Fresh Fiction Box-Not-to-Miss November 2017

It’s time to see what those wonderful folks at Fresh Fiction have packed into my November subscription box.  This month’s goodies includes two e-book downloads, three paperbacks, two trade size paperbacks, and two packets of pumpkin spice tea.  As always, the bright pink FF box kept all the contents safe and undamaged. (And it’s great to use as a storage box, too.)  The books range from historical romance to contemporary romance to mystery to straight up fiction.  If you subscribe, each month you’ll always receive at least 2-3 ebook downloads and 3-5 actual books – the contents vary with each subscriber, and the books cover many different genres.  As historical romance is my favorite, I’m particularly excited about Shana Galen’s THIRD SON’S A CHARM, while THE ONES WHO GOT AWAY by Roni Loren and MOST OF ALL YOU by Mia Sheridan sound very enticing.  For all the details about subscribing to this service, check out FRESH FICTION BOX.

Also be sure to check out FRESH FICTION for book reviews, author interviews, and entertainment information.

For your further information, below is a blurb for each of the books in this month’s box, and clicking on the title will take you to directly to the Amazon page.  

Eaves of Destruction (A Fixer-Upper Mystery)  by Kate Carlisle – At the annual Victorian Home and Garden Tour, Lighthouse Cove, California’s premier contractor, Shannon Hammer, realizes that the competition is about to turn deadly….

Shannon is in high demand among rival homeowners, who will do anything to win Best in Show. One-upmanship and even espionage break out among neighbors, construction crews, decorators, and landscapers. Thanks to several new hires, Shannon is sure she can handle the extra load–until murder throws a wrench in the works.

The small town’s corrupt building inspector is found dead on one of Shannon’s jobsites, and soon plenty of suspects are coming out of the woodwork. When another body is discovered, Shannon calls on her team of close friends and devilishly astute thriller writer Mac to help her nail down the details and build a case against the killer before the door shuts on someone else–for good.

Third Son’s a Charm (The Survivors Book 1)  by Shana Galen – Ewan Mostyn thinks a job as a duke’s daughter’s bodyguard will be easy―but Lady Lorraine has a few tricks up her sleeve that spark an undeniable passion…

Fiercely loyal to his friends and comrades, Ewan Mostyn is the toughest in a group of younger sons of nobility who met as soldiers and are now trying desperately to settle back into peaceful Society. Ewan trusts his brawn more than his brains, but when he’s offered a job watching the Duke of Ridlington’s stubbornly independent daughter, he finds both are challenged.

Lady Lorraine wants none of her father’s high-handed ways, and she’ll do everything in her power to avoid her distressingly attractive bodyguard―until she lands herself in real trouble. Lorraine begins to see Ewan’s protectiveness in a new light, and she can only hope that her stoic guardian will do for her what he’s always done―fight for what he wants.

The Boy Friend: A Platonically Complicated Novel  by Mika Jolie – According to the law of attraction, women and men can’t be friends.

Contrary to this myth, my friendship with Coriander Phillips does not rest on unrequited love or un-actualized lust. We’ve been inseparable since the day I pulled one of her pigtails and she punched me in the gut.
She’s hilarious, fun to hang out with. Together, we’re like peanut butter and jelly, spaghetti and meatballs, wings and beer. A match made in heaven.
She’s the bomb.
Did I mention she’s smokin’ hot? I’ve checked her out…maybe once or twice. Hey, I’m a guy.
Seriously, no awkwardness, no secret yearning for our relationship to escalate beyond the purely platonic. I’m the boy friend—the loyal shoulder she cries on, the dispenser of coffee, sympathy, hugs, advice, and affection with no expectations.
Until the invisible line between friends and lovers became blurry.
Now I want more. I want her.
All I have to do is convince her we can be more than friends.
Right?
If only it were that easy.

The Ones Who Got Away  by Roni Loren – Liv’s words cut off as Finn got closer. The man approaching was nothing like the boy she’d known. The bulky football muscles had streamlined into a harder, leaner package and the look in his deep green eyes held no trace of boyish innocence.

It’s been twelve years since tragedy struck the senior class of Long Acre High School. Only a few students survived that fateful night—a group the media dubbed The Ones Who Got Away.

Liv Arias thought she’d never return to Long Acre—until a documentary brings her and the other survivors back home. Suddenly her old flame, Finn Dorsey, is closer than ever, and their attraction is still white-hot. When a searing kiss reignites their passion, Liv realizes this rough-around-the-edges cop might be exactly what she needs…

Never Mine: A Base Branch Novella (Titan World)  by Megan Mitcham – Jillian Cooper never wanted Callum, until a dream morphs him from her best friend’s husband to a singular nocturnal fantasy. Revolted by her own mind and loyal to a fault, she refuses to give the dream life. Still, it manages to make her awkward around her only family; Amery, Callum, and their two stunning daughters. As an orphan and an Explosive Ordinance Tech with the Navy, things have a way of crashing down around her. The world crumbling call came in the form of a single car, single fatality accident. Amery died.

While she spins in dizzying circles, the girls she’s loved since they were in their momma’s belly cling to her. When Callum’s strong arms fortify them and keep them all from falling apart, Jillian’s inner struggle reaches a breaking point. She does the only thing she can to honor her friend’s memory…run to the other side of the world to contract for Titan Group, an elite private securities force in need of an EOD.

Callum Bradfield adapts and overcomes. Even after the tragic death of his wife, his core values as a Navy SEAL march him forward…to safer waters. His gig as mission transport for Base Branch—the special operations force for the UN—isn’t as adrenaline laden, but he refuses to make his girls orphans.

Things are beginning to regroup when Jillian bales on his girls—and him—without a word. To ensure she’s safe, he hacks her personal information and follows the crumbs into Titan’s database. Crossing that line gets them both under a microscope in the middle of a desert, searching for the proof they need to show their innocence, while he tries to convince Jillian he’s more than just her dream.

Most of All You: A Love Story  by Mia Sheridan – Crystal learned long ago that love brings only pain. Feeling nothing at all is far better than being hurt again. She guards her wounded heart behind a hard exterior, and carries within her a deep mistrust of men who, in her experience, have only ever used and taken.

A man in need of help . . .

Then Gabriel Dalton walks into her life. Despite the terrible darkness of his past, there’s an undeniable goodness about him. And even though she knows the cost, Crystal finds herself drawn to Gabriel. His quiet strength is wearing down her defenses and his gentle patience is causing her to question everything she thought she knew.

Only love can mend a shattered heart . . .

Crystal and Gabriel never imagined that the world that had stolen everything from them would bring them a deep love like this. Except fate will only take them so far and now the choice is theirs: Harden their hearts once again or find the courage to shed their painful pasts.

The Secret Life of Sarah Hollenbeck  by Bethany Turner – Becoming a Christian is the best and worst thing that has ever happened to Sarah Hollenbeck. Best because, well, that’s obvious. Worst because, up to this point, she’s made her very comfortable living as a well-known, bestselling author of steamy romance novels that would leave the members of her new church blushing. Now Sarah is trying to reconcile her past with the future she’s chosen. She’s still under contract with her publisher and on the hook with her enormous fan base for the kind of book she’s not sure she can write anymore. She’s beginning to think that the church might frown on her tithing on royalties from a “scandalous” book. And the fact that she’s falling in love with her pastor doesn’t make things any easier.

With a powerful voice, penetrating insight, and plenty of wit, Bethany Turner explodes onto the scene with a debut that isn’t afraid to deal with the thorny realities of living the Christian life.

Happy Reading!

Posted in Fresh Fiction Promotion | Leave a comment

Review – An Earl in Wolf’s Clothing by Emily Windsor

A pursuit is underway…
From the hallowed halls of London’s Almack’s to the unkempt taverns of Drury Lane, from whispered words in glittering theatres to seductive kisses at Vauxhall Gardens – an earl must pursue his lady.

Propriety be damned. Anything is allowed. But for success, the Earl of Kelmarsh may have to enact the Rules of the Rogue…

A resolute lady.
Miss Sophie Beckford escaped to Ireland after her almost betrothed broke her heart. Now a year later, she’s back in London – stronger, better attired, armed with her cousin and determined not to fall for the blackguard’s wiles again.

A desperate gentleman.
What’s an earl to do when his almost betrothed refuses to speak to him, hear him out or even look at him after a misunderstanding of gargantuan proportions?

With dubious assistance from a roguish marquess, a strait-laced duke, and even the occasional poet and famous actor throwing in their sixpence, the earl will try any ruse, any rule in the book to recapture Sophie’s heart.

