‘The Rogue’s Proposal’ by Jennifer Haymore

TRP JHSTORY: Lord Lukas Hawkins, the rakish second son of the House of Trent, has never found a wager he couldn’t win or a woman he couldn’t seduce—until his search for his missing mother leads him to a mysterious encounter with a beautiful stranger.

Luke’s mother has been missing for months, and while his honorable older brother Simon, Duke of Trent, leads the official investigation from London, Luke sets out on a somewhat seedier path. Sources have told him his mother was last seen with a scoundrel named Roger Morton, but their association isn’t clear. Was she kidnapped or did she go willingly?

While searching for Morton, Luke meets Emma Anderson, a secretive beauty with her own reasons for hunting Morton. At first Luke laughs at the idea of allowing a woman to join him in his search, but soon Emma’s insights into Morton—like the woman herself—prove impossible to resist.

REVIEW: Do you like a HOT story?  Well, you have come to the right place.  The Rogue’s Proposal is steamy all the way through.

Lukas Hawkins is a man on a mission.  He’s trying to find his mother who has been missing for some months now.  While she has a tendency to go off with her lovers, this time it is feared that she has been kidnapped by a villain known as Roger Morton.  

As the second son of the House of Trent, Lucas has decided to look for his mother by infiltrating the lower classes to seek whatever information he can find about his mother.  While sitting in a bar one night, Emma Curtis approaches him and asks for his help in finding murderer of her husband, Henry Curtis.  Together, they take off on a journey filled with intrigue, mystery and lots of passion.

Ms. Haymore has written this novel to depict the strength of Emma and the devils that plague Lukas.  Putting the pieces together to follow this story to the end was like an intriguing jigsaw puzzle that has those tricky pieces that make you determined to find where they go.  To add anymore here would be to give away too much as this book has just been published on November 19, 2013!

I recommend it highly as I know the reader won’t be able to put it down.

Connie for b2b

*Book provided by the author.

‘The Duchess Hunt’ by Jennifer Haymore

TDH JH1STORY: Simon Hawkins, duke of Trent, is no stranger to scandal. Rumors and innuendo have darkened the House of Trent for decades, and it has fallen to Simon to restore his tattered family name. He lives by a strict code of honor, but when he is called home to investigate his mother’s disappearance, the distinguished duke will tangle with temptation. For there waits the only woman he has ever loved-and the last woman he should desire . . .

Sarah Osborne has spent her life dreaming of Simon’s touch. But dukes do not long for lady’s maids-or so Sarah believes, until a stolen kiss sparks a passion that could be her ultimate undoing. As the couple begins a forbidden romance, a cunning enemy plots to destroy the duke and everything he loves. Now, caught in a blackmailer’s web, Simon faces an agonizing choice: sacrifice his family’s future or break Sarah’s heart.

REVIEW: This is the first of Ms. Haymore’s House of Trent novels.

Sarah Osborne lives in a small cottage with her father, the gardener for Ironwood Park, which is the large and sprawling home of the Duke of Trent. As a child, Sarah was allowed to play on the grounds of the estate but was cautioned by her father to stay away from the House of Trent. 

One day, Sarah falls into a blackberry bush and is rescued by none other than young Simon Hawkins, the Duke of Trent.  He takes her into the house for his mother to minister to her wounds.  She is welcomed by all members of the Trent family. Later, she finds a position as housemaid with them and after as companion to their daughter, Esme. 

After many years of absence, Simon returns to Trent House to fulfill his obligation to marry and settle down.  Simon’s past kindness to Sarah has resulted in a friendship and attraction to one another.  However, as Sarah is not a titled woman, they cannot marry.  Thus, Simon must look for another bride while Sarah’s heart is breaking.

In to it all, enters a devious blackmailer who threatens to destroy their lives unless Simon agrees to his demands.  Torn by wanting to follow his heart and be with Sarah or marry someone else to ensure his family’s security, Simon is an unhappy man.

The novel weaves together the lives of all the members of the Trent family, in addition to scandals involved with each of them.  This was very well written combining their individual stories all together.  I liked the characters of Simon and Sarah as they are intelligent, kind and real. The second novel, ‘The Rogue’s Proposal’ is due to be published November 26, 2013.

Connie for b2b

‘Pleasures of a Tempted Lady’ by Jennifer Haymore

POATL JHSTORY: Captain William Langley knows the ocean well, but nothing could prepare him for what he discovers adrift on the cold Irish Sea. The tiny boat carries two passengers: a child—and Meg Donovan, Will’s long-lost love. Meg’s disappearance at sea eight years ago was a devastating blow. Now she’s back, as beautiful as ever, and with secrets as deep as Will’s own.

