Paula Quinn and Sue-Ellen Welfonder together on …

The Great Scotts Blog Tour!

pq tsomab‘THE SEDUCTION OF MISS  AMELIA BELL’

Edmund MacGregor will do anything to save Scotland from English rule-even kidnap Lady Amelia Bell for ransom. As the daughter of a duke and the chancellor’s betrothed, she’s the perfect pawn in this game. But from the moment he first lays eyes on his spirited captive, he can’t resist stealing a kiss.


Lady Amelia’s duty is to marry well, but that hasn’t stopped her from fantasizing about true love. So when a sexy Scot appears in her home, she’s beguiled. When he kidnaps her, she’s furious. Yet as Edmund introduces her to a world of passion beyond her wildest dreams, can she leave her family behind for this handsome Highlander? And will Edmund risk the only true home he’s ever known to capture the heart of this lovely lass?

Buy Links: Amazon / B&N / iTunes

EXCERPT: here.

About Paula Quinn: New York Times bestselling author Paula Quinn lives in New York with her three Paula Quinnbeautiful children, three over-protective chihuahuas, and a loud umbrella cockatoo.

She loves to read romance and science fiction and has been writing since she was eleven.  She loves all things medieval, but it is her love for Scotland that pulls at her heartstrings.

Social Media: Website / Twitter / Facebook

~~~~~~~~~~   ***   ~~~~~~~~~~

sew tlah‘TO LOVE A HIGHLANDER’

As one of the bastards born to the Stirling court, Sorley the Hawk has never known his mother or father. It’s a burning quest he has devoted himself to uncovering at any cost. But as a roguish warrior who serves at the pleasure of the King, his prowess-both on the battlefield and in his bedchamber-is legendary. So when a flame-haired Highland lass sneaks into his quarters with a tantalizing proposition, he can’t resist taking her up on her offer .

Lady Mirabelle MacLaren will do anything to keep from marrying her odious suitor, even sully her own good name. And who better to despoil her than his sworn enemy, the one they call “Hawk?” As they set about the enjoyable task of ruining her reputation, Hawk and Mirabelle soon learn that rebellion never tasted so sweet.

Buy Links: Amazon / B&N / iTunes

About Sue-Ellen Welfonder: Sue-Ellen Welfonder is a Scotophile whose burning wish to make frequent

Sue Ellen Welfounder trips to the land of her dreams led her to a twenty-year career with the airlines.

Now a full-time writer, she’s quick to admit that she much prefers wielding a pen to pushing tea and coffee. She makes annual visits to Scotland, insisting they are a necessity, as each trip gives her inspiration for new books.

Proud of her own Hebridean ancestry, she belongs to two clan societies: the MacFie Clan Society and the Clan MacAlpine Society. In addition to Scotland, her greatest passions are medieval history, the paranormal, and dogs. She never watches television, loves haggis, and writes at a 450-year-old desk that once stood in a Bavarian castle.

Sue-Ellen is married and currently resides with her husband and Jack Russell terrier in Florida. 

Social Media: Website / Twitter / Facebook

Giveaway >>>> RAFFLECOPTER <<<<<

The-Great-Scots-Blog-Tour

‘The Seduction of Miss Amelia Bell’ by Paula Quinn

pq tsomabSTORY: A Highland Rogue

Edmund MacGregor will do anything to save Scotland from English rule-even kidnap Lady Amelia Bell for ransom. As the daughter of a duke and the chancellor’s betrothed, she’s the perfect pawn in this game. But from the moment he first lays eyes on his spirited captive, he can’t resist stealing a kiss . . .

An Adventurous Lady

Lady Amelia’s duty is to marry well, but that hasn’t stopped her from fantasizing about true love. So when a sexy Scot appears in her home, she’s beguiled. When he kidnaps her, she’s furious. Yet as Edmund introduces her to a world of passion beyond her wildest dreams, can she leave her family behind for this handsome Highlander? And will Edmund risk the only true home he’s ever known to capture the heart of this lovely lass?

REVIEW: Another great romance from Paula Quinn and a great start to the new series, The MacGregors: Highland Heirs.

Highland and highlanders are one of my great weaknesses, and I’m ready for MacGregors. Bring them on Paula!

