her, the warmth of his body teasing her back. Feeling self-conscious, Cara pulled her hair over her shoulder, shielding her hot cheeks.
“Jane said I had five minutes.” She fought to keep the tremor out of her voice, but it wasn’t easy. Her whole body seemed to shake, her nerves consuming her.
God damn it. She didn’t need this.
“Ye did. I was just fetchin’ me jacket.”
Cara nodded, not trusting herself to say anything.
When William suddenly caught her hand in his, she stopped dead. He stepped closer to her and she felt his free hand brush the lingering strands of her hair off her neck. Cara shivered as pleasure ripped through her, too startled to move an inch. His hot breath grazed the back of her neck and the warmth between her thighs intensified. She imagined his lips touching the skin between her shoulder blades, his hands sliding down her body, over her hips… Her eyes fluttered shut and her knees grew weak.
His calloused finger tapped against the flesh between her shoulder blades. “Would ye like some help with this, Cara?” he whispered.
The muscles in her shoulders tightened and her eyes flew open.
Why does this always happen to me?
She’d forgotten to pull up the rest of her zipper. And of course, William had been the one to point it out to her. Not bothering to answer his question, she reached over her shoulder to fix it. But Will’s hand caught hers. Her entire body tensed.
His hand had closed around her wrist and she feared he might feel the rapid drumming of her pulse under his hand. His hold was firm, but it wasn’t cruel. In fact, she wanted to melt against him, not pull away in fear.
“My, my, lass, ye remind me of yer cousin sometimes. If yer too stubborn to accept my help, then in future, I’m not goin’ to ask. I’m just goin’ to do.” He guided her hand back to her side then raised his own to drag his fingertips up the exposed length of her spine. A shiver rippled through her and Cara locked her knees to prevent herself from giving in to the need to fall against him.
“I don’t need your help, William.” Her voice was cold and firm, a contradiction to the fire that burned through her body. She burned as if she suffered from a fever, one that was making her delirious.
In one fluid motion William zipped up her dress and Cara released the breath she’d been holding, relieved that his fingers had barely touched her.
“I know,” he said, moving to stand beside her. “But that doesn’t mean ye can’t accept my help.” He inclined his head down the hall, his emerald eyes sparkling. “Ready?”

Review: Susan Mallery "Chasing Perfect"

Publisher: Harlequin

ISBN: 9780373774524

My rating: 3/5

Welcome to Fool's Gold, California, a charming community in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada. There's lots to do and plenty of people to meet, especially women. Because there's just one tiny problem in Fool's Gold: the men don't seem to stick around. Maybe it's the lure of big-city life, or maybe it's plain old bad luck, but regardless of the reason, the problem has to be fixed, fast. And Charity Jones may be just the city planner to do it.
Charity's nomadic childhood has left her itching to settle down, and she immediately falls in love with all the storybook town has to offer - everything, that is, except its sexiest and most famous resident, former world-class cyclist Josh Golden. With her long list of romantic disasters, she's not about to take a chance on another bad boy, even if everyone else thinks he's perfect just the way he is. But maybe that's just what he needs a someone who knows the value of his flaws. Someone who knows that he's just chasing perfect.

My thoughts

This is a tricky task to put down my thoughts about this book.

I really liked the book and it was a toss between a higher rating or "just 3". Although, it's not all about rating, right. It was a good read and Susan Mallery is a good writer.

But, yes, there were a few "issues" I had. Foremost, I couldn't warm up to Charity. The constant doubt about Josh's reasons to go back to racing. It was near annoying - oh, I know about "conflict" in a story, but this seemed like overkill IMHO.

The other thing I couldn't figure out (what did I miss?) was the reason why Charity was so distant about men. Her mother's relationships with men was often mentioned, but her own experiences were mentioned, but then left hanging.

I really liked Josh on the other hand. He was sexy, charming, coping with an interesting past and nice. Like REALLY nice!

Oh - the money mystery wasn't really a mystery at all. The story could've easily done without it.

So if you're looking for a light read not expecting much, this one is for you!

