Lost Colony Series
Genre: Historical Romance
Publisher: Astraea Press
Date of Publication: October 16, 2013
Number of pages: 404
Cover Artist: Mande Matthews
Intelligent and well ahead of her times, ROSE PAYNE'S world is shattered after a secret betrothal to the duke’s son costs her job as a clerk in his father's household. Without a letter of recommendation, she becomes an easy target for recruiters to the Colonies. Desperate for work, she signs up for a risky overseas venture and sails for the New World, vowing never again fall for a wealthy gentleman.
Returning from a diplomatic tour in London, CHIEF MANTEO is bewitched by the elusive, fiery-haired ship clerk and determined to overcome her distrust. He contrives a daring plan to win her heart – a plan he prays will protect her from a chilling conspiracy involving murder, blood money, and a betrayal of their fledgling colony so terrifying it can only be revealed in BREAKING TIES.
Special Note: BREAKING TIES is the never-before-told rest of the story of the Lost Colony.
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"You want my help." 'Twas an accusation.
His eyes darkened. "I save your life. I give gifts. I offer marriage." He closed the remaining distance between us, his eyes burning into mine.
I stumbled back.
"You give nothing in return," he snarled. "You only ask for more."
"I would had I something to offer," I whispered. "But I have nothing. I am nothing."
"Then what use are you to me?" He wheeled away.
I sagged against the door, eyes stinging. I blinked rapidly and pressed a hand to my stomach. Nausea rolled at the thought of informing the others of my failure.
Manteo circled the cabin like a hawk stalking its prey. 'Twas a fine room with ornately carved shelves lining one wall. Bunks were built into the next wall. A generous desk jutted from the third, overflowing with maps and navigational devices. I recognized the compass and hourglass but could not identify the other instruments. I jerked in surprise when Manteo swooped down upon me.
"I know our location." His arms shot out and slapped the wall on either side of me, hemming me to the door. "I could swim ashore from here."
"Then why do ye stay if ye can leave and save yourself?"
"Governor White gave his word to deliver me home."
"We are going to starve, Manteo. 'Tis only a matter of days now."
"Nay. You alone starve. The others eat."
"I have no appetite."
"You act as one already dead."
I straightened my back. "I accept what I cannot change."
"And I change what I cannot accept." He shifted his weight to the wall, one arm propped over my head. He drew his fingertips down the side of my face in a feather-light caress.
I closed my eyes against the rush of unbearable sweetness. He made me long for things forbidden. "'Tis within your power to help us. I am begging you."
My eyes flew open. "Ye will do this for us."
"For you." His voice was silken, his features as hard as granite.
I smiled tremulously. "I thank thee, Manteo. Chief Manteo, that is." The new title felt strange on my lips. I beheld him with a mixture of awe and pride.
"I have yet to name my price."
I stared, confused.
He grunted in disgust. "You refuse me as both husband and lover, so you are left with the hiring of my services."
I worried my lower lip between my teeth. At least he was willing to negotiate. His eyes flashed with lust as he followed my movements.
"I will entreat the Dares for payment."
"Nay. You are the one in my debt."
I raised and dropped my hands helplessly.
"You serve this company, no? You can serve my people, too."
"Ye would hire me as clerk?" Hope leaped in my chest at the possibilities. I would not have to part from him so soon.
"My people have no clerks." His eyes narrowed. "We have slaves."
My breath hitched. "Ye wish to punish me, humiliate me?"
"Nay, I only wish to marry you."
I briefly closed my eyes against the pain. He already knew the reason for my refusal.
"Say no more. I will do it. 'Twill be punishment enough to see you so often and—“ I clamped my lips.
Exultation flickered briefly across his face. "You would give up your freedom to save your friends?"
"Swear it," he said grimly.
"I swear it."
His eyes flared with emotion. He bent slowly 'til his breath stirred my lips. My eyelids fluttered closed. Heaven help me, for I had no will left to resist him.
"Now you will eat," Manteo commanded hoarsely. He stepped back, surveying me from head to feet.
"I have no slaves so thin and weak. Go. Collect your rations." He turned from me and bent to pore over a map on the table.
I reached for the door handle, disbelieving at the curt dismissal.
"And send for Anthony. I have need of him."
I glared at his back. Faith, should I press my face to the floor as well? "Aye, master." I bit the words out and fled.
Trail of Crosses
Lost Colony Series
Genre: historical romance
Publisher: Astraea Press
Date of publication: September 9, 2014
Number of pages: 392
Cover Artist: Mande Matthews
Jane Mannering can shoot a rifle and handle a knife as well as any Englishman. However, she is no match for the red-painted warriors who ambush her section of a Colonial caravan the moment she and her comrades reach the shores of Virginia.
Jane plots their escape during a forced march inland, leaving a trail of maltese crosses carved on the trees – their pre-agreed upon signal of distress. All the while, she fumes over what interest their captors could possibly have in a twenty-three-year-old spinster and a rugged band of brick masons, sawyers, and farmers.
