‘Always Come Home’ by Maureen Driscoll

md achSTORY: From the author of the Kellington series of Regency romances, comes the first novel about the Emerson family.

Colin Emerson, the Earl of Ridgeway, has two unmarried sisters and a mountain of debt incurred by his late father. He has no choice but to marry an heiress. It is most unfortunate, therefore, when he falls in love with a penniless governess.

Ava Conway has been making her way in the world since the death of her father. She takes a position as the governess to Lord Ridgeway’s sisters, but finds her growing attachment to the earl threatens his family’s future.

Bound by honor, torn by love, can Colin do right by his sisters while following his heart?

REVIEW: It’s no news to my followers that I’m a huge fan of this author and have been ever since I read her first book in the Kellington series. I think she is a wonderful storyteller and after Kellington’s I wondered in which direction she would take us next. I didn’t have to wait too long. She is back with a brand new family and I love them as much as I did the Kelington brood.

Watch out Kellington’s, here come the Emersons, starting with Colin, a man who would do anything for his two little sisters and their ancestral home.

This is one of those stories that are sweet and sensual at the same time. The hero and the heroine of this story are good and decent people who are faced with a dilemma of giving in to their feelings or do their duty toward people that they care about.

Ms. Driscoll pens a tale filled with wonderful prose and characters with depth and passion. I loved Colin and Ava’s road to discovery of each other the most, but coming close second was the secondary love of Maude and Stemple, Colin’s acquired ‘servants’.

Ms. Driscoll gave us so many great secondary characters  who I loved a lot, such as Colin’s older sister Rosemary (who it looks like has an eye for his friend Nathaniel, the Marquess of Grayson); his younger sister Leticia was a little hellion and way too perceptive; the American Babcock family that took over their home for a season was hilarious, and Nora and Myra along with the villain Clayton were characters well written as well. Even the cat Jasper had a good role in this story.

If you are a fan of awesome, witty, clever, funny and entertaining dialogue between all the characters in your stories, than this book will make your day. It really will.

Melanie for b2b.

Complimentary copy provided by the author.

Maureen Driscoll stops by b2b…


I hope everyone is enjoying the day with friends, family and loved ones of all kinds.

I was so happy when Mel asked me to take part in this year’s Push a Book, but then became immediately frightened because the pressure was on to find the right book – the unknown gem that would change someone’s life the way it did mine.  There is a book that stands out in my mind, but since so many people have probably read it, I asked her for special permission to give away two books.  And, since she’s awesome, she said yes.

OPR MJPThe first book is Mary Jo Putney’s ONE PERFECT ROSE.  I’m someone who not only needs a happily ever after, but I don’t really like that many traumatic events to occur on the journey.  Real life can be depressing enough.  I like my fiction escapist with a minimum of sadness.  But, ONE PERFECT ROSE made me sob like a baby a few times.  And I liked it.

Stephen Kenyon, the Duke of Ashburton, is told he’s dying.  He takes to the road to experience life as he’s never seen it before.  Incognito, of course.  He meets Rosalind Jordan, who’s travelling with her adopted family who are theater folks.  Yes, they fall in love.  And, yes, there’s a happy ending.  But the book is profound about the meaning of life, love and loss.  It has stayed with me in ways that are hard to describe.  If you don’t know it, you have to read it.  If you’ve read it, I’m sure you’ve revisited it over the years.

I love this book.

TM JAHA less well-known book is the time travel romance THE MINE by John Heldt.  This is an indie written by the husband of a college friend and it’s spectacular.  Joel Smith is a cocky college student in 2000 who’s on the verge of taking the world by storm.  But while exploring an old mine in Montana, he finds himself in a time portal that takes him to Seattle just before Pearl Harbor.

It brings up the age old question of whether or not you would change history if you knew what was about to happen.  But it’s also a romance, as Joel falls in love with Ginny, all while trying to get back home.  It’s the first book in a series of time travel romances.  They’re well-written, thought-provoking and sweet.

If you’d like the chance to win Kindle copies of either book, please leave a comment here answering the following question:  if there was a moment in time in your own life you would like to revisit, what would it be?  And please tell me which book you’d like.

I apologize in advance that there will be a delay before I get back to you.  I’m currently at my mom’s and she doesn’t have Internet service.  She’s 90, so that’s allowed.  But I will get back to you as soon as possible. 

Thank you.  And Happy Thanksgiving!

EXCERPT: ‘One Perfect Rose’

London, 1794

Silent as a mouse, the child stood in the alley, her gaze riveted on the young couple sauntering down the shabby waterfront street. The two were different from those who lived in the neighborhood, their clothing clean and their voices full of laughter.

And they were eating meat pies. The little girl sniffed the savory scent longingly.

The tall gentleman made a sweeping gesture with one hand, and a sizable chunk of his pie fell to the dirty street. He didn’t even notice.

The child waited with the patience bred of fear for the couple to move on a safe distance. But she daren’t wait too long, because a dog or maybe a rat would get her prize. When she judged it safe, she darted forward to grab the scrap and stuff it into her mouth. It was still warm, the best-tasting food she’d had in forever.

Then the lady glanced back over her shoulder. The child froze, hoping not to be noticed. She’d learned quickly that it was better not to be seen. Bad Boys threw stones, and there had been the Bad Man who’d lured her close with the offer of a sausage, then picked her up and run his hot hands over her. He’d wanted to eat her, she thought, but he let her go quick enough when she bit his tongue.

Then he’d chased her, screaming bad words until she squeezed under a sagging fence and hid in a pile of trash. She’d eaten the sausage there, and ever since she watched out for the Bad Man, and for any other men who might get that queer look in their eyes.

The pretty dark-haired lady raised her brows and said with a smile, “There’s a wee scavenger behind us, Thomas.”

The smile was nice, but even so, the child started to retreat toward the alley.

The lady crouched so that her blue eyes were the same level as the child’s. “No need to run, sweetheart. There’s enough to share.” She held out the rest of her meat pie temptingly.

