Review – The Lady in Red by Kelly Bowen

A lady with secrets, a man with a burning desire, a love that breaks all the rules

Lady Charlotte Beaumont has spent her whole life being ignored. By her parents, her brother, even the servants. So she was secretly able to develop her talent for painting well beyond the usual watercolors. Too bad no one will let her actually use it-women are rarely accepted into the Royal Academy. But when a connection at the Haverhall School for Young Ladies gets Charlotte her dream commission, she’ll do whatever it takes to make it work. Including disguising herself as “Charlie.”

Flynn Rutledge has something to prove. His lowly upbringing is not going to stop him from achieving his artistic dreams. This commission is the key to his future, and his partner, an unknown youth in oversized clothes who is barely old enough to shave, doesn’t exactly inspire confidence. But Charlie does inspire Flynn’s artistic passion-something he worried he might have lost forever. For all his street smarts, nothing can prepare Flynn for the shock of Charlie’s true identity. He doesn’t care that she’s a woman, but a lady of the ton is a different matter altogether . . . 

Click on title below for direct Amazon buy link:
The Lady in Red (Kindle Single) (A Season for Scandal)

My Review:                 

I received a complimentary copy of this book.

Lady Charlotte Beaumont is of no use to her father, the earl, or to her brothers.  She’s too tall, too broad shouldered, and not beautiful in any traditional sense.  She is regularly sent away to their country estate, chaperoned by an indifferent aunt.  Over the years, Charlotte has taken the art training she received as a child and has perfected her skills to become a truly formidable artist.  However, the world isn’t yet ready for a female artist to be accepted or successful.  In order to pursue her dream, and to get away from her indifferent family, Charlotte approaches a mysterious man, known as King, with a devil’s bargain.  King is a powerful force, one not to be trifled with, but he is willing to make a deal with Charlotte.  He will arrange that she is granted the remaining open spot on a prestigious project if she is willing to repay his request when he summons her.  Charlotte agrees, and is transformed into “Charlie” Beaumont, and sets off to obtain her dream.

Flynn Rutledge at first appears to be the poster child of a temperamental artist who is suffering with lack of inspiration.  He can’t believe that his partner in designing murals for this church project is an unknown young boy, who no one has heard of, and who looks like a mere teenager.  Charlie’s initial conversations are met with anger, sarcasm, and suspicion.  Flynn is suspicious, because he is assuming that Charlie knows of the great scandal in his past, and is only waiting for the opportune moment to  fling that information in Flynn’s face.  Flynn is a talented and dedicated artist, but his reputation took a serious hit when he became involved in an affair with a notorious widow.  Believing himself in love, he publicly proposed, and suffered the humiliation of being soundly rejected.  The widow’s friends declared that the son of a prostitute had no business trying to marry into their ranks.  While Flynn’s pride was greatly damaged, his heart wasn’t, but he developed an intense hatred for titled aristocrats.

Slowly, Charlie’s calm nature overcomes Flynn’s hostility.  Flynn sees Charlie’s genuine talent, and finds the inspiration that had been eluding him recently.  The two of them agree on the handling of the project and begin a comfortable and amicable working relationship, with mutual respect on both sides.  The status quo is interrupted when an attack on Charlie leaves her injured, and Flynn discovers her gender while rendering aid.

Surprisingly, Flynn doesn’t threaten to reveal Charlotte’s secret, or insist that she leave the project.  He does ask for her reasons, and he’s sympathetic to the plight of a woman with her talent who has no outlet for it.  The new facet to their relationship leads to a sizzling affair and a deepening of their bond of friendship.  Charlotte told Flynn all the facts about herself, except that she is a titled lady.  When their project is over, Flynn learns that Charlotte is an earl’s daughter, and feels betrayed and used all over again.  Will he be able to overcome his prejudice, or will he throw away the chance at a great love?

I am always leery of reading stories with characters masquerading  as the opposite gender, as I have a hard time believing they could be successful.  However, the description of Charlotte’s appearance made me believe she could pull off appearing as a youth, without making her appear to be ugly.  I love Flynn’s reaction to her, how he studied her, and found the loveliness in her.  I love that he made her feel beautiful and respected her talent as an artist and as an equal.  In turn, Charlotte is very good for Flynn.  She provided inspiration to him when he floundered, she made him think, and she provided him with a sense of self worth when the world scorned him.  I find it amazing that a woman who was valued so little by her own family  was able to become such a determined and caring person.  The romance between Flynn and Charlotte developed beautifully and their sexual chemistry is hot.  THE LADY IN RED is another amazing read from Kelly Bowen, and it concludes with a grand gesture of love from Charlotte which is pure perfection.

Posted in Historical Romance, Kelly Bowen, Review, Rose | 3 Comments

Review – Once Upon a Christmas Eve by Elizabeth Hoyt

Adam Rutledge, Viscount d’Arque, really rather loathes Christmas. The banal cheerfulness. The asinine party games. And, worst of all, the obligatory trip to the countryside. His grandmother, however, loves the holidayand Adam loves his grandmother, so he’ll brave the fiercest snowstorm to please her. But when their carriage wheel snaps, they’re forced to seek shelter at the home of the most maddening, infuriating, and utterly beguiling woman he’s ever met . . .