Failure is not an option.

A sensual Regency romance with warmth and wit.

Click on title below for direct Amazon buy link:                                                 An Earl in Wolf’s Clothing (Rules of the Rogue)

My Review:            

I received a complimentary copy of this book.

Sophie Beckford has had six seasons to become totally disillusioned with society, and to just about give up hope of finding a match.  When she meets Abraham “Bram” Walcott, the Earl of Kenmarsh, she is thrilled to finally have found a man she wants to spend the rest of her life with. They have a whirlwind courtship, and tonight’s the night they’ll announce their engagement.  Sophie searches for Bram at the ball, and she finds him, alone in a room with another woman.  From the conversation, it’s clear that the woman and Bram have a past, and she wants to pick up where they left off.  When Sophie hears Bram state that he’s only marrying her to get an heir, she’s heard enough.  She leaves her engagement ring where Bram is sure to see it as he exits the room, leaves the ball, and refuses any contact with Bram.  Shortly thereafter, she and her family depart for an extended visit to relatives in Ireland.

Little does Sophie know, but Bram is an agent for the crown, and the woman he was meeting was another agent, one who wouldn’t hesitate to sink her claws into him while causing trouble for Sophie.  Bram’s disparaging remarks were solely meant to not let the agent know how much Sophie means to him.  In fact, Bram comes from a family who has long served as spies for the crown, though it’s not something he enjoys.  When he met and fell in love with Sophie, he began the process of untangling his life from the spy community.  However, he still has assignments to complete, and he does not have permission to tell Sophie the truth about himself.

Bram is a true romantic at heart, and I fell in love with the man who was forced into being something he’s not by his family.  All the dreams he shared with Sophie about their future life in the country were true.  He never gives up hope, sending her letters (which she doesn’t open) and gifts.  Finally, after ten months, Sophie and her family return, but she seems like a different woman.  She has poise, dresses differently, and seems to enjoy the society that made her feel so awkward before.  Still, Bram loves her, and will do whatever it takes to win her back.

I am always thrilled when a new (or new-to-me) author makes me sit up and take notice, and Emily Windsor did this, big time!  There is so much to love about AN EARL IN WOLF’S CLOTHING – aside from a wonderful romance with characters I loved, there is subtle humor, witty conversation, and a relationship between the three spies that is just brilliantly written.  There are moments that are poignant and sad, interspersed with fun and levity.  I am in totally in love with this book that held me captive from beginning to end, and had me sniffling, smiling, then sighing.

This review originally appear at The Romance Reviews:                            TRR review An Earl in Wolfs Clothing

Posted in Blue, Emily Windsor, Historical Romance, Review | Leave a comment

Review – Once Upon a Maiden Lane by Elizabeth Hoyt

Miss Mary Whitsun is far too intelligent to fall for the rakish charms of a handsome aristocrat. But when the gentleman in question approaches her in a bookshop, mistaking her for his fiancée, Lady Johanna Albright, the flirtatious encounter only raises more questions. Could Mary, a servant raised in a St Giles orphanage, actually be Lady Joanna’s long-lost twin sister? If so, Mary has been betrothed since birth—to the rakishly handsome artistocrat himself.

Henry Collins, Viscount Blackwell, is far too intrigued by Mary to let her go so easily. He’s drawn to her sharp mind, indomitable spirit, and the fiery way in which she dismisses him—ladies simply don’t dismiss Lord Blackwell. But as Mary makes her first hesitant steps into society, she can’t help but wonder if she truly has a place in Henry’s world—or in his heart.

Click on title below for direct Amazon buy link:                                                  Once Upon a Maiden Lane: A Maiden Lane Novella

My Review:                  

I received a complimentary copy of this book.

Mary Whitsun was left at the foundling home in St. Giles as an infant, and has worked as a nursemaid for Lord and Lady Caire since she was fourteen years old.  Now at age twenty, she’s enjoying a free day by perusing the books in a store, deciding which treasure she’ll buy.  She’s approached very familiarly by one gentleman, then another, who call her Joanna, and tease her about her clothes.  Eventually, they realize she is not their friend Joanna, and they start remembering the story from twenty years ago.  Twin daughters of the Earl of Angrove, Cecilia and Joanna, were kidnapped, but only Joanna was recovered.  Certain that they’ve located the long missing twin, they try to convince Mary, who believes they are only playing a cruel joke.  She hurries away, but the gentleman have her followed.  Meanwhile, they rush to the home of the Earl of Angrove to tell him the news.

Both of the gentlemen from the bookstore have a vested interest in Mary actually being Cecilia.  Henry Collins, Viscount Blackwell, was betrothed at birth to the oldest daughter, who would be Cecilia.  With Cecilia out of the picture, his future wife defaults to Joanna, who is like a sister to him.  In the short time he spent with Mary, he found himself very attracted to her crisp personality and would very much like to get to know her better.  The second gentleman, John, has a distinct preference for Joanna, and she for him.

Mary can’t believe it when the very next day, she is summoned to meet with guests, none other than the Countess Angrove, her mother, and her daughter, Joanna, who is the mirror image of Mary.  They have no doubt about Mary being the long lost Cecilia, and make immediate plans, to have her brought into their home and to learn all the arts of being a proper society lady.  It seems like a fairytale, as Mary / Cecilia is thrust into a whole new world.

Mary’s new mother, grandmother, and sister treat her lovingly, and as she is learning how to act and dance, she also learns that she is betrothed to Henry, the man from the bookstore.  They have a chemistry that sizzles, and they greatly enjoy being around each other.  Both look forward to Mary’s debut into society and to their upcoming marriage.  Aside from the apparent disinterest of Mary’s father, everything is perfect.  Until someone starts trying to kill Mary.  Until a third woman shows up at Mary’s debut ball, claiming that she is Cecilia, and that she has proof.  And she looks exactly like Joanna and Mary….

Henry impressed me right from the start because of his lack of snobbishness over Mary’s humble upbringing and working as a nursemaid.  He was willing to do his duty and honor the arrangement his father made, but he didn’t want to marry a woman who was in love with someone else.  He shows what he’s made of when he decides that he’ll marry Mary, no matter who she really is, even under threat of being cut off by his father.  Though Mary’s world may come crashing down, she handles it all with dignity and strength.  I loved both these characters and badly wanted them to find a way to be together.

ONCE UPON A MAIDEN LANE packs a lot into a novella – there is intrigue, plot twists, romance, and steam.  I loved the glimpses of a few beloved old friends from previous Maiden Lane books, and I found this quick read engrossing, exciting, and very satisfactory.

Posted in Elizabeth Hoyt, Historical Romance, Review, Rose | 4 Comments

Review – Discovering Miss Dalrymple by Emily Larkin

Who is he? 

At the age of four Alexander St. Clare was stolen by gypsies and sold to a chimney sweep. At the age of five he was reunited with his father. His history is no secret—everyone in the ton knows of his miraculous rescue.

But when Alexander finds his father’s diaries, he discovers that there may be a secret buried in his past…

Georgiana Dalrymple knows all about secrets. She has several herself—and one of those secrets is her ability to find missing people.

When Alexander turns to her for help, Georgiana sets out to discover just who he actually is…

 Click on title below for direct Amazon buy link:
Discovering Miss Dalrymple (Baleful Godmother Historical Romance Series Book 6)

My Review:             

I received a complimentary copy of this book.

Georgiana “Georgie” Dalrymple has a very unique family history.  The females in her family line are able to select a special power or ability they’d like to have, and on their twenty-third birthday, their wish will be granted.  This is due to a fairy godmother (yes, really) being in debt to one of her ancestors.  When Georgie was eighteen, she fell in love with Hubert, and they became engaged.  Before they could marry, Hubert disappeared and was never seen again.  Five years later, when Georgie was able to choose her gift, she chose the ability to find things.  Unfortunately, she learned that Hubert was dead, and all she found was his grave.  In the year since she learned of Hubert’s death, she has been spending time with lifelong friend, Alexander “Vic” St. Clare, the Duke of Vickery, and slowly falling in love again.

Vic has loved Georgie for years, and his heart broke when she became engaged to his best friend, Hubert.  Still, he hid his feelings, and wished them well, never wishing for any harm to come to Hubert.  In the past year, Vic and Georgie have gone riding almost every day, and have become very close.  Vic feels that Georgie is healing, and plans to ask her to marry him.  All his plans go by the wayside when he reads his deceased father’s journals, and his father questions whether Vic is truly his biological son.

