Monday, March 10, 2014

AN UNEXPECTED GIFT by Katherine Grey: Review, Excerpt & Giveaway










SYNOPSIS:


Known only as Lazarus to the band of cutthroats and thieves he leads, William Prescott will do anything to find his missing sister, even blackmail a fragile young woman into helping him. But he never plans to fall in love with this mysterious woman with a troubled past.

Haunted by the memories of war, Olivia St. Germaine wants nothing more than to live a normal life. But when her brother, a doctor, suddenly leaves town without a word, she is forced to use her medical knowledge to help an injured man who puts her life in danger. Can she keep herself safe as she tends Lazarus, or is her heart more vulnerable than she realizes?



EXCERPT:


“If you don’t leave, I shall have Jennings call the constable.” Olivia headed for the door.

“And how will you accomplish that?”

She halted in mid-step.

“Yes, I know there are no servants in residence.” Lazarus sauntered closer. “Did you play the benevolent mistress and give them the night off?”

Eager to keep him at a distance, she scooted around him and stood at the end of the bed. “What do you want?”

“What do you think I want?”

“Why don’t we dispense with the games, and you just tell me?”

Lazarus closed the space between them in two strides. He pushed her backward onto the bed. Olivia bounced against the soft mattress. She dug her elbows into the thick counterpane in an effort to scramble backward away from him.

Grabbing her ankles, he pulled her toward him in one quick jerk. He leaned over her. His hand closed over her hip, freezing her in place. The warmth of his hand burned through her clothes to her skin.

Feeling truly terrified for the first time since he’d announced his presence, she searched his gaze for some kind of sign this was all a great joke. No, it was no game. His eyes were as hard and cold as glass. “What do you want?” she repeated, her voice a near whisper.

“Stop asking questions about me. Forget you ever heard the name Lazarus.”



EXTRAS:


From Katherine Grey about how Lazarus came to be.....


Right from the very first time Lazarus appeared on the page, I found him compelling. It was almost as though he strode into the room and announced he wasn’t going to be some unimportant secondary character used as a plot device to just to move a story along.

At the time I had been invited by my publisher to submit a novella in a new series titled, Love Letters, they were developing. I’d already been working on an idea I had about a poet, who through guilt and circumstances beyond his control, was unable to compose anything one would consider poetry. The heroine, Emma, was a member of the lower classes barely able to keep body and soul together. A scene popped into my head where Emma was accosted by two footpads. One of them recognized her as being under the protection of an underworld figure called Lazarus and frightened by his reputation, keeps the other man from mugging her.

At the time I was determined to keep Lazarus as minor character, but each day as I sat down to write, he was there, just as determined to be included in the story. It was all I could do to keep him from taking it over completely. I was so intrigued by him – a man rumoured to have done such terrible things as take a man’s eyes, yet he acted as a protector to those unable to take care of themselves for various reasons. What kind of man would do that and want nothing in return?

I was sure I knew who Lazarus was – a kind of 19th century mob boss who ran his crew with a tight fist, earning unswerving loyalty from the men who worked for him even though he meted out cruel punishment to those who crossed him. But every night when I turned out the light and waited for sleep to come, Lazarus would appear in my mind and whisper in my ear that I didn’t know him as well as I thought I did. He told me things about his childhood, how guilt pushed him to do things others wouldn’t, and while he may break the law, he was still a man of honor.

I was able to write the novella (titled The Muse) without Lazarus taking it over too much but as soon as I finished it, I knew, knew without a doubt, I had to share his story with others. I hope those of you read An Unexpected Gift come to love him as much as I do.




REVIEW:


       


Historical romance was what hooked me into reading when I was in high school and even though I don't read this genre (outside of a very few authors) I occasionally like to revisit my first love from time to time.  Katherine Grey sent me an excerpt of An Unexpected Gift and I couldn't resist the pull this book had on me.  I had to read it!  I am very glad I took a chance on a new (to me at least) historical romance author, because I definitely have a new author to add to my historical romance list!

An Unexpected Gift, was an unexpected treasure for me to read!  I had been in the doldrums of New Adult and Contemporary romance and this was the perfect book to get me excited to read and dive into new books again!  Katherine Grey has a great "voice" in her writing, the pacing, the tension, the unfolding of the story was so well executed you easily get lost in her words and the rest of the world just falls away.

Lazarus and Olivia were a fascinating pair!  Lazarus is dark, mysterious and immensely intriguing.  Olivia is a strong, independent, yet fragile woman that is not your typical London miss.  The sparks that flew between these two was fantastic and the dialogue kept me turning pages way past my bedtime!  I loved that both of these characters had flaws that made them less than perfect and watching how they came together was beautiful.

I really got swept away by An Unexpected Gift and was very sad to have it all come to an end.  I would love to read more about Lazarus and Olivia, or any of the other secondary characters we met in this book.  Katherine Grey stood out as an author that I will keep a look out for in the future and snatch up her books as soon as she can write them.

If you have a love of historical romance that is different than the typical Regency romances out now, you will be pleasantly surprised with how wonderful An Unexpected Gift is!  Grab a cup of tea and curl up in a chair soon with Lazarus, you won't be disappointed!




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At the age of four, Katherine pestered her mother to teach her to read. From that point on, she spent the most of her childhood lost in the pages of one book after another. Soon she began writing stories of her own, populated with characters doing all of the things she was too shy to even contemplate doing herself.

A chance meeting with another author led Katherine to seriously pursue a writing career. Her debut novel, Impetuous, was released by The Wild Rose Press in August 2011.

Katherine lives in upstate NY with her family though she threatens to move south at the beginning of each winter season. 



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