We start with Edmund MacGregor, a man of principle and strong beliefs in the cause for his beloved Scotland. He will risk his own life before he gives up on them, and to keep his country out of English hands, he comes up with a plan to thwart the men who would be signing a treaty that would see Scotland come under English rule.

Amelia is the niece of the Duke of Queensberry, and the one that our hero plans to abduct for ransom, but what he doesn’t count on is how beautiful, sweet and innocent she is. It was not in his plans for him to fall to her many charms and now he needs to figure out a way to honor his principles and keep Amelia.

Our heroine has the same problem. She is betrothed to the Lord Chancellor of Scotland but soon after she meets our hero, she realizes that she loves him, and she must decide which to honor, her father’s wishes or her love for Edmund.

There is a lot of action and intrigue, passion and intensity in this story that it made for a very enjoyable and fun read. The heroine was cute, charming and innocent while the hero was strong, conflicted and protective.

As usual Ms. Quinn gives us an interesting and fast-moving plot intermingled with historical events, believable three-dimensional characters and villains we can’t wait to get their well deserved demise. I swear the end of this story came way too soon for me. I wanted this story to just keep going and going. It made me laugh and chuckle so much I never realized I hit the end! Highly recommending it to all, but especially to those that love a man in a kilt.

Melanie for b2b.

Complimentary copy provided by the publisher.

‘To Love a Highlander’ by Sue-Ellen Welfonder

sew tlhaSTORY: A Tempting Proposition


As one of the bastards born to the Stirling court, Sorley the Hawk has never known his mother or father. It’s a burning quest he has devoted himself to uncovering at any cost. But as a roguish warrior who serves at the pleasure of the King, his prowess-both on the battlefield and in his bedchamber-is legendary. So when a flame-haired Highland lass sneaks into his quarters with a tantalizing proposition, he can’t resist taking her up on her offer . . .

An Unquenchable Desire

Lady Mirabelle MacLaren will do anything to keep from marrying her odious suitor, even sully her own good name. And who better to despoil her than his sworn enemy, the one they call “Hawk?” As they set about the enjoyable task of ruining her reputation, Hawk and Mirabelle soon learn that rebellion never tasted so sweet.

REVIEW: Duncreag Castle

Long ago, Archibald MacNab was driven from court never to return. He sired four base born sons with four of the King’s mistresses. He knows they are somewhere in Scotland but was never allowed to see them or know them. Someone is determined to bring them into his life.

Sterling Castle – Summer – 1386

Sorley, the Hawk, is 14. He’s in the Great Hall and has just been turned down for a dance with a knight’s daughter because she deemed him unworthy being base-born as he is. Mirabelle MacLaren sees this and walks up to him asking him for a dance. He is thinking she is the most beautiful girl he’s ever seen and soon finds Mirabelle shunning him when a woman and one of her father’s guards approach telling her to end the dance and leave. She fears the guard will hurt Sorley if she doesn’t shun him so she leaves. He swears that day never to trust Mirabelle’s schemes again. She knows this day that she will never forget him. So starts their story.

He feels the Highlands calling him. He’s always felt his father was a Highland Chieftain that didn’t want a bastard son. His mother died when he was young and no one ever spoke who his father was. He knows in his heart that he will one day head for the hills and find his place in this world.

Sterling Castle – Summer 1399

Sorley is now 27. He awakes to find Mirabelle in his chamber. She’s there to proposition him. She wants him to ruin her so she doesn’t have to marry an older man who is determined to take her to wife. He refuses and even feels offended when she offers to pay him. He learns the man that wants Mirabelle is John Sinclair, one of Sorley’s greatest enemies, and he finally agrees to compromise her in front of everyone in the hall one night knowing that once John thinks she’s been ruined that he will leave off with wanting her.

I really enjoyed reading as I watched these two accept the fact that they have loved each other for years. There were obstacles along the way, some dangerous, that they both grabbed by the horns and overcame. Sorley had my heart melting when it came to a kitten named Little Heart. Only a real man would do what he did and I was falling in love with him myself along the way, always with this huge grin on my face.

