Spotlight on Victoria Vane and…

Hot Cowboy Nights Series!

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Hey Bookworms! I hope your summer’s going great! I have great news to share with you. My next series and its first book ‘SLOW HAND’ will be out sometime in November and it is hot contemporary cowboy series from Sourcebooks

This unique series is comprised of four connected stories (SLOW HAND, ROUGH RIDER, STRAIGHT SHOOTER and SILVER TONGUE) with an option for more. All of my heroes are true cowboys, but these are cowboys like you have never seen before. The cast of characters is unusually diverse, pairing a sassy southern girl with a Montana lawyer, a rancher/bull rider with a female stock contractor, a Marine scout sniper with a wildlife biologist and a horse whisperer with a documentary film maker. 

Although this new endeavor marks a distinct departure from historical romance, I hope you will find that my trademarks still remain—well-researched, scorching hot and emotionally compelling, character-driven stories. The first two covers are finished, and I hope you like them as much as I do. Both books are now available for pre-order as well.

Slow Hand-300SLOW HAND (Hot Cowboy Nights #1)

STORY: Wade Knowlton is a workaholic with an urge to get out. He’s close to leaving his struggling Montana law firm in the dust and going back full time to the ranch with his brothers . . . until the gorgeous Nicole Powell walks into his office in need of an attorney to settle her estranged father’s estate.

Nicole is a southern belle with a hankering for cowboys—but after a swell of bad seeds, she’s sworn off anything in boots. As their attraction flares into a passion they can’t avoid, will they discover that love can lead to greener pastures?

EXCERPT:

He went to work on his shirt buttons. His collar was soon wide open revealing a generous show of muscular chest that make her hands itch to rip it off him. She diverted her gaze and curled her itchy hands by her sides.

“Have no fear, cowboy,” Nikki replied in a tone meant to disguise the warm flush that had come over her. “I corralled all my wild impulses long ago.”

“Did you, now?” He still stood in doorway, head cocked. “Somehow, I think you may have missed a few strays.”

“Maybe I need to make myself clearer. I have an aversion to cocky cowboys.”

Just keep telling yourself that, Nikki. Maybe if you repeat it often enough it’ll become true.

“Is that so?” His brows flew upward. “I can’t say I ever met a woman with an actual aversion to me.”

“Don’t take it personally. It’s nothing against you in particular, but to your type.”

“And what do you think you know about my type?”

“Since I don’t have a pole handy, enough to keep you at arms-length. Besides that, this whole line of conversation is entirely inappropriate in light of professional ethics, don’t you think? You are my attorney, after all.”

“Well, darlin’,” he scratched his unshaven jaw, “there’s a little hitch to that.”

“What do you mean? You said you’d help me.”

“And I will, but you can’t engage my professional services until I know who you are.”

“I’ve told you who I am!” she insisted.

“Sweetheart, I’m a lawyer, and according to the law, your claim don’t weigh without authentication.”

“Authentication?”

“Proof.”

“So what are you saying? That you don’t believe me?”

“I’m not saying that at all. Only that our professional relationship will commence once you get your I.D. In the interim,” His gaze slid over her in a way that threatened to melt her insides, “you’d best find yourself a nice, long, sturdy pole.”

Pre-order: Amazon / November 2014

Rough Rider-300

Pre-order: ROUGH RIDER, Amazon / February 2015

GIVEAWAY 1: 1 Winner/Choice of any e-book title from my backlist!

GIVEAWAY 2: >>>  Rafflecopter <<<

Victoria VaneAUTHOR BIO: Victoria Vane is an multiple award-winning romance novelist and history junkie whose collective works of fiction range from wildly comedic romps to emotionally compelling and intensely erotic romance. Look for Victoria’s sexy new contemporary cowboy series coming in summer 2014.

A lover of history and deeply romantic stories, Victoria Vane combines these elements to craft novels and novellas for a mature reading audience. Her writing influences are Georgette Heyer for fabulous witty dialogue and over the top characters, Robin Schone , Sylvia Day, and Charlotte Featherstone for beautifully crafted prose in stories with deep sensuality, and Lila DiPasqua for creative vision in melding history with eroticism.

Victoria also writes historical fiction as Emery Lee and is the founder of Goodreads Romantic Historical Fiction Lovers and the Romantic Historical Lovers book review blog.

Social Media: Web Site / Blog / Facebook / Tweeter Goodreads / DeVere Fan Site

Devil DeVere has an extreme makeover by Victoria Vane

New book covers for Devil DeVere Series are here!

Check them out!

Devil in the Making 

DITM CoverPrequel#1- DeVere’s story

The Devil DeVere Series- Library Journal Best E-Book Romance 2012 
Every Devil Has A Beginning… 

In this first of three prequels to the award-winning Devil DeVere series, we meet Ludovic, Ned, and Simon as youths in this riotous Georgian romp written in the tradition of Fielding’s Tom Jones.

Since their first meeting at Westminster, Ned, Simon, and DeVere had forged an iron-clad bond that had maintained them through nearly six years. From the outset, Ludovic’s scandalous family secrets had set him apart from the other aristocratic scions as an “untouchable.” Deny it as he tried, the ugly truth remained that his mother was indeed the biggest whore in England, and his presumed father, the viscount, no less than a pox-ridden madman.

Likewise, Simon Singleton’s poetic proclivities had instantly made him the bullies’ mark, and even Edward Chambers’ great size had served as little deterrent for the upper classmen’s taunts when accompanied by adolescent awkwardness and a broad North Country drawl.

By the end of the first form, however, DeVere’s finely honed shell of arrogance, Ned’s increasing brawn, and Sin’s rapier wit, had given birth to an unholy triumvirate that came to wreak perpetual and unchallenged havoc upon Westminster School. Now, it appeared their illustrious reign had come to an inglorious end.    

Intent on serving up revenge on their tyrannical schoolmaster, a prank with the king’s lion goes comically awry, leading to a startling chain of events.

REVIEW: Goodreads

~~~~~     ***     ~~~~~

The Trouble with Sin

Prequel#2- Simon’s storyTTWSCover

The Devil DeVere Series- Library Journal Best E-Book Romance 2012 

This second prequel to the award-winning Devil DeVere series is a comedic romp featuring aspiring poet, Simon “sin” Singleton. 

The Trouble with Sin … Is the devil within… Sin has lived only for larks, laughter, and ladies of easy virtue, eluding defying, and flouting all manner of authority until his impetuous misdeeds finally catch up with him. 

Ned asked, “Are you not still bound for the clergy, Sin?”
Simon heaved a deep sigh. “It is my dear Mama’s fondest wish for me to join the church, but I fear my nature is quite incompatible with a theological vocation. I have searched deeply, and cannot seem to summon an inkling of pious sentiment, which makes me an exceedingly poor candidate for the clergy.”
“Even so, why would you wish to dirty your hands with something like this?” 
“The answer is simple, Ned—I need the money.”
“But you receive a more than adequate allowance.”
“That he mostly squanders on women of easy virtue,” DeVere drawled.
“Admittedly,” Simon confessed, unabashed. “But now my father has reduced my quarterly and demands a full account of every ha’penny. I tell you, it is humiliating in the extreme! Unless I wish to live under such a yoke for the next three years— which I positively do not— I must make my own living. If I must travail for my bread, how better than by the fruits of my pen?”
“So you seek to combine your love of poetry and lewd women by writing poetry about lewd women?” Ned replied dryly.
Simon clapped Ned on the back. “Precisely! Don’t you see the ironic beauty of it?”
“What do you suppose will happen when your dear, devout mama gets wind of this?” Ned asked.
“I have taken every precaution to ensure my anonymity.” Simon retrieved the book from DeVere. “My contribution to this little work is, and shall forever remain, a well-kept secret.” 

The wage of Sin… is twenty-five percent of the net! It seems a fantasy come true when Simon is offered an independent income by combining his two great passions— poetry and lewd women. Unfortunately, maintaining anonymity may be much harder than he thought…

REVIEW: Goodreads

~~~~~     ***     ~~~~~

A Wild Night’s Bride 

AWNBcoverBook#1- Ned & Phoebe

The Devil DeVere Series- Library Journal Best E-Book Romance 2012  

With the devil in charge … there could be hell to pay

She needs a protector… Once seduced by whispered promises of a faithless lover, Phoebe Scott is determined to make a name on the Covent Garden stage, but after three years of bit parts, she realizes she’ll never achieve her goals on her own merits. Acknowledging her success is dependent on a powerful patron, Phoebe is now resolved to find a protector to secure her future. With this goal in mind, she seeks out the best prospects at London’s most notorious brothel. 

