Spotlight on Joanna Bourne and …

The Spymaster Series

“The Forbidden Rose” by Joanna BourneThe Forbidden Rose (Spymasters #1)

A glittering French aristocrat is on the run, disguised as a British governess.

Marguerite de Fleurignac, once privileged aristocrat, is on the run, disguised as penniless British governess Maggie Duncan.

England’s top spy has a score to settle with her family.

William Doyle, England’s top spy, has a score to settle with her, recognized when he pulls her from her burned-out chateau.

But as they’re drawn inexorably into the intrigue and madness of Revolutionary Paris, they gamble on a love to which neither of them will admit.

They gamble on a inadmissible love destined for betrayal.

BUY IT: Amazon / Audible

 

jb tslThe Spymaster’s Lady (Spymasters #2)

She’s Never Met A Man She Couldn’t Deceive …

She’s braved battlefields. She’s stolen dispatches from under the noses of heads of state. She’s played the worldly courtesan, the naive virgin, the refined British lady, even a Gypsy boy. But Annique Villiers, the elusive spy known as the Fox Cub, has finally met the one man she can’t outwit …

Until Now.

British spymaster Robert Grey must enter France and bring back the brilliant, beautiful — and dangerous — Fox Cub. His duty is to capture her and her secrets for England. When the two natural enemies are thrown into prison, they forge an uneasy alliance to break free. But their pact is temporary and betrayal seems inevitable. They flee, pursued every step of the way by ruthless authorities, caught in a net of secrets and lies. As the fates of nations hang in the balance, Grey and Annique fight the passion that flares between them — forbidden, impossible, and completely irresistible …

BUY IT: Amazon / Audible

 

JB3My Lord and Spymaster (Spymasters #3)

A daring beauty, she was infamous for taking chances . . .

Raised as a poor but cunning pickpocket, Jess Whitby may have grown into a wealthy young woman, but now she must once again rely on her guile. Her father’s been wrongly accused of selling secrets to Napoleon, and he’s going to be hanged—unless Jess finds the real traitor in the London underworld. She never dreamed her search would begin by waking up naked in a rude captain’s bed. Or how little she’d mind.

Now she’ll risk everything for love…

When Captain Sebastian Kennett prevents a kidnapping on the London docks, he takes the headstrong would-be victim home. He’s infatuated with her courageous spirit. She’s enthralled by his commanding strength and the sexy spark in his eyes. Then she discovers something else about the spellbinding seaman: He could be the traitor she’s hunting, the man whose next move could determine her father’s fate—and her future as well.

BUY IT: Amazon / B&N

 

TBH JBThe Black Hawk (Spymasters #4)

He is her enemy.

He is her lover.

He is her only hope.

Someone is stalking French agent Justine

DeCabrillac through London’s gray streets. Under cover of the rain, the assassin strikes–and Justine staggers to the door of the one man who can save her.  The man she once loved.  The man she hated.  Adrian Hawkhurst.

Adrian wanted the treacherous beauty known as “Owl” back in his bed, but not wounded and clinging to life. Now, as he helps her heal, the two must learn to trust each other to confront the hidden menace that’s trying to kill them–and survive long enough to explore the passion simmering between them once again.

BUY IT: Amazon / B&N

 

jb rsRogue Spy (Spymasters #5)

For years he’d lived a lie. It was time to tell the truth…even if it cost him the woman he loved.

Ten years ago he was a boy, given the name Thomas Paxton and sent by Revolutionary France to infiltrate the British Intelligence Service. Now his sense of honor brings him back to London, alone and unarmed, to confess. But instead of facing the gallows, he’s given one last impossible assignment to prove his loyalty.

Lovely, lying, former French spy Camille Leyland is dragged from her safe rural obscurity by threats and blackmail. Dusting off her spy skills, she sets out to track down a ruthless French fanatic and rescue the innocent victim he’s holding—only to find an old colleague already on the case. Pax.

Old friendship turns to new love, and as Pax and Camille’s dark secrets loom up from the past, Pax is left with a choice—go rogue from the Service or lose Camille forever…

PRE-ORDER IT: Amazon / B&N

SPECIAL CONTEST!

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between now and May 4.

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1 Print copy of  ‘The Spymaster’s Lady’

Joanna BourneAUTHOR BIO: I write historical fiction set in Revolutionary and Napoleonic France and Regency England. It was a time of love and sacrifice, clashing ideals, and really cool clothing.

I live in the Appalachian Mountains with my family and my dog and cat.

To read more about Jo, please go here.

Social Media: Blog / Word Wenches / Website / Facebook / Tweeter

Spotlight on Tanya Anne Crosby and …

The Winter Stone: One Legend,

Three Enchanting Novellas!

tac lw gc tws

with Glynnis Campbell & Laurin Wittig

BOOK BLURB: Once upon a time, in a place time forgot, the last Pict King in Scotland was slain, betrayed by one he loved. Even the Mother of Winter mourned his ignoble death, weeping icy tears that shattered as they fell to Earth. But one did not. This tear of stone she offered to the Guardians of the Old Ways, so that by its light all truths might be known. These are the romantic tales of the Winter Stone…

In My Laird, My Love by Tanya Anne Crosby, a long-lost guardian reaches across time to restore the faith and win the heart of a powerful chieftain.

In Circle of Hearts by Laurin Wittig, a lovely fey maiden doubts the power of her gifts until the love of a fierce Highlander renews her sense of self-worth.

In The Reclaiming by Glynnis Campbell, a broken Scots warrior is healed by a lass who wields the most magical power of all—love.

LOOK INSIDE: here.

ADD IT TO YOUR Goodreads!

ONLY 0.99!

BUY IT HERE: Amazon / B&N Nook / Kobo /

GIVEAWAY by b2b: 3 Winners

Q: How do you find [to you] new authors?

tacAUTHOR BIO: Put a menu in front of me and I immediately don’t know what I want. Fried green tomatoes with grits? Yep, OK. Fish? Sounds good, too. OK, so what are you having? I’ll do that too. When it comes to shoes–forget it. I end up buying nothing because I can’t make up my mind. Thank God I have a husband who has great tastes, or my closet might be empty. I’m one of those people who suffers from acute ambivalence given too many choices, but when it comes to what I wanted to do with my life, I’ve known that decidedly since the age of 12–and probably long before that.

It all began once upon a time after a tonsillectomy, when the doc advised mom and dad they should reward me with anything I wanted (the key word here being anything). All I wanted was dad’s typewriter. I got it, of course–a black, sporty Olympia I immediately set out to wearing the letters off the keys. So here I am all these years later, with sixteen books under my belt and a new one on the way … still wearing the letters off keyboards … and loving every minute.

Social Media: Website / Facebook / Tweeter /

gcAUTHOR BIO: When she’s not writing swashbuckling historical romances and playing medieval matchmaker, bestselling author Glynnis Campbell (also writing as Sarah McKerrigan and Kira Morgan) is a cartoon voice, the wife of a rock star, and the mother of two young adults.

She’s been a ballerina, a typographer, a film composer, a piano player, a singer in an all-girl rock band, and a voice in those violent video games you won’t let your kids play. She does her best writing on cruise ships, in Scottish castles, on her husband’s tour bus, and at home in her sunny southern California garden. Glynnis loves transporting readers to a place where the bold heroes have endearing flaws, the women are stronger than they look, the land is lush and untamed, and chivalry is far from dead!

Social Media: WebsiteFacebook / Tweeter / Pinterest

lwAUTHOR BIO: I was indoctrinated into my Scottish heritage at birth when my parents chose my oddly spelled first name from a plethora of Scottish family names. At ten, my grandparents took me to my first American Clan Gregor Society gathering, where I attended my first ceilidh (kay-lee), a Scottish party, and danced to the bagpipes with the hereditary chieftain of the clan. At eleven, my mother took me to Scotland for the first time and it has lived vividly in my imagination ever since.

I hope you’ll join me in my forays into Scotland’s wonderful medieval Highlands. In addition to The Devil of Kilmartin, my National Readers’ Choice Award winning debut novel, please look for my Legacy of MacLeod series – Charming the Shrew and Daring the Highlander – out now. My newest trilogy starts in 2013 with the release of Highlander Betrayed on August 6th, followed by Highlander Avenged and Highlander Redeemed.

I’m a recent empty-nester and now share my home in southeastern Virginia with my husband (who refuses, under any circumstances, to ever wear a kilt), and our Eskie, Anna.

