‘The Viscount’s Vow’ by Collette Cameron

TheViscountsVow2_850STORY: Amidst murder and betrayal, destiny and hearts collide when scandal forces a nobleman and a gypsy to marry in this Regency Romance.

Half Romani, half English noblewoman, Evangeline Caruthers is the last woman in England Ian Hamilton, the Viscount Warrick, could ever love—an immoral wanton responsible for his brother’s and father’s deaths. She thinks he’s a foul-tempered blackguard, who after setting out to cause her downfall, finds himself forced to marry her—snared in the trap of his own making.

When Vangie learns the marriage ceremony itself may have been a ruse, she flees to her gypsy relatives, declaring herself divorced from Ian under Romani law. He pursues her to the gypsy encampment, and when the handsome gypsy king offers to take Ian’s place in Vangie’s bed, jealousy stirs hot and dangerous.

At last, under a balmy starlit sky, Ian and Vangie breech the chasm separating them. Peril lurks though. Ian’s the last in his line, and his stepmother intends to dispose of the newlyweds so her daughter can inherit his estate. Only by trusting each other can they overcome scandal and murderous betrayal.

REVIEW: This is my first time reading this author and let me tell you, she is very good.

I loved the character of Ian Hamilton, the Viscount Warrick. What a great hero! He starts off with a vengeance in mind, but as soon as he realizes his folly, he’s more than ready to apologies and set things right for our poor, misguided and beautiful heroine, Evangeline Caruthers.

This was an entertaining and enjoyable read from start to finish because of authors use of a range of emotions, from betrayal to forgiveness to love. Ian and Vangie were so different from one another, yet they were destined to be together. It’s those differences, once explored and accepted that brought these two together.

The story’s fast pace will keep you turning the pages while the sensual scenes of this romance will have you reaching for a fan.
If you’re a fan of ‘The Big Misunderstanding’ tropes, witty dialogue with some intrigue and villains running amok, Collette Cameron’s ‘The Viscount’s Vow’ is it!

Honestly, how can you pass it on, especially now that it’s on sale! 

*[NOTE: only today & tomorrow - 99 cents - 4/8-4/9 - CLICK on the COVER]!

Melanie for b2b.

Complimentary copy provided by the author.

Anne Gracie stops by b2b!

 

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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.

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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?!

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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.

LIly Dalton’s Top Five …

Passionate, Enticing, Reckless List

imagesE9K77AMYWhat’s something you’re passionate about:

Global Warming or Climate Change? It doesn’t really matter to me. We as humans should take better care of the world. I’m very passionate about the overall “big picture” all the way down to shaking my fist and honking my horn at litterbugs on the street.

Name one of Hollywood’s most Enticing hunks:Chris Helmsworth

Chris Helmsworth (Biggest Hammer)

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

Jack-Eidt-Tikal-in-the-Forest-1024x768[1]To cut through a dense snake-infested jungle with a machete (Whack! Whack! Whack!), in search of undiscovered Mayan ruins. I’m a sucker for all things archeological.

Share a fun fact about your book:91BKH-tf2KL._SL1500_[1]

There’s a sparkly Carnival mask–but this is no elegant, well-mannered masquerade.

Share a fun fact about you:

My brother is an explosives expert (EOD Master Blaster, US Army).

ld neae‘Never Entice An Earl’ 

Lady Daphne Bevington would do anything for her maid Kate-including masquerading as Kate and sneaking around the wrong side of London to settle the poor girl’s debt. Yet her innocent ruse takes a scandalous turn when “Kate” runs into a handsome gentleman on a secret quest of his own. A moment of passion could cost Daphne her reputation, but how can she ignore the stranger’s searing kiss?

An Arrangement Most Wicked
Lord Cormack Northmore is determined to find the immoral peer who ruined his sister. So when he learns that the irresistible woman he knows as “Kate” is the Season’s most sought-after debutante, Cormack plans to use her connections to help him set a trap. Now, the closer Cormack gets to uncovering the villain who haunts the ton‘s ballrooms, the more he realizes that the lovely lady is in danger herself. Will he abandon his quest for revenge-or risk losing his one chance at love?

Buy Links: Amazon / B&N / iTunes

EXCERPT:

The heat in his gaze intensified. He leaned toward her, his handsome face commanding her full attention. “So tell me, Kate, in addition to being a dancer to pay off this debt, and not a very talented one at that, did you also entertain patrons?”

“Entertain?” She blinked, flustered by his proximity, and his overwhelming maleness. Had he truly said she was not a good dancer? And wait… he had said patrons. She frowned. “I beg your pardon?”

