‘Confessions of a Royal Bridegroom’ by Vanessa Kelly

vk coarbSTORY: They are the Renegade Royals, illegitimate sons of the Royal Princes, each finding his rightful place in society—and the woman destined to be his perfect match…

Some men are born into scandal. Others pursue it with a passion. Griffin Steele, secret son of the Duke of Cumberland, is guilty on both counts. Yet somehow London’s most notorious scoundrel has been saddled with an abandoned baby boy—and with the unflappable, intriguing spinster summoned to nurse him…

Justine Brightmore may be a viscount’s niece, but she’s also a spy’s daughter, determined to safeguard the infant when his suspected royal parentage makes him a target. Yet how to protect herself from the rakish Griffin? Marriage might shield her reputation, but it can only imperil her heart, especially with a groom intent on delicious seduction…

REVIEW: In this second book of the Renegade Royals series, we meet Dominic again as he’s older and wiser; someone that’s taken interest in Griffin, our hero of this tale. We get to know Griffin’s background and at the same time we meet Justine who is on hand to help him take care of a little ‘package’ that’s delivered to his establishment.

Once more Ms. Kelly manages to suck me in and take me along on an intriguing ride through many obstacles thrown in the way of these two interesting and enjoyable characters. I found the story well told, fast paced and the romance sweet and sensual.

She never fails to take me away to another time and place. Every character she creates never fails to intrigue and her plots easily draw me in to a point that I’ve burned a few dinners.

The stories in this series are all written as stand alone, but for your best understanding of these renegades, men that have been fathered by Royalty but never acknowledged and left to find their own way; I do recommend you read them all. Read in order, [Intro novella is Lost in a Royal Kiss; 1st book is Secrets for Seducing a Royal Bodyguard; 2nd book is Confessions of a Royal Bridegroom and Tall, Dark and Royal, is another novella and Dominic’s story, which will be out in November; Book 3:  How to Plan a Wedding for a Royal Spy, coming in January, 2015 and Book 4:  How to Marry a Royal Highlander, coming in July, 2015.] they’ll enhance your reading enjoyment.

Melanie for b2b

Complimentary copy provided by the publisher

‘Secrets For Seducing A Royal Bodyguard’ by Vanessa Kelly

SFSARB VKSTORY: In this witty, sensual new series, Vanessa Kelly introduces the Renegade Royals, illegitimate sons of the Royal Princes who are finding their rightful places in society…

Accomplished spy Aden St. George prefers to stay away from the frivolous ton, especially after the way his mother was used by the Prince Regent. But his latest mission compels him to guard unconventional, vibrant Lady Vivien Shaw. Rescuing her from kidnappers was easy. Resisting her beauty is not. Duty demands he keep an eye on her—and naturally, his lips soon follow. For someone who views entanglements as a weakness, this is pure, delicious folly…

Though grateful for Aden’s help, Vivien has secrets she must keep hidden. Yet with her abductors still at large, she needs Aden’s protection almost as much as she craves his touch…

REVIEW: England 1814

Aden St. George is sent by Sir Dominic Hunter to rescue Lady Vivien Shaw from some smuggling caves. He finds her drugged and carries her to safety. On the ride from the caves to the tiny hamlet where a coach is waiting, they find their attraction for each other growing. Vivien hasn’t had a man care about her welfare or make her feel safe since her father died.

Her family treats her horribly. Her older brother denies any payment for ransom even before it’s asked for. Her mother and younger brother repeatedly get themselves into debt gambling, knowing Vivien will find a way to pay them off.

Aden works for Dominic who is a most powerful spymaster in England under the guise of working for the Home Office. He is Lady Thornbury’s bastard child with the Prince of Wales, now England’s Regent. His mother and Vivien are close and, deep inside, Aden resents his mother’s closeness to her having never had it himself. Dominic gives him orders to stay close to Vivien as she goes about her life in the ton. They will try to figure out who is behind her kidnapping.

Prince Ivan of Russia (Ivan the Terrible) has his sights set on Vivien and Aden is having none of it. These two are constantly at each others throats when it comes to her. Her older brother gives his consent for Ivan to court Vivien and she refuses to do this.

