2013 RITA finalists are here!

Congrats[1]

March 26th was a big day for romance authors. On that day some of them got a phone call that rivaled the one big movie stars get right before their big Oscar nomination.  RITA Awards are HUGE in the romance publishing industry and we as readers are always happy when our favorite authors and their books get nominated but especially when they win this prestigious award.

gb dI can’t tell you how thrilled, honored and humbled I was to get a message from one of my favorite authors giving me the news about her book being nominated AND telling me that she thinks I “… deserve to be among the first to post this…” news. ME?! ME?!

And to think I refused to buy her first book because it was all over the blogs with too many five stars to ‘be any good’. I did relent almost a year after ‘The Heir’ came out and thought, if this thing is still getting rave reviews after a year, it possibly is THAT good.

Guess what?! From that point on, Grace Burrowes gained a new fan for ever and ever. I’m thrilled for her, for ‘Darius’ and for the Historical Romance genre [that's mostly what I read], and this year that list is H.U.G.E. and reads as who’s who of Romance Landia!

Check it out!

HISTORICAL ROMANCE

Any Duchess Will Do by Tessa Dare

The Autumn Bride by Anne Gracie

The Chieftain’s Curse by Frances Housden

The Countess Conspiracy by Courtney Milan

Darius by Grace Burrowes

Dark Angel: A Gothic Fairy Tale by T J Bennett

Duke of Midnight by Elizabeth Hoyt

The Lady and the Laird by Nicola Cornick

Love and Other Scandals by Caroline Linden

The Luckiest Lady in London by Sherry Thomas

Never Desire a Duke by Lily Dalton

No Good Duke Goes Unpunished by Sarah MacLean

Plaid Tidings by Mia Marlowe

A Rake’s Midnight Kiss by Anna Campbell

The Rogue’s Proposal by Jennifer Haymore

Sins of a Ruthless Rogue by Anna Randol

Sonata for a Scoundrel by Anthea Lawson

The highlighted books and authors are one of my favorites and keepers all the way [oh and I read all of those too]. It looks like I need to read only four books from this list and I better get on it!

I’d like to take this opportunity on behalf of b2b and congratulate all the finalists and wish them luck at this years RWA’s national conference in San Antonio in July as the winners will be announced then. For all the nominees in all the categories, please go here, you may spot one of your favorites :)

I really, really am glad not to have to choose only ONE of these because every one is deserving of the honor to win this award [or at least the ones I've read already!], so judges, good luck! I so do not envy you this task!

Have you read any of these nominated authors and their titles? Which one and what did you think? Are you rooting for specific one? Which one?

b2b would like to celebrate this wonderful group of amazing authors by giving away a signed copy of ‘DARIUS’ by GRACE BURROWES!

Also, here’s a sneak-peak of TRENTON: Lord of Loss. [out on April 1, 2014 just in time for my Birthday!]

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BOOK BLURB: After a short, troubled marriage Trenton Lindsey, heir to the Wilton earldom, finds himself a widower with three small children. His year of mourning leaves him adrift, until his brother Darius forces him to take a repairing lease in Surrey.

Social conventions require Trent to call on his recently widowed neighbor, Elegy Hampton, Lady Rammel, and as friendship develops, consolation of an intimate sort tempts them both.

Just as Trent acknowledges the joy and pleasure to be shared with Ellie, an unseen enemy threatens him and Ellie, too. Can he reach for the love Ellie offers, when someone else is trying to take his life?

EXCERPT: here.

2011-RWA-GraceBurrowes[1]Grace in her own words: I am the sixth out of seven children and was raised in the rural surrounds of central Pennsylvania. Early in life I spent a lot of time reading romance novels and riding a chubby buckskin gelding named—unimaginatively if eponymously—Buck. I also spent a lot of time practicing the piano. My first career was as a technical writer and editor, a busy profession that nonetheless left enough time to read many, many romance novels.

It also left time to grab a law degree through an evening program, produce Beloved Offspring (only one, but she is a lion), and eventually move to the lovely Maryland countryside.

While reading yet still more romance novels (there is a trend here) I opened my own law practice, acquired a master’s degree in Conflict Management (I had a teenage daughter by then) and started thinking about writing…. romance novels. This aim was realized when Beloved Offspring struck out into the Big World a few years ago. (“Mom, why doesn’t anybody tell you being a grown-up is hard?”)

I eventually got up the courage to start pitching manuscripts to agents and editors. The query letter that resulted in “the call” started out: “I am the buffoon in the bar at the RWA retreat who could not keep her heroines straight, could not look you in the eye, and could not stop blushing—and if that doesn’t narrow down the possibilities, your job is even harder than I thought.” (The dear lady bought the book anyway.)