There was a tragic incident from Vic’s distant past.  When he was a very young child, the maids who were watching him let their attention lapse, and Vic disappeared.  It was believed he was kidnapped.  His father, up to that point, had actually spent very little time with him, and was only aware of his most unique feature – mismatched eyes, one blue, and one green.  When the previous duke tracks down a child who was forced to work as a chimney sweep, and has those same odd eyes, he’s convinced he’s found his son and heir.  Yet, as Vic grows up, he bears no other resemblance to either parent or their family, so the duke has a niggling doubt.

Vic doesn’t feel he can offer for Georgie until he knows the truth about his past.  He asks her to confide in him how she was able to find Hubert, and Georgie decides to share her ability.  They then begin a journey of discovering Vic’s past and who he really is.  Though Georgie is the gifted one, this book is truly Vic’s story.  Each person they encounter who was part of Vic’s long ago life puts in place a missing piece of the puzzle.  What will happen if Vic is truly not the duke’s son?  How can he even consider marriage to Georgie?

The romance, while heartfelt, takes a back seat to Vic’s fear and confusion.  He was raised to be such an honorable man, yet he doesn’t seem to be able to see his own worth anymore.  I love how Georgie supported him, and was patient with him, while he dealt with the shocking events of his past.  DISCOVERING MISS DALRYMPLE provided a happy ever after that was very satisfying, though with some surprising revelations.  I am really enjoying Emily Larkin’s BALEFUL GODMOTHER series, with her memorable and unique characters, the magic, and most of all, the romance.  Recommended.

Posted in Emily Larkin, Historical Romance, Review, Rose | 2 Comments

Review – Lord Hunter’s Cinderella Heiress by Lara Temple

Betrothed…to the wrong man!

Building a life away from her bullying family, schoolmistress Helen Tilney now needs to convince her childhood sweetheart she’s a worthy bride. Standing in her way is Lord Hunter—the man Nell has just discovered she’s betrothed to!

Hunter’s offer of marriage to Nell came out of guilt, and now seems less than appealing! So when she asks for his help to win another man, he agrees. Until their lessons in flirtation inspire a raging desire that has Hunter longing to keep Nell for himself…

Book 1 in the Wild Lords and Innocent Ladies trilogy

Click on title below for direct Amazon buy link:                                                Lord Hunter’s Cinderella Heiress (Wild Lords and Innocent Ladies)

My Review:                 

I received a complimentary copy of this book.

Helen “Nell” Tinley was only seventeen the first time she met Gabriel, Lord Hunter.  He was in the process of purchasing a horse from Nell’s father, and was vastly impressed with the confidence and expertise with which Nell handled the horse.  Later, at dinner, the confident young girl is replaced by one who is cowed and browbeaten by her father and her cruel aunt.  Upon learning that Nell will inherit a property that is of value to him when she turns twenty-one, Hunter arranges a tentative betrothal  to Nell with her father.  The betrothal is contingent on Nell being agreeable, and will occur after she comes into her inheritance.  Unfortunately, Nell’s father doesn’t feel any need to inform her of this arrangement.  Imagine her surprise four years later, when she is finally free of her family, and is making plans to begin her unfettered life, and she sees her own engagement notice published in the paper.

A furious Nell charges to Hunter’s residence, and demands that the notice be retracted.  Hunter is amazed that Nell’s father never informed her of the tentative agreement, and it is her father who had the notice published.  Hunter is an honorable man, and is willing to call of the engagement if Nell isn’t willing.  He suggests they go to meet with her father to fully discuss the arrangement, and how to end it without scandal.  They agree to travel to a horse fair where her father is likely to be.  Nell has an ulterior motive – she suspects that Charles Welbeck will be there too.  He’s someone Nell has desired since she was a young teenager.  Now that she’s an heiress, perhaps Charles will finally want her, as well.

Nell and Hunter realize they have to play at being engaged since the notice was made public, and Hunter suggests that they act flirtatious.  Nell agrees, hoping to pick up some pointers on how to entice Charles.  Once Nell realized that Hunter was not trying to coerce her into remaining engaged, she lost her belligerence around him, and they began to enjoy each other’s company.  The problem is, their flirtation has led to some exchanged kisses and embraces, and Nell has begun to enjoy them, as well.  Charles does express interest in Nell, and soon she is torn about what she should do.

Neither Nell nor Hunter is without baggage.  The cruelty and lack of love and support from Nell’s family affected her greatly – so much so, that her only solace was being away at school.  I love the strong woman she is evolving into.  She’s also fair and kind – she’s willing to sell a parcel of her land to Hunter, as he would have benefited greatly from joining her property to his.  Hunter still suffers nightmares and guilt from a tragic experience involving his now deceased younger brother, but that’s something he keeps well hidden as he does what’s expected of him.  Despite his own pain, he’s a kind and honorable man.

Although their romance develops over a short amount of time, it feels real and genuine.  Nell comes to term with her long time crush on Charles, and how it compares to what she now feels for Hunter.  As for Hunter, he is experiencing the feeling of needing someone else for the first time, as opposed to being the one who’s needed.  LORD HUNTER’S CINDERELLA HEIRESS is a warm and lovely romance with a bit of steam about two damaged souls who unexpectedly find love in a ready made engagement.  I enjoy Lara Temple’s writing style very much, and am looking forward to upcoming books in the WILD LORDS AND INNOCENT LADIES trilogy.

Posted in Historical Romance, Lara Temple, Review, Rose | 2 Comments

Third Son’s a Charm by Shana Galen – Review, Excerpt, and Giveaway

Ewan Mostyn thinks a job as a duke’s daughter’s bodyguard will be easy―but Lady Lorraine has a few tricks up her sleeve that spark an undeniable passion…

Fiercely loyal to his friends and comrades, Ewan Mostyn is the toughest in a group of younger sons of nobility who met as soldiers and are now trying desperately to settle back into peaceful Society. Ewan trusts his brawn more than his brains, but when he’s offered a job watching the Duke of Ridlington’s stubbornly independent daughter, he finds both are challenged.

Lady Lorraine wants none of her father’s high-handed ways, and she’ll do everything in her power to avoid her distressingly attractive bodyguard―until she lands herself in real trouble. Lorraine begins to see Ewan’s protectiveness in a new light, and she can only hope that her stoic guardian will do for her what he’s always done―fight for what he wants.

Click on title below for direct Amazon buy link:                                                Third Son’s a Charm (The Survivors Book 1)

Read an Excerpt:

After our hero, Ewan Mostyn, interrupts Lady Lorraine trying to get her would-be-lover Francis to kiss her, she makes her case to Ewan about why she should be allowed to marry Francis.

“I love Francis Mostyn. Is it unnatural for me to want to express my love with a token of affection?”

“Kisses lead to further improprieties,” Ewan said. As soon as the words were out of his mouth, he wanted to turn and see if his father stood behind him and had voiced them. It was exactly the sort of lecture the earl would have given to Ewan’s sister.

“I am prepared for that,” Lady Lorraine argued, turning and pacing the other way. “I want to marry Mr. Mostyn. I will make whatever sacrifice is required.”

“Washing and baking,” he said, recalling her speech earlier.

She stopped pacing and glanced at him. “You heard that then? Yes. As I said, I could earn money by taking in washing or baking pies to sell.”

The woman had no idea what she was talking about. “Have you ever laundered a garment?” Ewan asked.

“I…” She scowled at him. “It cannot be too difficult to learn.”

“It is hard work,” he said. He had never washed any of his own clothing until he’d entered the army, and while the work did not tax him physically, there was an art to it. “The soap roughens your hands and burns your skin, and the fabric grows heavy when wet so that scrubbing it requires some strength. Then it must be rinsed and wrung out and hung to dry.”

She put her hands on her hips. “I understand the process.”

“Have you ever looked at a washer woman?”

“Yes, of course.”

Ewan stared at her. He was a nobleman as much as she was a lady by birth. The nobility was not raised to look at the servants but rather to look through them.

“I have looked at them,” she insisted.

“What did her arms look like?”

Lady Lorraine’s brow creased as though she were deep in thought.

Ewan rarely interrupted, but she looked more chilled by the moment, and he wanted to finish the conversation and bring her inside. “Her arms were large and muscled and probably quite red and chafed. If you lasted in that work for a week, your delicate white arms would be ruined.” He looked at the patch of exposed skin between her gloves and her excuse for a sleeve.

