Monday, April 1, 2013

Heather Snow's SWEET DECEPTION Wins Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence


Happy April Fools Day! Believe me, if I didn’t know better I would think today’s blog headline is a joke. I mean, look at the other awesome finalists in the historical category this year!

Historical
Seven Nights in a Rogue’s Bed by Anna Campbell
How to Dance with a Duke by Manda Collins
A Lady’s Revenge by Tracey Devlyn
Almost a Scandal by Elizabeth Essex
Innocent Heart by Millie Ledford Lee
Cassidy’s War by Susan Macatee
The Warrior by Margaret Mallory
Sweet Deception by Heather Snow

However, after pinching myself a few times, I’ve accepted it’s not a joke at all. SWEET DECEPTION won the 2013 Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence in Published Historical Romance!!! I am honored, floored, humbled, and very very excited!
 

To celebrate SWEET DECEPTION’s win, I’m sharing an excerpt from the book as well as giving away 3 copies to lucky winners today! Just enter the rafflecopter form below.

Sweet Deception...
A Veiled Seduction Novel ~ Book Two


In the dark, the greatest lover can become the most dangerous conspirator...

Lady criminologist, Miss Emma Wallingford, unknowingly finds herself tangled up in the dangerous final mission of Lord Derick Aveline, a spy who also happens to be her long-lost first love. But when deception, however sweet, is the name of the game, no one can be trusted. And every love--and every life--is at risk.

 

An excerpt from Derick's first visit to Wallingford Manor to begin his investigation...