Please feel free to contact me. I love reader mail!

Vanessa Kelly stops by b2b…

Today we’re welcoming two authors and two books and first one up is Vanessa Kelly with Mia Marlowe’s book. You can check out my review of it here.

‘Plaid Tidings’

PT MMBOOK BLURB: Christmas in the Highlands. . .

Not any dashing English lord’s idea of a good time. But now that Lord Alexander Mallory has won a Scottish estate in a hand of cards, he is the unlikely laird of the wild, snowy Bonniebroch.

Worse yet, the ancient pile of stones comes with a betrothal. To a fiery red-headed virgin. And a curse. Alex will have his hands full honoring the first, seducing the second and breaking the third . . . all by Twelfth Night.

EXCERPT:

December 1821
Somewhere off the coast of Scotland

The Agatha May rolled with a monstrous swell. Lord Alexander Mallory splayed his hand across the coins and banknotes in the center of the table to keep them from cascading to the plank floor. It was a good thing the table was bolted to the teak or the whole thing might have toppled over.

“That’s one hundred pounds to you, MacMartin,” he said. The stakes of this poque game were ridiculously high, but Alexander had his reasons for allowing it to spiral out of control.

Sir Darren MacMartin dabbed his face with a perfumed handkerchief. At any other time, Alexander might have had sympathy for MacMartin since he suffered so from mal de mer; the man had spent the better part of the voyage leaning over the gunwale. But MacMartin’s seasickness made it more difficult for Alexander to read him when he bluffed.

MacMartin tossed down the required bet and stared at his cards, his face immovable as Gibraltar despite the pinpricks of perspiration blooming on his brow. “So what will you do with yourself in Edinburgh, Mallory?”

“Clarindon and I will help Lord Rankin prepare for the royal progression next August,” Alex said cautiously. “What’s your interest in a Christmastide visit to Scotland?”

“I’ve an estate there which requires my immediate attention,” MacMartin said, frowning at his cards. “Bonniebroch. Means ‘lovely tower,’ or some such silly thing. All in all, it’s a tidy barony, though.”

Alexander already knew that. The estate was the whole point of the game.

“So while you’re in Scotland, you’ll go by Lord Bonniebroch instead of Sir Darren?” Alexander asked.

“I should, especially once the king arrives next summer, in order to show that I hold honors on both sides of the border. He likes that sort of thing, I’m told,” MacMartin said. “I suspect Lord Rankin picked you for this assignment because of your Scottish connections. Should smooth the way, what? If memory serves, your mother was a MacGregor, wasn’t she?”

Alexander’s mouth tightened. The man knew damned well she was. His friend Clarindon tried to change the topic of conversation, but MacMartin returned to worry it like a dog on its last bone.

“Surely that whole sorry business doesn’t still distress you, Mallory. My apologies, if it does. Didn’t mean to bring up . . . I mean, I didn’t think you’d be bothered after all this time.”

Of course, you did. Distracting other players from their hands was MacMartin’s gaming strategy. Alexander waved away the false apology. Besides, it really shouldn’t matter anymore.

Except that it did. And for a blinding second, he was four years old again, weeping over the bit of unconsecrated ground that was his mother’s grave.

“Stop your sniveling,” his father had growled at him. “She doesn’t deserve your tears. Remember, your mother chose to leave us.”

Alexander ran a hand over his eyes and consigned the memory back to the vault where he kept all such disturbing recollections. Occasionally, they crept out to torment him, but he always shoved them away. Someday he hoped he’d be able to make sense of his mother’s end, but he doubted it.

Clarindon tossed in his hand, leaving just MacMartin and Alex still playing. Alexander upped the bid by another two hundred pounds.

“I shall give you my vowels,” MacMartin said as he pulled out a scrap of paper and began to scribble an IOU.

“Sorry, old chap,” Alexander said. “We agreed to a cash in hand game.” Then he purposely scratched his nose, the gesture he’d been using as his tell throughout the game and hoped Sir Darren would rise to the bait.

The man scowled furiously, twisted off his signet ring and slammed it down on the pile of bank notes. It was a barbaric piece, fashioned of heavy gold with a cabochon ruby carved intaglio style. “I will not allow you to buy this pot. That ring signifies the title and estate of Bonniebroch, which is better than cash. Now throw down.” He tossed his cards onto the table face up.

“Three queens,” Alex said with a gulp. “A formidable hand.”

Sir Darren flashed an oily smile. “Show your cards, sir.”