Sarah St. John really rather loathes rakes. The self-satisfied smirks. The sly predatory gazes. Oh, and the constant witty banter rife with double meaning. But in the spirit of the season, she’ll welcome this admittedly handsome viscount into her home. But as the snowstorm rages, the Yule log crackles, and the tension rises, Sarah and Adam find themselves locked in a fiery, passionate kiss. If love is the true meaning of Christmas, it’s the one gift this mismatched pair can’t wait to unwrap.

Click on title below for direct Amazon buy link:                                             Once Upon a Christmas Eve: A Maiden Lane Novella (Kindle Single)

My Review:                  

I received a complimentary copy of this book.

Adam Rutledge, Viscount d’Arque, is traveling with his beloved grandmother, when a carriage mishap brings their journey to a screeching halt.  Concerned for his frail grandmother, Adam decides to return to a house they passed a mile or two back, to see if they can take shelter there.  His pounding on the door is answered by none other than Godric St. John, (one of my very favorite Maiden Lane heroes,) who is celebrating the Christmas holiday with his family. Godric and Adam return to the scene of the accident to pick up his grandmother, who is looking very unwell.  One of the other houseguests happens to be a doctor, and his examination concludes that the elderly lady is very ill and should not travel for a couple weeks.  Thus, Adam is now part of the St. John family Christmas house party.

Sarah St. John, Godric’s sister, is very aware of Adam’s rakish reputation, biting wit, and vain personality.  She is not happy to have him as a houseguest, and doesn’t hesitate to let him know it.  Sarah harbors a particular loathing for rakes because of an incident that happened to her when she was a young lady of only sixteen.  That incident severely damaged her reputation, and kept her away from town for several seasons.  She has never been genuinely courted, and longs for a family and home of her own.  Now at age twenty seven, she feels her chances of achieving her dream are slim.

Though Adam and Sarah snipe at each other, they feel a strong attraction, which they attempt to camouflage with their biting remarks.  Adam’s rakish reputation is well deserved, but over the course of the party, Sarah begins to see another side to him – his love and care for his grandmother, his genuine happiness in frolicking with a puppy, and his strong defense of another young lady at the party who is accosted by someone against her will.  Adam, in turn, learns the story of how Sarah’s unhappy encounter when she was young has shaped the current way she reacts to him.

Adam’s own personal code doesn’t let him dally with innocent ladies, yet his feelings for Sarah are strong, unlike anything he’s felt before.  Sarah also wants to give in to Adam, and explore these new and exciting emotions and sensations.  Is it possible that these two totally dissimilar people could find a genuine love for Christmas?  ONCE UPON A CHRISTMAS EVE is a short, steamy, and truly romantic read.  As always, Elizabeth Hoyt parallels each chapter with her take on a fairy tale, which is as entertaining and captivating as the main story.  This novella is billed as the end of the Maiden Lane series, which breaks my heart, as it’s absolutely one of the best, EVER, in historical romance.  I have hopes that in a year or two, Ms. Hoyt will have a brilliant idea for another book or novella, which can’t be suppressed, which will take us back to visit the world, or revisit the characters of Maiden Lane.

Posted in Christmas, Elizabeth Hoyt, Historical Romance, Rose | Leave a comment

Review – Regency Christmas Wishes by Carla Kelly, Janice Preston, and Christine Merrill

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?

Click on title below for direct Amazon buy link:
Regency Christmas Wishes: Captain Grey’s Christmas Proposal\Her Christmas Temptation\Awakening His Sleeping Beauty

My Review:              

There are three novellas included in this collection.  I have reviewed two for this post:

I received a complimentary copy of this book.

Captain Grey’s Christmas Proposal by Carla Kelly

Over ten years ago, Captain James “Jem” Grey was in a South Carolina hospital recovering from a serious case of malaria.  A beautiful young woman named Theodora “Teddy” Winnings regularly visited the facility, and talked with, and read to the patients.  Jem soon became quite fond of Teddy, and she began to spend most of her time visiting with him only.  When Jem recovered enough to return to duty in the Royal Navy, he decided to write to Teddy and propose.  When he never received a response, he did his best to put Teddy out of his mind.

The years have passed, and Jem is now about to become partner of a ship building business.  His travels take him to a hotel in Plymouth, where the owner has cleared out an old box in storage, only to find a long forgotten letter underneath.  The letter is for Jem, and it’s in sad shape, but it’s from Teddy.  She responded to his letter, and the legible parts tell Jem that she accepted his proposal.  There is more that has been obscured by water stains and time – all that Jem can make out is that there was something that Teddy felt she should have told him.

This letter hits Jem like a ton of bricks!  What to do?  Jem never married, but he never really forgot Teddy either.  What did she possibly think when he never responded to her letter?  No doubt she’s married by now, and he should just leave it alone – but he can’t.  He travels to Charleston, and begins the process of tracking down his long lost love.  The search is not easy or straight forward, but Jem finally finds her, and the shabby woman he finds is nothing like the well dressed young lady he remembers.  When Jem learns what it is that Teddy referred to in her letter – the indecipherable thing that she should have told him, it turns out to be shocking, indeed.