He’s avowed to celibacy… Sir Edward “Ned” Chambers has been lost and lonely since his wife’s death in childbirth. Burdened with blame, he has sworn to a life of celibacy, but after three years, he is inwardly edgy, irritable, and increasingly discontent. Perceiving the cause behind Ned’s unhappiness, as well as the obvious cure, his best friend and rake of the first order, “The Devil” DeVere, is hell-bent to return Ned to the land of the living. DeVere’s machinations result in an outrageous wager that could lead Ned to a new love… or land them all in the Tower! 

All bets are off in in this racy Georgian romp! (romantic comedy with mature content)

REVIEW: b2b

~~~~~     ***     ~~~~~

The Virgin Huntress

Book#2- Hew & VestaTHV Template2

The Devil DeVere Series- Library Journal Best E-Book Romance

All’s Fair in Love and Abduction

In the second installment of the award-winning Devil DeVere series, Ned’s daughter

Vesta is preparing for her come-out only to have her world turned upside down when her father returns from London with a bride of his own! Put out that he is so wrapped up in Phoebe, Vesta accompanies her godmother, Diana, to town where she meets and falls instantly in love with the gallant Captain Hewett DeVere.

“Hew” DeVere, younger brother to Viscount Ludovic “The Devil” DeVere, has returned from the war with plans of selling his commission and settling down. He quickly becomes enamored of the older but beautiful Diana, and barely notices eighteen-year-old Vesta. When Hew fails to respond to her feminine charms, Vesta takes extreme measures to capture the object of her desire, but Hew didn’t survive the worst of the war only to succumb to Vesta’s wayward wiles.

“You conniving creature! How can you possibly think I could ever love such a spoiled, petulant, self-absorbed, and scheming little wretch?”

Proving the adage that opposites attract, this hilarious romp pits the would-be huntress against the gallant hero in an epic war of wills. (Romantic comedy with mature content)

REVIEW: b2b

~~~~~     ***     ~~~~~

The Devil You Know

TDYKBook#3-Diana & DeVere part I

The Devil DeVere Series- Library Journal Best E-Book Romance 2012  

Sometimes the Devil is Disguised as a Gentleman…

In this third installment of the award-winning Devil DeVere series, DeVere is finally center stage when Ned, Annalee, and her cousin, Diana arrive at DeVere’s estate for a weekend of horseracing. From the first meeting, DeVere makes his interest in Diana acutely known. Although she sees no harm in a light flirtation, she doesn’t intend to become another notch on his bedpost. Nevertheless, DeVere fascinates her.


Ned gave her a meaningful look. “I hope you’ll take extreme care in any dealings with him. He is ruthless and calculating when he chooses to be and has a strong predilection to manipulate and exploit the vulnerabilities of others—when it suits his purpose. He just can’t help himself. It’s not that he’s evil incarnate, or anything like that; it’s just that he has low tolerance for weakness, incompetence, or buffoonery.”

Diana lifted her brow. “You know I am no fool, dear Edward. I take full responsibility for my actions and have already made clear what I am willing and not willing to sacrifice.”


Although DeVere is outwardly arrogant, ruthless, unpredictable, and manipulative, the private man is quite another creature—intensely loyal and fiercely protective of those few he cares about. Diana also maintains a false front to the world. Her twelve year marriage is a mockery and she feels unfulfilled and undesirable which makes her all too vulnerable to DeVere’s dangerous charm. After events take an unexpected turn, Diana’ most erotic fantasies become reality when she seeks comfort and affirmation in the devil’s arms. But little does she know that the fire he ignites within her will burn long after she leaves Woodcote Park.

REVIEW: b2b

~~~~~     ***     ~~~~~

The Devil’s Match

Book#4- Diana & DeVere part IITDM Cover Template

The Devil DeVere Series- Library Journal Best E-Book Romance 2012  

The devil is the true tempter of women

In this fourth installment of the award-winning Devil DeVere series, Diana has come to London as her goddaughter’s chaperone. Wanting to avoid her erstwhile lover at all costs, she nevertheless has no choice but to appeal to DeVere for help when Vesta mysteriously disappears. Although once nearly consumed by her passion for DeVere, four years has reduced the former inferno to bitterness and ashes.

Ludovic’s time abroad has only served to deepen his debauchery. He’s become jaded, world-weary, and bored. He also recognizes with self-annoyance that the marks of his discontent have only  increased upon a certain person’s arrival in London. When Diana makes her appearance in his den of iniquity in all of her glorious self-righteous fury, he suddenly feels alive again.



“Damn you to hell, DeVere!” she cried, jerking out of his hold. “Yes, I want you now, but I would despise myself for it the moment we finished.”
“Why?” he asked, confounded.
“Why? Because I once confused passion for deeper feeling. I won’t make that mistake again.”
“But don’t you remember how it was between us? I can bring you rapture. You know that. What harm is there?”
She scoffed, “Surely the same words the serpent whispered to Eve.”

While DeVere is once more hell-bent to have Diana back in his bed, she will do whatever it takes to bring him to his knees.

REVIEW: b2b

~~~~~     ***     ~~~~~

A Devil’s Touch

ADTCoverBook#4.5-Diana & DeVere part III

The Devil DeVere Series- Library Journal Best E-Book Romance 2012

This short erotic installment in the award-winning Devil DeVere series can stand alone as a complete story, but also serves to bridge The Devil’s Match and Jewel of the East (Salime and Simon’s story).

In her last month of pregnancy, Diana, Viscountess DeVere, has barely settled into her new life and role as “the devil” DeVere’s wife, when her increasingly restless husband receives an urgent summons to London. When Diana inadvertently discovers a message he received from a known courtesan with whom he was formerly linked, she fears her marriage is over before it has begun.

They were barely three months into a marriage that had begun on rather shaky ground. Was it possible that for him, the novelty of it had already worn off? This had always been Diana’s greatest fear, for Ludovic was a man with a voracious sensual appetite, one he had honed with years of endless variety and constant, unrestrained indulgence. Diana, on the contrary, had known only one true lover—this same perplexing man who was now her husband—the one who had made her heavy with his child…and now left her alone in a cold bed.

REVIEW: Goodreads

~~~~~     ***     ~~~~~

Jewel of the East

Book#5- Salime & SimonJOTE 2Cover

The Devil DeVere Series- Library Journal Best E-Book Romance 2012 

Maimed by Misfortune… Healed by Love…

In the fifth installment of the award-winning Devil DeVere series, DeVere once more plays the unlikely cupid by bringing together Simon (The Trouble with Sin) and Salime (The Devil’s Match), two injured souls who find ultimate healing in each other’s arms.

His wounds run deep…Having once lived his life only for larks, laughter, and ladies of easy virtue, Captain Simon Singleton has returned from war a shambles of a man. Although free from six years of captivity, he’s still fettered by fears that confine him to a life of seclusion. 

Her scars are well-hidden…Once the crowning jewel of the most lavish brothel in London, the exotic Salime finds her reputation and livelihood destroyed by a bitter rival. With a closely guarded secret stripped away, she fears no man will ever desire her again. Seeking aid from one who once saved her life, she accepts a proposition to become a companion to his war-scarred friend. 

But love is the eternal cure…When circumstance brings these two damaged souls together, fate ignites a love story worthy of the Arabian Nights. (mature content warning).

REVIEW: Christy English

~~~~~     ***     ~~~~~

A Devil Named DeVere

ADNDCover-200x300[1]4 Book compilation

The Devil DeVere Series- Library Journal Best E-Book Romance 2012 

When Dealing With The Devil…It’s Easy To Get Burned
When burned once…

Beautiful, respectable, and dutiful, Diana Palmerston-Wriothesley was resigned to her decade-long loveless and childless marriage to a feckless husband until a dire discovery shatters her life.

By an old flame…

A master of seduction, Viscount Ludovic, “The Devil” DeVere, is accustomed to taking what he wants heedless of the cost until encountering a woman who won’t be had at any price–at least not until a dark secret compels her to seek aid and comfort in this devil’s arms. What begins as an all-consuming passion becomes a true devil’s bargain when circumstances beyond their control drive the lovers irrevocably apart.

Fire is best fought with fire…Four years later, DeVere is world-weary and bored with his life of debauchery when Diana unexpectedly reappears. Although both believe the former inferno has been reduced to bitterness and ashes, their chance reunion proves otherwise. With their passion reignited to undeniable ferocity, DeVere is hell-bent to lure Diana back into his bed… while she is equally determined to bring him to his knees.

**Library Journal Best E-Book Romance 2012 (the Devil DeVere series)**

A Devil Named DeVere is a full length compilation of three previously published novellas (The Devil You Know, The Devil’s Match, A Devil’s Touch) that all feature Ludovic “the Devil” DeVere. To better serve as a standalone title, this volume has also been re-edited with the addition of select scenes from A Wild Night’s Bride and The Virgin Huntress. 

BUY LINKS: Click on the title or book cover!

