Series Feature: Diane Merrill Wigginton’s Historical Romance and Paranormal Books, the JEWELED DAGGER SERIES!

Hi, readers!  We have a real treat in store for you today, a spotlight on a series by Dianne Merrill Wigginton, a talented author! 

We wish you lots of success on your historical romance/paranormal series, which also has action and suspense elements! 

Let's check out the details, shall we?
Here are the book blurbs and some teasers, because

Diane is also giving us a peek at her books today!

Book 1 - Angelina's Secret

Lady Angelina Marguerite Amelia Stewart was born in a time when women were valued for their beauty, titles and little else. Beloved daughter of Lord and Lady Stewart, and cherished by her older brother, Jonathan, Angelina is blessed with a quick mind and a sharp wit, which she uses liberally regardless of the consequences. Determined to never be owned by any man, Angelina shuns societal rules and lives life on her own terms. When she is surprised by her parents with a sea voyage for her nineteenth birthday, Angelina is thrilled to fully explore life, unaware that her gift comes with a price. It will test her resolve and challenge her in ways she could never have imagined.

Captain Jude Deveraux is leading a double life. He and his band of French privateer's steal, rob and plunder unsuspecting ships that have the misfortune of wandering into their domain. Awarded a title by the King of France for bravery during battle, The Duke of Bayonne, A.K.A. Captain Jude Deveraux, takes what he wants from the world as he and best friend, Honore' live each day as if it were their last. That is until the day Jude discovers that the only thing he truly wants is to capture the untamed heart of fiery-tempered Angelina for his own.

Here is an excerpt.