Teddy has never married, but her secret means that there is a large impediment to their being together, if, indeed, Jem still wants to.  It turns out that Jem is a very steadfast man who doesn’t give up easily.  He still wants Teddy, and it seems that she still wants him, so Jem begins to plan and plot, trying to find a way.

Carla Kelly has written a sweet and very unique second chance at love Christmas story with a hero willing to risk everything, and a heroine who is strong and determined.  Their well deserved happy ever after may not have been achieved if they weren’t  helped along the way by a mysterious man – one who appears to possess Christmas magic, which he uses to aid their seemingly impossible cause.  CAPTAIN GREY’S CHRISTMAS PROPOSAL is a warm and satisfying read which will brighten up your holiday season.

Awakening His Sleeping Beauty by Janice Preston

Diana Fleming’s life hasn’t been the same since her younger brother died eight years ago.  Her father buries himself in his office, while her mother generally stays in her own room, demanding that Diana attend to her constantly.  There’s no socializing, no joy, and certainly no Christmas celebration in this household.  When Diana’s father, Viscount Lavenham, surprisingly announces that his cousin is coming to visit, along with her seven children, Diana’s mother is horrified, preferring to dwell in her grief and solitude.  But for once, Lavenham won’t give in to his wife’s demands.  He’s determined that  his distant cousins will spend the Christmas holidays with them.

Aaron Fleming is Diana’s third or fourth cousin, and he’s now heir to her father, since her brother died.  Initially, he has no more desire to spend Christmas with Diana and her family, than she and her mother have for his family.  Their first impression upon meeting for the first time in years doesn’t  change their opinions, as Aaron finds Diana stiff and quiet, while she finds him overbearing.  Little do either of them know, but Aaron’s mother and Diana’s father arranged this holiday with the particular hope that they would make a match.  Since Aaron is the heir, when Lavenham dies, Diana will be out of a home, and marriage between them sounds like an ideal solution.

After a rocky start, Diana finds that she is enjoying spending time with her numerous cousins.  They revive Christmas traditions and the quiet and cold house starts to feel like a home again.  Some shared mistletoe kisses with Aaron have Diana hoping that they may have a future together.  Aaron is highly sensitive to being manipulated, as one of his best friends just tried to trick him into being compromised with his sister.  Aside from that, Aaron is very stubborn, and when he learns of the plot between his mother and Diana’s father, he storms out, even though he was starting to have genuine feelings  for Diana.

Aaron is a hotheaded young man, and it seems that he will not be coerced in any way.  If he can’t make a choice of his own, he wants no part of it.  Yet, as he thinks of Diana, and how she blossomed during the short time they spent together, and how sweet it was to kiss her, he wonders if he’s making the right decision.  Diana’s mother literally sucked the life and vitality right out of her.  It was wonderful to see her “awaken” again, and to see the sparkle and joy that was part of her personality before it was subdued.  It was satisfying to watch Aaron start thinking about his own family, and what he really wants from life.  He seemed to mature before my eyes and become the man who would take Diana to a happy future.  Janice Preston neatly wrapped up the loose ends to show the two families bonding, and celebrating a Christmas that indicated a much brighter future for all of them.  AWAKENING HIS SLEEPING BEAUTY is an enjoyable read, which I feel really captures the spirit of family and romantic love at Christmas time.

Posted in Carla Kelly, Christmas, Historical Romance, Janice Preston, Review, Rose, Uncategorized | 1 Comment

New Releases – December 2017

Some good reading coming up in December.  My list looks a little shorter this month, which is OK – I’ve got some catching up to do from those great November books, as well as some Christmas stories.  Below the graphic, I’ve posted the blurbs for these books, and clicking on the titles will take you right to the Amazon page if you’d like to add any of these goodies to your own TBR pile!

Merry Christmas, My Viscount (Rules of the Rogue)  by Emily Windsor – Mrs Lily Mereworth’s List of Bold New Life Resolutions. To be completed by Christmas Eve, 1814.

• Burn Miss Pikesworth’s Guide to Etiquette – Achieved.
• Visit a gaming hell and win oneself lots of money – Achieved.
• Imbibe new-fangled absinthe – Preparations underway.
• Seduce a rogue – ?

Attending a Christmastide gathering is surely the best way for the most proper widow Mrs Lily Mereworth to complete her list and banish her past. After all, there will be more than a few suitable gentlemen present.
If only a shrewd, hazel-eyed viscount didn’t keep disrupting her plans…

Newly ennobled Viscount Asher Rainham has no schedule for seduction, Christmas or dallying with women. He has merely turned up for the good company, intelligent card playing and excellent brandy. But as snow swathes the land, a certain Mrs Mereworth confounds his expectations and assaults his methodical senses.
Asher, spymaster, a man who never takes risks, finds himself in need of some Rules of the Rogue…

Ghost stories on a windy night, swordplay down the Great Portrait Gallery, snapdragon in the dark – a lady and a gentleman with no thought to love… Merry Christmas.