Laurin Wittig

Social Media: Website / Facebook / Tweeter /

Spotlight on Delilah Marvelle and …

Night of Pleasure (final) @ 2700 high res‘Night of Pleasure’

BOOK BLURB: An arranged marriage is daunting, but not as daunting as seducing a spouse whose passions you do not understand…

Derek Charles Holbrook, Viscount Banfield, knew his fate since he was seventeen when his father announced his union to the beautiful but mysterious American girl by the name of Miss Grey. To protect the troubled estate, Derek submits to his father’s wishes, not realizing he’s about to entangle himself in a hell of a lot more than marriage.

Miss Clementine Henrietta Grey may be worth millions, but not a single coin has ever bought her a smidge of happiness. When she marries the charasmatic and dashing Viscount Banfield, whose only strife in life appears to be the uneven seams in his coat, she finds that siring the heir he wants requires far more than her heart is prepared to give.

Unable to seduce his overly-serious and reluctant wife, Derek realizes his dreams of creating a loving family has turned into a nightmare. But with the unexpected assistance of a retired courtesan and her outrageous school, Derek and Clementine discover that passion is a language spoken not just from the body, but from the mind, heart and soul.

Buy Links: Amazon / B&N / Kobo / iBooks

WARNING: This book is Rated Double S (Sweaty & Sinful) and contains strong language and sexual content which may cause respectable people to swoon.

THE SCHOOL OF GALLANTRY SERIES:

Book 1, Mistress of Pleasure
Book 2, Lord of Pleasure
Book 3, Lady of Pleasure
Book 3.5, Romancing Lady Stone
Book 4, Night of Pleasure
Book 5, Master of Pleasure

Excerpt:  Here 

REVIEW: Delilah Marvelle is one of my favorite authors and her books are greatly anticipated by me. When I heard that she was continuing her School of Gallantry series, I literally went and bought all the earlier books so I could be brought up to date with all the characters in it. By the way, you don’t have to run out and do the same. Each of these stories is well written as a standalone, but if you want to know the origins behind the school of gallantry, you should get them all.

As usual Ms. Marvelle does an excellent job in creating characters that are fun, witty and passionate about life. I adored Derek, the hero of this tale. How could I not to?! When first we meet him, he’s just a young ‘randy’ man and so charming and personable. I loved the way he falls for Clementine, heart and soul, as soon as he lays eyes on her.

Clementine’s character was much complex and her relationship with her father, as well as her feelings about the relationship he had with her mother, was something she carried deep within her and the fear of passion in any capacity was something she avoided like a plague.

They both needed the School of Gallantry to point them in the right direction and eradicate their mutual fears, his of overwhelming her with his all-consuming passion for her, and hers of being consumed by his passion to a point where she may turn into what her mother was.  Both needed to allow the other full access of each others feelings, good and bad, in order to successfully become one.

I also loved the secondary character of Clementine’s friend, Nasser. What a great character he was. I greatly admired Clementine’s loyalty to him and the scenes between all three, especially the ones between Derek and Nasser, are sweet, caring, sad and funny all at the same time.

This is another well-written, emotional, fast-paced and very sensual story of two young, strong and complex beings that need each other badly to be complete.

I love all Ms. Marvell’s books, but honestly, out of all her heroes, Derek just took my breath away! I hope you give him a try. Loved it!!!

*Melanie for b2b.

*Book provided by the publisher.

Maire Claremont THE DARK AFFAIR tour banner

Giveaway:

1 Winner/ $5 Amazon GC. 

DelilahMarvelleAUTHOR BIO: Delilah Marvelle is the winner of the Reviewer’s Choice for Best Sensual Historical Romance of the Year and had Booklist name her historical romance ‘Forever and a Day’ one of the TOP 10 Romances of the year.

When she isn’t writing, she’s digging through inappropriate research books that include anything in history having to do with courtesans, brothels, sexual contraptions that were never properly used and other fascinating forms of dirty history that never made it into college textbooks. You can visit her at her website at:

Social Media: Website / Facebook / Twitter / Delilah’s Newsletter / Goodreads Page

Spotlight on Sandy Raven and …

The Caversham Chronicles Series

sr cb‘Caversham’s Bride’

BOOK BLURB: What would you do to save the ones you love most?

Sold into slavery by the men who were supposed to kill her, Angelia Gualtiero must now convince the man who purchased her to help her. Lia would do anything to save her little brother from her murderous aunt, even marry a man she knows wants nothing more than use of her body.

Marcus Renfield Halden, Ninth Duke of Caversham, needs an heir to secure his legacy and the futures of his young sisters from a desperate cousin whom he suspects of targeting him in pursuit of the title and fortune. When he sees a woman running from her guard in a market in Tangier, he is at first captivated by her beauty. After Ren learns her story, he’s in awe of her bravery. He then makes Lia an offer she cannot refuse.

Her brother for an heir.

What neither expected was to fall in love.

‘Caversham’s Bride’ is set in 1819. Locations include Genoa, Tangier, London and the hero’s merchant ship.

BUY LINKS: Amazon / iTunes / B&N

REVIEW: Here’s the thing. Sometimes I just ‘stumble’ on an author or a story and I can’t even know how I did it, and if I love what I ‘discovered’ then there’s nothing that can hold me back from spreading the word and telling you guys all about it.

That’s exactly what happened to me with this author and her Caversham Chronicle series.

In the first book we are following Ren, a Duke that is like no other dukes I’ve read about. He owns a shipping company, and is a Captain of his own ship too!

He finds himself in the middle of a murder mystery and an international intrigue that is one of the best plots I’ve read in a while.

Lia is one of those heroines you will literally jump out of your seat as you read of her predicament and root for her as she risks her life for her baby brother who is in jeopardy.

This story starts off with drama, and is filled with intrigue that will have you at the edge of your seat, but more than anything it is the characters that held me spellbound. Without a doubt this is a character driven plot, with a fast and furious pace that will have you turning pages and dreading the end at the same time, because you just don’t want it to end.

I’m over the moon for discovering this author! This is a well-written and plotted and story with brilliant characters and killer dialogue. Highly recommending the entire series. 

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‘Already His’

BOOK BLURB: She’s loved him all her life.

Lady Elise Halden knows how to get a horse to bend to her will with a gentle touch and subtle coaxing. But she’s learning that bringing the new Earl of Camden to heel is nothing like training a horse. If she has any hope of reining in the Earl’s affections, she will need a plan. With help from her friend Lady Beverly, and her sister-in-law the Duchess, Elise sets out to win her indifferent Earl’s heart.

He’s admired her from a respectable distance.

As young men, Michael Brightman and his best friend swore sisters were off limits. This promise was made solely to protect his own sisters from his friend’s charming, rakehell ways. The Duke of Caversham’s little sister was always a precocious minx to avoid, till one day Michael realizes Lady Elise is all grown up and the things he wants to do with the lady are surely going to upset the friendship with her brother.

Together they discover that physical evidence doesn’t equate truth, and trusting the heart is sometimes the hardest lesson to learn.

‘Already His’ is set in 1822. Locations include London and the English countryside.

BUY LINKS:  AmazoniTunesB&N

REVIEW: I find myself adoring the characters in this book as much as I adored Ren and Lia in the previous one. I also think that this one is a bit more on the humorous side as it made me laugh out loud on many places.

In the second book in the Caversham Chronicles we get reacquainted with Elise, Ren’s little sister, the one that’s a tomboy and horse mad. I wasn’t that impressed with her in Lia and Ren’s story, but Ms. Raven made sure I had enough of her background in this book and that was fortunate as I came to admire her greatly.

And then there’s our hero, Michael, a very best friend of our heroine’s brother, Ren. Oh, Michael, Michael, Michael! I loved you from the start, even though you made me want to slap you around a few times, you were someone who was determined to learn his lessons the hard way, but once you realized your ‘folly’ I admired your tenacity in correcting it.

Here’s another thing I loved in this story: the age difference between the couple was significant, yet the author handled it so beautifully.

Once again I find myself loving the fast pace this author sets for her stories, as well as the prose and dialogue which kept me intrigued and ‘glued’ to my Kindle.

By the way, all the stories in this series were written in such a way that you really don’t have to read them in order as they can be read as stand alone.

Highly recommended!

sr ls

‘Loving Sarah’

BOOK BLURB: She was running to adventure, he was running from destiny.

Lady Sarah Halden stows away on the wrong boat when she thinks to enter a sailing race with her brother. She lands in the company of Lucky’s business partner, Ian Ross-Mackeever, heir to the Earl Mackeever. Sarah finds the gruff captain handsome and desires him in ways she’d never wanted a man before. With the help of a salacious little book filled with erotic images, Sarah decides to seduce her captain. At the halfway point of the race, instead of simply letting her return home with him, Lucky forces Sarah and Ian to marry.