Alex laid them down one at a time, four eights in a lovely row, which handily beat three queens. Then he picked up the signet ring and slipped it on his forefinger. It was much heavier than he expected.

Scottish titles at the rank of baron weren’t dependent upon bloodlines. They could be bought, sold or won in a game of chance, as Alex had just done. The estate at Bonniebroch would give him the pretext he needed to remain in Scotland till the royal visit next August. And would mask his true purpose for being there.

Sir Darren stared at the cards in disbelief. Then he rose shakily to his feet, his eyes narrowing. “Enjoy your winnings while you can, Mallory, much good may they do you.”

“That sounds suspiciously like a threat. Do you feel yourself ill-used? If it’s satisfaction you crave, as soon as we reach dry land, I’m at your disposal.”

“My satisfaction will come from seeing how poorly you fare as Lord Bonniebroch,” MacMartin said. “Just don’t say I didn’t warn you.”

Alex chuckled. “Warn me of what? Is the ‘tidy barony’ nothing but a tumbled down croft with sheep grazing on the roof?”

“You may laugh now. You won’t be laughing after you’ve spent a few nights with the weeping woman. You may not believe in Scottish curses, but I promise you, they are real. Clarindon, I bid you good day.” He bowed to Alexander’s friend and weaved from the cabin, looking greener around the gills than usual.

“Hope he makes it to the rail this time,” Clarindon said as he helped Alex scoop up the impressive pile of winnings. “What do you make of his talk of curses?”

“We’re within spitting distance of Scotland, aren’t we?” Alex glanced out the porthole, catching a glimpse of the hazy coastline of his mother’s homeland before another swell washed over the heavy glass. “I’d only be surprised if there was no talk of a curse.”

BUY LINKS: Amazon    Barnes & Noble   BAM   iBook Store

PTTB MM

Don’t miss a chance to read “Plaid to the Bone”, now FREE on:  

Barnes & Noble Nook and iBookstore!

***   ***   ***

*One lucky Commenter will end up with ‘Plaid Tidings’ by Mia Marlowe

GIVEAWAY: US/ Canada, print or Kindle copy!

Won’t you join our celebration by:

1) Telling us what you liked about this Excerpt and why…

2) Subscribing to our Blog…

3) ‘LIKE’ -ing us on our Facebook!

All three is required for aTRIPLE chance to win in theGrand Giveaway!

If a follower & FB buddy, just COMMENT on the upcoming posts and you’ll be entered.

***   ***   ***

Vanessa KellyAUTHOR INFO: Vanessa Kelly is an award-winning author who was named by Booklist as one of the “New Stars of Historical Romance.” Her sensual, 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’s next series, The Renegade Royals, is due to hit the shelves in November with an introductory novella,Lost in a Royal Kiss. Book One in the series, Secrets For Seducing a Royal Bodyguard, will release in January, 2014.

Social media: Website  /  Facebook  / Twitter  /  Vanessa’s blog

Mia Marlowe stops by b2b…

Today we have two authors, two friends that are sharing their love of each others work. And while Vanessa Kelly is telling you about Mia Marlowe’s book, here’s Mia Marlowe telling you about Vanessa’s book….AND you can read my review of it here.

HMB VK‘His Mistletoe Bride’

BOOK BLURB: Blame It On The Mistletoe–

When Major Lucas Stanton inherited his earldom, he never dreamed his property would include the previous earl’s granddaughter. Phoebe Linville is a sparkling American beauty, yes, but with a talent for getting into trouble. Witness the compromising position that forced them into wedlock. Whisked away to Mistletoe Manor, his country estate, it isn’t long before she is challenging his rules–and surprising him in and out of bed–

Phoebe has no intention of bowing to Lucas’s stubbornness even though he offers all that she wants. His kisses and unexpected warmth are enticing, but Phoebe is determined to show the earl of Merritt what real love is all about. And if that takes twelve nights of delicious seduction by a roaring fire, she’s more than willing to reveal her gifts very slowly–

EXCERPT:

The maid led her downstairs and through a simply ornamented entrance hall to the door of the drawing room.  “There, miss.  They’re waiting for you.”

Phoebe nodded, suddenly so nervous her knees shook.  She silently ordered the starch back into her muscles and opened the door.   What she saw brought her up short.

Mrs. Tanner sat in a low chair by the fireplace.  A very tall, broad shouldered man stood opposite her, on the other side of the chimneypiece.  He was very handsome—quite the handsomest man Phoebe had ever seen.  And when his attention, narrowed and intense, jumped to her it struck her with an almost physical force.

Alarm skittered along her nerves.  Absurdly, she had the impulse to back out of the room as quickly as she could.

Silly.  Why be afraid of someone you have never met?

