Review – A Rake’s Guide to Seduction by Caroline Linden

HE MUST RELY ON HIS TALENTS IN THE BEDROOM . . . 
Anthony Hamilton cannot help it. The way he looks, the way he lives, his past—it all conspires to make him a man men fear, women desire. His name fills gossip circles in a seemingly endless, lurid drama. But he’s never forgotten the only woman he’s ever truly wanted—yet could never have . . .

TO MAKE HER FALL IN LOVE . . .
Celia Reece knew Anthony well before he forged his scandalous reputation. The young man she remembers spoke kindly to her, made her laugh, and his devilish good looks always quickened her pulse. But Celia’s mother had other designs—designs that didn’t include marriage to Anthony. Now, Celia is widowed, and her mother is intent on finding her a new husband. Refusing to let any obstacle stand in his path this time, Anthony sets out to win Celia’s heart by using the same skills that made him London’s most irresistible rake . . .

Click on title below for direct Amazon buy link:                                                      A Rake’s Guide to Seduction (Reece Family Trilogy Book 3)

My Review:

Anthony Hamilton is the legal son and heir of an earl, but rumors have circulated about his true parentage because he wasn’t born until ten years after his parents’ marriage, and his looks are decidedly unlike the earl’s.  His relationship with his father was always rocky, and when he was expelled from school, he was thrown out of the house, with his allowance cut off.  From that day forward, Anthony discarded his courtesy title, and insisted on being called plain Mr. Hamilton.  In order to survive, he used his brilliant math skills to let him win at gambling.  He became adept at business transactions, and at seducing investment money from unhappy wives.  While he slowly worked at building himself a future, his reputation suffered, and he stayed on the fringes of society.

Celia Reece, is the beautiful daughter of a duke, and is enjoying her first season.  When one of her suitors  becomes too ardent in his unwanted proposal, Celia is surprisingly rescued by Anthony,  who is a friend of her brother’s.  Anthony was a large part of her childhood, and a dear friend, until her mother banned him from their home due to his scandalous reputation.  Anthony is struck by the woman his little friend has become.  Her sparkle and loveliness cause Anthony to ponder changing his ways and becoming a man suitable to court her.  When Anthony finally finds the courage to approach her brother for permission to call on her, with a heartfelt plan of how he will change his life, he is informed that Celia has just become engaged and will be married in a month.

Celia is young and in love, and her marriage to Bertie begins on a high note.  They have a lovely honeymoon at his family’s country estate, but the contentment doesn’t last long.  Bertie’s father, who controls the money, insists the newlywed couple stay in the country, though they both want to return to town.  Bertie seems to need laughter, companions, drink, and gambling to be happy.  Soon, Celia is left more and more on her own, as Bertie seeks whatever entertainment he can find.  Unfortunately, that entertainment eventually includes another woman, and the marriage continues to steadily deteriorate.  Then Bertie becomes ill and dies, leaving a disillusioned Celia in the country with Bertie’s aging, ill, and grieving father.

A year after Bertie’s death, Celia’s mother, Rosalind, arrives to take Celia back home.  Her beautiful daughter, now only twenty-two years old, is just a shell of her former self.  The sparkle, the laughter, and happiness are all gone, leaving a quiet, sad eyed ghost.  In an effort to cheer her up, Rosalind plans a house party, inviting several of her closest friends from her debut season.  (Much to Rosalind’s chagrin, her son has insisted that Anthony be invited, as well.)  Celia finds herself very uncomfortable around her former friends, who are now married.  They seem hard, overly willing to indulge in malicious gossip, and even eager to have affairs.  The only person who she feels comfortable with is Anthony, who is greatly shocked at the changes in her.  While Anthony no longer has any expectations regarding Celia, he’s determined to bring her back to life, and begins his campaign to do so.

For me, this is where the story begins.  Anthony certainly has not followed a straight and narrow path, but, oh, how I adore him.  As his history unfolds, the treatment of him going back to when he was a child broke my heart.  He endured gossip, snubs, and outright vicious attacks, much of it being undeserved.  I love his care of Celia, how he made her laugh again and brought her back to life.  Celia is so broken by her failed marriage.  She doubts her ability to make wise choices, and is conflicted.  I cheered at how she believed in Anthony and supported him, even when all evidence pointed against him.  Just when it seemed that happy ever after was in their grasp, I realized that there was a whole lot of book left, and there was another twist.

A RAKE’S GUIDE TO SEDUCTION is a truly satisfying and heartwarming read.  I love the theme of a second chance, and Anthony and Celia got their second shot at love, while Anthony develops some self worth, and Celia comes to terms with her earlier marriage.  This appealing couple is made for each other, and I heartily recommend this somewhat steamy and very romantic read.

Posted in Caroline Linden, Historical Romance, Review, Rose | 1 Comment

Acting on Impulse by Mia Sosa – Blog Tour, Review, and Giveaway

Hollywood heartthrob Carter Stone underwent a dramatic physical transformation for his latest role and it’s clear his stunning seat mate doesn’t recognize the man beneath the shaggy beard and extra lean frame. Now Carter needs help rebuilding his buff physique and Tori is perfect for the job. It doesn’t hurt that she makes his pulse pound in more ways than one.

Sparks are flying, until a pesky paparazzo reveals Carter’s identity. Tori is hurt and pissed. She wants nothing to do with another man in the limelight, but she’s still got to whip him into shape. Can Carter convince Tori he’s worth the threat to her privacy that comes with dating a famous actor, or will Tori chisel him down to nothing before he even gets the chance?

Grab the popcorn . . .

 About the Book

Acting On Impulse
by Mia Sosa

Series
Love On Cue

Genre
Adult
Contemporary Romance

Publisher
Avon Impulse

Publication Date
September 19, 2017

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Celebration Giveaway!
To celebrate the release of ACTING ON IMPULSE, the author is giving away a $25 gift card!  ENTER NOW!

About Mia Sosa

Mia Sosa is an award-winning contemporary romance writer and 2015 Romance Writers of America® Golden Heart® Finalist. Her books have received praise and recognition from Library Journal, The Washington Post, Book Riot, Bustle, The Book List Reader, and more.

A former First Amendment and media lawyer, Mia practiced for more than a decade before trading her suits for loungewear (okay, okay, they’re sweatpants). Now she strives to write fun and flirty stories about imperfect characters finding their perfect match.

Mia lives in Maryland with her husband, their two daughters, and an adorable puppy who finally sleeps through the night. For more information about Mia and her books, visit www.miasosa.com

Mia’s Links

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Read an Excerpt:

As I crawl into the tiny space—it’s been a while since I’ve traveled coach class—I catch a whiff of her scent and close my eyes. Not sure if it’s perfume, body wash, or what, but it smells like vanilla and reminds me of the candles my mother used to buy at the local craft store. That right there is a sign. My mother would most heartily approve of this woman.

Now to find out her name.