Certainly he did not believe…well, she supposed he might, given the sordid circumstances in which he’d found her.

One dark eyebrow lifted. “The Blue Swan is a brothel.”

“Never,” she blurted, heat rising to scald her cheeks. “This was my first night ever to go to that place, and it was not at all what I’d expected.” She spoke the truth now. Not all her words were lies. “All I had was the address on a scrap of paper, and instructions that I would be a model in the tableaux.”

A sudden fear came over her, a dreadful worry that in her naivety she’d misjudged the stranger beside, that he wasn’t a gentleman, but instead just like the others who had crowded against the stage, mindless with lust. He could easily overpower her, and satisfy whatever male urges he wished.

But he did not. He instead eased back into the seat until shadows obscured his countenance, all but his sensual lips, which pursed and frowned. She sighed with relief

“Good.” He nodded. Below his breath, he muttered, “Yes, good…I suppose.”

He conveyed a mixed message, one of approval but also disappointment. What if she’d answered yes? Would he have sought to make use of her services? All the wicked things Sophia had described came to her in a vivid rush. Her mind entertained a fleeting fantasy, one of tangled sheets, muscled limbs and bare skin.

The very idea of being intimate with a stranger, with this stranger—

She exhaled, bemused.

–was not as appalling as it ought to be.

Perhaps it was the graveness in his eyes, above lips that she suspected always carried some semblance of a smile that made her heart contract and her blood run hot.

He really was nonpareil. No man in her social circle compared, but that was because he obviously wasn’t a nobleman. No nobleman would travel about London in a shabby, half-destroyed carriage nor converse on such familiar terms with their driver.

“Who are you, Cormack?” she asked.

“Just…a man.”

“Are you a newspaperman? A store owner, or a sea captain? Please tell me, I want to know.”

“I…er, a merchant actually. Saltpeter.”

That answered her question. After tonight, she most certainly would never see him again. A merchant would never be allowed into the ballrooms of the haute ton. Even if he was deliriously rich, which he obviously wasn’t, given the condition of his equipage, the upper echelon of the beau monde, to which she had been born, simply did not intermingle with men of trade.

Her adventurous nature awakened. No, she didn’t intend to ever marry, but…what would be wrong with kissing a handsome, intriguing stranger she’d never see again?

Everything inside her soared and spiraled and exploded into sparkly stars at wondering. Again, her gaze settled on his mouth, which slowly, as if it read her mind, turned up at the corners, making her catch her breath.

At that moment, the carriage made a sudden turn and tilted steeply. Daphne toppled, the whole of her weight crushing into Cormack. His arms came round her, seizing her in place against his chest. The carriage bounced down again, and continued on, to the sound of Jackson cursing at another driver, but Cormack didn’t release her. How she wished she wasn’t wearing the coat, which smelled of damp wool. He, on the other hand, smelled delicious, like rainwater  and soap.

“How unexpected,” he murmured, his mouth so close his breath feathered across her lips. “But not unwelcome.”

“No,” she whispered. “Not…unwelcome.”

Just then the carriage jerked to a stop and a hard rap sounded against the roof.

A low, bruxy growl emitted from Cormack’s throat. “What a pity.”

What is one enticing thing you want to do?

Giveaway 1 Print copy/ 1 Winner

Passionate,-Enticing,-Reckless-Blog-Tour

Lily DaltonAbout the author: Lily Dalton grew up as an Army brat, moving from place to place. Her first stop after relocating was always the local library, where she could hang out with familiar friends: Books! Lily has an English degree from  Texas   A & M   University and after graduation worked as a legal assistant in the fields of accident reconstruction and litigation.

She now lives in  Houston ,  Texas, with her family. When she isn’t at work on her next manuscript, she spends her time trying out new recipes, cheering on her favorite  Texas football teams and collecting old dishes, vintage linens and other fine “junque” from thrift stores and flea markets.

Social Media Links: Website / Facebook / Twitter / Goodreads

‘The Switch’ by Lynsay Sands

ls tsSTORY: When they first met Lord Jeremy William Radcliffe, Charlie and her twin sister, Elizabeth, were escaping from their uncle- taking turns acting the young gentleman to avoid detection. But Charlie couldn’t help falling head over heels – and out of a window – for the handsome lord. Of course, that was only the beginning; Lord Radcliffe insisted on showing “him” and her lovely sister to London.

But how could he do that? With every touch, Radcliffe seemed unknowingly to incite indecent desires in Charlie, and his fraternal intent was certain to land her in a fine mess. Though it was a great game to play a boy, there was more fun in being female. And after one brush of his fiery lips when her guise was gone, Charlie swore to be nothing but his woman forevermore.