Ian Ross-Mackeever doesn’t believe in family. His own father sends him away when he is a boy to live in a different country with his grandfather who despises him and aunts who don’t know what to do with him. He is immediately sent away to school where he becomes friends with Lucky Gualtiero, a young man whose family is everything Ian’s is not.

After a rocky start upon discovering his stowaway, Ian warms to Sarah’s presence in his life during the voyage home from New York. Her sense of adventure and unwavering love for family forces Ian to embrace her affections and the possibilities of a future with her at his side. Sarah shows Ian that running from destiny is more difficult than accepting fate, and every day spent not cherishing and loving those who love you is a day wasted.

‘Loving Sarah’ is set in 1835. Locations include Liverpool, the hero’s clipper ship Revenge, New York, London, and Surrey.

BUY LINKS:  Amazon / B&N

REVIEW: In the third installment of her Caversham Chronicles series, Ms. Raven takes us on an adventure with another of Ren’s sisters, Sarah.

Sarah is feeling that life is passing her by and she craves some excitement before she permanently and purposely forces herself ‘on the shelf’.

Her plan to stowaway on Lucky’s ship goes terribly awry and she is looking at ruination to her name.

Ian Ross-Mackeever has big plans for himself and he’s mapped out his future that in no way includes marriage, nor children; well, not for a few years at least. He has dreams that one day he’ll pay off his debts, build some fast ships and together with Lucky, his best friend, he’ll be ready to become an Earl.

I loved the complexity of both of these characters. They both craved freedom of choice, yet in the end Sarah’s actions took that choice out of their hands, and while neither expected love to find them, it had other plans. They both had a lot of issues that needed resolving before they could enjoy each other and their new found love for one another.

I also liked the curve ball the author threw me. I was shocked by it and it really blindsided me.

Oh, and then Ms. Raven brings in Ren and Lia, along with Lia’s brother Lucky and Elise and Michael too. It was such a treat to catch up with them all and see where they are with their lives.

Sandy Raven has a knack of telling her stories with huge emphases on her characters, making them feel, act and come across those pages as real as they can possibly be.

I enjoyed them immensely as she brought me to tears, both laughing and crying.

COMING IN FALL of 2014!

sr ll‘Lucky’s Lady’

BOOK BLURB: Lucky Gualtiero arrives in Baltimore to visit a highly recommended shipyard that builds the speedy clippers named for that town. He is surprised to find the architect designing these ships for this builder is a young woman whose intelligence and independence spark more than just his intellectual interest.

Mary-Michael Watkins married the elderly owner of the shipyard to take advantage of the education and position in society which he provided. But the one thing her husband cannot give her is the child of her heart. As he realizes his illness is going to take him, he tells his wife that if she wants a babe, she will have to go outside the marriage.

Mary-Michael chooses the English Captain to father her child, with the intent to raise the babe as her husband’s. Except Lucky is completely unaware of this. As a man to whom family, loyalty and love are more than mere words, he’s beyond angry to discover he was duped into fatherhood. Now, as the village in which she was raised accuses Mary-Michael of murdering her husband in order to be with the English Captain, it’s Lucky that must come to her rescue and save both Mary and their child.

PRE-REVIEW: LOL! I have yet to read this book, but man if Ms. Raven has written only half of what I liked in the previous three, I know I’ll be in for a ride and I’m chomping at a bit to read Lucky’s story!

GIVEAWAY I = 2 Audio Books/2 Winners [by the author/*US ONLY]

GIVEAWAY II = 3 eBooks/3 Winners [by b2b/*INTERNATIONAL where possible]

Sandy RavenAUTHOR BIO: Sandy Raven has a husband who spoils her rotten, and kids that are just a hair’s breadth away from perfect. She’s addicted to House Hunter’s International and has never missed an episode, though she acknowledges that she could never live in most of those countries because the bathrooms are just too small. She is also addicted to Starbucks’ Chai Latte, and never passes up an opportunity to have one.

Sandy grew up on the Texas Gulf Coast with sand between her toes and perpetually frizzy hair. Which is why she now lives in the middle-of-nowhere Virginia, in a place with minimal to moderate humidity (for perfect, non-frizzy curls,) rolling hills and farmed forests. The only downside to that is the temperamental satellite internet and the closest Starbucks being a thirty minute drive away.

Home is a small, renovated farm house she shares with her hero husband, and more cats, dogs and horses than she cares to admit to. She’s a long-time member of RWA, and is a member of VRW and the BeauMonde. Second to writing is her love for her horses. She practices natural horsemanship, and loves to ride her barefoot Tennessee Walkers on the trails and in the woods around her home.

Social Media: Website / Facebook

Spotlight on Mary Balogh and …

The Web Series

mb tgw‘The Gilded Web’

STORY: All she wanted was to escape the hot, crowded London ballroom. But moments after stepping into the bitterly cold night, she is seized by a pair of strong hands and spirited away. Fully expecting to be ravished, sheltered Alexandra Purnell instead finds herself at the mercy of the man who saved her from certain scandal.

Edmund, Earl of Amberley, is bold and sensual, tempting Alexandra to be reckless for the first time in her life. But as passion ignites, Edmund’s offer of marriage takes Alexandra completely by surprise. Now a woman who craves her freedom above all else is about to discover how far one man will go to protect and possess the woman he loves.

REVIEW: I am a huge fan of Mary Balogh and I can safely say that she’s one of my all time favorite authors. She just has this incredible talent of sucking me into the story so deeply that I have a hard time coming up for air.

The Web series had been published awhile back, and it has been on my TBR forever, so it was time I dived in.

After many stories that featured funny, likeable and charming characters that I enjoy reading about, I was ready for some unique, intriguing and complex heroes and heroines to sink my teeth into, and let me tell you, Mary Balogh delivers on all the above in spades.

The first story is Edmunds who is the Earl of Amberley; second one is  one of the twins’ Lord Eden’s, and the third is Lady Madeline’s.

As the eldest and the head of the family, Edmund shoulders a lot, and has been since he inherited the title at nineteen after his father’s unexpected death. He is wise, loving and patient, as well as respectful and caring son and brother. He is brought up in a loving home, by caring parents who were not afraid to foster love in their children, as well as free thinking.

Quite by accident and brought on by his brother, who had best intentions and yet the worst timing, Edmund finds himself in the inconvenient circumstances that require him to offer marriage to our heroine. 

This story is without a doubt character driven and I loved it!

To watch the heroine as she slowly, and I mean very slowly, comes to think for herself and not blindly trust and follow her pious and domineering father was something to behold. I know that many might not have enjoyed her character much just because of that, but I thought it fascinating. The confusion, the  battle within this woman of what her deep, inner self desires and the love for her parents despite their lack of the same for her, was heartbreaking and painful to go through with her.

If you like conflict and struggle of any kind in your love stories, this is a book that will give it to you. It is not a book for the faint of heart, impatient and those that need a quick fix of ‘sugar & spice, and everything nice’.

I have deep respect and appreciation for all authors who take the risk and put their characters through an extreme, just to see how they’ll come out of it. Well played Ms. Balogh, well-played.

mb wol‘Web of Love’

STORY: He’d served with her husband on the battlefield—and secretly desired her for years. Yet for Dominic, Lieutenant Lord Eden, Ellen Simpson has remained tantalizingly out of reach—until she is widowed by the war. Suddenly pursued by the dangerously handsome nobleman, Ellen is stunned by the depth of attraction he arouses in her.

Soon their friendship flames into something deeper…and as scandal ignites, marriage seems the only solution. But Ellen has a secret—one she can share with no one—that prevents her from fully opening her heart to Dominic. Until he devises his own plan for the ultimate consummation of their passion—and the woman he is determined to possess at any cost…

REVIEW: In this second book of her Web series, Ms. Balogh tackles the story of Dominic, Lord Eden, Edmund’s mischievous, charming, and care-free brother.

Let me say this before I go into the reasons behind loving this book most out of the Web Trilogy.

As some series go, you are able to read them out of order and most of the time they can well stand on their own, but I found that this particular series is not one of them and I know for certain that my enjoyment would have been thwarted if I hadn’t read these stories in order.

In the first book we met Dominic as a young man full of mischief, willing to fall in love at a drop of a hat, filled with dreams of joining the fray of an imminent war with Napoleon. In this book we watch him as he finally finds his true heart’s desire and is faced with brutality and reality of the war.