There is Rosalind, the Pink Lady, who is a ghost and her story itself broke my heart. Alexander Stewart, the Wolf of Badenoch and his mistress, Lady Mariota de Athyn, walked their way right into my reader heart as well. What a couple, these two, not to be messed with and God forbid you made an enemy of them for you will surely wish you never had. The Fenris Guards and the story behind them… Roag, Caelen, and Andrew, men that Sorley grew up with who have stories of their own I’d love to hear. William the inn owner. Maili, one of Sorley’s closest friends. All these people warmed my heart along the way and gave greatly to the story.

Grim MacIntosh…. my heart just bursts with love for this man. He comes down from Duncreag Castle on a mission and as soon as he walks into the inn looking for Sorley, he has the women falling all over themselves. There also comes a time where he is needed with his battle ax and just the sight of him in my mind as I read the instance had me sitting here in awe of the man. My favorite two lines in the book were about Grim. The first is when Sorley is talking to one of his best friends, Maili, and she’s telling him that Grim had asked about him. She was describing him as this fierce looking warrior and this is Sorley’s thought to that…..

“He also bit his tongue rather than tell Maili he didn’t care if the man had the Norse God’s lightning bolts shooting out his arse”.

Sue-Ellen never fails to have me howling in laughter with some of the responses and lines her characters have or say. They are unique and hilarious! The next line helps describe how Maili was going on and on about Grim….

“Have done, lass!” Sorley scowled at her. “There’s more to a man than his burr.”
Maili sighed dreamily. “Say you.”
“I do. I’ll also say I’m surprised you aren’t in a hurry to race back to the Red Lion. If this Grim is such a paragon” —- Sorley didn’t hide his annoyance —- “I’d think you’d be eager to return to his bed. Sakes, you look close to needing to fan your face each time you speak of him.”

Now if you’ve read anything about Grim, we all know how deeply he loves his lady wife, Breena, and that he would never be anything but true to her. I’m here to tell you that I, myself, have to fan myself when Grim comes on the scene. Needless to say, he stands with Sorley to right wrongs. Sorley finds himself with several wrongs righted in this story and each and every one lead him to realize all these years he has been a worthy man. Mirabelle has spunk and knows how to use it. I say that smiling. I love her strength and the way that her and Sorley compliment the other with their strengths.

Again, I was taken in with Scotland and it’s beauty, for I can see it in my mind as I read Sue-Ellen’s words. The people, the land, castles, and inn….the food, the clothing, the battles, all of it imprinted clearly within. One of my greatest loves about her writing is the way she describes things so clearly and it comes from her love of the place, the times, and the people. This is one book that you won’t want to put down until you’ve finished. I am so excited to continue this series following these Scandalous Scots!

Leah for b2b.

Complimentary copy provided by the author.

‘Dark Surrender’ by Erica Ridley

er dsSTORY: Trapped In Darkness . . .

Violet Whitechapel committed an unspeakable crime to save a child. To escape the hangman’s noose, she takes refuge in a crumbling abbey with secrets darker than her own. When its master offers her a temporary post, Violet cannot say no. Just as she begins to see him in a new light, her past catches up to her and endangers them all.

Their Passion Burns Bright . . .

Alistair Waldegrave keeps his daughter imprisoned in the black heart of his Gothic abbey. As he searches for a cure to the disease the villagers call demonic, his new governess brings much needed light into their lives. But how can the passion between them survive the darkness encroaching from outside their sheltered walls?

Click the cover for a FREE Amazon copy!

REVIEW: Don’t shoot me but I never heard of this author, and honestly I don’t recall how I got to have this book. If you’re a blogger like me, you know exactly what I mean. I have two email accounts that are flooded by requests for reviews and sometimes it all is a huge blur…but I’m digressing…

I really don’t care how or who introduced me to this author, because I’m just glad that they did.

Erica Ridley wrote one of the best ‘Jane Eyre’ type stories around. The best part of books like this is the plot, then the characters and in this case both were so well written and carefully developed that the author had me on the edge of my seat from the get-go.

Violet was an exceptionally bright, dedicated and astute child that grows into a woman who will fight for what she believes is right and never gives up on her principles. She fights for her survival and you couldn’t help but like her and root for her.