When the ruthless Chief Wanchese intercepts them at the crossroads of the Great Trading Path, Jane is shaken to discover their greatest enemy plans to keep her for himself. It’s a pity he’s the only man on two continents who’s ever stirred her heart. Alas, she has an entire colony to save, and capturing his attentions is not part of their escape plan.
Special Note: The Lost Colony Series is the never-before-told rest of the story of the Lost Colony on Roanoke Island.
July 26, 1587 - Roanoke Island
If it had not been for the barking of the dogs and chattering of the lads who scampered at my side, I might have heard the shot - the low vibration of the string as the thin, wooden shaft released, the faint whistle of the arrow as it sliced an invisible yet deadly path through the air, the scattering of wildlife as the forest itself braced before the world's most fearsome predator. Instead, I merely felt the gentle lifting of my late father's top hat as the arrowhead sank into the aged leather and pinned it to the heart of the oak behind me.
The men assigned to guard me fired their muskets wildly into the perimeter of trees. My ears rang with their gunfire and frenzied oaths. Then the slow burn of anger took over.
I pivoted to yank the arrow, top hat and all, from the trunk. Separating the two, I jammed the damaged hat back on my head and tapped the lone arrow against my gloved hand. The miss was deliberate, meant as a taunt. Had the shadowy creature intended to kill me, I would already be dead.
I glared over my shoulder as the gunfire ceased. He remained out there, I was certain. Watching. This was a reminder that he is the hunter. I am the hunted.
MRP would like to extend a very warm welcome to our Guest Blogger Jo Grafford, author of the Lost Colony Series.
Five Super Cool Little-Known Facts About the Lost Colony Series
Romance readers: Welcome to the Lost Colony book tour! I’m excited to share some insider secrets about the Lost Colony historical romance series. Here goes:
1. LOST COLONY BABIES: The two babies born in book one REALLY WERE born to the Lost Colonists shortly after they landed on Roanoke Island in 1587. The first was the famous Virginia Dare, child of Eleanor and Ananias Dare (daughter and son-in-law to Governor John White). The second is simply listed as Baby Harvye. Back in those times, babies were not always named right away. Ladies, can you imagine boarding a ship to travel for seven weeks while pregnant? Keep in mind, this was no modern day cruise ship. The entire boat probably wasn’t more than 100 feet long!
2. LOST COLONY TEENAGERS: Two of the teenage boys on the Lost Colony trans-Atlantic journey – Tom Smart and Will Wythers – were not accompanied by adult family members. However, their last names match the surnames of two soldiers who sailed to Roanoke on the previous venture a year earlier. I think there is a good chance they were sailing to the New World to be reunited with their fathers. Awesome, huh? What do you think?
3. LOST COLONY EX-CONS: James Hynde and William Clement – two key secondary characters in TRAIL OF CROSSES – were ex-convicts. They were arrested and imprisoned for stealing back in London. Were they framed? They were Separatists from the Church of England as were most of the Lost Colonists, which put them on Archbishop’s most wanted list for interrogation. Interesting how they were released from the tower in time to board ship whereas the lead pastor of the Lost Colonists was not allowed to sail. Instead, he died in prison.
4. LOST COLONY DOG: There really was a big mastiff listed as making this long journey. I couldn’t find a name for him in any of the sailing journals or manifests, so I named him Valentine.
5. LOST COLONY LOVERS: I kept all the couples listed on the ship manifest as couples in my Lost Colony Series, but I added a few as well. With six single ladies on the ship, I simply couldn’t resist. I’m a romance writer, after all. So…we may never know for sure if Rose truly swooned over Manteo, or Jane over Wanchese, or Agnes over Lord Anthony Cage, or Emme Merrimoth over Mark Bennett, and Margo Lawrence over Lord Christopher Cooper…but you know they probably did. Right?
Before you leave, don’t forget to enter my Lost Colony drawing for a chance to win a limited edition Lost Colony t-shirt, a signed paperback copy of BREAKING TIES (book one in the Lost Colony Series), a signed Lost Colony bookmark, and two packs of six free eBooks. Happy reading and best wishes on winning! –Jo
Thank you so much for joining us today, Jo. We really enjoyed the visit. Good luck and great sales with The Lost Colony Series!
About the Author:
Jo is a mega reader of all genres and loves to indulge in marathon showings of Big Bang Theory, NCIS, and Castle. Her favorite books are rich in Colonial and Elizabethan history, romance, strong women, alpha males, Native Americans, and creatures from the paranormal - an occasional dragon, vampire, or time traveler.
From St. Louis, Missouri, Jo moves a lot with her soldier husband. She has lived in the Midwest, the deep South, and now resides in Bavaria. Jo holds an M.B.A. and has served as a banker, college finance instructor, and high school business teacher. She is a member of Romance Writers of America, From the Heart Romance Writers RWA Chapter, and the Writers Group of Ansbach/Katterbach/Illesheim.
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2 dropcard gift cards with six free eBooks on each card (including Breaking Ties)
1 grand prize – a reader’s tote bag with a Lost Colony t-shirt, signed paperback of Breaking Ties, and signed bookmark
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