Aden tells Vivien to stay at home and out of trouble until they can find who is behind her kidnapping. He will escort her to every function and she’s to stay put when he’s not with her.

Griffin Steele, Aden’s cousin and another bastard with royal blood simmering in his veins, sends Aden a note telling him Vivien was in his gaming hell. Aden literally runs over to snatch her out of there. Aden takes her out of the gaming hell, into his carriage, and leaves her younger brother who had been with her to find his own way home.

Vivien is a spitfire. Very good at gambling, very protective of her family and always into something that has Aden slapping his forehead. She’s going to send him to Bedlam with her antics yet. They both have fallen hard for each other at this point and Aden is fighting it hard.

I’ll stop here and leave you read the book to find out what happens

The story ends with Linnet and Anthony Tait, from Lost In a Royal Kiss, telling Dominic they hope he can find his happiness someday. Dominic has taken it upon himself to help all the royal bastards. He has his sights set on Griffin next. But first he is going to find Griffin’s mother, the woman Dominic loves and he will find her if he has to search every inch of England.

Dominic is a common thread through this series and will get his own book. Griffin’s story, Confessions Of a Royal Bridegroom is next and I am trying desperately to find patience to wait for it.

I loved the banter between all the characters. The story was well paced and I felt each character held their own. I had a true sense of anger and dislike for the villains. I also could have throttled Vivien’s mother and younger brother at times but loved how Vanessa kept me coming back rooting for them. I laughed and felt my heart tug, felt anger, and happiness while reading this. There are some really loveable characters and some major villains. This is one series you do not want to miss!

*Leah for b2b

*Book provided by the publisher through NetGalley

‘Lost in a Royal Kiss’ by Vanessa Kelly

LIARK VKSTORY: In this thrilling introduction to her Renegade Royals series, Vanessa Kelly transports readers to the court of King George III—where a London street urchin unwittingly plays Cupid, ushering in a new era—and ultimately a new kind of royal…

With her widowed mother working long hours as governess to the royal children, Linnet St. Clare must look after her siblings and run the household. Now she must add to her worries the fate of Dominic, a poor orphan who has inspired the wrath of the king himself. Clearly Linnet has no time to consider her own desires—much less notice the attentions of a certain handsome, powerful magistrate…

Sir Anthony Tait is at a loss for how to capture Linnet’s interest. If only she would be still long enough for courting. Outright seduction seems the only answer. But will his kisses be enough to persuade her—or might Anthony have something to learn from young Dominic about matters of the heart? And in saving the boy’s future, might Anthony and Linnet at last create their own?

REVIEW: This was a great intro into the new series, although I really wished it was just a bit longer.

My thinking is that the length would have allowed our couple to grow on us more, but I do understand the author’s dilemma in this particular case.

To introduce us to her new series, she chose a couple, Sir Anthony Tait and Linnet St. Claire, both attached to the royal court. He is King’s chief magistrate and she is a daughter of a woman who is summoned to court as the governess to the royal children, leaving Linnet the responsibility of raising her siblings.

Basically, you have two main plots and a couple of subplots within constraints of a novella, and Ms. Kelly did what she does best: She poured her heart into giving us the best characterization of both couples that she could.

The story opens up with our young heroin coming to Sir Anthony with a problem that she believes can only be dealt with common sense and strong hand.

As Sir Anthony comes to grips with the situation of a teenage prince having relations with a young daughter of his tutor and a young Dominic, an orphan and a commoner who the Queen brought to court in order for her sons to develop some humility, he realizes that the time to finally declare himself to Linnet has come.

At thirty-seven, and two years of yearning for her, he believes that the time has come for them to admit and accept their admiration and attraction for each other.

Chloë, a daughter of the tutor to the Royal prince Ernest, is only fourteen when she is seduced by him, and the deed is discovered by both Linnet and Dominic, who are dealing in different ways to protect Chloë’s reputation. He by beating the stuffing out of Ernest to begin with and later by offering to marry her, and she by approaching Sir Anthony for help and guidance in protecting both, Dominic and Chloe.

Ms. Kelly does a wonderful job with both couples as their emotionally charged stories take shape and take us on an intriguing and entertaining journey through the maze of a Royal Court.

I liked the introduction very much and am looking forward to the new series.