I turn in my seat, prepping myself for a short conversation—too much too soon isn’t part of the playbook—but then I realize she’s not next to me. I raise myself off the cushion and pretend to stretch as I turn my head to scan the back of the plane. She’s a few rows back, standing and chatting with a guy who doesn’t appear to have anyone sitting next to him.

Oh, hell no.

Do I have to go to the restroom? You bet.

Before I stand, a bell rings and a flight attendant announces that there will be a short delay while the ground crew clears debris from the runway. Perfect.

I rise and make my way through the aisle, pushing down the bill of my baseball cap so no one notices me. But, of course, someone does. For all the wrong reasons.

A little girl with huge brown eyes and a mop of bright red hair tugs on her mother’s shirt and says, “Mommy, that man looks like a bear.”

The cutie’s pronouncement is loud enough that several nearby passengers chuckle. Even the object of my fascination turns and laughs. I grin at the kid, and she growls in her best imitation of a bear. So freaking adorable, that girl. Enjoying her fascination with my beard, I channel my inner Leonardo DiCaprio and growl right back.

Now I’ve done it.

The little girl’s eyes go round, and her eyes water. Then she lets out a shriek like the hounds of hell are chasing her. Unfortunately, I’m the hounds, and everyone on the plane, including my future wife, knows it.

The girl’s mother tries to quiet her, rocking her and telling her everything will be okay. Their seatmate, meanwhile, throws daggers at me with his eyes.

“He’s so scary looking,” the little girl chants over and over into her mother’s chest.

“Sir,” the flight attendant says behind me, “we’re getting ready to take off soon. Could you please return to your seat?”

Bewildered by the past ten minutes of my life, I nod and amble back to my row. How the hell did things go south that quickly? Fantasy woman returns, and my stomach drops when I catch the look of sympathy on her face. I slide down into my seat, give her a pathetic smile, and cover my face with my baseball cap as though I’m settling in for a nap. I need to regroup before I can speak to her. And I refuse to listen to the preflight safety demonstration unless the attendant can teach me how to save me from myself.

So now I know another thing: Whatever I tell my kids about how I met their mother, it’s going to be a lie. A big, fat fucking lie.

My Thoughts:

I received a complimentary copy of this book.

What’s a girl to do when she hears her lover on a radio talk show saying that he has no one special in his life?  If you’re Tori Alvarez, you write off the relationship and take off to Aruba for a mini vacation to clear your mind.  Tori and Mason were together a year.  He’s a councilman, and Tori did her best to stay out of the limelight, but hearing him publicly deny their relationship is the nail in the coffin.  A few days of sun and fun should help heal the wound.

Carter Williamson, who is well know television star, Carter Stone, is also heading for Aruba.  His motivation is to recover from the grueling movie he just finished, for which he lost forty pounds and grew out a shaggy beard.  His less than stellar appearance doesn’t impress his seat mate, Tori, but Carter is captivated, deciding that she’s his future wife.  Tori is pleasant and friendly until Carter asks where she’s staying.  Thinking he’s just another guy on the prowl, she shuts him down.

A change in circumstances leads Carter to Tori’s hotel, and now she’s sure he’s a stalker.  Eventually, he regains her trust, and they begin to share some fun times, though he’s still using his real name and keeping his occupation a secret.  Then someone recognizes Carter, and when Tori catches on, she takes off and heads home early.  Unwilling to give up, Carter contacts her, and she ends up (with some pressure from her bosses)agreeing to become his personal trainer as he prepares for an upcoming movie role.

Initially, Tori feels antagonistic and puts Carter on a brutal regimen.  Although it nearly kills him, Carter is determined to take whatever Tori dishes out.  Carter’s charm and fortitude begin to win Tori over, and the two begin a genuine relationship.  Carter is very likable, and doesn’t have the over-the-top arrogance one would expect from a rising star.  He is confident, though, and playful, but he’s still wary of being used for his celebrity status, as he’s been burned that way before.  Tori is sexy, bold, and smart-mouthed, but definitely publicity shy.  Carter is so much more in the spotlight than her former love, who was just a local politician.

It would appear that their differences in careers, personality, as well as geography are all working against this couple.  Yet their explosive chemistry, along with their willingness to work out their issues has them heading toward a serious relationship.  Then the first big test comes, and just when you think you know what’s going to happen, trouble comes from the opposite direction.  ACTING ON IMPULSE is fast moving, entertaining, unpredictable, and very, very hot.

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Posted in Contemporary Romance, Promotions, Review, Rose, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The Lost Letter by Mimi Matthews – Release Celebration and Review

A PROUD BEAUTY 

Society beauty Sylvia Stafford is far too pragmatic to pine. When the tragic death of her gamester father leaves her destitute and alone, she finds work as a governess in a merchant’s household in Cheapside. Isolated from the fashionable acquaintance of her youth, she resigns herself to lonely spinsterhood until a mysterious visitor convinces her to temporarily return to her former life–and her former love.

A SCARRED BEAST

Colonel Sebastian Conrad is no longer the dashing cavalry officer Sylvia once fell in love with. Badly scarred during the Sepoy Rebellion, he has withdrawn to his estate in rural Hertfordshire where he lives in near complete seclusion. Brooding and tormented, he cares nothing for the earldom he has inherited–and even less for the faithless beauty who rejected him three years before.

A SECOND CHANCE

A week together in the remote Victorian countryside is the last thing either of them ever wanted. But when fate intervenes to reunite them, will a beastly earl and an impoverished beauty finally find their happily-ever-after? Or are some fairy-tale endings simply not meant to be?

Click on title below for direct Amazon buy link:                                              The Lost Letter: A Victorian Romance

My Review:

I received a complimentary copy of this book.

Colonel Sebastian Conrad is a soldier – that’s his life, and it’s what he knows.  Although he’s the second son of an earl, he doesn’t spend time in society, but when a friend invites him to a musical event, he accepts to be courteous.  When he spots a beautiful young lady, and hears her lovely singing, he’s captivated in spite of himself.  She’s surrounded by friends and beaus, so Sebastian has no expectation that she’ll even notice him, but she does.

Sylvia Stafford is the daughter of a baronet, and is a popular young lady.  She’s drawn to Sebastian, who appears quiet and serious, and so unlike the society gentlemen she’s familiar with.  As Sebastian changes his tune, and begins to attend every event, just to spend time with Sylvia, it seems that they are rapidly falling in love.  On the night before he has to leave for India, Sebastian intends to propose, but loses his nerve, believing Sylvia could never accept him.  They share a romantic moment and some tender kisses, then Sebastian leaves, without any further word.

Sylvia obtains her father’s permission to write to Sebastian, and pours her heart out in dozens of letters, but never receives a reply.  As for Sebastian, he never receives any correspondence from Sylvia, and is convinced that he was just a flirtation.  Obviously, someone is determined that this couple should not be together, but who, and why?

