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Engraved by Jayne Fresina


Product Description

A Private Collection

When Adam Blackwood first lays eyes on the woman of his lusty fantasies, he’s a young man with too much arrogance and not enough self-control.  She rejects his clumsy advances and deeply wounds his pride.  Six years later the wound remains, but other things have changed.  He’s grown up.  She’s widowed and alone.  And this time, she wants something from him.

Evangeline always knew Adam was dangerous.  He aroused emotions and desires she’d learned to suppress.  But now he’s back with a proposition and a secret from her past.  A little blackmail is hardly a gentlemanly method of getting her into bed, but what else can she expect from a Blackwood?

Perhaps, for just one night, she’ll give him what he wants and indulge her own secret passion. Providing they never see one another again, what harm can it do?



Evangeline raised her lashes and looked at him, trying to figure out what was so different.  Had he grown a few more inches?  Were his shoulders broader than she remembered?  Perhaps she’d never looked at him for too long before today.

The arrogant cub strolled around her small parlor, picking up books and china ornaments, examining each in a casual, proprietary manner, much the same way he assessed her.

“Very well.  How much?”  She lifted her chin.  “I’ll pay your dratted ransom.”

“Yes.”  He put his hands behind his back and swiveled on his heels to face her.  “You will.  If I can be persuaded to part with it, of course.  I’ve acquired a considerable fondness for it already.”

Now he was making her angry.  “How much?” she repeated.

“I’m afraid it will be very expensive.”

“No doubt.”

He walked away from her, turning his back.  “When did you stop seeing my father?”

Nervously touching her hair, she worried it might come undone.  He had an unfortunate capability of loosening her parts merely by looking at her.  “You have it all wrong.  It wasn’t like that.  It wasn’t ever like that.”  She could barely get her words straight, too irritated by his brash impudence.

In the back of the house she heard Mary humming as she pottered about.  It must be almost luncheon.

Adam Blackwood heard her too and went very still.  “You have a house maid?”

“Yes.”  How inconvenient for him, she thought gladly, to find she wasn’t alone after all.

But his manner was flippant.  “Get rid of her for an hour or two.”

Rage kindled, tone sickly sweet, Evangeline replied, “I most certainly will not.”

“Unless you want me to show that portrait to everyone in this village.  I think the church hall would be the ideal venue, don’t you?”

Her heart almost stopped.  “You wouldn’t.”

“I would.”  He paused, swept one hand across his lips.  “Now get rid of the maid.”

Control being wrenched from her hands, she was furious.  “No!”

“Then I will.”  He strode to the door.

She was there before him.  “Stop.”

He did.  Surprisingly.

“I would rather she not know you’re here.”  Shaking her head, she tried to catch her breath.  He had her trapped.  Suddenly, his hand was under her chin, strong fingers cupped around it, he lifted her face.

“Give her the rest of the day off.” His cadence softened, but it was no less menacing.  “She’s not to come back until the morning.”

Her body tensed.  “I thought you said an hour or two.”

“Changed my mind.  These price negotiations could take a while.”  He lowered his head until his lips touched her brow, then her nose, then her trembling mouth.  “You do want that painting back, don’t you?”

“We can’t.  You can’t,” she whined.  “Your carriage…”

“Returned to The Grange after it dropped me at the crossroads.  I walked from there.”

“But Peter, he’ll return with my winnings later.”

He laughed huskily.  “So sure you’ll win?”

“Yes,” she said simply.  Those kind of visions didn’t come to her often, but when they did, she took advantage.  Why not?  Someone would win the money. Better it be in her pocket than in theirs.  Dr. Phillips was a frugal gentleman, one might even say he was a skinflint, and had saved a tidy amount in the bank. But, having been destitute once before, Lina liked to make her own money by telling fortunes and reading cards.  Occasionally that income was supplemented with a little illicit dabbling in the races. She considered it her only vice and surely every soul had one.  That was what made them human, rather than saint.    

“What will he do if you don’t answer the door?”

“I…I suppose he’ll come back tomorrow.”

“There.  Problem solved.”

She groaned softly.  “But I can’t trust him all night with my money in his hands, especially if he has a few pint pots at his father’s tavern.”

“Trust me, if he cheats you out of a penny, he’ll answer to me.”

Desperate, she sought for some other reason why he couldn’t stay, but he wouldn’t even let her think.  Leaning over her, his hand still around her chin, his breath cooling her brow, he said, “Let me be plain, Mrs. Phillips.  I want to spend the night in bed with you.”