I turned on my heels and headed in the opposite direction passing our table. I just kept going. I needed some air, which was funny because the enormous dance floor was outdoors.
The gardens were alight with thousands of lanterns, and I needed distance. I headed toward the topiaries at the other end of the royal gardens and as far away from Jude as I could get. Anger mingled with humiliation fueled my escape. I could hear Jude behind me, but I didn’t slow down. Breathing hard at this point because I was nearly running and my tight corset restricted my ability to breathe deeply, I didn’t even know exactly what it was that I was running from. I just knew I needed space.
When he grabbed my arm, I came to a sudden stop as I gasped for air. Jude grasped my shoulders, shaking me like a rag doll. My wig toppled to the ground and pins flew as copper strands tumbled down, spilling over my shoulders.
“Why didn’t you stop? Didn’t you hear me calling after you? What is wrong?” Jude’s anger was mixed with frustration as he tried to make sense of his own feelings.
“Help me, please. I cannot breathe,” my words came out in short gasps for air before I went limp. Spinning me around while holding me against his left arm, he proceeded to unlace the top portion of my gown. Reaching into the pocket of my gown, he retrieved the dagger and cut the top laces of my corset. The air flooded into my lungs in one giant gasp as my knees gave out. Placing the dagger between his teeth, he picked me up in his arms, like one would a hurt child, and carried me toward a bench void of light. It was probably extinguished by the bench’s previous occupants.
Shadows playing across his face made him look ruthless and savage. I had to blink twice for I thought my eyes deceived me. Gently placing me on the bench he kneeled down. Retrieving the sheath from my pocket, he placed it on the end of the dagger and put it back into my pocket.
“You can really never tell when these things will come in handy.” He patted the dagger that lay in my pocket against my leg. “Good thing you took your brother’s advice.”
“How did you know I had it on me?” Astonishment showing on my face.
“I felt it when we were dancing,” he answered offhandedly.
“Is it often you hold a woman so closely while dancing that you know exactly what she carries in her dress pocket?” I asked, slightly scandalized by his admission.
“You can lose the disapproving tone, if you please. It isn’t often that I have the need to hold a woman so closely. They usually press in on me,” he added, feeling rather full of himself.
“Hah . . . you have rather a high opinion of yourself.” I found his attitude grating on my nerves. Abruptly standing to leave, I took three steps before remembering my dress was undone.
“I heard no protests from you while we were dancing.”
Whirling around, I fixed him with an angry scowl. “I couldn’t protest since your arm was cutting off my circulation, you pompous toad.” I turned around presenting my back to him and indicating my need by pointing to my dress where it gaped open. “Assistance, please.”
“Toads don’t have thumbs.” Playing the fool, he held his hands up as if all his digits were stuck together.
I turned on him with hands on my hips. “You have some nerve, Jude Deveraux, or would Judas be a more appropriate name for you?” I angrily said through clenched teeth, so mad that I would swear steam escaped from my ears.
“You have so many moods it is difficult to pick just which one is my favorite.” His arm snaked out, ensnaring me tightly against his taut form. Tipping my head back with his free hand under my chin, his kiss was tender and passionate at the same time. He tasted of red wine and sensuality and something so familiar.
Then it hit me. Those gloriously full lips had kissed me before. Opening my eyes and pulling back as my hands furiously worked to untie his cravat and open his shirt.
“Slow down, my pet. I enjoy enthusiasm, but there are limits to even my self-control,” Jude said in his thick French accent which I discovered came out when he was amorous.
Reaching my hands beneath the collar of his crisp white linen shirt, I worked one hand over his chest as my other hand sought out his left shoulder. Every scar just as I had remembered them, but the left shoulder would be the tell.
“Ah hah! It was you all along, I knew it! And you tried to tell me I was mistaken.” I pushed hard against his chest to free myself from our entanglement. I paced back and forth in front of him, as I proceeded to berate his good name and parentage in the process. I turned to face him squarely now with hands on hips and eyes shooting daggers at him.
“You lied to me. You tried to make me think that I had lost my mind because I said that the pirate captain and Jude Deveraux, the Duke of Bayonne, was one in the same. And yet here you are, and much to my surprise you are the very same! Care to explain yourself, Monsieur Deveraux?” My breathing labored heavily, so filled with anger I struggled to catch my breath.
Ma belle Ange, you truly are an angel,” Jude purred the words. “You now know my secret, and the question that lies between us is what will you do with that knowledge?” He stood silently in front of me for a moment, then dropped to one knee. “My life is now in your hands, ma amour.”
My anger suddenly dissipated like water on a roof during a hot summer day. The very thought of never being with him or touching him again weighed heavy on my heart. My breathing came in short bursts now for a different reason.
“No! Don’t you start with your French and your sincere eyes. How could you?” A small scream mixed with a growl of frustration omitted from my throat as I clenched and unclenched my hands by my side, trying desperately to think.
Walking over to him, I placed my hands on his face, tilting it up to mine. “I have not breathed deeply since the day you left me on the deck of that ship, and sailed away.” Tears springing to my eyes as one single tear escaped making a trail down my cheek. “I believed I would never see you again and my heart broke that day,” I confessed, while tears spilled from my eyes as I spoke what was truly in my heart. “Then like a dream you came strolling up one day, unconstrained, giving me a shock only to deny the truth. My imprisoned heart cannot take any more lies. I implore you take my heart or lock it away forever, never to be used again.” And with that, Jude wrapped one arm around my waist as he gently caressed my face.
“You truly are a remarkable woman.”
Our lips touched gently at first, as I reached up, releasing his hair from its tie and threading my fingers through it, pulling him even closer still. My desire was igniting deep inside of me as a moan escaped from Jude’s throat. Lifting me in his arms, he began to look around as I rained kisses on his neck and face.
I could tell we were moving but in what direction I did not care.