But as they stared at each other, she sensed some ill-defined peril, and she instinctively knew something dreadful was upon her.

Mrs. Tanner rose from her seat, momentarily splintering the tension.  “Phoebe, please come in.  This is a member of your grandfather’s family, Major Lucas Stanton, come to welcome thee to London.”

Phoebe slowly entered into the room, trying to shake the notion that she was approaching something awful and irrevocable.  The guarded expression on Mrs. Tanner’s face did nothing to dispel that impression.

Major Stanton took a step forward, looming—and looming seemed the only correct description—over her.  He was broad across the chest and shoulders, and every part of him looked hard and muscular.  Phoebe did not make a habit of dissecting the male figure, but he wore a well-tailored dark coat, pale, skin tight breeches, and tall leather boots, all of which showed off every line of his impressive physique.  Just looking at that brawny, masculine strength made her body hum with tension.

Cheeks flushing, she fixed her gaze on his face.  She found it disconcerting too, since his hard-cut, impassive features served as a stark contrast to eyes the color of a stormy sea.  The emotions she thought she perceived in their depths struck her as dangerous as the gales that had bedevilled her trip across the Atlantic.

“Major Stanton,” said Mrs. Tanner, “This is Miss Phoebe Linville.”

Phoebe stared up at him a moment longer, transfixed by his slashing cheekbones and the granite line of his jaw.  All the men she knew were farmers and shopkeepers, simple men who dressed plainly and looked nothing like this man.  Next to them, he resembled…well, she did not know what.  But she knew she had never met anyone like him, though they had yet to exchange even a simple greeting.

His gaze, somber and wary, turned to one of puzzlement, jolting her into motion.  The poor man must think she was a wordless half-wit.

Though Quakers generally made it a point not to bow or curtsy before those of higher station, she dipped low, ignoring Mrs. Tanner’s tsk of disapproval.  Why risk offending the first relative coming to greet her?  “Major Stanton, thank you for coming to meet me.  It was kind you to do so,” she said, offering her hand in greeting.

His big hand closed around hers and he lifted it to his lips, brushing a lingering kiss across her sensitive skin.  The breath seized in her throat.  Quaker men did not go around kissing hands, much less making a show of it.

Fortunately, he returned her hand and her lungs recommenced function.

“Phoebe,” said Mrs. Tanner, sounding horrified, “please sit.”

Her friend nudged her to a sturdy, brown-colored sofa next to the fireplace.  With a severe nod, Mrs. Tanner indicated to the major that he should take the seat facing them.  He did not bother to repress a low sigh as he carefully settled on a small caned chair that gave an alarming creak in response.  The sofa would have been a more appropriate choice for his large frame, but Mrs. Tanner clearly intended to punish him for his forward behavior.

“Major Stanton, how is my grandfather?” Phoebe asked impulsively.  “Did he ask you to fetch me?”

The swift glance he exchanged with Mrs. Tanner brought Phoebe’s anxiety rushing back.  Its chokehold tightened when the older woman reached over and took her hand in a comforting clasp.

“Phoebe, thee must prepare for unfortunate news.  But I ask thee to remember that the Father’s hand is in all things, and that he will watch over thee always.”

Fear swept through her.  “What are you talking about?”

When Mrs. Tanner hesitated, Phoebe shook off her restraining hand and jumped up.  The major rose immediately.

“Please, sir,” she implored.  “Take me to my grandfather.”

Compassion softened the grim lines of his face.  He struck her as a man not much given to that tender emotion, so whatever the cause it must be dire.

He stepped closer, reaching out to take her hand in a gentle grip.  “Miss Linville, you must sit.”   He had a firm, deep voice that held a compelling note of authority.  As it washed over her, she had to resist the impulse to automatically obey.  He smiled, as if to soothe her, and one finger stroked lightly over the back of her hand.  “I’m certain you should have a cup of tea before we have any further discussion.”

Unnerved by his touch, she pulled her hand away.  “I do not want a cup of tea.  I want you to tell me about my grandfather.”

He ran a thoughtful gaze over her face, as if taking her measure.  “Very well.  Miss Linville, it grieves me to inform you that your grandfather—my great uncle, Lord Merritt—died from an infection some weeks ago.  I didn’t write to you, since my letter would not have arrived prior to your departure.  I hope you will believe I would have spared you this trip, if it at all possible.”

A strange buzzing noise arose in her ears, then her knees buckled and she sank onto the sofa.  Her heart throbbed in her chest, straining against the shock.  For a terrible moment, she could not draw a breath.