He could always resort to a late–night exploration if he must.
His imagination flashed a vision of him happening across Emma, tucked into her bed in nothing but a flimsy night rail. What would she look like, her features relaxed in sleep, her hair down and spread across her pillow? Derick's entire body tightened like a fist as his mind emptied of all thoughts but her. Her tempting scent would alter with her skin warmed from sleep, would sweeten tantalizingly like nectar.
Derick caught himself taking a deep breath. Damnation. This was precisely why he shouldn't be around Emma. He hadn't physically seen the woman in hours and yet he was thoroughly distracted, which made no sense whatsoever. He didn't even like her. And he was determined to stop letting her interfere with the role he was here to play.
The door clicked, and Derick's mind snapped back to the charade at hand. He stepped from behind the chaise to greet Lord Wallingford, a droll greeting on his lips.
His mouth snapped shut as Emma, not Wallingford, strode into the room, her skirts swishing behind her. She stopped abruptly only a scant two feet from him, her eyes traveling his length.
Her sudden nearness hummed in his veins. Damn, but those eyes of hers made a man feel she could see right through him. Derick fought the ridiculous urge to step back from her frank perusal. He had no reason for concern—he knew exactly what she would see. He'd planned every detail.
Gold buttons winked in the sun that beamed through the massive windows, his burgundy and cream striped waistcoat contrasted nicely with his buff pantaloons, and his black Hessians fair gleamed. While he'd never go so far as to polish them with champagne, as Brummel had so famously espoused, Derick would challenge the man himself to find any other fault with his presentation.
And that's what it was—the pretentious clothing, the intricately tied neck cloth, the close–shaven face, the precisely styled hair—a presentation. A uniform.
And today, perhaps even a suit of armor.
His mouth twisted wryly. As if he needed protection from Pygmy. "Why are you here?"
Emma's brows dipped and her mouth wobbled, like she couldn't decide whether to smile or scowl. "I live here, Derick."
Imbecile. "Yes, of course." Really, if his superiors could have seen him around Emma Wallingford, they'd never have entrusted the country's greatest secrets to him. At least his incompetent fop act should be especially believable today. "What I meant to say was that I was expecting your brother."
Emma crossed her arms. "Yes, Perkins said you wished to speak with the magistrate. Why?"
The back of Derick's neck tingled. She was on the defensive. Interesting. Because of his desire to see her brother? Or because of him? Both were intriguing questions, but for different reasons.
A slow heat spread through him at the possibility that he might have the same physical effect on her as she did on him. He might be able to use that.
No. He was finished with those days, when seduction had been his stock–in–trade. He shouldn't need to resort to sensual interrogation. He would be able to get what he needed from Lord Wallingford—if he could get past the man's formidably lovely gatekeeper. "I should think that obvious."
"Indeed." Emma's expression turned to a decided scowl, and her foot tapped in irritation. "What is not so obvious," she continued in a clipped tone, "is why you should feel it necessary to insert yourself into an investigation that has nothing to do with you."
Oh, yes . . . she was most certainly defensive. Which meant he was onto something. The question was, what? The quickest way to get to Wallingford was to stick to his story. "Because the girl was a member—"
"—of your household." Disapproval dripped from Emma's voice, landing on him like a particularly annoying drizzle. She blinked up at him with those owl–like eyes. "Am I to assume that you intend to stay in Derbyshire and take up the reins at the castle, then?"
Derick chafed at the censure in her tone. "Good God, no. This would be the last place I would live. I don't expect to be here more than a few weeks at most," he answered. "As if that's any of your concern," he grumbled under his breath. He swiped a hand across his forehead. She was wasting his time. Nosy, irritating chit. "Damnation, Pygmy, you are exactly as you were as a girl."
Derick couldn't keep his eyes from dropping to her cleavage, so lusciously pushed up by her crossed arms. "Well, not exactly," he muttered.
Emma's shoulders rose slightly as a tiny gasp escaped her. "Of course I'm not."
Hell. Had he actually just said that aloud? What had gotten into him?
"While I still don't care to be called Pygmy," she reminded him, not so subtly, "I've changed quite significantly in other ways." She sniffed. "I'm no longer straw–headed, for one. I speak four additional languages than I did when you last knew me and I've grown at least two hands taller."
A huff of laughter escaped him at her attempt to lighten the moment, but it quickly faded. Emma wasn't smiling.
Instead she heaved a sigh, uncrossed her arms and turned her body, as if to allow him a clear path to the door. She even extended a delicate hand in that direction, wafting her delicious lavender scent near. "Listen, while I appreciate your assistance last evening, my lord, you needn't concern yourself any further. I suggest you go about whatever . . . business a gentleman like yourself might have in Derbyshire. There's no need for you to dirty your hands"—her gaze traveled over him again and her lips flattened—"or your fancy clothes with the matter."
Derick pressed his fingers against his forehead, closing his eyes. This was not going according to plan. He'd never had such trouble bending a female to his will.
Except her. What was it about Emma that threw him off so?
She makes you forget your role.
Yes. Something about her reduced some part of him to the boy he didn't even remember being—a singular and disturbing truth he couldn't avoid or fathom. All he knew was that it was true—and dangerous—which made it all the more important for him to deal solely with her brother. It was time to regain command of this conversation. Derick straightened, crossed his own arms and leveled his gaze on her.
"I suggest," he drawled, looking down his nose at her in a way certain to nettle, "that you fetch the magistrate like a good girl and then go about whatever . . . business a country miss like you should be doing. No doubt there's a pillow that needs embroidering somewhere?"
Emma's eyes became slits, and he bit back a satisfied grin. That should send her off in a huff to get her brother.
Yet she visibly dug in her heels and crossed her arms again, pushing her delectable décolletage prominently back into view. A view, of course, that he couldn't help but avail himself of. He might be acting a part, might have chosen to remain celibate at least until he put this life behind him, but he was still male.
Emma clenched her jaw. The nerve of the man! How dare this . . . this perfectly turned–out popinjay come to her home and provoke her? The cad didn't even have the decency to look her in the eye after insulting her so. And what was he staring at? She followed the path of his eyes, her chin dipping as she looked down to her . . .
Her cheeks flamed and she hastily dropped her arms. And yet the heat from her face spread down her neck and through her chest. She knew better than to think that Derick actually found her attractive. He certainly never had when they were younger, no matter how she'd tried to get him to notice her. But he'd certainly seemed captivated just then, hadn't he?
She couldn't resist a curious peek at his face. But the corners of his eyes drooped along with his mouth in an expression that could only be described as blasé. Her face burned all the more. Had she really expected otherwise?
Blasted, confusing man. Why wouldn't he just waltz blithely off on his merry way? "You said you have no intention of staying in Derbyshire at all. Why won't you just leave matters be?"
A tremble rolled through her middle as she considered what was at stake. What an ironic sort of travesty it would be if Derick, who couldn't be bothered with this village for an age, came back on a lark and discovered her brother's secret. He could use it to destroy the life she'd worked so hard to fashion for herself after her father's death, and then he would just trot back to London—or France—or wherever he'd been for the last decade and a half.
Derick raised his chin a notch and stared at her with those unnerving green eyes, suddenly anything but uninterested. "Why do you so badly wish me to?"
The rolling multiplied, magnified. Emma swallowed. That was a line of questioning she had no intention of following.
She couldn't take the chance that he would puff up with autocratic male pride and act . . . well, exactly like he was acting now. If he uncovered the truth about her brother, a man like him would think it his duty to take the matter to higher authorities. That was certain to bring her comfortable life crashing down around her. No. She needed to get him out of the house, none the wiser, before he had the opportunity to make trouble.