Eventually Sylvia and Sebastian will both have to endure devastating and life changing events.  Sylvia’s father gambles away everything, then takes his own life, and the ensuing scandal causes Sylvia to be cut by society.  As well as having to leave the only life she’s known, Sylvia now has no means of support, and must decide whether to be a poor relation or to seek employment.  She chooses to become a governess, even though her employers are in trade, rather than society.  Still, they are kind, and Sylvia makes peace with her new lot in life, while she convinces herself that she no longer loves Sebastian.

Meanwhile, Sebastian was severely injured in India, and sent home, only to find that his father and older brother have died.  He’s now the Earl of Radcliffe.  Badly scarred, and blinded in one eye, Sebastian chooses to retreat to the country at Pershing Hall, licking his wounds in private.  He doesn’t want to see anyone, or run the earldom.  But his younger sister, Julia, can’t bear to see him like this.  She has a plan…

Sebastian is furious when Sylvia appears as Julia’s guest at Pershing Hall.  (You’ll have to read the story to discover how Julia managed to arrange this.) The two former sweethearts are hurt and angry – each believing they were played false three years ago.  They also misjudge the other’s motives for their meeting now.  Through the tangled web of deceit that originally kept them apart, to the misunderstandings they believe today, it seems unlikely there can be any type of reconciliation.

I love both these characters and hate the underhanded way they were separated.  Sebastian is a serious and quiet man, who is very honorable, but is hurting both physically and emotionally.  Eventually, he is determined to find out the truth, and when Sylvia’s first letter is found, and he finally is able to read of her love and longing, it’s an emotional and beautiful moment.  Sylvia has a strength and dignity that I admire so much.  She accepted her heartbreak, as well as her change in fortune, and began to build a new life for herself.  This couple is so different from each other, and so perfect for each other.  Their reconciliation is sweet and satisfying, though their passion is not expressed beyond kisses.  THE LOST LETTER is a bittersweet and emotional  second  chance at love story, which I found touching and extremely well written.

 

 

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

Review – The Broken Duke by Jess Michaels

The third sensual romance in the 1797 Club series by USA Today Bestselling Author Jess Michaels.

Adelaide Longford is London’s most overlooked bluestocking wallflower and that is fine by her. Being ignored gives her the perfect opportunity to sneak out and secretly take on the persona of the most celebrated actress of the day, Lydia Ford. The thrill of walking the boards and hearing the applause of those who watch her is the most exciting experience of her life.

Until Graham Everly, Duke of Northfield comes into her life. He is broken after the humiliating loss of his longtime fiancé to his supposed best friend and they enter into a lusty affair which sets her body on fire. Graham has no idea why he’s so attracted to both the bespectacled, prickly Adelaide and the passionate Lydia, but soon he is caught in a dance with them both and torn between which future he wants to pursue.

When Graham finds out Adelaide’s secret identity will he be able to accept both parts of her? And will he be able to save her from a lurking danger that neither of them could have ever foreseen?

Click on title below for direct Amazon buy link:
The Broken Duke (The 1797 Club Book 3)

My Review:

I received a complimentary copy of this book.

THE BROKEN DUKE is Book 3 of the 1797 Club series, which is about a group of close friends who are all dukes or heirs to dukedoms.  In previous books, we learned that James, Simon, and Graham, (three club members) were as close as brothers.  In an effort to protect his sister, Margaret, in the event of his death, James arranged an engagement between her and Graham.  The problem is, Margaret and Simon have been in love forever, while Graham and Margaret are, at best, courteous friends.  After years of this engagement, Simon and Margaret finally find the courage to break free and declare their love.  While Graham admittedly had no love for Margaret, he feels the betrayal of Simon deeply, and he breaks his friendship with James and Simon.  The public humiliation of being jilted, and what Graham perceives as betrayal have sent him into a tailspin of drinking and avoiding society.

After months of watching Graham living this way, two of his other friends from the club finally convince him to attend a play.  While there, Graham feels everyone’s stares and hears their whispers about him.  Even through his discomfort, his attention is captured by the lead actress, Lydia Ford.  Graham’s reaction is so unusual for him, that he goes to her dressing room after the play to meet her.  Even though the actress appears to find him equally appealing, she’s not ready to jump into a quick sexual encounter, despite what their heated kisses might indicate.  Graham leaves, but he knows he’ll be back – this is the most alive he’s felt in forever.

Lydia Ford has a very large secret.  The actress is really Lady Adelaide Longford, daughter of an earl, and in real life, a wallflower.  A strange set of circumstances led to her “acting” career, and she finds herself passionately loving her life on stage.  She has a natural talent, and has become a favorite to the audience.  Her escapes from her strict home life a few times a week are the highlights of her dull life.

Now that Graham has ventured to the theatre, he’s going to take the next step toward coming back to society by attending a ball.  When, unexpectedly, newlyweds Simon and Margaret enter, Graham panics and escapes to the dance floor with the only wallflower he sees available, none other than his actress-in-disguise.  Adelaide is shocked to be approached by Graham, and initially thinks he’s seen through her camouflage.  As a society wallflower, she scrapes her hair back into an unbecoming bun, wears unflattering clothes, and dons spectacles that hide her eyes.  When Adelaide realizes Graham’s real reason for dancing with her, she allows a bit of her witty personality to come through, and Graham finds himself liking her.  Graham has not given up his pursuit of Lydia, and they begin a steamy affair.  Meanwhile, he finds himself charmed by Adelaide, and begins to find himself going a bit bonkers over his strong attraction to two very different women.

While there is so much I loved about this book, I had to suspend disbelief regarding two things.  First, Adelaide has an extremely strict guardian, who watched her like a hawk.  I find it hard to believe that she could regularly sneak out of her house three evenings a week and not get caught.  Second, Graham is having an intimate affair with a woman – how can a different hairstyle and glasses keep him from recognizing her?  Well, THE BROKEN DUKE is so interesting and compelling, that I pushed those doubts aside, and decided to just enjoy the ride.  Graham and Adelaide are complex, yet likable characters, who have had to endure a lot in their pasts.  In particular, Adelaide is forced to live a very sad existence now.  Graham’s reaction when he learns his two loves are one person is priceless – I loved it!  I couldn’t put THE BROKEN DUKE down once I started reading.  There are some twists and surprises I didn’t see coming, and I enjoyed every bit of the passionate and emotional journey.

Posted in Historical Romance, Jess Michaels, Review, Rose | Leave a comment

Review – The Duke’s Bridle Path by Grace Burrowes and Theresa Romain

Two Regency novellas of true love deep in the English countryside….Legend says that the first gentleman a lady kisses on the Duke’s Bridle Path will become her true love. Grace Burrowes and Theresa Romain say it’s not that easy…

In His Grace for the Win, by Grace Burrowes, Philippe, Duke of Lavelle, has sworn off all things equestrian after his brother’s riding accident. Just one tiny problem: The woman who steals Philippe’s heart, Harriet Talbot, loves horses, and generally only notices men when they’re in the saddle. Will Philippe rise to the challenge, or come a cropper for the sake of true love?