REVIEW: Identical twins, Charlotte, known as Charlie, and her sister, Elizabeth, known as Beth, have decided to flee from their uncle and guardian who wants to marry them off to wealthy old men and then make a great deal of money for himself. 

The story begins with the girls climbing out of the window of an inn to run away from their uncle.  Charlie is dressed as a boy and Elizabeth as a girl.  This is a scenario that is well-known to them as in the past, they have liked to switch their identities for a lark.  Lo and behold, along comes Lord Radcliffe who sees the girls and offers to escort them to London.  When he explains how dangerous the roads are, they readily agree.

The story follows them through the journey and when they eventually reach London.  As Lord Radcliffe believes that Charlie is indeed a male, “she” has to share a room with him.  Lord Radcliffe finds himself strangely attracted to Charlie and begins to doubt his own sexuality.  He also feels that Charlie needs to become more of a man and tries taking him to a brothel with wild results.  

The back and forth of Charlie and Beth covering up for one another quickly becomes overdone and boring.  Had Charlie’s true identity become known to Lord Radcliffe earlier in the book, I think it would have been more interesting.  However, for me, it became a bit of a chore just to finish reading the book.

Yes, there are some humorous scenes that brought a chuckle or two, but repetition of the same scenario isn’t necessarily a good thing.

*Connie for b2b.

*Book provided by my local library.

‘An English Bride in Scotland’ by Lynsay Sands

AEBIS LSSTORY: The first in a new historical series set in the Highlands of Scotland, from Lynsay Sands, the New York Times bestselling author of the Argeneau vampire series and countless historical romances.

Annabel was about to take the veil to become a nun when her mother suddenly arrives at the Abbey to take her home… so that she can marry the Scottish laird who is betrothed to her runaway sister! She knows nothing about being a wife, nothing about how to run a household, and definitely nothing about the marriage bed!

But from the moment Ross MacKay sets eyes on Annabel, he is taken with his shy sweet bride… and the fact that she’s blessed with lush curves only makes him utter his own prayers of thanks. But when an enemy endangers her life, he’ll move the Highlands themselves to save her. For though Annabel’s not the bride he planned for, she’s the only woman he desires…

REVIEW: At the age of seven, young English girl, Annabel, was left by her mother at Elstow Abbey where she was to be groomed to become a nun.  Hard work and a simple, cloistered life is all she has known.  Just before she is to take the veil, her mother arrives at the abbey to whisk her back home to marry Laird Ross MacKay.  It turns out that Annabel’s older sister, Kate, who was to marry Ross, ran off with a stable lad.  So, Annabel was needed to take Kate’s place.

When Ross meets Annabel, he is delighted with his shy bride-to-be.  They are soon wed and settle in together.  However, there is someone who wishes to harm Annabel and it now falls to Ross to find out who this is and why they are after her.  After a shy start to their marriage, Ross and Annabel soon find passion. 

While this was a good plot, I did find myself becoming aggravated at Annabel for always looking for ways to get away from the people trying to protect her thus leaving herself open to harm.

*Connie for b2b

*Book provided by my local Library.

Spotlight on Danelle Harmon and…

‘Lord Of The Sea’

LOTS DH

BOOK BLURB: A Sea Devil Who’s Reckless At Heart. . .

Captain Connor Merrick’s thirst for danger has brought him fame and fortune as one of the most brazenly successful privateers of the War of 1812. But deep beneath his swagger, derring-do and charm, the handsome American captain is hiding a devastating secret, and he’ll go to any lengths to protect it . . .

A Beauty Who Gets More Than She Bargained For. . . .

Rhiannon Evans has longed for an adventure—and a mysterious, dangerous man to sweep her off her feet. While enroute to the tropical paradise of Barbados, she never dreams that her heart will be captured by the dashing American privateer who rescues her from bloodthirsty pirates. Only Rhiannon can see beneath Connor’s reckless façade to the man beneath. But when tragedy strikes, can Rhiannon’s love save Connor from himself? Or will the secret he guards so carefully, end up being the undoing of them both?

Buy Links: Amazon /

EXCERPT: 

And then they heard it.

Footsteps, coming toward them.

“Dear God,” Alannah breathed.

Rhiannon rose, her ankle shrieking in agony. There was nothing in the cabin with which to defend themselves, but on the captain’s desk lay a pair of brass nautical dividers, V-shaped and needle-pointed, which were used to chart a course. She grabbed them and turned to face the door as a fist pounded against it once, twice, three times.

She glanced at Alannah, and the other woman ran toward her, trying in vain to find a weapon.

