Donna Cummings stops by b2b…

LRL DC‘Lord Rakehell’s Love’

BOOK BLURB: Aphrodite, the Goddess of Love, is attempting to play matchmaker in Regency London. . . only she’s placed a curse on the lovers instead.

He was late to his own wedding…

Simon is known as Lord Rakehell, so any sane woman would be wary of wedding a man of his reputation. He truly loves Georgiana, and is determined to prove it to her, but how can he convince her after his wedding-day blunder?

She was heartbroken by the scandal…

Georgiana knew the dangers of falling instantly in love with a celebrated rake, but even she had not expected him to show up for their nuptials with ladies-of-the-evening in tow. Now she must determine whether Simon’s protestations of love are genuine, or if she is being led astray by the passion he continues to incite in her.

REVIEW: This is a short novella and before you start reading it find a cozy spot in your home, relax with some hot chocolate and get ready to employ your “suspension of disbelief” [meaning: you’re not expected to actually believe the story, in order to enjoy it!] as I did.

Here’s what I liked about it: its humor, witty dialogue, Simon and Georgina’s chemistry. Both were written well and had me glued to my ‘Android’.

Here’s what I had trouble with: the fantasy part of it and Aphrodite were just not my cup of tea, even though those were the parts that made me laugh out loud.

Bottom line: a quick, fun, sensual [oh yeah!] and entertaining fantasy novella that will fill a couple of hours of an evening you’ve decided to spend indoors. The author doesn’t take the characters too seriously therefore letting the readers indulge in the fantasy to their heart’s content, and I can’t argue with that.

Melanie for b2b

*Book provided by publisher through NetGalley.

Buy Links: Amazon / Barnes & Noble / Apple / Smashwords

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EXCERPT:

St. George’s Church, Hanover Square

It was the wedding debacle of the century.

Georgiana sniffled, hiding her distress in a weak smile and her lawn handkerchief. The very handkerchief from the evening she had fallen instantly in love with Simon. She had insisted on having it today, for purely sentimental reasons, while she plighted her troth.

Unfortunately, the groom was not present.

Nor was there any indication he was planning on being at the church anytime soon. If he was, surely he would have sent a servant to relay the news, along with a basketful of apologies. She was torn between wishing something dreadful had befallen him, and wishing he would arrive so she could be the one who caused something dreadful to befall him.

It had been such a whirlwind romance. During the past weeks she had become the darling of the gossips, since it was unheard of for a Wallflower Row miss to receive an offer of marriage from a genuine London rake.

Georgiana sniffed again, fighting back tears she refused to let fall. If only she had heeded her mother’s warnings about wedding a notorious rake. Yet how could she have attended Mama’s entreaties to be cautious? She had been swept up into passionate and exciting moments she had never thought to experience.

Perhaps instead of finding the love of her life, she had just committed the grandest mistake of her life.

All at once there was a commotion outside the church, with the sounds of horses whinnying and shouts from an assortment of people. Her heart leapt, much as she chided it for doing so.

In the next instant, Simon was walking toward her, his demeanor sheepish. His clothing was in complete disarray, something she had never seen from him, even after the stolen moments they had shared when chaperones were scarce. His hair was mussed, but not in the careless manner that was so fashionable.

No, it was as if he had just tumbled from bed, and dashed across town to the church.

Georgiana steeled her features into the most disapproving of expressions.

“Georgie!” Simon’s arms were spread wide, as if expecting her to race into them and smother him with kisses.

She had quite a different smothering in mind just then. “My lord.”

His smile vanished at the unwelcoming monotone of her voice. “Georgiana, I can explain.”

“I am eager to hear it.” Her tone grew icier as she considered all of the possibilities.

“Yes, well, I am not at all sure how it happened. Because I have been thinking of nothing else but this night. . . I mean, this day.”

Her cheeks heated, for she had spent a great deal of time pondering this evening too, but she pretended she did not take his meaning. Instead, she lifted her eyebrows, awaiting his explanation.

Every one of the wedding guests leaned forward in the oak pews, unable to hide their interest in what he had to say.

“Georgiana.” Simon moved closer, his voice lowered so only she could hear him. “I know it is unforgivable, but I beg you to forgive me nonetheless. I have no idea how this happened. It was not intentional. I can assure you of that.” His eyes begged her to relent. He leaned in until his lips were at her ear. “I shall spend the entire evening proving my devotion. As well as the next. And every night thereafter.”

She shivered. She had waited a seeming eternity for the moment they could explore the passion that flared between them on a constant basis. She almost fanned her face, but did not want the amassed audience to know how ardently he affected her.