After years held captive by a cold-blooded pirate, Meg has finally escaped with little Jake, the boy she’s come to love as if he were her own. But the pirate wants his revenge—and Meg must do whatever it takes to shield Jake from the madman. Determined not to lose Meg again, Will vows to protect them both, yet Meg can’t risk putting the only man she’s ever loved in danger. With the threat to her safety growing, and her passion for Will burning brighter every day, surrendering herself to Will might be a pleasure too tempting to resist

REVIEW: This is the third story in Donovan Sisters series and we finally get Meg’s story.

Meg is the twin sister to Serena who eight years ago was presumed drowned while they were sailing home to Antigua after a scandal in England.

In this book we find out where Meg spent those long years and the story’s not pretty.

So far this series isn’t blowing me away, and the only reason I read this story is its hero, Captain William Langley who was left high and dry by ‘Meg’ [actually Serena pretending to be her] who fell for Jonathan Dane, Earl of Stratford who was the main culprit of the scandal to begin with. If you haven’t read the first book, don’t fret too much, this book will fill in the blanks and you’ll be well-informed of the background of all past characters.

My heart ached for Will and I was looking forward to his happy ending, which was really long in coming.

Captain William Langley has spent the last eight years carrying the torch for his lost love and would have given anything to see her again.

In his wildest dreams he never expected that wish to come true.

While he’s after some smugglers, they come upon a boat with a woman and a boy in it, and low and behold, his Meg is restored to him.

This is another book of Ms. Haymore that I just could not connect with. I’m not sure if it’s the characterization or the plot, or possibly both. The book is well written, fast paced, but even that didn’t make me like Meg or her actions. I even found Will a bit unnerving and not as I remembered him in the first book.

The only thing that made this read bearable were the secondary characters of Jessica and David. Talk about different personalities! While Meg was aloof and off-putting, Jess was trusting and loyal.

I do recommend you read it if you’re vested in this series already, but otherwise you might want to skip it.

*Book provided by publisher from NetGalley.

Spotlight on: Mia Marlowe and …

Touch of  Seduction Series!

Touch of a Lady [Prequel]

TOAL MMTristan’s grandfather lost the family fortune and the Devonwood earldom still hasn’t recovered under his father’s tenure. In order to save the estate from disaster, Tristan is determined to wed the daughter of a duke. Lady Florence’s dowry is reputedly hefty enough to sink a frigate, so Tristan will shoulder the family’s burden, even if it means a loveless match.

When he first lays eyes on Delphinia Preston, he knows she’s trouble in a gorgeous blue dress. Despite the rumors about her being a half-gypsy witch, there’s something about the grey-eyed beauty that calls to Tristan. And he can’t keep himself from answering, even if it means wrecking all his carefully laid plans…

[click on the cover or the title to purchase]

Touch of a Thief [Book I]

TOAT MMLady Viola Preston can relieve a gentleman of the studs at his wrists without his being any the wiser and pick any lock devised by man in less than a minute. But she’s careful to wear gloves when she steals jewels. Because when Viola touches a gemstone with her bare skin, it “speaks” to her, sending disturbing visions–visions almost as unsettling as the sight of the cool-eyed stranger who catches her red handed.

Now Viola will only be stealing at Greydon Quinn’s behest. And even more daunting than the violent history of the red diamond he’s after is the prospect of a night in the devastatingly handsome lieutenant’s arms. Touch has always been Viola’s weakness, and the full body-to-body contact Quinn has in mind is about to shatter her defenses and set her senses reeling.  

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Touch of a Rogue [Book II]

TOAR MMJacob Preston has three requirements for a woman desiring access to his bed: She must be enthusiastic in affairs of passion, jaded in matters of the heart, and–to ensure the first two qualifications–she must be married.

Lady Julianne Cambourne has all the makings of a passionate lover, and she certainly shows no signs of sentimentality. . .but her unmarried status should render her firmly off limits to Jacob.

Instead, it proves only a temptation. One that grows stronger when she comes to him in desperation, looking for the kind of answers only he can give. For beyond his rakish reputation, Jacob is known for the mysterious–even otherworldly–power of detection he commands through his sense of touch. And Julianne, surrounded by long-hidden secrets that threaten to ensnare her in a deadly trap, will do whatever it takes to recruit his skills. . . using every form of persuasion at her disposal. . .  

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Touch of a Scoundrel [Book III]

TOAS MMGriffin Nash, Earl of Devonwood, wants to believe that he’s seducing Miss Emmaline Farnsworth out of protectiveness for his young brother. After all, if his brother is convinced that the tantalizing professor’s daughter is unworthy of his trust, perhaps Teddy will lose all interest in such an inappropriate choice for his station.

But in truth, something else motivates Devonwood: a scintillating vision he’s had of a future tryst with the lovely Emmaline. A vision too realistic to be doubted–and too scaldingly passionate to be denied.