GIVEAWAY >>>>> Rafflecopter <<<<<

(choice of Kindle Fire HD or Paperwhite)
complete with a Victoria Vane e-book collection

Victoria VaneAUTHOR BIO: Victoria Vane is an multiple award-winning romance novelist and history junkie whose collective works of fiction range from wildly comedic romps to emotionally compelling and intensely erotic romance. Look for Victoria’s sexy new contemporary cowboy series coming in summer 2014.

A lover of history and deeply romantic stories, Victoria Vane combines these elements to craft novels and novellas for a mature reading audience. Her writing influences are Georgette Heyer for fabulous witty dialogue and over the top characters, Robin Schone , Sylvia Day, and Charlotte Featherstone for beautifully crafted prose in stories with deep sensuality, and Lila DiPasqua for creative vision in melding history with eroticism.

Victoria also writes historical fiction as Emery Lee and is the founder of Goodreads Romantic Historical Fiction Lovers and the Romantic Historical Lovers book review blog.

Social Media: Web Site / BlogFacebook / Tweeter Goodreads / DeVere Fan Site

HEA Journey Matters by Erica Monroe [Guest Post]

ADI EMThank you so much to bookworm2bookworm for letting me come by today as part of the release tour for my début novel, A Dangerous Invitation‘. The first book in my new series, The Rookery Rogues, A Dangerous Invitation is the story of Daniel O’Reilly and Kate Morgan.

Have you ever wanted to atone so badly for a mistake that you’ll risk everything—even your life—for forgiveness? That’s what motivates Daniel to return to London after three years as a fugitive. One wretched night in 1829 sent him reeling toward destruction, when he was accused of murdering a warehouse laborer for the shipping company he worked for (and Kate’s father owned). He faced almost certain death, for he’d been caught at the scene of the crime with the victim’s mangled body. Worse, an “affidavit woman,” a 19th century term for a woman who was paid to give a false statement of evidence, claimed to have seen him commit the murder. So to survive, Daniel flees the City, thinking that he’s going to give his affianced Kate a better life without him.

But Kate doesn’t get a better life, and Daniel certainly doesn’t thrive without her. The addiction to gin that he struggled with in London runs rampant, taking hold of his body until he’s nothing more than a withered husk of the man he once was. When his drunkenness starts to affect his family, he struggles to return to sobriety. With the help of his sister Poppy, he looks at making good on his past life. He comes back to London so that he can prove to Kate that he wasn’t culpable in that murder. He doesn’t know how he ended up in the alley, but by God, he’s going to find out who did kill that warehouse laborer. He’ll get justice not only for himself, but for the man who was murdered.

Kate now lives in the rookeries, the nineteenth century version of slums. She’s a fence for stolen goods, and the company she keeps is certainly not on the up and up. While Daniel works to make her see that he’s not the same man he was before, she struggles to let go of her memories. She’s got to stop resenting him for what he did in the past and also understand that people make mistakes.

I love the idea of two people being changed by their relationship, but still, they are at their core imperfect. In my story, Kate and Daniel have a second chance at love. The relationship they had before was inherently flawed. They had to become something different entirely to be able to accept each other completely.

IYGARAR SGAGU CGIn writing A Dangerous Invitation, I thought about what love really meant to me. I’m drawn to romance genres not just because of the implicit happy ever after, but because of the journey. I want to see two people transition into a relationship that makes them much healthier and happier. By the end of the novel, they’re not who they were when they started. I love romances especially that deal with a traumatic incident in a character’s past—by the end of the novel, the character has learned to accept that event as a shaping part of who they are now. Examples of this that I can think of are Shana Galen’s If You Give a Rake a Ruby with Fallon’s thieving upbringing, and Cecilia Grant’s ‘A Gentleman Undone’ with Lydia’s big reveal to Will.

ADI EMBook Blurb: One fatal mistake cost Daniel O’Reilly the woman he loved, spiraling him toward drunken self-destruction. Now sober, he’ll have to prove he’s innocent of the murder he was accused of two years ago. But pistol-wielding Kate Morgan hasn’t forgiven his sins.

Torn from her privileged existence by her father’s death, Kate Morgan has carved out a new independent life in the Ratcliffe rookery as a fence for stolen goods. Daniel’s invitation to assist him jeopardizes her structured existence. Yet Kate can’t resist his touch, or the wicked desires he stirs within her.

As their renewed passions grow reckless, their investigation takes them through the darkest and most depraved areas of the City. To catch a killer, they’ll have to put secrets behind them and trust only their hearts.

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

[iBooks and Paperback edition coming later in the month].

The excerpt below happens when Daniel and Kate have just finished interrogating a pugilist who knew the warehouse laborer.

THEY WALKED DOWN Shadwell High Street, the street alive with a vibrancy that failed to lift Daniel’s mood. Snow crunched under his feet. The smell of gin had left his nostrils, allowing him to breathe easier again, but the heaviness in his stomach came from the knowledge of Kate’s sacrifice. She’d given up part of her livelihood, all to answer questions from a man she shouldn’t have had to speak to, let alone develop an acquaintanceship with.

“You didn’t have to do that,” he said.

“Cyrus would never have told us anything otherwise.” Kate cocked her head toward him, her voice flat.

She walked with her hands shoved into her pockets, her shorter strides two to his longer ones. He slowed to match her pace. This city, with all its grit and crime, didn’t deserve the brilliance of Kate Morgan.

Devil take it, he didn’t either.

“That doesn’t make it right.” He halted her progress down the street, gripping her thin arm. “I’ll pay you back for what that watch costs, on top of what I’ve given you for your help already.”

“That’s not necessary.” She stiffened against his touch.

He didn’t release her arm. They stood in the middle of the street, the traffic diverting around them. If he got through to her—well, he didn’t know what he’d do then.

“I don’t want you to have to pay for my mistakes.” Reaching out with his other hand, Daniel brushed his thumb against her cheek.

Her eyes closed for a half-second, transfixed by the moment. His breath caught in his throat.

Her eyes fluttered back open, chocolate abysses deadened to his attempts. Steeled against what she must believe were lies. Maybe he’d never change. Maybe he was a drunk for life, doomed to repeat the same patterns.

He let out the breath he’d been holding, let it out like he wished he could free himself of doubt. Time flowed once more, rapid and bitter.

“I’ve paid for your mistakes and I’ll pay for mine.” Her voice was full of resignation.

“It shouldn’t have to be that way. Last night, in the wool warehouse—I couldn’t think of anything else other than the fact that you were in danger because of me.” His hand tightened on her arm, holding her close to him.

She shook her head. The feather stuck into the trim of her gray straw bonnet bobbed too. “Nothing is perfect. For all we know, that man was after me for my own activities. You talk as though things will change because you wish them to. I don’t remember you being that naïve.”

“It’s not naïve to dream. You used to know that.”

In your favorite romance novels, what great conflicts do the hero/heroine have to overcome?

*One commenter/this eBook

*GIVEAWAY INTERNATIONAL

Erica Monroe

AUTHOR BIO: Erica Monroe writes dark, suspenseful historical romance. Her début novel, A Dangerous Invitation, Book 1 of the Rookery Rogues series, released in December 2013. She is a member of the Romance Writers of America, Heart of Carolina, and the Beau Monde Regency Romance chapter.

Erica can also be found blogging every other Saturday at Teatime Romance. When not writing, she is a chronic TV watcher, sci-fi junkie, lover of pit bulls, and shoe fashionista. She lives in the suburbs of North Carolina with her husband, two dogs, and a cat.

‘A Dangerous Invitation’ by Erica Monroe

ADI EMSTORY: One fatal mistake cost Daniel O’Reilly the woman he loved, spiraling him toward drunken self-destruction. Now sober, he’ll have to prove he’s innocent of the murder he was accused of two years ago. But pistol-wielding Kate Morgan hasn’t forgiven his sins.

Torn from her privileged existence by her father’s death, Kate Morgan has carved out a new independent life in the Ratcliffe rookery as a fence for stolen goods. Daniel’s invitation to assist him jeopardizes her structured existence. Yet Kate can’t resist his touch, or the wicked desires he stirs within her.

As their renewed passions grow reckless, their investigation takes them through the darkest and most depraved areas of the City. To catch a killer, they’ll have to put secrets behind them and trust only their hearts.

REVIEW: I honestly don’t know where to begin with this review. Do I start with my praise of it, tell you the synopses or just shout GET IT! READ IT! NOW!

After I was done reading it, I just sat there, absorbing it all and the only coherent thought in my head at that time was, this is a début?!

If you like your romances with a lot of fairy tale dust, light prose and plenty of fluff, saccharin sweetness, don’t bother with this amazingly realistic, character driven story of true love.

