Review – A Match Made in Bed by Cathy Maxwell

About the Book:

Miss Cassandra Howell is too tall, too bookish, and too smart—but she does have money and a father who wants a grand title for her. Cassandra hasn’t felt a desire to marry until she meets the sinfully handsome Duke of Camberly, who captures her imagination . . . until Soren York, Earl of Dewsberry and her family’s sworn enemy, steps in the way.

The Holwells ruined Soren’s family, and he’s lived on the knife’s edge trying to resurrect their fortunes . . . until he considers marrying the Holwell Heiress. Not only would her dowry give him the funds he needs, he has secretly had an eye on the independent-minded bluestocking since they both first realized the differences between men and women.

She likes to read; he has no patience for books. She knows little of sex; he is a man of the world and willing to school her. Her family destroyed his; his offer of marriage may be her only salvation.

Now Cassandra and Soren must learn to love each other for who they are, not what they are—and the lessons are becoming an exercise in absolute pleasure.

Click on title below for direct Amazon buy link:                                                  A Match Made in Bed: A Spinster Heiresses Novel (The Spinster Heiresses)

My Review:             

I received a complimentary copy of this book.

What happens when you take feuding families, then childhood friends, then friends to enemies (at least on one of their parts) then a forced marriage of convenience?  You get one fantastic book!  Heiress Cassandra Holwell has never forgiven Soren York for his cruel act when they were teenagers.  The incident was particularly painful to Cass, as Soren was her friend, one who helped her not to feel like an outsider.  Now, a decade later, Soren is back from Canada to claim the title of Earl of Dewsberry, and to try to find an heiress to help save his estate.  He would like nothing better than to convince his childhood friend, Cass, to marry him.  In truth, he doesn’t remember insulting her all those years ago, because that was the time his father pulled him out of school and shipped him off to Canada, and he was dealing with his own anger and disappointment.  Though Cass is giving him the cold shoulder, and her father is still holding onto their families’ old feud, Soren is determined to at least try to win Cass.

Cass realizes that Soren needs an heiress, and she knows that she’s at the top of his list.  She, however, has set her sights on a duke, and is thrilled to be attending his house party.  She is less than thrilled to find Soren also in attendance, and her hopes are crushed when she realizes that the duke invited her merely to cover a secret dalliance.  When an unfortunate set of circumstances causes Cass to be found in a compromising position with Soren, she has to make a decision.  Will she marry her former friend to save her reputation, or will she accept social ruin and be forever banished to the country, never marrying or having children and a home of her own?  Her father has made it clear that if she chooses to marry Soren, he will disown her.

Though Cass is strong willed and intelligent, she has always been an obedient daughter, and is very torn by the choice she must make.  Further drama, and a conversation with Soren, and Cass decides on marriage.  A kiss they shared hints that the physical part of marriage, at least, may be very pleasurable.  Never one to waste time, Soren applies for a special license, and they are wed almost immediately.

Some aspects of Cass’s behavior didn’t endear her to me at first.  She seemed haughty and very proud of her presumed intelligence, and her treatment of Soren was purely rude.  She was determined that Cornwall, where Soren’s family home is located, was a provincial, dull area that couldn’t possibly harbor any interesting or intelligent people to attend the salons she planned on hosting.  Yet, when things drastically go wrong, she shows what she’s truly made of.  Cass takes in stride the surprise (that’s putting it mildly) that Soren springs on her, and backs him up in dealing with his truly awful mother.  She also became determined to find her own niche in Cornwall, and became a loving figure to Logan, the unexpected addition to their household.  I came to love and admire her resilience, her willingness to change, and the wonderful person she became.

I found Soren extremely likeable from the beginning.  He wasn’t phony, and didn’t try to play Cass, he was straightforward.  He took her slings and snubs with grace, and behaved like a gentleman.  When disaster befell them after their marriage, he would have been totally justified in being enraged, yet he never blamed Cass, and immediately began to make plans on how to recover.  His care of Cass and other members of his household was above reproach, yet he was strong enough to stand up to his dragon of a mother when she was in the wrong.

A MATCH MADE IN BED captivated me from beginning to end.  Author Cathy Maxwell tossed in so many twists and different tropes, yet it all worked together perfectly. There is only one facet of the story that didn’t work for me, and that’s the villain not getting his comeuppance.  I believe there was a way legally this could have been done, and that would have made it a perfect read for me.  Still, I found the story exciting, romantic, and touching.  The passion between Soren and Cass was beautiful, as was their slow building trust and love.  In addition, their genuine liking for each other, and their ability to talk things through made A MATCH MADE IN BED a stellar read for me, one that will go on my keeper shelf.  ~Rose

 

Posted in Cathy Maxwell, Historical Romance, Review, Rose | Leave a comment

Review – The Companion’s Secret by Susanna Craig

About the book:

In this tempestuous new series, rebellious hearts prove hard to tame—but can England’s most dangerous rake be captured by a wild Irish rose?

They call him Lord Ash, for his desires burn hot and leave devastation in their wake. But Gabriel Finch, Marquess of Ashborough, knows the fortune he’s made at the card table won’t be enough to save his family estate. For that he needs a bride with a sterling reputation to distract from his tarnished past, a woman who’ll be proof against the fires of his dark passion. Fate deals him the perfect lady. So why can’t Gabriel keep his eyes from wandering to her outspoken, infuriatingly independent Irish cousin?

Camellia Burke came to London as her aunt’s companion, and she’s brought a secret with her: she’s written a scandalous novel. Now, her publisher demands that she make her fictional villain more realistic. Who better than the notorious Lord Ash as a model? Duty-bound to prevent her cousin from making a disastrous match, Cami never meant to gamble her own heart away. But when she’s called home, Ash follows. And though they’re surrounded by the flames of Rebellion, the sparks between them may be the most dangerous of all…

Click on title below for direct Amazon buy link:                                                      The Companion’s Secret (Rogues and Rebels)

My Review:                      

I received a complimentary copy of this book.