Mrs. Tanner gasped her name and Major Stanton let out a low curse.  Swiftly, he came down on one knee before her and gripped her shoulders, holding her steady.  Until he touched her, Phoebe had not realized she needed someone to keep her upright.

“Hold her while I get some water,” exclaimed Mrs. Tanner as she rushed from the room.

“Steady on, Miss Linville,” Major Stanton murmured in her ear.  “Just lean against me.”

Coming up onto the sofa, he eased her into his embrace, resting her head against his broad chest.  As if controlled by some unseen force, her eyelids fluttered shut as, for the first time in her life, she found herself in the arms of a man other than her brother or father.  Her morals registered a faint objection, but her body wanted nothing other than to collapse against that solid wall, her cheek nestling comfortably against the soft wool fabric of his coat.  Tumult swirled in her brain, but his gentle embrace staved off the screeching panic that hovered at the edge of thought.

The door opened.  Footsteps hurried across the floorboards, as Mrs. Tanner rustled up to them with a glass of water in her hand.  “Major, thee must allow me to tend to Miss Linville.  Please let her sit up.”

Phoebe flinched at the note of censure in her friend’s voice.  Mrs. Tanner had every right to be offended because Phoebe had no business clinging to a man, no matter what the circumstances.  But she could not help shrinking further into his embrace.  Her stunned brain had latched onto the idea that as long as she remained in his arms she would be safe, that all the hurtful things in the world could not harm her.

Ridiculous, whispered the voice of reason.  She started to pull away, but Major Stanton gently adjusted his hold to keep her close.  Phoebe had to bite down on the whimper of relief that almost escaped her lips.

“I assure you, Mrs. Tanner,” he said, “I will release my cousin as soon as I know she won’t keel over in a dead faint.”

Phoebe frowned.  She never fainted.  And now that her wits were slowly returning, she felt the first flush of humiliation that she had allowed a perfect stranger to hold her so intimately.  Pushing herself upright, she began to withdraw from his arms.  For a second he resisted, keeping her fast in his embrace.  And, for a second, she did not want him to let go.

***   ***   ***

BUY LINKS: Amazon  ·  B & N  ·  Book Depository  ·  B-A-M  ·  Chapters  ·  IndieBound

***   ***   ***

*One lucky Commenter will end up with ‘His Mistletoe Bride’ by Vanessa Kelly

GIVEAWAY: US/ Canada, print or Kindle copy!

Won’t you join our celebration by:

1) Telling us what you liked about this Excerpt and why…

2) Subscribing to our Blog…

3) ‘LIKE’ -ing us on our Facebook!

All three is required for aTRIPLE chance to win in theGrand Giveaway!

If a follower & FB buddy, just COMMENT on the upcoming posts and you’ll be entered.

***   ***   ***

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

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

Social Media: Website / Facebook / Tweeter

b2b is Three!

happy_blogoversary11[1]

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!

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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?!

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‘Plaid Tidings’ by Mia Marlowe

PT MMSTORY: Christmas in the Highlands. . . Not any dashing English lord’s idea of a good time. But now that Lord Alexander Mallory has won a Scottish estate in a hand of cards, he is the unlikely laird of the wild, snowy Bonniebroch. Worse yet, the ancient pile of stones comes with a betrothal. To a fiery red-headed virgin. And a curse. Alex will have his hands full honoring the first, seducing the second and breaking the third . . . all by Twelfth Night.

REVIEW: First, before you read this story, please get the novella which precedes it [‘Plaid to the Bone’ which I’m reviewing right after this one] and the reason behind it is the main plot of the curse that was cast in the novella and is affecting our hero and his heroine.

I’m a huge Mia Marlowe fan, and ‘Plaid Tidings’ proves once more that her writing is filled with wonderful prose, but what draws me more than even that is her characters. They are so well-rounded and well liked, even the secondary ones, like our heroines constant companion, who is a GHOST!

This is also a sweet, sensual and very entertaining romance.   I have no doubt that you’ll love the hero, Lord Alexander Mallory who wins a Scottish estate in a game of cards and unbeknownst to him, a betrothal with it!

Meeting Lucinda MacOwen was a hoot! I adored her courage, her astuteness and wit. It was such a pleasure watching these two do the ‘dance’ and just the anticipation and sexual tension that grew between them alone is worth the read.   ‘Plaid Tidings’ is one of many novels that I’ve read so far from Ms. Marlowe and as usual, she never fails to deliver. I highly recommend it, especially at this time of year. It has a wonderful Yuletide feel that you’ll love. I promise!

