‘The Bride Insists’ by Jane Ashford

ja tbiSTORY: When governess Clare Greenough learns she’s inherited a fortune, the good news comes with a catch: it will be held by her cousin until Clare can find a husband.

To stave off ruin, Jamie Boleigh, the seventh Baron of Trehearth, agrees to marry Clare under the condition that she keeps the money, a provision he hopes to overturn. Their passionate relationship becomes a battle of wills.

When the cousin tricks Jamie into betraying his wife, he’ll have to prove the truth or lose her forever.

REVIEW: Just when governess Clare Greenough thinks that her life will always find her teaching difficult and spoiled children, she gets word that she has inherited a sizable fortune from a distant relative. Thrilled, she heads to London along with an older woman, Selina Newton, whom she has hired to be her companion. When she discovers that her evil cousin, Simon Greenough, who denied monetary help years earlier to her and her ailing mother will have control of her fortune until she marries, she immediately seeks to find a man in need of an heiress for a wife.
James Boleigh, seventh Baron Trehearth, is just about to lose his family home and is literally penniless. He has spent too much time lolly-gagging with his friends in London, gambling and drinking way too much. When he learns about Clare, they are quickly introduced, find they suit, marry and leave for his ancestral home, Trehearth in Cornwall. Her companion, Selina, goes along with them.

As the home is in need of an infusion of money for repairs both inside and to the estate cottages, James jumps in to work on the estate repairs and Clare, with the help of Selina, begin to make changes and improvements to the inside. In addition, she meets James’ younger twin sisters who prove themselves to be a handful.

Both James and Clare are in for a great surprise. Clare plans to keep track of the finances and James thinks he should have complete control of all of it. They clash mightily over this. After a big fight, Clare flees in a huff to London leaving James on his own. Never having had a season, Clare meets a wealthy woman, friend of Selina, who welcomes them to stay with her and insists on presenting her to London. After some time apart and drowning his sorrows in alcohol, James goes to London to try and woo his wife back.

While this was a nice story, my big complaint was the immaturity of James and Clare. Clare’s running away from responsibilities grew really old and I wanted to smack her. James’ clamming up and serious alcoholism were tedious. Both of them needed to grow up and fast. However, I would like to think that the author created these “flawed” characters just for that type of reaction from the reader.

Connie for b2b

Complimentary copy provided by my Library.

“One cannot live by Chocolate alone, right?!” by Ella Quinn

Stitched Panorama

Bolzano / Adige Valley

Thank you Melanie for having me back on your blog!! I’m really excited to be here to talk about Desiring Lady Caro!

I always have food in my books, but this one has dishes from Italy, Austria, and France. Huntley, the hero, discovered that Caro has a weakness for chocolate, and he’s bound and determined to woo her with it. But, of course, one cannot live by chocolate alone, and since Huntley is something of a foodie, each day when they stop for the evening, he consults with the hotel’s chief, ensuring that Caro not only has chocolate, but other food as well.

trentino78[1]

Terme di Brennero

Here are two recipes, modernized. One is for chocolate cake with ground nuts from Italy, and the other is Schlutzkrapfen (ravioli with spinach and ricotta filling). Add a salad, some good rustic bread, and red wine, and you can pretend to be in the mountains of northern Italy.

SchlutzkrapfenSchlutzkrapfen

Ingredients:

400 g (4 cups) rye flour

100 g (1 cup) spinach

100 g (1 cup) wheat flour

200 g ricotta (a scant 1 cup)

1 egg

salt, pepper

salt

nutmeg, chives

3 dspn oil (6 tsp)