*Melanie for b2b

*Book provided by the publisher through NetGalley.

My Historical Christmas recommends [part 3]

BBWAM KB‘Bound by Wish and Mistletoe’ by Kat Bastion

BOOK BLURB: The holiday novella, Book 1.5, following the award-winning debut of Forged in Dreams and Magick in the Highland Legends Series:

Desperate to honor a life-long promise, Susanna MacEalan escapes her abusive clan with the fierce determination of never falling under the power of a man. Ever.

Aggravated by shallow-hearted pursuing lasses, Robert Brodie, commander of his clan’s elite guard, has foresworn scheming women. Forever.

When magick transforms Brodie Castle into a Christmas wonderland, the two despondent souls find solace in a most unexpected place . . . each other’s arms.

Amid a whirlwind of escalating events, Susanna’s traumatic past threatens Robert’s ability to protect the one woman meant for him. In a harrowing moment, as her fears and demons coalesce, will hope, faith, and love be enough to save them?

REVIEW: This is a short novella that follows on the heels of a full story ‘Forged in Dreams and Magick’ [which I read but haven’t had the time to review it yet; will do it soon, but my one word to describe it would be ‘excellent’] and it can stand alone, but if you’re a thirteenth century highland lover, both books are a must. We met Robert, hero of this novella, in the first book and I really hoped he’d get his story.

Robert Brodie is very handsome and formidable warrior which causes many maidens to throw themselves at him, and they’ve become obnoxious and tiresome to him.

Susanna’s father was about to betrothed her to a man she despises, so she decides to run as far s her legs can carry her.

And that’s when she runs into Brodie and his men. They were in the forest on a mission to find a fir-tree and bring it to Lady Isobel [she’s the time traveling heroin from the earlier book] for gracing the Hall at the keep.

Brodie is determined to save this damsel from her father and from her own fears, so he decides to take her back to the castle with him.

This short novella is fast paced, well plotted, filled with wonderful descriptions of 13th century Yule tide celebration and great characters all around.

Brodie and Susanna are very likeable from the start and if you like your Medieval romance sprinkled with a bit of magic, you must give this one a go.

I’m looking forward to book two in ‘Highland Legends’ series which is ‘Born of Mist and Legend’ coming in 2014.

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????????????????????????????????????????‘The Duke’s Match Girl’ by Lila DiPasqua 

BOOK BLURB: As childhood friends, Leopold d’Ermart and Suzanne Matchet were inseparable. One unforgettable Christmas Eve, their relationship changed from the best of friends…to lovers. But the heir of the Duke of Mont-Marly isn’t supposed to fall in love with the daughter of his family’s physician. Or vice versa.

Is this a second chance at first love?

Years later, Suzanne is dreading her first Christmas without her father. The heartbreak Leo caused when he left seven years ago is a distant memory. And she prefers to keep it that way. The last thing Suzanne expects is for tall, dark, and sinfully seductive Leo d’Ermart to show up at her door and announce he wants her back in his life. And in his bed. Worse, the now celebrated libertine is even more devastating to a woman’s senses than ever before…

Or are they playing with fire?

The only woman Leo, Duke of Mont-Marly, has ever yearned for is the adorably unconventional, intelligent beauty who got away. He discovers Suzanne creating and selling matchsticks, elixirs for the ill…and is still so damned alluring. Leo is determined to show her the depth of his desire, win back Suzanne’s heart. And give her a Christmas beyond her wildest imagination…

REVIEW: I read some of Hans Christian Andersen stories, but I never read the one that this novella was based on, ‘The Little Match Girl’ so I really can’t compare the two, but I can tell you that even though this is one of Lila DiPasqua’s Fiery Tales series it can be read as standalone.

Leo, a French Duc and Suzanne, a daughter of his family’s physician, grew up together developing a deep friendship, and when they were 18 and 20, they became lovers.

Soon after, on Christmas, Leo does something that breaks her heart, but not her spirit.

Seven years after that Christmas, Leo means to repair the damage and comes up with a plan to win his one and only love.

Even though this is a short novella, it lacked nothing that a full novel can offer. Characters of Leo and Suzanna were strong and well-rounded, entertaining and very interesting.