When Gabriel Finch, Marquess Ashborough, overhears his cousin and heir, bragging at a gaming hell about his anticipated future fortune, Ash knows it’s time to make some changes in his life.  He needs to marry and produce an heir, but his own reputation is so black that no society lady will welcome his suit.  Ash manages to buy up all the gaming vowels of a young lord about to be ruined, and offers them to the young man’s father in exchange for his approval for Ash to marry his daughter, Felicity.  As Ash begins his courtship of Felicity, he finds himself greatly attracted to her cousin, Camellia, who is the companion to Felicity’s mother.

Camellia Burke was raised in Ireland, but desired to come to England so that she’d be close to publishers.  She’s secretly writing a book, one loosely based on the life of her family, herself, and the matter of Ireland’s fight for independence.  Cami has received a positive response from one publisher, who is willing to publish her book if she’s willing to make some changes to her villain, who needs to be fleshed out as opposed to the one dimensional character she portrayed.  Though Cami is horrified that her cousin is being forced to marry such a notorious rake and gambler, she finds Ash is the perfect model for her fictitious villain.

As Felicity dutifully accepts Ash’s courtship, Cami begins to see the real man beneath the wicked reputation.  Likewise, Ash has noticed Cami’s beauty beneath the spectacles and the ill fitting clothes, but he’s attracted to her spirit and her fierceness, as well.  Though his intended bride is kind, dutiful, and beautiful, his heart longs for Cami.  But Ash has painted himself into a corner, as he needs a society lady for his wife, not an Irish solicitor’s daughter, if he’s to repair his black reputation.  When Cami is urgently summoned back to Ireland by her family, Ash decides he must follow, even though he desperately needs to stay in town to fight the slander of an enemy determined to steal everything from him.

I love both Cami and Ash so much – they have many facets to their character, and aren’t written as the stereotypical rake and bluestocking.  Ash almost feels cursed, as everyone he’s ever loved has died.  He threw himself into improving his estate, and along the way became a successful gambler, a rake, and a man with many enemies, but only one true friend.  Still, he secretly is a very generous and caring man who longs for someone to love him – the man, Gabriel.  Cami suffered betrayal in love at a young age, and while she decided never to marry, she didn’t become hard and cold.  She loves her family, who demands too much of her, and shows Ash that she does see, and love, the man he truly is – Gabriel.

THE COMPANION’S SECRET is the first book I’ve read by Susanna Craig, and I am in love with her writing.  This story flowed beautifully, and captivated me so much that I read it in one sitting.  The love developing between Ash and Cami was so strong and emotional, that my heart was breaking for them when their situation seemed impossible.

                He wrapped his arms around her, and she laid her cheek against his chest, as she had done that day in the carriage.  Her fingertips played in the knot of his cravat, stirring up the warm scent of his cologne, and she nestled closer to draw it in, draw him in.              

                They fit together, two sharp edges locked tight and smooth, and she knew then that she would  fight his demons, bare-handed if she must, but they could not, would not have him.  He was hers.

In addition to the sizzling chemistry and strong romance between Ash and Cami, there were well rounded secondary characters who added much to the story, making THE COMPANION’S SECRET one fabulous read that I recommend most highly to lovers of a beautifully written historical romance.                                                                                          (As originally reviewed for Buried Under Romance)

Posted in Bonnie, Historical Romance, Review, Susanna Craig | Leave a comment

Review – The Games the Earl Plays by Eleanor Meyers

About the Book:

After growing up in an orphanage, Rose Smith enjoys using her imagination to escape her reality.
Yet while she’d readily claim that she’d made the best decisions in life, her only mistake is when she falls for the one man in the world she can never have.

The Earl of Obenshire.

They’re just friends, however.
Albeit, very close friends.
But that will never change the fact that he is an earl and the heir to a dukedom.

Could her life get any more complicated?

Gerard de Gray has never allowed people get close to him.
But … for some reason, Rose’s company has become as necessary to him as air.
Not only is Rose his best friend but Gerard’s feelings for Rose are beginning to change.
For a man who’s used to getting what he wants, he knows that for Rose’s sake, he can never cross that line.

No matter what…

Both Rose and Gerard are sure their friendship will stand the test of time.

Because after all, they are great friends.
Closer than most friends, but only friends nonetheless.

Just friends.   Nothing more.   Aren’t they?

Click on title below for direct Amazon buy link:                                            The Games the Earl Plays (Heirs of High Society) (A Regency Romance Book)

My Review:                 

I received a complimentary copy of this book.

Rose Smith is an orphan who formed her own family with four other abandoned children.  When one of those children, her sister, Alexandra, got married a year ago, Rose became acquainted with Gerard de Gray, the best friend of Alexandra’s husband.  Over the course of the last year, that acquaintance has developed into a deep friendship, which the two have kept mostly hidden, since Gerard is also the Earl of Obenshire and heir to a ducal title.  It would be scandalous for a noble to have a friendship with an illegitimate woman, it may even be dangerous, as Gerard’s powerful father would surely cause harm to Rose if he ever learned of it.  But what Gerard doesn’t know is that Rose has fallen in love with him, though she knows anything but their secret friendship is impossible.

The season is about to end, and Gerard is realizing how bleak his life will be as he heads off to his country home, and won’t see Rose for months.  He decides to hold a month long house party, in which Rose will be able to attend by coming as a guest of her friend, Alexandra.  Rose is thrilled to be able to spend that much time with Gerard, and arranges to take leave from her job at the lending library.

I absolutely love the friendship and chemistry between Rose and Gerard.  They share secret smiles, and have even developed little signals to send non verbal messages.  Their relationship gets complicated when Gerard begins to realize that his feelings for Rose are much deeper, yet his position won’t allow him to have her for his own.  Things really get tangled when someone finds out who Rose’s birth parents are and releases that information to the press.  Then Gerard’s evil and dangerous father arrives on the scene, determined to see his son wed another.  Gerard is forced to betray and hurt Rose in a seemingly unforgivable way, in order to keep her safe.