Want, want, want! Like any other spoiled child, she thought irritably.  “But if someone should see you leaving in the morning…”

“They won’t.  I know what I’m doing.”

Lashes lowered, she watched his lips.  “Oh?  You’ve had much practice at this?”  Blackmail must come second nature to a man like him, she thought churlishly.  Not that he could need it often for matters like this. Most women probably fell at his feet the moment he crooked his finger in their direction.  Why he bothered pursuing her so intently when he might, with far less effort and suffering fewer thorns in his prideful skin, have any other woman to whom he took a fancy remained a mystery to her.

“Don’t ask me about my lovers,” he laid down his words as if each one was heavy, straining his shoulders, “and I won’t ask about all yours.”

She never should have let him in.  The moment she saw it in the cards, she should have packed her things and left.  But where would she go?  She was tired, angry, confused.  And she was lonely.

He didn’t kiss her.  His mouth brushed hers, his breath moistening her anxious lips.  Leaving her waiting, knowing what was to come.

It was inevitable.  Five years ago she’d sent him away and he’d gone tail between his legs.  But this time it was different.  Adam Blackwood was in charge, in control of himself.  He was no more a boy rushing in like a bull, and he wasn’t going anywhere at her command.  




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Product Reviews

  1. Review at The Tbr Pile 5 Star Review

    Posted by on 7th Jun 2011

    **Ebook Giveaway**

    TBR Reviewer: B.H (Brutally Honest)

    Ms. Fresina’s writing style reminds me very much of Christina Dodd. There’s no choppy motion, just an easy flow that grabs your attention and refuses to let go. Several of her descriptions are absolutely breathtaking and inventive. I really found myself totally engaged with her characters.

    The story flows, the passion ignites and the romance rekindles my love of historical novels. This is a must read. I hope to read more from this talented author in the future.

  2. Sizzling Hot Book Reviews 4 Star Review

    Posted by on 7th Jun 2011

    Some things should never be, like a woman risking her reputation on a brief fling with a brash young man who has no idea of the true consequences of his actions. And some things can not be avoided, like the fire Adam always feels whenever he even thinks of Lina, much less is around her. She seems to be Engraved in his soul, and the painting of her gives him his only opportunity to be with her.

    Perhaps, for just one night, she’ll give him what he wants and indulge her own secret passion. Providing they never see one another again, what harm can it do?

    The infamous Randolph Blackwood is dead. Never accept by the gentry, no matter how rich, because he was “new” money with no title, he eventually embraced his outcaste status and became a known eccentric. The special clause in his will comes as a surprise to his sons. If they want their share of his vast wealth, they must return the paintings in his private collection to the models. Three original paintings done by Randolph- one painting returned per son. If they fail to do so, all their inheritance goes to the housekeeper…and her cat, not that she owns a cat…yet.

    After two loveless marriages leaves Evangeline ‘Lina’ Phillips disillusioned with men, she is content to remain alone. Being an American woman with two dead husbands would be bad enough, but the small village she lives in loves to gossip about her talent for palm-reading. Good thing they don’t know about her visions! The vision warning/telling her of Randolph’s death causes her real personal concern: needing money, she once posed as a nude model for his ‘private collection’ painting. But how is she to get the painting back without anyone knowing about it?

    Adam Blackwood would never admit it, but he has much in common with his father. He has made his own way in the world; Adam by becoming a well known architect with a promising future. He oozes charm to the point that he gets everything he wants. Until Evangeline, that is. A young hot-head, at twenty-three he had never been refused before and couldn’t understand Lina not jumping into bed with him when asked. It didn’t matter to him that she was married and claimed to be a respectable woman, he wanted her and that was all that mattered. Her refusing and calling him a Boy sent him to London for good six years ago. Lately, he has even decided it was time to marry. Picking a wife for position and wealth led him to ‘reforming’ to keep peace with his fiancée. But things change once he returns home and sees Lina again…

    Seeing the painting of Lina in the nude fires Adam’s anger as much as his lust. So much for her claim of being a respectable lady! After her obvious sins with his father? Now he will get in her bed if she wants the painting back and not put on display for the village! But he doesn’t count on the effect of finally being with her will have on him. Or that his fiancée will turn up at his father’s house when he stays to fix it up. How did life go from well planned to so complicated so quickly?

    Engraved is not your average historical, to say the least. A widowed, disillusioned woman instead of the classic, dreaming virgin. And instead of the titled rake we have a working, if previously pampered, guy set on reforming his ‘bad’ ways. An added touch of the paranormal with Lina’s psychic visions. Oh, and this one is a “cougar” story as well. Even the writing is more artistic than most historicals. The result is vivid pictures and clearly formed images. It is like looking through a window with how well Jayne Fresina weaves together phrases and expressions.