The Lady in Red (Kindle Single) (A Season for Scandal)  by Kelly Bowen – A lady with secrets, a man with a burning desire, a love that breaks all the rules…

Lady Charlotte Beaumont has spent her whole life being ignored. By her parents, her brother, even the servants. So she was secretly able to develop her talent for painting well beyond the usual watercolors. Too bad no one will let her actually use it—women are rarely accepted into the Royal Academy. But when a connection at the Haverhall School for Young Ladies gets Charlotte her dream commission, she’ll do whatever it takes to make it work. Including disguising herself as “Charlie.”

Flynn Rutledge has something to prove. His lowly upbringing is not going to stop him from achieving his artistic dreams. This commission is the key to his future, and his partner, an unknown youth in oversized clothes who is barely old enough to shave, doesn’t exactly inspire confidence. But Charlie does inspire Flynn’s artistic passion—something he worried he might have lost forever. For all his street smarts, nothing can prepare Flynn for the shock of Charlie’s true identity. He doesn’t care that she’s a woman, but a lady of the ton is a different matter altogether.

The Lord Meets His Lady (Midnight Meetings)  by Gina Conkle – Lord Marcus Bowles has stained his family’s reputation for the last time. Only after spending a scandal-free year restoring some far-flung property can this second son return in good graces. But Marcus isn’t one to abandon a lone damsel on a dark country lane.

One stolen kiss and Genevieve Turner’s handsome midnight savior disappears. Typical. No matter, Gen is finally on the way to her new post, and hopefully to finding her grandmother as well. Instead she finds her mischievous hero is her new employer. Surely a few more kisses won’t hurt…

To the Duke, With Love: The Rakes of St. James  by Amelia Grey – There may be times when a gentleman is desperate to gain a lady’s attention, but a gentleman would never resort to desperate measures to obtain it.
―A Proper Gentleman’s Guide to Wooing the Perfect Lady

Sloane Knox, the Duke of Hawksthorn is guardian for his sweet, younger sister. Due to his misguided past as one of the infamous Rakes of St James, Hawk is hoping to avoid the Season by securing a match for her before it begins. He has the perfect gentleman in mind, but for one infuriating―and unexpectedly intoxicating―obstacle: the intended groom’s own sister, Miss Loretta Quick.

Having narrowly avoided her own arranged marriage to an unacceptable nobleman, Loretta is determined that her dear brother―a gentle, good-natured soul―should marry for love. Matching wits with Hawk may be her greatest challenge yet. . .until she realizes it may also be her greatest pleasure. For the young duke’s irresistible charm has not only begun to crumble her stubborn resolve, it has claimed her heart in true love as well. . .

Once Upon a Christmas Eve: A Maiden Lane Novella (Kindle Single)  by Elizabeth Hoyt – Adam Rutledge, Viscount d’Arque, really rather loathes Christmas. The banal cheerfulness. The asinine party games. And, worst of all, the obligatory trip to the countryside. His grandmother, however, loves the holiday—and Adam loves his grandmother, so he’ll brave the fiercest snowstorm to please her. But when their carriage wheel snaps, they’re forced to seek shelter at the home of the most maddening, infuriating, and utterly beguiling woman he’s ever met.

Sarah St. John really rather loathes rakes. The self-satisfied smirks. The sly predatory gazes. Oh, and the constant witty banter rife with double meaning. But in the spirit of the season, she’ll welcome this admittedly handsome viscount into her home. But as the snowstorm rages, the Yule log crackles, and the tension rises, Sarah and Adam find themselves locked in a fiery, passionate kiss. If love is the true meaning of Christmas, it’s the one gift this mismatched pair can’t wait to unwrap.

Surrender To Ruin (Sinclair Sisters Book 3)  by Carolyn Jewel – Her beauty is divine. His heart yearns for another. Will attempted revenge result in true love?

Emily is the last unmarried Sinclair sister. For all her spellbinding beauty, she’s never been able to clear a certain man from her head and her heart. He’s made it clear there’s no hope, and now he’s about to marry her best friend.

The Earl of Bracebridge knows how to hold a grudge. The former prizefighter turned disreputable nobleman hoped to marry Emily’s sister until she was forced to wed another. After his hopes for a suitable marriage are dashed once again, he seizes the chance to settle the score with Thomas Sinclair by eloping with Emily and consigning them both to a union without love.

Emily knows Bracebridge loves another, but every time they’re alone, sparks fly. Can Bracebridge get past his heartbreak to realize the perfect woman didn’t get away, she’s already his wife? 

Lady Isabella’s Ogre  by Emily Larkin – She’s one of London’s beauties … He’s London’s ogre. 

Lady Isabella Knox enjoys her independence. She collects strays—dogs, kittens, runaway brides—but she has no intention of collecting a husband.

Major Nicholas Reynolds returns from the Battle of Waterloo a hero. He’s had enough of soldiering; all he wants now is a bride … but his scarred face sends young ladies fleeing—literally.

When a slip of her tongue brands the major an ogre—and his chances of marriage disintegrate—Isabella sets out to undo the harm she inadvertently caused. How better to revive the major’s marriage prospects than for the two of them to indulge in a make-believe flirtation? They both know it’s not real, so where’s the danger?

But Isabella is soon in over her head—and so is Major Reynolds.

A Regency romance featuring a beauty, an ogre, a runaway bride, several kittens, and a dog.