Suddenly, the door crashed open beneath the force of a powerful male shoulder, shoving the heavy sea chest out of the way with it, and both women screamed.

A man stood there. In the gloom, he was lean and lanky and so tall that he filled the doorway. He wore a short blue pea coat with brass buttons, canvas trousers, and a straw hat. In his hand was a pistol, which, upon seeing the two women, he lowered.

“Well, well,” he said, and with an elegant bow, removed the hat, revealing carelessly tousled chestnut hair that was thick and curling and fashionably cut. His was a face of hard planes, translucent green eyes, and a recklessly smiling mouth. Entering the cabin, he calmly plucked the dividers from Rhiannon’s nerveless hand. “I am Captain Merrick of the American privateer schooner Kestrel, and it would appear that we’ve found a most lucrative prize, indeed.”

Chapter 2

Well, well, indeed, Connor thought, tossing the dividers to a nearby table.

Rum. Sugar. Molasses. Spices. Exotic fruits. Even, God forbid, slaves. Those were the sort of things one normally found when they took a ship in these latitudes, but this was an altogether different sort of cargo, indeed.

Women. Two of them. One dark-haired with flashing blue eyes and a vaguely familiar look about her. She was fair enough, though he suspected she’d like to retrieve the dividers and stab them straight into his heart. The other one . . . .

Keep to the business at hand.

Oh, the other one. . . .

That one was, Connor thought as her huge, long-lashed green eyes lifted to his, was surely the most beautiful creature he’d ever seen in his life. She was young and tall and willowy, with fiery red-gold hair set off by clear, flawless skin, a mischievous tilt to her chin, and smiling lips that drew and held his gaze and made him want to trace their bow, their perfect shape, with his finger. His tongue.

Something stirred in his groin.

This could be a problem.

Ignore her.

He turned away just as the dark-haired one found her voice.

“Privateer? You’re nothing but a pirate! This is an English ship, and I demand that you release us immediately!”

The beauty grabbed the dark-haired one’s elbow. “Alannah, he just saved our lives!”

“Only to rob us! Oh, just wait until my brother hears of this!”

“Better to be robbed than dead!”

“He may well kill us yet! Or God forbid, ravish us!”

Connor shot a glance at the sunset-haired beauty. Don’t give me any ideas, he wanted to say, because she had spunk as well as beauty and she was looking at him the way any damsel in distress might just gaze upon her rescuer, looking at him in a way that made him want to pull himself up a little more and puff out his chest and slay a dragon for her. Though, come to think of it, maybe he just had. At any other time, the besotted look in her eyes and that impish smile  would have been all he needed to follow his baser instincts. At any other time, he might take great delight in pursuing that coy, unspoken invitation farther—preferably in a place that involved a mattress, sheets, and an hour or two of free time. But he had business to conduct here, there was a storm bearing down on them, and he couldn’t let himself be distracted.

Papers. He had to get the ship’s papers.

The other one was still harping on him. “Furthermore, I’ll have you know right now Captain Merrick, that I object most highly to the way you forced yourself into this cabin like some barbarian! Just what do you think you’re doing?”

Ignoring her, Connor sent a conspiring grin the way of the young beauty, went to the captain’s desk and yanking open a drawer, began searching for the merchant ship’s papers.

“Did you hear me? What do you think you’re doing?

Ignore her.

Easy enough.

Ignore the other one, too.

Not so easy. . . .

Rhiannon, feeling her heartbeat skipping, somersaulting and tripping over itself as she watched the Yankee privateer rifling through the desk, had seen that covert, amused glance he’d thrown her and couldn’t take her eyes off him. Footsteps echoed outside and now another man entered the cabin, a sword in his hand. Though not as tall or lean as the captain, he too was handsomely made, with thick, tawny hair that was bleached by the sun, steady brown eyes, a quiet demeanor and a look of solidness and strength about him. He glanced, briefly, at her and Alannah, then turned toward the mahogany-haired god who was cheerfully pulling out a sealed oilskin packet from the desk. “Captain, there are five from this tub who reckon they want to sign aboard with us; the rest, including the master, have resisted, and we’ve got three remaining pirates a’begging for mercy.”

“Begging for mercy, are they? Hmph. Given that they showed this crew none, I’m not inclined to oblige them.” The privateer slammed the drawer shut. “Secure the prisoners in the fo’c’sle, with the pirates separate from the crew so they don’t add to the slaughter. How’s that squall tracking?”

It was then that she remembered his introduction.

Merrick  . . . Kestrel . . . Merrick . . . .

“Veering off, sir, heading north by west. I think it’ll miss us.”

“The devil’s own luck, that,” the American said, slitting open the leather pouch with a small knife and beginning to scan its contents.