The child hesitated, remembering the Bad Man, who had also lured her with food. But this was a lady, and the pie smelled so good.

She skipped forward and snatched the morsel from the lady’s hand. Then she backed up a few steps and ate, keeping her wary gaze on her benefactors.

“Poor mite,” the man named Thomas said in a deep voice that rolled across the street. “Her parents should be whipped for letting her roam the streets like this.”

A rusty voice spoke from the shadows. “The brat ain’t got no parents. She’s been livin’ in the streets hereabout for a couple of months.”

The child recognized the voice as that of the grizzled old woman who spent every day watching from a shadowed doorway, a clay pipe clamped in her toothless gums. The old woman had once traded some food, and she’d thrown no stones. She was safe.

The pretty lady frowned. “The child has been abandoned?”

“Orphaned, more like,” the old woman said with a shrug. “I hear she came off a ship with some female who up and died in the middle of the quay soon as they landed. A watchman tried to catch the brat so’s she could be sent to an orphanage, but she hid. She’s been scrounging around here like a sea gull ever since.”

The pretty lady looked horrified. “Oh, Thomas–we can’t leave her here. She’s just a baby–she can’t be much more than three years old.”

“We can’t carry her off like a kitten, Maria,” the gentleman said. But his gaze went consideringly to the child’s face.

“Why not? No one else seems to want her. The good Lord must have sent us down this street to find her. We haven’t had a babe of our own yet and heaven knows it’s not for lack of trying.” The pretty lady looked sad for a moment. Then she turned back to the child and extended her hand slowly. “Come here, sweetheart. We won’t hurt you.”

The child hesitated. She had learned the hard way to be wary. But Maria reminded her of a different lady from that other life before hunger and rags and filthy streets. Before…before…..

Her mind veered away, unable to name the unbearable. Instead, she looked at the blue eyes. There was kindness there, and something more. A promise?

The child began to inch forward, her gaze flicking back and forth between the lady and the gentleman. If he’d moved she would’ve run, because men weren’t always safe, but he stayed very still. His eyes were just as blue, and just as kind, as his wife’s.

When she came within reach, the lady reached out and tenderly stroked her head. “Your hair is blond, isn’t it? I didn’t realize what was under the dirt. Very nice with those big brown eyes. Would you like a new mama and papa, sweetheart?”

Mama. Papa. Those were words from the distant, golden past. The child weighed the chance of danger against her desperate longing. Suddenly hope overpowered fear. The child ran the last two steps and flung herself into the lady’s arms.

Maria swooped her up in a hug. Her arms were warm and soft, like that other lady in the past. Warm and soft and safe.

“Don’t worry, sweetheart,” she crooned. “Thomas and I may not be respectable by some standards, but you’ll never lack for food or love.” The child saw with wonder that there were tears in the lady’s blue eyes when she glanced at her husband. “Don’t look at me like that, you big Irish fraud. Your heart is just as soft as mine.”

“‘Tis not our hearts that are soft, but our heads,” Thomas said wryly. “But you’re right, we can’t leave her here, and the sooner we get her into a soapy tub the better.” He took the child’s hand in his great warm grasp. “What’s your name, darlin’?”

Embarrassed by his attention, the child shook her head and buried her face against the lady’s neck. She smelled clean and sweet, like flowers after rain.

“I guess we’ll have to name her ourselves.” Maria’s stroked the child’s back tenderly. “Pretty as a rose, but so brave. Imagine, surviving on the streets for weeks when she’s such a tiny thing.”

“Then let’s name her after Rosalind, the most intrepid of heroines,” Thomas suggested. He squeezed the child’s hand gently. “This is your lucky day, little rose.”

“No, Thomas.” Maria pressed a warm kiss to the child’s temple. “The luck is ours.”

BUY LINK for ‘One Perfect Rose': Amazon 

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EXCERPT: ‘The Mine’

For the next fifteen minutes, Joel and Linda stood at the edge of the water, arm in arm, and watched dusk turn into night. Neither said more than a few words, but neither had to. Their silence was a source of comfort, not discontent.

The tranquility was broken a moment later, when two couples noisily emerged from the hall. One walked to a shiny black Ford parked near the front of a dirt lot. The other stayed on the deck and propped open an exit, allowing the upbeat sound of “In the Mood” by Glenn Miller to drift across the lawn and drown out a cricket philharmonic.

“You sure you don’t want to dance?” Linda asked.

“I’m sure – and not just because I don’t want to fall on my face. I’d rather stay out here with you.”


“Really.” Joel grabbed both of Linda’s hands and looked at her face. “Why would you think otherwise?”

“Well, to be honest, I wasn’t sure you even wanted to go out. I didn’t exactly make the best first impression at Tom’s graduation party. I had a little too much celebration,” she said, staring at her feet. “And I’ve noticed you’ve become rather sweet on Grace.”

“I wasn’t sure about going out tonight, not at first. But I’m glad we did. You look stunning – breathtaking – and you’ve been perfect company. I could not have asked for a better date,” he said. “As for Grace, I do like her. I like all of you. But I’m here with you now, not her, not anyone else, and I’m very happy to be here.”

Joel meant it too. His feelings for Grace had not ebbed a bit, but for the first time in weeks he began to ask serious questions – questions he should have asked at the start. Did he and Grace actually have something? Or was he just a fool holding Paul McEwan’s jacket until he returned on leave?

And what about his so-called consolation prize? She had no restrictions and came exactly as advertised: smart, pretty, honest, flawed, and unabashedly interested in the new kid in town. If nothing else, Linda deserved a fair shake and an open mind. The old saying about a bird in the hand began to gnaw.

Joel considered another thing as well. It felt good having a woman in his arms and in his life. It had been two months since he had enjoyed a similar moment with Jana, two months and fifty-nine years. Life as a monk was getting old.

“Are you OK?” Linda asked. She looked at him with soft, expressive eyes, eyes any man could get used to. “You look kind of lost.”

He smiled and pulled her closer.