May I introduce: Darry Fraser "Anything for Love"

Anything For Love
by Darry Fraser

Please help me make Darry Fraser welcome here on my blog. They say don't judge the book by its cover, but I did... and I can't wait to read the story - the blurb sounds great as well!

1 - What gave you the idea for the story?

Anything For Love came about because of something that happened while I was working in an industry which hosted travelers into very isolated places. One of those isolated places was an island very much resembling Australis Island which I created for my stories.

 At one point an unfortunate travelling couple happened to be placed with another couple in what they’d been sold as their own private space for three days. Needless to say the agents who made the booking were a little red-faced and things were quickly sorted.

I began to think about two single people who might have been thrust into the same situation, how it might reasonably have come about and what might reasonably be expected to happen!

 The story was called ‘An Isolated Incident’ for a very long time; it was changed last minute to its current title.

2 – You’ve had some publishing success with short stories. What made you start writing novels?
It never occurred to me when I was younger that I was doing anything other than writing, spinning a tale, telling a story so I have always had short stories and novel-size stories on the go at the same time.
For me short stories are easy to write – not without heart and soul, but easy. You have to make every word count, because if you are on a word count limit, your story has to be seamless yet succinct. I don’t know if I’ve mastered it, but I love it. Inspiration for the shorties is very intense and so is the writing.

My short stories seem to have a bit of the ‘romagic’ in them – to borrow a very good description from another writer on the RWA list – they have romance, magic and a child-like wonder to them. It’s a very different muse who sits with me when I write short stories.

My longer stories seem to want the longer tale told, with no magic other than the real magic, either romance or romantic suspense. My other ‘longer-story’ muse constantly prods from the background. Often, I never know if the stories will be a novella, a novel or a supersize-novel, but character and content always dictates in the end.

These longer stories take precedence, but when I need a break I often find a good little short story is waiting to be written.

3 – Tell us a bit about your current project.
There are a number of projects on the go - I’m editing my next novel out in May. It’s using a storyline we’ve heard of before, but again, it was something on the edge of a truth which happened where I was living at the time, so my thoughts – and my keyboard – took off.

And a new novel is in the wings, about half way through as I write this. It too has its roots in truth, something I have in my family history, and only a couple of generations back. I hope I’m giving it a different perspective than the norm. The characters are taking me to places I didn’t even think of, so I have to get it right.

Tilla Cormack loves her job, and she’s the boss of her own company so what’s not to love? But lately she and her staff have been run ragged by one of her biggest clients who turns out to be the meanest, crankiest individual on the corporate planet.
And just who does he think he is? Enter Keith Taylor ... or is it Kent Taylor?

One magic, long awaited holiday; one case of a double booking; two cases of expensive wine and the sparks fly for Ms Cormack and Mr Taylor in the wilderness on isolated Australis Island.


I like to read forensic thrillers and historical dramas and autobiographies, mysteries and so on - and romance, but I LOVE to write about relationships, and use lots of dialogue,and to build characters who are more real than fantasy and create - I hope - great stories within the boundaries of the genre.

I love feel-good stories, and they're not necessarily Happily Ever After... but for now that's what I'm into - I hope you enjoy it as well. 


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 Her dream was a loud one. There was stumbling and cursing, unlike any of her dreams before, but she was reluctant to come awake ... too tired.  She tossed and moaned her protest, but when she heard the crash of a dozen bottles of wine she bolted upright, wide awake, heart hammering and her throat suddenly constricted.

She clutched the bed-clothes to her chin, gulped in great breaths of air. Tried to shake herself fully awake.

The cursing and snarling continued, the bottles crashing and clanging on the slate floor.

Terror struck her very soul.

There was a drunk in her little haven.

Oh no, oh no ...

She couldn’t see a thing—it was pitch outside, no moon. She leapt out of the bed dragging the sheet with her and groping in the dark for her clothes. Where were her clothes—? Oh God—in the bathroom ... how’d she possibly defend herself ... ?

Another curse and then another. “What the bloody hell—?”