It was not such a terrible slight, was it? She knew without a doubt that he loved her. His eyes sparkled, as if he could see how close she was to capitulating. The devil knew how much she desired him and was using it to his advantage.

Georgiana opened her mouth, ready to upbraid him for causing her such distress, and for handing the gossips additional reasons to chatter about the unlikeliness of their romance. Once she had given Simon a proper chastising, they could continue with the wedding, and the wedding breakfast, and, at last, the wedding night. . .

Another commotion at the entrance to the chapel stole her attention, as well as that of every person in the building. A high-perch phaeton could be seen through the open doorway, and Georgiana was certain she saw Simon’s friend Lord Weyson at the reins, along with—

“Lord Rakehell! Your hat.”

A scantily-clad woman climbed down from the rig and carefully lifted the headgear from her curly red hair. For propriety’s sake, she did her best to stay outside the church, although she was perilously close to falling outside of her bodice. “You forgot your hat!”

“Georgiana,” Simon said again, but this time his shoulders sagged, and his stricken expression made it clear he knew there was no recovering from this catastrophe.

Not when the guests gazed at her with such pity on their faces. After such a public embarrassment, forgiveness was not a gift Georgiana could bestow, no matter how fervently Simon pleaded.

She turned away from him and made it all the way out of the chapel before collapsing into hopeless tears.

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Giveaway [International]: 2 eBooks

LORD RAKEHELL’S LOVE

&

LORD MIDNIGHT

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***   ***   ***

Donna Cummings

AUTHOR INFO: I have worked as an attorney, winery tasting room manager, and retail business owner, but nothing beats the thrill of writing humorously-ever-after romances.

Currently I reside in New England, although I fantasize about spending the rest of my days in a tropical locale, wearing flip flops year-round, or in Regency London, scandalizing the ton.

I can usually be found on Twitter, chatting about writing and coffee, or on Facebook, chatting about coffee and writing. You can always reach me through these Social Media Links:

Website/blog / Twitter / Facebook / Goodreads / Pinterest:

‘I Do. . .or Die’ by Donna Cummings

BOOK BLURB:“Always a bridesmaid, never a bride” is Shelby Atwood’s personal credo. She’s managed to avoid commitment all her life — no pets, no plants, not even a long-term lease. Heck, she’s had colds last longer than her romantic relationships. How could she be any other way when she has a gigolo for a father? But then gunfire erupts at the latest wedding she’s agreed to be in, and it ends up being the best thing to happen to Shelby’s love life.

Detective Ryan Nichols is assigned to the case, and when the shootings don’t stop, he becomes her 24-hour bodyguard. Shelby wouldn’t mind except Ryan is too appealing, too sexy, and too happy to remind her of the raucous bachelorette party when she mistook him for a stripper.

Shelby’s plan is simple: find the shooter, have a fling with Ryan, and return to her non-committal life. Unfortunately, the shooter is very elusive. Shelby’s feelings for Ryan are way more than adrenaline-fueled lust. And returning to her normal life is now impossible since, despite her lifelong resistance, she’s managed to put her heart smack dab in the line of fire.

EXCERPT:

You just don’t expect to see gunfire at a wedding.

I know, because I’ve been in a lot of weddings, despite my well-known aversion to them. “Always a bridesmaid, never a bride” is not just a cautionary adage, it’s my personal credo.

Having a gigolo for a father might have contributed something to that philosophy. Who really knows for sure?

Today Alexa, my best friend since grade school, glided down the aisle of the chapel to the accompaniment of a string quartet playing an elegant Handel air. For this wedding, she wore a white strapless dress, complete with tulle and beaded embroidery that made all the women sigh as she passed. The low v-back and body-hugging mermaid shape, along with her icy blonde beauty, provoked quite a different response from the males in the congregation.

I clutched my single calla lily, watching her entrance with a mixture of awe and disbelief. How had Alexa persuaded me to be her maid of honor, again?

And again.

And yet again.

“Shelby, you’re my good luck charm,” she had cooed while I suffered through the circle of hell known as “trying on bridesmaid dresses.”

“How do you figure that?” I had asked, peeling off a poufy satin monstrosity the color of Mountain Dew. “Every time I’ve been your maid of honor, you’ve gotten divorced!”

“Oh, that has nothing to do with anything. Everything goes off without a hitch when you’re there.”

“Maybe that’s the problem. If I weren’t around, there would be some sort of hitch, and then you wouldn’t be hitched.”

I admired Alexa’s wildly unwavering enthusiasm for weddings, and commitment, and all that “’til death do us part” stuff. Especially since none of her marriages seemed to last very long. Two years was the record so far, and that was because her husband was working overseas for one of those years. Which was supposedly the reason for the end of that union.