“I was,” he said, “but not anymore.”

Joel put a hand to Linda’s face and took a long look at his Second Impression. He kissed her and, for a few splendid minutes, forgot why he was lost in the first place.

BUY LINK for ‘The Mine': Amazon

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Maureen DriscollAUTHOR INFO: Maureen Driscoll is an Emmy-nominated television writer-producer based in Los Angeles. Before moving to Hollywood, Maureen spent nearly a decade working on Capitol Hill.  Her novel DATING GEORGE CLOONEY is a political satire inspired by those years.

She has recently published the sixth book in the Kellington series of Regency romances, NEVER TURN AWAY.  She is currently working on the first book in a new Regency series.  She hopes you’ll check her out on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads and her Website.

‘Never Turn Away’ by Maureen Driscoll

NTA MDSTORY: When Bow Street Inspector Joseph Stapleton is sent to Oxfordshire to help the daughter of an earl, little does he know how the mission will affect him personally.

Lady Evelyn Williams must marry within weeks, but she has never met a gentleman of the ton whom she would even consider as a potential husband. Then she encounters the brave, handsome man from London.

NEVER TURN AWAY is the story of a love that defies society’s expectations. It is the conclusion — for now — of the Kellington series of Regency romances.

REVIEW: I looked forward to this story as much as I dreaded it; it was finally time for our Stapleton, the infamous Bow Street Runner to have his HEA, but it is also to be a last Kellington book; not what I was looking forward to.

I can tell you I loved each story that has been written so far, and even though our Joseph is only an ‘honorary’ brother to the Kellington brood, his story is as well told as all the others.

The plot was well-developed and executed with clues to the villain well hidden; every character that has been introduced to us, helped the main characters come more to life; pace of the story had a steady flow and never lagged; the intimate scenes were spontaneous and sensual and bringing all the Kellington’s in to help this romantic couple out, was a stroke of genius.

But what I loved most of all was the dialogue; no matter if it was spoken or thought by our couple, Kellington’s, Evelyn’s suitors or secondary characters, I merrily chuckled from page to page.

Here is Evelyn’s thought about one of her suitors:

“One well-meaning gentleman had even told her she would be better served if she appeared to be less smart and more agreeable. She had responded by telling him he would be better served with more time spent in a library and less time dispensing asinine advice.”

In a Mrs. Trowbridge’s store [who has two daughters she’d gladly throw into Joseph’s direction], while perusing the merchandise, she spots the coin purse.

“Evelyn wagged the hideous thing about as if it were the crown jewels. “This is a fine piece of artistry. Did Anna or Marida paint the cow?”

“That, Lady Evelyn, is not a cow. It is my mother.”

Evelyn telling Joseph about the men she meets and how they would all like her to hand over her life to them, with her finances.

“I’m a lady, not an idiot.”

Here’s Lizzie talking to all the Killington’s:

“When do men ever do the right thing when it comes to romance?” asked Lizzie.

“What about when I offered to marry you?”

“You are only proving my point, albeit wholly unintentionally. That was the most bloodless proposal I have ever heard. You offered to take Liam’s damaged sister off his hands, as if offering to take in a troublesome cur.”

“There were similarities,” said Ned.

“And you, nodcock, were unable to find the woman you loved for seven long years. And you, Arthur, almost lost Vanessa because you were afraid of a Romany prophesy.”

“What about me?” asked Hal.

“If I were to list your mistakes, we would be here all day. The point is we must find a way to bring Evelyn and Joseph together and, if you insist, I suppose we can leave poison and drugging out of it.”

Between the servants of all these households, and the Kellington’s, our couple had no chance in hell of staying apart.

Bottom line, this was a wonderful ending to a wonderful series. I loved every moment spent with all the characters, from little Vi and her parents, Ned and Jane; Marcus and Lizzie; Arthur and Vanessa; Hal and Melanie; Liam and Rosalind, and now Joseph and his Evelyn, and I’ll be sure to visit with them often in the years to come.

Melanie for b2b

*Book provided by the author.

b2b is Three!


Someone pinch me! Has it really been THREE years already?! WOW!

Another year just whooshed by me…Personally, it has been another year filled with health issues I just wasn’t ready to deal with, but then when are we, right?!

Through it all I found that my hubby’s love can get me through everything life throws at me and that is a blessing I don’t ever want to take for granted.

As always, I still feel blessed with so many of you that are faithfully stopping by, commenting and making me laugh out loud. Your support is appreciated and always welcome. I’m really humbled by the romance community all over the world!

Thank you from the bottom of my heart. I love you all!

This year saw our Krissie leave us, but we welcomed with opened arms two of our faithful followers with their unique reviews, Connie and Leah. I was seriously considering shutting the blog down when they jumped in and literally saved me. Please help me welcome them with a huge HIP-HIP-HOORAY!

Since last year our one month-long PUSH-A-BOOK celebration was such a great hit with readers and authors alike, we thought why mess with something that ain’t broke?

Clipart Illustration of a Bunch Of Floating Party Balloons With

So get ready, our bookworms as we’re kicking off our ONE month long celebration on November 1st with Vanessa Kelly and ending it with Anna Campbell.

Throughout the month we’ve invited some of the most hard-working, amazingly creative and way too talented people in the romance community to stop by and help us celebrate. Our invitations once more answered with so much enthusiasm that we just might schedule some visits in twos and threes!

Here’s just a few of the authors that will be coming over… Delilah MarvelleVicky DreilingEileen DreyerDanelle HarmonMaureen Driscoll, Anna CampbellGrace BurrowesMia MarloweMarilyn BrantVanessa KellyLouise AllenShana Galen, Elise RomeNicola CornickJillian StoneSaralee EtterPatricia RicePriscilla ShayBethanne Strasser, Valerie Bowman, Bella Love, Monica BurnsElla Quinn, Caroline LindenSandra OwensTerri BrisbinVictoria Vane, Jenn LeBlanc, Norah WilsonAmanda ScottDonna CummingsNicky Wells, Marguerite KayeBarbara MonajemSaralee EtterDeborah Doucette, Lila DiPasqua, C.C. HumphreysTracy Anne Warren…and a few surprise guests too! There will be prizes…books, and books and some more books, a bookworm heaven, right? There will be many surprises and a Grand Prize as well!