She looked down at it as well. And then she looked back up, her glittering eyes brimming with determination. “Then I will bake pies instead.”

Ewan sighed. “Have you ever baked a pie?”

She looked at him as though she wished lightning might strike him dead. “Listen, Mr. Mostyn, I do not see why my abilities are any of your concern. And don’t think I don’t know why you want to thwart any chance I have of eloping with Francis.”

He’d never supposed she did not know why he wanted to stop her. His father had hired him for that precise purpose. “Your father—”

“No! That’s not why. It’s because you hate your cousin.”

Ewan stared at her. How had she known that?

“You tormented him as a boy, and now you see an opportunity to continue the abuse.”

Ewan was frequently speechless, but he’d never been made so purely by shock. Was that the story Francis had told her? Perhaps that was what his bastard cousin had told everyone. It would have garnered him sympathy, and Francis thrived on sympathy. Ewan could hardly fault her for believing it of him before they had met, but how could she think that of him now?

Ridiculous. Of course she would think such horrors of him. She didn’t know him at all. She didn’t even know the man she claimed to love. Ewan wanted to pity her, but he was far too angry.

“I love Francis,” she was saying, “and I won’t allow—”

“You don’t love him,” Ewan said with more vehemence than he’d intended. That little knot of fury he’d balled up unraveled slightly. She stepped back, clearly surprised as well. “You don’t know the first thing about my cousin or me or, for that matter, love.” He didn’t know why he’d added that last bit. He didn’t know anything about love either.

“And you do?” she challenged, clearly not afraid of him.

“I don’t claim to know about love,” he said honestly, “but I know my cousin, and he is not the innocent you think him to be. He is conning you, my lady—an easy task as you can be taken in for a kiss.”

“That’s not true.”

He advanced on her, but she did not move away. She merely scowled at him.

“You think my cousin loves you? He loves your dowry.”

“How dare you!”

“And if you were ever kissed by another man or two—kissed soundly and thoroughly—maybe you’d see that Francis Mostyn is not the paragon you seem to think.”

He put his hands on her upper arms, and even through his gloves he could feel the coolness of her skin.

“And who will kiss me? You?”

He heard the note of hope in her voice. There was anger as well but he’d heard the hope. She wanted him to kiss her. Well, better him than the next man she encountered, who might be a rake or worse. He would give her what she seemed to want so desperately, and then she would see that there was a world of men beyond Francis Mostyn.

My Review:                 

I received a complimentary copy of this book.

Ewan Mostyn is a hero, a former soldier who fought with a daring group of thirty men who accepted extremely dangerous missions.  Only twelve men of the thirty survived, and are now known as Draven’s Dozen, after their leader.  Ewan is the third son of an earl, though he’s estranged from his family, due to their cruel treatment of him as a child.  Ewan has a reading disorder (most probably alexia or dyslexia) and though he was quite intelligent, he was taunted as being stupid and unteachable.  His cousin, Francis, was his biggest tormentor, and also replaced him in his father’s affections.  Because of this treatment, Ewan chose to become a bouncer in a club which he partly owns.  He has his own room away from his family, and mostly associates with his fellow soldiers.  He’s content with his life, which is about to be shaken up when he accepts a job as bodyguard for the Duke of Ridlington’s daughter.

Lorraine “Lorrie” Caldwell is the duke’s young daughter, who’s had a successful season, has a very large dowry, and is determined to marry Francis Mostyn, Ewan’s horrid cousin.  The duke is determined she will not marry Francis, and knowing Lorrie’s stubbornness, he hires Ewan to basically shadow her everywhere she goes to keep her away from the fortune hunter.  Lorrie believes all of Francis’s lies, from how he was the one abused by Ewan as a child, and how he loves her dearly, but won’t marry without the duke’s permission.  Of course, he doesn’t want to lose the fortune that is her dowry that the duke threatens to withhold if they marry.

Lorrie is now thwarted at every turn by Ewan, who stops her meeting Francis.  It seems that he’s always two steps ahead of her.  To me, Lorrie initially appears very immature and flighty.  She’s a constant chatterbox, who boldly states that she can work as a washer woman or baker and live without money, just as long as she has her precious Francis, whom she’s never even kissed yet.  And Lorrie is very anxious to kiss and to pursue physical pleasure, and Ewan is starting to look very appealing.  The big, gruff bodyguard falls prey to her beauty, and gives in to the temptation of giving Lorrie her first small taste of what passion feels like.

As Ewan begins to fall for Lorrie, the pain is even worse since the object of her affection is his longtime enemy.  Surprisingly, Lorrie shows fairness and maturity by asking Ewan to tell his side of the story of his childhood and the altercations with Francis.  Ewan tells her a story that is sad enough to break your heart, and she does believe him, and starts to question her own feelings.  As Francis realizes he is losing his heiress, he resorts to desperate measures.  Will Ewan be able to save the day one more time?  And can the mere third son of an earl ever win the daughter of a duke?

I love Ewan to pieces.  It’s so hard to see such an honorable, strong, and heroic man have such vulnerability.  The fact that it’s his own family who caused the most damage and couldn’t accept and love him that makes it even more painful.  I was so happy for the strong bonds of unconditional friendship he has with his fellow soldiers.  Lorrie showed a lot of growth throughout the book, and I admire how accepting she was of Ewan’s inability to read.  She is determined to love and help him, and she’s not shy of telling him of her love, or expressing it.  There is also a lovely secondary story of Lorrie’s father trying to win back the love of her mother, as they’ve been estranged for years, even though they live under the same roof.  I would have liked to have seen Francis have to suffer more than he did, as he’s truly scum.  THIRD SON’S A CHARM is a captivating read, full of heart tugging emotion, an interesting storyline, some humor, plenty of steam, and a satisfying happy ever after.

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Posted in Historical Romance, Promotions, Review, Rose, Shana Galen | Leave a comment

Review – Someone to Wed by Mary Balogh

When Alexander Westcott becomes the new Earl of Riverdale, he inherits a title he never wanted and a failing country estate he can’t afford. But he fully intends to do everything in his power to undo years of neglect and give the people who depend on him a better life. . . .

A recluse for more than twenty years, Wren Heyden wants one thing out of life: marriage. With her vast fortune, she sets her sights on buying a husband. But when she makes the desperate—and oh-so-dashing—earl a startlingly unexpected proposal, Alex will only agree to a proper courtship, hoping for at least friendship and respect to develop between them. He is totally unprepared for the desire that overwhelms him when Wren finally lifts the veils that hide the secrets of her past. . . .

Click on title below for direct Amazon buy link:                                             Someone to Wed (A Westcott Novel)

My Review:             

I received a complimentary copy of this book.

Alexander Westcott is now the Earl of Riverdale through a bizarre circumstance.  The previous earl, a cousin, was declared illegitimate when it was discovered that his father entered into a second marriage while his first wife was still alive.  Alex never expected, or wanted the title, and the estate is greatly in debt.  Alex had just spent years putting his own family estate on more solid financial footing, and now is overwhelmed with these additional responsibilities.  Alex knows he must at least consider marriage to an heiress, but he’s determined to at least marry someone he can respect and like, if not love.

Rowena “Wren” Heyden has inherited her uncle’s thriving business upon his death, and is now extremely wealthy.  She lived with her aunt and uncle since she was ten, almost twenty years.  Her aunt and uncle lavished love on her, and her life is now empty without them.  Half of Wren’s face is marred by a birthmark, and she has always stayed away from company, and wears a veil when she ventures out.  Her loneliness has made her long for a husband and children, but she feels the only way to obtain her dream is to “buy” a husband.  She compiles a list of gentlemen who she feels may be agreeable to her plan, and invites each to tea.

Alex arrives at Wren’s home, believing he is simply making the acquaintance of a neighbor.  When Wren decides that Alex is a definite possibility, she declares her true purpose.  Alex is shocked, and asks to see her face, which she had hidden behind her usual veil.  When Alex doesn’t run away in terror, they begin to discuss her plans.  Alex only agrees that they become better acquainted in order to see if they could possibly suit.  Thus begins an awkward series of meetings that leaves both of them with mixed feelings.  When Wren meets Alex’s mother and sister, she is stiff and unfriendly, leaving everyone uncomfortable.  She decides that she could never be a proper countess, and ends the relationship.  Wren felt a strong attraction to Alex, but also felt very inadequate.  Alex also had mixed feelings – at times he felt that he could like Wren, and at other times, he was repelled by what seemed to be her coldness.