*ARC provided by the author

PTTB MM‘Plaid to the Bone’ 

BONUS STORY: A bride comes to Bonniebroch. . . But Cait Grant is hardly dreaming of wedded bliss. For political reasons, she must marry Adam Cameron, laird of Bonniebroch. And then, as a duty to her clan, she must murder him. . .

If only her new husband weren’t so devilishly handsome. If only she didn’t have to play the loving wife for one long, languorous month. If only she didn’t surrender to his softly sensual touch, she would be able to fulfill her duty. If only she didn’t fall in love. . .

BONUS REVIEW: This novella is a must read before you go to ‘Plaid Tidings’ (Spirit of the Highlands). I am so glad I read it in order because it explains a lot about the curse that is put on the people of Bonniebroch.

I love anything with a setting in Scotland, so this was just a perfect story to take me there.

Ms. Marlowe sure did a great job of painting the picture of the sixteenth century Scotland with all its political turmoil of young King James V.

I fell in love with Adam Cameron, laird of Bonniebroch, and his intended, Cait Grant, and went through her personal agony right along with her as she makes her choices. I also fell in love with a secondary character of Farquhar, and I must say Ms. Marlowe threw me a curve ball with that character.

This novella has a little bit of everything in it. A bit of magic, romance, good guys, bad guys and a most awesome hero you’ll find in the sixteenth century. Great read and very entertaining.

Melanie for b2b

*Book bought from Amazon.

Spotlight on: Mia Marlowe and …

Touch of  Seduction Series!

Touch of a Lady [Prequel]

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

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

[click on the cover or the title to purchase]

Touch of a Thief [Book I]

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

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

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Touch of a Rogue [Book II]

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

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

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

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Touch of a Scoundrel [Book III]

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

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

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

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

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

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‘Lord of Devil Isle’ by Mia Marlowe/Connie Mason

BOOK BLURB: Is Eve Upshall jumping from the frying pan into the fire when she lets a half-naked stranger pull her from the stormy sea? Captain Nicholas Scott is a rogue who takes advantage of every situation, whether it’s salvaging priceless loot or seducing a proper lady. And he makes it very clear he plans to take advantage of his new find in the most delicious way possible.

Eve’s whole future depends on everyone believing she is the soul of propriety. But with Nick refusing to transport her to her prospective bridegroom, and the balmy Bermuda nights whispering of unimaginable pleasures, how can any woman resist the lure of the … Lord of Devil Isle.

EXCERPT:

“Nicholas reached over to brush an errant lock off Eve’s cheek, but she shied like a whipped pup.

“Easy, lass,” he said, as he tucked the strand behind her ear. Her cheek was soft, but lightly grained with salt from her time in the sea. “Check your bearings. You’re safe now.”

Nicholas opened his sea trunk and pulled out a dry shirt. He thought about offering her one, but she’d been given an opportunity to find dry clothes and dismissed it. Besides, she was now thoroughly engulfed in his heavy oilskin coat. Pity. He’d have enjoyed the show till the muslin dried.

“I’m deeply grateful for your assistance this night, and in truth, I’ve never seen such a reckless display of courage. Nevertheless,” she said primly, “you owe me an apology, Captain.”

“Indeed? For what offense?”

Her cheeks flamed. “For kissing me without permission.”

He laughed. “That was hardly a kiss, lass. It just seemed a shame to waste a pair of lips at the time.”

He considered her for a moment. Fashion favored a little pink bow of a mouth, but this wench’s red lips were a wide, full ribbon, slanting sensually across her oval face.

Nick decided little pink bows were overrated.

He leaned forward, bracing himself on the arms of her chair. “Now this,” he said simply, “is a kiss.”

She opened her mouth to protest, but it only made his job easier. He slanted his lips over hers, capturing her with ease. She was rigid with surprise at first, but he expected that. He also fully expected the way her mouth softened under his in the next heartbeat. Her lips were dusted with sea salt, but he slid his tongue past them to search out the honey inside.

Damn, she was sweet. She made some noises, but they didn’t sound like the usual moans of pleasure he coaxed from his mistress. He tried to tease her tongue into chasing his back into his mouth, but she played coy.

Her hands found his chest, raking her nails across his skin.

Encouraged, he deepened the kiss.

And then the little minx grasped a few of the dark hairs that whorled around his nipples and yanked them out!

“Ow!” He jerked away from her, rubbing his chest.

“The next time you force something into my mouth without my permission, I will bite it off,” she promised with an evil glare.”

FEATURED AUTHOR: Mia Marlowe

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My first RT Convention [my first convention ever]

RT Booklovers Convention is on Baby! It’s happening right now (from April 11 – April 15), and it’s in my town, Chicago and there was no way I could have stayed away from it, not when most of my awesome and talented romance authors and bloggers, would be attending.