In Desperately Seeking Scandal, by Theresa Romain, ambitious London reporter Colin Goddard follows a trail of scandal to the Lavelle seat in Berkshire, hoping to save his career with articles on how to snare a wealthy spouse. What was intended as a humorous series turns seductive, as Lady Ada Ellis, sister to the duke, uncovers Colin’s true purpose and challenges him to a battle of wits…and wills, and hearts. But if they fall in love, one of them will lose everything. Who will triumph?

Click on title below for direct Amazon buy link:
The Duke’s Bridle Path

My Review:

His Grace for the Win by Grace Burrowes

Philippe Ellis was the spare, never imagining or desiring that his older brother would be killed, and that he’d become the Duke of Lavelle.  Rather than basking in the deference he now receives due to the title, Philippe prefers to escape it, and heads home to Theale Hall, with his friend,  Ramsdale, in tow.  Before he even reaches home, he stops to visit his lifelong friend, Harriet Talbot, whose father was once horse master for Philippe’s father, until his retirement.  He now owns his own horse farm, but his failing health and aching body have caused the full burden of managing the farm to Harriet.

Harriet is overjoyed to see her friend, and we soon learn that she’s been in love with Philippe for many years, though with no expectation of his returning her feelings.  Philippe is a little slower in coming to realize his feelings go beyond friendship and attraction, but soon enough their time together and some shared kisses open his eyes to the truth.

Philippe’s older brother died four years ago in a horse jump gone bad, and since that time, Philippe has avoided riding all together, preferring to travel in a carriage.  He’s decided it’s time to “get back in the saddle,” and who better to help him than Harriet?  It’s not an easy step into happily ever after, as there are issues with the Talbot horse farm and misunderstandings about where their affections lie that need to be worked out first.

As I always find with Grace Burrowes’ writing, HIS GRACE FOR THE WIN is strong in character development, warmth, and charm.  Harriet is definitely a tenacious woman, carrying all the burdens her father can no longer handle, while having to abide by his decisions, not all of which are the best.  Though a duke, Philippe is not top-lofty or arrogant, or determined that he must marry a high ranking socialite.  He treats Harriet and her father with the utmost respect and caring, and is genuinely concerned about their future.  Likable characters and a heart-warming romance of friends to lovers is one of my favorite tropes, and makes HIS GRACE FOR THE WIN a delight to read.

Desperately Seeking Scandal by Theresa Romain

Now that her brother, Philippe, is happily married, Lady Ada Ellis feels that it may be time for her to stop hiding out at Theale Hall.  When her older brother died four years ago, the scandal sheets posted a series of provocative articles with misleading questions about his death.  The backlash from those publications caused Ada’s fiancé, Lord Wrotham, who is a very strait laced and proper man, to end their engagement.  Ada, in her grief and humiliation, decided to stay in the country and act as steward to Theale Hall.  While shopping one day, Ada notices a young man staring at her and following her.  She decides to confront him directly.

Colin Goddard is a reporter who works for the type of periodical which publishes gossip and innuendo.  He intends to write a series of articles and he’s not shy about admitting that he intends to use Ada for his research, willingly or not.  Surprisingly, Ada offers a bargain.  Her ex-fiancé is visiting the village with his new wife, and Ada will be obliged to play hostess to them.  If Colin will act as her besotted suitor while they are in town, Ada will actually help him with his articles.

During their time together, this unlikely pair begins to feel genuine attraction.  As they begin to share bits and pieces of themselves, we learn that Colin is impoverished gentry, and he desperately needs funds to support himself and his brother, who suffers from a condition making it difficult for him in social situations.  Colin learns how the articles from four years ago hurt Ada, and he begins to have a conscience.  Meanwhile, their attraction is starting to turn to affection, and possibly something more?

DESPERATELY SEEKING SCANDAL pairs a seemingly mismatched couple, as there’s a great class distinction between a duke’s daughter and a working reporter.  Their romance feels genuine, and I was rooting for them as I watched them evolve.  I loved seeing Ada become strong and determined, while Colin’s eyes were opened as to how his work can hurt.  Their banter was fun, and I greatly enjoyed reading DESPERATELY SEEKING SCANDAL, and I can heartily recommend both novellas in THE DUKE’S BRIDLE PATH.

Posted in Grace Burrowes, Historical Romance, Review, Rose, Theresa Romain | 4 Comments

Fresh Fiction Box-Not-to-Miss September 2017


Fresh Fiction is an entertainment and review website, and one of their offerings is a monthly book subscription service.  Each month, subscribers will receive a well-packaged box of goodies, which will include download cards for 2-3 ebooks, along with 3-5 print books.  Each subscriber’s box will vary, and above is a pic of what I received in the September box, which included:

*A sample of jasmine blossom green tea

*LOVE ME by Bronwen Evans – ebook download

*BOUND SOULS by N.D. Jones – ebook download

*SUMMER ON FIREFLY LAKE by Jen Gilroy – print paperback book

*THE SCOT BEDS HIS WIFE by Kerrigan Byrne – print paperback ARC

*BILLIONAIRE’S BABY BIND by Katherine Garbera – print paperback book

*FAULT LINES by Thomas Locke – print trade size paperback book

*SOMETHING LIKE HAPPY by Eva Woods – print hardcover book with author letter

Get all the subscription details and costs at:  freshfictionbox.com

Below is a link to the unboxing video:

Also check out the great entertainment features and book reviews at: fresh fiction

Happy Reading!

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Review – Secret Lessons With the Rake by Julia Justiss

Pursuing a role in Parliament, Christopher Lattimar needs a virtuous marriage to make society overlook his roguish past. When beautiful and disarming Ellie Parmenter offers to reform and refine him, he’s too tempted to say no.

Once a courtesan, Ellie knows a thing or two about polishing a diamond in the rough. She has no designs on Christopher—or any man in search of a wife—but their best-laid plans begin to tumble once lessons in respectability turn to seduction…

Click on title for Amazon buy link: Secret Lessons with the Rake (Hadley’s Hellions)

 

My Review:  

I received a complimentary copy of this book.

Tess Wanstead was raised to be a lady, but at age sixteen, her father literally sold her to an older man, Summerville, to pay off his debts.  She was removed to town, and set up in a house, where she became his mistress for almost a decade.  In order not to bring shame to her family, she became “Ellie Parmenter,” and Tess no longer existed.  During this bleak time in her life, one of the few bright spots was her friendship with Lady Vraux, and her son, Christopher Lattimar.  Though Lady Vraux is married, she is notorious for her scandalous affairs, and for having born children whose fathers are not her husband.  Christopher has lived on the fringes of society, and has spent his time in his mother’s world, dallying with mistresses and courtesans, rather than respectable debutantes.  He has been a close friend to Ellie for years, and has secretly desired her.

