Review – The Woman Left Behind by Linda Howard

About the Book:

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

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

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

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

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

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

My Review:                    

I received a complimentary copy of this book.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Review – Lord Garson’s Bride by Anna Campbell

About the Book:

Lord Garson’s dilemma.

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

A marriage of convenience…

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

…becomes very inconvenient indeed

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

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

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

My Review:                

I received a complimentary copy of this book.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

About the Book:

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

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

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

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

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

Read an Excerpt:  

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

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

Chains.   Chains for the tires on her car.

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

Rachel

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

Jason

Below his name was a phone number

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

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

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

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

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

Is this Rachel?

She grinned.

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

Dot. Dot. Dot. It is nearly Christmas.

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

So you double as Connecticut’s Santa Claus?

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

Well, he wasn’t not flirting.

I’ll keep my mouth closed on one condition.

Oh? What’s that?

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

I thought Vixen was a he.

She giggled.

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

Rachel found a rolling eye emoji.

My Review:                              

I received a complimentary copy of this book.

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

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

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

About the Author:  

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

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

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

A Message From the Author:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cheers,                                                                                                                                       Catherine

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

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

Review – As the Devil Dares by Anna Harrington

About the Book:

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

LOVE IS A BATTLEFIELD…

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

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

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

My Review:                        

I received a complimentary copy of this book.

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

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

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

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

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

About the Book:

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

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

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

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

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

Read an Excerpt:  

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

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

Instead, Julia heard…nothing.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Continue making notes?”

“As you see.”

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

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

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

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

“But how—”

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

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

“Did I imagine you had a servant earlier?”

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

“I do.”

“Just the one servant?”

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Mrs. Fleming is here.”

“The lady lives here?”

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

“Mrs. Fleming is an instructor?”

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

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

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

“Are you certain?”

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

No pupils. No teacher.

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

My Thoughts:                 

I received a complimentary copy of this book.

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

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

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

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

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Review – A Rogue of Her Own by Grace Burrowes

About the Book:

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

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

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

My Review:                    

I received a complimentary copy of this book.

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

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

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

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

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

Review – The Sins of Lord Lockwood by Meredith Duran

About the Book:

BACK FROM THE DEAD, AN EARL SEEKS VENGEANCE…
Liam Devaliant, Lord Lockwood, was born into a charmed life. Charismatic, powerful, and wild, he had the world at his feet—and one woman as his aim. His wedding to Anna was meant to be his greatest triumph. Instead, in a single moment, a wicked conspiracy robbed him of his future and freedom.

…BUT WILL HIS LONG-LOST COUNTESS PAY THE PRICE?
Four years later, Liam has returned from death with plans for revenge. Standing in his way, though, is his long-absent bride. Once, he adored Anna’s courage. Now it seems like a curse, for Anna refuses to fear or forget him. If she can’t win back Liam’s love, then she means at least to save his soul…no matter the cost.

Click on title below for direct link to Amazon buy page:
The Sins of Lord Lockwood (Rules for the Reckless Book 6)

My Review:               

I received a complimentary copy of this book.

Anna, Lady Forth, is a Scottish heiress who must marry in order to control a property dear to her heart.  None of her suitors has tempted her until she meets Liam Devaliant, English Earl of Lockwood.  Liam is handsome and charming, but needs to marry money if he’s to improve his estates.  This couple quickly realizes that a union between them would be advantageous, and their undeniable chemistry is just a bonus.  They agree to a convenient marriage in which neither would restrict the other’s travels, but during their engagement, they find themselves falling in love, although they haven’t admitted it as such.  They look forward to their wedding day, (and night) only to quarrel, and to have Liam storm away and not return.

Over three years later, Anna learns (via the newspaper) that Liam has returned to his London home.  Anna never received one word from Liam during his entire absence, and he never advised her of his return.  Of course, she believes he solely married her for her dowry, and then humiliatingly left her on their wedding day.  She decides to confront Liam directly, but the man she finds is vastly different from the man she married.  Unknown to Anna, Liam just wanted time to cool off from their wedding day quarrel, and had every intention of returning and making things right.  However, he was kidnapped, and sent off on a prison ship to New South Wales.  The identity of Liam’s enemy is revealed very early, along with his motive.