2 dspn parmesan cheese (4 tsp)

lukewarm water as required

1 boiled potato

Filling:

preparation

Combine the chopped, boiled spinach with the ricotta, mashed potato, parmesan cheese, chives and herbs. Knead the flour, egg, salt, oil and lukewarm water to form a smooth dough. Leave to rest for 30 minutes. Roll the dough out thinly and cut out pieces with a round cutter before placing the spinach filling on top and closing the pieces, pressing the sides together. Then cook in boiling water and serve with butter and parmesan cheese.

~~~~~~~~~~   *****   ~~~~~~~~~~

 

Torta CapreseTorta Caprese has been around for centuries, and, although its origins have been lost, the island of Capri claims it came from there, but by 1816 it was found all over. I like this recipe because it has the measurements in American and grams.

Yield: Serves 8

Prep Time: 10 mins

Cook Time: 50 mins

Ingredients:

200g (7 Ounces) Dark Chocolate

4 Large Eggs, Separated

250g (1 1/4 Cups) Granulated Sugar

1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract

250g (1 1/4 Cups) Ground Almonds

200g (7 Ounces) Butter, Melted & Cooled

Topping:

Powdered Sugar or Cocoa Powder

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 Degrees F. and lightly grease a 9 inch spring form pan.
In a food processor, process the chocolate until fine.
Beat the egg yolks with the sugar and vanilla extract until pale and thick.
Fold the chocolate, butter and almonds into the egg yolk mixture.
Use a clean bowl to beat the egg whites until they form soft peaks, then fold these into the chocolate almond mixture.

Pour the batter into your prepared pan, and bake for about 50 minutes or until set.
Cool 20 minutes, then remove from the tin.
Allow to cool to room temperature, then dust the top with powdered sugar or cocoa.

What do you like to eat when traveling?

GIVEAWAY: 1 eCopy/1Winner

eq dlcSTORY: Haunted by her past, Lady Caroline Martindale fled England for the solace of her godmother’s palazzo in Venice. But if Caro was hoping to escape the charms of marriage-minded men, she’s come to the wrong place. And she’ll resort to extreme measures to spurn the advances of a dangerously determined Venetian marquis…

Though most of his friends have married off, Gervais, Earl of Huntley, remains bent on eluding the parson’s mousetrap. But his convictions begin to falter when he arrives in Venice and meets his match in the alluring Lady Caro. What began as a hastily concocted lie to save her from the marquis may become a chance for them both to relinquish their fear - and embrace what they can no longer deny…

EXCERPT: here

Ella QuinnAUTHOR BIO: Ella Quinn lived all over the United States, the Pacific, Canada, England and Europe before finally discovering the Caribbean. She lives in St. Thomas, Virgin Islands with her wonderful husband, three bossy cats and a lovable great Dane.

Ella loves when friends connect with her on Facebook andTweeter.

Represented by the lovely Elizabeth Pomada, Larsen-Pomada Literary Agency and published by Kensington. Ella’s début novel is now available on Amazon / B&N.

‘Desiring Lady Caro’ by Ella Quinn

eq dlcSTORY: Haunted by her past, Lady Caroline Martindale fled England for the solace of her godmother’s palazzo in Venice. But if Caro was hoping to escape the charms of marriage-minded men, she’s come to the wrong place. And she’ll resort to extreme measures to spurn the advances of a dangerously determined Venetian marquis…

Though most of his friends have married off, Gervais, Earl of Huntley, remains bent on eluding the parson’s mousetrap. But his convictions begin to falter when he arrives in Venice and meets his match in the alluring Lady Caro. What began as a hastily concocted lie to save her from the marquis may become a chance for them both to relinquish their fear - and embrace what they can no longer deny…

REVIEW: Here comes the fourth Ella Quinn novel in her Marriage Game series and out of all four, and thanks to Ms. Quinn’s wonderful characterization of both hero and heroine, this was my favorite.

Poor Huntley! He watches as his friends one by one succumb to the ‘parsons noose’ and the only way he could escape this inevitable fate is to run as fast and as far as he possible can, in this case Venice and a visit to his Aunt, Lady Horatia.

Fate, however, has something and someone in store for him, and poor Huntley will not know what hit him as he meets Lady Caroline Martindale who had her own reasons for leaving her homeland a few years ago to stay with Lady Horatia, her godmother.