Alastair is a man with many secrets and a father who adores his daughter Lily. There is nothing he wouldn’t do for his child and when a woman with Violet’s credentials shows up unexpectedly on his doorstep, he’s ready to take her in as his daughter’s governess and a tutor.

This is a well told tale with gothic overtones, very suspenseful and romantic, all at the same time. I loved it so much I’m now stocking up on this author’s backlist.

Oh, and it’s FREE right now, so you really have nothing to lose by getting it!

Melanie for b2b

Complimentary copy by the publisher

Book Blast: ‘The Scandalous Love Of A Duke’ By Jane Lark

TheScandalousLoveofaDuke_Banner

BOOK BLURB: Isolated by life and choice, John Harding, the Duke of Pembroke, sees an angel in a pale mauve dress across a room and is drawn closer as lust grips firm and hard in his stomach. The wheat-blonde hair escaping her dull dove-grey bonnet and caressing her neck lures his eyes to a spot he’d like to kiss.

She speaks with animation her hands moving. Then as if she senses his gaze the stranger turns and looks at him. A rush of pain and longing spilled from Katherine’s heart into her limbs. It was so long since she’d seen John but her reaction was the same as it had been more than half-a-dozen years before. She loved him, secretly, without hope, but a chasm of years and status stood between them.

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BUY LINKS:  Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA

EXCERPT: 

A glass of red wine balanced in one hand, the stem dangling between his fingers, he joined another group of guests, fulfilling his duty. He trusted no one here.

God, this was his life now, duty and falsehood. He missed Egypt, he missed adventure and peace and simplicity. He was already bored with people’s endless supplication. Everyone seemed to want something from him. They sought to attach themselves to either his wealth or his power.

His grandfather had warned of this.

John had had enough. He was seeking his family to escape it for a little while, and looking for Mary particularly. He knew his vibrant sister would bring him back from the cold darkness crowding in on him.

He’d passed his mother and Edward in the hall, they’d been speaking with Richard and Penny, they’d directed him in here.

His gaze swept about the room then stopped.

There was a young woman standing amidst his family, like a blonde beacon of light amongst his dark-haired black-clad cousins. She was an angel in a pale mauve dress.

Lust gripped had and firm in his stomach, an intense physical attraction. He’d never experienced anything so instant before. But it was a long time since he’d bedded a woman – far too long.

Her figure was a sublime balance of curves and narrow waist. Her spine had a beautiful arch as it curved into the point where her dress opened onto a full skirt.

Wheat-blonde hair escaped a dull dove-grey bonnet, caressing her neck and drawing his eyes to a place he’d like to kiss.

She was speaking with animation her hands moving.

He moved closer and as if she sensed his gaze the stranger turned and looked at him. In answer a lightning need struck his groin, a sharp sudden pain. She was an English Rose among orchids, the sort of woman he had seen nothing of abroad. Her skin was pale, with roses blooming in her cheeks, and her eyes were a vivid beautiful blue, like the bluebells which bloomed in spring, in the woods at Pembroke Place.

She was what he had longed for abroad and not even known he’d been lacking.

His attention wholly captured, desire slipped into his blood as his groin grew heavy with hunger.

This was what came from abstinence he supposed. He’d never had a fancy for fair, fay women before. He did now.

She did not look the sort for a fling though, certainly not the she-wolf type who stalked the foreign fields. His mind began rattling through his guest list, but no name fit her, and her dull grey bonnet and shawl did not speak of affluence. Who was she?

He smiled as he grew nearer, then realised he was staring and shifted his gaze to the others in the group. It was then he noticed Phillip as they turned to towards him. “My God.”

“Your Grace.”

“Phillip.” Lord, John hoped Phillip had not come here with a motive. John did not wish to hear oily grovelling from an old friend. His heart thumped in cold anger, not gladness. Then he looked at the blonde and his breath caught as recognition whispered in his head. Kate.

Giveaway:

Link to Rafflecopter Giveaway

JaneAUTHOR BIO: Jane is a writer of authentic, passionate and emotional Historical and New Adult Romance, and a Kindle top 25 bestselling author.

She began her first historical novel at sixteen, but a life full of adversity derailed her as she lives with the restrictions of Ankylosing Spondylitis.