As Alex goes back to town, he meets several young debutantes, and he finds them shallow and without substance.  He regrets that he allowed Wren to end their relationship before it really had a chance.  When he encounters Wren, also in town on business, he convinces her to let him call on her.  This time around, they are a little easier with each other.  They talk seriously of their plans and goals, and Alex comes to realize that he truly likes and wants to marry Wren.  He encourages her to slowly meet his family, one at a time, and to not hide behind her veil.

Alex is truly what dreams are made of – he’s honest, steadfast, kind, patient, and caring.  He’s protective of Wren, yet does his best to bring her out of her self- imposed shell.  He tries not to overwhelm her with his family members, yet slowly woos her.  Wren does become overwhelmed at times, but shows extreme courage.  Soon she starts to feel that Alex’s family is now her family, too.  Everyone is matter of fact about her face, and soon, they are no longer even noticing the imperfections.  Alex and Wren do marry, and find that they share a passionate chemistry that brings them even closer together.

The mystery of the first ten years of Wren’s life is finally revealed, and it’s a very sad story of a tragic childhood.  Alex stands by and supports Wren as she faces down old ghosts, and emerges even stronger.  SOMEONE TO WED is magnificently written.  As with all of Mary Balogh’s stories, the strength is in the characters, and their growth and development.  Skillful writing had me feeling all of Wren’s insecurity and loneliness, and Alex’s doubts and burdens.  I loved how Wren truly blossomed under Alex’s care, and how they were perfect for each other.  SOMEONE TO WED is full of heart and emotion, and is a beautiful story of a marriage of convenience that leads to a genuine and lasting love.  I recommend it most highly, and it is definitely one of my top favorites of this year.

Posted in Historical Romance, Mary Balogh, Review, Rose | 2 Comments

No Other Duke Will Do by Grace Burrowes – Release Week Blitz – Review and Giveaway

No Other Duke Will Do by Grace Burrowes (part of the Windham Brides series)        will be published on November 7, 2017 from Forever.

 Goodreads | Mass market: $7.99 | eBook: $6.99 | ISBN: 9781455570003

One of Amazon’s Top Romance Picks for November

“Compelling, sympathetic characters and a rare blend of passion and humor result in another exquisite gem from a master of the genre. Gorgeously done.”―Library Journal, starred review

SUMMARY

Julian St. David, Duke of Haverford, is barely keeping his head above water in a sea of inherited debts. Though he has a long-term plan to restore the family finances, his sister has a much faster solution: host a house party for London’s single young ladies and find Julian a wealthy bride.

Elizabeth Windham has no interest in marriage, but a recent scandal has forced her hand. As much as she’d rather be reading Shakespeare than husband-hunting, she has to admit she’s impressed by Julian’s protective instincts, broad shoulders, and, of course, his vast library.

As the two spend more time together, their attraction is overwhelming, unexpected… and absolutely impossible. With meddling siblings, the threat of financial ruin, and gossips lurking behind every potted palm, will they find true love or true disaster?

BUY THE BOOK HERE:

Amazon: http://amzn.to/2A4nNG6            Barnes & Noble: http://bit.ly/nootherdukeBN    Kobo: http://bit.ly/nootherdukeKoboi     Books: http://apple.co/2iPOVoi                                Google Play: http://bit.ly/2yjB28Z              Books-a-Million: http://bit.ly/2iNM3bt          IndieBound: http://bit.ly/2gQ7CUF

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Grace Burrowes grew up in central Pennsylvania and is the sixth out of seven children. She discovered romance novels when in junior high (back when there was such a thing), and has been reading them voraciously ever since. Grace has a bachelor’s degree in political science, a bachelor of music in music history, (both from Pennsylvania State University); a master’s degree in conflict transformation from Eastern Mennonite University; and a juris doctor from the National Law Center at the George Washington University.

Grace writes Georgian, Regency, Scottish Victorian, and contemporary romances in both novella and novel lengths. She’s a member of Romance Writers of America, and enjoys giving workshops and speaking at writers’ conferences. She also loves to hear from her readers, and can be reached through her website, http://www.graceburrowes.com.

Author Information:

Author Website: http://bit.ly/2hs2SWI                Facebook: http://bit.ly/2gSqLaW  Twitter: http://bit.ly/2hDevsc                                 Goodreads: http://bit.ly/2hWqoYS BookBub: http://bit.ly/2z8Zd9d                             Amazon: http://amzn.to/2A4zeh5

Read an Excerpt:

“I still want to kiss you, Elizabeth. Rather a lot.”

“That sentiment is mutual,” she said, setting off at a brisk pace. “But where is it written that friends can never kiss, or otherwise express their attraction to each other?”

“It ought to be written somewhere,” Haverford said, “in great bold copperplate. Kissing leads to—”

“I know where it leads, Your Grace, in the general case. The destination has been sadly unimpressive on past visits. I’d like to explore where kissing leads with you.”

“You are—”

“I am lonely too.” And doubtless bound for marriage to some charming, boring viscount with clammy hands.

“—quite fierce about this friendship business.” His gaze was on the castle, and Elizabeth suspected he was trying not to smile.

“I’m quite fierce about everything.” And only now coming to admit it.

“We shall be fierce friends then, for the duration of a house party. One shudders to think what mischief… What the devil is he doing here?”

A coach and four was rattling up the drive a quarter of a mile away. The horses were all white, exactly matched for gait and height, and pulling a black coach with red wheels. A single trunk was affixed to the back, though no crest adorned the door.

“It appears you’ve a late arriving guest.” Or a bad fairy calling on the party, based on Haverford’s expression.

“Not a guest, a problem. A most unwelcome problem.”

My Review:                      

I received a complimentary copy of this book.

Elizabeth “Bethan” Windham has been out for ten seasons, and has not found a man she could love or esteem enough to want to marry.  Since two of her sisters have recently wed, her parents and other relatives are even more anxious for her to find a suitable spouse and settle down.  Elizabeth is just biding her time until she can safely be classified a spinster, and has no plans to marry.  She is, however, dutifully attending a house party, along with her remaining single sister, Charlotte, and her aunt, who is acting as chaperone.

Julian St. David, Duke of Haverford, inherited his title and estates along with a mountain of debt and no cash.  He has been working tirelessly to provide a fair living for those under his jurisdiction, which has left him unable to reduce his own debt, caused by generations of previous dukes pouring all available funds into purchasing books for the Haverford library.  To make matters worse, Julian’s sister, Glenys, has planned a large house party, where she hopes Julian will find a wife.  Julian is determined he cannot marry any time in the foreseeable future because of his dire financial status.

Julian and Elizabeth share a rapport almost from their initial meeting.  Elizabeth candidly tells the duke that she has no designs on him, and he, in turn, lets her know that he is not searching for a bride.  With those obstacles out of the way, this couple begins to just enjoy each other’s company.  In fact, they enjoy being together so much that their liking becomes attraction.  At first, there are no strings, but soon they long for strings and for forever, as their passion has led to love.  Julian’s situation is so bad that even Elizabeth’s sizable dowry would not cancel his debts, and he refuses to let her give up her whole future security.

Julian is lonely and longs to marry and start a family, but he’s a victim of a situation that’s not of his making.  He is honorable in trying to protect Elizabeth’s future while his own heart is breaking.  He’s a wonderful man with the burden of the world on his shoulders.  It’s so sad for Elizabeth, too, who has finally found a man she can love, but they seem destined not to have a future together.

I love the pacing of NO OTHER DUKE WILL DO, and how this couple’s relationship develops quickly, but believably.  Grace Burrowes includes little everyday details in the story that add so much charm and warmth.  There are other characters whose simultaneous stories are captivating, and I guarantee that Julian’s brother, Griffin, will steal your heart.  There is an odious villain, who reminds me of George Warleggen from the current PBS Poldark series, but apparently  he may be on the road to redemption.  NO OTHER DUKE WILL DO is my favorite of the Windham Brides series, and has all the qualities I love in a romance.  I heartily recommend this engaging and satisfying read.