    Engraved is an interesting mix of ideas. Lina tries to stay respectable, first to keep peace with her husbands, then to avoid trouble in the village after becoming a widow. That she has to suppress her inner wildness she doesn’t like to admit even to herself. Lina is easy to sympathize with yet she is strong enough we don’t have to feel sorry for her. I like that she knows Adam is bad for her but still she kept up with news about him over the years (subconsciously admitting his pull on her). I also like that while she may not have a lot of use for men, she still is thinking about marrying again. For this time, women would be expected to remarry if possible and it is nice to see that included. I also like that we are shown how Adam has grown up some, though he is still self centered in my opinion (due to his background maybe?). He realizes that he didn’t understand at the time but does now why Lina would have married her second husband. I’m get the feeling the Lina has sure a pull, such an effect on him, that the painting and the possible affair with his father is really just an excuse for Adam, that Adam really can’t resist Lina and uses all this as an excuse to seek her out and use any means at his disposal to be with her. Not very nice but he hasn’t made progress any other way and this seems to be a last chance in his eyes. Here Adam was trying to go respectable, yet he brings out Lina’s wild side and don’t care one bit that about decent when with her. I loved how well these two compliment each other.

    I think Engraved breaks just about all the formularies of the classic historical romance I grew up reading. Adam is not sweet or enduring, but still manages to grow on us- must be that Blackwood charm. Lina keeps everyone on their toes, including us. Engraved will appeal to the general reader and some uncommon twist along the way. This is a great start to the Private Collection series and I can’t wait for the next story. Or more from Jayne Fresina, this is one author to watch!

  3. Manic Readers 5 Star Review

    Posted by on 18th May 2011

    Lina is a twice widowed woman of thirty-five, pursued by Adam, a young architect of only twenty-nine, who is bent on having her just once to get her out of his system. He knows of her rumored ability to tell the future, but can’t seem to leave her alone. He wants a society heiress to further his career, but his chosen bride pales in comparison to Lina. But Lina doesn’t want him, as she is so fond of telling him. He finds the perfect excuse to pursue her, when he finds what his father has left for him in his will.

    I seldom see prose like this any more in all my readings and reviews. It is refreshing to see that Fresina not only knows and revels in the English language, but knows how to use it in such interesting ways. The highly descriptive similes and metaphors in Engraved may appear at first, to be somewhat overblown and old-fashioned, but on second glance, they allow the reader to “see” with great clarity, what the author wants us to see. We can be transported to a room where, “through the window, the sun bled, like a heart pierced by an arrow.”

    We almost feel the love of our hero as he sees, “soft smudges of light caressing the side of her face as if she was partially gilded with gold leaf.” When Lina is in her room, “color dappled the walls shining emerald playing over sashes of broken sunlight like a stream bubbling over nuggets of gold.”

    The entire book, including the love scenes are so clear that we can see and feel what the characters see and feel. This is a gift—the art of painting pictures with words. Others try, but not as successfully as Fresina.

  4. Enjoyed very much! 5 Star Review

    Posted by on 11th Apr 2011

    Loved it! Can't wait for the next edition of this collection. The characters are fun and you find yourself thinking of them long after you have finished the book.

  5. Night Owl Reviews TOP PICK! 5 Star Review

    Posted by on 11th Apr 2011

    Adam Blackwood is a young man the first time he sees Evangeline and he is immediately besotted. She’s married and not the type of woman who would be open to an extra marital affair. When his father dies, to gain his share of his inheritance he has to return a portrait of a nude to the model. Imagine his shock at finding that the model in all her naked glory is the lovely Evangeline. At first Adam is angry, she has always been dismissive of his interest, and then to go to his father’s bed after refusing his! It is the perfect chance to blackmail her into his bed, and Adam is not the kind of man to waste the opportunity of a lifetime.

    Evangeline has never had the chance to wed for love, but with Adam’s indecent proposal she has the chance to do something for herself, reveling in her long denied sensuality with a man who can really appreciate her. She’s been repressed for too long and as a widow she can only hope to enjoy this interlude before deciding which of her dull suitors will become her next husband. In the restrictive society they live in the two have found kindred spirits in each other, but will they recognize this fact or continue to live their unfulfilled lives. There is a multitude of charm and humor in this historical romance, which I thoroughly enjoyed.

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