When she finally completed a novel it was because she was determined not to reach forty still saying, I want to write.

Now Jane is writing a Regency series and contemporary, new adult, stories and she is thrilled to be giving her characters life in others’ imaginations at last.

You might think that Jane was inspired to write by Jane Austen, especially as she lives near Bath in the United Kingdom, but you would be wrong. Jane’s favourite author is Anya Seton, and the book which drew her into the bliss of falling into historical imagination was ‘Katherine’ a story crafted from reality.

Jane has drawn on this inspiration to discover other real-life love stories, reading memoirs and letters to capture elements of the past, and she uses them to create more realistic plots.

‘Basically I love history and I am sucker for a love story. I love the feeling of falling in love; it’s wonderful being able to do it time and time again in fiction.’

Jane is also a Chartered Member of the Institute of Personnel and Development in the United Kingdom, and uses this specialist understanding of people to bring her characters to life.

Social Media:  Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Website | Goodreads

Title: The Scandalous Love of a Duke (Marlow Intrigues #3)

Author: Jane Lark

Genre: Regency Romance (Historical)

Publish Date: April 3, 2014

Publisher: HarperImpulse

Event Organized By:  Literati Author Services, Inc.

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

‘The Scandalous Love of a Duke’ by Jane Lark

jl tsloadSTORY: Isolated by life and choice, John Harding, the Duke of Pembroke, sees an angel in a pale mauve dress across a room and is drawn closer as lust grips firm and hard in his stomach. The wheat-blonde hair escaping her dull dove-grey bonnet and caressing her neck lures his eyes to a spot he’d like to kiss.

She speaks with animation her hands moving. Then as if she senses his gaze the stranger turns and looks at him. A rush of pain and longing spilled from Katherine’s heart into her limbs. It was so long since she’d seen John but her reaction was the same as it had been more than half-a-dozen years before. She loved him, secretly, without hope, but a chasm of years and status stood between them.

REVIEW: I love it when authors feature children from previous stories as grown up heroes or heroines, and in this novel we meet up with John Harding, the Duke of Pembroke who was but a child in books one and two of The Marlow Intrigues series, but now he’s all grown up and we see him as a complex, moody and very private man.

John’s childhood wasn’t easy as he was brought up by his very strict grandfather and times when he should have spent with his mother and stepfather, as well as his many siblings from his mother’s second marriage, [Ellen and Edward from ‘The Illicit Love of a Courtesan’] were mostly taken by his friends from the surrounding area and school chums.

For the first ten years of John’s life, his parents were absent and he really never knew nor pursued the reasons behind it. All he knew was that his mother finally came to get him to live with her and her new husband who John came to love and call ‘Papa’.

 “Am I to call you Papa now?” John asked, gripping Edward’s other hand, as they turned to leave the church by the small exit from the vestry.

“You may call me what you wish, John. If you like it can be, Papa, or if not then it shall be, Edward.”

The boy smiled up at him. “I would like to have a Papa, I cannot remember mine.” Ellen’s teeth caught her lower lip.

“Then you have a Papa now, John.” Edward’s hand slipped from John’s and instead rested on John’s shoulder and pulled John to his side. They were a family in every appearance, Ellen thought, as they followed the path from the church back to the house, the servants behind them.

John’s relationship with his mother and stepfather started off great, but the influence the old Duke had on a boy, even though he spent less time with him, was great. As he grew into the title, he became more and more distanced from every member of his family, and his friends. He became suspicious of them and questioned their motives for their friendship. He became arrogant, calculated and callous.

Katherine’s life wasn’t easy and we slowly become aware of the reasons behind it. While she accepts her faith, and the circumstances of her birth, we can’t help but compare her to Cinderella. She is kind, loving and forgiving. She has known and loved John since she was a child, knowing that nothing could ever come of it. He was a close friend of her brothers and even though she grew up among the children in his household, she was way beneath his station and not just because her father was a mere squire.

This was one of those stories that will suck you in and keep you under until the end. At first, I honestly couldn’t see these two people making a go of it. There was so much baggage they both carried that I thought it would take a bulldozer to clear it all out.