Won’t you help us celebrate with:

1) Telling us which ‘Book’ would you like to ‘Push’ and why…

2) Subscribing to our Blog…

3) ‘LIKE’ -ing us on our Facebook!

All three are required for a TRIPLE chance to win in the Grand Giveaway!

However, if you’re already a follower and our FB buddy, all you need do is…COMMENT on the upcoming posts and you’re all set to go. Are you ready to PARTEY?!


‘Never Deny Your Heart’ by Maureen Driscoll

NDYH MDSTORY: William (Liam) Kellington, the Duke of Lynwood, loves Rosalind Carson, the sister of an impoverished viscount. But while Lynwood was still coming to terms with his feelings — dukes can be particularly dim-witted when it comes to love — Rosalind’s brother sold her into a lucrative betrothal to another nobleman. Liam vows to save Rosalind from a marriage she does not want, while also convincing her to become the Duchess of Lynwood.

The lady, however, is not one to wait to be rescued.

Rosalind has been in love with William Kellington much of her life. And it has been a rather one-sided romance. When her brother promises her to a man five decades her senior, Rosalind must find a way to live the life she wants and not the one that has been forced upon her.

REVIEW: Has it been almost two years since I read ‘Never A Mistress, No Longer A Maid’, the first in Kellington romance series? Well it must be, but the time has passed quickly as Ms. Driscoll kept giving me ‘Never Miss A Chance’, ‘Never Wager Against Love’ and ‘Never Run From Love’ and here comes much anticipated ‘Never Deny Your Heart’ the fifth book and Liam’s story. Oh and how sweet it is! Ms. Driscoll made Liam work hard for his happily ever after and had him sweat [and by default me as well!].

It was such a pure, unadulterated pleasure to finally find out what makes this man tick and find out what some of his deepest desires are! Throughout the series I kept an eye on this man who spent his early years of adulthood raising his siblings, making sure they are taken care of and safe, and I just knew that his story would be special, and it was.

Miss Rosalind Carson could not have been more perfect as his better half! She was a female to reckon with and as much as she tried to do the right thing, which was to submit and follow her families orders and do her duty, when faced with the brutal reality, this woman decides to take her life into her own hands and not depend on no one but herself. I appreciated her ‘chutzpah’ and squirmed as His Grace did while she made him jump through some hoops.

By the time their story ended, we had caught up with all the Kellington brood and it was so good to see them all one more time. I can’t tell you how much I loved each book in this series and highly recommend you read them in order because what this author does best is the characterization of them, of their deep love for each other, and you can’t help but feel one of them.

*Book provided by the author.

‘Never Deny Your Heart’ by Maureen Driscoll EXCLUSIVE!

First, I’d like to thank Mel and Kristal at bookworm2bookworm for having me here today.  I say that as a huge fan.  I don’t have nearly as much time to read blogs as I’d like, but I always make an exception for this one and my TBR pile has grown accordingly.

As an author, I owe a special debt to Mel because she was the very first person to encourage me after I e-published my first book NEVER A MISTRESS, NO LONGER A MAID.  Without her, I truly wouldn’t have continued.

I’m a huge Regency fan and I started writing this series about the Kellington family in part because I was in a reading slump and wanted to spent more time in that world.  I recently published the fourth book in the series and am now working on the one that most people who like the series have been waiting for:  the Duke of Kellington’s story.  He and his love, Rosalind, were introduced in the very first book and it’s been heating up ever since.  He was even in a terrible mood in the most recent book because the woman he loves seemed beyond his reach.

So, even though this is Push-a-Book and I’m supposed to be writing about NEVER A MISTRESS, NO LONGER A MAID, I’m giving you an excerpt of Liam’s story, which I’m currently writing.

Assuming everyone is on the same budget I am, NEVER A MISTRESS, NO LONGER A MAID is supposed to be FREE on Amazon November 18th and 19th.   It’s normally $.99.  So if you feel like checking it out, you might want to wait until then.  I hope you do give it a try and I’d love to hear what you think on my Facebook page:  Maureen Driscoll Author.

Congratulations bookworm2bookwork on your Blogoversary.  I can’t wait to read what your next year has in store.

AN EXCLUSIVE EXCERPT one WHOLE chapter of the upcoming book we’ve all been waiting for ”Never Deny Your Heart’.


November, 1822

Rosalind Carson stared at the ceiling above, unable to sleep.  There could be any number of things keeping her awake, such as her betrothal to the Duke of Fallmoor, a man more than five decades her senior.  It was a match engineered by her mother, the Dowager Viscountess Worthington and Rosalind’s brother Calvin, the current Viscount.

Far from a love match, the betrothal was little more than an exchange of funds for flesh, brought about by Rosalind’s family’s extreme lack of economy.  Her mother and brother cared little about Rosalind’s opposition to the match.  Fallmoor had already buried five wives and was in need of an heir.  He was also wealthy to a vulgar degree, though decidedly less so after imparting enough blunt to Rosalind’s relations to purchase her hand in marriage.

She’d had little choice but to agree to the match.  She was four and twenty years of age and had never received a proposal of marriage, nor was it likely she ever would.  She was of average height and average build, with brown hair and brown eyes.  She wore spectacles.  And if that hadn’t been a grievous enough sin as far as her mother was concerned – being seen looking good was much more important than seeing well, according to the Dowager – she was a bluestocking and rather proud of it.