From the first meeting between the two, you could feel Huntley’s interest in Caro and wanting to unravel the enigma of her. Caroline’s aloofness to all the male suitors in general and one in particular, was intriguing to him and as soon as he realized the danger she was in, he did anything he could to protect her.

As they flee the villain, we’re treated to their fast and furious flight, their acquaintance turning into a warm friendship and finally culminating in one of the best romances I’ve ever read. Talk about heroes! Huntley was such a great one and I’ll remember him for a long time. He was kind, caring, patient and protective. He knew how to treat a woman who was filled with fear of men and he never once doubted the decision he was forced to make in order to save Caro’s life and reputation.

I enjoyed their flight across the continent and especially the places they stopped at while on the run. Ms. Quinn did some great research as I got treated to the landscape they passed and wonderful fare they ate [risotto with mushrooms; chocolate torte with ground almonds; spinach filled ravioli; apple strudel with vanilla sauce; roasted pork with sauerkraut; tiramisu]. I’m shocked Caro didn’t gain 50 lbs! If that was me, I’d be at least 10 lb’s  heavier  and by the time we arrived at our destination, I’d need a new wardrobe! 

Another great surprise in this novel was the wonderful secondary romance of Aunt Horatia and her Captain, which was so sweet and unexpected to the reader as much as it is to this strong and independent widow. 

If you haven’t read Ella Quinn’s series yet, I highly recommend you pick it up and give it a go. All the books are sweet and sensual, fast paced and well written and plotted with strong characterization and wonderful prose.

Melanie for b2b

Complimentary copy provided by the publisher.

‘Unwed and Unrepentant’ by Marguerite Kaye

mk uauSTORY: Burned by love and fearful of being trapped by marriage, headstrong Lady Cordelia Armstrong is furious when her father manipulates her into a betrothal with his business partner, and her one-time lover, Iain Hunter.

Understanding Cordelia’s reluctance, Iain proposes a pretend engagement. For now they will make believe, but there is no need to fake the attraction that still burns hotly between them. As they travel to magical Arabia, the lines between fantasy and reality blur. Will either of them really be able to walk away once their deal is done?

REVIEW: Lady Cordelia is a young woman with a past.  Nine years ago, she ran away with a young man of her choosing to get married.  Her father had dictated to her whom she would marry and Cordelia completely rebelled against his tyranny.  As it turns out, Cordelia never did marry she ran away to meet and has since become a very wealthy woman on her own.  Now, she has returned to her father’s home to face him hoping to finally mend fences with him and be reunited with her sisters.  During her “exile,” her sisters had not been allowed to have any contact with her at all.  Two of her sisters have married Arabian princes and she wants to journey to their homes to visit them.  As her mother had passed away many years ago, her father was now remarried with more children added to the family.  However, her father is still using his manipulative powers by introducing Cordelia to Iain Hunter whom he has employed to buy some Arabian ships for him.

They undertake a long journey for Cordelia to visit her sisters and for Iain to buy some ships.  Their togetherness soon leads to an attraction that progresses to a love affair.  Where will it lead?  Will there be a happy ending?

I thoroughly enjoyed this delicious novel by the great Marguerite Kaye.  Her in-depth research before writing this book is obvious as her account not only of the legs of the journey, but also her delightful descriptions of the scenery, flowers, weather etc. made me feel like I was right there in the moment.

I hope readers will be sure to get a copy of this wonderful novel when it is published on April 16, 2014.

Connie for b2b

Complimentary copy provided by the publisher.

Anne Gracie stops by b2b!

 

april-fools-day[1]

Happy April 1st to you all — Happy Birthday to Melanie, and happy launch day for my book ‘The Winter Bride’. I won’t hog all the celebrations, but I’ll try to entice you with a few snippets from ‘The Winter Bride’.