Please note: 1. Lady Isabella’s Ogre is a new version of Beauty and the Scarred Hero, which was published under the penname Emily May. The last few chapters have been rewritten. Some things are the same, some are different…  2. This edition is currently only available in North America. Apologies to everyone who’s not in North America! I hope to be able to release this book worldwide in the future. 

A Match Made in Heather  by Anna Harrington – WHEN HIGHLAND HEARTS COLLIDE…
Arabel Rowland was the laird’s daughter, courted by sons of dukes and as wild and untamed as the Highlands around her. Garrick McGuiness was nothing more than a penniless, nameless Scot working in the Rowland stables with nothing to offer but his heart. On the eve when they were to elope, Arabel is forced to make a decision that changes both of their lives—one that drives them apart for a decade.

SPARKS ARE SURE TO FLY!
Ten years later, Garrick is now Earl of Townsend and surprised to receive word of an inheritance from the Rowlands—and simply stunned to learn that he must share that inheritance with the one woman he hoped never to see again. His plan is to fulfill the will’s requirement, take the money, and never return to Scotland again. But when the deadly secret that came between them is revealed, he finds himself experiencing the Highlands—and his feelings toward Arabel—in a way he never did before.

Fate tore them apart, but now he’s back in her life with status, money and a title. Can they let go of past hurts and find love?

The Pretender: Games People Play  by Helen Kay Dimon – They say it takes a thief to catch a thief, and Harrison Tate is proof. Once a professional burglar, he now makes a lawful living tracking down stolen art. No one needs to know about his secret sideline, “liberating” artifacts acquired through underhanded methods. At least until one of those jobs sees him walking in on a murder.

Gabrielle Wright has long been estranged from her wealthy family, but she didn’t kill her sister. Trouble is, the only person who can prove it is the sexy, elusive criminal who shouldn’t have been at the island estate on that terrible night. She’s not expecting honor among thieves—or for their mutual attraction to spark into an intense inferno of desire.

Under the guise of evaluating her family’s art, Harris comes back to the estate hoping to clear Gabby’s name. But returning to the scene of the crime has never been riskier, with their hearts and lives on the line.

If Ever I Should Love You: A Spinster Heiresses Novel (The Spinster Heiresses)  by Cathy Maxwell – Once upon a time there were three young ladies who, despite their fortunes, had been on the Marriage Mart a bit too long. They were known as the “Spinster Heiresses” . . . 

He’s inherited a title, but not a penny to speak of, so the Earl of Rochdale knows he must find a wife—preferably one tolerably pretty and good-tempered, but definitely wealthy, and willing to exchange her fortune for his family name.

His choice: Leonie Charnock, one of the season’s “Spinster Heiresses.” Years before, the earl had saved the dark-eyed beauty’s reputation, and she is still breathtakingly lovely, leading Rochdale to hope that their marriage will be more than in name only.

However, Leonie doesn’t want to be anyone’s wife. Nearly destroyed by the secrets in her past, Leonie agrees to their union with one condition: there will be a wedding but no bedding. But it’s a condition the new Countess Rochdale isn’t sure even she can keep . . .

Happy Reading!

Posted in New Releases | Leave a comment

A Duke in Shining Armor by Loretta Chase – Blog Tour, Review, Excerpt, and Giveaway

 

 

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 . . . ?

About the Book

A Duke In Shining Armor
by Loretta Chase

Series
Difficult Dukes

Genre
Adult
Historical Romance

Publisher
Avon Books

Publication Date
November 28, 2017

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TOUR WIDE GIVEAWAY DETAILS

LINK: https://goo.gl/9hgByc

GIVEAWAY TERMS & CONDITIONS:  Open to US shipping addresses only. One winner will receive a paperback copy of A Duke In Shining Armor by Loretta Chase.  This giveaway is administered by Pure Textuality PR on behalf of Avon Romance.  Giveaway ends 12/5/2017 @ 11:59pm EST. Avon Romance will send the winning copies out to the winner directly. Limit one entry per reader and mailing address.  Duplicates will be deleted.

About Loretta Chase

Loretta Chase has worked in academe, retail, and the visual arts, as well as on the streets-as a meter maid-and in video, as a scriptwriter. She might have developed an excitingly checkered career had her spouse not nagged her into writing fiction. Her bestselling historical romances, set in the Regency and Romantic eras of the early 19th century, have won a number of awards, including the Romance Writers of America’s Rita. For more about her past, her books, and what she does and doesn’t do on social media, please visit her website http://www.LorettaChase.com.

Author Links

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Read an Excerpt:

Prologue
London
Early morning of 11 June 1833

The Duke of Ashmont was not a very good duke—rather an awful one, actually. And so nobody could be in the least surprised to see him, drunk as an emperor—that was to say, ten times as drunk as a lord—staggering down the steps of Crockford’s Club on the arm of one of his two best friends.

This one was Hugh Philemon Ancaster, seventh Duke of Ripley. Where Ashmont was fair-haired, blue-eyed, and angelic-­looking, Ripley was dark. Unlike Ashmont, he did not appear to be spun of dreams and gossamer, and women did not follow his movements with the moonstruck expressions they accorded His Grace with the Angel Face.