This story is for everyone, especially for those of us that believe in second chances, plus need I tell you that if it has Lila DiPasqua name on it, it will always be sensual and very steamy.

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AKFM CM‘A Kiss in Midwinter’ by Courtney Milan 

BOOK BLURB: Miss Lydia Charingford is always cheerful, and never more so than at Christmas time. But no matter how hard she smiles, she can’t forget the youthful mistake that could have ruined her reputation. Even though the worst of her indiscretion was kept secret, one other person knows the truth of those dark days: the sarcastic Doctor Jonas Grantham. She wants nothing to do with him…or the butterflies that take flight in her stomach every time he looks her way.

Jonas Grantham has a secret, too: He’s been in love with Lydia for more than a year. This winter, he’s determined to conquer her dislike and win her for his own. It all starts with a wager and a kiss…

A Kiss for Midwinter is a novella (38,000 words) in the Brothers Sinister series. It follows The Duchess War. Each book stands on its own, but those who prefer to read in order might want to read that book first.

REVIEW: I actually listened to this story from Audible, and you can too now, because right now this is a FREE Kindle with Whispersync for only $1.99.

This is one of those stories that you either love or you don’t, and I fall in the group of the former.

Ms. Milan never fails to populate her tales with many complex characters and this short story had an abundance of them, from our hero and heroine to their parents and friends.

We met both of these characters in the earlier books, so it was natural to bring them together, but the way this author does it is interesting and it will have you frustrated, sad and in the end you’ll rejoice in their unique relationship.

Without reviling too much, I have to tell you that this is a romance that deals with some issues that make you appreciate your parents just a bit more.

If you haven’t read the first book in the Brothers Sinister’s series, don’t fret, because this little gem totally stands on its own.

Just loved it.

FREE DOWNLOAD RIGHT NOW [don't know for how long, so download it today!]

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CATD SD‘Caroline and the Duke’ by Sabrina Darby

BOOK BLURB: A Widow Determined to be Merry

At the urging of her best friend, Caroline, Lady Ballister, seeks a lover with no emotional attachments. After all, experience has taught her that love is a fickle, pointless thing.

A Duke Determined to Marry

Sutbridge has wanted Caroline for ten years and, now that she is once again free, is determined to make her his wife. But will he settle for her body, or wage a war for the most important treasure of all: her heart?

REVIEW: This one was one of the shortest I’ve read this Christmas, but also one of the sweetest too and frankly, I was pleasantly surprised and relieved that being so short, neither the pace, plot or characters were sacrificed.

Caroline and John were likable and their story which has a long history between the two, enjoyable.

They’ve known each other fir some time, nd while Kohn lost a chance to declare himself ten years ago, now that she’s a widow, he aims to correct that and make her his wife. She on the other hand has had enough of a bad marriage and is actively looking for a lover, not a husband, and he is the one on top of her list. Another story of second chances and a good one too.

This is an author I’ve never read before, and if she can write a short story that is satisfying in plot and pace as well as characterization, I think I’ll read her again.

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AGSC AC SG VK KN‘A Grosvenor Square Christmas’ by Anna Campbell, Shana Galen, Vanessa Kelly), Kate Noble 

BOOK BLURB: Four breathtakingly romantic tales of a Regency Christmas from four bestselling romance authors.

Down through the years, enchantment touches a tall gray house in Grosvenor Square. The legend of Lady Winterson’s Christmas ball promises true love and happiness to one lucky couple. Who will feel the magic this winter?

1803 – The Seduction of a Duchess by Shana Galen

Rowena Harcourt, the Duchess of Valère, never forgot the handsome footman who helped her escape the French Revolution. For fourteen years, Gabriel Lamarque has loved Rowena—now at Lady Winterson’s Christmas ball, has fate finally delivered a chance to win her hand?

1818 – One Kiss for Christmas by Vanessa Kelly

Nigel Dash is London’s most reliable gentleman, a reputation he never minded until he fell in love with beautiful Amelia Easton. Unfortunately, Amelia sees Nigel as a dependable friend, not a dashing suitor. At Lady Winterson’s famous Christmas ball, Nigel vows to change Amelia’s mind—by sweeping her off her feet.