Contrary to the dire warnings of her mother and brother, Rosalind couldn’t confine her conversations to the weather and idle gossip.  When gentlemen uttered absurd notions about books or politics, she could not smile and tell them how clever they were.  She could not even consider marrying a man whose intellect she didn’t respect.   It was perhaps for the best, then, that none of them had ever sought her hand.  She rarely even had partners for dances.  Part of that was due to her outspoken nature and her penchant for making jests.  While gentlemen often professed a desire to find a lady with a good sense of humor, Rosalind found what they really meant was they wanted their females to laugh at their witticisms, not come up with anything clever on their own.

It was one of the reasons she and Elizabeth Kellington, now Lady Riverton, got along so well.

At one and twenty, Lizzie was three years Rosalind’s junior.  They’d formed a bond shortly after Lizzie’s come-out when one of her admirers had attempted to ravish her in the garden at a ball.  Rosalind had come to Lizzie’s aid and the two of them had very neatly dispatched the bastard with a knee to the bollocks area, courtesy of Lizzie, and an elbow to the throat from Rosalind.  They’d made a pact not to tell Lizzie’s brothers of the incident since one or all of them would have challenged the blackguard to a duel and killed him.

The beautiful Lizzie, with her black hair and green eyes, could have been a spoiled, pampered brat, the only girl in the vaunted Kellington family.  But she had as little use for insipid conversation as Rosalind and, further, was set on improving the lives of others through her reform work.  Earlier that very year, she’d published a treatise in the broadsheets calling for equal rights for women.  It had created such an uproar that even her powerful family had had difficulty in stopping the ensuing scandal.  But Lizzie’s subsequent marriage to the upright and honorable Marcus Redmond, Marquess of Riverton, had not only preserved her reputation but given her an even more prominent position from which to accomplish her work.

The other members of Lizzie’s family were equally infamous for the deeds, but usually it was their romantic escapades that people noticed.  Lizzie’s second eldest brother Ned, handsome at nine and twenty, with green eyes and dark brown hair, had been a spy in the war.  He was now happily married to Jane, a woman he’d met in Belgium who’d secretly borne him a daughter, Violet.  Jane was the de facto surgeon in their village of Marston Vale.

At seven and twenty, Arthur was recently married to Vanessa and the two of them worked as spymasters in the Home Office.

And only weeks earlier, Hal, the most carefree of the brothers and the youngest at five and twenty, had married American Melanie Sutton, whom he’d met as she tried to save London prostitutes.

Only one brother remained unwed.  William Kellington, the Duke of Lynwood was one of the marriage mart’s most sought after targets.  At two and thirty, Liam had never come close to marrying, despite the ton’s mamas’ ongoing efforts.  With black hair and blue eyes and the build of a fighter – indeed his nose had been broken as a youth who often got into mills – he’d inherited his title at the age of nineteen due to the untimely death of their parents.  All at once, the wild young man had become duke and father figure to four siblings.  While their maternal Aunt Prue and her companion Mariah had lent guidance when needed, the responsibility had largely been his alone.

And Rosalind had been in love with him ever since a chance encounter at the Serpentine when he’d been a young man of twenty and she’d been but a gangly twelve-year-old.  It had been a humiliating experience for her, though he’d never given any indication he even remembered it.  Liam had an acquaintance with her brother from school and when Cal had thrown Rosalind’s favorite muff into a tree to impress his friends, Liam, who’d been passing by, had retrieved it for her.  She remembered he also said something to Cal in passing that Rosalind had neither fully heard nor comprehended.  But it had made the other men laugh, which had made Cal glare at the duke with such ferocity it had scared her.  But Liam had simply handed her the muff, then smiled and told her she had beautiful eyes, even though he almost certainly couldn’t even see them behind her thick spectacles.  But it was the first compliment she’d ever received from a man.  Almost the first compliment she’d ever received from anyone.  And she’d fallen instantly in love.

She’d been too tongue-tied to say anything.  She’d simply stared at him wide-eyed.  Perhaps, what he’d meant to say was she had big eyes, instead of beautiful.  But from that day forward, she began to think her eyes were her very best feature.  And she replayed that compliment from the handsome duke many times over.

It wasn’t until she made her come-out six years later that she saw him again.  Her mother, already desperate for funds, had made much of Rosalind’s come-out.  The duke, along with every other eligible bachelor in the ton, had been invited to her ball.  She’d dreamt of that night for years, even knowing it was foolish to pine to see him again.  But the years between twelve and eighteen had been lonely ones.  Her mother had thought boarding school to be a waste of blunt and a formal education, other than a few tutors here and there, a waste of time.  But Rosalind desperately wanted to know more of the world around her.  Consequently she’d lost herself in books and educated herself as much as possible.

She knew she was being foolish to think the duke would remember her from that day in the park.  But he had complimented her on her eyes, and he hadn’t needed to say anything.  He still wasn’t married and while it was foolish in the extreme to think she might catch his eye, she was young.

And foolish in the extreme.

On the night of her ball, she’d been standing in the receiving line for what seemed like an eternity, blushing at her mother’s blatant attempts to marry her off before the evening had even begun.  Then all of the sudden, she’d felt it.  It was as if the room had been a violin and someone had just plucked a string.  He was there.  She could feel it.

She looked up to see William Kellington, Duke of Lynwood, in his evening clothes standing in line.  He was talking to a gentleman behind him, but all eyes were upon the duke.  Particularly all female eyes.  If he was aware of their attention, he gave no sign of it.

As the line inched forward, Rosalind found it difficult to breathe.  Her stays were much too tight, the ballroom overly warm.  She could scarcely remember to curtsey and smile to the gentleman her mother was presenting her to.

Then finally, he was there.  All towering six feet of him.  William Kellington in the flesh.  Even at six and twenty, he had the presence of an older man.  A distinguished man.  One who could pierce a girl with his blue eyes.  Eyes that were currently focused on the dowager, who was extolling Rosalind’s virtues, including, dear Lord, her womanly build and sweet temperament.  Rosalind rather thought she had neither of those two things, but what she dearly wanted most in the world was to catch her breath and figure out just what she was going to say to William Kellington.

If her mother ever stopped singing her praises and actually presented her to him.