ag twb

Buy Links: Amazon / B&NIndieBound  / The Book DepositoryUK

The story:  To get his parents and marriage-minded muffins off his back, charming bad-boy rake Freddy Monkton-Coombes pays marriage-shy Damaris Chance to enter into a false engagement. It’s all for show; falling in love was never in the plan . . .

The Cast:

1) The hero and heroine:

          Freddy: He wasn’t contemplating marriage, dammit! Not with anything other than horror.

Damaris: “I have an abhorrence of marriage.” There was a short, shocked silence.

2) Damaris’s ‘aunt’ on Freddy:

Lady Beatrice poked him with her elegant ebony stick. “Been out on the tiles again, young tomcat?”

Freddy gave her a cool, dignified look.

Lady Beatrice grinned. “Thought so. You have that look about you.”

3) Damaris’s employer on Freddy:

          “A tomcat in gentleman’s clothing, that’s what ’e is—a rake through and through. . . Bless you, my dove, you’re too young to recognize a Wicked Seducer when you see one, and I grant you that one is an ’andsome devil, and charmin’ as an oiled snake, I have no doubt!”

She fixed Damaris with a gimlet eye. “But it don’t do for a girl like you to catch the eye of a gentleman, take it from me. He’ll soften you up with sweet words and little gifts and . . . and poetry, and you’ll think ’e’s ever such a nice fellow, then in the twinklin’ of an eye, he’ll ’ave your skirts over your ’ead, and there you’ll be, rooned forever!”

“But Mrs. Jenkins—”

“Rooned forever!” Mrs. Jenkins repeated firmly.

4) Freddy’s mother on Damaris:

          Lady Breckenridge’s pale blue eyes glittered. “Instead, here you are, a girl I’ve never met before, some connection of Lady Beatrice’s but otherwise entirely unknown to English society. And half Italian.” As if Damaris were some mongrel puppy.

5) Freddy’s father on Damaris’s suitability:

          His father hunched over his wine, and after a moment muttered, “Almeria Armthwaite is English and a bruisin’ rider to hounds. You could have had her.”

Freddy smiled. “Anyone can, I believe, as long as they enjoy the whip.”

Anne Gracie again:

I loved writing this book. Freddy is funny and charming, a lighthearted bad-boy rake. He calls Pride and Prejudice a horror story — it’s all about girls finding husbands, you see — and he’s pursued by “muffins” — ie. marriage-minded women. But he slowly reveals himself to be “an utterly to-die-for hero” (so said Mary Jo Putney.) Damaris is serious and quiet, and the secrets of her past make her vulnerable, but underneath her cool exterior she’s really something special — watch her stand up to Freddy’s b*tch of a mother, and I think you’ll love her as much as I do.

poodleCakesHappy Birthday, Melanie and thanks for letting me share it with you.

Dear Bookworms, I’ll give a copy of ‘The Winter Bride’ to someone who leaves a comment: since today is Mel’s birthday, what do you think we should serve at her party? I’m sending these little cup-cakes.

Melanie here:

Anne, I’m so happy you’re here with us today! Thanks for stopping by and helping me celebrate my 57th Birthday. I tell you, it is true, the saying ‘Time flies when you’re having fun.’  I look back on my life and wonder at all the Blessings, and thank the good Lord for each of them.

State-Dining-Room_jpg_920x920_q85

Now, let’s party! Here’s the place we’re all at, but we need some drinks, food and how about some of my favorite ‘book boyfriends’ coming over and lending a hand in the festivities? Too bad James Alexander Malcolm Mackenzie can’t travel through stones…but maybe you could send me one of your ‘book boyfriends’? Who will it be?!

sh gif

Commenter that sends me the one I choose will get a print or eCopy of one of my all time favorite stories from Anne Gracie, and it’s ‘The Virtuous Widow’ in an anthology titled ‘Gifts of the Season’ with Miranda Jarrett and Lyn Stone.

agAUTHOR INFO: For Anne’s Bio, click on her pick. You’ll love it!

Places to find Anne Gracie:

Website / Blog / Facebook / Tweeter

 

‘The Winter Bride’ by Anne Gracie

ag twbSTORY: Damaris Chance’s unhappy past has turned her off the idea of marriage forever. But her guardian, Lady Beatrice Davenham, convinces her to make her coming out anyway—and have a season of carefree, uncomplicated fun.