Now Christopher seeks to become influential in Parliament, and has decided that he must seek a respectable wife, one whose social position will benefit his political goals.  This means also that he needs to learn how to act properly and court a lady.  When Summerville dies, Ellie is finally free.  He was generous enough to leave her a home and a small income, which she intends to use to set up a school for young girls who were forced into prostitution, or those who simply want to leave that life.  Ellie, herself, has no intention of ever being a man’s mistress again.  Christopher knows that Ellie was raised a lady, and asks for her help in “tutoring” him on how to act as he eases into proper society.  Ellie agrees to help, knowing that Christopher’s marriage will take him out of her life.  Though Ellie has never experienced true physical pleasure with Summerville, she feels desire for Christopher, as well as deep friendship.

As Christopher and Ellie spend more time together, their bond, their affection, and their attraction grows.  It’s a bittersweet time for both, as Christopher wants to change the direction of his life, while not disrespecting Ellie’s wish to never be a mistress again.  At the same time, Ellie doesn’t want to jeopardize Christopher’s plans, yet she longs to experience  the fulfillment  she’s sure she’d find in his arms.  Eventually their passion wins out and they become lovers.  Now, how can Christopher possibly marry a society lady when he’s finally found the woman who is perfect for him in every way?  Every way, but one…

I admit to being a little nervous about reading this book when I learned it was the story of a courtesan, as that’s not a subject I’m fond of.  But Ellie did not choose this life, she was forced and blackmailed into it by her loser of a father.  Ellie gave up her own future to protect her younger sister and her mother, which makes her a victim, who became a hero.  As soon as she was able, she left the life, vowing never to live that way again.  I have only admiration for her strength of character, and her ability to not become jaded and unable to care.  I found Christopher’s lack of judgment amazing.  I loved that he admitted his feelings for Ellie, and he never looked down on her, or his mother, either.  I think that SECRET LESSONS WITH THE RAKE showcases two outstanding people who were able to overcome obstacles that were not of their making, determine what is important in life, and to make their own happiness.

Posted in Historical Romance, Julia Justiss, Review, Rose | 2 Comments

Review – Traitor in Her Arms by Shana Galen

Two morally compromised souls wage a battle of wits—and seduction—against the backdrop of the French Revolution in this thrilling romance from bestselling author Shana Galen.

After her late husband leaves her in debt to some dangerous people, Lady Gabrielle McCullough is forced to become a thief. In the intervening years, her skills have not gone unnoticed. After being recruited by the Scarlet Pimpernel, the mysterious do-gooder spiriting aristocrats out of revolutionary France, Gabrielle crosses the Channel for the most daring mission of her life. Accompanying her is the Earl of Sedgwick, a thief in his own right and an enticingly masculine presence. The man is not to be trusted—nor is Gabrielle’s body when he’s near.

Ramsey Barnes would not say he is an honorable man. His whole life has been based on a lie; why change now? Although it pains him to deceive the tantalizing Gabrielle, he’s working toward an altogether different objective: unmasking the Scarlet Pimpernel. If Ramsey fails, his blackmailer will ruin him. But when Ramsey’s confronted with the carnage of the Reign of Terror, he seeks refuge in Gabrielle’s heated embrace. Now he faces a terrible choice: betray the woman who’s stolen his heart—or risk losing everything.

Click on title below for direct Amazon buy link:                                                Traitor in Her Arms: A Scarlet Chronicles Novel (The Scarlet Chronicles)

My Review:

I received a complimentary copy of this book.

Shortly after Gabrielle first made her debut into society, she knew that George McCullough was about to propose.  However, she felt a strong attraction  to his best friend, Ramsey, Lord Sedgwick, and had an inkling that he felt the same.  Gabrielle managed to find Ramsey alone, and they shared a kiss, but he made it clear that no proposal would be forthcoming from him.  With no chance of marrying the man she really wants, Gabrielle accepts George’s proposal.  Though George loved Gabrielle, he also loved gambling.  He was killed in a duel, leaving Gabrielle with nothing but debts and a long line of creditors.

The path Gabrielle chooses is to become a thief, stealing the odd piece of jewelry from homes where she attends balls, then paying down her late husband’s debts.  She has become quite adept, but on one particular occasion, she is caught by Ramsey, who manages to steal the prize she wanted right from under her nose.  It seems that Ramsey has resorted to thievery, too, only his goal is to pay off his blackmailer, Madame Fouchet, who knows a secret that could cost Ramsey his title, possibly even his life.

There is someone else who is aware of Gabrielle’s abilities.  The legendary savior of many French aristocrats, the Scarlet Pimpernel, himself, has decided that he wants to use Gabrielle’s talents in a risky plan to rescue a doomed countess and her young daughter.  Gabrielle accepts the assignment and arranges to travel to Paris, where she encounters Ramsey, who is boarding the same ship.  It seems that Madame Fouchet is tightening the screws.  If Ramsey will find out the secret identity of the Scarlet Pimpernel, and provide that information to Madame  Fouchet, she will finally release him from her web of blackmail.

Though Gabrielle and Ramsey never took their attraction any further once she married George, they still felt it, but buried it under snarky conversation and a mild antagonism.  Now, not knowing each other’s true mission in Paris, and not trusting each other, they decide it’s in their best interest to pretend to be a couple as they enter the dangerous world of the French revolution.

Author Shana Galen’s vivid descriptions and brilliant writing seemed to take me back to that dark part of history.  I could feel the danger and the bloodlust coming from the French citizens, as they became part of the madness that destroyed so many lives and families.  The sheer despair of those in prison and the terror of those riding in the tumbrels to the guillotine was so realistic that I felt my heart pounding.  While Gabrielle and Ramsey struggle just to stay alive in this mad world, they also have to confront their passionate feelings for each other.  I admit that thievery and deceit are two of the things I hate most, yet that’s exactly what the hero and heroine have done.  Still, their heroic and unselfish actions while in Paris, redeemed them in my eyes, and had me longing for some way for them to survive, then find a way to be together.  TRAITOR IN HER ARMS is intense, exciting, passionate and satisfying.  I did feel very emotionally impacted by this story, and can highly recommend it for readers who love swashbuckling adventure in their historical romance.

Posted in Historical Romance, Review, Rose, Shana Galen | 2 Comments

September Romance Releases – Preview What’s New This Month

Happy September!  Lots of good reading coming out this month.  This is a sampling of some that are on my radar.  Below is a list with the blurb and Amazon buy link for those books pictured above.  And guess what – the Christmas titles are even starting to show up!

 

Feel the urge to add to your TBR?  A click on each title below will take you directly to its Amazon buy page.  

Last Gentleman Standing  by Jane Ashford – A fortune hunter’s dream…
Miss Elisabeth Elham is an unlikely heiress. She never knew the curmudgeonly uncle who died suddenly and left her a fortune. She’s proud, outspoken and independent―a definite challenge for London’s fortune hunting suitors.

As various determined gentlemen vie for her attention at balls, routs, picnics and parties, Elisabeth finds herself embroiled with a charming rake, a mysterious nabob, and an elegant neighbor. This would all be great fun, if only she wasn’t so fascinated by the one man in London who’s not trying to woo her…

Originally titled Bluestocking, this story has been unavailable for over 25 years.