Giveaway:

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Posted in Grace Burrowes, Historical Romance, Promotions, Review, Rose | 2 Comments

Review – The Bride Who Got Lucky by Janna MacGregor

He would do anything to protect her. Even marry her… 

The son of a cold-hearted duke, Nicholas St. Mauer isn’t one to involve himself in society…or open his own heart to anyone. But driven by honor, the reclusive Earl of Somerton feels obliged to keep a watchful eye on Lady Emma Cavensham. She possesses a penchant for passions unbecoming a woman that finds Nick in constant peril of losing his well-structured solitude. She even dared kiss Nick once―an utterly unladylike, and delightful, lapse…

Emma can’t deny the appeal of the earl’s attention, and occasional affection, but she has no need for a man. There are worse fates than spinsterhood, as Emma knows too well. She still mourns the loss of her dear friend Lena, and is determined to prove Lena’s husband responsible for her death before he lures another innocent woman into a brutal marriage. But as Emma pursues her prey, a compromising moment upends all her plans. Now, with gossip swirling and her reputation in tatters, Nick may be the only man brave enough to join in Emma’s cause. . .and fight for her heart.

     Click on title below for direct Amazon buy link:                                                      The Bride Who Got Lucky (The Cavensham Heiresses)

My Review:                  

I received a complimentary copy of this book.

Nicholas St. Mauer, Earl of Somerton, was sent away to school at the tender age of five by his cold and distant father, the duke.  Nick’s mother died at his birth, so his life was sadly lacking in affection and very lonely.  When Nick was fifteen, a fellow student gambled with the wrong people and got in some serious trouble.  Nick signed for the gambling debt, and wrote his father asking for his help.  The duke, enraged, came to the school and proceeded to berate and disown Nick in front of many of his classmates.  From that point on, Nick vowed three things – first, he would never set foot on his father’s property until the duke died; two, he would use his intellect and build a fortune greater than his father’s; and, three, he would never be vulnerable to feelings and emotions that could cause him that kind of pain ever again.

Lady Emma Cavensham, daughter of the Duke of Langham, is on a quest.  Her dearest friend, Lena, along with her newborn daughter have died, and Emma is sure it was at the hands of Lena’s husband, Aulton.  During Lena’s marriage, she showed physical signs of being abused, yet she denied it.  Shortly before Lena died, she wrote a letter to Emma, sharing her fear for her life and that of her child, stating that if she died,  it would be by Aulton’s hand.  No crime was ever charged to Aulton, and now he is on the lookout for another wife.  Emma is wracked by feelings of guilt for never taking any action when she first saw Lena being abused, and she is determined to bring Aulton to justice.  She devises a plan to travel to visit Lena’s former maid, hoping to bring her back to town and convincing her to testify against Aulton.  If Emma’s parents or brothers discover what she’s doing, she will be in serious trouble.  As she is at a less than reputable inn, with only one elderly servant, and about to be kidnapped by two thugs, she is rescued by Nick.

Nick and Emma have a long standing connection because his best friend is married to Emma’s cousin.  Over the years, they have shared a friendship, a subtle attraction, and one stolen kiss.  Nothing further ever came of the attraction, because Emma is determined not to marry, while Nick avoids all but the most superficial of affairs, and doesn’t take part in society events.  Still, he feels a protectiveness and an obligation to keep her safe.  Their close proximity does bring their passion almost to the boiling point, but Nick, leery of being forced into marriage, retreats.  When Emma’s brothers learn of her scheme, they rush to rescue her, only to find her alone in a room with Nick.  He can hear the wedding bells tolling.

Their hasty marriage begins on a high note, as they are each determined to make the best of it.  Truth be told, they are eager to explore their sizzling chemistry, and that part of their marriage is all either hoped it could be.  But soon, events test their new relationship, and their very basic differences may cause a falling apart that can’t be reconciled.  Emma is so passionate about her beliefs, how she feels she needs to help other women, and how she can possibly atone for her inaction regarding Lena.  I admire her strength, intelligence, and determination, while at the same time wanting to caution her to be realistic and take things slowly.  She has a generous heart, a great spirit, and a giving nature that sometimes overruled common sense.  Poor Nick is such a mess from his troubled childhood – he never received love, and is slow to recognize it when it appears in his life.  His wounds did  not make him cruel or bitter, just determined.  If he is unable to let go of his childhood vows, it may well cost him the happiness he’s found.  I love both these characters, flaws and all.

THE BRIDE WHO GOT LUCKY is a fabulous read, with plenty of emotion, character growth, romance, and definitely steam.  I adored Emma’s parents and the loving relationship they had with her and each other – a direct contrast to the relationship Nick had with his father.  The resolution was satisfactory on many levels, and I felt confident that this wonderful couple would live happily ever after.

Posted in Historical Romance, Janna MacGregor, Review, Rose | 6 Comments

New Releases for November 2017

Lots of great reading coming up in November.  These are the books on my reading list – below the graphic is a blurb for each of these books.  If you click on the title, you will be taken to the Amazon page in case you feel the urge to add to your TBR!

 

At the Christmas Wedding – Compilation

Map of a Lady’s Heart by Caroline Linden

The road to happily-ever-after… With Kingstag Castle full of guests and the snow falling, Viola Cavendish has her hands full making sure the Christmas house party runs smoothly. The unexpected arrival of the Earl of Winterton and his nephew Lord Newton upends everything. Not only is Lord Newton flirting with the young ladies Viola is supposed to chaperone, Lord Winterton himself makes her pulse race.
Always takes some twists and turns Wesley Morane, Earl of Winterton, has come to Kingstag Castle in search of a valuable atlas, and he refuses to be deterred by the snow, the house party, his nephew, or even the most ridiculous play ever staged. But before long the only map he wants is one that shows him the way to Viola’s heart…

Hot Rogue on a Cold Night by Maya Rodale

Jilted by a duke: Lady Serena Cavendish was born and bred to be a duchess. Too bad, then, that the Duke of Frye mysteriously and suddenly ended their betrothal.
Seduced by a Rogue: Greyson Jones, an agent of the crown, is the only one who thinks being jilted has made Serena more alluring. When he lucks into an invitation to a Christmas house party at Kingstag Castle to cheer her up–and perhaps find her a husband–he seizes the opportunity to win her heart before they might be parted forever.
On the way to the altar: Their journey to happily ever after involves a ridiculous play, a lovesick swan, a mysterious gift and, of course, a kiss.

Snowy Night with a Duke by Katharine Ashe

The last time Lady Charlotte Ascot bumped into the Duke of Frye, she climbed a tree to avoid him. Sometimes it’s simply easier to run away than to face her feelings for him — overwhelmingly passionate feelings that no modest lady should have! Now, on her way to Kingstag Castle to celebrate the holidays with friends, Charlotte is trapped by a snowstorm at a tiny country inn with the duke of her steamiest dreams.
But Frye has a secret of his own, and Christmas is the ideal time to finally tell the woman he’s always wanted the whole unvarnished truth. Better yet, he’ll show her…

Romance Under the Mistletoe: A Collection of Christmas Tales – Compilation

PATIENCE FOR CHRISTMAS by Grace Burrowes: Patience Friendly makes her living writing advice columns that are the talk of Regency London, but when she falls for Dougal MacHugh, her irascible Scottish publisher, common sense is not what’s needed!

HER CHRISTMAS EARL by Anna Campbell: To protect her hen-witted sister from scandal, Philippa Sanders ventures into a rake’s bedroom on Christmas Eve – now her reputation hangs by a thread, and only a hurried marriage can save her.

MISCHIEF & MISTLETOE by Tanya Anne Crosby: Suspecting he can never be the man Emma Peters wishes him to be, Lucien Morgen, the fifth duke of Willyngham, decides to break off their long-standing engagement… only to discover the innocent fiancé he set aside for years has unexpectedly blossomed into a passionate, irresistible woman.

CHRISTMAS IN THE SCOT’S ARMS by Julie Johnstone: A Scot looking for love and a lass needing saving discover Christmas wishes do come true in each other’s arms.

A KILTED CHRISTMAS WISH by Eliza Knight: Present Day, NYC. Darla Strider wonders if she’ll ever meet her own kilted hero until the day Aaron Sutherland walks into her modern café, and changes her whole world.

UPON A MIDNIGHT DREAM by Kathryn Le Veque: A wandering knight and a broken lady come together for a romantic Christmas miracle.

Your invitation to delightful Holiday reading awaits in this breathtakingly romantic anthology. ‘Tis the season to surrender to temptation! 

Regency Christmas Wishes: Captain Grey’s Christmas Proposal\Her Christmas Temptation\Awakening His Sleeping Beauty – Compilation       Three Regency tales of festive wishes come true… 

CAPTAIN GREY’S CHRISTMAS PROPOSAL by Carla Kelly 

Captain Grey had been fighting malarial fever in Savannah when he met Theodora Winnings. He proposed by letter—but it’s taken ten years to receive her reply. The answer was “yes!”—but is she still free to become his Christmas bride?