It’s Wednesday night and I’m counting days and hours to this weekend. I have only a weekend pass for RT Convention and I’m excited to a point where anxiety is taking over! I think I need some Yoga to calm me down…

Anyways, with my health issues slowly, and I mean about a turtle speed, getting better, I’m just about ready for this event to lift my ‘steroid induced roller-coaster’ of emotions, up.

Yesterday I’ve downloaded the RT’s Agenda and highlighted some things that will be a must attend and some authors that are a must meet.

A NOBLE AFFAIR is on a Friday morning at 8:30 a.m. and it’s a champagne breakfast hosted by NOBLE PUBLISHING, which means I need to rise early…very early [note to self: need to arrange to meet Grace Burrowes there, and oh God I hope I do not swoon when meeting Madam Authoress].

At 11:15 a.m. I’m planning to go to a discussion on THE TROUBLE WITH LAYERS and listen to Loretta Chase, Kieran Kramer, Sarah MacLean, Jade Lee and Sabrina Jeffries [note to self: with so much talent in one room, do not, I repeat-do not embarrass yourself by aping a salivating dog].

In the evening there are a couple of things I’d love to check out and the chance to meet Katharine Ashe, Lorraine Heath, Tessa Dare and Sophie Jordan at AVON’S INDIGO LOUNGE, as well as visit with Heather Graham with NIGHT OF THE STARS GANGSTER CAFE TALENT QUEST, would be an awesome way to end my first day at the convention [note to self: time to get of the med's for this weekend].

As I’m packing some of my favorite books from Mary Balogh, Victoria Alexander, Monica Burns, Shana Galen, Sylvia Day, Emma Wildes, Delilah Marvelle, Heather Snow, Jade Lee, Mia Marlowe and many more, I’m so happy I can’t stand it. Is it Friday yet?!

To all of you bookworms, I promise we’ll have plenty of stuff to giveaway, so get ready for it!

SINS OF THE HIGHLANDER by Connie Mason with Mia Marlowe

From the first paragraph you’re sucked in as the authors are letting us into Rob’s dream and it is a dream that Rob keeps having frequently of loving his dead wife. These dreams are the only thing that keeps this man who everyone calls ‘Mad Rob’ somewhat ‘sane’. Without having Fiona’s ‘visits’ in his dreams he would be lost and the pain would truly drive him insane.

They were married on Christmas day and twelve days later, by Epiphany, she was abducted by Lachlan Drummond, repeatedly raped by him, and one day she jumped out the tower window to her death.
Rob has lived with this knowledge and hate towards Lachlan for two years, and finally he is ready to spring revenge on the man who hurt his Fiona. He aims to have an ‘eye for an eye’ and is planning to crash Lachlan’s wedding and take his bride, Elspeth Stewart.

Elspeth Stewart is a dutiful daughter and in order to please her father she is willing to wed a man of his choosing, Laird Lachlan Drummond. Accepting this marriage, doesn’t make her happy as much as it makes her apprehensive. Right before she is to say her vows Mad Rob enters the Kirk on his black stallion and dumps her across his lap, telling Lachlan that if he wants his bride in one piece, he is to come to Caistal Dubh in one month’s time so they could finally have it out. Coming any sooner, let alone follow him, would certainly bring on her death!

What follows is a story of Rob and his men, with Elspeth in tow, making their way to his castle, while Lachlan and her father are following a trail that clever Elspeth leaves for them. However, once Elspeth learns the truth behind Rob’s thirst for revenge against Lachlan, she slowly realizes that Rob saved her from the same faith.

This story is brimming with action; the plot is full of twists and turns and the characters of Elspeth and Rob had me sigh and cry while I followed their road to happily ever after. To listen to Rob finally tell Elspeth about his love for his wife was heartbreaking not only for Elspeth but for the reader too.

To have these two authors take a fairly unoriginal trope of ‘bride abduction’ and turn it into a unique and heartwarming tale is awe inspiring.

I loved taking this danger filled journey with our hero and heroine. To watch them fight off an attack by a pack of howling wolves exhilarating and fun. Along the way they’ll come across many secondary characters that will aid them and we’ll come to care for them as well.

I was riveted by both Elspeth and Rob and their strong feelings for each. Both had a hard time accepting and admitting it to themselves let alone to each other. As someone who has The Sight, Elspeth was hoping it would help her ‘see’ what might come next, but alas every time a vision appears it seems to be just a bit too late.