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Book 2 - Isabella's Heart

In this follow-up to Wigginton’s Angelina’s Secret, the focus is on Isabella Deveraux, the daughter of Lady Angelina Marguerite Amelia Deveraux, the heroine of the first book. As the story begins, Isabella experiences a disturbing dream about her twin brother, Charlie, on the eve of her 19th birthday. We quickly learn that Isabella has a sixth sense, just like her mother’s, and when she dreams about Charlie’s abduction in London, it’s more than a simple nightmare. She sets off immediately to London, setting into motion events that require her to reunite with her grandparents and eventually her parents, from whom she has been estranged from for years. 
Complicating matters further, Isabella’s grandfather hires an Irish mercenary to help her locate and rescue her brother and his two school mates. Forced to prove her worth to the mercenary Captain, she is placed in a compromising position and in doing so must open herself up to other emotions that she is not yet ready for. The Captain is a handsome but brooding man, with a brutish disposition, who is willing to save the lives of three privileged young men, for the right price. Aiden Townsend decides that the best way to avoid suspicion as they travel the Irish country side in search of the abducted men is to pretend to be lovers. Despite Isabella’s grave concern for her reputation, she grudgingly gives her consent to the arrangement and romantic chaos ensues. The romantic tension between Isabella and Aiden intensifies as the search for Charlie also ramps up. During this fast-paced, action-packed tale, readers are treated to many rich historical details about political unrest in Ireland, lending credence to the story’s setting. It is a fun, action packed read with just the right amount of sexual tension to keep even the most seasoned romance reader engaged.

Here is an excerpt.  

Townsend continued to speak, but this time he was playing to the crowd, who had gathered for the show. “Although you and my first mate here seem to know your way around a rapier, we are going in with swords, Lady Isabella. Of course, if you would prefer not to continue because you are too tired. . .” Townsend began, leaving the question open ended as he gave me a patronizing smile.