Stopped her frantic panic, covered her mouth with one hand. She knew that voice. It was unmistakable. Tilla shook herself. It couldn’t be. She must still be asleep … It just couldn’t be. Her heart pounded.

“Who the bloody hell put that there?” the gravelly voice boomed.

She tried to distil the solid block of fear which weighed on her chest like a sack of potatoes.

There was no mistaking that voice. No mistaking it at all.

Review: Lily Malone "Fairway to Heaven"

Publisher: Lily Malone

ISBN: n/a.

My rating: 4/5

Fairway to Heaven
It’s golf, but not as we know it.

When Jennifer Gates drives to Sea Breeze Golf Club to kick off date-night with her boyfriend, the last thing she expects is to find Golf-Pro Jack giving one of his lady students a private—and very personal—lesson in bunker-play.
Lucky for Jenn, her best friend gives her the keys to the Culhane family’s beach shack on the white-pepper shores of Western Australia’s Geographe Bay. Jenn hopes a weekend on the coast with her young son will give her the space she needs to rebuild her confidence after Jack’s betrayal.
But she’s not the only person seeking sanctuary by the sea. Brayden Culhane is there too, and Jenn can’t look at Brayden without remembering the tequila-flavoured kiss they shared on the shack steps years ago.
As long-buried feelings are rekindled, and a friendship is renewed, Jenn knows it is more than lazy summer days bringing her mojo back. Romantic sunsets, ice-cold beers and the odd round of golf can only go so far, because this time, trusting Brayden with her heart won’t be enough. Jenn has to learn to trust her body, too.

My thoughts

"I always thought a yellow rose about to open was the most beautiful thing in the world.
Then I found you."

My second book by Lily Malone and I loved it just as much. This one was different - in a few ways. First, I had read the initial 3,000 words script and was intrigued how Lily would turn it into a full novel. Second, it's written in first person, present tense.

Jennifer Gates catches her partner (and father of her son Sebastian) Jack in flagranti with another woman. She moves out and takes time out at her best friend Emmy's parent's beach house. Only to find Emmy's brother Brayden there.

Initially a bit slow for me, once Jennifer's "new life" started I wasn't able to put the book down. I loved the way she grew over the few weeks, how the relationship with Brayden developed and her "ups and downs" as a mother. It was beautifully written! I laughed

Why wasn't Brayden's issue resolved, though? Or may I hope for a sequel?

Fully recommend this one!

May I introduce: Lindsay Downs "The Masked Lady and The Murder"


The Masked Lady and The Murder

by Lindsay Downs

What a great day to welcome my very good friend Lindsay as a guest today. I've known Lindsay for a few years now and he's been such a great support through good and bad times, I'm really glad and can give back a little by introducing you all to his new book.

PS - He's also introduced me to a wonderful group of authors writing to a prompt each week and one of my (nowadays) favourite song - Rascal Flatts "Unstoppable"!

1 - You've changed from writing crime to historical romance. Tell us why?

I really haven’t changed from “writing crime” to historical romance. All I’ve done is move the time frame from the 21st century to England in the 1800’s. My books would be considered regency suspense with romantic element. This way my readers get the best of both worlds. I came to writing regency more to prove to myself I could do it. As it turned out I love this particular genre over contemporary suspense. Don’t forget, except for modern day techno crime, it really hasn’t changed much over the years-murder, treason, kidnapping, smuggling to name a few.

2 - What kind of research have you done (or are you doing) to write historical stories?

Before starting my first regency I took a workshop on the subject  where I obtained the basic information and where to find more. I then spent a lot of time researching the period: clothes, titles, how people were address, food and the general social structure of regency England. As I’m writing a book, depending on the story, I will do additional research to bring reality into the book.

3 - Tell us about your current project.

My current main project is a new series, Markson Regency Mystery, which features Lord Robert and Lady Kristina Markson. It’s not that they go finding crimes as much as the problem is dumped in their laps.

The first book in the series, The Masked Lady and The Murder is used to introduce them to the readers.