On a good day, someone had said once, Ripley’s face resembled that of a wolf who’d been in too many fights.
Furthermore, though his slightly older title ranked him a notch or two higher in precedence than Ashmont, Ripley was merely as drunk as a lord. He could still distinguish up from down. When, therefore, His Grace of Ashmont showed an inclination to stumble in the downhill direction, toward St. James’s Palace, Ripley hauled him about.

“This way,” he said. “Hackney stand up ahead.” “Right,” Ashmont said. “Can’t miss the wedding.

Not this one. It’s me doing it. Me and Olympia. Have to be there. Promised.”

“You will be,” Ripley said as he led his friend across the street. The wedding had been news to him, the choice of bride a shock: Lady Olympia Hightower, of all women. She was the last girl on earth he’d thought would marry Ashmont—or any of them, for that matter.

Not that Ripley knew her very well. Or at all. They’d been introduced, yes, years ago. That was in the days when respectable persons still introduced Ripley and his two friends to innocent girls. But those were not the kinds of girls the ducal trio wanted. Gently bred maidens were for marrying, and marriage was sup-posed to be years away, sometime in the dim, distant future.

Apparently, the future had arrived while Ripley wasn’t looking.

First the Duke of Blackwood, the other of his two boon companions, had married Ripley’s sister over a year ago, a few days before Ripley left for the Conti-nent. Now Ashmont was doing it. Ripley had heard the happy news mere hours after his return to London yesterday.

No, he’d returned the day before, because today was yesterday now. He’d come to Crockford’s because he wanted a decent meal, and Crockford’s Ude was the next best thing to Ripley’s own chef, Chardot, who’d come down with a foul cold sometime during the Channel crossing.

Chardot went with him everywhere because he was amply paid to do so, and Ripley liked his comfort. Having been forced, for no sane reason, to live like a pauper during his boyhood, he lived like a king now.

Ripley was debating with himself whether, on the whole, he’d better have stayed abroad, when four men spilled out of a narrow court, one crashing into Ash-mont, with force enough to dislodge him from Ripley’s light grasp and push him into a shop front.

Ashmont bounced back with surprising energy. “You clumsy, bleeding, half-­wit! I have to get married, you bloody arsehole!” At the same moment, he drove his fist at the fellow’s face.

One of the man’s friends tried to butt in. With a sigh, Ripley grabbed him by the back of the collar. The fel-low swung at him, obliging Ripley to knock him into the gutter.

What happened after that was what often happened when Ashmont was about: a lot of filthy language and filthy fighting, and men rushing out of the clubs, shout-ing bets, and a female or two screaming somewhere.

Then it was over. Their foes lay strewn about the pavement. Ripley didn’t wait to count or identify them. He collected Ashmont from the railing he’d slumped against and trudged to the corner with him. He sig-naled, and the first in line of the hackneys plodded their way. He threw Ashmont into the decrepit coach and directed the driver to Ashmont House.

Servants waited up, as they were accustomed to do, for Ashmont. They bore him up the stairs to his bed-room and undressed and washed him without fuss.

My Review:                

I received a complimentary copy of this book.

Hugh Ancaster, the Duke of Ripley, along with Dukes Blackwood and Ashmont, have been best friends since their school days at Eton.  They are now nearing thirty years old, and their years of drunkenness, debauchery, fighting, and duels have earned them the name of, “Their Dis-Graces.”  Although they’re wealthy, handsome, and, of course, dukes, polite society avoids them.

Lady Olympia Hightower is now twenty five years old.  After several seasons, she has given up her dream of finding genuine love.  One day, she sees Ashmont, who seems to be in a continual state of inebriation, almost run over, and manages to pull him to safety.  She then puts him in her own carriage and sees him safely home.  Ashmont is stunned at such kindness from a lady, and decides that he will court her.  Olympia is well aware of Ashmont’s reputation, and realizes that if she should marry him, he will continue with his rakish ways and never be faithful.  She also knows that she may not get another offer, and his wealth will greatly help her family. Despite her misgivings, she agrees to marry him, and it’s now her wedding day.  Her mother provides her with some brandy laced tea to settle her nerves.  Then Olympia discards the tea and goes straight for the brandy, which has the opposite effect of calming her.  We now have a runaway bride.

Although it’s his wedding day, Ashmont is in his usual state of drunkenness.  He has tasked Ripley with being sure that he gets to the church, that he has the ring, and that all proceeds smoothly.  Ripley takes his task seriously, and when he discovers that Olympia has bolted, he takes off in pursuit of her.  Ripley is firmly in favor of this marriage, believing that Olympia will be very good for Ashmont.  Yet, he finds himself agreeing to all of Olympia’s demands to help her escape, many of which are hilarious.  As their path takes them out of the city, first to her aunt’s home, then his, things begin to change.  Ripley thinks about how he’s noticed Olympia all these years, yet never approached her.  He regrets never taking a chance on making her his own, and now it’s too late.  Olympia also noticed Ripley, and thinks about how she always wished they could have danced.

Over the next few days, Ripley fights his feelings, urging Olympia to return to town and Ashmont.  When they finally succumb to sharing some kisses, Olympia knows what she wants – it’s Ripley, and she’s brave enough to tell him so.  But Ripley can’t betray his best friend, no matter what his own feelings are, so he resists.  Olympia, however, decides to use every weapon she has to change Ripley’s mind, and the innocent seduces the seducer.  Their chemistry is off the charts, and Ripley knows that he can’t give her up, even knowing that it will cost him his best friend, and will, no doubt, result in a duel.