“What are you going to do with us?”

The American ignored her.

“I demand to know what will become of us!”

“Do be quiet, madam, I’m trying to think,” the captain snapped, handing the papers to the newcomer with a sound of annoyance. “Read this, would you, Nathan? I don’t have time to sit here and make sense of it.”

“Aye.” The one named Nathan said, looking at the papers. “She’s out of Southampton, bound for Barbados, carrying fine English linens, china, beer, various foodstuffs, and muskets.”

“Muskets! How provident.” The captain reclaimed the papers and stuffed them back into the leather pouch. “Muster a prize crew for this tub. We’ll send her into Mobile, as it’s the closest port from which to auction her off. Jenkins, I think, can command her. Ladies, collect your belongings.”

He tossed the pouch to a nearby table, and it suddenly hit Rhiannon just who this handsome god was.

“You’re Captain Merrick!” she exclaimed excitedly. “Of the schooner Kestrel!”

He just looked at her as though she were daft. “Aye, that’s what I just said.”

“From Portsmouth, England?”

“No, ma’m, from Newburyport, Massachusetts.” He began to stalk toward the door.

“But you were in Portsmouth this past spring! I know you were!”

The American turned, and something glinted in his clear, pale green eyes, something that wasn’t quite amusement, something that belied a memory, perhaps, that he had no wish to recall, before one corner of his mouth—his very firm, very sensual mouth, Rhiannon thought—turned up in the faintest of grins.

“And how might you know that, Miss . . . ?”

“Evans. Rhiannon Evans. You don’t know me, but I’m Gwyneth’s sister!”

He lifted a brow. “Gwyneth’s sister.”

“Yes! We rented a house in Portsmouth together, and it was you who was rescuing French and American prisoners from the hulk Surrey, you who risked your life for them time and time again as the elusive Black Wolf, you who saved my brother-in-law, the marquess of Morninghall, from certain death by snatching him right out from under the guns of a firing squad with this very ship! It was you, wasn’t it? Connor Merrick! You’re the Black Wolf!”

Even the other man had paused to stare at Rhiannon. “Well, this certainly complicates matters, Connor,” he said, his brown eyes amused.

“Only if we let it.” And then, frowning: “What the blazes are you doing all the way out here? You’re a long way from England.”

“My friend Alannah here invited me to accompany her to Barbados, and I wanted an adventure, and so I came along. Oh, I can’t wait to write to Gwyneth and tell her all about what you just did for us; you saved our lives, Captain Merrick! Thank you!” It was all Rhiannon could do not to fling her arms around his neck in relief and gratitude. “Oh, thank you!”

The American’s green eyes crinkled with humor.

And Alannah, seeing the unspoken connection between Rhiannon and this man who had so audaciously taken their ship, and was now looking just a little too long, and with a little too much interest—the wrong kind of interest—at the girl she was charged to protect, wasn’t so forgiving. Especially since there was something disturbingly familiar about him.

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Danelle HarmonAUTHOR BIO: Bestselling, multi-award winning and critically acclaimed author Danelle Harmon has written ten books, previously published in print and distributed in many languages throughout the world. Though born and raised in Massachusetts, she and her husband, a native of southwest London, were married and lived in England for several years.

These days, Ms. Harmon and her husband make their home in New England with their daughter Emma and numerous animals including four dogs, an Egyptian Arabian horse, and numerous pet chickens. Danelle welcomes email from her readers and can be reached at her Email or Facebook.

Social Media: Facebook / Tweeter / Website / Blog

Cover Reveal Splash for Tracey Devlyn’s …

‘Latymer’

L TDBOOK BLURB: Traitor or savior…or something far more devastating?

William Townsend, Lord Latymer, lost the woman he loved because of his greed and his ultimate deception of two powerful countries. Now, he must protect his nine-year-old son from the same fate. Latymer has only one chance to escape his enemies—board a ship that would carry them both to America and a new life. But first he must find his missing son, elude a vengeful grieving brother, and kill a beautiful French assassin. Time is slipping through his fingers and Latymer has twelve hours before his ship and his future sail away.

Have a Kindle and want to be notified when LATYMER releases? Go to Tracey’s Amazon Author Page and click on the “Email me when there are new releases by Tracey Devlyn” link under the Stay Up To Date section.

Amazon will send you an email reminder on January 7, 2014!

EXCERPT: 

Releasing a breath, Latymer moved from room to room, floor to floor, sifting through the evening shadows with painstaking precision. White linens draped every piece of furniture, making the once-happy atmosphere feel more like that of a dreary mausoleum.