When Damaris finds herself trapped in a compromising situation with the handsome rake Freddy Monkton-Coombes, she has no choice but to agree to wed him—as long as it’s in name only. Her new husband seems to accept her terms, but Freddy has a plan of his own: to seduce his reluctant winter bride.

Will Damaris’s secrets destroy her chance at true happiness? Or can Freddy help her cast off the shackles of the past, and yield to delicious temptation?

REVIEW: Damaris Chance is living with her newly wed sister and brother-in-law, along with her younger sisters and her Aunt Beatrice. When the newly weds decide to go on their honeymoon, her brother-in-law calls upon his good friend, Freddie Monkton-Coombes to keep an eye on his sisters-in-law while they are gone.  Only a few people know about the past of the Chance “sisters” in that only two of them are actually sisters and the other two have grouped with the others to call themselves sisters.  Their pasts are not something they want people to know about.  In addition, Aunt Beatrice has simply “adopted” the girls as her nieces as they took such good care of her in the past.

Taking his responsibility seriously, Freddie drops in often and attempts to keep an eye on the girls when they are out in society. But Damaris has a secret talent and a job that helps her to save money to allow her to live independently without having to marry which she fiercely does not want to do.  All she wants is a peaceful little cottage to live out her life in.

Freddie has his own family problems.  He only sees his parents once a year for the annual ceremony marking his older brother’s death for which his parents blame Freddie.  While he is innocent, the many years he has suffered from his parents’ coldness has hardened his heart for wanting anything to do with them.  But this year, his mother has written to tell him that she is hosting a house party with a selection of eligible young women from which he is to choose a wife.  His mother has decreed that it is time he marries and settles down.

Freddie and Damaris make a plan for a marriage in name only.  Damaris will go with Freddie to his parents for the annual ceremony and, in turn, he will buy Damaris her dream cottage.  However, they haven’t counted on the fact that they might just fall in love with one another.

This was a delightful novel that I thoroughly loved!  Don’t miss this continuation story of the “sisters” and the difficult pasts that they have managed to overcome.

Connie for b2b

Complimentary copy provided by the author.

Rupert Perry Jones

MEL’S THOUGHTS: This is the 2nd book in Ms. Gracie’s Chance Sisters series [for the 1st book, 'The Autumn Bride', see my review here] and it’s time for our Damaris to find her happily ever after. It’s also Freddy’s turn to succumb to the parson’s noose.

Here is Freddy talking to Max [the hero from The Autumn Bride] in which Freddy tells him he’s not fond of Aunt Bea’s Literary gatherings …

“Horror from the very first line: It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife. Must he, indeed? What about the poor fellow’s wants, eh? Do they matter? No. Every female in the blasted story was plotting to hook some man for herself or her daughter or niece. If you don’t call that horror, I don’t know what is!”

 Max chuckled.

 “You can laugh, bound as you are for parson’s noose in the morning,” Freddy said bitterly, “but every single man in that story ended up married by the end of the book! Every last one.” He numbered them off on his fingers. “The main fellow, his best friend, the parson, even the soldier fellow ended up married to the silly light-skirt sister—not one single man in that story escaped unwed.” He shuddered again. “Enough to give a man nightmares. So, no literary society for me, thank you.”

Maggie Smith as Aunt Bea from The Winter Bride by Anne GracieDamn but I loved this story! I laughed so much my eyes were full of happy tears. Let me tell you, I’ll never eat another muffin without seeing Freddy’s face and expression as he talks about the ‘muffins’ of another kind.

“Freddy stared gloomily at the plate before him. Lady Bea was convinced that muffins were the Monkton-Coombes food of choice. Max’s fault, blast him. He’d told his aunt that Freddy was obsessed with muffins, and of course the old girl didn’t realize he meant females of the reforming, marrying, pestilential sort. So she had him served with these blasted bun things each time he called. And expected him to eat them. With enthusiasm.”