When Lord Robert Markson, Viscount of Hampshire, is force to return to England to find out who murdered his father and older brother he’s in for a surprise.
It comes in the guise of Lady Kristina Rosewood, daughter to the Earl and Countess of Crossington. To many she’s quartz but to him a multifaceted diamond.
While recovering from an attempt on his life which thrust them closer together they work through emotions for each other while sorting through letters sent to his mother years ago. Slowly, they’re able to discover the one man who could have set the murders in motion. The only problem, he’s been dead for years so who could it be and more importantly why now.
Once all the evidence is compiled the answer is something neither could believe as the threat comes from within the late viscount’s house.


What does it take to be a bestselling author? Determination, skill, talent, luck or taking a risk with a venture into a totally new genre. For me it was a little of some and a lot of the others.

In 2008 when I got two books published I thought it was due to skill; little did I know it was more luck than anything. Over the next three years I wrote, submitted, got rejected. I then did what I tell everyone who asks; I wrote some more. I didn’t give up.

More on a dare than anything I tried my hand at a regency, one of the most difficult genres because of the rules, which I might add I broke almost every one. Within two days of its release the book was on a best seller list and stayed there for two months.

Turns out it is all of the aforementioned.

After two failed marriages, one from divorce while with the other died unexpectedly I decided upon retirement to move. That opportunity came in September 2012 when I migrated to Texas.

For me, as a multipublished author, it was one of the best things I’ve done to date. Now, every day I can write, creating stories to take my readers to places they can only dream about.

I’m also a member of the Published Authors Network (PAN) by the Romance Writers of America (RWA).



Facebook Pages-

Twitter- @ldowns2966



Lindsay Downs-Romance Author-


Purchase Links:



 As she contemplated an answer, he decided it was better to charge ahead. Stepping up, he set his right hand on the small of her back only to feel a tingle course up his arm before settling in his stomach. Unsure, but knowing he needed to continue on to enjoy the feel of her in his arms, he grasped her right hand and stepped them back as one.

“M' lord, maybe you didn’t hear me earlier," Kristina said, trying to escape his gentle but firm hold. "I can’t dance.”

“That, my dear lady, is because you’ve never partnered with me. Now relax and let the music fill your mind,” he answered back, whispering the words into her ear.

Robert shifted his head so he would be able to see her expression. She looked panicked at first, but after a few steps she wore a broad, relaxed grin.

“What’s happening to me? By now I’ve trod on the gentleman’s feet several time,” she said, breathing heavily.

What is it with this woman? He thought, gazing down upon her upturned face. All she’s done since we’ve met is confuse me. Now with her breast rubbing against me, I’m at a total loss.

“M’ lady, you’re dancing and causing me no harm,” he said, sweeping her gracefully into a turn lest they tumble down the steps that led to the lawn.

He watched as she scrunched her brow. He suspected trying to marshal her thoughts. Robert was beginning to wonder if she might be as confused as he.

“But why? That, I can’t understand.”

“Robert, Kristina if I might interrupt your dance, I believe I’ve an explanation,” Donna said, settling a hand on his arm.

He brought them to a stop, then bowed to both ladies and escorted them to a nearby stone bench. Once they were settled, he leaned against the banister and waited. “Well?” he finally asked when his sister wasn’t forthcoming.

“Believe it or not, it’s very simple. Kristina, when you’re with Robert, you’re relaxed. If you hadn’t noticed, when you speak to him your stammer is gone, and while dancing you’re comfortable in his arms.”

Robert saw she was going to say something to Donna and intervened. “No, look at me when you’re talking, even if it’s to my sister.” He looked to her. “I’m sorry, but that might be the only way.”

Looking surprised, she did as he asked, keeping her focus on him. “Lady Kersey, I don’t understand. No, wait. I’ve not stammered, so what you say must be true. And with the dancing it’s the same, m’ lady?”

“Yes. Now might I suggest we return to the ball as I’m sure my dear husband must have tired of the chit he’d chased after and is now searching me out.” Donna stood, then started for the doors they’d exited through a short while ago.