Meet the Men of All for Love with Nicki Bennett and Ariel Tachna

July 26, 2016

Way back seven years ago, when we first published Checkmate, Mary Calmes fell as in love with Teodoro as we are. She deployed her secret superpower for finding the perfect image for characters she loves and provided us with visual inspiration for the rest of the stories in the series. She did such a perfect job (as always) that we wanted to share those images with you. Obviously they aren’t all in period clothing, but that’s why we have imaginations, right? We can picture them in period costume–or in no clothes at all. ;)


Teo - MaryC

Teodoro de Ciéza de Vivar is a Spanish sword-for-hire who lives in Madrid with his son. He’s dark and magnetic and everything you could hope for in a swashbuckling hero.




Lord Christian Blackwood, Viscount Aldwych, is about as far from Teodoro in looks or experience as you can get. He’s English, young, inexperienced in the ways of the sword, and probably more naive than he has any right to be.


Esteban grown-RMartin - Copy

Esteban de Ciéza de Vivar is the son of Teodoro’s late wife and lives with Teo in Madrid. He’s fourteen when the story starts, although as the series progresses, he turns into the young man in the picture. He adores his guardian and wants nothing more than his approval.


Gerrard Hawkins is Christian’s bodyguard and friend. He has never been a lover of men, but he has enough respect for Christian not to question his tastes. His hair is a little darker than in this picture, but Mary nailed the world-weary alpha male.


Raul by Mary


Raúl is Rom, but more than that, he’s a healer and a bit of a mystic, and if Esteban is to be believed, there’s nothing he can’t do. He’s Teodoro’s best friend, and not above a bit of emotional blackmail if it means he will see Teo happy and settled.


Aristide_gabriel_aubry - Copy


Aristide took his name when he broke with his family at nineteen. He lives and works now in Paris as a Royal Musketeer. His honor and the bonds of military brotherhood he shares with Perrin and Léandre are the two most important things in his life.


Leandre_MaryC - Copy


Léandre made his way to Paris after leaving the monastery in disgrace. Now a valued member of the Royal Musketeers, he shares his lodgings (and his bed) with Aristide and Perrin.




Fleeing a past he would rather forget, Perrin chooses blunt speech over any form of flattery or polite speech. He prefers actions to words when whenever possible. (Can you tell Perrin is Mary’s favorite?)


Benoit - Copy

A simple blacksmith, Benoît of Montredon doesn’t know how he got mixed up with politics or musketeers, but he’s quite sure he doesn’t belong there, especially when he starts having feelings for a certain musketeer.

Check out Checkmate today!



When sword-for-hire Teodoro Ciéza de Vivar accepts a commission to “rescue” Lord Christian Blackwood from unsuitable influences, he has no idea he’s landed himself in the middle of a plot to assassinate King Philip IV of Spain and blame the English ambassador for the deed. Nor does he expect the spoiled child he’s sent to retrieve to be a handsome, engaging young man.

As Teodoro and Christian face down enemies at every turn, they fall more and more in love, an emotion they can’t safely indulge with the threat of the Inquisition looming over them. It will take all their combined guile and influence to outmaneuver the powerful men who would see them separated… or even killed.



Author Bios:

Growing up in Chicago, Nicki Bennett spent every Saturday at the central library, losing herself in the world of books. A voracious reader, she eventually found it difficult to find enough of the kind of stories she liked to read and decided to start writing them herself.

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When Ariel Tachna was twelve years old, she discovered two things: the French language and romance novels. Those two loves have defined her ever since. By the time she finished high school, she’d written four novels, none of which anyone would want to read now, featuring a young woman who was—you guessed it—bilingual. That girl was everything Ariel wanted to be at age twelve and wasn’t.

She now lives on the outskirts of Houston with her husband (who also speaks French), her kids (who understand French even when they’re too lazy to speak it back), and their two dogs (who steadfastly refuse to answer any French commands).

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