Then turning his back to me, Townsend faced his crowd, as they began to jeer and yell loudly. Paralyzed by indecision, and the dangerous glint I witnessed in Townsend’s eyes, I chewed on my bottom lip, still trying to think clearly.
Turning about in a circle, while shrugging his shoulders, the captain truly was a showman, as he expertly worked the crowd of men up into a frenzy. As if to say the show was over, the captain looked at me and smirked, then shrugged his shoulders as he turned his back to me again.
“Well, lads, I do not think the lady is truly up to the challenge. I would suggest you all return to work.”
Some light laughter erupted as the men slapped the captain and first mate on the shoulder and turned to resume their duties. I picked up the two sabers and weighed them both in my hands, then choosing the one in my left hand, I threw the other at the captain’s feet. The blade landed with a loud clank and skidded to a halt against his shiny leather boots.
Turning around, Captain Townsend’s jovial smile quickly faded as he noticed the sword in my hand. Then slowly looking down, he scoffed, and bent down to retrieve the sword at his feet.
“It seems I was wrong, lads,” Townsend announced loudly between clenched teeth. “It would seem the Lady has a backbone after all.”
The thought flashed through my mind that these blades had very sharp edges and were void of guarded tips for safety purposes. I quickly pushed the thought from my mind and remembered that I truly had a reason for being here — my brother — and I would never turn tail and run from anyone, especially someone as smug and self-righteous as Captain Aiden Townsend.
We walked in a circle like two wild beasts at the ready, each taking the measure of the other. The tension was thick as everyone on deck fell silent again. Caleb again tried to protest, but Captain Townsend gave him a look that silenced him at once.
I felt like I vibrated with the silent tension that existed on deck as I prepared my strategy. I made the first move while Townsend still looked at Caleb. Thrusting my sword, I caught the captain off guard by cutting the button from his woolen coat.
Lifting his eyebrows in a manner that could have suggested either a question or a challenge, Townsend licked his lips and gave me a smile. It was not a pleasant smile, in fact it wasn’t a smile at all, but a grimace meant to warn me of the impending danger ahead.
The crew suddenly went crazy. They shouted and jeered again as I heard money called out and odds exchanged. The captain lunged forward, and I deflected the attack with my sword, easily stepping to the side and swinging. We exchanged thrusts and parried back and forth, moving around in our tight little circle for several minutes. I refused to back down or give an inch as he pressed his advantage of height and strength, pushing me back against the masthead.
I sidestepped him as he swung his sword, and then pulled up short at the same time as I ducked. I figured it was his way of giving me a warning. But I didn’t need a warning because I was playing for all the marbles in my brother Charlie’s bag.
Knocking Townsend in the stomach with the hilt of my sword, I stepped to his right and repositioned myself to the ready. The sardonic smirk was back as he lunged at me, taking several heavy swings with his sword, and nearly knocking me over.
We locked swords, and he came in close, growling under his breath. “Do you concede?” he asked, holding tightly to my free hand, keeping me momentarily still.
“No!” I said, as that one word dripped with derision from my lips.
Not giving him a chance to reset, I pushed off from him and swung hard, forcing him back. The surprise I saw in his eyes was gratifying, if only for a split second, before regaining his composure and retaliating in kind. He forced me back as he went on the attack, and I caused several crew members to scramble for safety, as I beat a hasty retreat.
A low, animalistic growl escaped my lips as I attacked in frustration. My muscles were beginning to burn in my right arm, and I let my guard down for just a second. That was all it took. The captain’s sword inflicted a nasty gash on my left arm, several inches below the shoulder. A small cry escaped my mouth. Captain Townsend froze in mid swing, and then lowered his weapon. The smugness instantly drained from his face, replaced with concern.
Maria made her way to the deck, drawn by all the commotion and noise. I heard her gasp and I looked at her for a split second, but I didn’t really see her. My mind was already going through the evasive moves I had been taught.
Maria closed her eyes and began to pray, as the entire crew on deck fell silent. Then I remembered the reason I was there, on that deck, in the first place. Looking down at my arm, I could see the cut was deep and the blood had begun to flow from the gash. This was no time to wallow in my pain. Moving my arm to make sure it was still of use to me, I blocked out the pain, and concentrated instead on the moves I intended to make.
I turned my full attention back to the captain and gave him a murderous stare. I felt something snap inside of me. Like the floodgates being opened, all I could see was Townsend. Everything and everyone else faded away. The captain wore the strangest look on his face as I raised my sword above my head and set myself to the ready. Narrowing my eyes at Townsend, I prepared myself to fight, as if it were a matter of life or death. I was fighting for my brother’s life!
“I think it is time for you to concede,” Captain Townsend stammered as he lowered his guard. “Look, your arm is hurt and —” the captain said, pointing at my arm with his free hand.
Cutting him off, I lunged at him, and he deflected my blade, but stumbled backward several steps, while still attempting to reason with me. I refused to hear him out. I was now focused on the task at hand.
“I thought you said you knew how to fight,” I taunted, causing the crew to go crazy again. “Or perhaps you would like to concede?” I jeered.
Aiden lunged and half-heartedly swung his sword, which I easily blocked. Lunging back in turn, I managed to put the captain on the defensive.
Seeing a moment of hesitation from him, I delivered a kick to his lower left leg, throwing him off balance. He grunted and fell to the deck onto one knee.
I circled around behind him as my breath seemed to come in harsh, angry gasps. Giving an extra push with my booted foot in the middle of his back, I managed to knock him down on all fours.
The captain snorted in frustration and pounded a fist into the deck in a show of anger of his own. Then slowly rising to his feet, he looked over his shoulder at me, and I saw something in his eyes besides surprise at my underhanded tactics; it was determination.
Growling somewhere deep in his throat, Captain Aiden Townsend looked like an angry bull preparing to charge. Turning towards me he lunged, slashing with his sword, a move I had anticipated and easily sidestepped, deflecting his emotionally fueled advances.
This caused another loud outburst of laughter from the crew. We circled each other again, both of us taut and on edge as we lunged at one another, simultaneously locking blades. Aiden’s left arm snaked out and grabbed a hold of my waist. Pinning me tightly against his larger frame, our swords rested between us.
“You need to concede, and I will allow you to save face,” Townsend said between clenched teeth. His rage was clearly manifested by his ragged breathing as he leaned in even closer to my face, to emphasize his displeasure.
“Your hubris is astounding, sir, or is it that you are worried that you might be bested by a woman!” I sweetly asked, just before stomping on the instep of his foot with the heel of my boot.
“Ouch!” he yelled. “Why you little —” he began to say, before letting out another growl of displeasure.
I pushed off from him when he was momentarily surprised by my move, and my blade caught the back of his hand, when we came out of the clench. Looking down, he couldn’t believe what he saw. The back of his right hand was bleeding from a two inch gash.