HER CHRISTMAS TEMPTATION by Christine Merrill 

Faith Strickland’s plan to marry to save her family backfires when notorious rake James Leggett sets out to break her unhappy engagement. He’ll storm her Twelfth Night celebrations and scorch her into surrender!

AWAKENING HIS SLEEPING BEAUTY by Janice Preston 

Lonely Diana Fleming knows handsome knights don’t really exist. But can a festive kiss from the man she loves reawaken her frozen heart?

Someone to Wed (A Westcott Novel) by Mary Balogh

When Alexander Westcott becomes the new Earl of Riverdale, he inherits a title he never wanted and a failing country estate he can’t afford. But he fully intends to do everything in his power to undo years of neglect and give the people who depend on him a better life. . . .

A recluse for more than twenty years, Wren Heyden wants one thing out of life: marriage. With her vast fortune, she sets her sights on buying a husband. But when she makes the desperate—and oh-so-dashing—earl a startlingly unexpected proposal, Alex will only agree to a proper courtship, hoping for at least friendship and respect to develop between them. He is totally unprepared for the desire that overwhelms him when Wren finally lifts the veils that hide the secrets of her past. . . .

The Trouble with Love (Distinguished Rogues Book 8) by Heather Boyd

Whitney Crewe has a dream for her life, and it does not include a properly boring marriage or remaining in England. Passionate by nature, she’s headed for an adventure abroad but has been temporarily lured into the countryside to paint an important family portrait. Unfortunately, a friend is set to marry the family’s nearest neighbour, Lord Acton, and he is someone Whitney has seen far too much of…with and without his breeches on. Their past must remain a mere memory, but ignoring him proves impossible when she understands the decisions he’s made to protect those he loves.

Lord Acton is keeping secrets from his friends, and particularly from his innocent bride-to-be. The first was losing his head over an intoxicating, veiled seductress one gloriously reckless evening. A man of his word, he has no choice but to keep his promise to wed, even after he discovers his seductress was his bride’s friend, eccentric heiress and artist, Whitney Crewe. The second secret, Whitney stumbles upon all on her own, but her anger swiftly becomes an offer of friendship and much-needed compassion. They have absolutely nothing in common, so why oh why would he risk his future getting to know Whitney when she’s opposed to everything he desires?

No Other Duke Will Do (Windham Brides) by Grace Burrowes

Julian St. David, Duke of Haverford, is barely keeping his head above water in a sea of inherited debts. Though he has a long-term plan to restore the family finances, his sister has a much faster solution: host a house party for London’s single young ladies and find Julian a wealthy bride.

Elizabeth Windham has no interest in marriage, but a recent scandal has forced her hand. As much as she’d rather be reading Shakespeare than husband-hunting, she has to admit she’s impressed by Julian’s protective instincts, broad shoulders, and, of course, his vast library.

As the two spend more time together, their attraction is overwhelming, unexpected… and absolutely impossible. With meddling siblings, the threat of financial ruin, and gossips lurking behind every potted palm, will they find true love or true disaster?

Third Son’s a Charm (The Survivors Book 1) by Shana Galen

Ewan Mostyn thinks a job as a duke’s daughter’s bodyguard will be easy―but Lady Lorraine has a few tricks up her sleeve that spark an undeniable passion…

Fiercely loyal to his friends and comrades, Ewan Mostyn is the toughest in a group of younger sons of nobility who met as soldiers and are now trying desperately to settle back into peaceful Society. Ewan trusts his brawn more than his brains, but when he’s offered a job watching the Duke of Ridlington’s stubbornly independent daughter, he finds both are challenged.

Lady Lorraine wants none of her father’s high-handed ways, and she’ll do everything in her power to avoid her distressingly attractive bodyguard―until she lands herself in real trouble. Lorraine begins to see Ewan’s protectiveness in a new light, and she can only hope that her stoic guardian will do for her what he’s always done―fight for what he wants.

Lord Edward’s Mysterious Treasure: The Breton Adventure (The Victorian Adventures) by Lillian Marek

Lord Edward Tremaine comes to the fog-shrouded Chateau Morvan on the coast of Brittany. In this ancient building, all the inhabitants have secrets. The old vicomte demands that his descendents find a lost treasure, but he offers only hints to help the three cousins in their search. The beautiful and charming Delphine seems to be a creature of gaity and sunshine, but every now and then glimpses of something darker appear. Marguerite, the brilliant pianist, is withdrawn in grim silence. Antoine, who considers himself a modern man, ignores the swirling emotions, concentrating only on the money needed for his steel factory.
Lord Edward wants to help his friend Antoine, but can he do so before tragedy strikes?

Alec Mackenzie’s Art of Seduction: Mackenzies (Mackenzies Series Book 9) by Jennifer Ashley

Alec Mackenzie earns a living in exile as an art instructor, a cover for his search of several countries for his missing brother. Lady Celia, an Englishwoman who refuses to marry gentlemen her martinet mother chooses for her, is sent to Alec, the mysterious Scottish recluse, for drawing lessons–her family commands her to learn a skill if she’s put herself off the marriage mart. Alec decides that the courageous Celia needs to expand her talents in painting the human figure, especially that of the male …

Celia is intrigued by the man who pretends his name is Mr. Finn. He’s a Scotsman, she deduces, but he can’t be one of the Highlanders who rose against the king, else she’d be allowed nowhere near him, and he’d be under arrest or already dead.

But as Celia lets her curiosity guide her, she uncovers more about Alec, including his name, his title, and the fact that he was indeed one of the Highlanders at Culloden. She sees the loneliness in Alec, his terrible sense of loss, his tenderness toward his daughter, and realizes he’s a complex man trying to survive now that his home has been destroyed. She also wonders why he’s left the safety of France to come to England, and the learns that he believes she’s the key to finding his missing brother.

But Celia unravels too many secrets, which put not only her life and Alec’s but also her heart in grave danger.

Note: Alec Mackenzie is the brother of Malcolm from The Stolen Mackenzie Bride. He is an ancestor of the Mackenzie family whose story begins with The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie.

Twelfth Night with the Earl (The Sutherland Sisters) by Anna Bradley

When a headstrong beauty clashes with the man she once loved, she’s determined that the spirit of Christmas will open his mind, heal his heart, and perhaps give them a reason to celebrate—for many seasons 
to come . . . 
  
As far as Ethan Fortescue is concerned, his family’s seat in Cornwall is only a source of torment, one that he’s managed to avoid for two years. Now that he’s the Earl of Devon however, he can close the door on his haunted past by locking up the cursed place for good. But upon arriving at Cleves Court, he is shocked to find the house aglow with Christmas celebrations, filled with music and laughter. And right at the center of the holiday madness is the infuriating—and eternally tempting—Theodosia Sheridan . . .

Thea has always loved the town of Cleves, especially at the holidays. As a girl, she also loved Ethan with all her heart. It’s painful to see how his brother’s tragic death has embittered him. Still, she will do anything to make sure the town thrives—even if it means going to battle with Ethan to save Cleves Court. Now she has only until Twelfth Night to make a Christmas miracle happen—by proving that his childhood home can be a source of love and wonder. But before long, she finds herself wondering if she’s trying to save the house—or its handsome master…

Once Upon a Maiden Lane: A Maiden Lane Novella by Elizabeth Hoyt

Miss Mary Whitsun is far too intelligent to fall for the rakish charms of a handsome aristocrat. But when the gentleman in question approaches her in a bookshop, mistaking her for his fiancée, Lady Johanna Albright, the flirtatious encounter only raises more questions. Could Mary, a servant raised in a St Giles orphanage, actually be Lady Joanna’s long-lost twin sister? If so, Mary has been betrothed since birth—to the rakishly handsome artistocrat himself.

Henry Collins, Viscount Blackwell, is far too intrigued by Mary to let her go so easily. He’s drawn to her sharp mind, indomitable spirit, and the fiery way in which she dismisses him—ladies simply don’t dismiss Lord Blackwell. But as Mary makes her first hesitant steps into society, she can’t help but wonder if she truly has a place in Henry’s world—or in his heart.

Romancing the Scot (The Pennington Family) by May McGoldrick

In this stunning series starter by USA Today bestselling author May McGoldrick, meet the new generation of Penningtons…five brothers and sisters of passion and privilege. Enter their aristocratic world…where each will fight injustice and find love.