Liam is not yet ready to face his wife.  His only thought is for revenge on the man who destroyed his life and stole years from him, and he has already set his plan of vengeance into motion.  It broke my heart to hear Liam refer to his younger self as dead, and as the man he used to be.  Currently Liam’s soul is full of darkness, and his mind and body full of scars.  THE SINS OF LORD LOCKWOOD alternates between the bleak present time back to the light and happy time of Liam and Anna’s courtship.  Their current relationship is fraught with mistrust, uncertainty, and a sense of betrayal.  The situation looked so hopeless, that I began to despair of their finding any common ground.

Anna, however, is a force to be reckoned with.  Even before she learns the full truth of what happened, she is determined to fight for some semblance of a marriage, and she won’t be ignored or dismissed.  I love this amazing woman – she is so strong and brave.  Once she finally does learn the truth, she is just as determined to seek vengeance as Liam is, and then to help heal him.  What Liam had to endure is obviously horrible, and he’s not going to recover overnight.  (Meredith Duran does excel in torturing her heroes!)

THE SINS OF LORD LOCKWOOD is not an easy or light read, but it’s brilliantly written, emotional, and powerful.  The dark times Liam and Anna endure only make them stronger and their hard won happiness all the more satisfying.  I’m finding it hard to find words to do justice to this magnificent book, except to conclude that it’s full of darkness, despair, redemption, then healing, and a beautiful, passionate love.   ~Rose

Posted in Historical Romance, Meredith Duran, Review, Rose | 2 Comments

Fresh Fiction Box-Not-to-Miss March 2018

Even more good reading ahead!  Have you heard about FRESH FICTION, the entertainment and book review website?  They also have a monthly book subscription service – FRESH FICTION BOX.  When you subscribe, you’ll receive one of these bright pink boxes every month, full of print books, ebook download cards, and a sample tea packet.  Every box is different, but you’ll always receive 2-3 ebooks and 3-5 print books. As always, the books arrive in perfect condition, as the box is custom made and makes a fabulous, strong storage box.  Each month, one of the books is highlighted, and will include a message from the author.  March’s box included a sample of Moroccan Mint green tea, and mine included the following books:

Raw Power by Jackie Ashenden – They fought for their country. Now they fight for you. 

To find the people lost in the shadows, you need the men who live in them. The former soldiers of 11th Hour are unaffiliated, unacknowledged, and definitely illegal. They protect the innocent, destroy the guilty–and capture hearts along the way . . .

Rugged, skilled, and hard-bodied, Jack King’s whole life was the Marines until an injury left him discharged from active duty. But he finds a new purpose when he’s recruited by a special unit that employs ex-military to do very special jobs. Yet he’s not impressed when his first assignment is babysitting the pretty, perfect daughter of a politician–especially when she’s far from the angel she appears to be . . .

Callie Hawthorne hates politics, and she hates playing the part of a senator’s goody two shoes daughter even more. It only gets worse when her father decides she needs a security detail 24/7–and the bodyguard happens to be the most insanely hot guy Callie’s ever seen. Still, she’s not going to be ordered around just because of some half-assed threat to her father. . . . But when it turns out her dad’s no angel either, Jack has to kidnap Callie in order to protect her. And as danger closes in, he’ll need all his considerable talents to keep them both alive. The greater challenge will be to keep his hands off her . .

More to Love by Alison Bliss – This laugh-out-loud romantic comedy proves that, when enemies become lovers, all bets are off!

Jessa Gibson may be new in the little town of Granite, Texas, but in no time at all her gourmet food truck business is booming. Soon she’ll have enough money to open the restaurant of her dreams. But first, she’ll have to appease the hot local health inspector, no matter how strange his “violations” sound to her. No pink plastic gloves? Really?

Max Hager isn’t exactly who he says he is. Pretending to be a health inspector is a (mostly) innocent mistake. A mistake made way worse by Max’s immediate, electrifying attraction to the curvy, sexy, redheaded chef. Throw in a whole lot of lust, and things in Jessa’s little kitchen are about to really start heating up. But can Max find a way to come clean with Jessa before his little deception turns into a recipe for disaster?