And then we have secondary characters that are as vivid in my mind as the first, like Mrs. Jenkins, Damaris’ secret employer, who’s always telling her that Freddy will only take her on ‘the road to roon’

I liked its fast pace, the sweet romance, every character was vivid in my imagination and I‘ll tell you if this was a movie, there’s only one couple that can play Freddy and Damaris and they are Rupert Penry-Jones and  Sally Hawkins from my favorite Jane Austen’s adaptation of ‘Persuasion’.

Dame Maggie Smith was my perfect vision of Aunt Beatrice as she banded words and wit with everyone around her.

Please make sure you read this book. I promise you’ll love it so much.

Melanie for b2b.

Complimentary copy provided by the publisher.

‘The Trouble with Honor’ by Julia London

jl ttwhSTORY: Desperate times call for daring measures as Honor Cabot, the eldest stepdaughter of the wealthy Earl of Beckington, awaits her family’s ruin. Upon the earl’s death she and her sisters stand to lose the luxury of their grand home – and their place on the pedestal of society – to their stepbrother and his social-climbing fiancée. Forced to act quickly, Honor makes a devil’s bargain with the only rogue in London who can seduce her stepbrother’s fiancée out of the Cabots’ lives for good.

An illegitimate son of a duke, George Easton was born of scandal and grows his fortune through dangerous risks. But now he and Honor are dabbling in a perilous dance of seduction that puts her reputation and his jaded heart on the line. And as unexpected desire threatens to change the rules of their secret game, the stakes may become too high even for a notorious gambler and a determined, free-spirited debutante to handle.

REVIEW: Honor Cabot is in a quandary.  Her stepfather is dying from consumption, her mother is showing signs of dementia, her stepbrother and heir, Augustine, is engaged to her old friend, Monica, now turned selfish, vindictive and trying to see to it that Honor, her three sisters and mother are quickly removed from the home as soon as the stepfather dies and Monica marries Augustine.  (Whew!  What a long sentence.)

During a clandestine game at a gambling hell, Honor schemes to entice George Easton to seduce Monica so the engagement will be broken and Honor will have more time to hopefully find successful marriages for her, her sisters and make sure that her mother will be cared for.  George Easton is the unrecognized bastard son of a duke and the nephew of a king.  He is also a fairly wealthy and self-made man.  However, his largest investment is threatening to fall through leaving him with little money.

As George attempts to seduce Monica, he and Honor find a strong attraction to one another putting her reputation at risk.  While Honor has fallen in love with George, he knows that without money, he cannot keep Honor in the way she has always known.

Will Monica be successful at ousting Honor and her family and will Honor and George be able to be together?  You’ve got to get the book and find out!

Connie for b2b

‘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.

Cara Elliott’s Top Five …

Passionate, Enticing, Reckless  List

aberdeen-blue-butterfly_front_What’s something you’re passionate about: Patagonia Snap-T synchilla pullovers (my writing uniform)

Name one of Hollywood’s most Enticing hunks: James McAvoy

James McAvoy

What’s one reckless activity you’ve always wanted to try?

MatterhornClimbing the Matterhorn

Share a fun fact about your book: 

The famous spa mineral water of Bath really was known as “Bath Bath UKchampagne” (Though it had a very sulfurous smell so I doubt it was as fun to drink as Dom Perignon.)

BMW-750cc-cafe-racer-1Share a fun fact about you: 

I spent a summer touring around Europe on the back of a BMW 750cc motorcycle, which was not quite as romantic as it might sound. (Imagine going over a Swiss mountain pass at night in a July snowstorm and you will begin to have an inkling of why.)

ce py‘Passionately Yours’

The youngest of the Hellions of High Street, Caro Sloane has watched her two sisters have exhilarating encounters with dashing heroes, and now she is longing for some excitement of her own. After all, how can she write truly passionate poetry until she has experienced a Grand Adventure? But that seems unlikely to happen as she’ll be spending the next few weeks in the quiet spa town of Bath, where nothing grand or adventurous ever happens . . . until she and her new friend Isobel are nearly abducted while walking on a quiet country road-only to be rescued by Alec McClellan, the moody and mysterious Scottish lord she met at Dunbar Castle.