I loved Gerard’s character, but I really hated the way he felt he had to hurt Rose.  She was so strong and able to take the barbs about her illegitimacy from others, but was crushed when Gerard appeared to turn on her.  As with the first book in this series, there are many unanswered questions.  Rose develops a serious illness which is never fully explained, and the villains responsible are never shown as suffering any consequences for their actions.  I hope this is addressed in upcoming installments of the HEIRS OF HIGH SOCIETY series, as Rose’s adopted brothers are all intriguing characters, and I’m looking forward to their stories. THE GAMES THE EARL PLAYS is an engaging, sweet, romantic, and sometimes heart breaking story which I enjoyed greatly.  ~Rose

 

Posted in Eleanor Meyers, Historical Romance, Review, Rose | Leave a comment

Review – The Secret of Flirting by Sabrina Jeffries

About the Book:

The moment spymaster Baron Fulkham meets the stunning Princess Anne of Chanay, he’s positive her royal persona is a ruse and that she’s actually Monique Servais, the mysterious actress he met three years before in Dieppe. But as he pursues his suspicions, he uncovers a plot of attempted assassination and betrayal that could very well destroy his career, expose his own secrets…and ruin the woman he’s rapidly coming to love.

Click on title below for direct Amazon buy link:                                               The Secret of Flirting (The Sinful Suitors Book 5)

My Review:               

I received a complimentary copy of this book.

Gregory Vyse, Baron Fulkham, is a spymaster and a foreign office undersecretary.  He has big plans for his future.  Currently, he is meeting the candidates who are being considered as the next ruler of Belgium.  When he meets Princess Aurore of Chanay, he realizes that he’s met her before – only it wasn’t the princess he met, but actress Monique Servais.  Three years ago, Gregory went backstage after a performance to meet Monique, only to find her less than receptive to his title or his good looks.  In fact, their meeting was a series of snarky dialogue, which was really a cover for the sizzling attraction they were both feeling.  Monique had an ailing grandmother to take care of, and no time for a flirtation with an arrogant Englishman.

Monique actually has ties to the royal family – she is cousin to Princess Aurore, and looks remarkably like her.  Monique’s grandmother was disowned when she married an actor, and is now very ill.  When Monique is approached by her uncle, with a mad scheme to impersonate the princess, who is also gravely ill, she accepts because the reward will allow her grandmother to return to her family and be cared for.  However, she will only obtain this if she is successful in her masquerade.  It’s her bad luck that she will be forced into continued contact with Gregory, the man she brushed off three years ago.

When Gregory confronts Monique, she remains in character as the princess, and denies that she’s the woman he thinks he met.  Gregory is frustrated, because he has no proof, and cannot rely that his memory is really accurate.  He also can’t fathom why an imposter would take the princess’s place.  As he works to find the truth, he and Monique begin a cat and mouse game, where he’s constantly trying to trip her up.  She is a very good actress, however, and is very motivated to be a success.  This couple still has an undeniable attraction, which leads to some steamy encounters while they try to outwit the other.  Then the assassination attempts start.

THE SECRET OF FLIRTING is full of intrigue and adventure to go along with the romance and steam.  Gregory is a man who is hiding a secret past, and who comes off as very focused and determined, but not very warm.  Soon Monique’s charms melt his reserve, and he’s searching for a way to fit her into his life permanently.  Monique shows strength, but had a softer and caring side, and I rooted for her to be happy.  I was surprised when the villain was revealed, and I always love it when that happens, as I enjoy the unpredictability.  If you enjoy a steamy, enemies-to-lovers story, where the suspense and action play a prominent role, I believe you’ll enjoy THE SECRET OF FLIRTING.  ~Rose

Posted in Historical Romance, Review, Rose, Sabrina Jeffries | 2 Comments

Review – The Woman Left Behind by Linda Howard

About the Book:

Jina Modell works in Communications for a paramilitary organization, and she really likes it. She likes the money, she likes the coolness factor—and it was very cool, even for Washington, DC. She liked being able to kick terrorist butts without ever leaving the climate-controlled comfort of the control room.

But when Jina displays a really high aptitude for spatial awareness and action, she’s reassigned to work as an on-site drone operator in the field with one of the GO-teams, an elite paramilitary unit. The only problem is she isn’t particularly athletic, to put it mildly, and in order to be fit for the field, she has to learn how to run and swim for miles, jump out of a plane, shoot a gun…or else be out of a job.

Team leader Levi, call sign Ace, doesn’t have much confidence in Jina—who he dubbed Babe as soon as he heard her raspy, sexy voice—making it through the rigors of training. The last thing he needs is some tech geek holding them back from completing a dangerous, covert operation. In the following months, however, no one is more surprised than he when Babe, who hates to sweat, begins to thrive in her new environment, displaying a grit and courage that wins her the admiration of her hardened, battle-worn teammates. What’s even more surprising is that the usually very disciplined GO-team leader can’t stop thinking about kissing her smart, stubborn mouth…or the building chemistry and tension between them.

Meanwhile, a powerful Congresswoman is working behind the scenes to destroy the GO-teams, and a trap is set to ambush Levi’s squad in Syria. While the rest of the operatives set off on their mission, Jina remains at the base to control the surveillance drone, when the base is suddenly attacked with explosives. Thought dead by her comrades, Jina escapes to the desert where, brutally tested beyond measure, she has to figure out how to stay undetected by the enemy and make it to her crew in time before they’re exfiltrated out of the country.

But Levi never leaves a soldier behind, especially the brave woman he’s fallen for. He’s bringing back the woman they left behind, dead or alive.

Click on title below for direct Amazon buy link:                                                    The Woman Left Behind: A Novel

My Review:                    

I received a complimentary copy of this book.