Duke in the Night by Kelly Bowen – (an amazing 4.5 star read for me) Duke. Scoundrel. Titan of business. August Faulkner is a man of many talents, not the least of which is enticing women into his bedchamber. He’s known—and reviled—for buying and selling companies, accumulating scads of money, and breaking hearts. It’s a reputation he wears like a badge of honor, and one he intends to keep.

Clara Hayward, the headmistress of the Haverhall School for Young Ladies, on the other hand, is above reproach. Yet when she’s reunited with August, all she can think of is the way she felt in his arms as they danced a scandalous waltz ten long years ago. Even though her head knows that he is only back in her life to take over her family’s business, her heart can’t help but open to the very duke who could destroy it for good.

The Farrier’s Daughter by Leigh Ann Edwards – In 16th Century Ireland. Young and beautiful Alainn McCreary, healer in training to the powerful O’Brien Clan, is on the cusp of discovering she possesses vast and unusual supernatural powers, which she hopes will help her unlock the secrets of her past and break the curse on the O’Brien Clan.

Alainn is counseled to hide her magical abilities, but how can she when dark forces rise up to threaten not only the O’Brien Clan, but Alainn and the life of the Chieftain’s beloved, but forbidden nephew, Killian O’Brien, a man Alainn has loved as long as she can remember?

Enigma by Catherine Coulter – (a fabulous 5 star read for me) The highly anticipated twenty-first FBI thriller by New York Times #1 bestselling author Catherine Coulter presents Agents Savich and Sherlock with two baffling mysteries. Working with Agent Cam Wittier (Insidious) and New York-based former Special Forces agent Jack Cabot, they must race against the clock to catch an international criminal and solve the enigma of the man called John Doe.

When Agent Dillon Savich saves Kara Moody from a seemingly crazy man, he doesn’t realize he will soon be facing a scientist who wants to live forever and is using “John Doe” to help him. But when the scientist, Lister Maddox, loses him, he ups the stakes and targets another to take his experiments to the next level.

It’s a race against time literally as Savich and Sherlock rush to stop him and save both present and future victims of his experiments. In the meantime, Cam Wittier and Jack Cabot must track a violent criminal through the Daniel Boone National Forest. When he escapes through a daring rescue, the agents have to find out who set his escape in motion and how it all ties into the murder of Mia Prevost, the girlfriend of the president’s Chief of Staff’s only son, Saxton Hainny. It’s international intrigue at the highest levels and they know they have to succeed or national security is compromised.

Stone Cold  by Jean Connolly – After years of working for an insufferable boss at Seattle Private Eye, Melissa Kennedy is finally able to start up her own Private Investigating business. Searching for her new office, little did she know that one of her very first clients would be a dead teen, who is set on helping her find other victims.

During her first case she gets sucked into a feud between two brothers, accusing one another of trying to take their Masonry company for themselves.

Along the way she ends up pairing with a snippy Homicide Detective, who coincidentally is working the murder case of her ghost. Somehow her Masonry case gets caught in the crosshairs. Could it be possible that one of the brothers are responsible for the murder of local teenage boys?

Zero Hour by Megan Erickson – The Fast and the Furious meets Mr. Robot in USA Todaybestselling author Megan Erickson’s thrilling new romantic suspense series.

Hacker extraordinaire Roarke Brennan lives each hour – each breath – to avenge his brother’s murder. His first move: put together a team of the best coders he knows. They’re all brilliant, specialized, and every one an epic pain in his ass. Only now Wren Lee wants in too, threatening to upset their delicate balance. The girl Roarke never allowed himself to want is all grown up with sexy confidence and a dark past … and she’s the wild card he can’t control.

Roarke might still think she’s a kid, but Wren’s been to hell and back. Nothing and nobody can stop her – especially the tatted-up, cocky-as-all-hell hacker. But when years of longing and chemistry collide, Wren and Roarke discover that revenge may be a dish best served blazing hot.

Click here –>> FRESH FICTION BOX to see all the details about subscribing – they do ship worldwide.