Alec has come to England to deal with a treacherous betrayal and fears that his half-sister Isobel is in peril from an old enemy. Does he dare share his secrets with Caro? The bold and brave beauty leaves him no choice, and together they are quickly caught up in a swirl of dangerous intrigue . . . where fiery desire between them may ignite into the greatest danger of all.

Buy Links: Amazon / B&N / iTunes

EXCERPT:

“One would almost think you were going out of your way to avoid speaking to me.”

“We’re speaking now,” he pointed out.

“I would call it verbal sparring.” Caro edged around impatiently, forcing him to look her in the face. “But now that I have you alone, I’d rather not keep trading thrusts and parries. I would rather discuss far more important matters—such as whether you have learned anything new about the attack on your sister?”

Pursing his lips, Alec shifted his stance just enough to allow him to return to his perusal of the lettering on the column. “Not really.”

“Ye gods.” She restrained the urge to take hold of his arm and give him a hard shake. “What sort of answer is that?”

“The only one I intend to give,” he replied calmly.

“Fine.” Caro watched the breeze ruffle his long hair, causing a tangle of red-gold strands to curl around his ear and dance down the freshly shaven line of his jaw. The faint scent of bay rum tickled at her nostrils.

“Fine,” she repeated, after forcing herself to exhale. “Then I’ll just have to do a little poking around on my own.”

That got his attention. He looked around abruptly, his gaze narrowing to a slitted stare. The movement was quick, but not quick enough to hide the sudden darkening of his eyes.

“That wouldn’t be wise,” he growled. “The only thing I will add for now is that you should stay well away from Edward Thayer.”

“Why?”

“Because…” He let out an exasperated grunt. “Must you always plague me with questions?”

“I wouldn’t have to if you would stop treating me like a feather-headed wigeon.”

Alec’s scowl became more pronounced.

“Haven’t I proved myself trustworthy and capable?”

A small muscle on his jaw twitched. “I am not at liberty to give you any more details right now. All I can say is that…” As he drew in a breath, he seemed to change his mind about what to say. “Thayer is a charming fellow. No doubt his smooth words are more to your liking.”

Deciding Alec deserved a bit of teasing, Caro pretended not to notice the roughness edging his voice. “Yes, he’s exceedingly charming.”

If his storm-blue stare squeezed any tighter, it would be sharper than a razor’s edge.

“And scrupulously polite,” she added.

Alec was becoming more flustered. Small sounds were beginning to rumble in his throat, like the growling of a bear. “I do not have Thayer’s gift of making myself agreeable. He has a honeyed tongue, which seems to appeal to all the ladies.”

“Honey is, after all, a great deal more palatable than vinegar,” Caro pointed out.

He now looked utterly nonplussed.

Caro let him stew for a moment longer before huffing an exasperated sigh. “Oh, for heaven’s sake, give me some credit for having a brain, Lord Strathcona! Of course I don’t find Thayer appealing. When honey drips that freely, it ought to catch naught but flies.”

The growls ceased.

Caro waited for him to speak.

Ever so slowly, Alec shifted his feet, stirring tiny puffs of pale dust beneath his boots.

The flicker of dark leather caused a momentary spasm of doubt as she recalled her chilling encounter in the churchyard.

Alec as evil? She couldn’t explain how, but she knew with a certainty that resonated right down to her very heartbeat that it couldn’t be true.

“Are you saying you would trust my word over his?”

“Yes, you big lummox! I don’t know why I should, but I prefer your snaps and growls.”

A dappling of sunlight seemed to catch on the curl of his lashes, gilding them to a gleaming gold.

“You are forthright, you are honorable in your own maddening way,” she went on. Oh, no man ought to have such beautiful eyes.

She found herself staring, and at that moment, all rational thought seemed to dance away in the breeze. His face was utterly intriguing—a mix of chiseled planes and well-defined features that hinted at hidden secrets.