For the first time we meet Ellen, a married, very strong, smart and courageous young woman that Dom met a few years ago in Spain. She loves her older husband who is Dom’s superior and his mentor. The three of them are close friends and it never even occurred to either Ellen or Dom that they would ever end up being lovers. She deeply respects and loves her husband and is wholly devoted to him and their marriage.

As this story opens, we welcome back Alex and Edmund as they arrive with his sister Madeline, Dom’s twin, into Brussels in support of their sibling who they haven’t seen in three years.

And here is where the story gets interesting for me. I loved the setting [think War and Piece movie with Audrey Hepburn!] and Ms. Balogh did an outstanding job in bringing to me this world of uncertainty, bravery and agony that surrounded our maine and secondary characters.

And speaking of those, I can’t even begin to tell you how much I loved those, from Jennifer, Ellen’s teenage step-daughter to Lieutenant Allan Penworth, a man who becomes very dear to Madeline; I loved Charlie Simpson, Ellen’s husband so much that I mourned him almost as much as Ellen and Dom did.

But what came through the most in this story was the way Ms. Balogh clearly showed her readers that great love can strike twice in a lifetime, and how hard it is to understand and accept that fact. That part touched me deeply personally.

I’m so glad I finally got to this series off my TBR!

mb tdw‘The Devil’s Web’

STORY: The last time Madeline Raine had seen James Purnell, she had been but a chit of a girl, and at his mercy. Purnell had held her helpless in his arms – but protectively above the abyss of her own dangerous hunger for him.

He had left her then, not taking her innocence but taking her heart, as he vanished from England. Since then Madeline had reigned as society’s most dazzling and heartless beauty, making all men pay for one man’s rebuff of her.

Now James was back, more handsome and arrogant than ever. And Madeline steeled herself not to fall under his spell again. But she soon discovered that the melting power of passion ignited by love would not easily die…

REVIEW: If you’ve not read the first two books, especially the first one, ‘The Gilded Web’, I guarantee you that you will not understand our couple’s past, present and future behavior. It really is imperative you at least read book one.

In this book we watch Madeline, sister of Edmund and Dominic, mature, yet when it comes to planning and mapping out her future, she hasn’t changed a bit. She is still kept back with her conflicting feelings toward James and is hurling herself from one plan to another, only to find out that she must face the reality of loving a man who will certainly drag her into darkness with him.

Talk about a man, James Purnell, brother of Alexandra and Edmund’s wife from ‘Gilded Web’, who is torn by the past and his feelings of unworthiness when it comes to his future.

This is the third and last story of the Web Series and if it was the hardest to read for me, I wonder if it was as hard to write for Ms. Balogh.

If you’re not into dark and complex characters, then this story will be wasted on you. But if you can appreciate the intricacies of a very complex relationship between James and Madeline, you will be rewarded tenfold with a story of deep, true, abiding and long lasting love that had to go through many trials in order to blossom.

I loved all three stories and Ms. Balogh’s writing is as strong as ever. The depth of the characters that she writes about is one that I will always appreciate. If you’ve never read this author, these may not be the books to start you on her wonderful writing, but once you do, please don’t miss out on these unique, complex and very interesting characters.

It comes as no surprise to me that she succeeded yet again in creating three romance stories that touched my heart. She weaved these with a historical event that helped the plot and shaped the characters that I was deeply touched by, and will stay with me forever. I highly recommend all three of these engrossing and wonderful stories.

*Melanie for b2b.

*Books provided by my local used book store.

Spotlight on Diana Quincy and …

Accidental Peers Series

dq sc‘Seducing Charlotte’ – Book 1

BOOK BLURB: Opposites attract…Even if he is the catch of the season, Charlotte Livingston has a low opinion of the wildly handsome Marquess of Camryn. He’s an industrialist who thinks nothing of replacing workers with machines, depriving them of an honest living. Camryn is everything a social reformer like Charlotte detests. Besides, her loyalty belongs to another man.

Worlds Collide…Yet, as a violent machine-breakers rebellion rages across England, an undeniable attraction flares between the passionate adversaries. Camryn vows to destroy the rebel movement, unaware that the spinster who has captured his heart, harbors a secret – a shocking connection to one of its leaders that could shatter them both.

REVIEW: Here’s the deal. Even though this is the first book in the series and the début for Ms. Quincy, if you want to read this series in order, you should read Willa’s story first, then Charlotte’s second and Bella’s story is the last in the series. For some reason ‘the men in suits’ that bought these stories, decided they should be published out-of-order. Don’t ask!

Okay, now that I got that out-of-the-way, let me tell you why I loved this story.

Charlotte. Charlotte. Charlotte.

I thought the characterization of this young woman was wonderful. She was such a mixture of innocence and maturity that you couldn’t help but like her. She’s much more than just a bluestocking. She’s passionate about her causes but also about life and people she loves. She doesn’t cower and when confronted, is terrible at lying and is more than capable standing up for herself and those that need her protection. The dialogue between Cam and Charlotte is intense, intelligent and intriguing.

Arthur Stanhope, Marquess of Camryn, [Willa’s cousin who inherited her father’s title] is one of those heroes we can’t help but love. He’s the oldest of four brothers; Sebastian, Basil and Will do make an appearance and all are interesting and mischievous in their own right.

Cam always knew he would inherit the title from his uncle and he was ready to take on that challenge and take on more by involving himself within the industries that have shaped the future of his country despite many oppositions in its and his path.

It was interesting watching this privileged man slowly reviling himself to Charlotte in small increments, so we would get the full impact of his character as she did.

I was also impressed by this author’s research and it shows as she introduces her audience to the history of manufacturing, and the masses that were affected by it, aristocracy as well as the common man.

If you’re looking for a well-written, well researched and interesting, entertaining and fun read, this is a must read.

dq tb‘Tempting Bella’ – Book 2

BOOK BLURB: Mirabella can hardly remember the man she married as a girl. And it’s just as well. She feels nothing but contempt for the man who wed her for her fortune and promptly forgot she existed. The ton may call him “The Saint” but Bella knows better.

Forced to marry as a teen to rescue his family from certain ruin, Sebastian has been apart from his child bride since their wedding day. When he encounters an enchanting impish beauty at the opera, he’s is thrilled to find she is none other than his long-ago bride and he is more than ready to make her his wife in truth.

Too bad the beguiling beauty has no intention of coming meekly to the marriage bed.

REVIEW: Bella’s story is actually the last in the series, but all three stories in this series may be read out-of-order and stand on their own.

And now here’s what I loved most about this story.

Sebastian. Sebastian. Sebastian…and have I said, Sebastian?!

Holy cow, this was a man to die for. I adored this man. Talk about honorable, patient, loving and saintly. No wonder his brothers nicknamed him Saint!

I loved the complexity of this character. His childhood was not easy and he had to work extra hard to please his parents and prove himself to them and to himself that he’s worthy of their love, but he knew in his heart that no matter how hard he tried, it seemed to him that it was never enough and that was very hard for him to accept.

DAMN but I wanted to give this man a huge hug!

I know this book carries Bella’s name, but boy I thought Sebastian’s story totally took my breath away.

The character of the heroine, Bella, was also complex and couldn’t be compartmentalized. She grew up abandoned and it showed in all she did and wanted to do. It took her awhile to ‘come into her own’ and Sebastian was a perfect man for her.

Again, besides being well written, plotted and fast paced, as were all the stories in this series, I was most impressed with the dialogue between the main protagonists. It had wit, passion and substance that I just loved. Hope you give it a try.

dq cw‘Compromising Willa’ – Book 3

BOOK BLURB: Lady Wilhelmina Stanhope is ruined and everyone knows it. Back in Town for the first season since her downfall, Willa plans to remain firmly on the shelf, assuming only fortune hunters will want her now. Instead she focuses on her unique tea blends, secretly supporting a coffee house which employs poor women and children. If her clandestine involvement in trade is discovered, she’ll be ruined. Again.

No one is more shocked by Willa’s lack of quality suitors than the newly minted Duke of Hartwell. Having just returned from India, the dark duke is instantly attracted to the mysterious wallflower. His pursuit is hampered by the ruthless Earl of Bellingham, who once jilted Willa and is now determined to reclaim her.

Caught between the clash of two powerful men, a furious Willa refuses to concede her independence to save her reputation. But will she compromise her heart?

REVIEW: This is actually the first book in this series, although you need not read them in order whatsoever. All three books are stand alone as well as the part of the series, and with that said, here is the reason I liked this book.