Excerpt from Sweet Deception by Heather Snow
All rights reserved

Read the First Chapter HERE.

 
SWEET DECEPTION Available NOW:


Books-A-Million
IndieBound
I-Books
Walmart

I'd love to hear about awards you've won in your life and career!
 
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54 comments:

  1. I won an award for my studies in Early Childhood. A great surprise.

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    1. A well deserved surprise, I'm sure! Congrats :)

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  2. Congrats on your award!

    I won an award for being a preceptor to a student.

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    1. Fantastic! I'm sure that was super rewarding!

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  3. CONGRATULATIONS, HEATHER !!!
    So proud of you, my Unsinkable Sistah !!

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  4. I won a book in 5th grade for a project I did.

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  5. Congratulations Heather! You must be very excited by this award!
    I never received an award! but many beautiful thank you!

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    1. Hmm...I'm going to have to create a Stellar Snow Angel award ;)

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  6. Big congrats to the award. I never received an award

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    1. Thanks :) I'm sure you've deserved many

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  7. Congrats, Heather! As I've already said, I'm not surprised at all!

    I have to say, I wasn't bad in competitions during my school years. Math, Physics, chemistry, biology, literary competitions as well as English language. Yes, bluestocking through and through :o))
    The one I am the most proud of is second place, Nikola Tesla competition when I was in a high school. My whole class had a day off because they were with me at the award ceremony in the capital. They still talking about it :)

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    1. Thanks Ivana...I'm not surprised you did well in school competitions! One bluestocking easily recognizes another ;)

      How awesome that your class got the day off and a trip to the capital. You are a rockstar!

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  8. I've won a few awards for my poetry

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    1. Wow, that's wonderful, Brandi! I wish I had a poet's soul...alas, I'm more of an analytical sort. Would love to hear one of your poems...

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  9. Congratulation on the award. I received the best Mom award from my sons.

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    1. Robbie, that's more important than any other award ever created ;)

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  10. Heather, I'm thrilled for you. Your award is very well deserved and so exciting! My favorite award was winning my 2010 Golden Heart. I think I'll remember that with disbelief no matter what happens in the future! But, congratulations to you! Enjoy!

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    1. Thanks, Lizbeth! It was SO awesome to see your name called and watch you accept that golden necklace! Just think, I knew you when...

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  11. Heather, you are such a rockstar. I have so many fond stories about you and your GH nomination on your first book. I overheard an agent say, this book was so perfect I looked for a comma to be out of place, and if that happened she (Heather Snow) was going down! That left me with a bit of a wow factor where you're concerned.

    I've won awards and been nominated for several. But nothing compares to my 2007 Golden Heart nomination for Walk Away Joe (now The Past Came Hunting). That was when I knew my hard work had come to fruition. I knew I could write.

    You go girl, I absolutely know you can! Hugs,

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    1. Awww, Donnell, you're so lovely :) I love the sentiment behind your 2007 GH nom...that moment of validation is unforgettable. And sometimes we need it to sustain us through the tough times of the business, no?

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  12. Hi Heather!