The name of this series, ‘The Rookery Rogues’ tells you exactly what to expect, only if you know what the word ‘rookery’ means, and Wikipedia says this:

“A rookery was a colloquial term given in the 18th and 19th centuries to a city slum occupied by poor people and frequently also by criminals and prostitutes. Such areas were overcrowded, with low-quality housing and little or no sanitation. Poorly constructed dwellings, built with multiple stories and often crammed into any area of open ground, created densely populated areas of gloomy, narrow streets and alleyways.”

With a series like this, you’ll get a lot of what really happened to people who were forced to live and breathe the slums of London.

To capture my heart and for me to forgive him his trespasses against Kate, Daniel O’Reilly had to work very hard. And he did trespass against our Kate.

Kate Morgan, the woman who is left behind to deal with the aftermath of a betrayal of significant proportion, was one of the strongest characters I’ve had a pleasure to read about.

By the time our hero and heroine reconnect, rediscover, restore and rebuild the relationship both thought over and done with, we are as touched and emotionally vested as they are.

To say I enjoyed the read is a gross understatement. I ‘lived’ this read. It touched me on a very personal level, and if you’ve had to deal with someone’s addiction in your life, you’ll know exactly what I mean. Our Kate had so much to overcome to accept Daniel, warts and all.

Bottom line on this début: You’ll want to read it if you like your stories with meat on it!

This is a story of hope to overcome even the direst of circumstances; a story that when life throws you lemons, you make that lemonade and fight for a right to make it the best and sweetest lemonade in the world; story of redemption and second chances. Be ready to enter the world Ms. Monroe painstakingly paints with an impressive prose, dialogue and reality soaked brush you’ve read lately.

*Melanie for b2b

*Book provided by the Author.

Victoria Vane stops by b2b…

‘The Sheik Retold’

TSR VV2The Desert Was Never Hotter! Pride and passion vie for supremacy in this steamy retelling of E.M. Hull’s romance classic.

A haughty young heiress for whom the world is a playground…

A savage son of the Sahara who knows no law but his own…

When pride and passion vie for supremacy…

Blistering desert days are nothing compared to sizzling Sahara nights…

“There will be inquiries.” I choked out. “I am not such a nonentity that nothing will be done when I am missed. You will pay for what you have done.”
“Pay?” His amused look sent a cold feeling of dread through me. “I have already paid… in gold that matches your hair, my gazelle. Besides,” he continued, “the French Government has no jurisdiction over me. There is no authority here above my own.”
My trepidation was growing every passing minute. “Why have you done this? Why brought me here?”
“Why?” He repeated with a slow and heated appraisal that made me acutely, almost painfully, conscious of my sex. “Bon Dieu! Are you not woman enough to know?”

BUY LINKS: Amazon / B&N

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EXCERPT 1:

Sick with apprehension, I watched as he bent over my luggage, rummaging around until returning with a silken scarf that he wrapped around my head and over my eyes. I wanted to scream and sob aloud, to grovel for my release, but I knew it was pointless. My courage had faltered; even my pride had finally failed me. A feeling of despair came over me and with it a sense of unreality, for the truth seemed too impossible, the setting too theatrical.

Blinded and bound to his bed, I lay quiet and still, as silent tears scorched my cheeks. I was supremely defenseless, and I hated and feared this utter vulnerability.

Doucement, doucement,” he repeated in the same soothing tones he had used on his fretful horse. “It is not what you think, ma chère .”

I could not think at all. I trembled. I raged. I wept. But rational thought was far beyond me. My brain was completely numb, but my senses seemed only to sharpen. I was tense, drawn taut, every nerve thrumming on full alert, keenly aware of him—the soft tread of his feet, the rustling of his movements.

With my vision hampered, I was more acutely attuned to every scent—the smoky smell of burning lamp oil and the hints of nighttime in the Sahara, accompanied by the sweet pungency of desert flowers. Most taunting of all to my nostrils was his unique, musky bouquet—a distinctly mysterious and masculine essence hinting of ambergris, sweet incense, and tobacco that combined to simultaneously attract and repel me.

I also felt everything more intensely—the vibrations in the air at his approach even before his weight sunk into the mattress. The gentle touch of his hands on my feet. The pads of his thumbs massaging the ball of one foot and then the other. A sharp scraping sensation on the arch of my foot that the moist fan of hot breath confirmed as his teeth. The smooth sweep of his fingers over my calves, followed by the light abrasion of his beard bristle. The sensation of his hot, wet tongue lapping the hollow place behind my knees.

I was no longer afraid, but drank in every sensation. My body was on fire. I could not help myself given my voluptuary nature. I had lived my entire life indulging my senses with all things beautiful—art, music, food, wine, perfumes. I had never refrained from handling anything or feeling whatever I chose. Nothing had been out of bounds to me. My wealth allowed me these singular privileges, but I had never before indulged my receptors to another’s touch. I had long ago shunned the need for such physical contact as a contemptuous feminine weakness, but he had forced my submission to it.

The Sheik3I told myself I was only too weary to fight him, but the truth was that his all-out sensual assault had made me a victim of my own senses—of my own suppressed nature. And now awakened, I was starving for more. I relaxed by degrees as he moved up my body. My anticipation had become impatience fired with an eagerness I fought to hide while I drank it all in—secretly reveling in the fluttery feeling of his fingertips, the moist heat of his open mouth, the scoring sensation of his teeth across my skin. I burned. I ached. A haze of helpless need settled over me, causing me to throb deep inside.

I was not ignorant of the mechanics of coitus, but I had never before experienced even an inkling of sexual desire. I had believed it nonexistent in me. But now it grew in response to him, blooming inside, making me breathless, blurring my mind of all but the ceaseless ache in my loins.

A puff of hot air blew over my mound. His voice was muffled in my nest of curls. “Yes, it is as I suspected. My lamb has the loveliest golden fleece.” He nuzzled deeper, and a whimper emerged from my throat. “Is this your revulsion that cries out, ma chère?”Diana Mayo

I could visualize the mocking twist of his mouth. He plied that same mouth to my flesh, working hot open-mouth kisses low across my belly from one hip bone to the other, skirting just above my mons. My body quivered. He raised his head from me. “Shall I desist all this nasty unpleasantness now?”

My skin was damp with perspiration, but my mouth was parched. When I tried to respond, a soft, strangled noise emerged. He had sworn to make me revel in that which I most despised, and once more, the power of his will had proven superior to mine. Yet I still swore to deny him the satisfaction of this knowledge.

I set my teeth and stiffened my limbs, but my body betrayed me, belying my sham of repugnance when he slid his fingers between my legs to find the inside of my thighs damp with desire. I was wet with undeniable and unadulterated want and shuddered with ripples of pleasure as he dipped into my wetness and stroked the length of my nether lips.

He chuckled lowly, a smug and self-satisfied sound. “Say it, ma chère,” he softly demanded. “Tell me you want this above all things. Tell me you want me.”

I did. Desperately, but it was only the fleeting lust of the flesh that I craved—not him. Never him. “You have forced this upon me,” I hissed in a rage of frustration. “This means nothing—proves nothing.”

The Sheik“As you will…I can be a patient man—when I choose to be.”

His weight shifted away from me, and then it was gone from the bed. He removed the blindfold and gave a single tug on the silk cord binding me to the bed. My arms instantly released from above my head. Just as suddenly, he freed my legs.

I scrambled to my knees, dragging the silken coverings up around me as if their thin shelter were a protection. “Are you finished with me now?” I asked breathlessly.

“Finished?” His expression was mixed mockery and mirth. “Par bleu! I have hardly even begun.

EXCERPT 2:

My eyes tracked upward to rest on his sun-bronzed and lightly bearded face. Harsh and angular in the lamplight, it was at once the handsomest and cruelest face I had ever seen. He regarded me fiercely with scornful eyes. Those eyes! Surely I had seen them before.

I gasped. It was him! The man from the party who had eyed me with such insolence. Even now he gazed at me as no other man had ever dared—in a way that made me acutely, almost painfully, conscious of my sex.

Diana Mayo6“Who are you?” I asked hoarsely, speaking in French without thinking.

He replied in French as well, “I am the Sheik Ahmed Ben Hassan.”

The name conveyed nothing. “Is it money that you want? Are you holding me for ransom?”

He regarded me for a long and silent moment with an expression of contempt. “I have no need of your money.”

“What then?” I demanded, but deep down I already knew it was not a question of ransom. The way he looked at me was far too revealing and made my stomach churn. “Do you think that you can keep me here, you fool?” I lashed out in growing panic. “Do you suppose I can vanish into the desert and that no notice will be taken of my disappearance? That no inquiries will be made?”

“There will be no inquiries,” he answered me calmly.

“There will be inquiries,” I choked out. “I am not such a nonentity that nothing will be done when I am missed. The English authorities will make the French government find out who is responsible. You will pay for what you have done.”

“Pay?” His amused look sent a cold feeling of dread through me. “I have already paid…in gold that matches your hair, my gazelle. Besides,” he continued, “the French have no The Sheik4jurisdiction over me. There is no authority here above my own.”