He saved Lydia’s bedchamber for last. Had he been stronger, he would have gone there first, knowing if Giles had managed to find his way home, he would’ve sought the comfort of his mother’s chamber. An instinctual response for any child, especially one who’d suffered so much.

But Latymer’s courage began to flag the moment he placed his boot on the first stair. Although he could ignore the grief, he hadn’t been able to control the longing. After the French had kidnapped Giles and forced Lydia to spy on Somerton for them, he’d come here often. This house, their possessions, her bedchamber—the only links he had left to his lover and his son. Once he’d learned of her death, he’d stopped coming.

He stared at Lydia’s bedchamber door now, praying Giles was within. If he lost his son to the French, as he’d lost the woman he loved, not even Bonaparte would be safe from his vengeance.

Turning the handle, he eased the door open and slipped inside. Low, flickering light caught his eye. “Giles?”

“No, darling, not Giles.”

Collette. His heart sank like a bag of tarnished coins into his gut.

How had she known to come here? Had she followed Giles? His gaze slashed around the chamber, searching for his son.

Nothing, nothing, nothing.

The lamplight grew stronger. “Looking for someone?” Collette’s bloodred lips tipped up into a taunting smile.

“Where is he?”

Sitting at Lydia’s dressing room table, Collette reached for a silver comb that lay next to a small pistol. She slid the hairpiece into her mass of dark locks, twisting her head one way, then the other, inspecting her handiwork. He’d given the comb to Lydia on her birthday five years ago. Seeing the special piece in his enemy’s possession sent fire streaking through his veins.

She met his gaze in the looking glass. “He?”

“Don’t play games with me, Collette. What have you done with my son?”

“We will get to him later.” She rose and turned to face him. “First, let us discuss the unfinished business you have yet to attend to.”

“There is no later. If you know where my son is, tell me now.” The steel in his voice drew forth two new bodyguards—one from the corridor and one from the dressing room—both as large as the last two he’d dispatched. “It appears you purchase your brawn in bulk.”

Her eyes twinkled. “So much more convenient that way. Now, about that unfinished business . . .”

“Oh, for God’s sake.” He threw up his hands. “The damned list does not exist. When will your superiors listen?”

She reached for the pistol. “We’re no longer interested in the piece of paper.”

“Then what?”

“Give it some thought, darling. I’m sure that brilliant mind of yours will come up with the answer.”

Latymer considered the last few weeks and the various attempts the French had made to raze the Nexus organization. They had been unsuccessful thus far, but that would not stop them. There could be only one individual they wanted more than a list of agents. “Somerton.”

She sent him an appreciative smile. “Very good, my lord. Bring him to me.”

He and Somerton had a long history of working together at the Alien Office—until Somerton realized Latymer was aiding the French. Even though Somerton was now his enemy, he was the one person Latymer trusted. To betray Somerton once again would be difficult, though not impossible. To save Giles, he would do whatever it took. But first, he had to uncover what Collette knew about his son’s whereabouts—if anything. “Show me my son first.”

“That’s not how this works, Latymer, and you know it,” Collette purred, clearly enjoying having the upper hand.

When he’d met Collette many years ago in London, fresh out of the schoolroom, she’d exuded a raw, untamed sensuality. Four days after meeting her, Latymer had taken her to bed and had spent several hours tutoring her in the carnal arts. She had been a quick and enthusiastic pupil.

Although extraordinary, her beauty had not been the reason for his interest. No, he had enticed Collette into his bed to coax from her information about her new husband and his associates within the French government. Two months into their affair, she discovered his duplicity. Undeterred, she’d asked questions . . . a lot of questions. And then she’d disappeared. Their paths crossed a few more times over the years, and every time he saw her he had been fascinated by her transformation—from innocent to victim, to predator, to killer.

“You expect me to bring one of the most dangerous men in Britain to you without any assurance that my son is even alive?”

Nodding, she lifted the pistol in his direction. “Yes, that is exactly what I’m saying.” She began to move toward him, one provocative step at a time. “You have a perfect understanding of the situation.”

“If I do what you want, I’m free of further harassment from your emperor?”

“Harassment? I do not recall you being so harsh last time we worked together.” Her gaze roamed down his frame leisurely, thoroughly, seductively.

Despite the seriousness of the situation, Latymer’s body took notice. One sultry look. That’s all it had taken to awaken memories of their brief affair. She knew how to pleasure a man and how to take a man’s pleasure. How to make him feel like a king.

“Last time we met you weren’t after my son.”

“You’re becoming quite soft on me, Latymer. So much emotional bother over a bastard.”

“Careful, Collette,” he said in a quiet, dangerous voice.

“A man with your aspirations should know better than to become attached to anyone or anything.”