I should have known better than to doubt Ms. Lark’s ability to find one of those and plow through all the mess these two lived through.

If you’re looking for a fast-paced, highly emotional, sensual and complex romantic story, ‘The Scandalous Love of a Duke’ is the one not to be missed.

I loved this book!

Melanie for b2b

Complimentary copy provided by the author

Anne Gracie stops by b2b!

 

april-fools-day[1]

Happy April 1st to you all — Happy Birthday to Melanie, and happy launch day for my book ‘The Winter Bride’. I won’t hog all the celebrations, but I’ll try to entice you with a few snippets from ‘The Winter Bride’.

ag twb

Buy Links: Amazon / B&NIndieBound  / The Book DepositoryUK

The story:  To get his parents and marriage-minded muffins off his back, charming bad-boy rake Freddy Monkton-Coombes pays marriage-shy Damaris Chance to enter into a false engagement. It’s all for show; falling in love was never in the plan . . .

The Cast:

1) The hero and heroine:

          Freddy: He wasn’t contemplating marriage, dammit! Not with anything other than horror.

Damaris: “I have an abhorrence of marriage.” There was a short, shocked silence.

2) Damaris’s ‘aunt’ on Freddy:

Lady Beatrice poked him with her elegant ebony stick. “Been out on the tiles again, young tomcat?”

Freddy gave her a cool, dignified look.

Lady Beatrice grinned. “Thought so. You have that look about you.”

3) Damaris’s employer on Freddy:

          “A tomcat in gentleman’s clothing, that’s what ’e is—a rake through and through. . . Bless you, my dove, you’re too young to recognize a Wicked Seducer when you see one, and I grant you that one is an ’andsome devil, and charmin’ as an oiled snake, I have no doubt!”

She fixed Damaris with a gimlet eye. “But it don’t do for a girl like you to catch the eye of a gentleman, take it from me. He’ll soften you up with sweet words and little gifts and . . . and poetry, and you’ll think ’e’s ever such a nice fellow, then in the twinklin’ of an eye, he’ll ’ave your skirts over your ’ead, and there you’ll be, rooned forever!”

“But Mrs. Jenkins—”

“Rooned forever!” Mrs. Jenkins repeated firmly.

4) Freddy’s mother on Damaris:

          Lady Breckenridge’s pale blue eyes glittered. “Instead, here you are, a girl I’ve never met before, some connection of Lady Beatrice’s but otherwise entirely unknown to English society. And half Italian.” As if Damaris were some mongrel puppy.

5) Freddy’s father on Damaris’s suitability:

          His father hunched over his wine, and after a moment muttered, “Almeria Armthwaite is English and a bruisin’ rider to hounds. You could have had her.”

Freddy smiled. “Anyone can, I believe, as long as they enjoy the whip.”

Anne Gracie again:

I loved writing this book. Freddy is funny and charming, a lighthearted bad-boy rake. He calls Pride and Prejudice a horror story — it’s all about girls finding husbands, you see — and he’s pursued by “muffins” — ie. marriage-minded women. But he slowly reveals himself to be “an utterly to-die-for hero” (so said Mary Jo Putney.) Damaris is serious and quiet, and the secrets of her past make her vulnerable, but underneath her cool exterior she’s really something special — watch her stand up to Freddy’s b*tch of a mother, and I think you’ll love her as much as I do.

poodleCakesHappy Birthday, Melanie and thanks for letting me share it with you.

Dear Bookworms, I’ll give a copy of ‘The Winter Bride’ to someone who leaves a comment: since today is Mel’s birthday, what do you think we should serve at her party? I’m sending these little cup-cakes.

Melanie here:

Anne, I’m so happy you’re here with us today! Thanks for stopping by and helping me celebrate my 57th Birthday. I tell you, it is true, the saying ‘Time flies when you’re having fun.’  I look back on my life and wonder at all the Blessings, and thank the good Lord for each of them.

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Now, let’s party! Here’s the place we’re all at, but we need some drinks, food and how about some of my favorite ‘book boyfriends’ coming over and lending a hand in the festivities? Too bad James Alexander Malcolm Mackenzie can’t travel through stones…but maybe you could send me one of your ‘book boyfriends’? Who will it be?!