Hart. Hart. Hart.

Here’s a man who is praise worthy and one who is worth rooting for!

He’s not only a duke, but a man with a vision and an eye on the future; handsome, rich and willing to stand up for a woman he believes compromised.

Willa is a strong heroine and someone who has embraced her lot in life as a compromised woman and still refused to be cowed by the society.

I must say that as villains go, we had one sick bastard in this one and I was so happy about the way the author engineered his ‘exit’.

This is another well-written, entertaining and very fun read. I’m coming to enjoy this author’s writing style, but it’s the witty, entertaining and intelligent dialogue I enjoyed the best.

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Giveaway Details:

Grand Prize_edited-1
1 Paperback of Tempting Bella

1 tin of Compromising Willa Custom Tea, and

a $10 Starbucks Gift Card! US Only.

3 eBooks of Compromising Willa/International!

Diana Quincy

AUTHOR BIO: Diana Quincy is an award-winning former television journalist who decided she’d rather make up stories where a happy ending is always guaranteed.

Fans of Madeline Hunter, Lisa Kleypas and Sabrina Jeffries will love Diana’s Regency world of dashing dukes, irresistible rogues and the headstrong, determined women who capture their hearts. New York Times bestselling author Grace Burrowes says SEDUCING CHARLOTTE is “Sweet, steamy, and thoroughly enjoyable…Equal parts action, passion and fun.”

Growing up as a foreign service brat, Diana lived in many countries and is now settled in Virginia with her husband and two sons. When not bent over her laptop or trying to keep up with laundry, she enjoys reading, spending time with her family and dreams of traveling much more than her current schedule (and budget) allows.

Diana loves to hear from readers. You can find her on the following social media:

     

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‘Back To You’ by Jessica Scott …

Pre-Launch Blitz Q&A

BTY JS

1. You first introduced Trent and Laura a few years ago and readers have been eagerly awaiting their story for a few years. Did you always know when you first created them in BECAUSE OF YOU that this was how their story would play out?

I knew they would have a story to tell but telling their story in this particular way, no I didn’t intend it. It took finding my amazing editor along with multiple attempts at trial and error to get them just right. I’m a nervous wreck about their story but I’m also really excited because I’m very happy with how their story turned out. Plus, hamsters. Who can argue with that, right?

2. BACK TO YOU is the incredibly emotional story of a marriage at the breaking point. What or who inspired you to write this story?

I remember standing in the ops one day and one of the guys was on the phone with his wife. He was telling her how much he was sorry, how much he didn’t want to work late. Then one of the other guys remarked that he always says that but he doesn’t ever mean it. So I had this idea of a man who was so driven to get back to war that he let his entire family and personal life suffer but I also wanted a wife who people could relate to, as well. Laura is Trent’s perfect compliment.

3. In your own personal life, you’ve been the soldier that has deployed to a war zone and the spouse that stayed home and has taken care of the family on the home front. Which was more difficult for you in your experience? And why?

That’s a much bigger topic than we have time for but I’ll say this: each one has it’s own unique challenges. Being deployed, not being able to get home when your kids are crying that they want mommy, that’s brutal. It rips your soul out. But then coming home and your reality doesn’t live up to the fantasy? In some ways, I think it’s worse and that doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. As far as being the wife at home? I remember vividly lying awake at night, obsessively checking to make sure my ringer was turned on. I never cared when he called I just wanted to hear his voice. So which one is worse? I can’t really say. But I’m grateful that we’ve made it through each one a little bit stronger, you know?

4. Which is your favorite story to write—a reunion romances like Trent and Laura’s where each scene is alive with their own history or a fresh romance where they meet for the very first time and everything is new? Why?

I love a reunion story. I love the idea being able to forgive and love the person you’re with right then and not the memory of someone. I’m a huge sucker for reunion stories, honestly. I love the reconnection, the noting of how things have changed, of learning to love that person all over again, especially after a betrayal or things didn’t work in the past.

5. Trent is such a compelling character and you do a beautiful job of showing his survivor’s guilt and the resulting anxiety and fear that provokes in him. He’s both so alpha and strong and so very broken. What inspired you to create such a complicated hero? A real life person? A culmination of your own experiences? What you’ve seen yourself in the army? And were you at all concerned about the way readers would respond to him?

Trent is going to be hard for people to read, I suspect. He comes close to crossing some boundaries and I wanted to do that deliberately: I wanted people to understand that coming home from war isn’t cured in a day or a week. It’s a process. Someone like Trent who has bled in combat isn’t going to be okay after a night of magical sex. I know that’s the fantasy but I wanted something more: I wanted the fantasy that the couple will be strong enough to make it. So for me, Trent is deeply, deeply personal because I’ve seen friends struggle with some very tough choices. And the truth is, there is no magical cure but there can still be a happily ever after if you have someone strong enough to stand with you.

6. Laura is such an amazing character because she’s done the best for her family at every turn and supported her husband. But when all communication breaks down with her husband and he just keeps deploying, she serves her husband with divorce papers while he’s serving. It seems like such a taboo to serve papers while your spouse is deployed—is that true? And why did you choose to have Laura, the ultimate good wife, respond this way?

Laura sending Trent divorce papers while deployed I think is the ultimate prohibition. It’s just wrong on so so many levels and yet, I wanted to give readers a sense of what could drive someone to their breaking point. Laura is such a strong woman and yet, she broke. The strongest of us all have our breaking points. I wanted to show people how hard the war has been on everyone: not just the soldiers deploying but on the kids, on the spouses but I also wanted to give people hope, too.

7. Agent Chaos and Fluffy, the family hamsters, almost steal the show with their disappearing acts and they add the perfect amount of cuteness and comic relief. What inspired you to add them into the story?

Ah Fluffy and Agent Chaos. So for readers who don’t know, we have hamsters. It all started when we volunteered to buy the pre-k class pet. I didn’t realize that this would include home visits for the holidays. Fluffy was the first hamster and she promptly escaped within the first 24 hours. After that, we’ve become a multiple hamster household and well, when they escape, it’s madness because we have dogs and cats who, by some miracle, haven’t actually ever managed to capture one of the little buggers.

This story badly needed something to lighten it up. I thought adding in some escaping rodents would be the perfect thing to break up a really tough interaction between Trent and his kids. They provided a bridge for him to cross, a way to reach them while he was still getting used to them.

8. Big wedding or small? Hamsters or dogs? Sweats or lingerie?

Small wedding. Both hamsters and dogs and cats. Sweats all the way.

9. Emma and Ethan, Trent and Laura’s kids, are adorable and watching Trent learn how to be a dad again is an amazing thing. How do you think Trent got so detached from his family?

Coming home to be a parent again is probably the hardest thing soldiers do. The kids have changed, they have their own wants and needs and, well, they’re not your soldiers. They don’t listen like your soldiers have to. The noise and the chaos and the constant needs are really tough to get used to again so I think Trent just ran away because it was too much to deal with.

10. Since this is such an emotionally charged story, was it difficult for you to write? Or did it come easily?

It was very, very difficult to write. I wanted to push boundaries and create at least a glimpse of what it’s like to come home. I wanted to give readers a taste of the emotions that people go through, the fear, the uncertainty but also the love and the hope and the relief that their loved one is home safe.

11. Since you’ve been in Trent’s shoes, what is the hardest thing about readjusting to civilian life after a deployment?

The crowds and the entitlement. To this day, I won’t go into crowded stores or wait in crowds. It’s suffocating. And it’s funny because when I first came home, I was so annoyed at people complaining about lines and traffic and school starting. I was just so grateful to be back. Now, I’m much more sympathetic to everyday gripes and groans. I think it’s just part of how we get through our days.

‘Back To You’

BTY JSBOOK BLURB: He’s in for the fight of his life . . . 

Army captain Trent Davila loved his wife, Laura, and their two beautiful children. But when he almost lost his life in combat, something inside him died. He couldn’t explain the emptiness he felt or bridge the growing distance between him and his family-so he deployed again. And again. And again…until his marriage reached its breaking point. Now, with everything on the line, Trent has one last chance to prove to his wife that he can be the man she needs …if she’ll have him

. . . to win back his only love.

Laura is blindsided when Trent returns home. Time and again, he chose his men over his family, and she’s just beginning to put the pieces of her shattered heart back together. But when Trent faces a court martial on false charges, only Laura can save him. What begins as an act of kindness to protect his career inflames a desire she thought long buried-and a love that won’t be denied. But can she trust that this time he’s back to stay?