“Let’s stop wasting time. Do we have an understanding or not?”

She approached him with a confident stride, though caution rode beside her like a battalion of loyal guards. Her pistol never wavered. She continued forward until the end of the barrel rested against his temple. He dared not move. If nothing else, he understood one thing about her—she would not hesitate to pull the trigger if he made any attempt to overcome her. This woman never hesitated, nor did she waste her time and energy on regrets.

Her familiar exotic scent reached his nostrils, and he could not stop his slow intake of breath—nor the hardening of his body. Whether his physical reaction was due to the threat, or to the temptation, she presented, he couldn’t be sure. Given his peccadilloes, it could be both.

A flush of pink highlighted her sculpted cheeks, and a sheen of perspiration peppered the delicate hollow of her throat. Her gaze never left his.

“Still enjoy the thrill of danger, Collette?” He dropped his voice, careful to keep himself motionless. “Is that the thunder of your heart beating? Does your womb weep for me?”

She caressed the steel barrel against his temple. “Feel free to indulge in your curiosity.”

“Is your trigger finger steady?”

Something close to a genuine smile appeared. “You’re good, darling,” she responded. “But not that deliciously good.”

“We’ll see.” All he needed was a split second of inattention. Enough time for him to wrench her weapon away and force her to reveal what she knew about Giles. “Send your dogs away.”

Her erotic gaze roamed his face, finally resting on his mouth. “I think not.” She smiled. “Etienne and Philippe won’t mind.”

Latymer clenched his jaw. Having her two guards in the room complicated things.

“Do not move your head without my permission,” she said, “or it won’t go well for you.”

“Then you’re going to have to come closer.”

“You wouldn’t be foolish enough to underestimate me, would you?”

He lowered his lids and expanded his chest. “Do I look foolish?”

She pressed the pistol against his flesh and moved close enough for the tip of her boots to touch his.

Accepting her challenge, he caressed the backs of his fingers over her silken cheek and down her long, slender neck. Her breasts rose to meet his touch, and the soft, exposed skin above her neckline invited him to linger. He did.

Copyright by Tracey Devlyn

‘Latymer’:

A Nexus Novella

Genre:  Historical Romantic Thriller

Length:  71 pages

ISBN:  9781940677002

Release Date:  January 7, 2014

Publisher: TDC Creations, Inc.

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An Amazon or Barnes & Noble GC (winner’s choice) 

for $15 during her Cover Reveal Splash.

Click on Rafflecopter to enter!

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TraceyDevlynSmAUTHOR BIO: Tracey Devlyn is an award-winning author who writes historical romantic thrillers (translation: a slightly more grievous journey toward the heroine’s happy ending). She’s a co-founder of Romance University, a group blog dedicated to readers and writers of romance, and Lady Jane’s Salon-Naperville, Chicagoland’s exciting new reading salon devoted to romantic fiction.

An Illinois native, Tracey spends her evenings harassing her once-in-a-lifetime husband and her weekends torturing her characters. For more information on Tracey, including her Internet haunts, contest updates, and details on her upcoming novels, please visit her website.

Social Media: Website / Facebook / Twitter / Goodreads /

 

‘Checkmate, My Lord’ by Tracey Devlyn

CML TDSTORY: A desperate mother falls in love with the spymaster she’s sent to betray.

Spymaster Sebastian Danvers, Lord Somerton, has spent the last decade protecting England’s shores against a French invasion. Known for his cold logic and ability to sacrifice anything for the greater good, few can outwit him, and even fewer dare challenge him. Until now.

After being exiled to his country estate, Sebastian is surprised when his beautiful, no-nonsense neighbor turns her seductive wiles on him. But years of intrigue have left him wondering why a respectable widow would risk scandal for a few nights in his bed. Sebastian takes his time unraveling the widow’s secrets, for he quickly realizes she might be the one sacrifice he is unwilling to make.

Living a quiet existence at Winter’s Hollow, Catherine Ashcroft spends her days doing little more than caring for her precocious six-year-old daughter and negotiating her neighbors’ various complaints against their absentee landowner, the enigmatic Earl of Somerton. But, all her boredom comes to a searing halt after learning her newly returned neighbor might have had something to do with her husband’s murder.

Catherine’s orderly existence soon upends and she now finds herself in a desperate bid to save her daughter’s life. But she must betray the earl to do so, even though she no longer suspects him of foul play. Lauren succumbs to the earl’s passionate kisses and recognizes the same loneliness she has felt for years lurking in his hard, crystalline eyes. As her lover’s enemies close in, will Catherine be able to save both her beloved daughter and the handsome spy who has stolen her heart?