Jina Modell’s world is turned upside down when she is advised that her cushy job has been eliminated, and she’s being reassigned.  The video game in the break room was used for more than the employees’ enjoyment, and was monitored to observe various skill levels of the players.  Jina is the champ, and her employers feel that she is an ideal candidate to join one of the GO-teams if she passes the initial physical challenge. As Jina doggedly meets the requirements, Levi “Ace” Butcher, team leader, reluctantly accepts her as the eighth member of his team.

Ace dubs Jina as “Babe,” as all team members use code names, and he frankly doesn’t expect that she will make it through the training regimen.  Babe is one determined and stubborn woman who refuses to quit.  Over the next several months, she meets all the physical requirements, surprising even herself.  Though her function on this team is to be the drone operator, she still needs to have all the survival training in order to accompany the men on their missions to anywhere.  Right from the get-go, Ace made it clear that Babe was off limits to everyone on the team, including himself.  This means that Babe and Ace can’t act on the blazing, off the charts chemistry they have.

Babe has now been on several missions, and has been fully accepted by the team. She’s met every challenge, even those that terrified her.  Her mantra has always been that she’s not a quitter.  It was quite a revelation to watch the girly-girl, Jina, who hated dirt, heat, and sweat, morph into Babe, a lean, fit, gun-toting, sweaty team member.  I found it amusing that underneath all the “soldier” garb, she still painted her toenails.  Coming from a large family, which included brothers, Babe is able to hold her own among the men, and give as good as she gets.  If nothing can ever come of her longing for Ace, that’s just the way it’s got to be.

Babe doesn’t realize how badly Ace wants her, and actually wanted her to fail her training so that he could pursue a relationship with her.  He has too much honor to actually sabotage her attempts, and despite himself, he finds himself helping her on occasion.  Now that she’s an integral and valuable part of the team, Ace is resigned in having to wait.  But he’s determined that someday, somehow, Babe will be his.

Everything changes when a mission the team is on is sabotaged.  All indications are that Babe was in an explosion and is most assuredly dead.  Ace has two badly injured men who still can be saved if they receive treatment soon, and he has to make the life and death decision of how to proceed.  Babe becomes THE WOMAN LEFT BEHIND, and her will to survive and her determination are astounding.  It’s amazing to realize that these types of scenarios happen in real life, and there are genuine heroes who face this type of danger on a daily basis. Though Babe knows intellectually that Ace made the right decision, her heart tells her a different story.  What follows is an emotional and painful journey for everyone on the team.  THE WOMAN LEFT BEHIND is a fast paced, heart pounding novel that held me spellbound as it explored the best and worst of human nature, betrayal, courage, determination, passion, and love.  Highly recommended, especially for those who enjoy romantic suspense with strong characters.  ~Rose    

Posted in Linda Howard, Review, Romantic Suspense, Rose | Leave a comment

Review – Lord Garson’s Bride by Anna Campbell

About the Book:

Lord Garson’s dilemma.

Hugh Rutherford, Lord Garson, loved and lost when his fiancée returned to the husband she’d believed drowned. In the three years since, Garson has come to loathe his notoriety as London’s most famous rejected suitor. It’s high time to find a bride, a level-headed, well-bred lady who will accept a loveless marriage and cause no trouble. Luckily he has just the candidate in mind.

A marriage of convenience…

When Lady Jane Norris receives an unexpected proposal from her childhood friend Lord Garson, marriage to the handsome baron rescues her from a grim future. At twenty-eight, Jane is on the shelf and under no illusions about her attractions. With her father’s death, she’s lost her home and faces life as an impecunious spinster. While she’s aware Garson will never love again, they have friendship and goodwill to build upon. What can possibly go wrong?

…becomes very inconvenient indeed

From the first, things don’t go to plan, not least because Garson soon finds himself in thrall to his surprisingly intriguing bride. A union grounded in duty veers toward obsession. And when the Dashing Widows take Jane in hand and transform her into the toast of London, Garson isn’t the only man to notice his wife’s beauty and charm. He’s known Jane all her life, but suddenly she’s a dazzling stranger. This isn’t the uncomplicated, pragmatic match he signed up for. When Jane defies the final taboo and asks for his love, her impossible demand threatens to blast this convenient marriage to oblivion.

Once the dust settles, will Lord Garson still be the man who can only love once?

Click on title below for direct Amazon buy link:
Lord Garson’s Bride: A Novel-Length Dashing Widows Romance

My Review:                

I received a complimentary copy of this book.

Jane Norris is contemplating her future, as she’s about to leave her home for the last time.  Her father, the earl, has died, and his heir will soon be arriving to take up residence.  She’s surprised by a visit from childhood friend, Hugh Rutherford, who has an even more surprising purpose for his visit.  Hugh, Baron Garson, has decided that it’s time to marry and begin a family.  Three years ago, he was engaged to Morwenna Nash, only to have her husband, who was missing for years and believed dead, return on the very day of their engagement celebration.  Hugh was heartbroken, as he deeply loved (and still loves) Morwenna, but he accepts that he must move forward with his life.  Jane is a dear friend, and he proposes a convenient marriage – one in which there will be friendship, affection, and children, but never love.  Jane is shocked, but after considering her prospects, and how much she’d like children, she accepts Hugh’s proposal.

After their hasty marriage, there are a few rough days, as Jane is a bit skittish, as well as alarmed about the passion she feels.  Hugh reacts with the patience of a saint as he decides to woo his new wife and give her the courtship she never had.  His care is well rewarded as they fall into a relationship which includes good times, laughter, and friendship by day, and steamy times between the sheets at night.  The marriage is going in just the direction Hugh had hoped it would, and he’s well pleased as he takes his new bride to town to meet his friends and enter society.

At this point, I was certain that I was in for a typical marriage-of-convenience -turned-to-true-love story, (which is one I love to read, by the way) but author Anna Campbell had other ideas.  While Jane achieves success in society and is accepted by Hugh’s friends, she also realizes that she has fallen in love with her husband.  When she decides she has to let him know, Hugh is horrified that she has broken their agreement, and apologetically tells her that he can never return her feelings.  It’s not long before Jane decides she can’t live this way, and forces a separation.