    You're awesome! Congratulations on winning the Gayle Wilson award!

    Darn, looking back over the years I guess I made a lot of people happy because the only award I can remember winning was for 2nd place for making a replication of a coal vein as a science project when I was in the 7th grade!

    Does having all my family and friends wanting me to make the dessert for any gathering count toward winning an award because whenever they ask I feel honored!

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    1. Thanks, Jeanne :) And yes, absolutely, best dessert maker is definitely worth at least an award! I can't make desserts to save my life...

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  13. Congrats Heather! I won awards back when I was in school, usually Student of the Month or something like that.

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    1. Sometimes I miss school...there just aren't as many opportunities to feel like we've achieved something in adult life...even though I know we achieve awesome things all of the time.

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  14. Oh, how Wonderful, Heather and so well deserved~ Big Congratulations and Hugs!!! I'm so happy for you and can't wait to read this one! I have Sweet Madness sitting on my desk here in front of me on the top of my TBR pile and can't wait to start it next!!! :)

    I have won a few creative writing and journalism awards~ Happy Reading and Writing~ Elizabeth

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    1. Thanks, Elizabeth! I do hope you love it! Well, both of them ;) And congrats on writing awards of your own! What type of journalist were/are you?

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  15. Congratulations Heather - some great competition there, so double congrats.

    An award I've won . . . . can't think of one.

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    1. Thank you, Donna! I was pretty floored...those are some great writers!

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  16. Congrats on your award! I won a scholarship to attend library school at the University of Michigan! :)

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  17. I won many awards. I played trumpet from 5-9th grade, and then French horn from 10-12 and into college. I won 1st division medals for solos at least 4 years, then I was in All-District, All-Region, and All-Area Band or Orchestra at least 12 times.

    Congratulations on your wonderful achievement!!!! Glad to be one of your Snow Team!

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    1. Hi Missy! So glad to have you :) And how fantastic that you played trumpet and French horn. That is one big regret of my life, that I never took up an instrument seriously. I can play piano passably and I played guitar for a while, but I never learned to read music properly, so while my ear is good, serious playing eludes me. If I could go back, I'd beg my mom for lessons. I do love music so. I joined band and played the drums just so I could be around it...only had to be able to read a little for that.

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  18. When I was in junior high, I won a ribbon in the science fair.

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    1. You know how I feel about smart science chicks... Go you!

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  19. Congratulations on the well deserved win, Heather!

    I can't think of any award I've won, but I do seem to be pretty lucky. LOL

    Marcy Shuler
    bmndshuler(at)hotmail(dot)com

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    1. You know what they say, Marcy...It's better to be lucky than good ;) I'm sure you're both!

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  20. Congrats Heather! I've made the honor roll in school and graduated with honors from community college, but I can't think of an actual award besides Employee of the Month. :D

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    1. Thanks, Barbara! Hey, honor roll and graduating with honors is much more important than a writing award! I guess, since I'm my own boss, my win qualifies me for Employee of the Month here at Heather Snow Books... :)

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  21. I won a National Honor Society selection when I was in high school for my academics.

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  22. Mazel tov! I won a statewide (Rhode Island) voice competition in high school and I was a Betty Crocker Family Leader of Tomorrow in 1975... :>)

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    1. Oh wow, Sandy! I didn't even know there was such a thing as a Betty Crocker Family Leader...how awesome is that? And kudos of the voice competition!

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  23. I've won a few awards before, but the one that keeps popping into my head specifically is from 7th grade. We were learning about the Civil Rights Movement and there was a poster contest. I drew Martin Luther King Jr. giving his "I Have a Dream" speech and had to draw a billion little circles for the heads of the people listening. It took forever!! But I won an out-of-uniform pass, so it was all worth it.

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    1. Ooooh! An out-of-uniform pass. Better than gold, sister!

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  24. When I worked for Provident Life & Accident in 1990, I won the company's Central regional award for Quality. I received a plaque and was interviewed for company paper.

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  25. No real awards for me:( Thanks for the giveaway. lisagk (at) yahoo

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  26. Congratulations! You so deserved to win. I love all of your books. You are an amazing writer!

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