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Book 3 - Olivia's Promise

How far would you go to save your best friend from a fate worse than death? Olivia Townsend is willing to do whatever it takes to save Lilly from just such a fate.

The year is 1804. Lady Olivia Sophia Allen Townsend has just turned 20 years old. She is beautiful, well-educated and considered by some in polite society to be far too eccentric for her own good. When Olivia was younger, she was very open about her gift of being able to see spirits. But the shunning by her peers has caused her to turn her back on those who need her the most - spirits caught between two worlds. That is until her best friend Lilly Collins comes to her in the middle of the night and asks for her help. Lilly can’t remember what happened to her and finds herself in need of Olivia’s unique gifts.

Olivia’s younger sister, Coco, is also gifted with a unique set of skills - she can touch someone and know things about them that they would sometimes prefer to keep hidden. Together, the sisters set off on a sea voyage, from Ireland to America, intent on solving the mystery of Lilly’s untimely death.
Brody and Quinton Beaumont, fine-looking, eligible, southern American gentlemen, and heirs to a successful cotton empire, are twins hiding a deep dark secret. Their mother, Annabelle Beaumont, died eight years earlier on the night of their annual birthday winter ball, yet she continues to rule over their plantation home with an iron fist.

Olivia, drawn to no man, feels suddenly akin to Brody Beaumont, but she must figure out if she can trust him, and if he or his brother had anything to do with Lilly’s death.

Here is an excerpt.

I headed straight for the trail running parallel with the forest and away from the house. My unruly red hair tucked discreetly beneath a wool cap, I buttoned up the brown wool coat covering my neck. Frost crystals formed in front of my face with each breath and the ground crunched beneath my feet. A thin layer of ice coated the blades of grass and fallen leaves. Shoving my hands deep into my pockets to keep them warm, I scolded myself for not remembering to grab a pair of gloves before leaving. It was colder than I anticipated, yet no amount of money could persuade me to turn around and go back to retrieve them. I wanted to put as much distance between me and that house.
 I briskly walked for twenty minutes before the ground began to vibrate beneath my feet and I heard thundering horse hooves pounding the ground behind me. Quickly turning to see three riders coming straight at me, left precious little time to think.

“Get out of the way, boy,” Jackson yelled, just before forcing me to dive off the road and into the ditch, as they barreled past me.
“And to think I’ve been worried about demonic spirits, when I really should have been worried about getting trampled by a horse.” Retrieving my cap from the ditch I currently found myself in, I assessed the damages and began to curse in Gaelic when I realized that I had ripped my favorite coat and skinned my knee. Again!
Covered in twigs, leaves and dirt, I crawled from the ditch, and turned in the direction of the retreating riders, as one of them pulled up short and turned around. Using the cap to brush the leaves and grass from my clothes, I looked up to see Brody riding towards me.
“Do the three of you make it a habit of running helpless individuals off the road and into ditches very often?” I glared up at him.
Brody jumped down from his horse just as Jackson and Quinton came to a skidding halt next to us. “Well, we don’t really make it a habit, but I will admit that it has happened once or twice.” He chuckled.
“And exactly what do you find so humorous about this situation, Mr. Beaumont?” I grumbled, narrowing my eyes at him.
Standing up straight, I was all of five feet, seven inches tall. Placing my hands on my hips, I glared at the three offending men. Brody and Quinton both stood an impressive six feet, three inches tall while Jackson Montgomery was about two inches shorter. The fact that they found humor in my pain irked me, and I nearly kicked them all in the shin, but thought better of it. “Well?” I demanded, with a stomp of my booted foot.
“We really didn’t mean to run you off the road, Olivia. Say, why are you dressed like that?” Brody asked with another chuckle, removing a handkerchief from his pocket and wetting the corner with his tongue.
Dodging his attempts at cleaning the smudge of dirt from my face with his spittle and handkerchief, I resorted to swatting his hand away, when he wouldn’t give up. “Have you ever taken a walk on a brisk morning, without your britches on?” I asked, with a self-righteous indignant tone, I snatched the cloth from his hand to wipe my own face.
“Well, no,” Brody replied. “Why would I?” he continued, reaching over and removing a smudge I’d missed, with his thumb, earning him another nasty glare.
“That’s crazy. We’d freeze our… uh… ” Jackson stammered, unsure that he should finish that sentence.
“Exactly! You’d freeze your Netherlands off,” I boldly stated. “That is exactly my point, gentlemen. Thin, flimsy material is no barrier against your cold, West Virginia winters. I would freeze parts of me that I guarantee wouldn’t thaw out until next spring.”
“I like her, Brody. She’s spunky and speaks her mind. Most refreshing in a woman, if you ask me,” Quinton laughed heartily, giving me a firm slap on the back, earning him a sour look. “And she appears to be very sturdy. Not like all those prissy little things that you normally attract. Why, most of them look like they would break at the merest of touches. I swear, Brody, she’s virtually indestructible. Nearly trampled by two horses and look, she’s still standing,” Quinton said, poking his brother in the stomach with his elbow.
“My, how you flatter me so, Quinton Beaumont,” I said sarcastically, before punching him in the arm. “Aye, I do speak my mind, you feckless savage. But that does not give you leave to manhandle me like your prized mare,” I admonished, disdain dripping from my lips.
Quinton and Jackson both laughed off my insult, shoving the other as they turned their backs to me, dismissively. “I’ll show you indestructible,” I grumbled, adding a few Gaelic insults under my breath, as I prepared to attack Quinton from behind.
Brody acted quickly, stepping between us, diverting a disaster he saw coming. With a jovial smile, he took me by the arm, leading me over to Zeus. Jackson and Quinton were none the wiser as they gathered up their mounts.