I hated to see what became of the recently happy couple who are now living separate lives in separate residences.  Hugh remains steadfast in his love for Morwenna, yet he misses Jane greatly, and he won’t lie to her in order to get her back.  I liked Hugh from the beginning, and I admired his honesty in all his dealings with Jane.  His treatment of her was above reproach, and, to me, his only fault was being slow to realize that it’s possible to have more than one love in one’s life, and one love may be very different from another.  I felt my heart break for Jane, but I wish that she had stayed to fight, rather than run.

I have been hoping for a happy ever after for Hugh, ever since he suffered such a sad fate in CATCHING CAPTAIN NASH.  It does not come easily for him and Jane, as they both have fears to overcome, and some soul searching to do.  LORD GARSON’S BRIDE is a well written and passionate story that touched my heart and sent my emotions on a roller coaster ride.  I particularly recommend this book for fans of convenient marriages, and those who enjoy seeing a deserving character find out that love is lovelier the second time around.  ~Rose

Posted in Anna Campbell, Historical Romance, Review, Rose | 5 Comments

Not Quite Crazy by Catherine Bybee – Blog Tour, Review, Author Message, and Giveaway

About the Book:

No one drives in New York City. Everyone knows that, including California transplant Rachel Price. But that doesn’t stop her from driving into the city. From Connecticut. Every single morning. Rain or shine…or snow.

When she runs the charismatic and good-looking Jason Fairchild off the road, their immediate spark is met with bad timing. There is also one tiny little detail: Jason is her boss. And a woman as intelligent and dedicated to her career as Rachel knows not to date her boss.

As CEO of a private jet company, Jason Fairchild is more used to flying than driving. But if he hadn’t chosen to drive home one night, he wouldn’t have met the slowest—and most irresistible—driver in the entire metro area. Jason has never had time for love. Or dating. Or really anything that doesn’t involve work. But when he finds out that Rachel is the newest superstar in his marketing department, he can’t help wondering if fate has other plans…

About the Title:       Title: Not Quite Crazy                     Author: Catherine Bybee                                                           Release Date: March 6, 2018        Publisher: Montlake Romance

Click on title below for direct Amazon buy link:                                                    Not Quite Crazy (Not Quite Series Book 6)

Read an Excerpt:  

Rachel found the stack of mail on the dining room table. She fingered through a few bills and tossed the junk to the side to add to the recycle bin. The box Owen had spoken of didn’t have a mailing label. In fact, all that was written on the plain brown box was her name, her first name.

She peeled away the tape, not knowing what to expect. Once she folded the lid back, she saw a handwritten envelope on top of a white canvas bag. It took a little effort to lift the noisy bag from the box—the sound of metal hitting metal struck her as odd.

Chains.   Chains for the tires on her car.

“Who…?”   She opened the note and a second paper fell out.

Rachel

Thank you for braving this stranger in a storm and keeping me from frostbite. Welcome to Connecticut.

Jason

Below his name was a phone number

Something inside her stomach flipped, the buzz a teenage girl feels when she notices a popular boy watching her from the other side of the classroom. Or maybe she was reading into it. Maybe this was just a thank-you, a friendly gesture from a grateful, stranded traveler.

Her cheeks warmed.   Assuming he gave her a mobile number, Rachel decided to send a text.

Hello Jason. I received your gift. They were incredibly thoughtful. Thank you.

She read her note over, twice, then pressed “Send.” Off it went, in wherever notes went as they traveled faster than Superman in cyberspace.

The phone in her hand buzzed, reminding her she was holding it.

Is this Rachel?

She grinned.

Do you leave gifts on everyone’s doorstep in town?

Dot. Dot. Dot. It is nearly Christmas.

Was he flirting? It had been some time since she’d sent a text to anyone outside of the friend zone, so she couldn’t tell.

So you double as Connecticut’s Santa Claus?

Shhh. Don’t tell anyone. It’s a secret.

Well, he wasn’t not flirting.

I’ll keep my mouth closed on one condition.

Oh? What’s that?

I want to meet Vixen. She’s always been my favorite.

I thought Vixen was a he.

She giggled.

A boy named Vixen. That’s just cruel. Good point. I’ll see what I can do. The team is on a strict curfew until after the holiday.

Rachel found a rolling eye emoji.

My Review:                              

I received a complimentary copy of this book.

Rachel Price and Jason Fairchild first meet during a wicked New York snowstorm, which has Jason stranded on the side of the road.  Rachel gives him a ride and shelter until assistance arrives for him.  They begin a casual, somewhat flirty texting relationship, but before they’ve even gone on a real date, Rachel is about to make a presentation at work, when Jason walks in.  It seems that he is CEO and owner of the company she works for – in other words, her boss, and off limits.  Though Jason is willing to pursue a relationship, Rachel won’t take a chance on jeopardizing her job.  She’s convinced that dating the boss never ends well, and it’s always the employee who suffers.

Though Jason is disappointed, he still maintains a friendship with Rachel, and her ward, Owen, and helps them settle in to their new home.  Both Rachel and Jason are such amazing people, and have such longing for each other, that I found myself urging Rachel to take a chance.  She’s an extremely likeable and generous person.  Her best friend recently died, and left her son, Owen, under Rachel’s guardianship.  In order to allow Owen to have a relationship with his grandparents, she uprooted them from California and moved to New York.  As for Jason, he’s not the stereotypical millionaire playboy.  He’s very dedicated to his family, he works hard, and he seldom dates.