EXCERPT: 

“So, to what do I owe the honor of this visit?” she asked, minimizing her e-mail to be able to focus.
“Don’t throw me out of the office,” he said, trying to keep his voice light. “But I need to talk to you about Trent’s case.”

Laura leaned back in her chair, folding her arms over her chest, and started counting to ten.
“I know you’re having a hard time with him.”
Laura sucked on her top lip for a moment before answering. “I wouldn’t necessarily call filing for divorce a hard time.”

“And that’s what I need to talk to you about.”

“Patrick…”

“Just hear me out, okay?”
She ground her teeth but after a moment nodded.

“Listen, there’s no case against Trent. It’s weak at best. With the Article 32 about to start, we have a good chance of getting it stopped here before it goes to court-martial. But I need to plant doubt that the allegations against him are true.” He met her gaze. “I need you to do that.”

Laura chewed on her bottom lip, playing his words over and over in her head, not understanding what he was asking of her. “What do you mean, you need to plant doubt?”

“The primary witness against your husband, PFC Adorno—”

“Oh, we’ve met,” Laura said dryly.

Patrick’s smile was humorless. “Yes, well, that’s part of the prosecution’s problem. She’s alleging that Trent was inappropriate but the problem is that she and Lieutenant Randall were caught in their shenanigans downrange.”

Laura frowned. “So you think this is a ploy to get herself out of trouble?

“Her and her husband. If they were working together to steal the missing weapons systems, then what better way to get out of trouble than to make this stuff up against Trent? Takes the focus off her and her husband completely.” Patrick leaned forward, tapping his index finger on the desk. “If I can cast

Trent as a sympathetic family man who would never do anything like what she’s alleging, this case is all but dismissed. I’m not attacking her. All I have to do is make Trent look better than the story she’s telling and we’ve got a win.”

“And you need me to paint on a happy face and be the loving wife.”

Patrick shook his head. “No, I need you to be one half of a loving couple. And I need you to do it publicly where everyone can see it—in the PX, in the chow hall, everywhere. I need the officers on this board to believe exactly what I’ll be telling them on the day of the hearing.”

She looked down at her empty ring finger, absently rubbing the bare skin beneath the bandage. “Everyone knows that we’re having problems, Patrick.”

“Then make sure everyone knows you’ve fixed it.” He leaned back. “I wouldn’t ask you to do this if I didn’t think it was our best shot at getting this whole thing thrown out.”

She looked up at him. “Why didn’t Trent ask me to do this?”
Patrick swallowed and looked away. “He refused to drag you into this,” he said quietly. “For what it’s worth, I don’t in a million years believe the allegations against Trent. I don’t think he would ever, ever be unfaithful to you.”

Laura pressed her lips together in a flat line. “You’re wrong, Patrick. He’s been cheating on me for years. It was just with the army instead of another woman.”

“Laura—”

“Let me think about it,” she said quickly. “I won’t say no out of hand but I can’t make this decision on a whim.”

Patrick leaned across the desk, gripping her hand. “I know this is hard for you, Laura. I know what I’m asking you to do.”

She said nothing for a long moment and he gave her a sympathetic but firm smile. “Give it some thought, okay?”

When she was alone, she sat there, staring at the picture of her family. Wondering how she was going to bring him back into the kids’ lives and then rip him out again. What he was asking wasn’t fair. He had no idea what this was going to do to her family.

She glanced at the photo on her desk as she typed furiously, trying to get ahead of the flood of e-mails in her inbox.

There was a quiet rap on her office door. “I’m not here,” she said quickly, looking up.
Her fingers froze on the keyboard. Her heart stopped in her chest.

Trent stood in the doorway. He had a duffle bag slung over his shoulder. His glasses hid the darkness of his eyes. There was a streak of dirt on his cheek. An assault pack hung limply from his left hand.

A thousand emotions ripped through her all at once, rioting for supremacy as she drank in the sight of her husband.

Ex-husband, she reminded herself. Or at least he was supposed to be.

She wished that this were a normal homecoming. One where she would rush across the small space and crash into him. His arms would come around her and she would inhale the strong spicy scent of his skin. Feel the heat of his touch. Savor that first, wild kiss.

Instead she had this. This empty chasm between them, echoing with loneliness.
And she had no idea how to cross it.

Buy Links: Amazon / B&N / Bookish / iTunes

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Jessica ScottAbout the author:

USA Today bestselling author Jessica Scott is a career army officer; mother of two daughters, three cats and three dogs; wife to a career NCO and wrangler of all things stuffed and fluffy. She is a terrible cook and even worse housekeeper, but she’s a pretty good shot with her assigned weapon and someone liked some of the stuff she wrote. Somehow, her children are pretty well-adjusted and her husband still loves her, despite burned water and a messy house.She’s written for the New York Times At War Blog, PBS Point of View: Regarding War Blog, and Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America. She deployed to Iraq in 2009 as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom/New Dawn and has served as a company commander at Fort Hood, Texas.

She’s pursuing a PhD in Sociology in her spare time and most recently, she’s been featured as one of Esquire Magazine‘s Americans of the Year for 2012.

Social Media Links: Website / Facebook / Twitter / Goodreads 

Spotlight on Danelle Harmon and…

‘Lord Of The Sea’

LOTS DH

BOOK BLURB: A Sea Devil Who’s Reckless At Heart. . .

Captain Connor Merrick’s thirst for danger has brought him fame and fortune as one of the most brazenly successful privateers of the War of 1812. But deep beneath his swagger, derring-do and charm, the handsome American captain is hiding a devastating secret, and he’ll go to any lengths to protect it . . .

A Beauty Who Gets More Than She Bargained For. . . .

Rhiannon Evans has longed for an adventure—and a mysterious, dangerous man to sweep her off her feet. While enroute to the tropical paradise of Barbados, she never dreams that her heart will be captured by the dashing American privateer who rescues her from bloodthirsty pirates. Only Rhiannon can see beneath Connor’s reckless façade to the man beneath. But when tragedy strikes, can Rhiannon’s love save Connor from himself? Or will the secret he guards so carefully, end up being the undoing of them both?

Buy Links: Amazon /

EXCERPT: 

And then they heard it.

Footsteps, coming toward them.

“Dear God,” Alannah breathed.

Rhiannon rose, her ankle shrieking in agony. There was nothing in the cabin with which to defend themselves, but on the captain’s desk lay a pair of brass nautical dividers, V-shaped and needle-pointed, which were used to chart a course. She grabbed them and turned to face the door as a fist pounded against it once, twice, three times.

She glanced at Alannah, and the other woman ran toward her, trying in vain to find a weapon.

Suddenly, the door crashed open beneath the force of a powerful male shoulder, shoving the heavy sea chest out of the way with it, and both women screamed.

A man stood there. In the gloom, he was lean and lanky and so tall that he filled the doorway. He wore a short blue pea coat with brass buttons, canvas trousers, and a straw hat. In his hand was a pistol, which, upon seeing the two women, he lowered.

“Well, well,” he said, and with an elegant bow, removed the hat, revealing carelessly tousled chestnut hair that was thick and curling and fashionably cut. His was a face of hard planes, translucent green eyes, and a recklessly smiling mouth. Entering the cabin, he calmly plucked the dividers from Rhiannon’s nerveless hand. “I am Captain Merrick of the American privateer schooner Kestrel, and it would appear that we’ve found a most lucrative prize, indeed.”

Chapter 2

Well, well, indeed, Connor thought, tossing the dividers to a nearby table.

Rum. Sugar. Molasses. Spices. Exotic fruits. Even, God forbid, slaves. Those were the sort of things one normally found when they took a ship in these latitudes, but this was an altogether different sort of cargo, indeed.

Women. Two of them. One dark-haired with flashing blue eyes and a vaguely familiar look about her. She was fair enough, though he suspected she’d like to retrieve the dividers and stab them straight into his heart. The other one . . . .

Keep to the business at hand.

Oh, the other one. . . .

That one was, Connor thought as her huge, long-lashed green eyes lifted to his, was surely the most beautiful creature he’d ever seen in his life. She was young and tall and willowy, with fiery red-gold hair set off by clear, flawless skin, a mischievous tilt to her chin, and smiling lips that drew and held his gaze and made him want to trace their bow, their perfect shape, with his finger. His tongue.

Something stirred in his groin.

This could be a problem.

Ignore her.

He turned away just as the dark-haired one found her voice.

“Privateer? You’re nothing but a pirate! This is an English ship, and I demand that you release us immediately!”

The beauty grabbed the dark-haired one’s elbow. “Alannah, he just saved our lives!”

