The Soul Mate Tree Series: Once Upon a Lady
by Addie Jo Ryleigh
That all changes the night she panics at her impending future and runs, stumbling upon a private grove, a mysterious tree . . . and a half-naked man.
The youngest son of a viscount widely thought to have purchased his title, Jackson Cooper demonstrates his disdain for the aristocracy by affording himself every luxury available—drinking, wenching, and gambling—while eschewing anything representing the ton. Jackson has little care for his reputation and no desire to marry. His escape from London is all but complete.
Until fate—in the form of a beautiful, mysterious lady—interrupts his plans, enticing him with the very thing he never wanted.
“Aren’t sprites confined to the trees?” His deep voice washed over her.
She didn’t turn to acknowledge him. “How nice to see you properly dressed for once.”
His chuckle warmed her. “Are you following me?”
An unladylike snort refused to be repressed. “Hardly. You are rather difficult to overlook, being the only unknown face here.”
“That’s not true. You’ve seen my face . . . as well as other, more interesting parts.”
Kate wished she’d listened to her sister and worn a bonnet. Anything to mask the heat flaring in her cheeks.
Thankfully he remained at her side and hadn’t a clear view of her face. “We have not been introduced. I can’t be seen speaking to you.”
“Then let us go where we can't be seen.”
Her heart raced at his boldness. Why was this man so tempting? She was spoken for, though still unofficially. Proper ladies didn’t follow strange men to private locations, regardless of their marital status. “Absolutely not.”
“Even if I have something of yours?”
Blast! Her ring. Given her luck lately, she would have lost it in the grove of all places. Her aunt would toss in her grave knowing Kate had misplaced her gift.
“A true gentleman would return it.”
His deep laugh caused her pulse to flutter. “I'm no gentleman. Or haven't you heard?”
Meet the Author:
Addie Jo Ryleigh
Addie Jo Ryleigh writes historical romances featuring rakish heroes and strong feisty heroines.
Her love and passion for romance books started young and she became hooked on historical romance (particularly Regency) after graduating from Lurlene McDaniel’s young adult books. Currently, Addie Jo reads any genre that keeps her reading into the early hours of the morning.
Addie Jo lives in the same cold-winter-hot-summer area of Minnesota she discovered as a child. Sharing in the raising of her three high-energy boys is her very understanding husband who graciously endured being dubbed “The Duke” by his co-workers. Keeping Addie Jo company while she writes is her young at heart yorkipoo, Bella. Meanwhile, her other four-legged family members (a black lab, Max, and a red lab puppy, Cozmo) are usually in cahoots with her children to create endless distractions.
When not playing chauffeur for her hockey-playing boys (and being a soccer mom in the offseason) or writing her next story, you’ll find Addie Jo with an ever-present cup of coffee in one hand and a book in the other.
Q &A with the Author:
What are four things you can’t live without?
Looking beyond the obvious things like my family and dear friends, there are a few things I selfishly couldn’t live without.
While it might sound cliché coming from an author, but books would be on the top of my list. Before I was a published writer (because, let’s face it, I’ve always been a writer just in a different form), I was a reader. I’m still a reader…often to the detriment of sleep. When life gets busy (usually during the hockey season) or a deadline looms, absorbing all my free time to read, it feels like something is missing.
Coffee…I think that says it all ;-)
Another staple in my life is music. Be it while writing, driving, working the day job, or really any time, I always have music on. Thankfully everything is digital these days and I no longer have CDs taking over my space. Only now, my boys and I fight over access to Amazon Music. It might be time for a family account.
My boys…I know I said I wasn’t going to go here but everything else kept coming back to the little men in my life. Such as hockey. I could probably live without being a hockey mom to three boys (just imagine what I could do with all the free time not driving from rink to rink) but over the last four years it has become such an intricate part of my life I think I might be lost without it. There is nothing better than seeing their excitement after a big goal, an important defensive save, or the hard-earned win. There is even proudness in watching them learn from defeat, teaching them skills that will strengthen who they are. During the couple months (and some overlapping ones) when there isn’t hockey, there is soccer. And with it all, the one thing that makes this so very significant is witnessing the joy and life lessons it brings them. Watching them grow into who they are and the men they will be. Knowing the craziness it adds to my life, they’ve commented in their special way that it must suck being a mom (and yep, that is how they phrase it) but I honestly tell them, I wouldn’t change it. Witnessing their happiness and success is my joy. So, the most important thing I could not live without would undoubtedly be them and the memories and life experiences they give me.
What is your favorite television show?
This is a hard one. I have so many. I’m always going back and watching old episodes of so many shows but the one I faithfully go back to and have watched numerous times, and still morn its cancellation, is Rookie Blue. I’ll forever root for Andy and Sam.
If you could be any character, from any literary work, who would you choose to be? Why?
I would be Pete the Cat, hands down. I want to go through my days grooving along, taking each obstacle in stride. There is so much stress and seriousness in life that at times, there is nothing to be done but just to go with the flow and no one does that better than Pete.
What have you got coming soon for us to look out for?
The final book in my Men of Circumstance series, The Earl’s Undoing, is on the verge of being released. It has been some time coming between taking a break to write Once Upon a Lady and a few life events interceding, but I couldn’t be more excited to turn Emma and Marcus free.
After that, I have a couple special stories to write…specifically giving Blackthorn from Once Upon a Lady his very own happy ending because if there was ever a man who deserved to fall in love it is the duke. And of course, I can’t forget Jacob Lawson from the Men of Circumstance series. I think it is time to discover the story behind his crazy riddles and what he might be hiding behind his spectacles.
What books or authors have most influenced your own writing?
Karen Hawkins, Lisa Kleypas, Victoria Alexander, Sabrina Jeffries, Nicole Jordan, Stephanie Laurens…really the list could go on and on. These fabulous ladies’ books line the bookshelves in my writing nook. Each one has had a huge impact on my writing and helping me discover the Regency period (and the years surrounding it), making it impossible to not fall in love with a time when the simple touch of the hand could be wicked.
While those ladies helped create my obsession, as my writing has evolved, there are other amazing authors I’d add to the list. Such as Sarah MacLean and Christi Caldwell.
Other Books in the Series:
(click the image to visit the series page on Amazon)