Thursday, February 13, 2014

Cover Reveal/Giveaway!! The Shadow Princess, by Mary Hart Perry

Welcome to this stop in the 
Blog Tour for The Shadow Princess
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Here's the Cover Reveal
for this exciting new novel I
can't wait to read!!

The Shadow Princess
Mary Hart Perry
Trade Paperback, 302 pages
Diversion Books
February 11, 2014
Historical Fiction, Romance

Book Synopsis

To catch one of history's most notorious killers, a princess risks losing her family, her life-and her heart...
London, 1888: A year after Queen Victoria's Golden Jubilee terror mounts in the city's slums. A killer has butchered two prostitutes, the crimes brutal even by London's hardened standards. Rumors of the murders reach Princess Vicky, daughter of Queen Victoria and grieving widow of the German Emperor Frederick III. When her niece Princess Maud visits, she brings with her even worse news-the Metropolitan Police have a suspect. It's Vicky's nephew, Crown Prince Eddy. Desperate to clear her family's name, Vicky rushes back to England.
Detective Inspector Thomas Edmondson believes there is a royal cover-up behind the killings. He will stop at nothing to expose the truth and bring a murderer to justice before he can kill again. But when Vicky joins him in searching for the man who will become known as Jack the Ripper, neither of them foresee the overpowering attraction that will draw together the royal and the commoner-or the danger their love puts them in.

Chapter 2 Excerpt

    It took a moment for Vicky to grasp that last word.  "Murders?"   She shook her head, confused.  Then immediately terrified.  "Who has been murdered?"
    Someone in the Royal Family?  Certainly, if the Queen had been assassinated, she'd have been informed by her son's ministers immediately.  Lord knew there had been more attempts on Victoria's life than most of her subjects were aware.  Thankfully, none had succeeded.  The little Queen seemed invincible.
    Vicky reached out, took her niece by the hands and pulled her closer so that she could look her directly in the eyes.  "Maud, is this one of your silly pranks?"
    "No, oh, no, not at all, Aunt Vicky!  I'm so sorry.  I thought you would have heard."
    "Come, then."  She guided the girl over to the wine-colored velvet chaise by the window and sat her down.  Standing over her, Vicky gazed down at her sternly.  "I think you had better explain."
    Sophie stepped up beside her mother, taffeta underskirts swishing as whisper-soft as her voice.  "Mama, I've read about them in the newspapers.  They're called the Whitechapel murders, and they're truly horrible.  She's not making it up."
    In truth, Vicky hadn't read a newspaper in months.  What was the point when there was nothing she could do about either local or world events?  She was as powerless as her seamstress, cook, or even....loyal Agathe.
    Maud slipped a gray parchment envelope from the satin reticule looped around her slim waist, then seemed unsure what to do with it, and so, left it in her lap.  "I guess I'd better just start at the beginning."
    "Excellent," Vicky said.
    Maud took a deep breath.  "There have been most shocking murders recently in London.  Sophie's right, both in Whitechapel."
    Violence in any large city was not uncommon.  Vicky knew, as well as anyone who had lived in London, how dangerous the East End was.  The district was little more than a mass of crude tenements built over cesspools.  Overcrowded.  Filthy and disease-ridden.  Occupied by the poorest of the city's poor.  Even the Metropolitan Police, whose jurisdiction it was, ventured into neighborhoods like Huxton, Whitechapel, and Spittlefields only in numbers and, it was said, fully armed.  She'd never even set foot in those horrid streets.  She was sure her parents' coachmen took care to avoid the area entirely.
    "Go on," Vicky said when Maud hesitated, then sat down beside her.
    "Women have been threatened or attacked with a blade before.  But most recently, on separate occasions, two were brutally stabbed to death in the street."  Maud's sweet face paled and she stared down at the paper rectangle beneath her nervously twitching fingertips.
    "Actually, not so much stabbed, so they say, as mutilated."
    "I read the bodies were disemboweled," Sophie added helpfully.
    "Turned inside out, their organs taken from --"
    Vicky silenced her daughter with a wintry glare.  "I shall have a word with your tutors regarding your reading materials, missy."
    "Mama," Sophie groaned, "everyone has heard about these ghastly murders."  She turned to her cousin.  "But I really don't see what the fuss is about.  The victims, they're just dirty old whores."
    "Sorry, I should have said prostitutes."
    "That wasn't why I objected to what you said," Vicky snapped.
    Ever since her sister Louise, now the Duchess of Argyll, had protested against the cruel laws that kept women dependent upon the good will of men for shelter and support -- as females were unable to own property or businesses, or to even take on decently paying jobs like men -- Vicky herself had become more protective of women's rights on the Continent.  It was said that thousands of females wandered London's streets -- destitute and unable to support themselves.  Once there, they had only one way to delay starvation or put a roof over their heads.
    Vicky shuddered to think of their desperation.  She couldn't imagine being forced to let a strange man access her body, to do with her as he willed!  She turned to her daughter.
    "Sophie, these women can't be blamed for what they've been reduced to.  It's not their choice to be poor or to have to sell their --"  She pressed her lips together, unable to say more in front of the two princesses.  Sophie was a tender seventeen-year-old, Maud just eighteen.  Both were so impressionable, sheltered, vulnerable.
    "You mean, they have sex with men for money?"  Maud's eyes suddenly sparkled with mischief.
    Sophie clapped a hand over her mouth and giggled.
    "That is quite enough of that language, Maud, dear."  Vicky looked down at the envelope still resting in her niece's lap.  "Is that a letter for me?  Something to do with these disgusting events?"
    "No, it's --"  Instead of completing her thought, Maud turned the envelope over and uncoiled the thin red string securing its flap.  She pulled out a sheaf of newspaper clippings.  "I thought you might want to see these reports of the murders, in case you didn't believe what I came here to tell you."