Lady Eleanor’s Seventh Suitor by Anna Bradley – Two sought-after sisters, a slew of suitors—and a vow to hold out for true love. How many proposals will it take to get to “I do”—especially when the stakes are high . . .

There have been six suitors so far, all vying for the attention—and generous dowry—of the beautiful, elusive Eleanor Sutherland. What does this woman really want? Who has what it takes to melt the heart of the so-called Lady Ice? These are the questions Camden West keeps asking himself. But rather than wait for answers, Cam takes matters into his own hands . . . for he has a secret weapon.

Cam knows that Ellie’s sister, Charlotte, harbors a scandalous secret—one that could bring ruin to the Sutherland name. If Ellie marries him, Cam promises to keep mum. But is she willing to sacrifice her own happiness for her sister’s reputation?

To Ellie’s surprise, it becomes clear that Cam doesn’t need her money, nor is he interested in her status. Soon, what begins as a sham engagement transforms into something deeper, and more passionate, than Ellie could have imagined. Is it possible that all Cam truly wanted was her? And is that reason enough to say yes—or is handsome Cam hiding something else? Even for a lady in love, only the truth will do . . .

The Woman Who Couldn’t Scream: A Novel (The Virtue Falls Series) by Christina Dodd – Beautiful Merida is married to a wealthy older man who takes her around the world as his trophy. Merida is everything a man could want. But a traumatic accident years before left her without the ability to speak. When her husband dies, she knows its her chance to exact revenge on those responsible for her accident—and that vengeance begins in Virtue Falls. Reinventing herself, she slips into village life, biding her time. But someone knows exactly who she is and will use this chance to finish what was started years ago. And this time an accident for Merida will mean silencing her forever.

Chasing Red by Isabelle Ronin – They said she was going to be my ruin…
Then let her ruin me.

Caleb Lockhart has everything—wealth, adoration, a brilliant future. Until a chance encounter with a siren in a red dress changes everything.  Until he meets the woman he dubs Red.

Veronica Strafford’s past makes it hard for her to trust anyone. Now, kicked out of her apartment, she reluctantly accepts Caleb’s offer for a place to stay.

Caleb feels intensely drawn to Veronica. And, for the first time in his life, he really wants something—someone. Too bad Veronica’s heart might just be the one thing Caleb can’t win.

The Duke’s Bridle Path – by Grace Burrowes & Theresa Romain – Two Regency novellas of true love deep in the English countryside….Legend says that the first gentleman a lady kisses on the Duke’s Bridle’ Path will become her true love. Grace Burrowes and Theresa Romain say it’s not that easy…

In His Grace for the Win, by Grace Burrowes, Philippe, Duke of Lavelle, has sworn off all things equestrian after his brother’s riding accident. Just one tiny problem: The woman who steals Philippe’s heart, Harriet Talbot, loves horses, and generally only notices men when they’re in the saddle. Will Philippe rise to the challenge, or come a cropper for the sake of true love?

In Desperately Seeking Scandal, by Theresa Romain, ambitious London reporter Colin Goddard follows a trail of scandal to the Lavelle seat in Berkshire, hoping to save his career with articles on how to snare a wealthy spouse. What was intended as a humorous series turns seductive, as Lady Ada Ellis, sister to the duke, uncovers Colin’s true purpose and challenges him to a battle of wits…and wills, and hearts. But if they fall in love, one of them will lose everything. Who will triumph?

Second to None (A Second Glances Novella) by Nancy Herkness – Billionaire chemist Max Varela is selling his company and leaving New York for good when Emily Wade bursts into his office, desperate for his help in funding her program for disadvantaged kids and shelter dogs. Seven years ago, he fell in love with her when she was married to another man. To fight the unbidden attraction, he cut off all contact—but he’s never forgotten her.

Ever since her husband died, Emily has poured her heart and soul into the after-school care center. Seeing Max reawakens the pain of her loss, but it also brings unexpected hope for the future. As emotions thought long gone resurface, the two begin a passionate affair that seems destined for a fairy-tale ending.

That is, until Max reveals that he’s moving to Chicago in a matter of weeks and wants Emily to uproot her daughter and her life to come with him. If a second chance at love is possible, someone’s got to give.

The Broken Duke (The 1797 Club Book 3) by Jess Michaels – The third sensual romance in the 1797 Club series by USA Today Bestselling Author Jess Michaels.

Adelaide Longford is London’s most overlooked bluestocking wallflower and that is fine by her. Being ignored gives her the perfect opportunity to sneak out and secretly take on the persona of the most celebrated actress of the day, Lydia Ford. The thrill of walking the boards and hearing the applause of those who watch her is the most exciting experience of her life.

Until Graham Everly, Duke of Northfield comes into her life. He is broken after the humiliating loss of his longtime fiancé to his supposed best friend and they enter into a lusty affair which sets her body on fire. Graham has no idea why he’s so attracted to both the bespectacled, prickly Adelaide and the passionate Lydia, but soon he is caught in a dance with them both and torn between which future he wants to pursue.

When Graham finds out Adelaide’s secret identity will he be able to accept both parts of her? And will he be able to save her from a lurking danger that neither of them could have ever foreseen?

A Strange Scottish Shore by Juliana Gray – Scotland, 1906. A mysterious object discovered inside an ancient castle calls Maximilian Haywood, the new Duke of Olympia, and his fellow researcher Emmeline Truelove, north to the remote Orkney Islands. No stranger to the study of anachronisms in archeological digs, Haywood is nevertheless puzzled by the artifact: a suit of clothing, which, according to family legend, once belonged to a selkie who rose from the sea in ancient times and married the castle’s first laird.

But Haywood and Truelove soon discover they’re not the only ones interested in the selkie’s strange hide, and when their mutual friend Lord Silverton vanishes in the night from an Edinburgh street, the mystery takes a dangerous turn through time, which only Haywood’s skills and Truelove’s bravery can solve…

His Mistletoe Wager by Virginia Heath – “Five berries equal the five separate kisses I challenge you to steal.”

Notorious rake Henry Stuart, Earl of Redbridge, is certain he’ll win his Christmas bet—until he learns he’ll be stealing Lady Elizabeth Wilding’s kisses. A woman who refuses to be charmed!

Once jilted, Lizzie must guard her heart, because the ton is unaware of her scandalous secret—her son! Despite their increasing attraction, she can’t risk the persistent Hal bringing down her defenses. But when her former fiancé returns, Lizzie realizes that perhaps Hal’s the one man she can trust—with her heart and her son…

The Lost Letter: A Victorian Romance by Mimi Matthews – A Proud Beauty

Society beauty Sylvia Stafford is far too pragmatic to pine. When the tragic death of her gamester father leaves her destitute and alone, she finds work as a governess in a merchant’s household in Cheapside. Isolated from the fashionable acquaintance of her youth, she resigns herself to lonely spinsterhood…until a mysterious visitor convinces her to temporarily return to her former life—and her former love.