1825 – His Christmas Cinderella by Anna Campbell

At the season’s most glittering ball, a girl who has never dared to dream of forever after discovers a Christmas miracle.

1830 – The Last First Kiss by Kate Noble

Susannah Westforth has always loved Sebastian Beckett – but he’s only ever seen her as a friend. When Sebastian takes his Grand Tour, Susannah transforms herself into a woman he’ll notice. Now Sebastian is back, just in time for Lady Winterson’s Christmas ball – but the last thing he expects to see is his little Susie, all grown up…

You’re invited to join the whirling dance at Lady Winterson’s sparkling Christmas ball, where miracles happen and true love shines forever. How can you resist?

REVIEW: This collection of four tales from my three [never read Kate Noble before this short story!] favorite authors was delightful and now that it’s FREE I hope you take the advantage and grab it while you can.

All four tales have a common thread, which is a site, and that’s Lady Winterson Christmas party and as secondary characters, Lady Lucy Frost, Countess of Winterson and her butler Philbert were such a delight to watch.

1803 – The Seduction of a Duchess by Shana Galen

Out of all the stories, this one touched on a personal level because of the older woman/younger man romance.

I love it when authors leave the comfy zone of the ‘usual fare’ and do something a bit risqué.

This story I actually wanted really badly, and if I remember correctly, I even suggested to the author. Throughout the series of ‘Sons of the Revolution’ I always thought that the mother of these men deserved to find love once more.

I loved everything about this one, from the hero who was much younger but had the courage to go after the woman he admired for years, to once again visiting with the Sons and their lady loves.

1818 – One Kiss for Christmas by Vanessa Kelly

Another author I love and no wonder as she weaves a short story that is sweet and believable.

I liked Amelia, who was the Countess of Winterson’s niece, and Nigel, a genuinely nice guy who thinks it’s time to break out of that ‘reliable and dependable’ mold to win his lady.

This would be a perfect story to sample Vanessa Kelly and discover her writing style.

1825 – His Christmas Cinderella by Anna Campbell

If you loved Cinderella story as a child, you’re going to love this story.

Campion and Lachlan were entertaining throughout the story and it was great following their dialogue.

I thought this story very romantic, and my heart went out to Campion, a poor relation living with an aunt by marriage.

Lachlan was a great hero who we root for from the start of their affair as he rescues this damsel.

1830 – The Last First Kiss by Kate Noble

What a great way to get acquainted with an author!

Don’t ask me how this happened, but I never read Kate Noble book, and that needs to change.

This is a story of two childhood friends that are destined to fall in love with each other, although it will take Sebastian a bit longer to grasp that concept.

It takes Susannah a few years but she finally captures the attention of this man she always loved.

Another tale well told with fast pace and great characters.

All in all, a very satisfying collection of fun, sweet, intriguing, entertaining and humorous stories that will introduce you to authors you may have not discovered yet.

FREE DOWNLOAD NOW!

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MBM JMacL‘Married by Midnight’ by Julianne MacLean

BOOK BLURB: An Unattainable Rogue…

For seven years, Lord Garrett Sinclair– the ruggedly handsome illegitimate son of the Duke of Pembroke–has been traveling abroad with no intention of ever returning home to Pembroke Palace… until his father commands that he must marry by Christmas in order to thwart a family curse or lose his inheritance forever. Haunted by a tragic accident that has hardened his soul, Garrett entrusts his brothers to seek out a bride who will agree to a marriage in name only. Her reward? A sizable share of his inheritance–payable immediately after the wedding night….

A Beautiful Temptress…

Lady Anne Douglas has been ruined by scandal and disowned by her father. Facing a life of poverty and spinsterhood, she leaps at the generous terms of the marriage contract to ensure her independence. But the charade of a two-week engagement proves more of a challenge than either anticipated when they cannot resist the intoxicating lure of the marriage bed. Anne knows they will part ways after the wedding. Will she dare risk her heart for two weeks of pleasure in the arms of an irresistible rogue? Or will her surrender become her undoing after a most unexpected turn of events mere hours before the wedding?

REVIEWHere’s another author I never got a chance to read, Julianne MacLean.

This is a tale that’s part of a Pembroke Palace series and although I haven’t read any of the other books, I found the story standing on its own very well.