Rob has regrets and the quilt he feels in not being able to protect his Fiona, is something that he has a very hard time coming to terms with. Oh, and wait until you meet the villain and Elspeth’s attended, Lachlan. What a piece of work this dude turned out to be. It has been awhile since I’ve encountered such a thoroughly despicable human being. This man had not only raped and tortured Fiona, but he felt not a bit of remorse and planned to do the same to Elspeth. She was only means to an end for him, and worth only the dowry she brings. Besides lying to her parents, which was the least of his numerous sins, he at one point accuses her of witchcraft and plans to see her burned. As far as villains go, this guy is second to none!

But our hero is ever ready to come to Elspeth’s rescue and to read the last chapters of this book was one pure pleasure! I’ve literally paced the floor with my Kindle, rooting for Rob to end that bastard’s days once and for all.

Can you tell I liked this book? I hope that you can because I certainly gave enough clues! This is one fast paced journey that I was made to feel a part of, and for that I must thank the authors who are masters of their craft. I have no doubt that this book will be one of the best reads of 2012. I will not be surprised if it is nominated and awarded a prize. Everything in it is prize worthy.

I have to admit that I am stunned at Connie Mason’s and Mia Marlowe’s writing. SINS OF THE HIGHLANDER does not read as a co-written story. I am not sure who wrote which part, or how does that work anyways? Everything flowed seamlessly and I couldn’t tell that it was written by two people.

This is one story that all Highlander fans will love, but especially Connie Mason’s fans that have been waiting for this story for some time now. I also think that Mia Marlowe’s old and new fans will love this collaborative work and ask for more! As for myself, I have added two new authors to my wish list, my to be read pile and an auto buy list. Need I tell you this is a five quill read or will you deduce this from my review? I wish you a happy reading!

*This review posted on Romantic Crush Junkies Reviews eZine*

“A Duke for All Seasons” by Mia Marlowe

STORY: Sebastian Blake, His Grace the Duke of  Winterhaven, has an inviolate rule when it comes to mistresses. He never keeps one longer than a turn of the season. But then he’s never met a woman as tempting as Arabella St. George…

A fiery operatic diva, Arabella is blackmailed into helping the French. When she gives the envelope intended for a French assassin to the Duke of Winterhaven by mistake, she’ll do anything to retrieve it. Even if she has to seduce it away from him…

REVIEW: Since I am always on the lookout for new authors (to me at least) and interesting and entertaining stories, I stumbled on a website of an author by the name of Emily Bryan and she offered free chapters of her novella A DUKE FOR ALL SEASONS which was very intriguing, very sophisticated and had an element of surprise that I just loved.

Alas, I never read anything after Chapter 8 and I was left to wonder what happened to the Duke and his Opera mistress and how it all ended.

Fast forward to this year, and I’m surfing the net and I see the title of this book and next to it the name that’s not familiar to me of Mia Marlowe. By reading synopses of the story, I can see that it’s my Duke and his Mistress, but the name was confusing me and a little research was a relief to find out that Mia and Emily are one and the same.

Sebastian, Duke of Winterhaven, is a man who has to have order in his life, even in regards to his mistress’s. In order not to get too attached to them, or rather for them not to get too attached to him, he maintains a ‘schedule’ of them. Every Season he engages a new one. It all works out for the best, for all parties concerned.

Arabella St. George is an Opera performer with a passion for two things, her art and her daughter, who she’s given to her sister to raise as her own. The reason behind it is a man who will stop at nothing to hurt her or her daughter.

After setting his eyes on her and watching her perform, Sebastian is considering her for his next mistress. He is all set to hand her his proposition one evening and surprises her backstage. She on the other hand doesn’t seem to be surprised by his visit mistaking him for a contact she expected to hand over a letter.

A DUKE FOR ALL SEASONS is a novella that will grab you from the start and its fast pace will keep you anticipating the next curve. Its romance with a dollop of sensuality will keep you wishing for a fan, and the dialogue will have you chuckle, while the suspense will keep you turning pages and guessing.

Please don’t let the word ‘short’ put you off. For me, no matter the length of the story, as long as I can get all the elements of a good read, such as decent pace, interesting plot and emotional connection to the characters, I am a happy camper.

This novella fills that bill to a perfection. It has romance and passion; adventure and danger; a strong and courage’s heroine paired with an equally strong and sexy hero. For a sweet romance that’s sprinkled with intrigue and sensuality that now I have come to associate with Ms. Marlowe (Emily Bryan) I highly recommend it. 

Before I read this novella, I had a privilege to read SINS OF THE HIGHLANDER, which is a book collaboration of Connie Mason and Mia Marlowe and it floored me at how seamlessly they merged their prose in this story of revenge and passion. Mark your Calendar! This is one book you do NOT want to miss!