Finally, her mother made the formal introduction and Liam was in front of her, looking at her and only her.  She’d thought about this moment countless times, and tried out any number of greetings – all of them flirtatious and witty.  Yet, none of them came to mind now.  Not a blasted one.

Liam smiled at her.  “Miss Carson,” he said in his deep voice.  “My best wishes on this special night.”

Rosalind could only stare, mouth slightly agape.  She was, however, of sound enough mind to lift her hand to him.

His eyes crinkled just a bit as he smiled and took her fingers in his and lifted them to his mouth.  As per custom, his lips did not touch her fingers, but she could feel his breath upon them.  A shiver ran from her fingers back up her arm and into her soul.  It was the closest she’d ever come to a kiss and she would treasure this moment until she died.

Finally, she remembered one of the lines she’d practiced.  She took a breath…

“I’m shocked to see you here, Lynwood,” drawled Rosalind’s brother on the other side of her.  “Would have thought you’d be off actually enjoying yourself instead of stuck at yet another come-out.  Wouldn’t be here myself if I didn’t have to be.  But dear Mama believes we’ll never get the chit married off if we don’t make some type of effort.  Do be a good boy and take her off our hands, won’t you, chap?”

Lynwood looked uncomfortable in the extreme, but nothing could compare to Rosalind’s mortification.   The duke recovered first.

“Worthington, do be so good as to stop talking out of your ar…er, hat.  I’m sure Miss Carson will have no trouble finding a husband, though you can probably be of most assistance in that endeavor by playing least in sight.  Now, if you will excuse me, Miss Carson, I believe I am holding up the line.”

With that, Lynwood smiled kindly at her and moved into the ballroom.  She wanted to run after him.  She wanted to disappear into a hole.  She wanted to be anything other than she was: a still awkward young woman whose family wanted to sell her into matrimony.

The rest of the evening was less embarrassing – because, really, how could it be more – but far from enjoyable.  Rosalind’s mother had taken it upon herself to fill her daughter’s dance card, chasing the rich and titled to ground as they penciled in their names.  When it was returned to her, she hoped against hope that her persistent mother had somehow secured the Duke of Lynwood for a waltz.  But instead, there had been another duke in his place, an elderly one named Fallmoor, who was reportedly looking for a fourth wife.  Worst of all, William Kellington wasn’t on her card at all.  He was still at the ball, which was a bit surprising.  Had Rosalind been in his place, she surely would have run out the back directly after going through the receiving line.

But, no, he was still there.  And for the rest of the evening, Rosalind watched him dance with a succession of ladies, all of them flirting madly with him, some being quite brazen about it.  Finally, right before the supper waltz, she saw him duck out into the back garden.

He never returned.

In the months that followed, she’d seen him at events, but they’d never spoken.  She rarely danced and was often found sitting in the corner.  It was the easiest way to avoid being offered up by her mother or brother to whichever gentlemen they had mind for her at the moment.  As her first year ended without a proposal and the second one followed, the gentlemen her mother pursued for her became older and less reputable.  Income seemed to be the only criterion that mattered and Rosalind became all the more resigned to a loveless marriage.

Then she saved Lizzie in the garden and Rosalind discovered she hadn’t been in want of a husband; she’d been in need of a friend.  She finally had someone she could sit with at these events, even though Lizzie rarely sat out a dance.

Rosalind began spending more and more time at Lizzie’s home, where they could lounge about for hours in the library or in her rooms dreaming of the adventures they’d have.  Rosalind never envied Lizzie her wealth or freedom for even a moment.  Her friend was too dear to ever entertain such notions.  But she did envy her for one thing:  the close bond she shared with her brothers.

To say that Rosalind and Calvin were not close was to severely understate the situation.  Calvin took every opportunity to harangue Rosalind into doing her duty to her family, even as he lost large amounts of blunt gaming and in bad investments.  Neither he nor her mother ever had a kind word for her, which made her escapes to Lynwood House all the more welcome.

But her visits were both anticipated and dreaded for another reason:  Lynwood House was, of course, the home of the Duke of Lynwood.  While all of Lizzie’s brothers were handsome and treated her with kindness, there was only one who held her interest in a non-brotherly manner.  She rarely saw Liam and when she did, as often as not he was scolding her and Lizzie for getting into some sort of scrape.  Still tongue-tied when she met him, she never had a substantive conversation with him, although in her mind she would impress him with clever observations and he would stare longingly into the eyes he’d once remarked were beautiful before kissing her.  On the lips.  While she wouldn’t have been adverse to another kiss on the hand, what she really wanted to experience was a kiss on the lips.  And from the gossip she’d overheard at balls, William Kellington was quite skilled at kissing, as well as other acts she knew nothing about but sounded most intriguing.

She paid attention to all news relating to Liam.  She knew who his mistresses were and how he never continued seeing the same one for long.  She held her breath when it was rumored he was close to marrying a lady, then released a sigh of relief when it all came to naught.

It’s not like she’d ever thought she’d had a real chance with Liam.  For one thing, she couldn’t see him allying himself with Cal and her mother.  But, as long as he was single, there was always a chance, if only the slightest one.

Then earlier this year, things had changed.  From the time Jane and Violet had returned to London with Ned, the Kellingtons had undergone a series of upheavals and, as Lizzie’s friend, Rosalind has been right there beside them.

She’d actually had a few conversations with Liam where she hadn’t been tongue-tied and he’d asked her to waltz for the very first time.  Of course, they were interrupted before they took the dance floor, but she’d been waiting for that offer for years, even though she had, technically, asked him herself.

Perhaps it was a woman’s intuition, but it felt like Liam’s feelings for her were no longer that of a brother.  Then on Lizzie’s wedding day, it all changed again.

At the time of the wedding, Rosalind was already betrothed to Fallmoor.  Neither her mother nor brother had wanted her to attend the ceremony, since it would be at Lynwood Manor in Hertfordshire.  But under the strict chaperonage of her maid, Rosalind had been given leave to spend exactly one day in the country, with the strictest orders to return home immediately.