Please also check out –>> FRESH FICTION to see book reviews by some very talented reviewers, sometimes they even let me review!

Happy Reading!

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New Releases March 2018

These are the books on my radar to read and review in March, and I see a couple of my favorite authors!  Good reading ahead!  Want more info about these books?  Below are all the book blurbs, and clicking on the title will take you directly to that book’s Amazon page.  

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

Not Quite Crazy (Not Quite Series Book 6)  by Catherine Bybee –   No one drives in New York City. Everyone knows that, including California transplant Rachel Price. But that doesn’t stop her from driving into the city. From Connecticut. Every single morning. Rain or shine…or snow.

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

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

 

Hooked on a Phoenix (Phoenix Brothers)  by Ashlyn Chase –                   LOCKED IN A BANK VAULT TOGETHER…
THEY MIGHT REDEFINE THE MEANING OF ‘SAFE’ SEX

Misty Carlisle works as a bank teller in Boston’s financial district. She’s had more rotten luck in her life than most, except when her childhood crush shows up to cash his paycheck. Then her heart races and her mouth goes dry.

Gabe Fierro is a firefighter―and a phoenix. Like his brothers, his biggest challenge is finding a woman open-minded enough to accept a shapeshifter into her life. When his boyhood friend asks him to watch over his little sister Misty, he reluctantly agrees. But when the bank where she works gets held up, Gabe does everything he can to protect her. The two of them end up locked in the bank’s vault…where things get steamier than either of them ever imagined.

 

No Earls Allowed (The Survivors)    by Shana Galen – It is a truth universally acknowledged
that a lady can do anything a man can do:
backwards and in high-heeled dancing slippers.

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

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

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

 

As the Devil Dares (Capturing the Carlisles)  by Anna Harrington – When playing a game of wits, never ever go up against the woman they call the Hellion . . .

LOVE IS A BATTLEFIELD…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What a Highlander’s Got To Do (Untamed Highlanders)   by Sabrina York – Isobel Dounreay Lochlannach is a fierce and independent Scots lass. She has no intention to marry—to submit to a man—especially not an Englishman.

But when she meets a devilish stable lad on the way to London, she can’t help but sneak a kiss with the handsome stranger, sure to never see him again.

Nick Wyeth is not a stable lad. He’s Viscount Stirling, and heir to one of the most powerful dukes in the realm. If their indiscretion is discovered, Isobel will be forced to marry him, to succumb to a fate she has always spurned. Nick wants nothing but to call this wild Scottish lass his own, and is determined to show her how an English Viscount can make her swoon, and be his forever.

Lady in Waiting (Reluctant Brides) by Marie Tremayne – She wants to escape her present . . .  
When Clara Mayfield helps her sister elope, she’s prepared for the scandal to seal her fate as a spinster. What she doesn’t expect is to find herself engaged to the vile Baron Rutherford as a means of salvaging her family’s reputation. Determined not to be chained to a man she loathes, Clara slips out of Essex and sheds her identity: she becomes Helen, maid at the Earl of Ashworth’s country estate. After all, below stairs is the last place anyone would think to look for an heiress . . .

He wants to forget his past . . .
William, Lord Ashworth, is attempting to rebuild his life after the devastating accident that claimed the lives of his entire family, save his beloved sister and niece. Haunted by memories of what was and determined to live up to the title he never expected to inherit, William doesn’t have time for love. What he needs is a noble and accomplished wife, one who can further the Ashworth line and keep the family name untarnished . . .

Together, can they find the perfect future?  
From their first encounter, the attraction between them is undeniable. But Clara knows William is falling for Helen, a woman who doesn’t even exist. The question is, if she reveals the truth about her identity, can she trust the broken William to forgive her lie and stand by her side when scandal—and the baron—inevitably follow her to his door?

What a Difference a Duke Makes: School for Dukes by Lenora Bell – Wanted: Governess for duke’s unruly children  
Edgar Rochester, Duke of Banksford, is one of the wealthiest, most powerful men in England, but when it comes to raising twins alone, he knows he needs help. The only problem is the children have chased away half the governesses in London. Until the clever, bold, and far-too-enticing Miss Mari Perkins arrives.