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Olivia's Promise just released on August 1st! Woo hoo! Congratulations on your new novel, Diane!

Thank you!

My pleasure! So, tell us one more thing about this series before you go...

The females in my series are all strong, independent women, who are forward thinkers, ahead of their time. Each one of these individual characters have flaws that they must get past as they grow and mature into adulthood. These struggles help them to learn who they really are and where their strengths truly lie.


There are definitely some riveting stories here! I can tell. 

Thanks for letting us know all about your historical romance series with paranormal and suspense aspects! The books sound awesome! :)


About the Author:


 I was born Diane Michelle Brewer, in Riverside, California, on March 2, 1963 and given this unassuming name by my loving parents. I grew up with my one sibling, David Troy who was thirteen months older. My brother, passed away in January, 2011, two weeks shy of his forty-ninth birthday. Then on December 7, of that same year, I lost my father to cancer. As you may well imagine, 2011 was not a very good year for me. But it was also the catalyst, which fueled the fire and started me down this path to fulfilling a lifelong dream.
            When I was younger, I had a very active imagination, but never dared to dream bigger than myself, because I had little confidence that things would ever work out the way that I hoped. Now that I am older, I feel freed from childish fears and have dared to dream the biggest dream of them all.
            I started writing my first novel shortly after my fiftieth birthday. It took me a mere six months to finish my first work of fiction. And mind you, I worked a full-time job, eleven hours a day, five days a week.  
            I’m not even sure I know how it happened, but the words just poured out of me. Writing was like an awakening for me and it just felt right, even invigorating as the words flowed onto my computer screen.
In the beginning, I had some ideas of what I wanted to say, but what came out was something completely different. After I finished the novel, I went through and changed a few things and then gave it to a good friend, who loved it and asked me for more.          
            My first two books were well received by critics and bibliophiles alike. I even received a five star rating for my first book, Angelina’s Secret. I also received a Benjamin Franklin Award, which was a real thrill for me.
I don’t need the adoration of a nation to make me feel good about myself or even make me complete. I have already achieved the feeling of accomplishment by being a mother and wife.
My dream was about finding my true voice and then having the courage to speak it, which took me fifty years to discover that I even had, but now that I have, I intend to make it heard.
            I write under my current name, Diane Merrill Wigginton and my books can be found on Amazon. They fall under the genre of Historic Romance, but they are so much more than that. They are filled with adventure, suspense and passion.


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