I love that this couple had established a solid friendship before they actually began to date.  Though they were obviously attracted to each other from the beginning, the relationship developed beautifully into passion, and then love.  The path was rocky, as there were outside events, such as a tragic accident involving Jason’s company, then a nasty custody issue with Owen – one that Rachel’s relationship with Jason may jeopardize.  This is my first experience reading Catherine Bybee, and I was very impressed.  Her writing flowed smoothly from the first page to the last.  The dialogue was believable and real, and I became totally invested in this story and this couple.  NOT QUITE CRAZY is a warm and sexy read that captured me, held my attention, and left me smiling.  ~Rose

About the Author:  

When Catherine Bybee fell in love with the first romance novel she ever read, she promised herself she would one day become a published author. Now she’s written twenty-seven books that have collectively sold more than four million copies and have been translated into more than eighteen languages. Along with her popular Not Quite series, she has also penned the Weekday Brides series, the Most Likely To series, and the First Wives series.

Raised in Washington State, Bybee moved to Southern California in hopes of becoming a movie star. After growing bored with waiting tables, she returned to school and became a registered nurse, spending most of her career in urban emergency rooms. Catherine now writes full-time. Fans can learn more at www.CatherineBybee.com.

Social Media Links:         Website: http://www.catherinebybee.com                         Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorCatherineBybee   Twitter: https://twitter.com/catherinebybee   Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/2905789.Catherine_Bybee

A Message From the Author:

In Not Quite Crazy, California transplant, Rachel Price, doesn’t understand the ramifications of driving into Manhattan from Connecticut every day; in every type of weather…especially snow. When she runs the charming Jason Fairchild off the road, sparks fly. Too bad Jason is her new boss and dating him is out of the question. Everyone knows it’s occupational suicide to date your boss.

Determined to keep her distance romantically, the two dive into a friendship. It isn’t long before those sparks ignite and neither one of them can deny their attraction. Throw in a teenage ward that Rachel has taken on after the death of her best friend, and biological grandparents that seek custody; and this heart warming love story is bound to whisk you away.

While I was writing Not Quite Crazy I took an impromptu trip to Manhattan last March. I purposely chose a winter month where I might be able to absorb what it felt like to be in the city when snow covered the ground. That might sound silly for those of you who live in the city, but for me, a woman who has lived in Southern California since she was eighteen years old, I had no idea just how snow impacts day to day life.

On the drive in from the airport, I was immediately struck by the bikes chained to posts and buried by snow. I observed a man digging his car out and effectively covering his neighbor’s car in the process. The plows did a great job of clearing the path for those cars actually moving, but did an equally fantastic job of making sure some vehicles couldn’t move for days. Trash piled up on the sidewalks would have to wait to be picked up until the thaw. It was astonishing to see. But the best experience for me, and one that made it into the pages of Not Quite Crazy, came when I took my first ride on the subway. You see, I was on my way uptown, from downtown to meet with my agent. Keep in mind, Manhattan is only five miles long. But it was St. Patrick’s Day and I completely forgot about the parade. I ordered an Uber, as one does, and sat bumper to bumper for nearly two hours. After arriving extremely late to my lunch, my wise and savvy agent gave me the instructions I needed to ride the subway back to my downtown hotel. I’m a grown woman, riding a subway shouldn’t intimidate me… but if I were honest, it did. So, with my purse strapped to my shoulder and zipped on the inside of my jacket, and my eyes wide open, I crowded into the underground train along with just about everyone else in the city.  Street performers jumped onto the car and started singing for change. Tourists chatted enthusiastically while locals looked bored with the whole process.

Rachel, my heroine in Not Quite Crazy is an extension of everyone I know that has lived in California. Here on the west coast we all have cars. We’re in them all the time. Public transportation is a joke when the distance between downtown LA and Orange County is so far away. The concept of always relying on public transportation to get to work every single day isn’t something most Southern Californian’s do. So when Rachel showed up on the page, I made sure she personified my own stubbornness about independently driving to and from wherever she needed to go. Even if it takes her two hours more than it should.

I hope you all enjoy this final chapter in the Not Quite Series and find room on your keeper shelf for Not Quite Crazy.

Cheers,                                                                                                                                       Catherine

Click on link below to Enter Giveaway for $50 Amazon gift card and digital copy of the “Not Quite” series:                                 CLICK HERE TO ENTER GIVEAWAY

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Review – As the Devil Dares by Anna Harrington

About the Book:

When playing a game of wits, never ever go up against the woman they call the Hellion . . .

LOVE IS A BATTLEFIELD…

Whether it’s business or pleasure, Lord Robert Carlisle never backs down from a dare. But finding a husband for scandalous Mariah Winslow? It’s one challenge he instantly regrets accepting. Even with all his connections—and rakish charms—Robert will have to use every trick in the book to marry off a woman with no dowry and no sense of decorum…no matter how stunningly beautiful she is.

Mariah Winslow has no intention of being a pawn in Lord Robert’s game. She knows he agreed to play matchmaker only to secure a partnership in her father’s shipping company, a partnership that’s rightfully hers. For now, though, she’ll dress for the elegant balls he throws and dance with the eligible bachelors he chooses. But she won’t be outwitted by the devil himself—no matter how tempting and irresistible she finds him.

Click on title below for direct Amazon buy link:                                                   As the Devil Dares (Capturing the Carlisles)

My Review:                        

I received a complimentary copy of this book.

Robert Carlisle is determined to be a responsible and successful businessman, and to be the man his late father always hoped he would be.  Robert’s rakish and dissolute lifestyle as a younger man indirectly led to his father’s death, and guilt has plagued him ever since.  Winslow Shipping is the most successful business around, and if Robert could only become partner, he will finally feel that he’s achieved some of the success he so desperately craves.  Winslow is willing to have Robert as a partner, but only if he succeeds in a task that seems nearly impossible, finding a husband for his daughter.