A Scarred Beast

Colonel Sebastian Conrad is no longer the dashing cavalry officer Sylvia once fell in love with. Badly scarred during the Sepoy Rebellion, he has withdrawn to his estate in rural Hertfordshire where he lives in near complete seclusion. Brooding and tormented, he cares nothing for the earldom he has inherited—and even less for the faithless beauty who rejected him three years before.

A Second Chance

A week together in the remote Victorian countryside is the last thing either of them ever wanted. But when fate intervenes to reunite them, will a beastly earl and an impoverished beauty finally find their happily ever after? Or are some fairy-tale endings simply not meant to be?

Scandal and Miss Markham (The Beauchamp Betrothals) by Janice Preston – A scandalous journey… 

Glassmaker’s daughter Thea Markham is devastated when her brother Daniel goes missing. Then a mysterious lord turns up asking questions about Daniel and offers to find him. Unsure she can trust the handsome peer, Thea dresses up as a boy and follows him!

Lord Vernon Beauchamp feels his life lacks direction. Meeting Thea gives him a renewed purpose. And when they are thrown together on their scandalous adventure, friendship soon gives way to desire…

The Beauchamp Betrothals

Diamond rings for the dynasty…

Acting on Impulse (Love on Cue) by Mia Sosa – After a very public breakup with a media-hungry politician, fitness trainer Tori Alvarez escapes to Aruba for rest, relaxation, and copious amounts of sex on the beach—the cocktail, that is. She vows to keep her vacation a man-free zone but when a cute guy is seated next to her on the plane, Tori can’t resist a little harmless flirting.

Hollywood heartthrob Carter Stone underwent a dramatic physical transformation for his latest role and it’s clear his stunning seat mate doesn’t recognize the man beneath the shaggy beard and extra lean frame. Now Carter needs help rebuilding his buff physique and Tori is perfect for the job. It doesn’t hurt that she makes his pulse pound in more ways than one.

Sparks are flying, until a pesky paparazzo reveals Carter’s identity. Tori is hurt and pissed. She wants nothing to do with another man in the limelight, but she’s still got to whip him into shape. Can Carter convince Tori he’s worth the threat to her privacy that comes with dating a famous actor, or will Tori chisel him down to nothing before he even gets the chance?

Grab the popcorn…

To Love a Scandalous Duke (not yet listed on Amazon) by Liana De La Rosa – Driven into exile years earlier, due to family scandal, Declan Sinclair is called home, devastated to discover his brother has been murdered and he’s the new Duke of Darington. When clues point to the man he blames for both his exile and his brother’s death, Declan resolves to ruin the culprit. If only the daughter of the man’s business partner, lovely Lady Alethea Swinton, didn’t tempt his resolve.

Lady Alethea Swinton has cultivated her pristine reputation in the hopes of winning her father’s praise. When her childhood friend returns, Alethea finds she’s willing to court scandal and defy her father to help the handsome Declan uncover the truth behind his brother’s death. Until she realizes Declan’s redemption will mean her family’s ruin.

The Rogue’s Conquest (not yet listed on Amazon) by Lily Maxton – Wallflower Eleanor Townsend is not like most women. She has no interest in marriage, the ton, or fashion. Instead, her heart lies with science. And when the opportunity to present a paper arises, she takes it, even though it means dressing as a man. But her disguise doesn’t quite work. Someone notices—and the brute intends to blackmail her!

Former prizefighter James MacGregor wants to be a gentleman, like the men he trains in his boxing saloon. His first step is gaining a beautiful, wealthy wife. Eleanor Townsend is not that woman, but a chance encounter gives him the leverage he needs. She’ll gain him entry to high society and help him with his atrocious manners, and in return, he won’t reveal her secret. It’s the perfect arrangement. At least until the sparks between them become more than just their personalities clashing. But there’s too much at stake for James to give in to his growing attraction.

The Duke: A Devil’s Duke Novel by Katharine Ashe – Six years ago, when Lady Amarantha Vale was an innocent in a foreign land and Gabriel Hume was a young naval officer, they met . . . and played with fire.

Now Gabriel is the dark lord known to society as the Devil’s Duke, a notorious recluse hidden away in a castle in the Highlands. Only Amarantha knows the truth about him, and she won’t be intimidated. He is the one man who can give her the answers she needs.

But Gabriel cannot let her learn his darkest secret. So begins a game of wit and desire that proves seduction is more satisfying—and much more wicked—the second time around…

A Christmas to Remember: An Anthology by Megan Frampton, Lorraine Heath, Lisa Kleypas & Vivienne Lorret – I Will by Lisa Kleypas
To be reinstated into his father’s will, Andrew, Lord Drake, must court a respectable woman-his friend’s spinster sister, Miss Caroline Hargreaves. After he blackmails Caroline into helping him, the charade begins-but is it really a charade once love takes hold of their hearts…?

Deck the Halls With Love by Lorraine Heath
Alistair Wakefield, the Marquess of Chetwyn, devastated Lady Meredith Hargreaves when he proposed to another. But when he becomes free to pursue her, it’s too late for she’s on her way to the altar….. As Christmas approaches, Chetwyn vows to lure Lady Meredith back into his arms.

No Groom at the Inn by Megan Frampton
James Archer detests his mother’s matchmaking ways. When ordered to attend a Christmastime house party filled with simpering maidens, he produces a fiancée-Lady Sophronia Bettesford. James and Sophronia pretend to be in love for one month. But their pact soon turns into love.

The Duke’s Christmas Wish by Vivienne Lorret
To the Duke of Vale, science solves everything-even marriage. When the impulsive Ivy Sutherland makes him question all of his data, he realizes that he’s overlooked a vital component in his search for the perfect match: love.

Caught by the Scot (Made to Marry) by Karen Hawkins – When the dark Duke of Hamilton loses his beloved wife, he heeds her dying wish that he make certain her three brothers marry well for she fears they are all headed to ruin. Heartsick, the Duke approaches the task with a heavy hand, ordering the three brothers to marry within three months or forego their inheritance.

The middle brother, the dashing Conner Douglas, is not about to give up his independence, but he knows marriage doesn’t always mean one much change, does it? If anything, being married to a pliable sort of female would give him even more opportunity to seduce the married women of the ton. So he heads straight for the most pliable female he knows – a childhood acquaintance and now mousy spinster, the English born and bred Miss Theodora Cumberbatch-Snowe.

Conner is so certain Theodora will joyously agree to marry him, that he takes his time traveling to her house and has only one month to secure her hand and marry. Yet when he arrives at her parents’ house he discovers that Theodora has just run away with a local landowner—a farmer, no less! Unknown to Conner, Theodora has been wildly, passionately in love with him for years. But she’s accepted he only sees her as a friend. Unable to sit forever in her parents’ front parlor and wait for what will never happen, Theodora decided to marry someone comfortable in the hopes they might at least become good partners.

Unaware of Theodora’s feelings, Conner isn’t about to let ‘the perfect wife’ get away so easily. But as Conner seduces Theodora, his own feelings stir. And after surviving a trip of mishaps and traps, he discovers that he can’t image her marrying anyone but him.