My trepidation grew by the second. “Why have you done this? Why have you brought me here?”

“Why have I brought you here?” he repeated with a slow and heated appraisal. “Bon Dieu! Are you not woman enough to know?”

Understanding descended upon me in a nauseas wave that flooded me with heat, filling me with a horror that made each separate nerve in my system cringe. Instinctively, I shrank back. My gaze fell away from his, darting to the flap of the tent, but he read my mind, catching me in his arms before I could flee. My limbs quivered, and he laughed softly, his breath hot in my ear. His mirth was more frightening to me than anything he had said.

I averted my head, refusing to look at him, but he forcibly turned my face to his. I set my teeth and squeezed my lids shut, but I could not block out the vision of his eyes burning into me, nor the feeling of his hot, moist, mint-scented breath fanning my skin.

“I wanted you from the moment I saw you, my golden one…And now,” the backs of his long brown fingers brushed my hair, “you are mine.”

Diana Mayo3You are mine. His whispered words sent a wave of shock jolting through me.

“Damn you to hell!” I cried. “I am my own woman! No one owns me!” I knew he intended to force himself upon me, and the anticipation made me shudder with fear and revulsion. I could not win, but still I fought, writhing in an effort to free myself. When this attempt failed, I slumped in his arms in a feint of submission.

Unfazed, his lips neared mine. He murmured low and dark, his breath hot and faintly sweet against my face, “On the contrary, my gazelle, I do. I exchanged a large sum in gold with your would-be murderer. I bought your life. You are mine to do with as I wish.”

I willed myself to remain passive as his scorching lips met mine and his scalding tongue invaded my mouth, but the urge to escape resurfaced, reanimating my numbed nerves and galvanizing me to act. In a sudden surge of strength, I stomped the heel of my boot onto his instep. He drew back with a fierce curse, his grip loosening just enough for me to spin in his arms, yet when I tried to lurch free, the union with his bigger and stronger body remained. It was my valiant last stand…and it had failed.

“You will not get away with this,” I babbled. “Mustafa Ali or one of the caravan men has surely given the alarm in Biskra by now.”

imagesAO6E3MKM“Mustafa Ali will not give any alarm in Biskra…or anywhere else for that matter.”

“Why not? Have you murdered them all?” I asked in a choked whisper. Myriad tales of ruthless Arab cruelty surged through my mind.

“No. I have not murdered them,” he replied. “There was no need when all had been arranged. When you come to know me better, you will realize that I leave little to chance. Of course, all things are with Allah, blessed be his name, but it is well to remember that Allah does not always concern himself with the affairs of men.”

My head swam dizzily at his reply. “What are you saying, that you planned all of this?”

He smiled slowly. “Voyons! It was all very simple. You engaged a caravan in the charge of Mustafa Ali to travel in the desert. You set out from Biskra, with the intent of traveling northward to Oran, where you would dismiss the caravan. From there you were to cross to Marseilles, then on to Cherbourg to embark for America where you would join your brother.” His slow, casual voice detailed my itinerary with the quiet certainty of perfect knowledge.

The Sheik6I swayed on my feet and whispered with dry lips, “H-how can you know…all…this?”

He replied with a blithe half-smile, “I wished to know.”

“But why?”

“I have told you, my dove. As to how, you paid Mustafa Ali to guide you into the desert. Your brother paid him even more to leave you for dead, and then I paid him even better to lead you to me. Well enough indeed to make him content to remove himself from Biskra, where awkward questions might be asked. Indeed, well enough to retire to a place where he no longer has a need to make his living as a caravan leader.”

To my amazement, he released me. I was too stunned to run, yet my mind raced with all he had revealed. Though I tried to reject it all as lies, tiny glimmers of truth broke through the darkness. I recalled vividly waking in my hotel room to a fleeting vision. There had been someone there. My revolver had been tampered with. I had not missed my shots; they had been substituted with blanks. Mustafa Ali’s shifting eyes, his desire to hurry from the oasis where we had rested at mid-day, his tone, were all explained. He had acted his part to perfection right down to the imaginary wound that had toppled him from his saddle. My faithless and deceitful guide had led me to a man who had bribed him to betray me. Even the horse I rode was trained to this sheik’s whistle. I could not deny that at least part of this absurdity was indeed truth.

The knowledge that I had been duped filled me with impotent rage, but the suggestion of Aubrey’s complicity was ludicrous! Nevertheless, seeds of doubt took root in my mind. Could this be why Aubrey had reacted so uncharacteristically the night before? Suddenly I recollected the last moments before our parting. What had he and the guide been discussing just before my departure? Had he really planned to kill me? But why? Aubrey lived a life of extravagance. Could he be in need of funds? In the event of my death, my entire fortune would be his.

I recalled the strange look in his eyes. Was it a pang of guilt over the murder he had planned? Had he had second thoughts at the last minute? Had Aubrey really paid the guide to kill me? My hands gripped my throat. My God! It could not be true!

“I don’t believe a word you say!” I gasped. “You are a brigand and a liar!”Diana Mayo2

His expression grew grim. His eyes shone cold, hard, and black as onyx. He came close behind me, placing his hands on my shoulders and then slowly slid them up to rest around my neck, where his thumbs caressed my pulse. His voice was low and soft. “Were you a man, I would slice your throat for such calumny. Do notever disparage my character again.”

My heart stood still. “But why me?” I choked out.

He dipped his head to murmur in my ear. “It was fated. I saw you once before—in Paris. You were surrounded by your panting lapdogs and would have none of them. It was then I knew that I alone would have you. The rest was Allah’s will,” he continued matter-of-factly. “You came to Biskra. You arranged a tour in the desert. You were bored and wanted adventure. I have granted that wish.” He flashed a feral smile. “And now you will grant mine.”

EXCERPT 3:

We moved in silence through the curtains. It was if he knew my mood and that any further words might break the spell that bound us. The tented bedchamber was dimly illuminated by a single lantern, yet we stood close enough that I could clearly discern his face. I studied his every move and expression as intensely as he had earlier watched me.

Once the curtain dropped behind us, his large warm hands came to my shoulders. I still wore my gown of green silk and nothing beneath. The heated look in his gaze told me that he remembered that as well. He slowly peeled away the thin layer of fabric from my shoulders, and the entire thing slid down my body in a whisper of silk, to pool at my feet. I made no move to cover myself but rather tilted my head to meet his gaze.

The Sheik1He smiled a look of intense satisfaction. I parted and wet my lips, and his pupils flared bigger. Blacker. Although I was an arrant novice at this game of seduction, his reaction to my efforts filled me with a sudden and strange sense of empowerment—as if the menacing tiger had become my prey.

He did not ask me this time if I wanted him. He did not insist as before that I confess my desire. Perhaps he knew that also would break the spell. I would not have given voice to the words anyway. Instead, I let my body speak. Leaning into him, my naked breasts against his linen-clad chest, I removed his headdress and slid my fingers into his silky hair. His breathing came harder, faster, as we stood there, immobile, with the length of our bodies pressed against one another. I could feel him growing more aroused by the second, yet he held back, watching me, as if daring me to make my next move in our new game of seductive chess.

My gaze was at the level of his chin. I slanted it upward an inch or two to study a mouth curved in bemusement. I darted higher to his eyes. There was a hint of challenge in them, nuanced with disbelief that I would take this any further, but he was mistaken if he thought I would back down.

No, on the contrary, I was more emboldened. I felt much like I had the first time I donned that daring green gown, venturing out in shyness and trepidation, but once I knew how well the garment suited me, I wore it unabashed and proud. So it was with my new mantle of seductress, I would wear it brazenly or not at all.

I did not wait for him to claim the kiss from my lips but took what I wanted from his. I had spent the last decade fending off rather than initiating kisses, but he had already shown me what he liked. And I was ever a quick study.

I was amazed at my own temerity. Though my heart beat wildly, I marshaled my resolve. Without prelude or the least sign of timidity, I darted out my tongue and licked it slowly across the smooth, soft, sensitive seam of his mouth. I then sucked his lower lip between mine, catching it between my teeth and biting down gently, relishing the feel of Diana Mayo1this pliant little piece of his flesh, but this tiny bite only sharpened my hunger for much more of him. I was dizzy with the pure headiness of being in control—or at least with the brief illusion of it, as he quickly demonstrated.

My sheik, for I had already decreed that he would be mine in precisely the same degree that I would be his, opened his mouth and ravaged mine, invading with his hot, wet tongue. With it he swept my mind clean of every thought but his body and mine. His hands came around me roughly, sliding down my back to squeeze my buttocks and then jerking me hard against him. There was no question of his arousal. It surged between us thick and hard.