It had been a beautiful ceremony and Lizzie a radiant bride.  It was also a bittersweet occasion because she knew they would no longer spend long days together, since Lizzie would now have a husband who was as devoted to her as she was besotted with him.  Lizzie, of course, had assured Rosalind nothing would change.  She’d even invited Rosalind to come live with them because Lizzie was vehemently opposed to the match with Fallmoor.

But Rosalind would never be a burden to her friend.  She loved her too much to do so.

So, she travelled to beautiful Lynwood Manor, breathed in the clean crisp air, admired the wilderness of the grounds as they were on their way to the chapel.  She also stole many a glance at the object of her affection, as Liam guided the group on their way to the wedding.

Rosalind couldn’t help looking his way again during the ceremony, imagining it was the two of them exchanging vows.  But it was never to be.  She couldn’t bear to think of her own wedding day advancing upon her like dark clouds heralding the coming storm.  Her mother had not yet told her when the ceremony would be, but since Fallmoor’s year of mourning was almost at an end she knew it would be soon.  She also knew the information was being purposely kept from her to make sure she didn’t do anything untoward before that day.

But she was in the mood to do something quite untoward.

The wedding breakfast was a feast, despite the short notice.  It was also a relaxed and happy affair, since only family and close friends had been invited.  Rosalind’s glass was kept full of champagne and it helped make her less nervous for what she was determined to do.

She might have no choice when it came to marrying Fallmoor.  But she would get one kiss from the man she loved to hold with her until the day she died.

She wasn’t sure how she would do it, since Liam was a man of honor.  He would never make a move on another man’s betrothed.  So if this was going to happen – and it was – she would have to arrange for it herself.

After the breakfast, the Kellingtons all retired to the sitting room.  Rosalind felt a touch on her shoulder.  Without turning, she knew who was.  There was no mistaking the charge to her system.

“I wonder, Rosalind,” said Liam softly as he brought his mouth so close to her ear it made her shiver, “if I might have a word with you in the library.”

She nodded, then quietly left the room with him following closely behind.

She entered the library and thought back to the naughty book she and Lizzie had once read.  It had been the memoirs of a courtesan and they’d found it tucked away in Lynwood’s library, in a place he no doubt felt was safe from virginal eyes.  One of the odd bits of advice was to lightly stroke your fingers down a common object, such as a table or piece of art.  She and Lizzie had laughed about that one.

But Rosalind needed every trick at her disposal.  So, as Liam closed the door and snicked the lock, she ran her fingers along the spines of the priceless volumes on the shelves.  She was almost afraid to turn to see his reaction.  He might even be irritated with her for touching his books, as he used to be when he thought Lizzie and she hadn’t treated them with the reverence they deserved.  Which was odd, since they were always gentle with books.  But it had almost been as if he’d been checking up on them, then lingering to hear whatever nonsense they’d been discussing.

Funny, that.

She wasn’t sure what his reaction would be to her running her fingers over his volumes, but it seemed to be working on her.  She was growing more heated, her breath more labored.  Just being in the same room with him alone was doing all sorts of things to her and giving her wicked ideas.

She turned to look at him and then stopped breathing altogether.  The look on his face was one she’d never seen before.  His blue eyes were naught but dark pupil.  And the way he advanced on her put her in mind of a great prowling cat.

And she loved cats.

He took her into his arms and his lips came down on hers hard.  Crushing them.  Devouring her.  Pulling her closer to him as if he wanted to bind her to him.

It was everything she’d ever dreamed of and more.  It was a kiss so powerful it wiped out every other thought in her mind.  All she could think about was holding him.  Slipping away with him to where passion would take them.  Losing herself in him.

She hadn’t the slightest idea how to kiss, so she simply let him lead.  She knew he’d never steer her wrong.  She was shy at first, but quickly mimicked what he was doing, then gave up trying to kiss and simply kissed.  It came from her heart.

That’s when things escalated.

She was vaguely aware of his hands on her gown.  Unlacing her, pulling if off her shoulders.    She couldn’t hold back the groan that escaped.  She looked at him embarrassed, but if anything it seemed to excite him more.  He smiled and kissed her again, even as he reached one hand slowly down her neck to her shoulder, to the swell off her breasts.  She would never have believed such a small movement could make her feel so much.  So alive.

He stroked her breasts with the fingers of one hand.  Lightly, back and forth.  She closed her eyes and leaned her head back, exposing her neck to his lips.

As one hand eased beneath her chemise to touch one breast, she bit her lip to keep from moaning again.  But it was almost like he wanted her to moan again.  Wanted to hear her reaction to what he was doing to her.

He ruched up her skirts, then lifted her.  She wrapped her legs around him and he pressed himself against her mound.  She knew he was still wearing his breeches, but the pleasure was so intense she opened her eyes wide in astonishment.  Without thought, she began to move against him, which only intensified her feeling.

He pressed against her while holding her.  She rode him, powerless to stop.  He encouraged her with whispers and kisses and she continued to rock against him.  She never knew it was possible to feel this way.  All she knew was she never wanted to let him go.

Suddenly, she was overtaken by a wave of pleasure such as she’d never known.  He had taken her there and she wanted nothing more than to see him experience the same thing.  She knew he was still fully dressed.  Unfortunately, she’d been so overwhelmed she hadn’t even touched him other than hanging on to his shoulders.  But, oh,  how she wanted to explore him now.

Suddenly, she realized he was no longer moving.  His breath was ragged, but he was easing her to the floor.  Moving away from her inch by inch.  The shock of it – and the shakiness of her legs – almost made her fall, but he reached out to steady her, then pulled back his hand as if burned.

Something was wrong.  But he couldn’t pull away now.  She wanted him to take her away from her travesty of a betrothal.  There would be a scandal, yes, but he was the Duke of Lynwood.  He was not someone others crossed lightly.  And he must feel something for her to have kissed her and caressed her the way he’d just done.  He did care for her.  He did.