Second Chance Girl: A Modern Fairy Tale Romance (Happily Inc) by Susan Mallery – A touching modern fairy tale that won’t let go of your heart, from the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Fool’s Gold romances! 

Mathias Mitchell’s easy smile hides a world of hurt. After the worst kind of family betrayal, he moves to Happily Inc., California—the wedding destination town supplies a steady stream of bridesmaids, perfect for his “no promises, no pain” lifestyle. Yet he can’t stop watching for his beautiful, elusive neighbor on the animal preserve behind their homes.

Gamekeeper Carol Lund knows she’s not special enough to attract an alpha male like Mathias, so his offer to help her adopt a herd for her lonely giraffe is surprising—and his determined seduction, even more so. But just as she finally welcomes him into her bed, his careless actions crush her heart. Will she give him a second chance to prove she’ll always come first in his heart?

The Reunion (Brides of Beadwell) by Sara Portman – An inconvenient engagement turns a marriage of convenience into so much more in this sparkling new series from award-winning author Sara Portman . . .

Lady Emmaline Shaw’s reputation was irreparably damaged when her fiancé, John Brantwood, disappeared immediately after their engagement four years ago. Since then, she’s grown from a shy, uncertain girl to a woman who knows her own mind. And what she knows is that London society holds nothing for her.

Rumor has it that John ran off to war and died in battle. Now, as the new Duke of Worley, his shocking resurrection throws the ton into a tizzy and makes him one of England’s most sought after bachelors—except that he’s already engaged.

John needs a wife capable of smoothing his beloved sister’s introduction into society. But though Emma
happily grants him his freedom, her fiery beauty and resilient spirit hold him captive. In fact, John has no intention of letting her go. Her fate is now in his hands, but will her heart be safe there as well?

King of Hearts: British Rogues Historical Romance (League of Rogues Book 1) by Eileen Putman – Not for nothing is Gabriel Sinclair known as the King of Hearts. His wit beguiles, his charm seduces, and he’s never met a woman he couldn’t captivate. He’s at home on the sea but nowhere else. As for family? He has seen enough madness in his own to last a lifetime. He shuns hopeless causes, deeper emotions, any whiff of permanence.

Widowed Louisa Peabody tolerates no man’s touch. Her past has shown her men are seducers and abusers. She devotes herself to helping women in need, but her clumsy efforts often end in disaster. After she accidentally saves Gabriel’s life, she persuades him to help her stage a daring rescue from a prison hulk in the Thames.

But it’s a devil’s bargain: Can she protect herself from that wild, reckless fire in his eyes? Can he care for anyone but himself?

The League of Rogues series features daring English lords who risk all for their country. Hardened and deadly, they have no use for love—until it ensnares them…

Happy Reading!

Posted in Anna Bradley, Christina Dodd, Christmas, Contemporary Romance, Eileen Putman, Grace Burrowes, Historical Romance, Isabelle Ronin, Jane Ashford, Janice Preston, Jess Michaels, Juliana Gray, Karen Hawkins, Katharine Ashe, Lisa Kleypas, Lorraine Heath, Megan Frompton, Mia Sosa, Mimi Matthews, Nancy Herkness, New Releases, Romantic Suspense, Sara Portman, Susan Mallery, Theresa Romain, Uncategorized, Virginia Heath, Vivienne Lorret | Leave a comment

Review – Dark Embrace by Eve Silver

Left penniless and alone by the untimely death of her father, Sarah Lowell works as a day nurse at King’s College Hospital. Her daily walk to and from work crosses the Rookery of St. Giles, a dangerous place made all the more frightening by the fact that someone lurks in the shadows, watching Sarah, stalking her like a beast of prey.

Enigmatic surgeon Killian Thayne offers Sarah his protection, but his sensual, commanding presence presents another kind of danger. Killian wears his professionalism like a mask, concealing the darkness buried in his soul. He is drawn to Sarah, lured by her intellect, her dry wit, and yes, her loneliness, for it calls to his own.

Then a patient is found dead, drained of blood. Another soon follows, and another, and rumors paint Killian as the monster who killed them. As evidence mounts and the threatening presence that stalks her draws ever nearer, Sarah must decide if Killian is a man deserving of her love or a sinister creature determined to make her his next victim.

Click on title below for direct Amazon buy link:                                            Dark Embrace (Dark Gothic Book 6)

My Review:  

I received a complimentary advance copy of this book.

Sarah Lowell had a fulfilling life, assisting her father, a doctor, as he treated his patients.  Over the years, she became almost as knowledgeable as he.  His unexpected death robbed her not only of the vocation she loved, but of her very own home.  Her lack of funds forced her to live in the destitute area called St. Giles, and to accept the menial position of nurse at King’s College Hospital.  Nurses back then were a far cry from what they are today.  Basically, they cleaned and fed the patients, handling all the “dirty” work.  When Sarah is able, she expands her patients’ care beyond what her superiors require.  She cleans wounds, changes dirty bandages, and makes sure each new patient has a clean bed – things that are basic today, but were almost unheard of back in the 1800’s.

Killian Thayne is a surgeon at King’s College Hospital.  He’s the only person there who is astute enough to see Sarah’s knowledge, and he regularly asks her opinion, and treats her with the courtesy and respect sadly lacking in everyone else.  It’s a heady experience for Sarah, having her opinion valued, and that adds to the attraction that she’s already feeling for the enigmatic surgeon.  Their mutual regard doesn’t proceed any further until some shocking events begin to happen at the hospital.  Several patients have died, ruthlessly cut and drained of their blood, and it seems that Killian has been around at the time these murders have occurred.  If that weren’t bad enough, Sarah is being followed home, through the dark and dangerous streets of St. Giles.

Killian is a very mysterious character.  He’s a lonely man, who chooses not to pursue Sarah, though he admires and desires her.  Things change when he believes that Sarah may be in danger, and from someone not quite human.  He steps up, and offers his protection.  Then, in a magnanimous gesture of her own, Sarah provides an alibi for Killian when his peers at the hospital begin to accuse him of being involved in the murders.  Sarah’s statement costs her job and her reputation.  Now, Killian brings Sarah to his home, and there is no going back for them.

Sarah and Killian are amazing characters.  She is brave and determined to carry on her father’s style of care.  She showed amazing compassion to those she cared for and then showered her love and nurturing on Killian, a man who has been sadly lacking any type of love or affection for a long, long time.  Killian, in turn, protects and respects Sarah.  He offers her choices, never trying to force his will on her.  He’s a man with shocking secrets, who has endured horrible tragedy, yet he chose a vocation that provides healing and care to the sick and injured.  Through all he’s endured, he somehow maintained his humanity and his compassion, and I fell a bit in love with him.

DARK EMBRACE is a paranormal story – vampires are not just hinted at – they do exist.  And while that is a very large part of the story, the main event is a passionate and strong love and bond that develops between two seemingly mismatched people.  I enjoyed this romantic, moody, twisty tale very much, and it’s one that I will be re-reading and savoring many times.

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