Chapter 35 Excerpt

    It took every ounce of determination to say what he had promised himself he must say to her.
    "You have to leave.  Now."  He moved her out of his arms, held her away from him, gave her a firm nod of his head.
    She frowned.  "You don't want me?"
    "Oh, Lord, woman.  Want you?"  His heart broke at the tremble in her voice and shadow of loss in her eyes.  "Of course I do.  But this is impossible.  I can't treat you like -- "  He couldn't say it.
    "Like one of these women whose murderer you're chasing?"  She laughed, and suddenly her smile was back.  "Thomas, you're not degrading me by taking me into your bed.  Don't you see how good you are for me?  I don't think I've smiled in a year.  I haven't been held in a man's arms, or laughed, or sung a song....and now, because of you, I can do those things.  There's no reason why we can't spend time together."
    He stepped back, putting more space between them.  His only defense.  Her nearness was like a drug he didn't want to give up.  "No.  You're wrong.  There's every reason why we can't be together.  There's no future for us.  It was wrong of me to make love to you.  To continue will only hurt you.  Me as well.  Darling, this can't end happily."

    "Why not?"  She planted her feet, propped fists on her hips, looking and sounding more like her niece now -- stubborn, wanting what she wanted without considering the consequences.  "I don't care what people think.  I don't care that our stations in life are so very different."
    "But it does matter to you, don't you see?  Just the fact that you've brought up class -- that means you think about such things.  Just as everyone else in the world does.  A vast social gulf lies between us.  I'll never be welcome in your mother's court.  And you'd be -- "
    "She would accept you if I told her I wanted you there."
    "No."  He shook his head.  "It won't happen."
    "Then in my court.  In Potsdam.  There you will always be welcome, Thomas."
    He closed his eyes and sighed.  He'd never been out of the country, hardly been out of London.  He was a mudlark.  A Whitchapel brat.  Even the West End felt like a foreign land to him, enemy territory.  "My precious empress.  You are dreaming."
    She spun away from him, her shoulders rigid with anger.  "Now you're just making excuses.  You've decided you don't want me."  Without seeing her face he knew she was crying.
    "Stop it!" he shouted.  "This has nothing to do with what I want.  Don't you understand?  I came here tonight delirious with expectation, ecstatic, hoping you'd be here.  But the moment I saw you -- perfect you, royal you, an empress in my shabby room -- I knew it wasn't right.  Did you actually imagine a future for us?  You said I didn't have to give my heart.  You said you'd never marry again.  How do you imagine you'd explain me to your family and others?  Would you grant me a title and land in Germany?  Create a fantasy world to legitimize me as your lover, your consort?"
    She shook her head, tears streaming down her cheeks, no longer trying to hide them from him.
    "I hadn't thought -- "
    "No, of course not.  And neither had I."

Seducing the Princess will be free 
on Amazon, Kobo, and iTunes 
from Feb. 10th to 22nd!!
Just click HERE.

Mary Hart Perry
(aka Kathryn Johnson)

About the Author

Mary Hart Perry grew up in New England and now lives in the Washington, D.C. area with her husband and two feline writing partners, "Tempest" and "Miranda".  She's the author of over 10 novels published by major U.S. and foreign publishers.  She writes historical fiction as Mary Hart Perry, and contemporary romantic thrillers under her own name, Kathryn Johnson.  She also teaches fiction writing workshops for The Writer's Center in Bethesda, Maryland.  Her popular 8-week course, "The Extreme Novelist", supports and encourages class members through a full first draft of their novels.  In 2008, she founded Write by You, a writer's mentoring service, to aid individual authors in reaching their publication goals.  She has been nominated for the prestigious Agatha Christie Award, and won the Heart of Excellence and Bookseller's Best Awards (sponsored by the Romance Writers of America).  Her works-in-progress include Victorian thrillers inspired by the lives of Queen Victoria's daughters, and a new contemporary romantic suspense series scheduled for release in 2014-15.  Kathryn is a member of the Author's Guild, Romance Writers of America, Mystery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime, Novelists, Inc., and the Historical Novel Society.

Online Links


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  1. Thanks, Maria, for giving readers a peek at my latest romantic thriller. You have such a gorgeous site. I've enjoyed visiting! Mary Hart Perry

    1. Hi, Kathryn!

      You're very welcome! I already have this book on my Goodreads TBR shelves, as well as my Amazon wish list!

      And thank you so much for the compliment!! As you can see, I LOVE the color blue!! Lol. Thanks for dropping by and leaving such a nice comment!! HAPPY VALENTINE'S DAY!!!! : )


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