Here we have an old Duke, hero’s father, who believes that if his sons are not married by Christmas, their family is destined to be cursed. In order to foil this curse, he takes it upon himself to insure it never comes to that.

It’s Garrett’s turn to fulfill his father’s will by finally taking a plunge into matrimony.

In enters Anne who with no marriage prospects and dreadful living conditions, is willing to plunge herself into this union.

This is a Victorian period story with a surprisingly strong and complex female character of Anne, who I liked a lot.

I recommend it on that basis alone, but there’s a lot more: it’s well written, interesting and entertaining; great plot and wonderful chemistry between everyone that is in it.

Now I just need to stock up on the earlier books in this series!

*Melanie for b2b

*Books provided by the publisher through NetGalley & purchased by me.

Featuring Illustrator of Romance Novels…

Jon Paul

JPF

It is no secret that I adore every cover ever illustrated by this talented man. I dare you to watch this video and not come up with at least one of these books.

I don’t have all of them, but I bet that most of my Keeper Shelf books are Jon Paul covers. These are not your ordinary pictures…these works of art never fail to amaze me. They make me gasp and leave me breathless, as much as the stories depicted by these covers.

My thanks go to Mr. Mario Sorcinelli for putting this vid together. It’s amazing!

ENJOY!

 

Can you name some of the titles featured in the video?

The person with the most titles named will get one of the books with Jon Paul cover!

*[US only]

Jon Paul FerraraARTIST BIO: Jon Paul is one of the most talented artist/photographers in the Romance Novel Cover Art industry. The covers of Jon Paul appear regularly in books issued by the leading romance novel publishing houses. In the mid-80’s, Jon Paul was one of sixteen art students chosen worldwide to participate in a nine-month program at the prestigious New York Academy of Fine Arts. He also attended the National Academy of Design under Nelson Shank, the official portrait painter of the late Princess Diana. Jon Paul has received more than thirty awards for excellence from the Romance Writers of America, often placing in two or more of the top ten positions. His work has appeared on the cover of Zink (September 2004), one of the leading fashion industry magazines.

Jon Paul also painted an advertisement for Chopard , a world famous jewelers who designs jewelry for celebrities. In 2005 Jon’s work was showcased on a True Romance gaming machine which was distributed in casinos worldwide. In 2006 he completed an advertising campaign for Oral-B which included portraits of celebrities like Fabio. His portrait of Fabio appeared on Valentine’s Day 2006 on the NASDAQ Billboard in Time Square NYC. Jon Paul was commissioned to design the artwork for the tombstone of Anna Nicole Smith and was unveiled on what would have been her 41st birthday. Ever vigilant to expand his horizons, Jon Paul pursues his fine art along with his commercial ventures, both are enjoyed by millions of fans that visit his site every year.

Social Media: Website /  Facebook /

Leah’s Push-a-Book is…

‘Lost in a Royal Kiss’ by Vanessa Kelly

LIARK VKBOOK BLURB: All It Takes Is One Kiss…

In this thrilling introduction to her Renegade Royals series, Vanessa Kelly transports readers to the court of King George III—where a London street urchin unwittingly plays Cupid, ushering in a new era—and ultimately a new kind of royal…

With her widowed mother working long hours as governess to the royal children, Linnet St. Clare must look after her siblings and run the household. Now she must add to her worries the fate of Dominic, a poor orphan who has inspired the wrath of the king himself. Clearly Linnet has no time to consider her own desires—much less notice the attentions of a certain handsome, powerful magistrate…

Sir Anthony Tait is at a loss for how to capture Linnet’s interest. If only she would be still long enough for courting. Outright seduction seems the only answer. But will his kisses be enough to persuade her—or might Anthony have something to learn from young Dominic about matters of the heart? And in saving the boy’s future, might Anthony and Linnet at last create their own?

BUY IT HERE:

EXCERPT:

Predictably, Sir Anthony resumed perusing her garb. His eyes glittered with masculine appreciation as they traveled over her, and a blush burned up her neck to her cheeks.