“Only to rob us! Oh, just wait until my brother hears of this!”

“Better to be robbed than dead!”

“He may well kill us yet! Or God forbid, ravish us!”

Connor shot a glance at the sunset-haired beauty. Don’t give me any ideas, he wanted to say, because she had spunk as well as beauty and she was looking at him the way any damsel in distress might just gaze upon her rescuer, looking at him in a way that made him want to pull himself up a little more and puff out his chest and slay a dragon for her. Though, come to think of it, maybe he just had. At any other time, the besotted look in her eyes and that impish smile  would have been all he needed to follow his baser instincts. At any other time, he might take great delight in pursuing that coy, unspoken invitation farther—preferably in a place that involved a mattress, sheets, and an hour or two of free time. But he had business to conduct here, there was a storm bearing down on them, and he couldn’t let himself be distracted.

Papers. He had to get the ship’s papers.

The other one was still harping on him. “Furthermore, I’ll have you know right now Captain Merrick, that I object most highly to the way you forced yourself into this cabin like some barbarian! Just what do you think you’re doing?”

Ignoring her, Connor sent a conspiring grin the way of the young beauty, went to the captain’s desk and yanking open a drawer, began searching for the merchant ship’s papers.

“Did you hear me? What do you think you’re doing?

Ignore her.

Easy enough.

Ignore the other one, too.

Not so easy. . . .

Rhiannon, feeling her heartbeat skipping, somersaulting and tripping over itself as she watched the Yankee privateer rifling through the desk, had seen that covert, amused glance he’d thrown her and couldn’t take her eyes off him. Footsteps echoed outside and now another man entered the cabin, a sword in his hand. Though not as tall or lean as the captain, he too was handsomely made, with thick, tawny hair that was bleached by the sun, steady brown eyes, a quiet demeanor and a look of solidness and strength about him. He glanced, briefly, at her and Alannah, then turned toward the mahogany-haired god who was cheerfully pulling out a sealed oilskin packet from the desk. “Captain, there are five from this tub who reckon they want to sign aboard with us; the rest, including the master, have resisted, and we’ve got three remaining pirates a’begging for mercy.”

“Begging for mercy, are they? Hmph. Given that they showed this crew none, I’m not inclined to oblige them.” The privateer slammed the drawer shut. “Secure the prisoners in the fo’c’sle, with the pirates separate from the crew so they don’t add to the slaughter. How’s that squall tracking?”

It was then that she remembered his introduction.

Merrick  . . . Kestrel . . . Merrick . . . .

“Veering off, sir, heading north by west. I think it’ll miss us.”

“The devil’s own luck, that,” the American said, slitting open the leather pouch with a small knife and beginning to scan its contents.

“What are you going to do with us?”

The American ignored her.

“I demand to know what will become of us!”

“Do be quiet, madam, I’m trying to think,” the captain snapped, handing the papers to the newcomer with a sound of annoyance. “Read this, would you, Nathan? I don’t have time to sit here and make sense of it.”

“Aye.” The one named Nathan said, looking at the papers. “She’s out of Southampton, bound for Barbados, carrying fine English linens, china, beer, various foodstuffs, and muskets.”

“Muskets! How provident.” The captain reclaimed the papers and stuffed them back into the leather pouch. “Muster a prize crew for this tub. We’ll send her into Mobile, as it’s the closest port from which to auction her off. Jenkins, I think, can command her. Ladies, collect your belongings.”

He tossed the pouch to a nearby table, and it suddenly hit Rhiannon just who this handsome god was.

“You’re Captain Merrick!” she exclaimed excitedly. “Of the schooner Kestrel!”

He just looked at her as though she were daft. “Aye, that’s what I just said.”

“From Portsmouth, England?”

“No, ma’m, from Newburyport, Massachusetts.” He began to stalk toward the door.

“But you were in Portsmouth this past spring! I know you were!”

The American turned, and something glinted in his clear, pale green eyes, something that wasn’t quite amusement, something that belied a memory, perhaps, that he had no wish to recall, before one corner of his mouth—his very firm, very sensual mouth, Rhiannon thought—turned up in the faintest of grins.

“And how might you know that, Miss . . . ?”

“Evans. Rhiannon Evans. You don’t know me, but I’m Gwyneth’s sister!”

He lifted a brow. “Gwyneth’s sister.”

“Yes! We rented a house in Portsmouth together, and it was you who was rescuing French and American prisoners from the hulk Surrey, you who risked your life for them time and time again as the elusive Black Wolf, you who saved my brother-in-law, the marquess of Morninghall, from certain death by snatching him right out from under the guns of a firing squad with this very ship! It was you, wasn’t it? Connor Merrick! You’re the Black Wolf!”

Even the other man had paused to stare at Rhiannon. “Well, this certainly complicates matters, Connor,” he said, his brown eyes amused.

“Only if we let it.” And then, frowning: “What the blazes are you doing all the way out here? You’re a long way from England.”

“My friend Alannah here invited me to accompany her to Barbados, and I wanted an adventure, and so I came along. Oh, I can’t wait to write to Gwyneth and tell her all about what you just did for us; you saved our lives, Captain Merrick! Thank you!” It was all Rhiannon could do not to fling her arms around his neck in relief and gratitude. “Oh, thank you!”

The American’s green eyes crinkled with humor.

And Alannah, seeing the unspoken connection between Rhiannon and this man who had so audaciously taken their ship, and was now looking just a little too long, and with a little too much interest—the wrong kind of interest—at the girl she was charged to protect, wasn’t so forgiving. Especially since there was something disturbingly familiar about him.

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Danelle HarmonAUTHOR BIO: Bestselling, multi-award winning and critically acclaimed author Danelle Harmon has written ten books, previously published in print and distributed in many languages throughout the world. Though born and raised in Massachusetts, she and her husband, a native of southwest London, were married and lived in England for several years.

These days, Ms. Harmon and her husband make their home in New England with their daughter Emma and numerous animals including four dogs, an Egyptian Arabian horse, and numerous pet chickens. Danelle welcomes email from her readers and can be reached at her Email or Facebook.

Social Media: Facebook / Tweeter / Website / Blog

Spotlight on Julianne Donaldson and…

‘Edenbrooke’

E JDBOOK BLURB: Marianne Daventry will do anything to escape the boredom of Bath and the amorous attentions of an unwanted suitor. So when an invitation arrives from her twin sister, Cecily, to join her at a sprawling country estate, she jumps at the chance. Thinking she’ll be able to relax and enjoy her beloved English countryside while her sister snags the handsome heir of Edenbrooke, Marianne finds that even the best laid plans can go awry.

From a terrifying run-in with a highwayman to a seemingly harmless flirtation, Marianne finds herself embroiled in an unexpected adventure filled with enough romance and intrigue to keep her mind racing. Will Marianne be able to rein in her traitorous heart, or will a mysterious stranger sweep her off her feet? Fate had something other than a relaxing summer in mind when it sent Marianne to Edenbrooke.

REVIEW: Marianne Daventry is staying with her grandmother in Bath while her father is spending time in France as he grieves the loss of his wife.  She is bored as her grandmother is always trying to match her up with some man.

The candidates so far have appalled and Marianne longs to flee.  Marianne’s twin sister Cecily has been lucky enough to be invited to spend time at the beautiful estate of Edenbrooke, home of her good friend, Louisa Wyndham. Marianne receives a letter from her sister, who is in London taking in the sights with Louisa, to join them at Edenbrooke, she is overjoyed and cannot wait to get there.

Along the way, Marriane’s carriage is beset upon by a highwayman where she loses her treasured locket left to her by her mother and her driver is shot.  However, she and her maid are rescued by a kind man who helps them to find lodging at an inn and to get medical care for her driver.  His kindness to her helps her to relax, laugh and joke with him. 

When she arrives at Edenbrook, she is amazed to find that the kind man is none other than Sir Philip Wyndham, Lord of Edenbrooke.  Marianne is mortified to find that the man with whom she was being so friendly is “the” Sir Philip!  Their friendship deepens and they spend lots of time together getting to know one another.

When Cecily and Louisa return to Edenbrooke, it is quickly noted that Cecily has eyes for Philip and wants Marianne to know this. These two young women treat Marianne abominably and do not include her in their friendship.  In addition, Marianne finds out some rather unsavory things about her sister.  Trying to respect her sister’s desire to stay away from Philip, Marianne strives to distance herself from him while her heart is breaking.

The tenderness of budding love is so very well demonstrated by the author.  Her descriptions and sensitivity to the feelings of the characters is touching.