Without a doubt, A DUKE IN SHINING ARMOR is one of the best, if not THE best book I have read this year.  Ripley is to die for – from his amazement that Olympia would prefer his dark looks to Ashmont’s golden beauty, to his sense of honor to his friend, to his praise of Olympia’s beauty.  As he realizes that he’s truly in love, he shows a romantic streak that brought tears to my eyes.  His promise of fidelity to Olympia is swoonworthy, and his care of her speaks volumes as to his true character.  Olympia, in turn, had no illusions about herself, thinking she’s boring and unattractive.  Ripley’s love brings out her passionate and naughty nature and her self confidence.  She has always been kind and compassionate, but now she’s a force to be reckoned with.  There are so many wonderful scenes in this book, some humorous, some joyful, and some tear inducing.  Loretta Chase is in top form, as she weaves her magic to bring an impossible situation to a happy ever after.  I love every word in A DUKE IN SHINING ARMOR, and I adore Ripley and Olympia.  This book is amazing, and has everything I look for in a story.  I give it my highest recommendation, and urge you to move it to the top of your reading list.

This promotion is brought to you by Pure Textuality PR.
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Posted in Historical Romance, Loretta Chase, Promotions, Review, Rose | 4 Comments

Review – The Christmas Stranger 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?

Click on title below for direct Amazon buy link:
The Christmas Stranger: A Regency Novella

My Review:                 

I received a complimentary copy of this book.

Josiah “Joss” Hale is a famous architect, whose work is in high demand, and who is very popular with women.  Yet, his mother feels his restlessness and dissatisfaction, and calls on her old beau, (who also happens to be Joss’s godfather) Thomas Black, to help find the perfect woman for him.  The somewhat absent minded Thomas remembers that his orphaned cousin, Margaret “Maggie” Carr, is serving as housekeeper at Thorncroft Hall, a distant estate of his.  He feels she might be a perfect match for Joss, so he contacts Joss with a request to view the hall and suggest architectural improvements.  Since Thomas never married, he plans to bequeath the estate to Joss upon his death anyway.  As usual, Thomas then gets distracted, and neglects to inform Maggie of Joss’s impending arrival.

Over the Christmas holiday, Maggie is alone at Thorncroft Hall, as her fellow servants have left.  She is shocked to be awakened by pounding on the door in the middle of the night.  Joss blusters in, demanding that she have servants tend to his horse, prepare him some food, and show him to his room.  After the initial confusion, and Joss realizes that Maggie is the only person in residence, and that she was unaware of his scheduled visit, he becomes more reasonable and less abrasive.  Though Joss knows it’s totally improper for him to be alone with Maggie, the nasty weather prevents him from leaving.

Joss can see that Maggie is unlike any of the women he’s known.  She’s lovely and innocent, yet she’s been so lonely in this isolated spot, that she’s very eager for Joss’s company.  It’s not long before their attraction flares, and Joss decides that he must leave before he actually compromises Maggie.  Though he makes the attempt, the weather is against him, and he returns to Maggie’s eager arms.

Can two people who have known each other such a short time have found a genuine love?  Joss has plenty of experience with women, and he knows this is a feeling he’s never felt before.  He is a bit rough around the edges, but still a gentleman who wants to act honorably.  Maggie is the daughter of a vicar, and is very short on experience.  Can she trust what she feels, and that Joss isn’t trifling with her?  THE CHRISTMAS STRANGER is a sweet and enjoyable holiday read with a touch of heat, and a happy ever after that will leave you with a smile.

Posted in Anna Campbell, Christmas, Historical Romance, Review, Rose | 1 Comment

Review – At the Christmas Wedding by Caroline Linden, Maya Rodale, and Katharine Ashe

Snowed in at a castle full of handsome lords, three young ladies are about to have the holiday of their lives…

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… 

Click on title below for direct Amazon buy link:                                                         At the Christmas Wedding

My Review:                

I received a complimentary copy of this book.

This trio of related novellas takes place at a Christmas house party at the home of the Duke of Wessex, though he’s not in residence at the time.  His wife’s sister is about to give birth, so they’ve traveled to be with her, leaving his three sisters, the dowager duchess, and the current duchess’s secretary to manage the affair.

Map of a Lady’s Heart by Caroline Linden

Viola Cavendish is the widow of a distant cousin of the duke.  Though the duke offered a small income to Viola, she requested that he employ her instead, and she now is secretary to the duchess.  With the host and hostess called away, and the dowager duchess ill in bed, it’s left to Viola to try to oversee the duke’s three sisters, and to try to keep some semblance of order.  Wesley Morane, the Earl of Winterton has finally coerced the duke into allowing him to view an atlas in his possession.  Wes believes it to be one that belonged to his deceased father, and was sold in error.  He travels to the duke’s home, with his nephew, Justin, in tow, hoping to drum some sense into the young man who is beginning to enjoy a wild lifestyle.  When Wes finds out the duke is away, he manages to arrange to stay for the party, hoping that he’ll come across the coveted atlas.  Wes encounters an even greater treasure in Viola, and this couple falls in love amidst the revelry.