That, and the next husband was already in her sights.

When the evil wedding consultant gleefully rolled in another torture rack crammed with dresses for me to endure, I shuddered. “Have you ever thought that maybe, just maybe, marriage isn’t right for you?”

“That one.” Alexa pointed to a strapless hot pink mini-dress that could have worked—if Hooters ever decided to cater weddings. “And why all these concerns? Don’t you like Jordan?”

“Of course I like him, silly. He seems perfect.”

He was handsome, loving, and completely ga-ga for his bride. Alexa told me during our numerous wedding planning get-togethers, which thankfully required a great deal of wine, about Jordan’s great sense of humor, and even greater job. Who wouldn’t want him for a husband? If I were the marrying kind, even I would want him for a husband.

Although, as I recall, Husbands One through Three were pretty darn perfect too.

Alexa smiled, spinning her index finger to indicate I should twirl in front of her. “Maybe, Shelby, you’re afraid all of these weddings will change your mind about marriage.”

“Ha!” I, the eternal bachelorette, scoffed, and quite eloquently. Alexa raised her eyebrow as if debating whether to get out of her chair and start the Heimlich maneuver on me.

In the end, I gave up trying to make Alexa see the multiple incredible benefits to staying single. I’ll probably be her bridesmaid when we’re bunkmates in the nursing home, although by then I’ll be adjusting the tapes of her adult diaper, rather than the tiers of her lace-edged wedding veil. I agreed to be her maid of honor this one last time.

Of course, I didn’t realize when I made the promise this would be Alexa’s final chance to stand at the altar.

At the minister’s signal, Alexa handed me her bouquet of cascading white lilies and then she faced Jordan, ready to promise to love, cherish, and obey the (fourth) man of her dreams. She beamed at him, eliciting a few more wistful sighs behind us at the evidence of true love. Or maybe it was for the handsome groom in his single-breasted designer tuxedo, beaming right back at her.

Reverend Deering asked Alexa to repeat the vows she most likely had memorized several ceremonies ago. I had heard them often enough that I could have stepped in to recite the words if either of them were prevented from completing their duties.

“I, Alexa, take thee Jordan—”

A ray of June sunshine chose that moment to burst through the chapel windows, highlighting the promise contained in the newlyweds’ expressions. Even I felt swept up in the optimism that accompanied each and every one of Alexa’s weddings. My heart beat with hopefulness, and I wondered if someday I would—

Out of nowhere, gunfire erupted, a quick succession of pop, pop, pop.

Screams quickly followed, along with the frantic sounds of the congregation scrambling for shelter under the wooden pews.

“Sonofabitch!” I tossed the bouquet over my shoulder, as I’d seen Alexa do millions of times, and darted toward my suddenly bleeding best friend, knocking her to the floor to prevent any further harm.

I looked up and saw the minister cowering under a pew, tugging at the tulle swag that moments ago had been decoration, not flimsy protection against wayward bullets. My heart pounded while my brain struggled with two wildly different thoughts.

One, the blood spurting from Alexa’s shoulder ensured I would never have to wear this peach-yogurt-colored dress again.

And two, who could possibly hate weddings more than I did?”

FEATURED AUTHOR: Donna Cummings

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Fan2Author Interview with…Donna Cummings!

b2bMelanie: Bookworms, please help me welcome Donna Cummings with my first question…

I never read any of your work before ‘Lord Midnight, so please tell us a bit about yourself and your writing career as well as the book. When did you know that writing was what you wanted to do?

Donna Cummings: Melanie, thanks so much for having me here today. I’ve actually had a lot of other careers, including attorney, and retail store owner, and while each job required me to use my writing abilities, it just wasn’t the same as writing romances! So I started writing those to entertain myself while working at jobs that weren’t always as satisfying. But really, what could possibly be as satisfying as writing sexy, humorous romantic stories? That’s a career I’ll always love.

b2b: How cool to find out we have retail experience in common. Although, I never owned  it, I loved working in it.

Donna, Lord Midnight was an enjoyable read from start to finish (bookworms, for my review of it click RRAH). What was the idea behind it? When you write, what comes first, the plot, voice, characters or setting?

DC: I’m so glad to hear how much you enjoyed Lord Midnight. And I love that you called it “delicious”. The story started from a couple of unrelated ideas that crashed into each other in my brain, while I was doing research for something else. I read a newspaper article talking about how tough the job of the U.S. vice president can be, since that person’s future essentially depends on something awful happening to the president. And it made me think what might happen if something dreadful happened to the heir to an English title–and even worse, what if it happened because someone didn’t want to wait their turn?

