May 12, 2015

Ruined (Martini Club 4 - The 1920's) by Alicia Dean {Excerpt & Giveaway}

Ruined (Martini Club 4 - The 1920's)
by Alicia Dean
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Genre: Vintage Historical Romance
Release Date: February 26, 2015
Length: 120 Pages

She vowed she’d be no man’s doxy, but fate had other plans...

After the Earl of Goodwin attempts to force himself on her, housemaid Eliza Gilbert flees England for New York, hoping to build a better life. But the land of opportunity proves as harsh as the London docks, and she finds herself in a situation more dreadful than the one she escaped.

When Vince Taggart’s childhood friend disappears, he heads to New York in search of her and meets Eliza, a woman with a less than honorable reputation. Inexplicably captivated, Vince can’t force himself to stay away, especially when he learns Eliza may be the key to finding his missing friend.


The Book Excerpt 

Eliza sat on a barstool at Club 501, her legs crossed, sipping a White Lady. The joint was wall to wall people. There weren’t many places as nice as Club 501 that sold liquor. Most were seedy, dangerous. Club 501 had opened a few days ago. The two level speakeasy was as luxurious as a palace with its rich gold and mauve tones, velvet upholstery, and long oak bar.

Meggie was on stage singing “Crazy Blues.” She wore a one-shoulder peach calf-length gown with a scalloped hemline trimmed in shimmery silver braid. Her eyes were half closed, blonde curls glistening beneath the spotlight. 

Eliza closed her eyes and let the loveliness of Meggie’s voice soothe her. Uncanny how she could sing without the hint of an accent. 

In the worst of times, Eliza used a mind trick where she traveled to another place and removed herself from whatever was happening. She’d had to use the trick many times as a scullery maid, and when Lord Renwald had trapped her in the barn, but the night he’d nearly raped her, that had been something altogether different. Rather than using a mind trick, she’d fully escaped. Meggie’s voice brought her that kind of escape. She was transported to another place.

The song ended, and Eliza opened her eyes, clapping more loudly than anyone else in the place. Meggie winked and curtsied, then went into her next number. Some day, she was going to make it big, Eliza just knew it.

“Need anything else?” Charli appeared at her shoulder, holding a tray full of empty glasses at shoulder level. She wore the Club 501 uniform—a mauve dress that came to mid-thigh with sheer voile that fell to her ankles. She’d acquired a position as cocktail waitress a few days after Meggie had been hired as a singer.

“No, thank you. Last night was a late one. I ought to take it slowly.”

Charli wrinkled her pert nose. “What a sweet deal you landed, while I’m stuck in this dive slinging booze.”

Eliza pursed her lips. “Now, Charli, this is hardly a dive. Serving drinks here might not be the wealthy lifestyle you’re accustomed to, but things could be worse—much worse.”

Sympathy shone in Charli’s brown eyes. “I know, luv. Selfish of me. I know what you’ve been through, how awful things were for you before we found you on the docks, then again when you arrived and had to take a position at that ghastly old factory.” She let out a sigh. “It’s just that I had such high hopes. I wanted so much to start a great life doing what I love most.”

Eliza squeezed her friend’s hand. “You’ll get your bakery, I know you will. You keep schmoozing Mrs. Carter, and you’re a shoo in.” Mrs. Carter was a successful businesswoman who owned a string of department stores. Charli all but panted after the woman.

Charli giggled and playfully slapped Eliza’s knee. “I do not schmooze her. I just find her interesting.” She glanced over her shoulder. “Sorry, gotta run. These blokes might perish if I don’t keep the hooch flowing.” She cocked an impish grin. “See ya, luv.”

Eliza scanned the crowd. Jess was supposed to come in, but so far, Eliza hadn’t seen her. She was feeling slightly abandoned. At least Oscar wasn’t present. Now that he was her employer, she could barely relax when he was at Club 501. She always felt she was on the clock. 

Her gaze bounced over a man, then zeroed back. The bloke was looking directly at her. She caught her breath. He was leaning on the bar a few stools down, talking to Charli. He had this…magnetism, some kind of forceful presence that made it impossible to look away. 

He was broad, muscular and dressed like a dock worker with brown suspenders over a yellow shirt and a newsboy cap over his dark blond hair, but what caught her attention right off was his smile. His white teeth flashed, and a dimple creased the right side of his face. 

Charli moved away, and the man looked up and caught Eliza staring at him. His grin widened. His eyes were so blue—so electrifying, that Eliza could feel their allure even in the dimly lit, smoky bar. 

He winked and gave her a finger salute off the brim of his cap. 

A tingle ran from her toes, all the way through her body, making her head swim. My, but he was a fresh one. With superhuman effort, she dragged her attention away, but it didn’t keep her heart from racing faster than a thoroughbred at Churchill Downs.

She swallowed and took a deep breath, fingering the pendant at her neck, trying to slow her heart rate. What on earth was wrong with her? She met plenty of handsome men—men more pleasing to the eye than he with his workmen clothing and slightly crooked nose. But never had any man sent her blood rushing through her veins like this. 

She gulped from her glass. Get ahold of yourself. She was not the kind of girl to pick up strange men in bars—even if they did have a devil of a smile and eyes like an angel.
About Alicia Dean


Award-winning, multi-published author Alicia Dean began writing stories as a child. At age 11, she wrote her first ever romance (featuring a hero who looked just like Elvis Presley, and who happened to share the name of Elvis’ character in the movie, Tickle Me), and she still has the tattered, pencil-written copy. Alicia is from Moore, Oklahoma and now lives in Edmond. She has three grown children and a huge network of supportive friends and family. She writes mostly contemporary suspense and paranormal, but has also written in other genres, including a few vintage historicals. She is a freelance editor in addition to being an editor for The Wild Rose Press.

Other than reading and writing, her passions are Elvis Presley, MLB, NFL (she usually works in a mention of one or all three into her stories) and watching her favorite televisions shows like Vampire Diaries, Justified, Sons of Anarchy, Haven, New Girl, The Mindy Project, and Dexter (even though it has sadly ended, she will forever be a fan). Some of her favorite authors are Michael Connelly, Dennis Lehane, Lee Child, Lisa Gardner, Sharon Sala, Jordan Dane, Ridley Pearson, Joseph Finder, and Jonathan Kellerman…to name a few.


The Giveaway


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