“You have had a change of heart, ma belle?” His tone was rough and guttural. There was an equally savage flicker in his gaze. “It is a dangerous thing to tempt the beast.” With his hands on my arse, he guided me, ensuring that I felt the full length and breadth of his erection. “I would have been patient and gentle with you, but it appears the tigress has come out to play.”

My teeth scored over my lower lip. He would not be gentle with me.

But when had I ever done anything in my life gently? Or genteelly? The thought was almost laughable. I rode hell-for-leather, never shirking the highest fences. I hunted big game. I set out alone in the Sahara. I was no longer the cowering creature I had recently become. She was someone else, someone I despised. No, I was fearless. I was Diana Mayo.

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Victoria VaneAUTHOR BIO: Victoria Vane is an award-winning romance novelist, cowboy addict and history junkie whose collective works of fiction range from wildly comedic romps to emotionally compelling erotic romance.

Victoria also writes historical fiction as Emery Lee and is the founder of Goodreads Romantic Historical Fiction Lovers and the Romantic Historical Lovers book review blog.

Look for Victoria’s Contemporary Cowboy Series coming summer 2014 from Sourcebooks.

Social Media: Website / Blog /  Facebook / Tweeter /

Leah’s Push-a-Book is…

‘Lost in a Royal Kiss’ by Vanessa Kelly

LIARK VKBOOK BLURB: All It Takes Is One Kiss…

In this thrilling introduction to her Renegade Royals series, Vanessa Kelly transports readers to the court of King George III—where a London street urchin unwittingly plays Cupid, ushering in a new era—and ultimately a new kind of royal…

With her widowed mother working long hours as governess to the royal children, Linnet St. Clare must look after her siblings and run the household. Now she must add to her worries the fate of Dominic, a poor orphan who has inspired the wrath of the king himself. Clearly Linnet has no time to consider her own desires—much less notice the attentions of a certain handsome, powerful magistrate…

Sir Anthony Tait is at a loss for how to capture Linnet’s interest. If only she would be still long enough for courting. Outright seduction seems the only answer. But will his kisses be enough to persuade her—or might Anthony have something to learn from young Dominic about matters of the heart? And in saving the boy’s future, might Anthony and Linnet at last create their own?

BUY IT HERE:

EXCERPT:

Predictably, Sir Anthony resumed perusing her garb. His eyes glittered with masculine appreciation as they traveled over her, and a blush burned up her neck to her cheeks.

“You’re probably wondering what I’m doing here.” She pulled her wrapper more tightly around her, struggling since quite a bit of it had become trapped under her bottom. She let out a dismayed squeak when she glanced down and noticed that both night rail and wrapper were bunched up around her knees, leaving her feet and calves naked. She snapped her gaze back up to find Sir Anthony inspecting her bare legs.

“Yes,” he answered in a distracted voice. “I was just getting to that.”

Linnet wanted to squirm, but instead she wrapped her arms defensively around her body. That movement had the unfortunate effect of bringing his gaze up from her lower limbs, where it settled on her breasts. To her undying horror she could feel her nipples bead, instinctively pulling tight in response to his heavy-lidded gaze.

“I couldn’t sleep in this dreadful heat,” she said, jerking her arms up over her chest. “I thought I might find a book in Lady Farnsworth’s study to occupy my time.”

“Ah. That explains it.”

He sat on the bench, propping his shoulders into the corner of the bay, looking entirely at his ease. Linnet, however, was anything but, since the seat was not nearly big enough for both her and his powerful frame. She tried to edge backward, but had nowhere to go. His long legs stretched in front of her, blocking her in. If she wanted to escape she’d practically have to leap over him.

But she didn’t want to escape, even though every moral precept she’d ever learned insisted she flee.

“Didn’t you have anything in your room?” he asked. “I brought your book back to the house this morning after your rather precipitous exit from the gazebo. I made certain the butler brought it to your room.”

Was he teasing her? He sounded amused, but she couldn’t really tell. If anyone had the ability to mask what he was thinking, it was Sir Anthony.

“Yes, thank you, but I was looking for something else,” she said in a polite voice.

“Something that would help me to sleep.”

He tilted his head, studying her.

Definitely amused.

“And was it only the heat that kept you awake?” His voice held a husky note that made all her muscles want to go slack.

She shrugged. “I can’t think what else it could be.”

Her attempt at a casual gesture made her breasts jiggle under the light fabric of her nightclothes, and drew his attention back to her chest. She winced, painfully aware of her immodest appearance. Her lamentably plump breasts bordered on the indecent, and she always made sure to keep them chastely covered.

He reached out and trailed a finger along her shoulder to her neck. “I can think of one other reason why you couldn’t sleep, can’t you?”

MINI REVIEW: I loved the way all the characters interacted. I enjoyed watching Anthony on the prowl for what he wanted and smiled as he became truly frustrated at times with Linnet. I’m sure he wanted to go all caveman on her but held back for decency’s sake.

She, however fought her own self over her feelings. She couldn’t get around him without blushing and felt she wasn’t good enough for him. When these two finally came together, it was like taking a deep breath and releasing a happy sigh.

This novella did not feel rushed and it had a good pace which kept me happily in the story and eagerly awaiting the next book, ‘Secrets For Seducing a Royal Bodyguard’ and the one after that ‘Confessions of a Royal Bridegroom’.

I liked the way it ended it with letters exchanged between Chloe and Dominic which is a great set up for the new four book series that follows, The Renegade Royals. Dominic Hunter’s story continues in this series and I look forward to following him on his journey.

Leah for b2b

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Vanessa KellyAUTHOR INFO: Vanessa Kelly is an award-winning author who was named by Booklist, the review journal of the American Library Association, as one of the “New Stars of Historical Romance.”  Her Regency-set historical romances have been nominated for awards in a number of contests, and her second book, Sex and The Single Earl, won the prestigious Maggie Medallion for Best Historical Romance.  Her third book, My Favorite Countess, was nominated for an RT Reviewers’ Choice Award for Best Regency Historical Romance.

Vanessa spends most of the year in Ottawa, Ontario with her husband, but she’s lucky enough to spend some of the winter near lovely Amelia Island, Florida.  When she’s not dreaming of plots for her next Regency novel, she’s writing USA Today Bestselling contemporary romances with her husband, under the pen name of V.K. Sykes. 

Visit Vanessa’s Books page to find out all about her new series, The Renegade Royals! And be sure to visit her Blog for her latest writing news and for guest appearances by a host of wonderful authors.

Vanessa is a member The Jaunty Quills, a group blog composed of fabulous authors like Shana Galen and Kristan Higgins.  She’s also a member of Rock*It Reads. You can find out all about this collective of NY published authors who also self-publish on Vanessa’s Rock*It Reads page.

And join Vanessa on FacebookTwitteror her Blog for daily updates and news about her books!

Don’t miss out on any news about Vanessa’s books. Sign up for her newsletter, and she’ll keep you up to date on her releases!

Fan2Author Interview with…Victoria Vane!

Victoria Vaneb2b Melanie: Please help me welcome an Author that I just discovered a few months ago, Victoria Vane [although when I discovered her it was under the pseudonym of Emery Lee as I read ‘Fortune's Son’]

Since then I’ve had a pleasure to read her other novels and can safely say that she’s quickly become one of my must read authors.

I’m so happy she’s here with us today! Welcome Victoria!

Victoria Vane: Thank so much for having me, Mel. I’m delighted to be here-and so happy you enjoyed Fortune’s Son enough to seek out my other books.  :)

b2b: Before I start with the questions, how about you tell us a bit about your writing career?

VV: Writing was nothing I ever planned on. It’s one of those things that happened to me. I woke up one day with a story that wouldn’t go away and knew I had to write it. Fourteen months later I had a finished novel (The Highest Stakes) and my life has never been the same!

b2b: Since I never read the original, can you tell me if it’s easier or harder to re-tell the story, or writing it from scratch?

VV: In the case of THE SHEIK RETOLD it was easier because the characters and basic plot were already there. Moreover, the author’s voice was very compatible with mine. After that it was mainly a matter of deciding what to keep and what to discard from the original story and then putting my own particular spin on it. THE SHEIK RETOLD most definitely has my distinctive stamp in regard to character development and sensuality!

b2b: Victoria, you took my breath away with the descriptions of the setting, but you also captured Diana’s thoughts and actions so well that I felt every emotion she did. This story was told only from her POV. Why was that?

TSR VV2

VV: Although E.M. Hull’s THE SHEIK was written in third person with only a few scenes/passages from Ahmed’s POV, I never quite connected with Diana. Part of that was certainly the way in which her character was originally portrayed, but given that the story was told primarily from her POV it only made sense to me to re-tell it in first person. First person allowed me to more fully explore her thoughts, motives, and desires. I also felt readers would empathize more with her character. I think first person also works in this story because it allows the sheik to remain a bit of an enigma.  ;-)

b2b: The hero of this tale is as Alpha as you could possibly make him, yet he still came off as fair and sensitive at times. Was it much altered from the original book?