Lost: One heart to an arrogant duke  
Mari knows how to wrap even the most rebellious children around her finger. But their demanding, wickedly handsome father? He won’t be quite so easy to control. And there’s something else she can’t seem to command. Her heart. The foolish thing beats so wildly every time the duke is near.

Found: A forbidden passion neither can deny  
As his employee, Mari is strictly off-limits. But what if she’s the one breaking all his rules? In the game of governess versus duke, how can Edgar maintain his defenses when the only thing he wants to do is let the tempting beauty win?

His Wicked Charm (The Mad Morelands) by Candace Camp – She’s too prim   
Lilah Holcutt dislikes Constantine Moreland from the moment she meets him. He may be handsome, but he’s frivolous, rash, impulsive and, worst of all, a flirt. Now that Con’s twin brother has married Lilah’s best friend, she’s seeing way more of Con than she’d like. And when Con’s sisters are inexplicably kidnapped, Lilah’s own curiosity and stubbornness get the better of her, and she finds herself swept into Con’s investigation.

He’s indifferent to propriety   
Con knows that Lilah hates him—he just wishes she weren’t so devastatingly beautiful, that he weren’t so attracted to her. Especially since they’re working closely together to solve the kidnapping, an adventure that leads them to Lilah’s peculiar childhood home, Barrow House, which sits atop an ancient fen and features an eerie maze on its grounds.

They’ll have to join together to conquer a sinister force   
The more Con and Lilah uncover, the more they’re convinced that the answers lie buried deep within Barrow House—answers to a mystery darker than either of them could ever have realized.

The Secret of Flirting (The Sinful Suitors Book 5) by Sabrina Jeffries – The moment spymaster Baron Fulkham meets the stunning Princess Anne of Chanay, he’s positive her royal persona is a ruse and that she’s actually Monique Servais, the mysterious actress he met three years before in Dieppe. But as he pursues his suspicions, he uncovers a plot of attempted assassination and betrayal that could very well destroy his career, expose his own secrets…and ruin the woman he’s rapidly coming to love.

Counting on a Countess: The London Underground by Eva Leigh – For a shameless libertine and a wily smuggler in the London Underground, marriage is more than convenience—it’s strategy…

Christopher “Kit” Ellingsworth, war veteran and newly minted Earl of Blakemere, buries his demons under every sort of pleasure and vice. His scandalous ways have all but emptied his coffers . . . until a wealthy mentor leaves him a sizeable fortune. The only stipulation? He must marry within one month to inherit the money. Kit needs a bride and the bold, mysterious Miss Tamsyn Pearce seems perfect.

Husband hunting isn’t Tamsyn’s top priority—she’s in London to sell her new shipment of illicit goods—but she’s desperate for funds to keep her smuggling operation afloat. When a handsome earl offers to wed her and send her back to Cornwall with a hefty allowance, Tamsyn agrees. After all, her secrets could land her in prison and an attentive, love-struck spouse could destroy everything.

But when an unexpected proviso in the will grants Tamsyn control of the inheritance, their arrangement becomes anything but convenient. Now, Kit’s counting on his countess to make his wildest dreams a reality and he plans to convince her, one pleasurable seduction at a time.

Winning Miss Winthrop (Regency Brides: A Promise of Hope)  by Carolyn Miller – Catherine Winthrop has cried out to God too many times to count. Years ago, the man who stole her heart rejected her–and she’s never recovered. Now tragedy has brought him back into her life. This time it isn’t her heart he’s taking, it’s her home and her family’s good name–and she has no one to share her grief.

Jonathan Carlew’s life may look enviable from the outside–wealthy, handsome, landed–but the mystery surrounding his birth has shadowed his entire life. Now as he ascends to the barony, fresh challenges await, including a scheming mama who wants him to embrace power, even at the cost of losing love. How can he remain the kind, honorable man he strives to be and still meet the demands of his new society responsibilities?

These two broken hearts must decide whether their painful past and bitter present will be all they can share, or if forgiveness can provide a path to freedom for the future.

Set in the sumptuous salons of Bath, Regency England’s royal breeding ground for gossip, Winning Miss Winthrop is the first volume in Carolyn Miller’s new series. Fans of the wholesome and richly drawn first series won’t want to miss this new set of characters.