Hugh Pennington—Viscount Greysteil, Lord Justice of the Scottish Courts, hero of the Napoleonic wars—is a grieving widower with a death wish. When he receives an expected crate from the continent, he is shocked to find a nearly dead woman inside. Her identity is unknown, and the handful of American coins and the precious diamond sown into her dress only deepen the mystery.

Grace Ware is an enemy to the English crown. Her father, an Irish military commander of Napoleon’s defeated army. Her mother, an exiled Scottish Jacobite. When Grace took shelter in a warehouse, running from her father’s murderers through the harbor alleyways of Antwerp, she never anticipated bad luck to deposit her at the home of an aristocrat in the Scottish Borders. Baronsford is the last place she could expect to find safety, and Grace feigns a loss of memory to buy herself time while she recovers.

The Silent Duke (The 1797 Club Book 4) by Jess Michaels

Born mute, Ewan Hoffstead, Duke of Donburrow was abused by his wicked father and wretched younger brothers until an uncle swept in to save the day. Still, he carries the scars of his past with him, including a terrible belief that perhaps a “person like him” truly doesn’t deserve the title his uncle fought so hard for him to earn.

Recently widowed Charlotte may be the proper Countess of Portsmith to Society, but when she is around Ewan, she still feels like the enraptured little girl who met him decades before when her brother was best friends with him and his cousin.

A planned trip to spend Christmas with their families at Ewan’s estate reunites the old friends. But when a storm keeps the others from arriving on time, Charlotte decides to stop living in fear and pursue the man she has desired and loved her entire life. Ewan cannot resist her seduction, but he fears giving in to his heart. Especially when the family that disposed of him returns and threatens not only his life, but that of the woman he loves.

The Christmas Stranger: A Regency Novella by Anna Campbell

At Christmastime, a stranger crossing the threshold means good fortune… 

When Josiah Hale, society’s favorite aristocratic architect, stumbles upon an isolated manor house in the middle of a snowstorm, he feels like he’s entered a fairytale world. And Sleeping Beauty in this secret corner of Yorkshire is lovely, vulnerable Maggie Carr, surely a princess disguised as a humble housekeeper. Is Josiah her prince – or the man who will break her heart and leave her life in ruins?

But is the stranger’s arrival lucky for the girl Christmas forgot? 

Maggie Carr has worked as a housekeeper at isolated Thorncroft Hall since her beloved mother died five years ago. No matter how often she tells herself she’s accustomed to being poor and alone, Christmas always stirs poignant memories of a time when she had a place in the world and a family to love. But this Christmas, a handsome stranger bursts into her solitary world and makes her feel like a desirable woman. Maggie has already lost so much to cruel fate. Now as the season advances and she finds herself in thrall to the man who challenges her loneliness and turns winter nights to sultry summer, what price will this irresistible passion demand of her?

Will the Yuletide enchantment vanish with the season’s decorations? Or have Maggie and her Christmas stranger discovered a magic to sustain them through a lifetime of happiness? 

The Chase (Brides of Beadwell) by Sara Portman

In this thrilling romance from award-winning author Sara Portman, the illegitimate son of a nobleman and a woman on the run chase their fate on the London Road…

According to his father’s terms, Michael Rosevear’s duty is to be ignored—until such time as he is useful. Now that the earldom is in need of funds, Michael is to be sold off in marriage to the daughter of a crass but wealthy merchant willing to pay for any connection to nobility—even one from the wrong side of the blanket.

En route to his fate in London, Michael does not plan to board an extra passenger. Yet there is something in the young miss’s desperate plea that tugs at his conscience—though he is certain her story is a fabrication.

Juliana Crawford has fled her father’s cruel home. Using a false name to evade pursuit, she must find a private traveler with whom to complete her escape. Chance matches her with a dark and wounded young lord who guards his own secrets just as carefully. The unlikely pair embark on a journey filled with revelations and unexpected adventure—one that may lead them to question whether to part at their destination—or change course entirely.

A Duke in Shining Armor: Difficult Dukes by Loretta Chase

Not all dukes are created equal. Most are upstanding members of Society. And then there’s the trio known as Their Dis-Graces.

Hugh Philemon Ancaster, seventh Duke of Ripley, will never win prizes for virtue. But even he draws the line at running off with his best friend’s bride. All he’s trying to do is recapture the slightly inebriated Lady Olympia Hightower and return her to her intended bridegroom.

For reasons that elude her, bookish, bespectacled Olympia is supposed to marry a gorgeous rake of a duke. The ton is flabbergasted. Her family’s ecstatic. And Olympia? She’s climbing out of a window, bent on a getaway. But tall, dark, and exasperating Ripley is hot on her trail, determined to bring her back to his friend. For once, the world-famous hellion is trying to do the honorable thing.

So why does Olympia have to make it so deliciously difficult for him . . . ?

A Good Day to Marry a Duke (Sin & Sensibility) by Bettina Krahn

Daisy Bumgarten isn’t thrilled to be trying to catch a duke’s attention while dressed like a flower pot caught in a swarm of butterflies. But, after all, when in Rome (or in this case London society)… Since her decidedly disastrous debut among New York’s privileged set, the sassy Nevada spitfire’s last chance to “marry well” lies across the pond, here in England. If she must restrain her free spirit, not to mention her rib cage, so be it. She knows she owes it to her three younger sisters to succeed.

Now, under a countess’s tutelage, Daisy appears the perfect duchess-in-training…Until notorious ladies’ man Lord Ashton Graham, a distraction of the most dangerous kind, glimpses her mischievous smile and feisty nature—and attempts to unmask her motives. Daisy has encountered snakes on the range, but one dressed to the nines in an English drawing room is positively unnerving—and maddeningly seductive. When a veiled plot emerges to show up Daisy as unworthy of the aristocracy, will Ashton be her worst detractor? Or the nobleman she needs most of all?

Moonlight Over Manhattan (From Manhattan with Love) by Sarah Morgan

She’ll risk everything for her own Christmas miracle…

Determined to conquer a lifetime of shyness, Harriet Knight challenges herself to do one thing a day in December that scares her, including celebrating Christmas without her family. But when dog walker Harriet meets her newest client, exuberant spaniel Madi, she adds an extra challenge to her list—dealing with Madi’s temporary dog sitter, gruff doctor Ethan Black, and their very unexpected chemistry.

Ethan thought he was used to chaos, until he met Madi—how can one tiny dog cause such mayhem? To Ethan, the solution is simple—he will pay Harriet to share his New York apartment and provide twenty-four-hour care. But there’s nothing simple about how Harriet makes him feel.

Ethan’s kisses make Harriet shine brighter than the stars over moonlit Manhattan. But when his dog-sitting duties are over and Harriet returns to her own home, will she dare to take the biggest challenge of all—letting Ethan know he has her heart for life, not just for Christmas?

Wrong to Need You: Forbidden Hearts by Alisha Rai

He wasn’t supposed to fall in love with his brother’s widow…

Accused of a crime he didn’t commit, Jackson Kane fled his home, his name, and his family. Ten years later, he’s come back to town: older, wiser, richer, tougher—and still helpless to turn away the one woman he could never stop loving, even after she married his brother.

Sadia Ahmed can’t deal with the feelings her mysterious former brother-in-law stirs, but she also can’t turn down his offer of help with the cafe she’s inherited. While he heats up her kitchen, she slowly discovers that the boy she adored has grown into a man she’s simply unable to resist.

An affair is unthinkable, but their desire is undeniable. As secrets and lies are stripped away, Sadia and Jackson must decide if they’re strong enough to face the past…and step into a future together.

It’s Hard Out Here for a Duke: Keeping Up with the Cavendishes by Maya Rodale

In the fourth novel of Maya Rodale’s tantalizing series, a newly minted duke spends one night with his perfect woman…but can he win her for a lifetime

Some Mistakes…

When American-born James Cavendish arrives in London tomorrow, he’ll become the Duke of Durham. Some might be ecstatic at the opportunity. Not James. He’s a simple man, fond of simple pleasures. And right now, nothing could be more pleasurable than spending his last night of freedom with a beautiful stranger.

Are Far Too Good…

One wild night, Meredith Green, companion to the dowager Duchess of Durham, said yes to a man she thought she’d never see again. Suddenly, they’re living under the same roof, where Meredith is expected to teach James how to be a duke—while trying not to surrender to temptation a second time.

To Be Forgotten

For a duke and a commoner, marriage would be pure scandal. Yet nothing has ever felt as right as having Meredith in his arms…and in his bed. Soon he must choose—between a duty he never desired, and a woman he longs for, body and soul…

Happy Reading!

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