VV: Yes. I think my version of Ahmed is much more complex and evolved. The original version of him seemed to have a streak of genuine cruelty that I have tempered, although it was a challenge to do this without watering down his powerful uber-alpha persona.

b2b: The intimate, explicit and erotic scenes in your books, which are very tastefully and sensually done, how hard are they to write?

VV: It’s VERY hard! My love scenes are exhausting to write because I try to pour so much emotion into them. I always try to use these scenes to reveal something new about the characters and to advance their relationship. Although I always have a clear vision of what I wish to portray in a love scene, I sometimes spend days on only a few paragraphs. It’s the emotion that makes a love scene compelling and memorable.

b2b: Cover Art in my humble opinion is really very important, and your covers are beautiful! I noticed you decided to redo Sheiks cover. How come?

VV: I loved the original cover as I felt it captured the mystery and enigma of the sheik. I thought it would appeal to a broader reading audience (general fiction and women’s fiction in addition to romance readers) but after a couple of weeks, when initial sales weren’t what I had anticipated, I began to wonder if my cover choice had perhaps put off some romance readers. Given that it is a very steamy romance, I decided to change the cover to better reflect the romance.

b2b: Titles are also very important. I wondered if you have help in coming up with them.

VV: Most of my book titles are my own. The exception is Treacherous Temptations which began as Dangerous Designs.  

b2b: Do you let someone read your work during your writing process? Who and why? Or do you wait ‘till it’s finished, then you let someone read it…and who?

VV: Although I do not work with a critique partner, I do have a beta reader who I met through Goodreads three years ago. After she reviewed my first novel we found we had a number of favorite books in common and struck up a friendship. She eventually offered to be my beta reader. She generally reads my books chapter by chapter as I am writing them, and then does a full read through when I am finished. She is a tough critic and does not cut me any slack for our friendship. Although she has enjoyed all of my books, I’m still waiting for a five star review from her. LOL!

b2b: What advice would you give a first-time author thinking of going into indy-publishing?

VV: Writing the book is the easy part. Promo is the killer. Sadly, according to the stats, most Indie authors (80%) sell less than 500 books. Very few people hit with their first effort. To succeed, you need to be both tenacious and prolific.

b2b: As a writer, I’m sure you read a lot. What do you read the most and what’s on your TBR right now?

VV: I don’t read nearly as much as I used to due to my aggressive writing schedule. In 2011, I read eighty-six books but only published two of my own that year. In 2012 I read thirty-five books and published six. This year I have read less than twenty books but have been working on seven!

Because I am so busy, I have become highly selective about what I read. I generally don’t dive into anything that has not been recommended by reviewers I respect. I just don’t have the time. Although I am now concentrating more on writing contemporary romance, my reading preference will always be historicals with a strong plot and historical detail. Incidentally, several of my favorite books in the past year have been by debut authors.

My favorite CR was Tangled by Emma Chase. For historical adventure I loved The Pirate Captain by Lynne Kerry. A great story with an exotic setting was The Wild Heart by Gina Rossi. My favorite Regency romance was The Duke’s Tattoo by Miranda Davis.

My current TBR is full of books by some great HR authors- Grace Burrowes, Cecelia Grant, Shana Galen, and Julie Ann Long to name only a few.

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b2b: Now, that ends up our ‘professional’ portion of this interview. Are you ready to get personal? Or are you going to chicken out on me?

VV: I am an open book! LOL!

b2b:  So, tell us a bit about yourself, something personal that you’d like us to know…anything that makes you comfortable…or not…like how many times did you fall in love?

VV: Wow! That is personal! Like most young girls, I experienced numerous infatuations early on, but have had only one real love— and we have been married for over thirty years. I am also happy to share that even after all this time together it’s still pretty hot!

What’s your favorite meal of the day (food)?

VV: I can’t count coffee? It’s the one thing I can’t live without!

Flannels or Silk?

VV: Absolutely silk! I’m very girlie!

Do you like to cook?

VV: We do eat a good bit of take out pizza at my house but I enjoy cooking when I have the time. I’m a pretty fair cook.

What’s your favorite spot in the house?

VV: My office. It’s my personal space. My sanctuary from the world.

Cats or Dogs?

VV: Little black and white dogs named Alfie.

Champagne or Beer?

VV: Champagne.

Your favorite time of the year?

VV: Autumn. Love the cool temperatures.

Movies or TV?

VV: Movies. I rarely watch TV unless it’s a period drama.

What’s your favorite TV show or movie?

VV: Love Downton Abbey and Last of the Mohicans.

GIVEAWAY: Since I recently rewrote E.M. Hull’s ‘The Sheik’, I’d love to know if there are any other classic novels (romance or other) that you would like to see updated or retold. My giveaway is winner’s choice of ‘A Wild Night’s Bride’ or ‘A Breach of Promise’.

EXCERPT: here.

BUY LINKS: Amazon/ B&N

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Rakes and Sheiks and Cowboys…Oh My!

Victoria Vane is an multiple award-winning romance novelist and history junkie whose collective works of fiction range from wildly comedic romps to emotionally compelling and intensely erotic romance. Victoria also writes historical fiction as Emery Lee and is the founder of Goodreads Romantic Historical Fiction Lovers and the Romantic Historical Lovers book review blog.
Look for Victoria’s sexy new contemporary cowboy series coming in summer 2014.

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‘The Sheik Retold’ by Victoria Vane & E. M. Hull

TSR VV2STORY: The Desert was Never Hotter!

Pride and passion vie for supremacy between a haughty young heiress and a savage son of the Sahara in this fresh new telling of E.M. Hull’s romance classic. A haughty young heiress for whom the world is a playground… A savage son of the Sahara who knows no law but his own…

“There will be inquiries.” I choked out. “I am not such a nonentity that nothing will be done when I am missed. You will pay dearly for what you have done.”

“Pay?” His amused look sent a cold feeling of dread through me. “I have already paid… in gold that matches your hair, my gazelle. Besides,” he continued, “the French have no jurisdiction over me. There is no law here above my own.”

My trepidation was growing by the minute. “Why have you done this? Why have you brought me here?”  “Why?” He repeated with a slow and heated appraisal that made me acutely, almost painfully, conscious of my sex.

“Bon Dieu! Are you not woman enough to know?”

When pride and passion vie for supremacy, blistering desert days are nothing compared to sizzling Sahara nights…

REVIEW: First, I never read the original by E. M. Hall, [although after I read this one, I had to get it for my Kindle especially because it was FREE!], so my review is solely on this retelling of the tale.

My impression of the heroine Diana kept going back and forth between admiration and disdain. I started off by admiring her spunk and independence; I understood that her background shaped who she was and I liked her adventurous side. She appeared to know exactly who she was and what she wants of her life, and I admired that.

However, as the story developed and I got to know her better, I questioned many of her decisions and I thought her too impulsive and bratty; too stubborn as she ignored the dangers she was warned about.

Sheik Ahmed Ben Hassan is the hero of this tale and if you’re into the über Alpha Male, this guy is ‘all that’ and more!

Since this story is told to us from the heroine’s POV we are not privy to the hero’s thoughts at all, yet his actions and the people around him, give us a good introduction into his past and present.

He is a complex, flawed and mysterious man whose life went through a profound change before he embraced his identity. Despite his powerful and controlling nature I liked Ahmed Ben Hassan because he was constant; knew who and what he was, and he was a perfect man for a woman like Diana.

‘The Sheik Retold’ is an intense and sensual romantic adventure. It’s filled with action and drama, some plot twists and plenty of very sensual moments between these two headstrong characters.   

What I also liked in this book is the wonderful background in which this story is unraveling. Ms. Vane had me take virtual trip into the desert with Diana and her Sheik. She had me smell in the scents they did and sweat the danger they were pot through.

If you’re looking for an exotic, sensual and passion filled romantic adventure, this is for you! I highly recommend it!

Melanie for b2b

*Book provided by the Author.

Spotlight on Victoria Vane and…

THE DEVIL DEVERE SERIES

A Wild Night’s Bride  (Ned and Phoebe’s story- romantic romp)

AWNB VVBOOK BLURB: What happens when a struggling actress and a grieving widower come together in a night of unbridled debauchery orchestrated by a bored and machinating rake?

She’s a lonely lady down on her luck: Phoebe Scott, alias Kitty Willis, is a struggling Covent Garden actress with a bruised heart and a closely guarded secret.

He’s steadfast and eminently respectable:  Sir Edward Chambers, Ned to his intimates, is guilt-ridden over his beloved wife’s death and avowed to live out a rustic and mundane life … of celibacy.

With the devil in charge — there will surely be hell to pay: Devil in disguise, Viscount Ludovic DeVere, is determined to return his best friend, Ned, to the land of the living. His meddling machinations result in a night of mind-blowing passion after which “dull dog Ned” awakes to find himself in the King of England’s bed!