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Commenter that sends me the one I choose will get a print or eCopy of one of my all time favorite stories from Anne Gracie, and it’s ‘The Virtuous Widow’ in an anthology titled ‘Gifts of the Season’ with Miranda Jarrett and Lyn Stone.

agAUTHOR INFO: For Anne’s Bio, click on her pick. You’ll love it!

Places to find Anne Gracie:

Website / Blog / Facebook / Tweeter

 

‘The Winter Bride’ by Anne Gracie

ag twbSTORY: Damaris Chance’s unhappy past has turned her off the idea of marriage forever. But her guardian, Lady Beatrice Davenham, convinces her to make her coming out anyway—and have a season of carefree, uncomplicated fun.

When Damaris finds herself trapped in a compromising situation with the handsome rake Freddy Monkton-Coombes, she has no choice but to agree to wed him—as long as it’s in name only. Her new husband seems to accept her terms, but Freddy has a plan of his own: to seduce his reluctant winter bride.

Will Damaris’s secrets destroy her chance at true happiness? Or can Freddy help her cast off the shackles of the past, and yield to delicious temptation?

REVIEW: Damaris Chance is living with her newly wed sister and brother-in-law, along with her younger sisters and her Aunt Beatrice. When the newly weds decide to go on their honeymoon, her brother-in-law calls upon his good friend, Freddie Monkton-Coombes to keep an eye on his sisters-in-law while they are gone.  Only a few people know about the past of the Chance “sisters” in that only two of them are actually sisters and the other two have grouped with the others to call themselves sisters.  Their pasts are not something they want people to know about.  In addition, Aunt Beatrice has simply “adopted” the girls as her nieces as they took such good care of her in the past.

Taking his responsibility seriously, Freddie drops in often and attempts to keep an eye on the girls when they are out in society. But Damaris has a secret talent and a job that helps her to save money to allow her to live independently without having to marry which she fiercely does not want to do.  All she wants is a peaceful little cottage to live out her life in.

Freddie has his own family problems.  He only sees his parents once a year for the annual ceremony marking his older brother’s death for which his parents blame Freddie.  While he is innocent, the many years he has suffered from his parents’ coldness has hardened his heart for wanting anything to do with them.  But this year, his mother has written to tell him that she is hosting a house party with a selection of eligible young women from which he is to choose a wife.  His mother has decreed that it is time he marries and settles down.

Freddie and Damaris make a plan for a marriage in name only.  Damaris will go with Freddie to his parents for the annual ceremony and, in turn, he will buy Damaris her dream cottage.  However, they haven’t counted on the fact that they might just fall in love with one another.

This was a delightful novel that I thoroughly loved!  Don’t miss this continuation story of the “sisters” and the difficult pasts that they have managed to overcome.

Connie for b2b

Complimentary copy provided by the author.

Rupert Perry Jones

MEL’S THOUGHTS: This is the 2nd book in Ms. Gracie’s Chance Sisters series [for the 1st book, 'The Autumn Bride', see my review here] and it’s time for our Damaris to find her happily ever after. It’s also Freddy’s turn to succumb to the parson’s noose.

Here is Freddy talking to Max [the hero from The Autumn Bride] in which Freddy tells him he’s not fond of Aunt Bea’s Literary gatherings …

“Horror from the very first line: It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife. Must he, indeed? What about the poor fellow’s wants, eh? Do they matter? No. Every female in the blasted story was plotting to hook some man for herself or her daughter or niece. If you don’t call that horror, I don’t know what is!”

 Max chuckled.

 “You can laugh, bound as you are for parson’s noose in the morning,” Freddy said bitterly, “but every single man in that story ended up married by the end of the book! Every last one.” He numbered them off on his fingers. “The main fellow, his best friend, the parson, even the soldier fellow ended up married to the silly light-skirt sister—not one single man in that story escaped unwed.” He shuddered again. “Enough to give a man nightmares. So, no literary society for me, thank you.”

Maggie Smith as Aunt Bea from The Winter Bride by Anne GracieDamn but I loved this story! I laughed so much my eyes were full of happy tears. Let me tell you, I’ll never eat another muffin without seeing Freddy’s face and expression as he talks about the ‘muffins’ of another kind.