This is the début novel of Julianne Donaldson and I look forward to reading her next novel, ‘Blackmoore’.

BUY LINKS: Amazon / B&N

‘Blackmoore’

B JDBOOK BLURB: Kate Worthington knows her heart and she knows she will never to marry. Her plan is to travel to India instead—if only to find peace for her restless spirit and to escape the family she abhors. But Kate’s meddlesome mother has other plans. She makes a bargain with Kate: India, yes, but only after Kate has secured—and rejected—three marriage proposals.

Kate journeys to the stately manor of Blackmoore determined to fulfill her end of the bargain sooner rather than later and enlists the help of her dearest childhood friend, Henry Delafield. But when it comes to matters of love, bargains are meaningless and plans are changeable. There on the wild lands of Blackmoore, Kate must face the truth that has kept her heart captive. Will the proposal she is determined to reject actually be the one thing that will set her heart free?

Set in Northern England in 1820, Blackmoore is a regency romance that tells the story of a young woman struggling to learn how to follow her heart.

REVIEW: Kate Worthington grew up next door to Henry Delafield.  She had always been great friends with him and his sister, Sylvia.  Her mother’s goal is to marry her off as soon as she has other daughters to find husbands for.  The prospective husbands her mother selects for her are either boring or repulsive to Kate and thus, she vows never to marry.

Ignoring Kate’s wishes, her cruel mother insists that she will marry.  She received an invitation from her unmarried Aunt Charlotte to go with her on a long voyage to India where they can explore and learn all about the country and enjoy what it has to offer.  She finally bargains with her mother that if she is offered three proposals and she turns them down, then she can go with her aunt.  

In the meantime, Kate receives an invitation from Henry Delafield to visit to Blackmoore for a month.  It is the summer home of her friends, Henry and Sylvia Delafield.  It is in the remote northern coast of England sandwiched between vast moors and the rugged coastline.  When the invitation for her to go is finally issued, Kate is ecstatic to be getting away from her mother and her constant embarrassing and disgusting flirtations with men.  Even her father has little to do with his wife and is repulsed by her behavior.

Upon arrived at Blackmoore, Kate immediately falls in love with the remoteness and rugged beauty of the structure and of the area.  However, Henry’s mother is surprised and unhappy to see that Kate has been invited.  She does not care for Kate’s mother and her shameful actions.  In addition, she is concerned that Kate and Henry are getting too close and she has plans for her son to marry the lovely Juliet St. Claire.  Thus, she ensures that Kate is kept away from the group as much as possible.  

Feeling the hurt of this rejection, she is determined to enjoy this longed-for visit to Blackmoore.  Knowing she must receive and turn down three proposals, she sets out to find a way to do this so she will be free to go to India.  However, the friendship and affection she has always had for Henry begins to blossom into a beautiful love that she finds is reciprocated.  When she finds that Henry’s mother, like her own mother will stop at nothing to decide the outcome of their children’s lives, she realizes she must choose Henry’s happiness or flee.

Once again, Julianne Donaldson has captured the rough gothic beauty of this story along with the gentle and fragile essence of young love.

This is her second novel after ‘Edenbrook’.  I am so glad to have had the pleasure of reading these two books and recommend them highly.  Ms. Donaldson has an amazing talent and I eagerly await her next novel.

BUY LINKS: Amazon / B&N

Connie for b2b  *Books provided by my local library.

Julianne DonaldsonAUTHOR BIO: Julianne Donaldson grew up as the daughter of a U.S. Air Force fighter pilot. She learned how to ski in the Italian Alps, visited East Berlin before the wall came down, and spent three years living next to a 500-year-old castle.

After earning a degree in English, she turned her attention to writing about distant times and places. She lives in Utah with her husband and four children.

You can catch Julianne on: Website / Facebook / Tweeter / Goodreads

Spotlight on Jennifer Delamere and…

A Lady Most Lovely

[Book 2 of Love's Grace Series]

ALML JD

BOOK BLURB: Socialite Margaret Vaughn is the wealthiest heiress in London-or so everybody thinks. Saddled with debt left by her father, she agrees to marry a rich man who can save her family’s estate. But when her fiancé turns out to be just another poor social climber, Margaret faces financial ruin-and social humiliation. Just when she thinks all is lost, she finds an unlikely angel in Tom Poole . . .

After amassing a fortune in the gold fields of Australia and surviving a harrowing shipwreck, Tom Poole is the toast of London society. Yet despite his newfound fame, he’s never forgotten his own humble beginnings. When he learns of Margaret’s plight, he offers her financial assistance-but his interest is not strictly business. Taken with her beauty and grace, the rugged adventurer wants nothing more than to win Margaret’s heart. But can he convince the proper, refined lady that, despite their social differences, they are a match made in heaven?

REVIEW: Margaret Vaughn is a lovely woman known in the social circles of London to be a very wealthy heiress.  Privately, she is not what she seems as she is heavily in debt from her late father’s reckless gambling and spending.  She has accepted a marriage proposal from the dashing and handsome Paul Denault and is hoping that his wealth will help her pay off her debts.  She soon learns that Paul is not the wealthy man he claimed to be but a man looking for someone to marry to pay off his own debts.

Tom Poole is new to London having recently arrived from Australia.  While there, he became very wealthy from his finds in the gold fields.  A self-made man who came from a lower social class, he prides himself on knowing how hard it is to work and make your own money and to remember that others are not as well off as he became.

When Tom meets Margaret at a social event, he is drawn to her beauty and grace.  Tom, unaware of her debts, steps in to woo Margaret after she and Paul call off their engagement.  

Having been burned by Paul’s deception, she is skeptical as she is unsure of whether Tom is truly drawn to her and not to her supposed wealth.

When Margaret meets the members of Tom’s family and sees the loving closeness of them all, she finds a unity she has not known.  However, scandal lurks and threatens Tom’s family.  He will do whatever he can to protect them.

I so enjoyed the family closeness and Christian ways expressed in this story.  This is the second novel of Jennifer Delamere.  Her first was “An Heiress at Heart” which I enjoyed immensely.  I look forward to more great reading from this talented author.

Connie for b2b

*Book provided by the author. 

Out NOW: Amazon / B&N

An Heiress at Heart

[Book 1 of Love's Grace Series]

HAH JD

BOOK BLURB: A youthful indiscretion has cost Lizzie Poole more than just her honor. After five years living in exile, she’s finally returning home, but she’s still living a secret life. Her best friend Ria’s dying wish was for Lizzie to assume her identity, return to London, and make amends that Ria herself would never live to make. Bearing a striking resemblance to her friend, and harboring more secrets than ever before, Lizzie embarks on a journey that tempts her reckless heart once again . . .

A committed clergyman, Geoffrey Somerville’s world is upended when he suddenly inherits the title of Lord Somerville. Now he’s invited to every ball and sought after by the matchmaking mothers of London society. Yet the only woman to capture his heart is the one he cannot have: his brother’s young widow, Ria. Duty demands he deny his feelings, but his heart longs for the mysterious beauty. With both their futures at stake, will Lizzie be able to keep up her façade? Or will she find the strength to share her secret and put her faith in true love?

Out NOW: Amazon / B&N

MINI REVIEW: Lizzie Poole is a young woman born on the other side of the sheets.  She is fascinated by a man named Freddie with whom she runs away to experience a life of fun.

After much abuse from him, she flees and ends up in Australia where she meets a young couple who had fled there to experience another kind of life. Lizzie becomes instant friends with Edward and Ria. Lizzie and Ria look so much alike that they could be twins. Edward is killed during a robbery and Ria also knows she is dying and asks Lizzie to return to England and take over her identity. Lizzie does just that and finds herself constantly challenged to be the woman she truly isn’t.

Slowly, she finds herself falling in love with Geoffrey, the new Lord Somerville. But then, Freddie reappears and knowing her secret identity, tries to expose her. 

This was a well-written novel and the first one by Jennifer Delamere.  I enjoyed reading it and look forward to more from her.

Connie for b2b

*Book provided by my local library.

MY REVIEW: here.

Jennifer DelamereAUTHOR BIO: Jennifer Delamere has traveled widely both as a child and an adult, and remains of the firm opinion that just about anyplace is worth visiting if you’ve never been there before. Jennifer earned her B.A. in English from McGill University in Montreal, Canada, where she also gained her fluency in French and developed an abiding passion for winter sports.

She’s been an editor of educational materials for over a decade. An avid reader of both classic novels and historical fiction, she also enjoys biographies and histories, which she mines for the vivid details to bring to life the characters and places in her books.