But as she looked at his face, her heart lurched.  He wasn’t looking at her as a lover would.  He had a look of horror, as if revolted by her wantoness.

No, this was all wrong.  He wouldn’t reject her like that.  He couldn’t.

But as he calmly set about adjusting himself and putting his clothing back to rights, she realized nothing had truly changed between them, other than he had probably lost a great deal of respect for her.  How would she face him?  How would she face any of the Kellingtons if they guessed what had transpired in the library?

Finally, he spoke.  “Pray forgive me, Rosalind,” he said at last.  “I fear I forgot myself.”

A nobleman to the very end, she thought wryly.  Taking the blame for her wanton actions.

She looked at him for once more, praying her hurt and humiliation would not show.  Unable to look at his dear face one moment longer without bursting into tears, she turned away to check her appearance in the looking glass.  “There is no need to apologize, your grace.  I was just as much at fault as you.”

He closed the distance between them in an instant.  “Don’t ‘your grace’ me.  I cannot abide that from you.  Especially after what we just shared.”

She blushed at the reminder.  For a moment it looked like he might take her in his arms again.  She hoped with all her heart, he would.  But, instead, he ushered her out of the room and back to where his family was talking.

Shortly thereafter, it was time to return to London with her maid and under the escort of Liam’s friend, Inspector Joseph Stapleton of Bow Street.  She was both anxious to leave and wretched at the very thought of it.  She would never see Lynwood Manor again as an unmarried woman.  She might never see it again under any circumstances.  Even if her husband did allow it, she could not bear to come here and see Liam with his duchess when he eventually married.  It would break her heart.

No.  Her heart was already broken.

After she said her farewells to Lizzie and the others, Rosalind was handed into the carriage by Liam.  It was just a light touch of his fingers, but she could feel it even now.   She kissed those fingers, then lay them close to her heart.

She turned on her side and tried again to find peace in sleep.”

FEATURED AUTHOR: Maureen Driscoll

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*FOUR lucky Commenters will end up with an eBook from The Kellington Series [your choice] Giveaway open  Anywhere an Amazon Kindle or B&N Nook book can be accepted!

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Maureen Driscoll’s ‘Hook-a-Book’ is…’Lord Stanhope’s Proposal’!

I was very excited when Mel approached me about this project.  I’m a huge fan of her blog and this was just the latest fun idea she’d come up with.  Then I had a big problem with it….how could I possibly choose just one book?

I’ve only been reading romance novels for the past four years, unless you count my all-time favorite book “Pride and Prejudice,” which I’ve loved for decades. 

Sabrina Jeffries is my favorite author and her latest series about Lord Stoneville is amazing. 

Stephanie Laurens has two books in my top five:  “Captain Jack’s Woman” and “Devil’s Bride.”  Mary Jo Putney’s “One Perfect Rose” brought me to tears – the type of sobbing where you have to reach for the Kleenex box. 

And you can’t really miss with Lisa Kleypas’s Wallflower series, which led into the Hathaways.  While I’m not much of a fan of modern romance, I made a huge exception for Kleypas’s Travis trilogy, which was terrific.

They’re all great authors and wonderful books.  But then I remembered the novel that touched me early on and later inspired me to write: ‘Lord Stanhope’s Proposal’ by Jessica Benson.

It was published in 2005 and is basically out of print.  It’s also that rarest of romance novels: the stand-alone book, although it does get referenced in her follow-up “Much Obliged.” 

There’s no family of handsome brothers.  Just one Earl of Stanhope who travels to the country because his scapegrace cousin has placed a very public wager about a very private country spinster. 

What Stanhope expects to find is a quiet country mouse, the sister of the local vicar.  What he finds instead is the quite capable Calista Ashton, beloved by everyone in the county but extremely wary of too-handsome London earls.

It is witty, funny and extremely romantic.  It is my all-time favorite romance novel.  You must find one of the rare copies and read this book.  About a year ago, I wrote to Ms. Benson on her website, checking to see when her next book would be out, since I’d read the three Regencies and one modern novel she’d written.  She wrote back (I was thrilled), but dashed my hopes by saying she was no longer writing.  Nooooooooo!

I’m still hopeful that one day she’ll change her mind.  Because when you find a jewel like “Lord Stanhope’s Proposal,” you always look for more treasure.

I love this book.

Mel here. And now, as usual, I’ll introduce you to Mo, as I am allowed to call her. I had the pleasure of reading and reviewing both Kellington stories, and I just fell in love with this family and with Mo’s story telling. For my reviews of her work check here and here. Now, here’s a bit about the author that you may not be familiar with YET, but I urge you to seek her work. You’ll be pleasantly surprised.

Maureen Driscoll is a television writer in Los Angeles whose credits include “The Dish” on the Style Network, “Jimmy Kimmel Live,” Nickelodeon’s “BrainSurge,” and GSN’s “Love Triangle.” She was also a recipient of a Walt Disney Studios screenwriting fellowship, where she wrote a romantic comedy based on her rather painful divorce. The script didn’t make it to the big screen, but it did teach her a few things about happily ever after.

Before moving to Hollywood, Maureen spent nearly a decade working on Capitol Hill. Her novel “Dating George Clooney” is a political satire inspired by her time there.

Never Miss a Chance” is the second book in the Kellington series of Regency romances. “Never a Mistress, No Longer a Maid” was the first. She can usually be found with a book in her hand, being held way too close to her face (she’s quite near-sighted).  Currently she’s working on the third Kellington book and would love to hear from her readers on her Facebook fan page. Please follow her on Twitter, but if she’s not tweating, that means she’s making the Kellington family do things you may wish to read about later.

She is very, very appreciative of her readers and thanks people for taking the Kellingtons to heart.

Won’t you join our celebration by:

1) Telling us which ‘Hook-a-Book’ did/would you likely give your friends…

2) Subscribing to our Blog…

3) ‘LIKE’ -ing us on our Facebook!

All three are required for a TRIPLE chance to win in the Giveaway!