“Freddy stared gloomily at the plate before him. Lady Bea was convinced that muffins were the Monkton-Coombes food of choice. Max’s fault, blast him. He’d told his aunt that Freddy was obsessed with muffins, and of course the old girl didn’t realize he meant females of the reforming, marrying, pestilential sort. So she had him served with these blasted bun things each time he called. And expected him to eat them. With enthusiasm.”

And then we have secondary characters that are as vivid in my mind as the first, like Mrs. Jenkins, Damaris’ secret employer, who’s always telling her that Freddy will only take her on ‘the road to roon’

I liked its fast pace, the sweet romance, every character was vivid in my imagination and I‘ll tell you if this was a movie, there’s only one couple that can play Freddy and Damaris and they are Rupert Penry-Jones and  Sally Hawkins from my favorite Jane Austen’s adaptation of ‘Persuasion’.

Dame Maggie Smith was my perfect vision of Aunt Beatrice as she banded words and wit with everyone around her.

Please make sure you read this book. I promise you’ll love it so much.

Melanie for b2b.

Complimentary copy provided by the publisher.

Spotlight on ‘Serpents in the Garden’ by Anna Belfrage

ab sitgBOOK BLURB: After years of hard work, Matthew and Alex Graham have created a thriving home in the Colony of Maryland. About time, in Alex’s opinion, after far too many adventures she is really looking forward to some well-deserved peace and quiet.

A futile hope, as it turns out. Things start to heat up when Jacob, the third Graham son, absconds from his apprenticeship to see the world – especially as Jacob leaves behind a girl whom he has wed in a most irregular fashion.

Then there’s the infected matter of the fellow time traveller Alex feels obliged to help – no matter the risk. Worst of all, one day Philip Burley and his brothers resurface after years of absence. As determined as ever to make Matthew pay for every perceived wrong – starting with the death of their youngest brother – the Burleys play out a complicated cat and mouse game, and Alex is thrown back into an existence where her heart is constantly in her mouth, convinced as she is that one day the Burleys will achieve their purpose.

Will the Burleys succeed? And if they do, will the Graham family survive the exacted price?

Serpents in the Garden is the fifth book in Anna Belfrage’s time slip series featuring time traveller Alexandra Lind and her seventeenth century husband, Matthew Graham.

Publication Date: March 1, 2014
SilverWood Books
Formats: Ebook, Paperback

Buy Links: Amazon CA / Amazon US / B&N / Book Depository / Chapters / Fishpond / Kobo

EXCERPT PDF Download:

Serpents in the Garden chapters 1-3.pdf
(224.9KB)

Graham Saga Titles

Book 1: A Rip in the Veil
Book 2: Like Chaff in the Wind
Book 3: The Prodigal Son
Book 4: A Newfound Land
Book 5: Serpents in the Garden
Book 6: Revenge & Retribution (coming August 2014)
Book 7: Whither Thou Goest

Serpents in the Garden_Tour Banner_FINAL

Tour Schedule: HERE.

Tour Hashtag: #SerpentsintheGardenTour

*GIVEAWAY: 1 Commenter/1 eBook or Paperback copy

*International 

Anna BelfrageAbout the Author: I was raised abroad, on a pungent mix of Latin American culture, English history and Swedish traditions. As a result I’m multilingual and most of my reading is historical – both non-fiction and fiction.

I was always going to be a writer – or a historian, preferably both. Instead I ended up with a degree in Business and Finance, with very little time to spare for my most favourite pursuit. Still, one does as one must, and in between juggling a challenging career I raised my four children on a potent combination of invented stories, historical debates and masses of good food and homemade cakes. They seem to thrive … Nowadays I spend most of my spare time at my writing desk. The children are half grown, the house is at times eerily silent and I slip away into my imaginary world, with my imaginary characters. Every now and then the one and only man in my life pops his head in to ensure I’m still there. I like that – just as I like how he makes me laugh so often I’ll probably live to well over a hundred.

I was always going to be a writer. Now I am – I have achieved my dream.

Anna Belfrage on Social Media: Website / Facebook  / Twitter.