Mariah Winslow is now twenty-five, and is dubbed, “The Hellion,” for her outrageous actions that fall just short of causing her to be totally ruined.  She has no interest in society, her only desire is to become a part of her father’s business and to continue to support her charity project, Gatewell School for Orphans.  When her father puts his foot down and insists that Mariah partake in a real season, under threat of cutting off her allowance, Mariah has no choice but to reluctantly agree.  Her anger and disappointment are directed at Robert, whose mother will sponsor her, and who is actively trying to marry her off.  It enrages Mariah that her father is considering taking a stranger in as a partner in the family business, while she is soundly rejected.

Neither Robert nor Mariah wants to admit that they are greatly attracted to each other from the get-go, but despite their adversarial positions, they are.  I admit that I’m not a fan of enemies-to-lovers stories, and this couple’s bickering and sniping was not something I enjoyed.  They went from fighting to falling into each other’s arms, then back to fighting.  Mariah, in particular, was a complex and contrary character.  She devoted her time and money to her charity, and even worked tirelessly at the school.  Then she could turn around and do immature things like purposefully spilling champagne and dumping dirty water on Robert.  I’m conflicted about my feelings for this heroine, though I was more sympathetic to Robert, although his actions were not all aboveboard either. There are some touching moments and some wonderful secondary characters, in particular, Mariah’s friend, Whitby, who provides some lovely comical moments. If you enjoy a battle of the sexes, with no holds barred, and a hero and heroine with a steamy chemistry, AS THE DEVIL DARES may just be the read you’re looking for.  ~Rose

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No Earls Allowed by Shana Galen – Spotlight Tour, Review, Excerpt, and Giveaway

About the Book:

It is a truth universally acknowledged that a lady can do anything a man can do:  backwards and in high-heeled dancing slippers.

Lady Juliana, daughter of the Earl of St. Maur, needs all the help she can get. She’s running a ramshackle orphanage, London’s worst slumlord has illicit designs on her, and her father has suddenly become determined to marry her off.

Enter Major Neil Wraxall, bastard son of the Marquess of Kensington, sent to assist Lady Juliana in any way he can. Lucky for her, he’s handy with repairs, knows how to keep her and the orphans safe, and is a natural leader of men.

Unfortunately for both of them, the scandal that ensues from their mutual attraction is going to lead them a merry dance…

Buy Links:  Amazon: http://amzn.to/2FzikdP        B&N: http://bit.ly/2FxMqhG                                          iBooks: https://apple.co/2Fy7qVD       Kobo: http://bit.ly/2FxpvDe

Read an Excerpt:  

In this scene, Lady Juliana, who is attempting to save a boys’ orphanage must deal with the handsome man her father has sent to persuade her to return home.

She paused in her sweeping and cocked her head. It was too quiet, and she’d quickly learned when it was too quiet something was amiss. Laying the broom handle against the worktable, she left the kitchen and stuck her head in the hallway. The classroom was just up the stairs, in what had been a drawing room before the residence had been made into an orphanage. Shouldn’t she hear the drones of Mrs. Fleming as she recited numbers or read aloud?

Instead, Julia heard…nothing.

She crept down the hallway and would have started up the stairs except she spotted Mr. Wraxall in the vestibule. She’d wanted to forget about him. She knew who he was as soon as he introduced himself. She’d never met him, but as she’d said, her father and his father had been friends for a long time. She knew about Kensington’s bastard son. She’d only met the legitimate sons, of course, though the marquess claimed his bastard and had paid for him to be reared and educated.

Wraxall didn’t look at all like his father and brothers, who were pale and slightly plump and who had inherited the crooked front teeth that were the hallmarks of the marquesses of Kensington from time immemorial. Wraxall must have taken after his mother, for he was not pale, not plump, and his teeth were white and straight.

She’d looked just a little too long at his mouth to pretend she didn’t remember his teeth. Or his lips, which looked soft and yielding.

Except for his lips, everything about him was straight and proper and sober. He’d undoubtedly made a good soldier, because when he turned his gaze on her now, she almost felt as though she should stand at attention. She resisted the silly urge and then, because he made her nervous, she latched on to the first item she saw—other than his quite kissable lips. It was a small notebook and pencil he held in his hands. “What is that?”

He glanced down at the notebook as though just remembering he held it. “I’m taking notes, my lady.”

“Notes, Mr. Wraxall? About the front door?”

He turned back a page. “I’ve already finished my notes on the dormitories. I didn’t want to barge into unfamiliar rooms, and since I haven’t been given a tour of the premises yet, I thought the front door seemed a good place to continue.”

“Continue making notes?”

“As you see.”

“Is there very much to note about the door, other than it is rectangular, wooden, and sorely in need of paint?” Come to think of it, hadn’t she asked Mr. Goring to paint it last week?

“It is all of those things, my lady, but I am also noting that the lock does not work.”

“What?” She moved closer. “I lock it every night.”

“I have no doubt of that, but the mechanism has been rigged so the bolt does not slide into place fully.” He pushed the bolt into place, and then he tugged on the door and it came open easily.

“But how—”

“Here.” He showed her the way the wood had been smoothed down in the casement so that it took only a little pressure to free the bolt from its mooring.

“Oh dear. I shall have to have that repaired.” Once again she glanced about for the elusive Mr. Goring. She hadn’t seen him since he’d shown Wraxall in.

“Did I imagine you had a servant earlier?”

Ah, then she wasn’t the only one who hadn’t seen him.

“I do.”

“Just the one servant?”

“Could you show me the door again?” she said, hoping to distract him.

“What about a companion or a lady’s maid?”

Curses. If word reached her father that she was here without a chaperone, all her plans would go to waste. “So the lock on the door is not working?” She bent to peer at it.

He pushed it closed. “Forget the door. Is there a female servant in residence?”

She had never been a good liar, but she did know how to dance and how to sidestep. “By ‘in residence,’ do you mean on the premises?”

His eyes seemed to turn a darker shade of blue. “That is the usual meaning.”

“Mrs. Fleming is here.”

“The lady lives here?”

“She is in the classroom.” She ought to play chess. That was a narrow escape.

“Mrs. Fleming is an instructor?”