When I write, the characters usually appear first. They’re typically in the middle of a conversation, chatting away, and I have to figure out where they’ve been before that scene, and where they’re headed. It’s always fun, and almost like solving an intriguing mystery.

b2b: I truly enjoyed the slow build-up of their relationship and loved the banter between them, but what made this such an enjoyable read for me was the friendship that first develops between the hero and heroine and I wondered why you chose that route?

DC: I’m so intrigued that you mention the friendship angle; because I’m not sure I realized it was there until now! I love characters who banter with each other, and I’m a huge fan of witty dialogue, and fortunately I have characters who love to banter and engage in humorous exchanges. I think it’s a great way for characters to get to know each other, and humor also allows people to let down their guard, which is necessary when you’re learning to trust someone, and fall in love.

b2b: Would you mind telling us who inspired your hero and heroine? And speaking of, who is your favorite hero?

DC: I don’t have a specific inspiration for either of them–although there was this one barista at Starbucks with long blond hair, and I kept wondering if his first name was Gabriel. . . Ahem. My favorite romance hero is a Georgette Heyer one, but not her typical Regency heroes, although I adore them too. This one is an English pirate by the name of Beauvallet, and he is witty, constantly laughing in the face of danger, and recklessly doing the impossible to win his lady-love. I just can’t resist that kind of hero.

b2b: Donna, do you think that there is a difference between, and specifically, what sets apart in your opinion the ‘traditional’ regency novels from ‘historical novels set in the regency time period’?

DC:  I actually started writing traditional Regencies, and at the time they were typically shorter books, with witty dialogue, humorous situations, and absolutely no sex in the love scenes. I think readers and writers wanted to explore different aspects of that era, as well as a wider range of emotions and sensuality, so now we have an amazing choice when it comes to what’s available in Regency-set historicals. Lord Midnight was actually my first “non-traditional” Regency, although it’s definitely not the last. I like the combination of humorous and sexy, so I guess I’m writing a blend of the two types.

b2b: What’s up next for Donna Cummings?

DC: I’m working on several things right now. I just finished a contemporary novella which is part of an anthology that came about in a fun way: someone posted a pic on Twitter of a hot guy on a train, and our comments quickly turned into “let’s each write a story based on the concept of a stranger on a train”. I’ve also been posting some excerpts on my blog of a contemporary romantic comedy/mystery titled I Do. . .or Die, and I may self-publish it soon. I’m also finishing up another Regency historical, Lord Wastrel, which is excerpted at the back of Lord Midnight. The hero and heroine — Hugh and Felicia — make me laugh a lot, and they have a wonderful friendship — so I’m hoping that will be an enjoyable read too.

b2b: Donna, thanks so much for coming over to play! I hope you come back often to chat with us! I’m looking forward to it!

DC: Thank you. I will definitely come back to play! I had a great time!

I’ve got an e-copy of Lord Midnight to give away, and it’s available internationally (as long as you can read on Kindle or Nook). Tell me about the romance hero you find irresistible, and why.

Melanie here. Here’s a bit about Donna: “… worked as an attorney, winery tasting room manager, and retail business owner, but nothing beats the thrill of writing humorously-ever-after romances.

Currently I reside in Massachusetts, although I fantasize about spending the rest of my days in a tropical locale, consuming mojitos for breakfast and wearing flip flops year-round.

You can find out more about me, and my books, here.”

‘Lord Midnight’ by Donna Cummings

GABRIEL DeVAULT, a dashing highwayman, lives to avenge himself against the uncle who stole his title and tried to kill him as a child. One night’s robbery yields unexpected riches when his uncle’s spirited bride-to-be falls into Gabriel’s arms. Now his plans for vengeance include seduction of the innocent miss, in the home that once was his own.

MARISA DUNSMORE is blackmailed into wedding the cold and calculating Edmund DeVault, Lord Westbrook, to protect her beloved aunt. When her attempts to escape the upcoming marriage fail, she turns to the man she knows as Lord Midnight, entrusting him with her love, and her future.

Soon Gabriel must choose: saving the woman who stole his heart, or destroying the man who stole his life.

MINI REVIEW: I’ve never read anything from Donna Cummings before ‘Lord Midnight’, but that will change after this book.

I reviewed this book for Romance Reader At Heart last month (here) and thought to let you all know that I really enjoyed it. I have no doubt that you’ll all fall in love with Gabriel. As for Marisa, she will take your breath away with her wit and charm.

I loved everything about this story, from the pace of the story to the plot of it. It will have you tied in knots and make you anxious for the HEA. I highly recommend it, so make sure you find the time for it.