“You’re probably wondering what I’m doing here.” She pulled her wrapper more tightly around her, struggling since quite a bit of it had become trapped under her bottom. She let out a dismayed squeak when she glanced down and noticed that both night rail and wrapper were bunched up around her knees, leaving her feet and calves naked. She snapped her gaze back up to find Sir Anthony inspecting her bare legs.

“Yes,” he answered in a distracted voice. “I was just getting to that.”

Linnet wanted to squirm, but instead she wrapped her arms defensively around her body. That movement had the unfortunate effect of bringing his gaze up from her lower limbs, where it settled on her breasts. To her undying horror she could feel her nipples bead, instinctively pulling tight in response to his heavy-lidded gaze.

“I couldn’t sleep in this dreadful heat,” she said, jerking her arms up over her chest. “I thought I might find a book in Lady Farnsworth’s study to occupy my time.”

“Ah. That explains it.”

He sat on the bench, propping his shoulders into the corner of the bay, looking entirely at his ease. Linnet, however, was anything but, since the seat was not nearly big enough for both her and his powerful frame. She tried to edge backward, but had nowhere to go. His long legs stretched in front of her, blocking her in. If she wanted to escape she’d practically have to leap over him.

But she didn’t want to escape, even though every moral precept she’d ever learned insisted she flee.

“Didn’t you have anything in your room?” he asked. “I brought your book back to the house this morning after your rather precipitous exit from the gazebo. I made certain the butler brought it to your room.”

Was he teasing her? He sounded amused, but she couldn’t really tell. If anyone had the ability to mask what he was thinking, it was Sir Anthony.

“Yes, thank you, but I was looking for something else,” she said in a polite voice.

“Something that would help me to sleep.”

He tilted his head, studying her.

Definitely amused.

“And was it only the heat that kept you awake?” His voice held a husky note that made all her muscles want to go slack.

She shrugged. “I can’t think what else it could be.”

Her attempt at a casual gesture made her breasts jiggle under the light fabric of her nightclothes, and drew his attention back to her chest. She winced, painfully aware of her immodest appearance. Her lamentably plump breasts bordered on the indecent, and she always made sure to keep them chastely covered.

He reached out and trailed a finger along her shoulder to her neck. “I can think of one other reason why you couldn’t sleep, can’t you?”

MINI REVIEW: I loved the way all the characters interacted. I enjoyed watching Anthony on the prowl for what he wanted and smiled as he became truly frustrated at times with Linnet. I’m sure he wanted to go all caveman on her but held back for decency’s sake.

She, however fought her own self over her feelings. She couldn’t get around him without blushing and felt she wasn’t good enough for him. When these two finally came together, it was like taking a deep breath and releasing a happy sigh.

This novella did not feel rushed and it had a good pace which kept me happily in the story and eagerly awaiting the next book, ‘Secrets For Seducing a Royal Bodyguard’ and the one after that ‘Confessions of a Royal Bridegroom’.

I liked the way it ended it with letters exchanged between Chloe and Dominic which is a great set up for the new four book series that follows, The Renegade Royals. Dominic Hunter’s story continues in this series and I look forward to following him on his journey.

Leah for b2b

*Book provided by the author.

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Vanessa KellyAUTHOR INFO: Vanessa Kelly is an award-winning author who was named by Booklist, the review journal of the American Library Association, as one of the “New Stars of Historical Romance.”  Her 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 spends most of the year in Ottawa, Ontario with her husband, but she’s lucky enough to spend some of the winter near lovely Amelia Island, Florida.  When she’s not dreaming of plots for her next Regency novel, she’s writing USA Today Bestselling contemporary romances with her husband, under the pen name of V.K. Sykes. 

Visit Vanessa’s Books page to find out all about her new series, The Renegade Royals! And be sure to visit her Blog for her latest writing news and for guest appearances by a host of wonderful authors.

Vanessa is a member The Jaunty Quills, a group blog composed of fabulous authors like Shana Galen and Kristan Higgins.  She’s also a member of Rock*It Reads. You can find out all about this collective of NY published authors who also self-publish on Vanessa’s Rock*It Reads page.

And join Vanessa on FacebookTwitteror her Blog for daily updates and news about her books!

Don’t miss out on any news about Vanessa’s books. Sign up for her newsletter, and she’ll keep you up to date on her releases!

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.”

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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.

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