“Yes.” Distraction was the key, and Julia was already starting up the stairs, making her way around the boards that were weak and rotting.

“And where is this classroom?” He followed her, seeming not to have realized she hadn’t answered his question. He trailed her closely, stepping where she did as though he too had seen the rotted wood.

She gestured to the top of the stairs. “In what was formerly the drawing room.”

“Are you certain?”

“Of course I’m certain. See for yourself.” She opened the drawing room doors and stared at the empty room. She looked right and then left.

No pupils. No teacher.

Wraxall leaned on the door beside her. “Impressive,” he drawled.

My Thoughts:                 

I received a complimentary copy of this book.

Neil Wraxall is the illegitimate, though acknowledged, son of Marquess Kensington, who educated and provides for him.  While he was a soldier, Neil was part of a squad now known as Draven’s Dozen, because only twelve of the original thirty men survived.  Neil is wracked with guilt over the death of his half-brother, and is plagued with nightmares.  He spends the bulk of his time at his club with his fellow survivors.  Neil is pulled from his melancholy when his father has an assignment for him.  He must go to the St. Dismas Home for Wayward Youth, and ensure that  Juliana St. Maur is removed from the premises and escorted safely to her home.

Juliana (Julia)has been attempting to keep the home afloat, though one disaster after another has befallen the place, which she now calls “Sunnybrooke.”  She refuses her father’s summons to return home, and Neil Wraxall is not going to persuade her to leave.  When Julia stubbornly refuses to leave, Neil determines that he, too, will remain until he can persuade her to change her mind.  What ensues is that Neil finds himself becoming involved with the orphaned boys living in the home and in the daily activity.  His military experience soon has the unruly boys working about the place, cleaning, building, and repairing.

While this activity is happening, Julia and Neil are finding that they are greatly attracted to each other.  Neil’s feelings of guilt and unworthiness make him feel that he could never deserve a woman like Julia, and his own illegitimacy has caused him to vow to never take a chance on fathering a child of his own outside of marriage.  The road to their happy ever after is rocky, as the baggage Neil is carrying is great.  He is even further panicked when he realizes that the boys might be looking to him as a father figure.

I loved the character of Neil, and felt heartbroken over his misplaced guilt.  Julia’s heart was in the right place, but she did not always act in the most intelligent manner.  I believe part of that was her being naive, but part of it was just being stubborn.  There are some amusing moments, and some action to go along with the sweet, yet steamy romance, which made NO EARLS ALLOWED a satisfying and enjoyable read.  ~Rose

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Review – A Rogue of Her Own by Grace Burrowes

About the Book:

For Miss Charlotte Windham, the best way to maintain her spinsterhood-and her independence-is a teeny, tiny brush with scandal. She chooses wealthy, handsome upstart Lucas Sherbourne as her unwitting accomplice. He’s intelligent, logical, and ambitious. What Charlotte doesn’t count on is that one kiss will lead them straight to the altar.

Sherbourne has no love for polite society, nor is he keen on being anybody’s husband of last resort. He is attracted to Charlotte’s boldness, though-and her family’s influence. Without a title, he knows he’ll never truly be part of their world, even as he and Charlotte inch closer to a marriage that means much more than convenience. But a scheming business partner is about to test that tenuous trust, forcing Sherbourne to make a drastic choice: his wealth or his wife.

Click on title below for direct Amazon buy link:
A Rogue of Her Own (Windham Brides)

My Review:                    

I received a complimentary copy of this book.

Charlotte Windham is tired of it all – season after season, the endless socializing, and the numerous fortune hunters.  She just wants to live peacefully alone, happily supporting causes dear to her heart.  But she may as well have a target painted on her back, as her matchmaking relatives have shifted their focus to her, now that her three sisters have recently married.  As Charlotte toys with the idea of being ruined, she receives another unexpected proposal, this time one that tempts her a bit.

Lucas Sherbourne is a very wealthy man, but he’s a commoner.  He wants to be accepted into society and knows that marrying into the elite Windham family will open many doors for him.  The fact that he finds Charlotte deliciously attractive and fascinating is only a bonus.  When he proposes a mutually beneficial marriage to Charlotte, she actually considers it, then declines.  As they share a passionate kiss goodbye, they are caught in the act, and suddenly, marriage is imminent.

Though Lucas is rough around the edges, he acts the gentleman with his new bride, giving her time to get to know him before they become intimate, as Charlotte is somewhat nervous about the process.  Soon enough nature takes its course, and this couple settles into a satisfying physical and emotional relationship.  Having met this couple in the previous book in this series, NO OTHER DUKE WILL DO, I admit to being surprised at how much I liked them and rooted for them, particularly Lucas.  I still shudder thinking of the scene where he bursts uninvited into a duke’s home and his gauche actions there.  It’s a testament to Grace Burrowes’ writing ability that she was able to turn a (somewhat) villainous character into a genuine hero here.  I particularly loved how Lucas listened to all Charlotte’s suggestions regarding his business, and how he admired her intelligence.  Before happy ever after ensues, a scoundrel enters their lives, someone with a link to Charlotte’s past and Lucas’ business, who will put an end to their fledgling happiness and threaten their very future.

A ROGUE OF HER OWN has all of the qualities that make me love Grace Burrowes’ books – warmth, genuine romance, memorable characters, wonderful family relationships, and occasional humor: “His lordship sent her a look, one intended to convey tender indulgence or a disturbance of the bowels.  Charlotte wasn’t sure which.”  Then she’ll turn around and write some tender dialogue to melt your heart:  “‘Besides,” Sherbourne went on more softly, “I have my Charlotte.  With Charlotte to love, what else in the whole world could I possibly need?'”  A ROGUE OF HER OWN is Book #4 of the Windham Brides series, and I believe it could be read alone without feeling lost.  However, it will be appreciated so much more if you’ve read NO OTHER DUKE WILL DO, so you can enjoy revisiting characters like Julian and Griffin, who will steal your heart a second time.

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