Yet Emmaline is not as easily tempted as Devonwood might have hoped–nor is she actually in pursuit of a wealthy husband. No, the real reason for her visit to the manor is something much more shocking. . . though being enticed by a dashing earl may prove to be a most welcome by-product of her schemes. . .

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to win the Prequel eBook to this awesome  series!

Mia MarloweMia Marlowe’s Bio: Award winning author Mia Marlowe writes historical romance for Kensington Publishing and Sourcebooks. Her debut title received acclaim from romance luminaries. #1 New York Times bestseller Victoria Alexander says Mia’s Touch of a Thief has “adventure and heat and everything I want in a great story!” UK’s BooksMonthly has crowned Mia Marlowe “the queen of saucy historical romance.”

Mia learned much of what she knows about storytelling from singing. A classically trained soprano, she won the District Metropolitan Opera Auditions and shared a stage with Placido Domingo. As she prepared for operatic roles, she devised back stories for her characters. Since she’s worn a real corset, and had to sing high C’s in one, she empathizes with the trials of her fictional heroines. But in Mia’s stories, they don’t die in a Parisian garret. They get to live and keep the hero!

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‘Secrets of an Accidental Duchess’ by Jennifer Haymore

STORY: With her pale hair and slim figure, Olivia Donovan looks as fragile as fine china, and has been treated as such by her sisters ever since a childhood bout with malaria. But beneath her delicate façade, Olivia guards a bold, independent spirit and the kind of passionate desires proper young ladies must never confess…

It was a reckless wager, and one Max couldn’t resist: seduce the alluring Olivia or forfeit part of his fortune. Yet the wild, soon-to-be Duke never imagined he’d fall in love with this innocent beauty. Nor could he have guessed that a dangerously unpredictable rival would set out to destroy them both. Now, Max must beat a Madman at his own twisted game-or forever lose the only woman to have ever won his heart.

REVIEW: This is the second Donovan sister story, and in this one we get familiar with Olivia. She is twenty-one, and as the blurb states, besides being a stunner, she’s the sister that survived the malaria, and everyone is treating her with kid gloves. They’re all worried that even the least bit of exertion would cause her malaria to rear its ugly head, and have her succumb to it. Olivia however isn’t much worried as she’s always ready for it by making sure that she has her medication with her at all times, and she experimented by running around their property in Antigua while unobserved. She is the sister that is quiet content and resigned to being the ‘aunt spinster’ and living with Serena and her family. I actually admired that in her. She showed some strength of character by making that decision and accepting her condition as a part of who she is and not using it as a ‘crutch’.

Max Buchanan, the Marquis of Hasley is thirty years old and considered by many a rake. For someone who will eventually become a Duke, he’s a bit aloof and doesn’t really want it, since he’s the heir to his uncle who thinks him unworthy of the title. From the first time we meet him, while he sets his eyes on Olivia, we’re taken with him because of his honest and stunned observation and reaction to Olivia and his visceral reaction to Lord Fenwick’s admission of a failed attempt to seduce her…

And then he does THE most stupid thing in the world-betting Fenwick that he would succeed in what the other man failed to do! WHAT?! Are you serious?! WHY?! What possessed him to do such a thing to someone he was just mooning over, AND knowing without a doubt to be an innocent woman?! He knows that he NEVER intends to marry anyone because he feels that he would become like his father and be cruel to his wife, so how in the world does he justify his deliberate seduction of this young woman? That was where I started to have a problem with his character. I love our heroes flawed, but I also like to see the redeeming qualities in them, and I just couldn’t reconcile myself with Max’s decision to make a wager that would eventually carry huge consequences.

From that point on my feelings toward both, Olivia and Max, turned lukewarm. Their scenes with each other should have been sweet and warm, and if I chose to ignore the ‘elephant in the room’ they were. But then, they had ‘the talk’…Olivia was still sticking to her decision to be a spinster, while he still wanted to be ‘the bachelor’, yet both agree to enjoy each other (and on her sister’s suggestion, she asks him to ‘withdraw’ so she wouldn’t end up with child) and that night he ‘takes’ her twice, with a ‘position’ that for a virgin, and  as  innocent as she is, I just couldn’t buy.

However, I have to give Ms. Haymore kudos for the secondary plot of wife abuse of Beatrice Fenwicke, the wife of Lord Fenwick, whose evil and madness was left running rampant for the longest time. Ms. Haymore did an excellent job in telling this young woman’s story and I hope she decides to give her an HEA.

The third Donovan book will be coming up soon, and I will read it, but I hope it will be written reminiscent of her earlier books,  ‘A Hint of Wicked’, ‘A Touch of Scandal’ and ‘A Season of Seduction’. If you haven’t read any of those, I highly recommend them, especially the first two.

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*To learn more about the author, click on her name*

* I received a copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*