“And… well, you are quite the most interesting man I have ever met.” Her legs suddenly seemed a little unsteady, so Caro reached out and caught hold of his lapels.

Looking up, she found his mouth was only inches from hers.

“Oh, bosh—I shall probably regret this…” Standing on tiptoes, Caro kissed him. Not a mere feathering of flesh against flesh, but a hard, hungry embrace that she let go on for far, far longer than any proper young lady should dare.

“There, I have no doubt shocked you.”

The tip of his tongue traced along the swell of his lower lip.

“I imagine you think me a wanton hellion, and I suppose I am. It must be my eccentric upbringing. I don’t care very much for rules.”

Caro knew she was babbling but she couldn’t seem to stop. “You may consign me to the Devil. But at least I shall dance a merry jig on my way to perdition.”

Was that finally a hint of smile?

She finally dared pause to take a breath. A long, shuddering breath. Now was the time to flee, before she made an even bigger fool of herself.

But Alec suddenly shifted again, blocking her way.

“I, too, shall probably regret this,” he said as he slowly circled his arms around her and pulled her close.

She opened her mouth. To protest?

Before she could make any sense of what she had set in motion, their lips met again, setting off a fierce jolt of fire.

What was one reckless thing you ever did?

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Cara ElliottAbout the author: Cara Elliott started writing Westerns at age five but moved on to Regency romance after reading Pride and Prejudice.

(Clearly she has a thing for Men in Boots!) A graduate of Yale University, she lives and works in New York City.

Social Media Links: Website / Facebook / Twitter / Goodreads

‘Passionately Yours’ by Cara Elliott

ce pySTORY: The youngest of the Hellions of High Street, Caro Sloane has watched her two sisters have exhilarating encounters with dashing heroes, and now she is longing for some excitement of her own. After all, how can she write truly passionate poetry until she has experienced a Grand Adventure? But that seems unlikely to happen as she’ll be spending the next few weeks in the quiet spa town of Bath, where nothing grand or adventurous ever happens . . . until she and her new friend Isobel are nearly abducted while walking on a quiet country road-only to be rescued by Alec McClellan, the moody and mysterious Scottish lord she met at Dunbar Castle.

Alec has come to England to deal with a treacherous betrayal and fears that his half-sister Isobel is in peril from an old enemy. Does he dare share his secrets with Caro? The bold and brave beauty leaves him no choice, and together they are quickly caught up in a swirl of dangerous intrigue . . . where fiery desire between them may ignite into the greatest danger of all.

REVIEW: I was dreading to read this third story in Cara Elliott’s Hellions of High Street series. Not because I didn’t like them, but because I hated to say goodbye to these three unconventional women who despite their financial difficulties, managed to be true to themselves and carve their own destinies.

I loved these unconventional, strong, loyal to the core and sharp as tick women.

All three stories can be read as stand alone, but why would you want to when you can enjoy them one after another now that all three are out? I had to really think hard which one I liked the best, and in the end I think this one won only because I related to Caro the most.

I enjoyed watching Caro grow and come into her own. I also loved following the relationship between her and Alec, which was thoroughly engaging and entertaining.

They say opposites attract and while Alec was a bit on the serious side, Caro was on the lighthearted one. While she’s playful, witty and sharp, Alec is brooding, strong and overbearing. Both, however, are very stubborn. A bad turn with a first wife made Alec skittish when it came to trusting Caro.

There’s a lot to recommend this story, besides its well written plot and fast pace, such as Andover, Caro’s friend and Isobel, Alec’s younger sister, who were awesome secondary characters, but if you’re a fan of a brooding hero, an intriguing plot and place such as Bath this is a win-win.

I’ve always been in awe of Cara Elliott as she creates complex and fun, believable and intriguing characters for my hungry imagination, and I thank her for always managing to entertain me.

*Melanie for b2b.

*Complementary copy provided by NetGalley.