HOT ROGUE ON A COLD NIGHT by Maya Rodale

Lady Serena Cavendish, sister of the current Duke of Wessex, was betrothed for years to the Duke of Frye, an arrangement which their fathers set up.  Recently, the Duke of Frye shockingly broke off the engagement, jilting Serena, and leaving her confused and anchorless.  Serena isn’t heartbroken, as she felt only affection and friendship for Frye, but she did suffer humiliation.  Greyson Jones is an agent for the crown, and Frye’s best friend.  He has secretly been in love with Serena for years, but had no hope because of her engagement.  Now that she’s free, the somewhat snarky Grey decides to make his move, and Serena finds that an exciting future which involves traveling with the sexy Mr. Jones holds a lot of appeal.

SNOWY NIGHT WITH A DUKE by Katharine Ashe

Lady Charlotte Ascot has just returned from a two and a half year trip abroad, a trip she took to escape the love she felt for her best friend’s fiancé, the Duke of Frye.  Charlotte expected to attend the wedding, but instead finds that Frye has jilted Serena.  The bad weather has stranded Charlotte at an inn en route to the house party, where she discovers that Horace Church, the Duke of Frye is also residing.  Much to her dismay, Charlotte finds that her feelings for Frye are as strong as ever.  Can the simmering attraction between Frye and Charlotte lead to a happy ending for them?  We finally discover Frye’s true reason for jilting Serena, but he harbors another dark secret, one that may prevent him from accepting the genuine love that’s being offered to him.

All three stories are very well written and enjoyable.  The characterizations carry forward seamlessly in each novella, though each author’s style comes through.  The silly play that is such an integral part of the story is pure delight.  Caroline Linden offers up a truly warm and romantic tale, while Maya Rodale’s is light and humorous.  Katharine Ashe’s story is poignant and touching, and all three offer up some heat.  AT THE CHRISTMAS WEDDING is a lovely collection of three connected stories that is pure joy to read and one that I heartily recommend.

Posted in Caroline Linden, Christmas, Historical Romance, Katharine Ashe, Maya Rodale, Review, Rose | Leave a comment

Review – Alec Mackenzie’s Art of Seduction 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.

Click on title below for direct Amazon buy link:                                                    Alec Mackenzie’s Art of Seduction: Mackenzies (Mackenzies Series Book 9)

My Review:             

I received a complimentary copy of this book.

Alec Mackenzie, his father, and his two surviving brothers are believed to be dead.  Because of their involvement at Culloden, they are considered traitors, and fled to France until such time as they can return to their Scottish home.  Alec’s brother, Will, has left the safety of France and returned to England for some purpose unknown to his family.  Having lost three brothers already, Alec is determined that he will not lose another, so he follows.  In England, he assumes the identity of Ansel Finn, an Irish painting instructor, and resides at the home of Lady Flora, who has her own agenda and reasons for helping.  Alec hears rumors of Scottish men being illegally imprisoned, and that the Duke of Crenshaw is in control of that operation.  Lady Flora arranges for the duke’s daughter, Celia, to take art lessons in her home with Alec, as Mr. Finn, acting as instructor.  The plan is for Alec to get close to Celia, using any means at his disposal, including seduction, to find out whatever information she may know of her father’s actions.

Lady Celia Fotheringhay has been persona non grata with society, and with her own mother, since “The Disaster.”  Celia’s cold and class conscious mother arranged for Celia to marry an odious marquess, who is thirty years her senior.  When Celia refused, her mother went so far as to arrange for Celia to be caught in a compromising situation with the marquess, with many witnesses.  When Celia continued to refuse, her reputation took a beating.  Celia is attracted to her very handsome instructor, and he inspires her talent to greater heights.  Alec soon is enchanted with his pupil, and is loath to blatantly use her.

There are numerous obstacles that seemingly preclude this couple from pursuing a genuine romance.  Yet, their instantaneous rapport, liking, and chemistry makes them take a risk, and they hastily marry.  While their physical relationship is steamy and satisfying, they still have to deal with Alec’s status and Celia’s father’s probable involvement in the illegal imprisonment of Will.

Alec is vastly underrated by his family, and he proves them wrong by showing his intelligence, skills, and daring in the rescue of Will.  Add to that his charm, honor, and sexiness, and you have a hero to truly admire and love.  Celia is a fitting match for him, as she has qualities of kindness, compassion, and honesty.  Though she has been beaten down by her awful mother, she finally develops the courage to stand up to her.  She also shows great affection for Alec’s young daughter.

ALEC MACKENZIE’S ART OF SEDUCTION is a wonderful, heartfelt romance, which also was very intriguing regarding the mysterious disappearance of Will.  Jennifer Ashley wrote a book which held my attention at all levels.  I love the characters and the fast moving story, but I confess that I totally melted over the beginning and end, which showed the beloved character of Ian (THE MADNESS OF LORD IAN MACKENZIE) finding Alec’s journals, and relating the story of his ancestor to his family.  Beautifully done!

Posted in Historical Romance, Jennifer Ashley, Review, Rose | 3 Comments

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

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