REVIEW: This is the second book of the spies of Nexus series and I liked it better than the first.

If you decide to read it, please do so in order, so that you’ll get the greatest enjoyment out of this story, and the entire series. Here’s the order of the series: #1 is A Lady’s Revenge’ followed by #2 here  ‘Checkmate, My Lord’ and ending with #3 ‘Lady’s Secret Weapon’. The reason behind it is the back-story and the dynamic of the Nexus group and who they are and what their mission is.

And now let me tell you why this story impressed and delighted my little ol’ self. The reason behind it is Catherine and Sebastian. They were solid, three-dimensional and very complex characters that fascinated and at times boggled the mind.

Catherine is forced to deal with a personal loss of her husband and is ready to do anything it takes to discover who’s behind it, even if it means a personal sacrifice.

Sebastian is a Chief of Nexus, a spymaster whose enemies are widely spread and as advanced as their own organization and while he might seem calm, cool and collected on the outside, he is anything but.

Even though the storyline was a tad predictable, I enjoyed the plot and its fast pace. Those combined with two very headstrong characters, such as Sebastian and Catherine, make this a very compelling story.

Tracey Devlyn had managed to create a fascinating, exciting and intriguing world of good guys and bad; love stories with passion and chemistry that jumps off the pages; characters that have gone through betrayals and heartbreak only to realize that they’re just human and therefore flawed, yet still capable to give and receive deep and abiding love.

Bottom line my bookworms? If you’re a history buff, you’ll like this story; if you like your romance with seduction, sensuality and suspense, you’ll love this story very much.

Melanie for b2b.

*Book provided by the publisher through NetGalley.

Saralee Etter stops by b2b…

LCC SE‘Lydia’s Christmas Charade’

BOOK BLURB: Dutiful, practical Lydia knew that her father, a wealthy commoner, planned to announce her engagement to a nobleman at their Christmas house party. But she didn’t expect her prospective fiancé to be in love with another woman!

Anthony wasn’t usually so reckless. But something about the unknown lady’s sweet manner and pansy brown eyes made him want to share a bit of juicy gossip with her. Everybody knew Lord Danville needed to marry an heiress to save his family from financial ruin. Nobody but Anthony would mention it to the heiress herself.

To fix the mess he’s created, Anthony must woo Lydia on his noble friend’s behalf—and Lydia will have to decide between duty and desire.

BUY LINKS: Amazon  / B&N / Kobi /

EXCERPT:

“Miss Lydia Potts closed the door of the small Rose Parlor behind her and leaned her back against it. She shut her eyes. She would not cry.

Through the door she could hear the lively sound of the Sir Roger de Coverley, the country-dance now in progress. A babble of voices and drumming of dancing feet softened the sharp sound of the fiddles.

She would not cry. She had no reason for it. Perhaps she was feeling unwell. But it could not be because of the lavish dinner or the strong spicy scent of pine and ivy garlands wound around the grand staircase. That, at least, had all been perfect. Mr. Potts had spared no effort to entertain his Christmas houseguests—only the best of everything for the gentlemen and ladies who made up the cream of the Ton.

No, her distress had been caused by what she’d overheard a moment ago in the ballroom.
“So, Lord Danville is to offer for Miss Potts? Well, she is quite dazzling! Her dowry is, at least. How her golden guineas must sparkle,” said young Lady Agatha to another debutante as they waited their turn in the dance. “Far brighter than her eyes, since she’s barely passable to look at.”

The other girl sighed behind her upraised fan. “The poor man! Everybody knows that he has been in love with Juliana Stenwyck for years.”

“Oh, well, that would never do! The Danvilles and the Stenwycks haven’t a penny to bless themselves with. But to be forced to marry someone whose papa is In Trade!” Lady Agatha had shuddered delicately.

That was when Lydia had told her dancing partner—what was his name?—that she had been feeling unwell and slipped off to the Rose Parlor, which for tonight had been designated as the Ladies’ Retiring Room.

But she would not cry. Lydia was perfectly fine.”

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Saralee EtterAUTHOR INFO: I love to read, and always knew that writing was the only career for me. I day-dreamed constantly, so it sounded wonderful just to think up stories all day long.

Sadly, however, I couldn’t see a way to make a living writing the romantic and exciting stories that filled my head. Instead, I wrote other things: Newspaper articles, public relations releases, legal briefs.

Now I’m a work-at-home mom, writing the stories I’ve been dreaming about for so long. They’re mostly light-hearted and fun. I’m an armchair time-traveler, so writing stories set during the English Regency period is the perfect way to enjoy history, romance, and delightful adventures all at once.

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