Cupid, Texas: How the Cowboy Was Won  by Lori Wilde – Return to New York Times Bestselling Author Lori Wilde’s beloved town of Cupid, Texas, where wedding fever is in the air . . . and two best friends discover that sometimes the perfect match is standing right in front of you . . .

Ember Alzate is a fantastic matchmaker with one big problem: she can’t find the perfect mate for herself! Alzate family legend says that when she kisses “the One” she’ll hear a mysterious humming in her head. Well, Ember’s kissed a lot of guys and she’s never heard a thing. Now, instead of searching for herself, she vows to find her best friend, Ranger Lockhart, a bride. It’s clear this smart, sexy man just needs to meet the right gal.

Ranger’s returned home to Cupid with marriage on his mind, but he’s not interested in the parade of women Ember pushes under his nose. His thoughts keep returning to his best friend—with her combustible combination of curves and sass. No one compares to Ember, but what’s it going to take to convince her she’s the woman for him?

Happy Reading!

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Review – Maybe This Time by Nicole Mclaughlin

About the Book:

Jen Mackenzie has been knocked down more than a few times, but she always gets up and makes sure she has the last word. It’s the reason she now considers herself equal parts self-sufficient and free-spirit. But since losing her job and trying to help her mother beat cancer, real life―and her occasional careless choices―have begun to catch up with her. Her one saving grace: The Stag, a boutique distillery that has become Kansas City’s go-to wedding venue. The only catch: One of the owners, TJ Laughlin, happens to be the one man who somehow manages to make Jen feel inadequate.

TJ has secretly had a thing for Jen since high school. Now, as her new boss, it’s a daily struggle between revealing his feelings and wringing her beautiful neck. Only one thing is for certain: he can’t stand idly by and watch the woman he cares for struggle. She may be convinced that accepting TJ’s help is a weakness. But all he sees in Jen is beauty and strength, inside and out. As things finally heat up between them, can TJ find a way to convince Jen that love is about give and take―and having it all, together?

Click on title below for direct Amazon buy link:
Maybe This Time: A Whiskey and Weddings Novel

My Review:                 

I received a complimentary copy of this book.

Don’t judge a book by its cover.  Jen Mackenzie is anything but traditional – she’s smart-mouthed, snarky, bold, sexual, and determined not to show any weakness.  She’s also insecure, vulnerable, a terrible money manager, and very proud.  She has had a thing for TJ for the last fifteen years or so, ever since high school, but hides her feelings behind biting remarks.  Now a twist of fate has Jen working at the Stag Distillery, where TJ is one of her bosses.

Trevor “TJ” Laughlin is determined to find his own success, rather than depend on his well-to-do family, and his part ownership in Stag Distillery is paying off.  Having to see Jen every day at work is both pleasure and pain, as he’s also longed for a relationship with her since their high school days.  Back then, TJ’s crowd didn’t hang around with Jen, who was the girl from the wrong side of the tracks.

When a point comes when both Jen and TJ are free, he finally gets the courage to approach Jen about dating and a relationship.  Their romance takes an uneven path with lots of highs and lows, due, I think, to how different they basically are.  TJ is your typical good guy, who has his act together.  He’s responsible, kind, and a gentleman.  Jen flaunts her overt sexuality and unconventionality and enjoys saying shocking things.  She has been very irresponsible in handling her finances, though she’s made an effort to improve.  To some extent, her rocky relationship with her mother had a big part in shaping the person she is, and now that her mother is seriously ill, Jen is making an effort to mend fences.  Still, I couldn’t totally warm up to Jen and the chip she carried on her shoulder.

Though MAYBE THIS TIME concludes with Jen and TJ committed to each other, I’m not feeling confident their love is forever, at least not on Jen’s part.  Her self-proclaimed free spirited nature and her past actions lead me to feel she’ll become bored and want to move on.  If you’re looking for a sweet, small-town romance, this is not for you.  However, if you like a modern, bold, sexy story that ends with happy-for-now, MAYBE THIS TIME fills the bill.  ~Rose

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