EXCERPT: here

MINI REVIEW: The first time I ever read this author was under her pseudonym of Emery Lee and the book was ‘Fortune’s Son’. My review of it is here. Since I liked her style and voice, I thought to try her other books, under her Victoria Vane pseudonym.

In this first book of the DeVere Series, she has a couple that no one in their right mind would put together, let alone have them fall for each other, and that is why this romance works.

The story never takes itself too seriously and through its witty dialogue achieves what it’s set out to do: entertain, titillate and intrigue.

The author cleverly spreads a few ‘crumbs’ throughout the story about Devil DeVere that a reader is left with too many questions to now abandon the series, therefore compelling one to follow the trail into the next book.

If you’re looking for a faced paced, funny and very sensual series this summer, this will, without a doubt, fill the bill. Highly recommended.

TVH VVBOOK BLURB: Lady Vesta Chambers is accustomed to getting what she wants…Coddled and pampered, since her mother’s death, Lady Vesta Chambers is beside herself when her father goes to London to prepare for her come-out and returns with a young bride of his own. With her world turned upside down, Vesta accompanies her godmother, Diana, to town, where she is smitten the moment she lays eyes on a certain captain of the Seventeenth Light Dragoons.

But when the object of her passion has eyes for another… it’s time to take matters in hand..

Captain Hewett DeVere, younger brother and heir to Viscount Ludovic ”The Devil” DeVere, has returned from the American war scarred, disillusioned, and looking forward to settling down to a quiet and respectable life. But when the handsome and straight-laced captain turns his eyes toward the widowed Diana, Vesta is prepared to take devilish measures to prove to prove to Hew once and for all that she is no longer a little girl, but a woman with the passion of …a huntress.

EXCERPT: here

MINI REVIEW: This is the second book in The Devil DeVere series and this couple was even more mismatched than the first! I think Ms. Vane thrives on this concept and deliberately plots her stories around these poor characters that have nothing whatsoever in common.

 

The hero is enamored with another woman, and the heroine is hell-bent in snatching him up for herself and blatantly pushing herself on him. I actually enjoyed the many, MANY plots our little virgin puts the hero through in order to show him how perfect she is for him.

Another fun and witty, as well as sensual, little romp. I do recommend they be read in order though.

 

TDYK VVBOOK BLURB: Who can Find a Virtuous Woman…Beautiful, respectable, and dutiful, Lady Diana Palmerston-Wriothesley  has long resigned herself to her twelve-year loveless and childless marriage to a feckless husband…until his gambling pushes them to the brink of  financial ruin.

Sometimes the Devil is in Disguise…As a Gentleman…

Viscount Ludovic, “The Devil DeVere”, is a man accustomed to taking what he wants according to his whim and heedless of the cost…until he encounters a woman who won’t be had at any price.

When Dealing with the Devil, It’s Easy to be Burned…

When Diana discovers a secret that shatters the carefully built façade concealing her private pain, she seeks aid and comfort from the most unlikely place…the devil’s arms. But will a single night of heavenly passion damn them both forever?

EXCERPT: here

MINI REVIEW: This is the third book in the series, but it actually takes place before the other two books, and it gives us a look into Diana and Devil’s past. Once more she pairs a duo of characters that, on paper, should not be compatible, yet once they meet, the sparks fly and the tension this author builds is palpable.

We finally get to know and like Diana. I was surprised at how much I really liked her.As for our hero, he reveal  much about himself and not all of it to my liking. As in earlier books, Ms. Vane plots, paces and entertains well with this first part of Diana and Devil’s story.

To get the most out of this series, I strongly suggest it be read in order. It really gives you the dynamic of the players involved and especially this story which has a mystery plot in it.

TDM VVBOOK BLURB: When Burned Once …Arriving in London as her goddaughter’s chaperone, Baroness Diana Palmerston-Wriothesley wants to avoid her erstwhile lover at all costs. Once nearly consumed by passion, four years has reduced the former inferno to bitterness and ashes.

By An Old Flame… 

A world-weary master of seduction, Ludovic ”The Devil” DeVere is bored with his chosen life of debauchery. When Diana’s charge disappears, she is forced to seek help from the devil’s lair, and their mutual desire reignites with undeniable ferocity.

Fire Is Best Fought With Fire

While DeVere is hell-bent to have her back in his bed, Diana is equally determined to bring him to his knees…by acquiring some sensual secrets of her own.

EXCERPT: here

MINI REVIEW: This is the second part to the third book and Devil and Diana’s story. In this one, the author finally lets us, as well as Diana, see the heart of our hero. Diana finally realizes that this man is more than he lets people see, and we as readers realize that both hero and heroine are two very complex people who are meant to be together.

This was one of those happily ever after stories I was looking forward to and wasn’t disappointed.

The tension, as well as the sensual scenes, in this book is so well written that will leave you breathless.Throughout the series Ms. Vane has done an outstanding job in balancing characterization with plotting a fun, entertaining and interesting story. She enhanced each story with a witty dialogue that at times had me laugh out loud.

This is a must in the series!

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JOTE VV
PREQUEL VIGNETTES
DITM VV
TTWS VV

Victoria VaneAUTHOR BIO: Victoria Vane is an multiple award-winning romance novelist and history junkie whose collective works of fiction range from wildly comedic romps to emotionally compelling and intensely erotic romance. Look for Victoria’s sexy new contemporary cowboy series coming in summer 2014.

A lover of history and deeply romantic stories, Victoria Vane combines these elements to craft novels and novellas for a mature reading audience. Her writing influences are Georgette Heyer for fabulous witty dialogue and over the top characters, Robin Schone , Sylvia Day, and Charlotte Featherstone for beautifully crafted prose in stories with deep sensuality, and Lila DiPasqua for creative vision in melding history with eroticism. 

Victoria also writes historical fiction as Emery Lee and is the founder of Goodreads Romantic Historical Fiction Lovers and the Romantic Historical Lovers book review blog.

You can reach Ms. Vane at: Web Site / Facebook / Tweeter / Goodreads

‘Fortune’s Son’ by Emery Lee

FS ELSTORY: Love is the ultimate gamble…

Seasoned gambler Philip Drake knows every trick and uses most of them. After years of infamy, he’s ready to accept the mantle of respectability with his earldom– until a devastating racing loss and the threat of debtors’ prison force Philip right back into his gaming ways…

Susannah, Lady Messingham, is a woman with a past who refuses to belong to any man again. But Philip’s skill catches her eye and she persuades him to teach her how to win at the tables. Their new partnership turns into an exhilarating high-stakes game that entangles them in terrifying risk and unimaginable rewards…

REVIEW: This book has been on my wish list and TBR for a year now and the only reason for it was its cover. I mean, just look at it! I also liked the blurb for it, although once I read the book, I was amazed how inadequate it was. Another thing I found out as I finished the book was that ‘Fortune’s Son’ is a sequel to ‘The Highest Stakes’ and finally things in the middle of the story made more sense. Needless to say, I am now compelled to read the first book and highly recommend you read it in order because the author only glossed over some of the very important and crucial events. If the author repeated those events verbatim from ‘The Highest Stakes’ this book could have been better understood and enjoyed by this reader.

The story opens up with our hero in his thirties, with a hangover after his huge loss on the racing track, and now trying to once again come up with money to pay his debts. And while he’s arranging the sale of some horse-flesh, someone in his company mentions the name of Susannah, Lady Messingham, and off into memory lane goes our hero.

We are now meeting Philip Drake at age twenty, a second son of the Earl of Hastings. He is handsome, full of life and devilry, charming and doesn’t give a damn about his ruthless father or half-brother. He hasn’t seen them in years and refuses to live off of his family’s money. His quick wit and talent at dice and cards are the only means of his support while awaiting his mother’s legacy left to him when he turns twenty-one.

Susannah, Lady Messingham, is a twenty-eight year old widow that has money troubles of her own and as she spots young Philip at play, decides that he just might help her out by tutoring her in gaming. At first, Philip isn’t so enthusiastic about her proposal, but the chemistry they share from the start is something he’s willing to explore.

As they embark on this journey of mutual need, neither is aware that their relationship would go through the highest of the highs and lowest of the lows and have their love tested over and over.

As I read this story, watching Philip’s life go from heartache to heartache, I kept thinking that he must have been cursed from the moment he was born and my heart just went out to him.

Emery Lee, with her unprecedented and meticulous research of history, gaming and horse racing in Georgian era England, made this story play out like an epic movie in my mind’s eye. Her characterization of Philip and Susannah was impeccable and their love as it spanned a decade will touch your heart.

For a high drama, passion spanning a decade, revenge and redemption of both hero and heroine, this is one book that is a must read, BUT only if you read the first book before this one.

*Book purchased through Amazon.